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Saturday, April 30, 2011

A question for @davidakin

Word is, you're supposed to be a respected journalist.

OK then. Hypothetical question for you.

A little rhetorical aikido for the slimebags at Sun Media

At least I think that's the appropriate analogy. As I understand it, it's one of the gentler martial arts, based on redirecting your opponent's attack and turning the energy back upon him, rather than meeting it head-on.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Just another sleaze job from the Toronto Police

The source of Sun Media's latest steaming pile is an unnamed, retired cop.

Poor guy. What with all the unprovoked assaults on handcuffed prisoners, threats of gang rape, and the laff riot his pals must have enjoyed when they ripped a guy's prosthetic leg off and ordered him to hop into the paddy wagon, he must have been feeling left out.

Stay classy, guys.

Related posts:

Coyne posts the best tweet of the election

... and in the process, delivers an unanswerable indictment of the depths to which public discourse has been allowed to sink.

Related posts:

Election, final week: All right, all right. A small measure of hope

Leavened, as always, by a heapin' helpin' of caution.

The polls, to the extent that they can be relied upon, continue to show a surge in the support for the NDP, to the consternation of both the traditional parties. Bay Street, apparently, is shitting its drawers. And the gutter press is all but disappearing up its own ass in a desperate attempt to make a smear stick.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

"Find new ways to protect Parliament?" WTF?

I'm sorry, dear Globe editorialists, your lips are moving and there are sounds coming out, but I can't understand what you're saying.

Stephen Harper's government has done more to damage Parliament and hamper its functions than any other government in Canadian history.

Misrepresenting and distorting the simple truth about parliamentary conventions.

Issuing instruction manuals for sabotaging the work of parliamentary committees.

Withholding information from Parliament and spinning the demand for it as partisan gaming.

Proroguing for spurious and contrived reasons.

Time and space simply don't permit me to go into the detail this requires, but with this editorial the Globe has demonstrated where its loyalties truly lie.

Related posts:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Some necessary truths about parliamentary convention

Really, it's not fair that pogge does most of the heavy lifting while I just swoop in, package his hard work with some off-the-cuff snark and then sit back and watch, but then who ever said life was fair?

Poll results, wishful thinking and realism

My dear friends, it's about finding a balance. There's nothing I'd like more than to see the corrupt, dysfunctional, self-perpetuating status quo shattered into a million little pieces. If we have to stick an Orange Crush label on it, well, I can live with that.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Steady on, progressive friends

That EKOS poll, thrilling as it is, may well turn out to be an anomaly. Sure, the corporate media love the momentary drama, but at the end of the day they'll do their duty and ensure that only the blue and the red –i.e., the two parties owned by Bay Street and/or the oil patch – are seen as "realistic" options. It's how they roll.

If there's truly an NDP surge, it may well turn out to be little more than today's Shiny Object.

Again, our priority has to be denying Harper his majority. That's got to be obvious by now, unless you like living in corporatist theocracies where ignorance, stupidity and belligerence are celebrated as civic virtues.

In that light, it doesn't really matter whether the Liberals or the NDP finish second; the acid test will be whether they can work with the Bloc to ensure that Harper, once held to a minority, does not secure the confidence of the House. Another Harper government is something this country may not survive.

Related posts:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Wow. Just ... wow.

Too early to say whether the wheels are coming off the bus, but ...

I'll just let this guy speak for himself.

Let's hear from a couple of Sun News Network fans

Because really, it's not fair of me to single out Sun readers.

Especially now that there's a TV network for them.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

To my dear Liberal and NDP friends ...

I've said it before, but in light of yesterday's developments – new attack ads, revised communication strategy and so forth – it bears repeating.

Can we keep our eyes on the ball, comrades? We must, above all else, deny Harper his majority.

Accountability, Harper-style: Intimidation and mob rule

Anyone who's been talking about "scandal fatigue" just hasn't been paying attention.

At a campaign rally Saturday, Harper's minions whip a partisan crowd into a frenzy in order to drown out Terry Milewski's question.

Friday, April 22, 2011

@canadiancynic: Then again ...

ummm ...

may want to ... rethink that ...

Jesus, man.

Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?

@canadiancynic is back in the blogosphere, and we are all better for it

What – decided you wanted more fish?

Ladies and gentlemen, we are called upon to perform a sacred duty. Anything that brings CC's unique mix of humour, snark and concentrated smartassery back. A gentleman and a scholar, he is.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Other parties have no right to govern, Harper says

Read about it here.

Only the party that wins the most seats gets to govern, he says. Anything else, the public will not buy. In other words, me me me me me gimme my goddamn majority and no one else gets to play with my ball.

Once again, Steve:

Mandate = confidence of Parliament.
No confidence = no mandate. 

Is that too hard for you?

Jesus H. Christ. Will no one rid us of this troublesome autocrat?

Related posts:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

When Liberals and New Democrats snipe at each other, who wins?

Gee, I wonder.

How can we make this stop? What can we do to make the opposition parties set their differences aside and focus on the common enemy? What could possibly induce them to stop slagging each other and adopt a more cooperative approach, for the good of the country?

Harper reveals his character, yet again

Once again, a guy who can't work and play well with others.

No plans to compromise, because they're not going to let me have my way.

And for good measure, he throws in a little misdirection and BS about a "mandate from the people." Didn't William McCormack try something like that a few years ago? Screw the law, I'm standing on faux-populist demagoguery.

Once again: the mandate to govern depends on earning the confidence of Parliament. Full stop. Party affiliations are irrelevant.

Stephen Harper: your one-stop source for petulant bullshit.

Sent from my mobile device

Eye on the ball, comrades

To quote Fern Hill:  Stop it! All of you!

Do I have to remind you what happens when Liberals, NDPers and other opposition parties slag each other? Do we really want to be tearing each other down when the focus needs to be on getting rid of the foul Harper Regime?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rise up against the toxic Harper effect: whatever it takes

As I said yesterday, credit where it's due.

Props to Iggy's speechwriters for the Rise Up reference to Harper's slow poisoning of our body politic. And because it's not the Parachute Club, but from a Springsteen tune ...

In deference to the Boss. I'm all about the equal-opportunity Rise Up references.

Related posts:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Meme for the week: Harper – too dangerous to govern

I had to think about it long and hard over the weekend, in part because I got ahead of myself on Friday when I suggested that the meme for the week might be voter suppression, à la Rove.

There's no reason not to keep repeating that message, because it's such a wonderful illustration of the Harpobots' attitude to democracy, to elections, to fair play, and to governing. Voters in a given poll not likely to go your way? Rent a mob, barge in with a bunch of thugs, start screeching over-the-top accusations of illegality, and try to make off with the ballot box.

F-35s with no engines? Boondoggle!

My god, how I hate that word. It reeks of gut reaction, utter lack of analysis and shallow appeals to emotion. Soundbites rather than reflection. Which is why you see it in Sun Media rags every other day.

Don't like something? Call it a "boondoggle." Slimy-sounding word that serves to create a scandal, even when the evidence, when you bother to consider it, is ambiguous. Easy smear job. The facts don't matter. The sole purpose is to work the knuckle-dragging, drooling base into a frenzy.

But hell, in this case? I'll make an exception.

(h/t pale at Creative Revolution)

Related posts:

Suzanne Trepanier on what Harper's boys did to Remy Beauregard


Via Jymn and Dr. Dawg.

I haven't given this story as much attention as I should, but Jymn and the Dawgmeister have. As has Paul Wells at Maclean's.

An election message from conssayyes and #Harperslegacyofshame

Well. The Dammit Janet folks are on a roll today.

Via the Tweeter, a must-see video from conssayyes. If you're indifferent about this election, if you're not sure how to vote, or if you're not even that motivated to vote at all, watch this.

Best #elxn41 poster so far (shamelessly stolen from Fern Hill)

Comrade Fyrnova makes another heroic contribution to the organs of revolutionary consciousness-raising.

A marvellous and accessible demonstration of the Harper Regime's counter-revolutionary tendencies. For this, we can overlook our comrade's occasionally regrettable enthusiasm for purges and even allow the occasional show trial.

Related posts:

Our F-35 fighter jets won't have engines

And people say they're wasting our tax dollars! Don't you just feel stupid now?

Canada's F-35s: Engines not included, says the Ottawa Citizen.

And think about what a great recruiting tool they'll be! They can sit there and look shiny, they can be towed anywhere they're needed, and just think of the money we'll save on maintenance! A little brass polish, a couple of cases of Armor-All, and we're good.

What magicians these Conservatives are, and what sly foxes!

The Harper GovermentTM: keeping its eye on the ball and getting value for our money. And making sure our brave men and women in uniform aren't going into harm's way.

I'm sorry, was someone saying something about competent government? Well, if by "competent" you mean "unable to take a step in any direction without tripping over their own dicks," then yes. This list off the top of pogge's head comes to mind ...

Related posts:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Early call for Election Meme-O-the-Week: voter suppression

Of course, that's just my opinion. But in the absence of a knockout blow during the debates, and with all respect to Helena Guergis and her opera teacher, the most telling storyline from this week has got to be the junior Karl Rove wannabes in Guelph.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Karl Rove was here: Conservative vote suppression in Guelph

Sorry friends.  I don't want to sound alarmist, let alone conspiracy-minded, but this just seems a little too easy.

Something like this is so over the top and so ... scripted ... that I can't help wondering whether it's not part of a larger plan.

Shit Harper Did #FTW

Have I mentioned that I love love love love love these guys?

ShitHarperDid.com. Best thing to happen to democracy since the Vote Mob.

Keep it up, you crazy kids!

Related posts:

Bitter partisan politics, the ethnic vote, and Israeli apartheid hysteria

Never underestimate the sheer batshit stupidity that can come of combining the wrong ingredients in the wrong proportions under the wrong conditions.

First example is an easy two points. Some guy working for a Conservative candidate in Etobicoke wants a bunch of funny brown people to serve as a background mosaic for a Harper photo op, so what does he do?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The latest video from Enough Harper

Not commenting on last night's debates or on the effectiveness of Canada's opposition parties here. Just another element in this corner's non-partisan approach to getting rid of Stephen Harper.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Don't know who won the debates, but that's a short-term question

... although the partisan spin machines are, no doubt, going full-tilt boogie right about now. Who can blame them, really. It's how the game is played, and it's what they're paid for.

Regardless of how this spins out, however, the long-term prospects for the health of Canadian democracy and civil society aren't promising. It's probably safe to assume that we won't see any serious discussion of meaningful electoral reform, for instance. Nor will there be any revisiting of the international bureaucratic / corporate structures we've been locked into. Reinvestment in the social safety net? Don't think so. A truce in the class war? An acknowledgement that it's legitimate for government to act for the common good? Well, you see where I'm going.

Haircuts for Harper at almost $2K a pop?

What is it John Doyle calls him? "Hair in the fridge?" That must have really stung.

From yesterday's revelations about the Auditor-General's report and the tomfuckery surrounding it, this little detail:

According to Fraser, the Harper government expensed $9,460 for five "upscale haircuts" for the Prime Minister leading up to the Summit to ensure he "looked his best." 

As you were, Nick.

Update: as I suspected. BigCityLib says it's a satire. Given the way this bunch plays with the truth, no surprise that it's grown legs ...

Monday, April 11, 2011

What @pogge said

Don't know whether I've done one of these before, and if not, I don't know why not.

Anyway, I had the same WTF reaction when I saw the Radwanski suggestion that the Harpobots have provided "mostly competent government," but it's late and I don't have the energy to list all the ways in which they've provided anything but.

And then I saw: pogge's already done it for me. What a decent chap.

Go read it here.

@kady and @NickKouvalis: the new Downey vs. Boulerice

Dominant story of the day, naturally, was the Auditor-General and the Harper Government'sTM  G8 spending and lying to Parliament. This is going to turn the volume up – waaaay up – on the sleaze and lack-of-transparency memes.

This is getting juicier and smellier by the minute, and best of all, it's sticking to them. And it's got legs. They're not spinning their way out of this one, no matter how many Facebook profiles they red-flag.

Amidst all the yargle-bargle, though, I'd hate to see the Kady O'Malley / Nick Kouvalis scrap totally overshadowed. Not the least because it gives me another (transparent) excuse to recycle this.

Just in case you missed it, here's @kady's smackdown:

Punching above her weight, she is. As you were, Nick.

Tweets about Auditor-General's report spike ...

... and overtake coalition talk on Monday.

Gosh. Could that be because people recognize a genuine scandal when they see one? And can tell the difference between that and a bullshit manufactured controversy?

Sent from my mobile device

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Never mind Internet billing, let's worry about Internet spying

Given the name of this blog, it's probably just as well that I've avoided references to Big Brother as long as I have.

But via impolitical, some very worrying stuff in what the Harper regime is planning in terms of internet legislation. More likelihood that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will be forced to hand over personal and private information. More power for real-time surveillance and warrantless interception. More intrusive police powers. These things have been flagged by Michael Geist and Cory Doctorow, among others. When you consider the authoritarian mindset this government has already demonstrated, it's not hard to connect the dots.

What Dana said

Welcome to the inaugural edition.

H/t both Dana and Steve V. at Far and Wide.

An excerpt:

" ... the news media live in a bubble too, just like their pet creation.  Remember that they do not live by bread alone but by the closed room circle jerk as well.  They look to one another for verification or reinforcement more often than they look to actual citizens, if they haven't relegated citizens to the realm of the legendary or mythical."

There's more to it, of course. I'm not so sure I'd buy into the characterization of younger journalists – it's a little too close to the "kids these days!" mindset for me. In particular, the suggestion that they're conditioned by their education and training to be obeisant to the mighty corporation doesn't really ring true. Some of them, in fact, are smart enough to put in their time, get what they can out of it in a few years, and then leave to set up their own startups.

But it does sum up why the national discourse is so poorly served by the corporate media.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

On thwap and honesty as the best policy

Full disclosure here: I like thwap. Honest, spirited and refreshingly nasty. Although he is given to the occasional vulgarity. Makes me feel all naive and earnest by comparison.

Was just reading his stuff (I'd recommend it to anyone of a progressive mindset, by the way), and had to comment. And then I thought to throw the discussion open to a wider audience. (That means both my readers.) So, read thwap's post here.

What I said in response:

Friday, April 8, 2011

@SueAnnLevy in her own words

What's that website again? Blogging Tories in Their Own Words?

(I have a slight problem with the appropriation of voice implicit in the use of the term "Tories" in this context, but I'll let that go for now.)

#Elxn41: emerging theme from the week? Don't know yet

It would be easy to make it all about the expulsions, and the screenings, and the secret files, and the vetting of people on the basis of who they've got pictures of on their Facebook profiles. It's an easy story to write; the bad guys are obvious, the narrative simple, and the shades of meaning very few.

Unfortunately, as Simon points out, that's part of the white noise that helps Harper mask his ugly intentions. Not sure which polls to believe, and whether or not the arrogance and isolation and condescension are really hurting. And as Paul Wells argues, the more we focus on why Harper's so mean to reporters and so afraid of unscripted moments with people who haven't been filtered out by the multi-layered security screen, the less we can focus on other things – health care, aboriginal communities, fiscal policy, corporate-tax cuts, so-called free trade, climate change, our carbon footprint, the tar sands, energy, environment, just to name a few.

All important, yes, but based on what we've seen this week, I'd suggest that our overarching strategy still has to be making this about Harper's character, his aggressively totalitarian impulses, his hyperpartisan bitterness, what his wackjob base wants, and what would be in store for us if he ever got his majority. Ultimately, it's on those terms that we're best able to distinguish him from the opposition (after all, it's not like the Liberals are suddenly going to depart from their pattern of serving the ownership-class agenda).

And we can do that without reducing it to a simplistic two-dimensional story that's easy for the corporate media to digest and twist. That's the message at which we have to keep hammering away.

(Update: one possible suggestion ... )

Thursday, April 7, 2011

On @meslin, @nowtoronto, principle and pragmatism

Taking a break from #elxn41 for a minute here.

Toronto tweeters will, I'm sure, have followed the contretemps between Dave Meslin and Now magazine with some interest. A couple of days ago, Meslin finally lost his patience with Now and took exception to their characterization of him as a "seal" because of his willingness to swallow the fish tossed by Rob Ford.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What's worse? The lies, or the insult to our intelligence?

Tough call.

Stephen Harper, surprisingly, isn't addressing questions about the Gestapo-like screening techniques in use at his campaign events.

Maybe it's just me, but I'm going with Door Number Two. I expect a certain amount of disingenuous bullshit during an election, but the inherent contempt for voters and citizens in Harper's duckspeak really goes beyond the pale.

Sent from my mobile device

Aggressively totalitarian: maybe it's not just hyperbole

A recent post suggested that the phrase "aggressively totalitarian" could become this week's meme. At the time, I acknowledged that it might seem a bit over the top. (It might also have too many syllables for the average Harpobot, but that's another issue.)

Three links from fellow progressives lead me to think, however, that it's not just hyperbole.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

@MargaretAtwood buries another one

Seriously. This is why Margaret Atwood is, well, Margaret Atwood, and the rest of us just wish we could be.

I suppose it would be bad form to wear such a button without actually getting turfed by the #HarperGestapo, wouldn't it.

The Harper Machine's priorities

Rounding up students who have pics of themselves with Iggy on their Facebook pages: Priority One. Bring the Mounties in if necessary.

Making sure high-ranking officials with access to sensitive information don't have long criminal records and multiple fraud convictions: meh. Whatever.

And don't forget to blame your staff when it blows up in your face.

Monday, April 4, 2011

... although, it could get stiff competition from ...

... Harper himself:

"I didn't know the guy was a crook!"

Uh, yeah. Sure, Steve. Sure.

(If you think hard enough, you can just about imagine Jean Chretien using the same tone of voice:

"I never said we would get rid of the GST!")

Our new meme for the week: Harper's Gestapo

Ok, maybe it's hyperbole, but so what? These bastards play dirty. No point in playing nice with them. Time to kick 'em in the nads.

So tonight we have several accounts of hired muscle going through the audience at a Harper party rally in London, rounding up perceived Enemies of the State and tossing them out. Probably making lists of names and faces for later, too, when the time comes to assign said enemies for re-education.

CBC and its 'left-wing bias'

CBC newscast this morning features an item by Hannah Thibedeau, condescendingly dismissing a Jack Layton campaign event because it didn't feature anything new.

Everything he said, the report goes, has been part of NDP campaigns before. The clear implication is that no one really needs to take it too seriously - it's old, it hasn't caught on, nothing to see here, move along.

Uh-huh. Um ... folks? Just because an idea's been floated on previous occasions doesn't mean it's a bad idea. The fact that it doesn't fit into a lazy, ideologically circumscribed "two-way race" narrative is something else entirely.

Sent from my mobile device

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A note from Sheenagh McMahon

The gutsy woman who got in John Baird's face yesterday has a message for us.

Follow the links. It's worth your time.

She's also very graciously allowed me to reproduce her e-mail messages to me. I can only stand back and applaud. While I wank on about citizenship and civic engagement from behind a keyboard, this lady's actually walking the walk. (h/t CuriosityCat)

Why electoral reform needs to be a central issue

There's good reason to be afraid – be very afraid – of a Harper majority. I'll defer to more eloquent and more experienced observers on that, because I'm not sure I can add anything to what they've already said.

But it does suggest a need for more focus on electoral reform. Indeed, electoral reform needs to be a priority for anyone who believes in genuine democratic governance, regardless of where you land on the political spectrum.

Cue the whining about the left-wing media

Not a good week for the Harper Machine, so, in keeping with the Rove playbook, watch for the complaints about media bias. I can practically hear the clutch grinding as they switch gears from swaggering bullies to whining victims.

This hot-oil massage from The Star should figure prominently.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Come on, now. Harper's no chicken

Stephen Harper is campaigning in a bubble.

He can't face audiences that haven't been pre-screened.

Are stories unflattering to Harper being pulled from corporate-media websites?

The Sixth Estate, Dawg's BlogLorne at PAID and Dammit Janet (twice) have flagged this. If it's true, it just underlines what many of us have been saying about the Harper Regime's aggressively totalitarian character.

Really, doesn't the prospect of large media organizations engaging in self-censorship raise a few red flags? Isn't anyone just a little disturbed at the prospect of instant rewriting of history?

#Elxn41, first week in review: Harper's character flaws exposed

First lap.

So what's the dominant storyline to emerge from Week One? In my respectful submission, it's got to be the limits of the Harper machine's message control, and his petulant reaction to its failure.

Keeping up with the Joneses

It just never lets up, does it.

By now we've all read about the massacre at the UN offices in Mazar-i-Sharif. And when you're looking for an arsonist, you can usually start with the guy holding the matches and the gasoline can.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Shamelessly stolen from Far and Wide

Steve V joins Stageleft in the exclusive-but-growing club of people from whom I have shamelessly lifted content.

(Ah, who am I kidding. Said club is anything but exclusive.)

This does not imply endorsement or partisan leanings, mind. It just made me laugh so hard the tea came out my nose.

Sorry, folks, I'd really hoped to have something a little more cerebral, but it's late and I'm suffering a brain cramp. More tomorrow. In the meantime, let's stay on message ...

Let's stay on message: Harper's legacy of shame

A heartening first week, yes, but too early to say whether the wheels have come off the Harper Machine.

We can't be distracted by sideline drama over debate formats and whether or not Elizabeth May gets included. Or astroturfers trolling for trolls on Craigslist. Or Conservative senators calling reporters rude names.