Creekside

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Arthur Finkelstein: "We have to convince Canadians to drink pig piss"

In his bestseller Party of One, Michael Harris cites a lecture the usually reclusive Republican Party backroom political strategist Arthur Finkelstein gave to a conservative free market private college in Prague in May 2011. I've uploaded it below. 

In introducing Finkelstein, aka "the merchant of venom", the college president lauds his work with Ayn Rand and his successful campaigns for Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, Jesse Helms, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu : 
"He pioneered the concept of independent expenditure campaigns which would operate as a third force in an election beyond the control of candidate or party officials." 
One of those "independent expenditure campaigns" in Canada was the occasion of the pig piss quote.  Finkelstein, Harris tells us, had been working in Canada with the the National Citizens Coalition since the 1980's, teaching them "the art of commando politics as practiced in the US" and the 15-second attack ad that will end a career.   Harris:
"In 1988, Finkelstein did a poll that alarmed the far right, suggesting that Canadians might be on the brink of electing NDP leader Ed Broadbent as prime minister. Broadbent stood at 40% in the polls. ... Since there were difficulties driving a scandal-ridden Brian Mulroney's numbers up, the NCC decided to bring Ed Broadbent's down. They spent half a million dollars doing it. .... [A]s [NCC's] Gerry Nicholls reported in his book Loyal to the Core, Finkelstein told his colleagues at the NCC, "We have to convince Canadians to drink pig's piss."       They did."
In the Prague lecture, Finkelstein explains this technique of "rejectionist voting." 



A few quotes transcribed from his lecture:
"The most overwhelming fact of politics is what people do not know rather than what they do know. And in fact in politics it's what you perceive to be true that's true, not truth. This is a very difficult concept for people who are rational, but for those of us who are engaged in politics, it has become the norm. 
... if I tell you one thing is true, you will believe the second thing is true even though you haven't a clue whether I'm telling the truth or not. That is the way politicians behave and a good politician will tell you a few things that are true before he tells you a few things that are not true because you will then believe all the things he has said, true and untrue.
I think we may have caught up with this one actually. When Calandra or Poilievre speak, no one pays any attention because it's all just deflection spin regardless of whether it's true or not. However when Steve or Airshow or Shamwow or Kenney speak, we wait patiently for the important untruth - the only reason they are speaking at all - to make its inevitable appearance.

Tribal or structural voting. 
"Most of an election is over before the first vote or even before the candidates are chosen because the electorate votes according to who they identify with and it doesn't move much. Structural voting takes up 60 to 90% of the vote so almost all of the votes are already decided before you get started which is why you shouldn't spend a lot of time trying to get votes. There is a difference however - there are campaigns where you try to get people not to vote for candidates. I call it rejectionist voting. .... 
In New York there are 2.7 million more Democrats than Republicans. You cannot win in New York as a Republican. But you can if you can create a negative vote against the Democratic candidate among Democrats and the Republicans are irrelevant." 
Finkelstein explains how he never once allowed his NY Republican candidate to go on tv : 
"He was completely irrelevant to the campaign. The campaigns were vicious and mean - we attacked the opponent over and over again and never showed our candidate. It was totally negative." 

Stephen Harper joined the NCC in 1997, resigning as its president in 2002 to run for the leadership of the Canadian Alliance Party. 

Emily Dee introduced us to Finkelstein's influence on Canadian politics three and a half years ago while Montreal Simon reminds us of four Finkelthink attack ads the Cons launched against Dion, Ignatieff, and Layton. 
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Brownbag Jesus - Mulroney, Del Mastro, and Dykstra


Jason Kenney's parliamentary secretary Rick Dykstra and Steve's former parliamentary secretary Dean Del Mastro yuck it up here at a Del Mastro legal fees fundraiser headlined by brownbagging Muldoon and subsidized by you as political contributions.
"These were funds that were raised separately and essentially moved through the EDA. They were put into the EDA and moved straight back out again " 
explained Alan Wilson, head of the Peterborough Conservative electoral district association, without once using the phrase in-and-out scheme to describe the apparently legal tax receipts they issued to the $600-a-plate donors after funneling them through the EDA in May 2013. Del Mastro's brother Doug sits on the board. 

Del Mastro, found guilty on three counts of violating the Canada Elections Act including faking documents to cover it up, will be sentenced along with his accountant to fuck all this Friday. He resigned his seat in the House of Commons two weeks ago in a move that allows him to retain his pension of some $44,000+ per year starting in the year 2025. 

Why, Mr. Speaker. Why?

In 1997, Brian Mulroney, PM of Canada from 1984 to 1993, received a $2.1-million defamation settlement from the taxpayers of Canada for unproven RCMP allegations that Mulroney had accepted bribes in the Airbus affair concerning government contracts. Mulroney testified under oath that he "never had any dealings" with arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber, knew him only "peripherally" and they had a cup of coffee "once or twice." 

Ten years later, Mulroney admitted to having received three secret payments of $1000 dollar bills in brown paper bags from his business partner Schreiber. Totalling $225,000 to $300,000 and beginning when he was still a member of parliament, this represents a much smaller haul than he received from us for not having disclosed this information under oath ten years earlier .

Jason Kenney attended the above funder but not shown in photo.

Update : Peterborough Examiner takes a closer look at the numbers :
"The Examiner reported shortly after the dinner in 2013 that roughly 120 tickets had been sold.
Yet the financial returns for the riding association for 2013 show 53 people bought tickets. Of those, 23 people - including Brian Mulroney - bought two tickets, while the rest were single ticket-buyers.
It all adds up to 75 tickets sold. [Note : 76, actually]
It's unclear why the initial reports of 120 tickets sold do not agree with the riding association's financial return, and Wilson wouldn't comment."
Are 44 tickets missing payment and if so, were tax receipts issued for them?
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Deep integration revisited


Hey, remember the Task Force on the Future of North America, brought to you by the US Council on Foreign Relations and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives back in 2005? Sure ya do. Co-chaired by blue dog liberal John Manley who also co-authored the resulting book:
"The Task Force's central recommendation is establishment by 2010 of a North American economic and security community, the boundaries of which would be defined by a common external tariff and an outer security perimeter."
OK, so they are a wee bit behind their 2010 deep integration schedule here.  And way way behind the Fraser Institute who in 1999 published a paper in favor of a continental monetary integration date - also for 2010.

The Case for the Amero: The Institutions of a North American Monetary Union
"On the day the North American Monetary Union is created--perhaps on January 1, 2010--Canada, the United States, and Mexico will replace their national currencies with the amero. ...  At the same time, the national central banks of the three countries will be replaced by the North American Central Bank. The board of governors of the North American Central Bank will consist of members from the United States, Canada, and Mexico chosen by their respective governments in numbers that reflect their economic importance and population." 
The Fraser Institute article credits Reform Party MPs Jason Kenney, Rob Anders, and Rahim Jaffer for "spearheading a debate in parliament over the issue of monetary union for North America" in 1999.


CFR, minus the help of John Manley and the CCCE this time, is apparently still in 'community-building' mode with the release of a new paper, North America : Time for a New Focus:
"The Council on Foreign Relations has convened an Independent Task Force on North America, co-chaired by David H. Petraeus, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (and head of leveage-buyout corp KKR Global), and Robert B. Zoellick, former president of the World Bank (and Chair at Goldman Sachs).
The Task Force will provide a comprehensive analysis of North American integration in areas including trade, security, migration, energy, and infrastructure, and will generate policy recommendations designed to enhance U.S. and regional competitiveness and well-being."
“Now is the moment for the United States to break free from old foreign policy biases to recognize that a stronger, more dynamic, resilient continental base will increase U.S. power globally.”
Not really new or news though, is it? :
US bid to "shore up" Harper from the day he was elected in 2006

In his 2011 re-election campaign, Harper put out a CPC ad giving it a jobs jobs jobs edge : 
"so we commit to expanding our management of the border to the concept of a North American perimeter" :

The same month as Harper's 2011 speech, WikiLeaks released one of US Ambassador Paul Cellucci's 2005 cables from the US Embassy in Ottawa.  In it he suggests that "Canadian policy makers" support a "security perimeter" via an "incremental and pragmatic package of tasks" emphasizing "security and prosperity" (SPP!) to pave the way for a future North American "single market and/or single currency."  
He also notes that due to its benefits for "law-enforcement and data-gathering", "our governments may always want to keep some kind of land border in place". Excerpted :
"An incremental and pragmatic package of tasks for a new North American Initiative (NAI) will likely gain the most support among Canadian policymakers. Our research leads us to conclude that such a package should tackle both "security" and "prosperity" goals. This fits the recommendations of Canadian economists who have assessed the options for continental integration. While in principle many of them support more ambitious integration goals, like a customs union/single market and/or single currency, most believe the incremental approach is most appropriate at this time...
Canadian economists in business, academia and government have given extensive thought to the possible options for further North American integration.
Paradoxically, the security and law enforcement aspects of the envisioned initiative could hold as much - or more - potential for broad economic benefits than the economic dimension.
ORDER VS. PERIMETER: Even with zero tariffs, our land borders have strong commercial effects. Some of these effects are positive (such as law enforcement and data gathering), so our governments may always want to keep some kind of land border in place."
Nine years later, the only real difference is that this is starting to sound normal to us.

Update : From Thwap in comments : Diane Francis, Editor-at-Large at the National Post, has a new book : 
MERGER OF THE CENTURY   WHY CANADA AND AMERICA SHOULD BECOME ONE COUNTRY
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Saturday, November 08, 2014

Lux Leaks in Canada

I thought we'd have a look at a few of the 35 Canadian corps mentioned by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in their Luxembourg foreign tax fiddling leaks but first ...


On Monday, Minister of National Revenue Kerry-Lynne Findlay proclaimed in the House: 
"One of our government's key areas of concern is the issue of international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance."
By Wednesday, courtesy of CBC, NDP Megan Leslie shot back : 
"An international investigation has revealed a Canadian crown corporation uses phony Luxembourg shell companies to avoid paying foreign taxes. So how are Canadians supposed to trust the Conservatives to crack down on aggressive tax avoidance when they're busy setting up shell companies of their own?" 
Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board, responded that the Public Sector Pension Investment Board is "at arms length, arms length from the federal government." 
And just in case that wasn't clear enough, Joe Oliver leaned into the mike to crossly repeat "arms length". You can watch this above exchange in Montreal Simon's excellent account.

ShamWow Tony is trying to be at arms length from his own job here.
From the Public Sector Pension Investment Board website :
"Directors are appointed ... on the recommendation of the President of the Treasury Board.   Candidates for directorships are selected from a list of qualified Canadian residents proposed by an external nominating committee established by the President of the Treasury Board.   The Chair of the Board is designated from among the Directors ... on the recommendation of the President of the Treasury Board."
The board seem like a highly qualified and capable bunch, all appointed since 2006 for four year terms and variously coming from backgrounds in banking, insurance, and Vampire Squid Canada. 
It must get tricky though - one of them is on the board of Husky Energy Inc., a company 70% owned by Li Ka-shing and one of the companies profiled in the ICIJ leak. 

Here's a three minute primer on how these Luxembourg tax loopholes work : 



OK, on to a few of the Canadian companies mentioned in the ICIJ leaks, as written up by PricewaterhoseCoopers.

United Technologies Corporation (UTC) - multinational billionaire owner of Sikorsky Helicopters, Otis Elevators, Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines, etc etc - uses a Canadian company so small it's housed inside Pratt & Whitney to set up shell companies in Luxembourg and funnel money to them :
"HAMILTON STANDARD CANADA, INC., a company incorporated under the laws of Quebec (Canada) , with offices c/o Pratt & Whitney Canada ...
"In view of facilitating the cash redeployment out of Hamilton Standard Canada Inc., UTC envisages the use of a Luxembourg-based finance company.
Hamilton Standard Canada Inc. ("HSC"), a Canadian incorporated entity, acting as Limited Partner, will set up Arlington Luxembourg SCA ("Arlington") together with Berkeley Luxembourg S.a r.l. ("Berkeley"), acting as an Unlimited Partner.
Subsequently, Hamilton will transfer funds to Arlington in exchange for issuance of Mandatory Redeemable Preference Shares ("MRPS"). Arlington would then finance in its turn various subsidiaries of the group, as necessary.
Such entities will therefore be considered as Luxembourg tax residents.

Sinopec - 
"TIPTOP Energy Limited, a Hong Kong company, is a fully-owned subsidiary of SIPC. 
TIPTOP Luxembourg Sari, created on 10 October 2008, has incorporated a fully owned Canadian subsidiary (hereinafter referred to as "Bidco"). Bidco has launched a public takeover of Tanganyiak Oil, a Canadian listed and incorporated company. TIPTOP Luxembourg Sari's existing share capital is EUR 12,500. To fund the Canadian acquisition, TIPTOP Energy Limited plans to increase TIPTOP Luxembourg Sarl's equity from EUR 12,500 to about EUR 1 million and to change the denomination of the share capital at the same time to CAD. For the additional financing of its participation in Bidco, TIPTOP EnergyLimited will grant TIPTOP Luxembourg Sari an interest free loan in an amount of about CAD 2.1billion.
In case it is necessary, for dividends and net wealth tax, the double tax treaty concluded between Luxembourg and Canada also applies, should TIPTOP Luxembourg Sari hold at least a participation of 10% in the capital of Bidco since the beginning of its fiscal year (particularly, there is no requirement for a minimum taxation)."
UK's Doughty Hanson set up a Luxembourg shell, Luxco, loaned itself $3M and bought preferred shares in a Canadian solar inverter tech company. 
Only interesting because one of DH's former principals, who focused on Benelux markets, made the jump from DH last December to do private equity in the Toronto office of our other pension board, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

Li Family Trusts   Mr Li Ka-Shing, who owns a good deal of Vancouver, loaned its Husky Energy shares to a Luxembourg shell through two of its Barbados companies. The shell was entitled to all Husky dividends for the period of the loan : "The securities lending agreement for [the shell] will be neutral both from an accounting and tax perspective." 

Meanwhile it was almost exactly one year ago that 270 unionized welders and pipefitters contracted to the Husky tarsands project were laid off and replaced by cheaper temporary foreign workers.
 
These are the corporate legal loopholes and tax avoidance schemes feeding the 1% and fueling growing wealth disparity and austerity bullshit - and there's no evidence any of it is illegal!
CNN Money
"Luxembourg is like a corporate version of extraordinary rendition, a place where companies can do their dirty work that would not be permitted at home," said Crawford Spence, professor of accounting at Warwick Business School.
 

The Tax Free Tour is an excellent doc on this.  To see what holding corps to account for their foreign tax fiddling actually looks like, skip to the 33:33 minute mark.
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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Eat the banksters

Between September 2008 and August 2010, Scotiabank received a $25 billion bailout amounting to 100% of the bank's value - or as Steve and Jim preferred to call it at the time : "liquidity support" ***.

Last year Scotiabank made a record $6.7 billion in net profit and CEO and president Brian Porter netted a total compensation package of $6,902,242 for the same year.

Nonetheless, Scotiabank announced yesterday it will cut 1,500 jobs, including about 1,000 in Canada.

Aren't you glad you moved your bank account to a local credit union as soon as you heard about their use of temporary foreign workers over Canadians?

Meanwhile, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz - estimated salary for 2013 of $436,100 – $513,000 - suggested that unemployed Canadian youth should work for free to pad out their CVs if they can't find paying jobs .

Kids in the Basement Should Take Unpaid Work, Says Poloz
"The Bank of Canada estimates about 200,000 young people want to work or work more, and Poloz said they may be scarred by prolonged unemployment that prevents them from moving out on their own. “I bet almost everyone in this room knows at least one family with adult children living in the basement,” Poloz said."
Poloz did not mention that "scarred" Canadian youth suffering twice the unemployment rate of the general population are having to compete for jobs with a global market of temporary foreign workers encouraged by the same cabinet that approved his Bank of Canada appointment. 

Nor did he mention that an average student debt of $25,000 also likely precludes moving out of the basement, should your parent(s) be fortunate enough to have one from which to subsidize business with your free employment.  
Marginalised communities, people with low-income backgrounds, and single parents are less likely to be in a position to assist their youth to upgrade their education to a marketable skill so that they will be in a position to compete with the 285,000 "higher calibre immigrants" Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander intends to import next year.

Yeah, you pretty much have start off rich, Poloz did not exactly say.


*** During the 2008 to 2010 crisis of confidence in global credit markets, "liquidity support" granted to Canadian banks was a pre-emptive bailout relieving them of the necessity of having to sell off assets to pay down their debts.  
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Monday, November 03, 2014

DILBIT : The smartest guys in the room


Burnaby To Appeal NEB's Kinder Morgan Access Decision 

Kinder Morgan slaps Burnaby residents with multi-million-dollar lawsuit

Kinder Morgan questions how much B.C. First Nation still eats fish

Gay serum rumour riles Burnaby politics

Ok, I don't think we can pin that last one on the smartest guys in the room, but meantime ...

Energy Executive Blasts Kinder Morgan NEB Review As “Fraudulent,” Quits

Former BC Hydro CEO Marc Eliesen referred to the NEB as "industry-captured" and their Trans Mountain hearings as "a fraudulent process" and "a public farce" in his letter of resignation from the hearings. 

After the cross-examination phase of the review was inexplicably shelved, intervenors were instead invited to submit their questions in writing. Trans Mountain refused to answer them "or referred back to the inadequate information in the original application that gave rise to the question in the first place."
"Out of the approximately 2000 questions not answered by Trans Mountain that Intervenors called on the [National Energy] Board to compel answers, only 5 per cent were allowed by the Board and 95 per cent were rejected."
"The Board has sided with Trans Mountain dismissing the Province of BC’s need for answers in pursuit of its duty to British Columbians. The Province should cancel the Equivalency Agreement with the NEB on this project and undertake its own environmental assessment as the only meaningful way in which it will be able to effectively obtain the answers it seeks."
BC, you will recall, gave up its right to do its own environmental assessments so as not to unnecessarily duplicate the work of the National Energy Board; in 2010 BC signed an Equivalency Agreement promising to accept the NEB's decisions.   Ha. 

Economist Robyn Allen The National Energy Board Guaranteed Kinder Morgan a Fund to Push Pipeline Expansion Through Regulatory Review
"In a precedent setting NEB decision in 2011, the Board granted Kinder Morgan the right to pre-fund future expansion applications from five firm shipping customer contracts to its Westridge terminal. Two of the five companies funding Kinder Morgan’s pre-development costs are Chinese National Oil Companies PetroChina and Nexen, while the remaining three are US Oil, Astra and Cenovus. These companies pay an average premium of $1.45 per barrel to guaranteed $28.6 million per year is allocated to the special account.
Over a ten year period, Kinder Morgan will amass $286 million to push its expansion plans through regulatory review. Pre-funding through shipper charges means that the Canadian public and the Canadian economy bear the risk and the cost of Kinder Morgan’s pre-development process, rather than the risk and cost being borne by Kinder Morgan’s US based shareholders.
Kinder Morgan has confirmed that $136.3 million of its special fund has been allocated to finance the current NEB public review process."
Texas-based Kinder Morgan is the third largest energy company in North America, valued at $120 Billion. 

Update : Crowdfunding campaign raises thousands to support legal defence of Kinder Morgan protesters

Donate towards the legal costs to challenge Kinder Morgan in the courts.

Boris in comments : "Meanwhile, the price of oil and therefore the lucrativity of pipelines keeps falling as US production ramps up due to fracking and renewables reach cost parity with fossil fuels. The pipeline mayn't even be built but we'll be left with a fracked process to be abused for the next big thing."

More DILBIT

ETA : Eliesen's descriptive quotes re NEB hearings
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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Harper's Perps with Perks #12


Please welcome former citizenship judge Philip Gaynor to Harper's Perps with Perks for stealing and selling copies of citizenship tests to two immigration consultants for cash. The papers were then given to the consultants' citizenship applicants.
In sentencing Gaynor to three years, the Ontario judge was not convinced by the explanation that Gaynor didn’t want to see “good people” be denied citizenship because they failed the multiple-choice test.

A volunteer on the election campaign of late FinMin Jim Flaherty, Gaynor was first appointed by Monte Solberg and reappointed to a second three year term in 2009 by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.  

The Star : "The position of citizenship judge is a political, quasi-judicial appointment that doesn’t necessarily require legal experience. The judge administers citizenship exams, adjudicates if an applicant meets all the citizenship requirements, and swears in the country’s new citizens at ceremonies. They make between $91,800 and $107,900 a year."

They can be appointed for any number of reasons,” explained a past-president of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council.

When Mr Gaynor was arrested last year, Jason Kenney issued a statement that "Canadian citizenship is not for sale".

No, but up til this summer you could rent it  -  if you invested $800K with the government.
The investor class immigrants have been laughing all the way to the bank. According to the feds’ own research, over a 20-year period an investor class immigrant will pay $200,000 less in taxes than a skilled worker immigrant and $100,000 less in taxes than a live-in nanny. The immigrant billionaire living on the west side pays less in Canadian taxes than his immigrant babysitter.
Or you could just fake the citizenship ceremony to help out Sun TV. after you noticed CBC was doing a real one.

h/t Bat signal from Canadian Cynic

Perp with Perks Virtual Boxed Set - Get yours today! 


 heh 

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Glenn Greenwald and the Pentagon commit sociology


Glenn Greenwald took something of a shit-kicking in Canada in some media quarters last week for his column: 
CANADA, AT WAR FOR 13 YEARS, SHOCKED THAT ‘A TERRORIST’ ATTACKED ITS SOLDIERS


Published after two Canadian soldiers were mowed down by car in Quebec on Monday but prior to another being shot at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Wednesday, the piece was 
misconstrued as a justification of terrorism instead of the explanation for it.

At his talk in Ottawa three days ago, Mr Greenwald points out his explanation is based on a ten year old Pentagon report written for then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Transcript :
"There is this remarkable, remarkable 2004 report that was commissioned by the George Bush Pentagon run by Donald Rumsfeld and it was given to the Defense Task Force. And the question that Donald Rumsfeld commissioned that task force to ask was - What is ultimately the cause of terrorism? Why are there so many people in the world that want to do violence to the United States and you can go online and read it. 
It seemed as though what I wrote this week or what I said in interviews was somehow controversial.  It isn't - it is self-evident.
The report in 2004 concluded this; this is what it said. It said  :  "The key cause of terrorism aimed at Americans is quote "American direct intervention in the Muslim world."  It then identified three different policies that comprise this direct intervention. 
One is support for the region's worst tyrants - giving economic aid and drowning in weapons the regimes in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.   
Secondly was steadfast support for Israel which is viewed as enabling all sorts of aggression in that part of the world.  
And third was actual wars and occupations, principally the invasion of Afghanistan. 
Canada plays a role in all of those policies.   
And what the report concluded - and this is not me saying this, this is an actual quote - it repudiated the US government's statements to its own citizenry in the wake of 9/11 about why the 9/11 attack happened, why terrorism happens.This is what it concluded, quote : "Muslims do not quote hate our freedoms unquote but rather they hate our policies." 
It is so tempting, so tempting, to see ourselves as victims, as pure and innocent victims.  It is. We all want to see ourselves that way - we get to emancipate ourselves from any kind of responsibility or culpability or guilt. It's really tempting to say when our societies are attacked rather than our societies doing the attacking that the reason it happens is because there's this extremist religion in the world - or an extremist version of a religion - that's just unbearably hateful and irrationally savage and they just want to do violence for its own sake - "they hate us for our freedoms". That just simply isn't the case and I think it is our responsibility as citizens and certainly as journalists to make certain that the dialogue isn't comfortable or flattering. That shouldn't be the goal; the goal should be to make it as rational and fact-based as possible so that we're not actually susceptible to manipulation."
It's appalling - and does not speak well for our various 'freedoms' or our ability to resist being manipulated by our government - that this ten year old Pentagon research report on the causes of terrorism is still considered controversial anywhere in Canada.
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hornets and guns


I used to argue that however unattractive their other attributes, and some of these other attributes are exceedingly unattractive, the conservative libertarian right has an important sentry watchdog role to play in our society that benefits the rest of us - their eyes constantly scanning the distant horizon for any sign of the slightest infringement on what it pleases them to call their rights. 
Lately I've come to realize that to many of them, those precious rights are just gun rights. They really really like their guns. Guns in a good way, guns in a bad way - doesn't much matter - they get really excited about guns either way. 
Liberty minus the guns - not so much. Guns instead of liberty is pretty much ok with them as long as the people taking it away have even bigger guns and don't touch their guns. It's a fetish.

One afternoon on my deck in the sunshine, some neighbours were having a beer and the conversation turned to security vs freedom because we were about to get our first police detachment on the island.
"We don't need police," said one young guy, "if something goes wrong we handle it ourselves. Whoever is best suited to deal with it at the time deals with it."
I nodded.
"Okay," responded another to my nod. "Supposing a really big guy with a really big gun walks into your house and says 'I live here now'  - what are you going to do about it?"
"I'll run out into the street and yell a really big guy has taken over my house," I said.

This is where we are now. Harper walked into our House in the winter of 2005/6 and, with the added twist of assistance from our national police in the middle of an election, he has taken it over. He lives there now and we don't. Somehow we don't run out into the street much over it.

This is also the position the Mideast found itself in after WWI when western powers divided up the Arab world into nation states and installed tyrants beholden to their interests to run them. When people ran out into the streets three decades later to protest it, we crushed them.  We're still doing it and now we're dealing with the blowback..

On Monday, a fucked up Canadian with mental health issues waited around for two hours for his chance to run over two Canadian soldiers with a car, killing Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent.
On Tuesday Canada sent six C-18 Hornets to bomb Iraq.
Yesterday another fucked up Canadian with mental health issues and a long gun shot and killed a Canadian soldier, Corporal Nathan Cirillo, at the war memorial in Ottawa before somehow breaching House security and being shot in turn himself by the sergeant-at-arms. One guy with a gun shot another guy with a gun. 
Are these three events in any way related? We don't know yet but ...

Minus the CBC, whose coverage was mostly admirable, a lot of the media predictably played along with ramping up the terror meme to laughable extremes.   [h/t CC for following media shots]






They're happy now because they will be in charge of managing a magical news cycle combining their love of gun stories with assuring Canadians of the absolute necessity of the further clawing back of our civil liberties. Now is never the time ...

Steve is already talking about cracking down on terror threats and a new act with increased police surveillance powers - powers that will undoubtedly be used on Canadians with :
“grievances – real or perceived – revolving around the promotion of various causes such as animal rights, white supremacy, environmentalism and anti-capitalism.”
Or as the RCMP put it in 2010 when they included First Nations in that grouping :
"grievances based upon notions/expectations regarding the environment, animal rights, First nations' resource-based grievances, gender/racial equality, and distribution of wealth etc."
Harper says Canada will not be intimidated by the actions of this week. Neither should we stand for being intimidated by the actions of the guy who took over our House.

Trapped in a Whirlpool : Now is not the time ...

Disaffected Lib : It's what fascists do.

Politics and its Discontents : Something we should all keep in mind.

Linda McQuaig : Is it too early to ask for a sane conversation about terrorism?
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