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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Harper's "tough on crime" bill: meaner, more expensive, and not making us any safer

From the essential Alex Himelfarb, another beautifully written and persuasively argued essay detailing everything wrong with both the omnibus crime legislation and the nasty, vindictive and short-sighted sentiments behind it.

It's sadly ironic, he writes, that the Conservatives are moving this way just as U.S. jurisdictions are abandoning the "tough on crime" model, given all the evidence of how ineffective and counterproductive it is, and citing the contrast with what's traditionally been seen as a more humane and flexible approach in Canada – one which didn't compromise public safety.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The challenge we face

I know, I know. I spent far too much time and energy on it, to no avail. What can you do?

But reaching people like that is what we have to do, and it doesn't do any good to just write them off as zombies or shallow dullards incapable of critical thought. They're not all beyond redemption.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

#G20 fallout: What @pogge411 and @canadianlefty said

Links here and here. Lefty's post is a long one, but definitely worth the time. It's all about the not-so-subtle message from last June: activism and dissent are dangerous. Stay home, shut up, and do as you're told.

More allegations of police brutality at the G20: Gabriel Jacobs

More serving and protecting by the Toronto Police. (Yeah, right.)

Via CBC and the Star, news that Gabriel Jacobs is filing a human rights complaint over the way he was treated at the G20.

Friday, May 27, 2011

What Alison said (and deBeauxOs, and Dr. Dawg ... )

And while we're on the subject, the inimitable and indispensible Alison over at Creekside sums up the whole police-brutality, civilian-oversight thing as only she can.

Go read it now.

Update: And after that, check out this story from Ottawa from deBeauxOs and the Dawgmeister. I mean, brutal shithead cops and their enablers in so-called oversight roles are bad enough, but in this case, the dumbass not only bit a 15-year-old kid on the shoulder – he broke his hand on the kid's head. This isn't scraping the bottom of the barrel – this is breaking through the bottom to root around in the mud and raccoon shit underneath. It's actually worth quoting the Dawg (emphasis mine):

Not a single component of the system is there to protect and defend the rights of individual citizens when they are casually violated by police officers.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Put lying cops on the stand and make them do it for the record

Not that it should take the focus off Harper and McGuinty, who bear just as much culpability as municipal officials for the abuses that took place at last summer's G20, but Rosie DiManno's got an idea about the 11 cops who, incredibly, can't identify the asshole who broke Dorian Barton's arm.

Let's review: Dorian Barton wasn't protesting or demonstrating, not that there's anything wrong with that, but simply taking pictures in a designated protest zone (and there's plenty wrong with that, but we'll leave it alone for now). He was slammed, from behind, by a cop with a riot shield and a baton. Eleven other cops on duty with the SOB have told the SIU they can't identify him.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Woodward and Bernstein are dead

(With a tip of the porkpie to Tom Stoppard. Jesus, can't a guy even use a metaphor any more?)

A triple-barrelled meme generator, starting with this piece yesterday by Lawrence Martin. It was picked up by Owen Gray over at Northern Reflections, and amplified by CK at Sister Sage.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On CBC, a further demonstration of Toronto cops' contempt for us

On Metro Morning today, Matt Galloway talked to police union boss Mike McCormack about the nameless asshole who broke Dorian Barton's arm at the G20 last summer, and about the SIU's investigation coming to a dead end.

Anyone want to guess where Mike makes his stand?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Toronto Police: Unaccountable, uncaring, unbelievable

The Star doesn't always get it right, but this time it's taken a centring pass in the slot and buried it in the top corner.

When the provincial Special Investigations Unit threw in the towel and said it couldn't identify the brutal, cowardly slimeball in a uniform who broke Dorian Barton's arm at the G20 last summer, the CBC story prompted a somewhat sarcastic response from the progressive blogosphere, including this.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ford's right-wing governance: no vision, no soul, no future

This little corner's taken its whacks at the Ford "vision" before, but the saga of the Fort York bridge just underlines it all over again.

The context for the discussion is ably set up by cityslikr over at AFUITBS and by the comments on this piece by Luca de Franco over at Spacing.

Monday, May 16, 2011

From MediaCulpa, George Monbiot vs. Margaret Wente

Still working on the dual-blogging multiple-redundancy thing. Bear with me.

Link here, via here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The corporate media's class-based agenda

I thought about a stronger title for this post, but that might have required a nasty loaded word like, oh ... "bias."

Anyhow, this isn't intended to be a factual statement, but off the top of your heads, can anyone recall a story about the NDP over the past week that wasn't all about Ruth Ellen Brosseau? This is the Official Opposition, with more than 100 Members of Parliament, mind.

Now contrast that with the time and space devoted to the inner mechanics, machinations, skullduggery and drama associated with the Liberal Party's attempts to select a new leader – as if a new face is all that's needed. This is a third party, just in case anyone's forgotten.

Friday, May 13, 2011

#G20 aftermath, Robert Dziekanski, and police accountability

Because of the recent, er, unpleasantness, I've started a backup site over at Tumblr.

(OK, OK, I wanted another excuse to geek out. Like I don't have enough already.)

Anyway, a couple of items about police being held to account for their excesses stood out, so I wrote about them over there. Here's the link

Thanks as well to Fiat Justicia for this:

Related posts:

Blogger back from the dead?


Now what the hell was that?

Is the Facebook / Google smackdown getting underway, and if so, why didn't anyone tell me?  Geez.

Some stuff may have to be rebuilt, and some stuff may have been lost.  In particular, a thoughtful and inspiring comment from Margarita del Norte, which said very succinctly what I'd been thinking for a few days, but better than I could have put it.  Because of the recent ... unpleasantness, I couldn't publish it, and now it's gone from Blogger.  Please honour me by sending it again, dear lady of the north.

(If it helps, I've still got it in my gmail, but it's only authentic if you submit it as a comment.  Reproducing it from there and appending it on my own would just look cheap. Email me if you need to.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ruth Ellen Brosseau and the corporate-media cowards

You remember those nasty, sadistic little pricks who used to burn ants with magnifying glasses? And then in school they used to get their kicks ganging up on younger kids? Seems they grew up, in a manner of speaking, and got jobs with newspapers.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I don't live in the Annex ...

... but I'd be willing to part with some serious coin for a lapel button reading "Flippant Annex Secularist."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

#Cdnpoli: Have I got this all wrong?

Is it possible?

I don't know where this doubt is coming from, but I've been having second thoughts about a lot of what I've been saying. Maybe all the sniping and backbiting and recrimination's been more disheartening than I originally realized. Or maybe it's just a little Sunday-evening angst for my inner drama queen.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Working against a permanent Conservative majority

This originated as a comment over at Thwap's place, but perhaps I should expand on it a bit.
Call me a hair-splitter if you must, but while certain individual Liberal activists might be open to some new electoral thinking, I wouldn't be so sanguine about the Liberal Party itself.
I understand that they need some time to grieve, to heal and to come to terms with their third-party status, and I'm willing to grant them that time. But I'm not willing to put the hard work we need to do on hold while they do that.
We're facing four years of war, to be fought on many fronts and on many battlefields. If they want to spend their time and energy gazing at their navels and trying to revive a decrepit institution that's past its shelf life, that's up to them, but I've got more important things to do. And that goes for anyone else who's not comfortable with the idea of a permanent Conservative majority.
Initially I wasn't sure I wanted to come across all harsh and everything, but in all honesty, I don't know how I can be any more emphatic about the need for opposition activists, of whatever stripe, to stop flinging poo at each other and focus on the main task. Some of the language I've encountered from  fellow progressive bloggers, many of whom I've respected until now, is simply mind-boggling. You know who you are.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold


My friends, there's no denying the impact of the past couple of days. The way it stands now, we're going to have to live with a Harper majority for the next four or five years.

And while it's nice to fantasize about the Conservatives doing themselves in by getting too comfortable, or too arrogant, or taking the muzzles off their backbench whackjobs and throwing some red meat to their so-con base, we can't count on that. How we organize to fight this is going to be the subject of several blog posts, and perhaps the strategic focus behind worthwhile Canadian initiatives such as the one currently being organized over at Sixth Estate. Check it out when you can.

But getting organized is also going to mean facing some uncomfortable truths: about the polarization of Canadian politics, about the role of the media, and about the role of the Liberal Party.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Montreal Simon says it even better

Just to reinforce my point about the partisan backbiting.

I note this morning that Simon's got an excellent post addressing some of the same things, but he says it better than I can.  Go and read it now.

He manages, in passing, to highlight a particularly egregious display of Blame Throwing. Keep it up folks. You're just giving the Cons more wood.

While you're at it, check out this piece from Boris over at the Beaver.

Related posts:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Again: Stop it, all of you. We need to take the long view

(I've been looking for the Blame Thrower scene from Mystery Men, but crapped out. Anyone finds it, email me.)

Can we please, please, stop the post-election fingerpointing? Haven't we given the Dark Side enough to chortle over? With every bitter blog post, every recriminating tweet, they're just signalling the waiter for  another round and exchanging high fives.

Harper as Nixon?

I've seen the comparison floating around out there on the intertoobz for some time now.

For those not familiar with the era in question, Rick Perlstein's seminal book Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America sets out how Republican Richard Milhous Nixon and his brain trust used divisiveness, demonization and dog whistles to capture the White House in 1968. The resulting tribalisms, resentments and cleavages in the American body politic are still resonating today.

Say hello to the new guy

Base, common, unpopular.

Makes thwap look polite and genteel.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Beijing Model? The Harper Model? Does it matter what we call it?

Capitalism and full-speed-ahead economic growth, fuck the environment and anyone who's not a well-connected insider, and if you have any dissenting thoughts or ideas about any of this, probably best to keep them to yourselves.

The lineup at the polling station this morning

All the way around the gym at the local high school, out the door and round the corner.

Had to wait half an hour to vote. Maybe some of the people there got robo-calls directing them to the wrong place or something.

Tell us again how nobody wanted this election, Steve?

Don't go 'way mad, buddy. Just go away.

Related posts:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The night before the election: what we can expect

Imagine a government that doesn't operate for the benefit of a handful of CEOs and international investors.

A government that cultivates the best in its citizens, that represents everything good and decent and caring about the nation it serves.

A government that recognizes that as humans, we are all fallible, but that as citizens, we have obligations both to one another and to something bigger than ourselves.

A government that values and preserves all the myriad threads that tie us together, that allow us to pool our efforts and act collectively for the greater good.

A government that safeguards our right to disagree with one another, and with the institutions of government itself.

A government that sees us as intelligent thoughtful adults, and speaks to us, with us, and for us accordingly.

A government that aspires to reflect the better angels of our nature.

In return, all that's asked of us is genuine engagement, thoughtful participation, and a commitment to something beyond ourselves: our neighbours, our communities, our society, our country. Both we and the institutions we build share and reflect certain values: democracy, stewardship, transparency, decency, accountability, citizenship, civic engagement, civil society, fundamental freedoms, civil discourse, and mutual support and respect. This is our character. This is who we are.

This isn't some idealistic fantasy. This is something we have a right to expect.

Tomorrow, let's go out and get it.