Monday, October 19, 2015

The Scouring of The Shire

Tolkien protested when it was suggested that The Lord of the Rings was an allegory for the Second World War
I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history – true or feigned– with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse applicability with allegory, but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author.
And while there may not have been an intentional allegorical reference to WWII, in his stories about Hobbits, there may be an unintentional one.  His description of The Shire has a lot of parallels with Canada.  From the Cliff Notes on the Return of the King:
From the novel's outset, the Shire stands as an ideal country, characterized by green hills, sparkling rivers, and pleasant woodlands. The inhabitants of that community are farmers, tradesmen, and country gentry, all of whom indulge in the innocent pleasures of rustic life: good food, strong beer, and idle gossip, all amply represented at Bilbo's birthday party.
The Shire and its inhabitants were generally ignored by their allies to the south in Gondor, although the Hobbits have proved themselves as fierce warriors when then had no other choice.  They are not oftne included in the councils of the "wise" but they are instrumental at the key times.  If that isn't Canada, what is, eh?

And life went on like this for the Hobbits of The Shire.  Until there came a time when the Hobbits let their guard down and individuals driven by greed.
When they return home, however, the Shire hobbits discover their cherished ideal corrupted. A totalitarian state has replaced the carefree rural life, dominated by "the Rules" and suffering from "no beer and very little food." Journeying deeper into the Shire reveals a devastated countryside. Homes have been replaced by ugly row houses and barracks, trees have been wantonly felled, and the old mill has been replaced by "a great brick building straddling the stream, which it fouled with a steaming and stinking outflow.
Is this due to external forces?
At first glance, Frodo and the others blame outside forces for the destruction. Evil men, brigands, and thieves have moved in while the protecting Rangers have gone to war. Sharkey, their leader, has urged them to "hack, burn and ruin" since his arrival. The hobbits soon learn that Sharkey is their old enemy Saruman, who has ravaged the Shire in revenge for his own losses.
(Yes, Harper is not the ultimate evil.  He is the banal equivalent of the lesser evil to Sauron.)

But the Hobbits are inspired to fight back and reclaim the home and native land they knew was still there somewhere.
With determination and cooperation, the hobbits expel the invaders, destroy Saruman and his henchman Wormtongue, and eradicate the last vestige of Sauron's evil in Middle-earth. Then they apply the same energy to the restoration of their beloved homeland. "Now there were thousands of willing hands of all ages, from the small and nimble ones of the hobbit lads and lasses to the well-worn and horny ones of the gaffers and gammers." The result is not just an ideal restored, but surpassed: "a gleam of beauty beyond that of mortal summers that flicker and pass on this Middle-earth." As with the novel as a whole, the ending of evil means little without the assurance of continuation, that the life and land, once saved, will be preserved and remembered.

Not a bad allegory at all in my opinion.  Well done and very prescient Mr. Tolkien.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Encouraging Things About High Turnout

The was a great turnout to the advance polls.  It could be people looking to rebel against robocalls or for other reasons.  It is great to see regardless of the reasons.

But I would like to draw attention to one added reason I like to see high turnouts by highlighting a pot from long ago...The Downside for Harper

 am hoping the turnout is massive.  And let the chips fall where they may.Recommend this Post

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Am I The Only One Who Sees The Karma In This

Cast your mind way back to 2006.  When a leak occurred during the finals days of a closely fought election.  In 2006, it was a leak from the RCMP regarding a case that was eventually found to be bogus.

Now fast forward to 2015, and the RCMP is called in to investigate leaks of Harper Government ineptitude and inhumanity.Recommend this Post

Thursday, October 8, 2015

I Would Like to Think Canada does not have a Racist Prime Minister

Some people have given Harper benefit of the doubt and posited that he isn't a racist but is just an incredibly cynical politician.

Nah.  Anyone who would do this is beyond cynical.
The Prime Minister’s Office directed Canadian immigration officials to stop processing one of the most vulnerable classes of Syrian refugees this spring and declared that all UN-referred refugees would require approval from the Prime Minister, a decision that halted a critical aspect of Canada’s response to a global crisis.
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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Hopeful Message in Which Canada Reclaims its Place of Leadership in the World

I am by nature, an optimist so I expect the Liberals to form the next government and Harper to be cast into the pit of irrelevance except for the numerous times he is called to account for his as of yet uncovered crimes.

And Trudeau's victory will mean more than the first step of Canada returning to her rightful place in the affairs of the world.  It would also mean that the cynical application of racism, suppressed voter turnout and other despicable deeds as tools to win elections were unsuccessful. If the rest of the world sees that Canada found a way to fight back Lynton Crosby and the use of unlimited funds, hatred and the politics of despair for the hope of a better way, Canadians will have, once again, shown the world the possibility of a brighter future.

This is what I hope transpires.  And this is what will happen if we vote.  If we vote in numbers large enough to overwhelm the Conservatives picayune voter suppression tactics and racism.

If we vote.

Get Out The Vote!Recommend this Post

A Leaked Call to the "Barbaric Cultural Practices" Tip Line

I have been a steadfast critic of the Harper Government but, after reading this transcript of  a call to the Barbaric Cultural Practices Tip Line,  I have seen seen the light and switching my vote to the Conservatives.  Here is the call in its entirety:
Snitch-Line Supervisor: Hello.  Barbaric Cultural Practices Tip Line. How may I help you? 
Really Apprehensive Tattletale: I have called to make a report on my neighbours. 
SS: Go on. 
RAT:  They seem determined to not fit in to mainstream Canadian society. 
SS: How so? 
RAT: They have lived here for decades and still speak such heavily accented English that I can barely understand them.  As a matter of fact, they appear to be determined to continue speaking like this. 
SS:  Interesting. 
RAT: And they primarily hang out with others from their homeland.  You should hear it when they get together.  They play the most obnoxious music, if you can call it that.  I tried to drown them out with my Best of Nickelback Collection but it even cut through that. 
SS: Hmmm. 
RAT: I have tried to help them assimilate but they are so stubborn in clinging to the cultural practices they grew up with.  For example, we had them over for a barbeque to introduce them to burgers and O'Keefe Old Stock but when they had us over they served us a meal made up of animal entrails. 
SS: You poor thing.  That sounds horrible. 
RAT: And they kept going on about the proud history of their nation.  But all I could make out going on about through the accents were stories about rebellion and fighting.  When they told me that they were descended from a guerilla leader I would have thrown up if I hadn't hid my dinner in my napkin. 
(Stifled sob) 
SS: Take a minute.  This must have been hard for you. 
RAT: I have been so worried I have barely been able to sleep since I discovered they came from a place with such a violent history.  They keep going on about being unwilling to live under an oppressive ruler. 
SS: Oh my.  We will definitely add them to all of the enemy lists. 
RAT: But the clothing is the final straw.  They even insisted on wearing their traditional clothing to the sacrament of the citizenship ceremony. 
SS: We can't have that. 
RAT: Defintely not.  One insisted on being covered with a scrap of fabric.  And spouted  off about coming to Canada because for freedom and opportunity.  That while they are proud to become Canadian, they want to maintain ties to their past. Why, part of this so-called traditional clothing included a dagger!  They claim it is ceremonial but I have my doubts.
SS:  Don't worry.  Dear Leader will put a stop to that. 
RAT: I knew he would protect me from these ungrateful savages. 
SS:  Do they have any children? 
RAT: Yes.  A boy and a girl.  My kids say they seem normal enough but they have been indoctrinated into the habits of their parents.  Especially after they have been back "home". 
SS:  One last thing for the record.  We need to know where to deport them after we strip these barbarians of their citizenship.  Where are these ingrates from?  The Middle East? 
RAT:  Worse.  Scotland.

I have been living in fear and didn't even know it.  Only a Tested Leader like Stephen Harper can keep us safe from people like these.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Harper will "win" the election

Stories like this and an article on the Calgary Eyeopener this morning about a transgender woman with a confusing voter id card (the link isn't available yet but the card was made out in her previous name and sent to an address that she didn't move to until after her name change) lead me to think that the Harperians have somehow gamed Elections Canada.  The Muslim fracas isn't moving enough bigots to win the election out right.  But if they can work it so that enough non-bigots can't vote, it may just swing them enough seats for a minority.

Expect long lines in swing ridings.  ID problems for probable non-bigots.  A clusterf--k that an Ohio Republican would be proud of.  In 2006, it was in and out.  2008 saw the Dion-Duffy disgrace.  2011 was Robocalls.  We have to be careful not to looking for Robocalls when their gambit might well be something different.

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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Get yer Stephen Harper Wind-up Doll Here!

Even his supporters acknowledge that this fellow is a bit robotic but it is getting painful to watch Harper dependably spout the lines fed to him by the Lizard of Oz:  "Old Stock Canadians" (Still not certain what that means), Niqab!, Dual Citizenship!  It will go on and on for the next 16 days.  But this one has him looking like a parody of HAL 9000.

Harper is supposed to be the apogee of the Canadian Tea Party.  And the best he can do is run around like the Robot from Space Family Robinson spouting "Danger!" about whatever Lynton Crosby tells him to?  I have never had a high opinion of Harper but I am beginning to be a bit embarrassed for him.

The answer is to vote.  Please ensure you vote for ABC.  A high turnout will ensure Harper's defeat.Recommend this Post

This is not a "Seinfeld Election"

Warren Kinsella (the ultimate example of a "pisser inner") called this the Seinfeld Election.  In that it is about nothing.

Wrong.  It has become about the most important of things.  Citizenship, civil and human rights.  Fighting bigotry.

Do not be afraid to speak out!  The more people who here that this tactic by the Conservative Racist Party is un-Canadian, the more we can turn the tise against this abomination.Recommend this Post

Mulclair's Redemption

I would never vote for Thomas Mulclair or any other Laytonesque version of the NDP.  They will never be able to atone for their guilt in enabling Harper to come to power in the first place.  The Sherbrooke Declaration is another inexcusable betrayal of principle in order to pander for votes.

But in the most critical of tests, he has passed with flying colours.  His steadfast refusal to backdown in the niqab issue is to his credit.  So in the net analysis, he has my respect if not my vote.Recommend this Post

Friday, October 2, 2015

I Will Speak Out

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Susan Delacourt lays it out for us:
So all this agitation over the niqab, all the fierce declarations of what the majority in Canada wants at citizenship ceremonies, is about fewer than a handful of people. Except that it isn’t about those two people; it is about tapping into support that any responsible politician shouldn’t want.No political party in the 1980s or 1990s, except the occasional fringe one, was actively whipping up antipathy to the French minority in Canada. You can’t make a country work that way, even if it does yield some crucial votes.And no party in this election, similarly, should be whipping up antipathy to Muslims, or any religion or culture. It’s repulsive if it works and even more repulsive if it was planned to work that way.

Take a stand against intolerance.  Speak out.  Loudly. Obstreperously.  Vehemently.  Proudly.
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Thursday, October 1, 2015

The expediency of wedge issues and the judgement of history tied together by a strip of fabric

The Lizard of Oz has given Harper his wedge issue and it is paying dividends since the Conservatives have started to move up in several polls.  

Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff attributes the latest bump in Tory fortunes to the party scoring points amid the recent flare up in the controversy over the niqab, the face veil some Muslim women wear.
One can only hope this benefit for the Conservative Racist Party is a short term hiccup and that this manufactured issue flares out soon enough for people to recollect the manifold failings of the Harper Government.   We seem to have regrettably been able to forget about a little boy soon enough.

Andrew Coyne summarizes why the niqab is a non-issue and the shame that accompanies a politician willing to utilize this odious tactic:
That so many, especially in Quebec, have somehow been persuaded to believe their lives are materially affected by it — worse, that so many politicians have been willing to pander to this sentiment — is also what makes this ridiculous issue terribly serious. They are marking out a small and easily identified minority, already made to feel vulnerable by the presence of a few violent extremists in its midst, for shame and suspicion. They are trafficking in their humiliation....A liberal society is pluralist, not relativist. It allows each of us to pursue our vision of the good life, to hold and espouse our ideals of what is just, without prejudice to the notion that goodness and justice exist: indeed, precisely so that we may more nearly approach them as a society. Neither is a liberal society incompatible with the idea of cultural norms: beliefs that are commonly shared, practices that are commonly observed. It draws the line only at enforcing these norms upon the unwilling.
And the inevitable fallout from the utilization of hate tactics has begun:
On Tuesday, Le Journal de Montréal reported that Oumessad Khoufache, 31, was walking to pick up her child at school when two boys on bicycles approached her, grabbed her hijab and knocked her to the ground. She’s four months pregnant.
What brave boys. Knocking down a pregnant woman picking up her child from school.  (I wonder if they had swastika streamers on their handlebars)  But they are just taking their lead from the Harper and his ilk.

Harper won't be Prime Minister forever and historians will not be kind to him.  (There is a better than even chance that he will be gone after October 19 as some have suggested).  Regardless, Harper will eventually be called to task and compared to the legacies of other Prime Ministers.  His risible results in the field of economics and finance, the pervasive corruption of his PMO, the disdain for responsible government have pretty much reserved a unique space for Harper as the worst Prime Minister ever.  When his legacy is compared to the Nobel Peace Prize of Pearson, the efforts on behalf of Nelson Mandela of Mulroney and others before him, Harper is guaranteed to be alone as the worst person to ever hold the office.Recommend this Post