Monday, December 22, 2014

The Good, The Bad, And The (Really, Really) Ugly

Stories that cover the entire spectrum are present in the news today.  T'is the season to be jolly so let us start with the Good News.

The Good

Trudeau is talking the talk about openness.

Justin Trudeau is promising to scrap Stephen Harper's brand of message discipline if he becomes prime minister, giving more freedom to bureaucrats, ditching the scripts for cabinet ministers and making them and himself more accessible to journalists.
The Liberal leader says Harper's penchant for strictly controlling the flow of information — and the select few who are allowed to sparingly dispense it — has led to an opaque, secretive government that is cut off from the citizens it's supposed to be serving.
A spokesman for Harper thoroughly rejected Trudeau’s assertions.
(Really.  Who cares what a Harper spokes person says?)
More goodness:
"You can't run a government from one single person," Trudeau said. "What instead matters is that leadership be about gathering around extraordinary individuals and getting the best out of them."
Trudeau added that "a free and informed press is an essential part of any informed democracy, making sure citizens know (what's going on) and are able to hold their leaders to account." Freezing out the media is "not just weakening the functioning of our democracy but weakening the outcomes of our governance."
Let hope we get a chane to see if Trudeau walks the walk.

Being an eminently fair blogger, I will quote the Conservative response to give their side of the story:
"I would challenge his (Trudeau's) assertions," MacDonald said in an emailed response.
I'm sure you would but, wait, you replied by email.  Thereby eliminating the opportunity for a follow-up and proving the charges laid on you by Trudeau.

The Bad

Does Michael den Tandt seriously think that the Liberals have consciously crafted Trudeau's image after Luke Skywalker/Simba/King Arthur?

Why yes.  It appears he does:
 His brand has been crafted, deliberately it seems to me, to tap into very old archetypes of heroism. 
My goodness, we need a better level of journalism in this country.

The Ugly

In this case it isn't the author.  The article is an review of another Harperian desecration of our constitutional framework.  It was excellently written by Errol Mendes, Canada's foremost expert on the subject.  It should be read in its entirety.  It probably deserved to be first but that would have interfered with the Spaghetti Western theme.  The sacrifices one makes for art.Recommend this Post

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Harper leads by example

Harper hides his innate cowardice behind his bullying tactics.  Like all bullies, Harper is, not so deep down, a coward.

Just as his "I can take a punch" line in an earlier interview with Mansbridge (or some other CBC sycophant), is an attempt to deflect attention away from his thin skin, his explanation for his cowardly actions during the Parliament Hill shootings doesn't hold the water Mansbridge is so eager to carry.

As I read the transcript of the interview a post began to percolate.  But alas, Boris at The Galloping Beaver has covered all the points but one here.  With regards Boris' Point 1, if the caucus insisted he hid, why did he have to apologize to his caucus?
Prime Minister Stephen Harper told his hushed caucus Wednesday morning he felt remorse for surreptitiously ducking into a closet during last week's assault on Parliament Hill, CBC News has learned.

Many Conservative MPs were alarmed at the prime minister's sudden disappearance during the terrifying 15 minutes between the moment Michael Zehaf-Bibeau fired the first shot inside the Parliament buildings and when Sergeant-At-Arms Kevin Vickers entered their barricaded caucus room to tell them the fusillade outside their door had ended with Zehaf-Bibeau's death.
Perhaps his apology didn't do enough to calm a restive caucus and base.  Perhaps they know, if unwilling to admit, that the man they hate the most gave and excellent example of how a leader acts.

Stephen Harper.  Not A Leader

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Experts reviewing how to fix the damage to Parliament

Bullet d Damage scarring the halls of Parliament’s Centre Block after the gunfight government that killed Michael Zehaf-Bibeau responsible government is now being “catalogued” by experts preparing to decide what should be repaired and what should be left alone.

Heritage Constitutional experts at Public Works and Government Services, the Crown’s real estate and asset manager, are working closely with House of Commons curator Johanna Mizgala assessing the damage “to determine the most appropriate approach to repair and conservation,” said Heather Bradley, a spokeswoman for the House of Commons Speaker’s Office.

Bradley said any damage experts feel compromises the integrity of an object or an area, Canada's history and traditions such that it could be susceptible to further deterioration, will have to be repaired.

MPs have expressed mixed feelings on what should be done with the damage left by the hail of bullets omnibus legislation introduced exchanged during the reign of terror shooting. Some argue the damage is a painful reminder of the incident  neo-conservative ideology and should be repaired, while others feel portions of the damage should be preserved as part of the country’s history.

Signs of the shooting  disgrace mark the country halls, walls and doors of the Hall of Honour where the Conservatives Zehaf-Bibeau was shot dead were defeated in an exchange of ballots gunfire with citizens police, security and Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers.

Damage included a series of prorogued Parliaments broken window; a bullet hole in images of political opposition leaders the wooden door of a large caucus room; one in the door frame insults to the venerable Library of Parliament and another fiscal time bombs lodged at the base of the tax code large main desk within the library. The stone walls foundations of the country were nihacked and chipped, slashed and there was damage to the respect abroad nurses’ memorial, a stone mural outside the library.

In an email, Public Works officials  said the decision on what to repair or conserve will be based on the type of material damaged, where it is, and the “significance of the event in relation to our democratic history.”

Public Works Canadians, who ich are is responsible for any structural issues with institutions buildings inside the parliamentary precinct, has already made some repairs  afor safetyn securitdy. Departmental officials Astute observers said some minor fixes were done immediately, such as defeating mayoral candidates aligned with the current Federal regime. securing doors and covering windows with plywood and Plexiglas.

A work plan and cost estimate of repairs and any restoration has yet to be completed.
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Monday, November 3, 2014

Everyone began to call family, letting them know they were okay

It must have been very scary in the Conservative caucus room.  Not the usual "Man oh man, is Harper ever cuckoo" kind of scary.  The "Is the crazy (not a terrorist) guy going to gun me down"  kind.

These poor people were traumitized:
“Some of the MPs are still agitated and excitable when they hear a sharp noise from hydraulics or a loud bang from tables dropping,” offered Mr. Clarke. “Over time, that can be diminished or can be heightened—anything can trigger it. But it’s okay to have those fears.”Initially reluctant to talk about it, he now openly discusses his PTSD.“From a first-responder standpoint, when you experience a traumatic situation you have to go to work the next day, but there’s no harm in telling people you need help in order to get functional. That stigma of shame has to be broken,” Mr. Clarke explained.
There were some definite examples of bravery, specifically by David Wilks:
“I got up and immediately went to the east door, locked it and then myself and a few colleagues put chairs up against it. The reason was not to stop anyone from coming in, because I knew the doors pulled out as opposed to pushed in. But I knew it would buy us 10 or 15 seconds to do what we needed to do,” said Mr. Wilks, who retired from the RCMP in 2000 and arrived in Parliament 11 years later.
“For me, I would have wanted for somebody to open that door and I would have been on him like butter on bread,” he said.
“The way I saw it, until someone tells me differently, there were bad guys on the other side of the door,” said Mr. Wilks.
Very scary stuff indeed.  I wonder if during those 15-20 seconds, there was some second thoughts on their voting to repeal the long gun registry.
Oh wait.  A key requirement of being a Harper-bot is a lack of introspection and ability to think for one's self.  It is very unlikely to have crossed their synapse at all.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Some lever. Some fulcrum

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world. - Archimedes 
The Harper government might think that a deranged gunman has given the lever and fulcrum necessary to change their fortunes and introduce laws that might other wise be unpalatable. However, I'm not the only one to think that the rush to bring in anti-terror legislation as a response to an insane man with a dim knowledge of Islam runs screaming into Parliament with a gun is a bit of an overreaction.  Heck, even Russell Brand has a better read on this than most commentators: 
"The incidents in Ottawa are being used to advance a narrative that will not only entitle them to further wars abroad, but will entitle them to inhibit our freedoms," ...
Harper's repeated emphasis on terrorism and Islam are a subtle way of advancing a Conservative political agenda focused on increased military deployment.
Brand went on to contrast the political reaction to Cpl. Nathan Cirillo's slaying at the National War Memorial with the reaction after Justin Bourque's shooting rampage in Moncton, N.B. earlier this year, in which three RCMP officers were gunned down. 
Brand concluded the Moncton shooting didn't receive the same degree of attention from Harper because it was perpetrated by a disaffected white Canadian rather than someone believed to have ties to a perceived foreign enemy.
 Another bit of over-reaching is the headlines and articles about how bravely the Conservatives were going to defend themselves from the threat.  Why were the Harperistas so quick to breathlessly inform every newshound present of their bravery and composure?  I saw nothing similar from the other parties.  I find it improbable that the Harp-bots are singularly brave under threat.  It all smacks of opportunism.  The most contrived was from Laurie "The Russians are coming" Hawn.  It matters not a whit if that reflects what his intentions were.  What ever happened to quiet composure?

If there is a true threat from ISIS "lapping on our shores", defeat it by all means necessary.  But the last week does not reflect that threat.  It is another case of a suffering soul manifesting his derangement on others.  Add the names of this weeks villains to the list including Marc LePine and so many others.  In this case, they were clad in the cloak of Islam and, thereby, sullying the majority of good people who practice that faith.  Exploiting the recent extremely unfortunate events for their own purposes will only add to the heap of dishonour Harper et al. have already brought themselves.  

If you ask "What other options do we have rather than lashing out?", I suggest that the recent podcast on NPR's On Being program featuring Scott Atran is a good place to start.

As a nation, our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims, as they should.  By all means, use these events as a lever and fulcrum to help society identify and help troubled souls such as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.  Anyone who attempts this as a rationale for curtailing civil liberties or as a platform for re-election should be forever ashamed.Recommend this Post