Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Coming soon to your local Canadian Walmart ...

Scottsdale Gun Club members posing with Santa Claus and several guns

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Recent exchanges on Twitter with a number of gun nuts who support Bill C-19, which will abolish the gun registry and all the accumulated data - has been quite informative, and alarming.

Logical arguments and facts do not work with these folks.

Hence the prediction. The Guardian story that accompanies the photo above, here.

Holiday Gifting for Geeky Girls

I admit upfront, I'm the relative most likely to be groaned at over the solstice holidays, as I default to practical rather than fashionable gifts. Try as I might, when out shopping, I drift past the trendy stuff right into the 'ooh look, a car safety kit!' every time. And then I wrap them in re-usable shopping bags and/or trash bags (my family thought this was deplorable until they acknowledged the trash bags could be used to clean up all the festive wrapping debris as we went. Hence I am SMRT. Boring but SMRT).

That bias and the idea that geeky is 'a feature not a bug' leads me to suggesting a couple of gifting ideas that might interest girls of today and help them build 'community' that was lacking in my (pre-cable tv, let alone before the internets aka the PaleoRollingStones Age) day.

First, CAGIS. Started by an adolescent girl, the "Canadian Association of Girls In Science" is growing across the country and has a definite online community for those in more rural areas.

Second, (and what would geeks be without enough books to add several R-factors of insulation to a residence) "Math Doesn't Suck" by Danica McKellar.

Yeah, I know, a *math* book. What sort of grinch am I? All I can say is math underpins all the other sciences, especially when you start into formulas. It's the intellectual fulcrum upon which you can lever the world (and cosmos) - and we're still being told that women can't do it because they're women (except of course when we're being told that girls are 'outdoing' boys in school because boys are being tortured by having to 'submisively' pay attention to instructors - never mind that when it was boys only in historical schools, they had to 'submissively' pay attention to the 10th factor /rant)

Now, I'm biased again because I would have killed for better math instruction in high school. I know my math skills fell off once we hit formulas and the available teachers were...not helpful. Head pats do not an intellect make.

For bonus feminazi points, this is not only a 'how-to' book but the offer of a kewl role model to girls at the vulnerable phase of adolescence where the social bombardment to defer to boys is amped to 11. The math tutoring in the book certainly can help boys as well, so long as they're not dissuaded from accepting a woman's story and authority on the subject.

So, anyway, a couple of (I hope you will thank me later) grrl power gifts available out there. Any other suggestions from the DJ! crew?

(edited for archimedean references. math might be the fulcrum upon which you use the lever of science to move the world.)

A Convenient Anti-Semitism.

How might one describe a political campaign run by 'people of pallour' intent upon creating division within a historically cohesive community of 'people of colour' - all in a day's work of carefully calculated strategy?

Racist. Yes. Consider the following analogy.

White *war-room* tacticians calibrate the degree of harassment required to get a current Black MP - who has efficiently and compassionately represented the electorate for 12 years - to resign, mid-office. During the last election campaign, the tacticians selected a Black candidate to run against him. They used campaign literature that suggested the incumbent was dishonourable and lying to his constituents, and that he'd become a complacent *Uncle Tom* who advanced his own interests rather than those of his community.

Undaunted by their candidate's defeat, they arranged for his employment in the riding as a "regional aide" for a Cabinet Minister, which provided him with a taxpayer-funded position from which he would continue campaigning for the party.

This is exactly what the Con Party is doing to undermine the honourable Irwin Cotler. Ex-reformaTory insider, current #StunTV infotainer and *ethically oily* Ezra Levant has called him a "porch Jew". The Cons have given a patronage job to their candidate, a religious fundamentalist. And they have punished the riding by rejecting most of the applications from shuls for federal security funding to the Communities at Risk Infrastructure Pilot Fund.

A Conservative official confirmed to The Globe and Mail that the party is trying to identify the vote in Mr. Cotler’s riding, which it does on a continuing basis across the country. In this case, a company called Campaign Research that has been linked to Ontario and federal Conservatives is behind the calls. [...]

He said the “script” does not mention a by-election. However, if people ask why the party is phoning, callers say “there are rumours that Irwin Cotler may resign causing a by-election,” the Conservative official said.

“It’s an honest answer to the question. There have been rumours for a long time that Cotler is going to step down,” he said.
It's no surprise to observe the flames of such rumours are persistently fanned by the Cons.

Cotler's response: “I am alive, well and working.”

The Con "script" is of course the elimination of all real or perceived *Liberal strongholds*. It makes no difference if the tactics deployed create strife in the Jewish community. Ultimately, since all Con caucus member accept the goals of the reformaTory party - which may or not be dominionist and consequently deeply anti-semitic - the actual damage such political game-playing may wreak is moot; it's ^NOT personal, merely political.


Lunatic fringe? Just watch him.

UPDATES:

Even NatPo confirms the facts about Cotler's riding.

Susan Delacourt pulls the big scary picture together, here and here.

And Alison at Creekside gives credit to other bloggers keeping track of the Harper Government™©.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Stop the CBC smackdown.

Finally.

People who are also *friends of public broadcasting* have decided to forsake the genteel approach of that venerable institution in favour of a campaign that challenges the rough bully tactics used by its attackers.

Here it is, replete with robust wit and admirable aplomb. And two testerically funny videos featuring the new private owner of the CBC, Lance Fury. Click!

Bravo.

By the way, compare and contrast the above website with this charming StunTV home page.

I listen to Radio-Canada while I work. During the 2008 federal election campaign, friends and supporters produced this delicious little spoof that perfectly captured the *cul serré* (clenched butt) style of the Cons.




The above has subtitles. Click on the cc button. The one below is the full version, en français.

Contempt AND Control: two Cons for the price of one

The transformation of Canada into a banana republic continues apace. The Canadian Wheat Board? Gone.

John Doyle on reformaTory MPty suits attacking the CBC:
In 2008, both the minority Conservative government and the Conservative Party itself were hell-bent on introducing what was essentially a morals clause to the regulations for funding Canadian film and television. A portion of an omnibus bill amending the Income Tax Act sought to allow the Heritage Minister to withdraw tax credits from productions determined to be “contrary to public policy.” The clause was so broad it meant TV and film productions deemed morally offensive by a government ministry could have their tax credits reversed. [...]

This government’s focus of attack on the CBC is bizarre enough as it is. For a start, it follows the corporate agenda of Quebecor, a competitor to the CBC. It’s also a witch hunt that in the case of Brent Rathgeber and Sun News Network is priggishly focused on what CBC personalities earn and what CBC spends on cars, hotels and liquor. It seems as plain as a poke in your eye that the CBC is being bludgeoned because the Conservative Party finds its reporting suspect, but the angle of attack is a ugly prurience about salaries and perks.

The justification for the attacks and the demand for information is that CBC is taxpayer-funded. However, the real reason seems to be that CBC is perceived as not reflecting small “c” conservative values. A lot of what emanates from the arts in Canada does not reflect those values, and those artists and institutions receive taxpayer money. Remember that. Think about who’s next on the attack list. That morals clause in the 2008 bill may have died, but it’s a fair bet the urge to assert such control over government-funded arts has not.
The Con bullies claim they're representing the dozens of people who have signed their petition - which has a scant 4000 signatures - yet disparaged the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who expressed their opposition to Stevie Spiteful's continued prorogation of Parliament.

Lawrence Martin deconstructs his Politburo tactics.
The blending of sport and the military, with the government as the marching band, is part of the new nationalism the Conservatives are trying to instill. It is another example of how the state, under Stephen Harper’s governance, is becoming all-intrusive.

Conservatism, as defined by Ronald Reagan, was about getting government off the backs of the people. Conservatism, as practised by team Harper, is more akin to an Orwellian opposite. State controls are now at a highpoint in our modern history. There is every indication they will extend further.

The propaganda machine has become mammoth and unrelenting. The parliamentary newspaper The Hill Times recently found there are now no fewer than 1,500 communications staffers on the governing payroll. In the days of the King and St. Laurent governments, there were hardly any. In recent decades, the numbers shot up, but Mr. Harper is outdoing all others, a primary example being his institution and maintenance of a master control system wherein virtually every government communication is filtered through central command.

In his minority governments, the rationale was that tight controls were necessary for survival. With a majority, it was thought that the controls that brought on parliamentary shutdowns and contempt of Parliament rulings would ease up. Those who thought that way didn’t know Stephen Harper.

In recent weeks, the government has invoked closure or time limits on debate at a record-breaking clip. [...]

On the propaganda ledger, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney put on a show in committee last week. In what may have been a first, his spinners set up a billboard behind him replete with bright Conservative blue colours and flags. Everything except a marching band.

In the message-massaging department, news has arrived that the government is imposing new communications controls on the RCMP. The same is being done with the Defence Department. Secrecy surrounds the government’s plans to spend a whopping $477-million on a U.S. military satellite.

State surveillance, the rationale being security, is being taken to new levels. The Conservatives are bringing in legislation that will compel Internet service-providers to disclose customer information. A Canada-U.S. agreement is on the way that will contain an entry-exit system that will track everyone.

In Parliament, more and more ministers are showing up for Question Period with prewritten answers. If the scripted stuff is far afield of the questions posed, it doesn’t matter. In our shining democracy, they use it anyway.

Research that contradicts the government line is discarded. Civil liberties fade, new jails proliferate. Those who speak out better watch out. When the NDP’s Megan Leslie stated an opposing view on the Keystone XL Pipeline, she was accused by the government of treachery.

The Rovian tactics are deliberate and classic; they've been used successfully by centuries of tyrants who foster a climate of division: those who get the boot in the face and those who cheer it on. Guess where Stevie's acolytes and sycophants are found.
Dan Gardner nails it.
[...]why do the Conservatives continue to act like the elbows-up, stick-swinging, trash-talking goons who bullied their way through five years of minority government?

Public safety minister Vic Toews has repeatedly accused those who oppose the government's omnibus crime bill of being "pro-crime." Environment minister Peter Kent said NDP MPs who went to the United States to voice opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline had behaved "treacherously." Dean Del Mastro, parliamentary secretary to the minister of heritage, publicly suggested Liberal MP Justin Trudeau isn't a good Catholic and shouldn't be invited to speak at Catholic schools.[...]

Harper is more than a political obsessive. He's a passionate obsessive. Almost frighteningly so.

As Conservative strategist Rod Love told author Lawrence Martin, Harper and other Reformers seethed - and rightly so - at the way the Chrétien-era Liberals framed them as the lunatic fringe. "Others got over it," Love observes in Martin's book Harperland.

"Harper? It was just burned in his psyche. So when he came to power it was payback time. This wasn't just about going after someone in the Commons in the day, then going out for a beer at night. This was about destruction."

The same description surfaces over and over. Stephen Harper doesn't want to beat the other side; he wants to destroy them. They're not opponents; they're the enemy. As for the depth of his ideological feelings, the prime minister's colleagues use the word "hatred" to describe his antipathy to liberalism.

When politics is everything, when opponents are enemies, when there's hatred in your belly, certain things follow. Ruthlessness, for one. Personal attacks. A refusal to accept the legitimacy of different views and to work with those who hold them.

Stephen Harper is only one man, of course, but unlike every Liberal prime minister his dominance of his party is total. He effectively built it from the ground up. It is his party. And its personality mirrors that of its creator and master.

The Conservatives did not behave the way they did in the past because they had a minority of the seats in the House of Commons. They behaved that way because they are the party of Stephen Harper. They still are. And so they still behave that way.
David Frum wrote about the organisational psychosis that has collectively seized Republicans in the US. Read it and reflect upon the eerie ressemblance with the lock-step mind-set talking points that supporters of Stevie's Contempt Party use to defend their tenuous grasp on reality.

A Plea from Your Offensive Lineman



I'm going to out myself. I am an offensive line(wo)man.
Indexers are the offensive linemen of book publishing. No one notices their work until they screw up.

This is true. In the decade+ I've been specializing in book indexing, authors or editors have mentioned my work only three times. All in praise, mind you, but one was pretty grudging after the turd finally realized that I did know what the fuck I was doing with her preciousss.

This is not a job for prima donnas.

Recently, while googling around for something or other, I came across the shocking fact that ebooks don't have indexes. There are technical and ebook-reader compatibility reasons, but for me, professionally, if ebooks take over, I'm fucked.

Back to the link (interesting blog called 'A New Kind of Book', BTW):
The index has been on my mind lately, and not just because I cursed a (print) book for omitting a key word in its lookup list. (Tip: use Amazon’s Search Inside tool as a makeshift index.) I’ve also been having some enormously instructive exchanges with folks who do serious, in-the-trenches indexing work—special shout out to Jan Wright, Joshua Tallent, and Nancy Humphreys —and who grapple with today’s question: why has the ebook index gone AWOL?

I’ll get to some reasons in a moment, but first let’s consider why it is that people use indexes. Looking up a specific term, of course, is the biggie. You’re reading a book on illuminated manuscripts, say, and forget what the term “gloss” means. So you pop open the back pages to track it down. Or that zucchini that just rolled to the front of the fridge looks like it’s got one more day in it and you need a simple recipe, stat. The index in your favorite cookbook is your best bet. But beyond these simple retrieval tasks—which, after all, a good search tool is adequate for—don’t forget all those other reader services an index provides. It:
* Includes concepts rather than just words. In Henry Aaron: The Last Hero you can, for example, find sub-entries under the Media listing on “racially biased coverage and stereotypes perpetuated in” (try searching for that!). For students, essay writers, and other serious readers, the ability to undertake thematic and concept-specific explorations of a book is hugely valuable.
* Provides guided discovery. Consider the zucchini scenario I just mentioned. A well done print index is a perfect place to explore a cluster of related topics. By organizing zucchini recipes into different kinds (fried, broiled, steamed, etc.) a cookbook’s index helps recipe searchers make some high level decisions (fun or healthy?) before following the choices that await. The see also pointers provide similar help.
* Helps when you know what you want, but aren’t sure how to describe it. For example, say you want to create multi-level bullet lists in Word. By heading to the entries on, say, outlines and lists readers can usually home in on the answer.
* Signals depth of coverage. For example, readers know that the first entry in this listing—St. Cloud, 84-92, 172—contains more info than the second entry.
* Provides a handy one-stop tally of coverage points throughout a book. Again, for students and scholars looking to review all mentions of a particular item, this can be a big help.
* Gives tire-kickers a sense of the book’s coverage. Sure, the table of contents—not to mention plain page flipping—helps prospective buyers evaluate a book, but serious readers will sniff through an index to get a sense of what awaits.

In sum, an index is a kind of a collection of pre-made searches: rather than diving headlong and unawares into a search oval’s do-it-yourself void, an index presents would-be searchers with an already assembled, alphabetized list of the 500 or so most common query items.

So, essentially, you have to do your own search if you want to find something in an ebook. But how the hell do you know it's there to look for, let alone what terms have been used?

Mostly, I index textbooks in the apparently serious category of 'higher ed'. (That textbook publishing is a racket, I well know. A subject for another time, perhaps.)

I figure I'm writing for two audiences: one who knows (or is pretty sure) that something is in there, the other who wants to know what's in there. Specifically, students and potential 'adopters' (that's what instructors do to textbooks, BTW). I also harbour the quaint notion that maybe some students will keep the book and refer to it in their further education or career.

Indexers can get quite defensive over their unnoticed work. The Goddess knows publishers would like to eliminate us with fancy-schmancy computer software.
Indexing ultimately organizes "aboutness" for quick recall. The computer and its software assist, but the human mind alone can speak to the concept of "aboutness". If a term or concept is not specifically articulated on a page, a computer cannot choose it for the index, nor can a search engine find references to it. Neither can the computer reword the entry in a form that aids readers who are unfamiliar with the author's thrust. A paragraph or discussion can be "about" a topic without specifically using those words.

There have been attempts at computer indexing programs that are laughably pathetic.

Yet, assigners of indexing gigs -- if they are not editors, and saints preserve us, one lot of my clients is NOT editorial -- think of indexes as simple and quick. 'Just do a quick proper name index', I'll be told. Yeah, but I still have to read the fucking book, doughhead.

Indexes are also the last editorial task. Often -- very often -- indexers are asked to take up the inevitable schedule creep that has occurred over several months of production.

'What do you mean, you can't produce an index for a 550-page book over the weekend?'

And the fees are not princely, to say the least.

Still, I like it. It suits me. I can do it in my jammies, whenever I want. I don't have to deal with (many) authors. Mostly, I'm left alone to get on with it.

And I'd like to keep doing it.

I don't buy ebooks, obviously. I have no clue why anyone would. But if you're a reader, consider the poor indexer. Buy the print version and/or complain to publishers about the lack of index in the electronic version.

Now, back to the 550-page book.

Image source.

Monday, 28 November 2011

The *Lens of accountability* is 3 million $$$ worth of clusterf**k by Cons

The MASSIVE fun just never stops, does it? Go read Alison at Creekside: Everybody loves a SIRCus.

Beyond the usual, expected reformaTory Contempt for Canadian taxpayers.

"General Mishmash" sez Ezrant - oh noes!

There you go, Canadian journalists.

Consider yourselves MASSIVELY rebuked and chastized by none other than StunTV's Ezra Levant (aka Dame Ezra for his cross-dressing proclivities).

Ezrant seems to believe his own shrieeeking performances and divertissements for Quebecor's Sun media RWNJ are above reproach - though it would seem that it's a matter of public record that most of his claims and statements do not meet the veracity standards of rigorous journalism nor, interestingly enough since he appears to sport some law degree of sorts, those of the court.

But they are exemplary of the manner in which RWNJs present truthiness.

Responses to Ezrant's fictional orientation and diversions can be found here and here.

Update: Susan Delacourt's account of the panel attended by Levant. Kady O'Malley's.

Canadian Cynic observes.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The *Ethical* tarsands performance piece.

New *ethical* tarsands spokesthingy Kathryn Marshall is a woman with astonishing artistic aspirations.

Last week she staged a performance piece in the vicinity of the US embassy in Ottawa.

Sun Media was there to interview her.

I was surprised how gentle the reporter was - when his Sun Infotainment colleague Krista Erikson spoke to Margie Gillies, she savaged the award-winning performer.

Wait. I'm confused. The reporter seemed to believe this was a demonstration .... where were the protesters?

There was a paid mouth and 3 actors paid to dress up in niqabs. That's an engineered publicity stunt, right? It's a marketing technique that decades of advertising companies have set up to promote their product.

So Kathryn Marshall is Mr Peanut, essentially.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Attawapiskat: National Shame



The Red Cross is a great organization. Wherever disaster hits -- whether natural or government man-made -- it's on the case.

Oh. Look where it's going now. Attawapiskat, Ontario.
The Canadian Red Cross is mobilizing to help meet immediate needs in the community of Attawapiskat. The Red Cross continues to work closely with public authorities and the community to identify and address urgent, short-term needs. At the request of the community the Red Cross will also take on a donation management role to support these needs as identified.

"We have been working closely with public officials and Chief Theresa Spence to assess needs, determine the best course of action and how the Red Cross may be able to provide support," says John Saunders, provincial director of disaster management for the Canadian Red Cross in Ontario.

According to Saunders, some of the needs currently identified include generators, heaters, insulated sleeping mats, blankets and winter clothing.

"Chief Spence has asked that the Red Cross provide support with donation management as the community has been inundated with offers of assistance," says Saunders. "We are continuing to work closely with Chief Spence to identify what is needed immediately and make arrangements to get supplies into the community as soon as possible."

Financial donations may be made online at www.redcross.ca, by calling 1-800-418-1111 or through your local Canadian Red Cross office. Cheques should be made payable to the Canadian Red Cross, earmarked "Attawapiskat" and can also be mailed to the Canadian Red Cross, Ontario Zone, 5700 Cancross Court, Mississauga, ON, L5R 3E9.

So what is the Contempt Party of Canada–led government doing? Studyin' on it for a while yet.

Gee, wouldn't it be great if there were funds sloshing around to at least help with the dire sanitation problem? Like some money for toilets?
A January draft report says some of the G8 infrastructure projects included $274,000 on public toilets and $100,000 on a gazebo.

My humble suggestion to the people of Attawapiskat: Invite the Muskoka mayors to visit and advise them on how they got such nice shitters on the public dime. Er, 2.74 million dimes.

And I have a humble question: if Canadians personally donate to the Red Cross fund for Attawapiskat, will the Contempt Party government match our generosity, as it did for Haiti and other humanitarian catastrophes?

Image source, from 2008!

Another one bites the dust.

My co-blogger fern hill apologises in advance to Manitoba. So do I, in agreement with her urging Fetus lobbyist and Con Job MP Rod Bruinooge to run for the leadership of that province's reformaTory party.

We need to have 13 Contempt Party MPs vacate their seats so that by-elections can be held. Harper's government must go down to defeat in the House of Commons and we can do it, one riding at a time.

Remember, little more than 6,000 votes in 13 ridings allowed the Cons to secure the regime Stevie demanded.

And, the total number of votes received by the reformaTories was 38% of those cast by 61% of the electorate.



Yeah, Freddie. You may have died 20 years ago, but you keep inspiring us.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Contempt Party attacks against CBC have a purpose.

Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau announces the Sun News Network at a press conference on June 15, 2010.

It should come as no surprise that ConJob MPty suits are biddable lackeys for Quebecor.

Pierre-Karl Péladeau is following the corporate model Rupert Murdoch so ruthlessly and successfully exploited in the UK: make sure that rightwing politicians silence your competition, or at the very least, any criticism of the way you run your business.
Conservative MPs are expressing concern about the CBC and its reluctance to release its corporate secrets under access-to-information laws – but the government itself has something to answer for on this issue, a leading democracy advocate says.

Duff Conacher, the co-ordinator of Democracy Watch, points out that the Conservatives have failed to keep their campaign promise of 2006 to strengthen the Access to Information Act. [...]

Meanwhile, reporters and others with an interest in obtaining information about government initiatives continue to be stymied by long delays, high search fees, blacked-out documents and outright refusals – including, apparently, Quebecor in its quest for information about the CBC.
Interestingly enough, Radio-Canada has been able to successfully expose Quebecor machinations. Journalists who have been told to change the content of their factual reporting to suit Péladeau's editorial whims and ideological bent have spoken publicly about these practices.


How can the public find out what financial considerations and rewards ConJob party members are receiving in their war against the CBC? And ... from whom?

More from Chantal Hébert though she overlooks fact that Cons are supporting concerted attack against CBC.

It's time - marriage equality in Australia




Found this on Twitter. Sweet.

Added by fern hill: I'll see your ad with one from Ireland. I was sure I posted this before. It's from 2009.

Con victims are *real* victims; others - not so much.


There's the Contempt Party Hard-On Crime Omnibus Bill. Then there's the destruction of the federal gun registry, including all its data.

Self-appointed advocate for victims' rights and Stevie-appointed reformaTory shill Pierre-Hughes Boisvenu, ersatz lobbyist for Bill C-10 - and against the gun registry claims the JUSTICE SYSTEM killed his daughter.

Then there's Nathalie Provost who survived the 1989 carnage at the Polytechnique, one of many women and men whose account of the massacre inspired the film. Shrieeeking Con Jobs have tried their best to discredit her, labelling her a " manipulative professional victim." Ironic, no?

It isn't happenstance that Boisvenu was sent out by PMSHithead's Politburo with talking points to defend Bill C-10.

With malice aforethought and willful malevolence, the Con's propaganda machine will destroy anything and anyone who challenges the substance of their claims and objects to their objectives.

A respected local expert on strategic communications was taken aback recently:
"The theme of my presentation was that as communicators we are being asked to do more with less and that there has never been a more compelling time to be strategic, contribute and measure value. And the place to start – and end – is a solid, sophisticated strategic plan.

A gutsy participant raised his hand in front of hundreds of peers and superiors to ask a question that had me gob smacked. “I hear what you’re saying that communications strategies are important and that we should be clear on the results we’re targeting, rather than just pumping out tactics.” He went on “What do you suggest I do when our political masters have categorically told us they do not want to see any communications strategies – all they want are the tactics?”

KAPOW. In ten years of running a consultancy specializing in strategic communications planning, this was a new one for me."
From
here.

I'll bet that "gutsy participant" had his contract permanently terminated by his political masters, pronto-monto.

Also, a reminder that the Contempt Party doesn't believe the Criminal Code should be applied to their actions, nor enforced - via canadian cynic.

Very helpful advice

Via a comment at (again) Crooked Timber, a great European academic has some advice as to how we should all look at the Eurocrisis:
Its immemorial and its memory. All that makes up its bases and its origins. Its heart, that beats more and more faintly. Its soul. Its common and hidden grammar. The distinction, that it invented, between law and right. Or between man and citizen. The articulation, that is its own, of multiple forms of the Multiple and of the unique name of the One.

...

Europe was established, a first time, by substituting the word of the citizen-magistrate for the sayings of the oracles and auspices. It reconstructed itself a second time by favoring reason over anathema, preferring that a consciousness become transnationally national to the schism of faith and corps. Well, here, in the same way, we must confront these new soothsayers (the agitators of the financial markets), and the new grand excommunicators (agents of the triple A ratings), with a word, a wisdom, a manner of speaking and listening of the archons and the polemarches, faithful to the best of European heritage.

That's it then. We have our answer. Subsitute the word of the citizen-magistrate with a manner of speaking and listening to archons so that the multiple forms of the Multiple and the unique name of the One can be confronted by the oracles and auspices of the common and hidden grammar.

It's so very simple.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

The Ugly Face of Contempt

Dean Del Mastro, the parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, is a driving force behind the ethics committee's hearings on the CBC's access-to-information dispute. - Dean Del Mastro, the parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, is a driving force behind the ethics committee's hearings on the CBC's access-to-information dispute. | Dave Chan for The Globe and Mail

Yup, ConJob MP Dean Del Mastro. Gleefully gloating about his plan to destroy the CBC - so that any serious journalistic broadcasting is eliminated in favour of infotainment as shown on Quebecor's StunTV - is unfolding as it should.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Upgrading 'Baby Killers'

While #FetusLobby foot-soldiers regularly SHRIIIEEEEK lovely epithets like 'baby killer' at women entering clinics and some go even further, rasping out death threats at pro-choice pregnant women, the honchos of the obsession movement prefer to pretend they are all about the poor deluded, coerced, mentally unfit, misinformed women.

Frank Pavone, the ethically challenged Catlick priest, continues the charade in his latest hand-wringer.
Question: “When abortion becomes illegal again, are we going to start throwing all the women who have abortions into jail?”

Answer: No. The people who should go to jail in that case are the abortionists.

Butbutbut, isn't that giving the sluts and skanks a free pass?

No. The sluts and skanks are needed to testify against the abortionists.
Moreover, the woman who gets an illegal abortion is the best source of information and evidence needed to convict the abortionist. If she feared prosecution, she would never admit to the abortion, which would make it harder to find the abortionist.

Butbutbut, what about the sluts and skanks themselves?

Ah, the true misogynist colours come peeping out.
This doesn’t excuse the woman’s wrongdoing; rather, it is the same principle by which the state grants immunity to a small-time drug user in exchange for information leading to a big-time drug dealer.

There you have it. Women who have abortions are murderers, unless they turn their doctors in, then they're upgraded to mere 'small-time drug users'.

But fear not, #FetusLobby. Those sluts and skanks won't get away with it in HarperLand at least.

More about RCMP spying

Go read Alison at

Creekside: G20 investigation: RCMP spies vs conspiracy group

If the RCMP had actually wanted to catch Robert Pickton instead of staffing the Task Force with pricks wagging their dicks at their female colleagues, they would have used their resources accordingly.

But as Alison's post demonstrates, stopping male predators who violate and murder women is not their priority.

A Few Good Women ...

When my daughter was 8 years old, she expressed a desire to work for the RCMP. Back then - and it wasn't that long ago, folks - some Canadians still took pride in our national police force. It was a collective romantic delusion.

Had she persevered in this interest, I would have supported my daughter's choice but I would have feared for her psychological and physical well-being. Even then, I knew that sexism was rampant in the RCMP, a systemic disease.

Flash forward a decade or two. Early this month, RCMP Corporal Catherine Galliford went public with her experience of the sexual harassment unofficially tolerated and sanctioned within the organization.
She has accused a supervisor of exposing himself to her, and says she suffered other unwanted sexual advances.

"I went to every boss I had at the time and I kept on saying, ‘Please don't make me work with these people.' And they didn't do anything," Galliford told CTV News.

She claims that several senior officers were responsible for the harassment.

On one occasion during the Pickton investigation, she says that a supervisor told her: "I have a fantasy about Willy Pickton escaping from jail and tracking you down and ripping your clothes off and stringing you from a meat hook and gutting you like a pig.'"

"My supervisors were laughing," she said.

The Mounties released a statement Tuesday saying that it could not comment on Galliford's allegations but that harassment "is not tolerated." [...]

According to police psychologist Mike Webster, however, complaints like Galliford's aren't that uncommon in the world of policing.
"This remains a man's world. It's very difficult for females to get by in that man's world," he said.

Galliford is scheduled to testify at the official inquiry into the Pickton investigation.

Galliford, 44, is slated to testify at the inquiry in January, but says she won’t be testifying for the RCMP, but rather on behalf of the victims.

In an interview, and in a 115-page statement given to the RCMP, Galliford said top Mounties had “enough evidence for a search warrant” of serial killer Robert Pickton’s farm in 1999. From 1999 to 2002 14 women were brutally murdered by Pickton, a fact that haunts Galliford.

She says she will testify that both RCMP and VPD officers, even after the Missing Women Task Force was formed in 2001, engaged in sexual liaisons and harassment, watched porn and left work early “to go drinking and partying.”
This is the work environment my daughter would have had to endure, had she signed up to become a RCMP officer.



Grand merci to Antonia Z.

Contempt of Parliament by the Cons

Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the National Victims of Crime Awareness Week symposium in Ottawa on April 19, 2010.


Dan Gardner is a respected journalist. He takes great care to remain scrupulously objective, at times maddeningly so.

Thus his article about the Harper government is a powerful deconstruction of the neo-Conservative modus operandi.
Parliament has been a particularly nasty place for years but that was a consequence of minority government, many pundits said. The government was always in danger and so the Conservatives behaved as if they were in a non-stop election campaign. A majority would change that, the pundits said after the election. The Conservatives will calm down, drop the nastiness, and deliver a more statesmanlike government.

But that hasn’t happened. [...]

They are the party of Stephen Harper.

Tom Flanagan recently described the prime minister’s personal interests. “He doesn’t really care much about money,” Flanagan told the Hill Times. “He likes to watch hockey and so on, but he doesn’t have a lot of active interests that he wants to pursue. He doesn’t play golf. He doesn’t play tennis. He doesn’t care much for travel. He doesn’t paint. He doesn’t fish. You know, he loves politics.”

Indeed. Stephen Harper has been obsessing about political power his whole life. It’s what he does. It’s all he does.

The same is true of many of the top people around him. John Baird, Jason Kenney, Tony Clement, Peter Van Loan. They’ve spent their entire lives in politics. It’s all they know.

But Harper is more than a political obsessive. He’s a passionate obsessive. Almost frighteningly so.

As Conservative strategist Rod Love told author Lawrence Martin, Harper and other Reformers seethed — and rightly so — at the way the Chrétien-era Liberals framed them as the lunatic fringe. “Others got over it,” Love observes in Martin’s book Harperland. “Harper? It was just burned in his psyche. So when he came to power it was payback time. This wasn’t just about going after someone in the Commons in the day, then going out for a beer at night. This was about destruction.”

The same description surfaces over and over. Stephen Harper doesn’t want to beat the other side; he wants to destroy them. They’re not opponents; they’re the enemy. As for the depth of his ideological feelings, the prime minister’s colleagues use the word “hatred” to describe his antipathy to liberalism.

When politics is everything, when opponents are enemies, when there’s hatred in your belly, certain things follow. Ruthlessness, for one. Personal attacks. A refusal to accept the legitimacy of different views and to work with those who hold them.

Stephen Harper is only one man, of course, but unlike every Liberal prime minister his dominance of his party is total. He effectively built it from the ground up. It is his party. And its personality mirrors that of its creator and master.

The Conservatives did not behave the way they did in the past because they had a minority of the seats in the House of Commons. They behaved that way because they are the party of Stephen Harper. They still are. And so they still behave that way.
In their lavish and deliberate use of Rovian tactics, Stalinist control and Goebbelsian communication strategies the former Reformatories, as directed by Harper have rebranded themselves by securing the name of a once honourable political party, but they are fundamentally still the cabal of greedy, ideologically-bound carpet-baggers that Preston Manning gathered and released - like a herd of rapacious hyenas.

The robo-calling they deployed during this year's election campaign may be surfacing again, this time to unseat Montreal MP Irving Cotler. It would seem Con insiders expect the Liberal veteran will shuffle off into the sunset and that his riding will be the next battlefield for a quick and dirty by-election campaign.

The practice of *strategic incapacitation* the Cons apply in Parliament is ^NOT inadvertent. It is all-encompassing and it is indeed ruthless.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

More Contempt of Parliament from Con Jobs



Gosh Rob, sorry that your tax-payer funded sinecure is keeping you from your afternoon nap. Oh wait. It's ^NOT.

Here's another look at Anders, when he's accessorized with Attack Parrot©™ speaking points and goosed into action. Note the high school drama production quality to the Con response to Anders' planted question. The Contempt party apparently uses the same stage manager as SunTv does.

Originally posted at Buckdog and of course, at Gritchik.

"Participation in the political process that exceeds the bounds of logic"

I can't take my eyes off Greece, because it continues to be Ground Zero for the next phase of the economic Great Game we're all forced to play. I was originally going to call this post, "Long Live Death"---this is a title that Dr. Dawg likes to use when referring to fascist-exterminationist tendencies---but then I read this deliciously horrifying Crooked Timber post on security changes at Greek universities.

To put a long story short, as I understand it, after Greece's dictatorship years, police were banned from university campuses for obvious reasons. Greece recently abolished university asylum after the recommendations from a recent report on campus security which ends, after translation, like this:
The politicizing of universities – and in particular, of students – represents participation in the political process that exceeds the bounds of logic.

Now for the horrifying but satisfyingly predictable punchline: one of the coauthors of this report is *drumroll* UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi (who is of Greek origin and Was There during the overthrow of the dictatorship). Y'all have probably already heard of her role in the Kampus Kaptain Kapsicum outrage at UC Davis.

Um. But the quote from the report is delicious indeed. I would like to give it an "amen".

Now the original point I was going to write about is on a very related note, Greece again. This is the "Long Live Death" bit. Mark Ames at Naked Capitalism informs us of just who is participating in the austerity satrapy in Greece. Take a look at this:
HAMMER! HAMMERMAN!
That is Greece's new Minister of Industry, as a law student in the 80s, carrying a club intended, presumably, to brain leftist students. Think this was a youthful indiscretion? Sadly, no. He is a member of the neo-fascist LAOS party. Which is, in fact, also an old-fashioned anti-Semitic party: as in, real anti-Semitism, not mere human sympathy for the Palestinians. But real, right-wing anti-Semitism is not really an factor in consideration, when it comes to the empire of austerity so desired by the 1%.

Monday, 21 November 2011

So you think you can ozone?



Canadian Cynic observes: Holy fuck ... Canada's Minister of Environment Peter Kent is either retarded or drunk again.

Our response: I'll take *Substance Abuse By Contempt Party Ministers* for $200, Alex.

Here's the news story that precipitated the Question Period classic obfuscation by the Harper Con jobs.

Aaaaand once more, this brilliant spoof of e-Harmony, produced by Greenpeace.

Enjoy.



More DJ! posts about Kent.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Kill the Wegistry!



This Montreal Gazette political cartoon is the perfect counterpart to the tortuous train of thought that left the cavernous terminus of MPty-suit Contempt Party flunky Maxime Bernier:
[...] the Quebec Conservative MP for Beauce riding, offered little hope his party would bend when he trotted out to plug the party line Thursday.

"I'm here to reiterate the position of our government that has always been very clear - that we will abolish the long-gun registry because we believe it unfairly targets hunters and farmers, rather than real criminals,"he said.

"When we said we would destroy the registry, the registry is comprised of data ... and that data is what we're going to destroy because it is the registry."
Your choo-choo train of *reasoning* is going around in circles, Maxime.

This is another order of Contempt: "prendre le monde pour une valise".

Inspired by gloatessa's tweet.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Numbered Troll Snarks

*Grumble. Why hasn't someone done a wiki of old jokes?*

Old joke: Guy goes to the Comedians' Convention. Various comedians get up and instead of telling jokes, use numbers, e.g.,'Number 345!' Some laughs at most. But uproarious hahahaha for one. Guy turns to comedian beside him: 'That was just another number. Wassup with that reaction?' Comedian says: 'It was the way she told it.'

There was another #occupytoronto event today, so of course, on Twitter, the bitter and twisted trolls trotted out all the old attempted snarks/snipes.

I suggested they take a page out of the comedians' convention and use numbers for Twitter brevity.

I helpfully started a list for #NumberedTrollSnarks. Twitter being what it is (and me being somewhat sloppy with hashtags), I have compiled a handy list here.

1. Get a job.

2. They're all dirty hippies.

2a. They're all spoiled rich kids.

2b. They're all paid union thugs.

3. They're all foreign/bussed in. (This one is well loved by despots the world over.)

4. The numbers are wildly inflated. (Also popular with above.)

5. It's the weekend, dummies. No one is there.

6. Boring!

7. It's a huge waste of taxpayer money and/or police resources.

8. They all have Iphones (computers etc.) and there is some kinda logical thingy here about protesting companies that make Iphones etc. that I just can't quite get, but wassup with that?

9. They should all move to Cuba/North Korea.

10. ALL-PURPOSE SNARK: You kids, get offa my lawn!

Now, I really don't expect the actual trolls to use these, but I've been amusing myself by replying with the number or numbers they've used.

Seems to piss them off.

Works for me.

Friday, 18 November 2011

More Contempt from the Cons

Another verse of "They lie they lie they lie THEY LIE!"

Senator Pierre-Hughes Boisvenu, the poster Con Job for victims' rights & the Hard-On Crime Bill has been challenged regarding the truthiness of the claims he made on Radio-Canada, by no less than the Law Society of Québec. Here is an ad hoc translation of the sternly worded letter that was sent to Boisvenu:

During your interview, you stated, to an audience of several thousand people, that our interventions in the study of Bill C-10 were motivated by corporate interests. Specifically, you said: "The Law Society has about 80% of defense lawyers. These people say they are against a Bill that will affect their clients and it is quite normal. I defend the Senate, not the interests of criminals, but those of the victims ... "

As Director General of the Bar Association of Québec, it is my duty to tell you that you have misled the audience with incorrect information.

The Law Society has approximately 24,000 members. Among these members, only about 5% are lawyers arguing in court in criminal cases. The diversity of practices among our members is vast: corporate lawyers, government lawyers, lawyers in private practice working in over 140 areas of law such as business law, civil law, family law and human rights, etc..

Our interventions, made through the Conseil du barreau, reflect the position of our professional association. This position is recommended by a committee which consists of Crown prosecutors, university professors and defense lawyers who are experts in criminal law and who reviewed the bill through the lens of their professional commitment, but also in terms of respect for the rule of law.

Our position is similar to that of the Minister of Justice of Québec, and aims to promote prevention and rehabilitation rather than an approach based on indiscriminate repression. Rehabilitation, believes the Law Society, is also a means of protection for the people, and we believe it is important to remind the public of that recourse.

Our position is detailed, thorough and accurate. We respect the fact that you do not share it, but we are indignant that you dismiss our position as a "corporatist interpretation" and, moreover, that you present it in a wrong context by questioning the legitimacy and credibility of our profession. It is an offense to the professional system and to citizens who listen to you and who put their trust in you.

That was a lovely letter, a polite way of saying: Fuck you Pierre-Hughes Boisvenu and the fucking Contempt Party that rides you.

Mr and Mrs Stephen Fry

About a third of the accounts I follow on Twitter are humorous, witty or snarky.

Many are parodies, either spoofing an actual personnage - usually political - or they're a charming and totally bogus creation.

Take Mrs Stephen Fry for example - please!

Edna has just launched the most divinely outré anecdotal exposé of her life with Stephen. Here's a sample taste:
Wedding anniversaries can be difficult occasions. To celebrate one properly can take weeks of preparation and years of being married to someone.

Of course, even the most meticulous preparation can’t guarantee that everything will run smoothly. One tiny thing can still ruin the occasion – generally the husband. Even my own marriage, perfect though it is, has suffered the occasional hiccup.

One year, I decided to give Stephen a big anniversary surprise. I constructed a huge cake, reminiscent of the one we had for our wedding - only this time it would contain me and not a stripper. It was a monumental creation, standing fully six feet high. It took weeks to make, using eight metres of marzipan, twelve bowls of icing, plus a fair bit of cardboard and several steel joists (more than I usually use when baking a cake, at any rate). Despite its great size I managed to conceal it from Stephen by hiding it somewhere I knew he would never look – the kitchen.

Finally, on the day of our anniversary, after sending Stephen to the corner shop for a pint of milk, I wheeled it out into the living room and carefully climbed inside, ready to leap out and surprise him when he returned. As an extra romantic touch I had also put on my wedding dress (which, I’m proud to say, still fits perfectly – partly due to my having been eight months pregnant with Stephen Junior at the time). And so, with all the preparations in place, I crouched down in the dark, breathing as quietly as I could and waited.

And waited.

And waited.
Anyone who has ever been married to a man will recognize herself in some of the moments Mrs Stephen Fry describes.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

It's No Band Camp

Oh those eeevil Girl Scouts and their perverse manifestos of liberalism. Or so goes the American Townhall version of the Church Lady , Rebecca Hegelin, who seems to have made a personal cause of exposing the dangers of feminism. Thankfully, she has a solution for all good Christian parents horrified that their daughters might be exposed to the deadly virus of getting along with the Other. The American Heritage Girls.

No, not these although that's where I free-associated first, courtesy of a bland tv movie stuck in my mental rolodex. The live version (although how much livelier I can't say) of these.

I am a bad, *bad* person, because I pretty much instantaneously Godwinned on the name. It gives off such a comfy, Frauenschaft aura, although the badges are likely less impressive. Trying to be less mean spirited, I have to say that socially conservative Christians certainly have the right to form social organizations where they would enjoy the activities in an environment uncluttered by rampant inclusion. But this one paragraph in Hegelin's enthusiastic advertisement stopped me from believing they intend anything in the way of minding their own children's business.

"The AHG walk in the company of good friends. In 2009, AHG and the Boy Scouts of America created an historic partnership between the two groups—the first alliance between the Boy Scouts and any young women’s organization." (emphasis mine) "As a practical matter, this means that sponsoring churches or schools can offer an appealing combination to families--aligned programs for both boys and girls. Check out the list of additional AHG partners here. It’s a wholesome and dynamic selection."

That means in all the mutual decades of existence, the Boy Scouts of America have never-ever had a partnership with the Girl Scouts of America? But they're now partnered with this preeningly overt Christian organization for the 'proper' socializing of girls? I know the Boy Scouts are a Christian organization as well, but I'm also aware the defense excusing the manifesto is the BSA's religious monoculture will bounce off kids like water off a duck's back. Until it doesn't because Christian morals are good for everyone. What could possibly go wrong?

When I was young, an eon or so ago, the only sort of kids' camp available fell into two categories. Scouts or a separate permanent holiday spot located near Outlook, Saskatchewan. Scouts of either sex not being a steady presence in every community, my parents managed to scrape up enough money one year so I could attend one of the sessions at Outlook.

Wowzers, a real camp. Just like on tv. When I arrived is when it dawned on me the place was overtly Christian and activities were threaded through with religion. I didn't have a bad time, albeit disappointed in lack of 'me and this pen knife' fire-starting and the like, but I was a stubborn little poop pile uninterested in the 'message' being fed to us. Every meal, song sessions, fireside activities; even symbols in crafts classes were Christian-themed.

I went along to get along but also discovered that kids around me were a lot more serious about the believing. Which, ahem, led to enriching an atmosphere of supernatural gullibility so that several of them thought Satan was messing with campers by being the cause of accident-injuries among the camp population. What? It's not my fault so many got upset enough an all-camp 'exercise' class on the common was cancelled after the latest fall and serious sprain occurred.

I was glad to go home to the back forty of the farm and didn't go to camp again. Ever since, I've harboured a dislike of the fact that in many rural and economically challenging situations, the only outlets for such social kid activities all too often comes with the hidden hook of religion and all its socially strictured intersections.

And then those religiously-based organizations whine and complain about groups like the Girl Scouts putting girls first, not their religion, thus *ruining* the unchallenged mores that scooped in so many with nowhere else to go.


h/t Whiskeyfire

How does she do it?

Alison at Creekside: Steve makes an eminent domain funny is rigorously on top of every herky-jerky move from PMSHithead in defense of the TransCanada proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Go read.

Sorkin is sexist. Who knew?

Another illusion shatters. The creative force behind 'West Wing' is a self-referential sexist egotist.

I won't reproduce the Aaron Sorkin observation; this response to his odious peroration bears repeating, though.
It also occurs to me that if there is any truth to this, Mr. Sorkin, it’s because dudes like you have absolutely no idea how to write for women and dudes like you systematically step on the throats of women writers by spewing sexist crap like this.
Come to think of it, now that I review Sorkin's movie credits, I remember the 'Malice' plotline hinged on the worst - and most predictable - vile stereotypes and fallacies about women.

Follow #LadiesInFilm to read quotable lines from women onscreen.

More Contempt from the Cons

It's predictable that cowardly MinJKenney would go into attack mode to cover up the mendacity and hypocrisy of his Contempt Party government.

The Con politician who, like his master PMSHithead micro-manages every detail of his realm, takes cover behind bureaucrats who refused to approve a visa application from Sayed Shah Sharifi.

From here:
Sharifi is baffled by the department’s claims that his narrative has been inconsistent, insisting that he provided the same details before and after he was told he had preliminary approval for a visa, pending the standard medical and security checks.

The interview on July 21 was the final hurdle. Sharifi says he was asked odd questions by the Canadians, who identified themselves as civilian “immigration intelligence officers.”

“They told me, ‘We saw your articles on thestar.com,’” he said. “Did you pass (the visa screening) just by your articles in thestar.com or did you help us, the Canadians?’ So I showed them 13 letters and certificates from Canadian officials.

“They asked me questions from my childhood to yesterday,” Sharifi added. “And I provided them complete, perfect answers.[...]

So we are left with the judgment of Kenney’s anonymous officials and the word of an Afghan interpreter — one praised by his Canadian military supervisors as exceptional for his honesty, work ethic and leadership.

There's a depth and stink of moral corruption here that belies all of Kenney's pious religious bleating.

Like other islamophobes, it's clear he believes the only *good* Moslems are dead ones, killed by the Taliban.

Happy Birthday DAMMIT JANET!

This is outside the time frame of my blog, but I just felt the need for some Patsy today. [sorry, don’t know who made the gif]

Difficult to believe that today is our 3rd birthday.

And the cat has Patsy's tongue, as you may have noticed; she is non-plussed at the legs DAMMIT JANET! has shown over the last three years.

Since there's sadly no end in sight to the scathingly wrong, batshitcrazy stupidity of rightwingers and greedy neocons, we have miles and miles to blog yet.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The Oxford Comma

Buckets has weighed into the discussion. Go have a look.

Bouquets of Gray: Why punctuation is important

Added by fh: Previous posts on the matter.

Canadian Blog Awards: First Round Voting Is On!



First-round voting has begun!

From the rules:
Each person gets one vote for their favourite blog, in each category. In round 1, you can only vote once per blog. In the subsequent rounds you can vote once per day.

And this year, there are prizes! In addition to shameless self-promotion!

You've got until December 24 for this round, but don't delay. Go find some new reads and/or reward faves.

And, of course, spread farnwide.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Cons and new Canadian animal emblem.



If the Contempt Party is seriously considering a new animal emblem for Canada then the zebra mussel is the only choice.

First, it is a mollusk - an invertebrate - as most of PMSHithead's MPs are.

It's invasive and parasitic; we've noted this behaviour was consistently present in Con candidates during the last federal election.

They're prolific breeders that gobble up more than their share of the food available. They crowd out other life forms, they're toxic and they carry a wide range of bacteria and infectious diseases.

They colonize areas where native aquatic species live and deprive them of oxygen. They radically change the environment.

In conclusion, zebra mussels behave exactly like Conservatives.