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Harper's Folly

Warning: Canadian content (so, relatively polite language), immature subject matter (politics), no nudity, and anti-violence.


Funny, Sad, Too True

It's a relief to see that someone else is comparing Harpercrite to Hitler. Hitler too took advantage of a weak leader and a plethora of political parties. Both garnered only 37% of the popular vote in democratic elections. This means that 63% didn't want Hitler and 63% don't want Stevie Blunder and his gang of brown nosers.

The Rogue got his prorogue to save his democracy-destroying Regressive hide.

What next? Kristallnacht? Burn down the Parliament buildings and blame the coalition?

I agree on only one thing -- Albertans are welcome to leave Canada -- they can leave the dirt and the oil behind. I hear that Baffin Island is nice at this time of year.


Worms Come Out

The Worms came out of the Woodwork in response to this Globe & Mail article :

As a heavy rain poured down on this picturesque Nova Scotia community, Scott Brison made history Saturday by becoming the first MP to marry his same-sex partner since gay marriage was legally recognized two years ago.

The Liberal politician wed his partner Maxime St. Pierre at a small white church near Mr. Brison's country home in Cheverie, in what guests described as joyful and emotional ceremony.

Guests included Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion, former prime minister Joe Clark, former Liberal defence minister Bill Graham, former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna and Liberal MP John Godfrey.

"It's something we need to celebrate and we must be proud that Canada is showing the way," Mr. Dion said after the wedding.

Mr. Brison ran for the leadership of the Progressive Conservatives himself in 2003
before switching to the Liberals just days after it merged with the Canadian Alliance to form the Conservative party. He ran for the Liberal leadership in the contest won by Mr. Dion last year.

Mr. Brison publicly acknowledged he is gay in 2002 and became Canada's first openly gay cabinet minister in 2004. But he has always closely guarded his private life, saying once that he is "not a gay politician, but a politician who happens to be gay.

Congratulations, Scott and Maxime, I wish you a long and loving relationship.

Needless to say, our Regressive Conservative PM, who has courted the Religious Right and championed Bigotry, had nothing to say. Stevie Blunder is not doing well in the polls, so he probably does not dare to alienate any more voters in a nation that is mostly tolerant.

The article contained comments from local people in Cheverie, NS:

"If they're in love and want to be together, then that's awesome," she said as she shopped at a yard sale. "Love is hard to find."

"To each their own. Everyone's entitled to their own opinions and own way of life."

"He's a very fair guy . . . he's not just a politician who went through school to study politics and then goes into it. He knows economics, politics and social issues from the bottom and has not forgotten where he comes from."
Public opinion poles indicate that most Canadians are sufficiently liberal in their attitudes that they believe that homosexual orientation should not be a political issue.

The Globe & Mail comments section , however, had its usual outpouring from hateful, right-wing, bigots (the browns).

Illogical Bigot somewhere in Canada: "Unbelievable. Next, polygamy will be allowed to be openly practised, and then.....pedophelia will become acceptable. . . don't worry. the G & M censors won't post my true feelings. . . I am not 'christian' , I am Moslem and I wish ti express the tenets of my faith. But the G & M censors prohibits free expression of Moslem religion. "

This is the typical fallacious slippery slope argument that the hate-filled and bigotted embrace and spout. I very much hope that Illogical Bigot does not represent the attitudes of the majority of Canadian Muslims any more than the other 'browns' represent Canadian Christians.

Regina "Wow, a beautiful meaningful day -- and one hard-fought for -- for one of our MPs and nothing but vitriol from the peanut gallery.Congratulations to Scott and Maxime and may you have long happy lives together."

Montreal "Historic? Does no-one at the G & M have a dictionary? Since when has the celebration of unnatural acts deserved to be qualified as 'historic'?"

This Montrealer has obviously forgotten about the Spanish Inquisition in which those who did not toe the religious-party-line were burned at the stake. He/she has also forgotten about the various holocausts in which those of different ethnicity, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation were slaughtered.

As to the term "unnatural acts", even though I have no inclination to participate in those particular acts, I do not consider them unnatural. An act that is unnatural goes against human nature and, no matter that the religious right denies this, homosexual activity is a part of nature. What he/she really ought to have written was "statistically unusual" or "not statistically common".

Tolerant in Canada writes: "An MP gets married. Yawn. Historic? Please. Nice way to fluff the headline. Big deal.Gay, straight, who cares? If all 'we' want is equality, then why the special coverage for just another wedding? I'm sure the happy couple would prefer the media leave them alone as well."

Vancouver : "Congratulations....and best wishes....and may it be true that at some point in the near future this won't even need to be news and couples like Scott Brison and Maxim St. Pierre can be married in the privacy and intimacy which they seek.

What's 'unnatural' here is not marriage, which is a profound and beautiful expression of shared love and commitment, but the hatred being spewed by people who probably consider themselves 'christian', but who have apparently forgotten Paul's wise words to the Corinthians..."

Balmertown Ontario: "These guys can have all the 'marriages' that they want, but it will never be a marriage in the sense that it was intended for. There are reasons that marriage is between a man and a woman. The main one is that, should they have children, the children deserve a mother and a father. I am afraid that with same sex 'marriages', something is missing..."

So, allow gay adoption! Better being adopted by a loving gay couple than being raised in foster care or an orphanage. Before the reader raises the objection that pedophilia could be a problem for gay adoption, I point out that pedophiles are statistically far more likely to be heterosexual males.

However, the chief problem with this marriage-for-procreation argument is that some gay couples do parent children (technically easier for lesbians) and many heterosexual couples choose not to have children or cannot have children. Would Balmerton suggest that childless heterosexual unions must be dissolved?

Further, it is technically very difficult not to have a biological mother and father. Unfortunately, heterosexual biology is no guarantee that the biological parents did not parent out of wedlock, will be good parents even if cohabiting, will not separate or divorce, or that one or both parents not dying during the child's pre-adult years.

I am not denying that growing up with both of one's effective, loving, biological parents is good for a child, but I am saying that preventing gay marriage does not ensure this, so it fails as an argument against gay marriage.

West Coast "I agree with comment that the day this kind of thing isn't news will be a good day. Until then, we can only work to eradicate the hatemongers and wanna-be local religious terrorists from this country. Hypocrites hiding behind their subsidized religions of 'love' while spewing their bile and hatred at all and sundry."

"Vineland, Canada writes: "[Illogical Bigot] and the rest of you who have posted the ugly comments GET OVER IT! The vast majority of Canadians find it perfectly acceptable for Mr. Brison and people like him to marry and we've said so democratically through our elected representatives in parliament. My grandchildren don't even understand why this is an issue. I keep telling them that pretty soon it won't be anywhere in North America. If you interpret your religion to condemn this fine, but keep it to yourself, the rest of us are tired of hearing from you!!!"

I totally agree, Vineland, but religous bigots are vocal for a reason: some are hate filled, and looking for any excuse to label and blame; many are black-and-white thinkers and gravitate toward those denominations that justify and amplify their good-bad, reward-punishment thinking.

Calgary, Canada writes: "To the passionate objectors: There are dozens of worthy causes to volunteer for where you could use your passion to alleviate immediate suffering. Instead you have a fit because two consenting adults want to celebrate their love for each other. "

It is nice to see so many Westerners expressing liberal attitudes. Happily most Easteners are not so 'brown' as these bigots.

Read all the G & M comments here.

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Ignatieff on the Iraq Debacle

"The unfolding catastrophe in Iraq has condemned the political judgment of a president."

In an interesting article in the New York Times, Michael Ignatieff retreats from his earlier, unpopular position on Iraq, admitting that he was misguided in supporting the invasion.

Ignatieff says that, "The philosopher Isaiah Berlin once said that the trouble with academics and commentators is that they care more about whether ideas are interesting than whether they are true." I think that this is a problem for too many of us and not merely for academics and commentators. It clearly is a problem for Giorgio Dubaya Borgia's administration, which went beyond misjudging the status of Iraq to deliberately lying about the situation.

Ignatieff goes on to clarify that, "The attribute that underpins good judgment in politicians is a sense of reality." This is the attribute that underpins good judgement in all of us, particularly in voters. Voters need to understand that too many politicians care only whether they can sell an idea rather than caring, or knowing, whether the idea represents reality.

Ignatieff is far too kind about Dubaya's mismanagement, stating that those who accurately predicted the outcome did not "suppose, as President Bush did, that because they believed in the integrity of their own motives everyone else in the region would believe in it, too."

Ultimately, political events stem from the individual psychologies of the players, and a good politician must understand people. I watched Dubaya's barely disguised excitement after 9/11. While most of the world was dismayed at this blatant squandering of human life, Dubaya had a glint in his eye and an unsuppressed smirk. In other words, Dubaya appeared delighted by the opportunity to become the War-on-Terror-President. I very much doubt that even Dubaya believed in the integrity of his motives, though the American public appears to have been deluded along those lines for far too long. I can say this, but a politican could not afford to be so overtly critical.

Of course, Ignatieff presumably wishes to achieve more success in politics than his failed bid for the Liberal leadership and he admits to having learned that, "The slightest crack in your armor — between what you meant and what you said — can be pried open and the knife driven home."

During the leadership campaign, it was painfully obvious that Ignatieff was accustomed to having his listeners attempt to understand the drift of his ideas. He appeared unprepared for the media tactics of attacking strawman misrepresentations of his position. Ignatieff is such a bright fellow that many listeners would have had difficulty discerning what he actually meant to say. To succeed in politics he will need to learn to be more succinct and not to appear to be prevaricating on his position.

Sadly, most voters are deluded by media tactics and cannot comprehend the meaning beneath the message. The media filters content through a ratings-motivated distortion because the livelihood of too many members of the media depends upon exaggerating conflict or selling the network's politics rather than assessing reality.

Adding to the problem, voters are often poor judges of character and motive, and these are the determinants of a politician's performance.

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Theocratic Threats

Our Regressive Conservative PM may be an embarrassment, and we may have our own tiny YEC creation museum, but at least we do not live in that country so dominated by the religious right (more accurately, the religious wrong) that their leader claims to receive messages from God.

I'm talking of a nation whose degree of religiosity places it alongside nations with functional IQs close to 83. I'm talking of a nation with a lamentable human rights record and continuing unequal treatment of visible minorities. I'm talking of a nation where science education is under threat from creationism, even though most of Europe reconciled religion to the fact of evolution over 1oo years ago. I'm talking of a nation where a disproportionately high percentage of religious folk refuse to recognize that the Bible is a pseudohistoric allegory and insist on Biblical inerrancy, counter to all known facts that demonstrate that much of the Bible is inaccurate.

No, I'm not talking of a third world country. I'm talking of that arrogant superpower that is bankrupting itself in a futile war on terror.

Using God as a running mate might have guaranteed votes from Christian fundamentalists, but it has not ensured good government.

"Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hardworking, honest Americans. It's the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then, we elected them." -Lily Tomlin

Thanks to the gullibility of the average voter, America now suffers one of the worst presidents ever. Giorgio W. Borgia is a man of less than stellar abilities who claims to answer instructions from God: Nabil Shaath says, "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"

In October 17, 2004, Bruce Bartlett, a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and a treasury official for the first President Bush said of Dubaya, ''This is why he dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts. He truly believes he's on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence.'' Bartlett paused, then said, ''But you can't run the world on faith.''

While most Americans have opened their eyes and seen the con perpetrated by Giorgio W Borgia's administration, the devoutly religious of America still favor the fool. Still, far too many Americans have not seen the costs and the danger of linking religious fervor to politics. Not only does American current policy demonstrate the dangers of excessive religiosity within administrations, the current Middle East, and world history demonstrate the political lunacies of theocracies.

Although the Founding Fathers' intent was that the state could neither establish a religion nor interfere with personal religious beliefs, religion and state are to be maintained distinct. The exigent need is no longer the protection of religious freedoms, but rather to protect political decision making, minority rights, and education from the depradations of religious fundamentalists.

This blog is participating in the July 1-4 Blogswarm against Theocracy. First Freedom First is an organization dedicated to separation of church and state, and provides resources, including articles and book recommendations. FFF is NOT a "sponsor" of the Blog against Theocracy blogswarm.

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Should One Call One's Ex a Dog?

When Belinda Stronach ended her affair with Peter MacKay and crossed the floor to join Paul Martin's Liberals, I both understood and applauded her crossing, and sympathized with Peter's palpable pain at his rejection. To give Peter credit, he tried to put on a brave front and did no immediate name calling – probably to save himself the humiliation of bursting into tears on camera.

However, that was some time ago, and even though I understand that pain – probably humiliation rather than loss – lies beneath Peter's recent on-tape name calling, he ought to act like an adult within earshot of any but his closest confidants. Having erred, he ought to be man enough to admit his mistake and to offer an apology to Belinda and to the Canadian public. That is what a grown-up would do.

Come on, Peter, we know you said it because it is in line with previous behaviour during Question Period and with that "dogs are faithful" crack that you made soon after the double-crossing. Lying merely makes you look worse. Female voters may not like chauvinist remarks, but all voters disapprove of liars – except in the US, it appears.

Come to think of it, Peter's behaviour merely underlines why Belinda abandoned the Regressive Conservatives last year.

The cartoon is a modified QtR re-run.


Leaders? Hardly!

I started this blog as an outlet for my frustrations over the obnoxious antics of a particular party during Question Period.

Two particular individuals – mentioning no names – behaved in a vocal and adolescent manner that obstructed parliament and forever destroyed their credibility as party leaders worthy of respect.

Any who watched the obnoxious, hypocritical antics of the RCs ought to have understood exactly why Belinda Stronach made the personally-politically-risky move of crossing the floor to join an embattled government. Harper's interpretation that Stronach deserted the (Regressive) Conservatives because she would "never be leader" said nothing about Stronach and volumes about Harper's psychology and ambitions.

I'll explain. Had Stronach truly been so puerile as to wish to desert the RCs purely because she had not been elected leader, she would have done so much sooner. Harper and the RCs will assuredly manage things so badly that the RCs must ultimately choose a different leader, and, had Stronach stayed she should have had a far greater chance of attaining the leadership of the RCs than she will of the attaining leadership of the Liberals, let alone retaining her seat in a conservative riding.

However, when Harper was illogical and inaccurate in his accusations against Stronach, he revealed why HE would have acted as she did. He would have decamped in a fit of pique over not attaining all of his ambitions. Harper does not care about Canada, Harper only cares about Harper, Harper, Harper, and about becoming PM. The smug debate smirk and his antics declare this to be the case over and over again.

A question of ideology

When choosing where to place our votes, whether we intend this or not, we vote for the collective ideology, the Weltschauen, or world-view of a party.

Both fascist and communist political failures – governments that can only retain power only through dictatorship – demonstrate the dangers of the extreme right and the extreme left. Historically, the middle-of-the-road has proved to be the best fiscal and democratic policy in free states. Both fascist and communist political agendas have ultimately proved themselves painful for the majority of the population.

Are the Regressive Conservatives fascist? No. The RC's do, however, favour the wealthy over the poor, and the RC's overt and covert platforms will erode our surpluses and our social liberties and supports. The poor will suffer most. The already-wealthy will benefit most.

Why? Consider the proferred reduction in the GST versus income tax reductions for the poorest Canadians. The wealthy have higher discretionary incomes – more pocket money compared to money for necessities – and the wealthy spend more on taxable items. This means that a reduction in the GST will most benefit those who spend most on large-ticket items.

Those who spend comparatively less on taxable items and services – the poor – will derive very little benefit from a 1 - 2% reduction in the GST. Similarly, when Harper reduces corporate taxes, the working population's share of the tax burden will increase OR we must again incur a deficit as we did under Mulroney's PCs. Stephen Harper is well enough trained in economics to understand all of the above - he is merely counting on the fact that the average voter does not understand economics.

Paul Martin, as Liberal finance minister, turned the Conservative-created deficit into a surplus, yet many Canadian voters seem bent on punishing Paul Martin for the egregious AdScam behaviour of Liberal party hangers-on. Not elected Liberals, but civil servants such as work under any government.

At the leftist extreme, we cannot afford NDP support of over-generous social programs OR the discrepancy of support only for those workers who belong to a union. Generosity is one of the good aspects of the Canadian, as opposed to American Republican, collective psyche. It is just that we cannot afford to be over-generous. This is one good reason for having the NDP as a minority party when Liberals are in power – the balance tends toward generous. An NDP minority would be powerless against a Regressive Conservative majority, and under-generous will take the day – for 5 years! – while the already-rich will grow richer.

Under the Liberals, we have achieved the lowest unemployment rate in decades. However, the majority of Canadians of working age have worked even when unemployment is at its highest. In other words, most of us, whether single or part of a nuclear family, are working people, and most of us do not belong to trade unions.

At the inception of trade unions, these tools for collective bargaining for the oppressed were essential to redress inequities. In the modern economy, most trade unions operate as tools of cooperative blackmail in industries whose workers are not oppressed, but whose products or services are essential in some way – for example, public transit and mail delivery (before the electronic-communication revolution).

Similarly, collective blackmail has been a potent tool for inequality in large consumer-product industries – auto workers are a prime example, and it is no accident that Ed Broadbent hailed from Oshawa.

Of course, the day-to-day operations of modern trade unions is not staging strikes, rather it often seems to be anti-meritocracy. That is, most trade unions seem to oppose dismissal of fellow unionists who would otherwise be dismissed for incompetence. This explains why standards of service are often lower in industries or services with large unions – merit does not matter, "brotherhood" does.

The ultimate result of decades of large trade unions is comparatively excessive salaries in certain sectors of the economy. Left-leaning political parties support such inequities and do not represent the majority of working people and working families.

What constitutes an equitable salary scale? This is a complex question, but most would probably agree that remuneration ought to reward special skills, talents, and advanced training, and ought to compensate for highly unpleasant or dangerous working conditions.


Do Canadians hate Americans?

Most Canadians cannot abide George Bush and his administration. Most Canadians did not believe the lies that Bush told to get America into the Iraq war. Most Canadians applauded the Liberal stand against joining the invasion of Iraq. In that most Americans did not vote for Bush in either election and most Americans have come to realize that they were duped, most Canadians agree with most Americans about Bush and his administration. Given the inhumanity and debacle of the Iraq war, most Canadians were absolutely correct in applauding the Liberal stand against joining the invasion of Iraq.

Canadians appear to have short memories on this, as though keeping us out of an unjust and futile war pales in comparison to the antics of some party-hangers-on.

Janice Stein claims that most Canadians "cannot tell the difference" between the Bush administration and Americans. I believe that we can, in that we recognize the difference between the individual American and the national hubris. I believe that most Canadians recognize that the political administration elected (or not elected) by any nation is distinct from an individual within that nation.

However, Canadians do personally object to the vocal America-the-greatest arrogance of some Americans. We have long despised the way some Americans have treated slaves and their descendents – we were the last whistle stop on the underground railroad, after all. We are not happy about a nation that imposes illegal tariffs on our softwood lumber, and then refuses to pay the legal compensation ordered by the NAFTA panel. We are not happy with a nation that closes its borders to our beef while hiding its own several cases of Mad Cow.

Has anti-American dislike of some aspects of America risen only since Bush took office? My personal observation has been that many Canadians have long disliked the American political ethos – we were simply too polite to say so. However, anti-USian sentiment has risen dramatically since Giorgio Dubaya Borgio took office. (By "took" office, I indicate that I believe that the outcome of both elections that placed such an incompetent in power were rigged. First, by the deliberate mis-alingned printing of ballots in brother Jed Bush's home state, and next, by tampering with electronic ballots in the swing states.)

Do we define ourselves in terms of not being American? No. Most of us hold "Canadian" values because of the intrinsic merit of certain moral principles. As a friend said, "we prefer to spend our money on social programs rather than bombs". (Obviously, we too have our share of rednecks, bigots, and self-serving individuals.) We compare much of the American ethos with Canadian values, and find the American political and social scene desperately wanting in some areas. We thus declare ourselves proud that we do not share the more egregious aspects of the American Weltenschauen. In other words, we decry some American attitudes in terms of their not being the more liberal of Canadian values.

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