Sunday 31 January 2010

"... not a class story. It’s a crime story."

Greed. It's the underpinning of that oft-quoted christian aphorism "The poor will always be with us". The consequence of letting the greedy run roughshod and unchecked is that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer - and recently, in increasing numbers.

Matt Taibi has written an impassioned response to a NYT Op-Ed by David Brooks who defended wealthy bankers and, by implication the MASSIVE scams they engineered. Taibi expertly fillets tedious and disingenuous arguments that rationalize and justify the bottomless greed of financial manipulators.

Brooks here is trying to say that by criticizing, say, Goldman Sachs for mass thievery — criticizing a bank for selling billions of dollars worth of worthless subprime mortgage-backed securities mismarked as investment grade deals, for getting the taxpayer to pay them 100 cents on the dollar for their billions in crap investments with AIG, for forcing hundreds of millions of people to pay inflated gas and food prices when they manipulated the commodities market and helped push oil to a preposterous $149 a barrel, and for paying massive bonuses after receiving billions upon billions in public support even beyond the TARP — that in criticizing the bank for doing these things, people like me are primarily interested in being divisive and “organizing hatreds.” [...]

What’s so ironic about this is that Brooks, in arguing against class warfare, and trying to present himself as someone who is above making class distinctions, is making an argument based entirely on the notion that there is an lower class and an upper class and that the one should go easy on the other because the best hope for collective prosperity is the rich creating wealth for all. This is the same Randian bullshit that we’ve been hearing from people like Brooks for ages and its entire premise is really revolting and insulting — this idea that the way society works is that the productive “rich” feed the needy “poor”, and that any attempt by the latter to punish the former for “excesses” might inspire Atlas to Shrug his way out of town and leave the helpless poor on their own to starve.

That’s basically Brooks’s entire argument here. Yes, the rich and powerful do rig the game in their own favor, and yes, they are guilty of “excesses” — but fucking deal with it, if you want to eat.

Taibbi also identifies an implicit bias in commercially oriented media:

The propagandistic argument [Brooks] makes about the dangers of “populism” is spelled out here as clearly as you’ll ever see it expressed in print, and this exact thing is a key reason why so much of the corruption that went on on Wall Street in the past few decades was allowed to spread unchecked.

That’s because this argument is tacitly accepted by almost everyone in our business, and most particularly is internalized in the thinking of most newspaper editors and TV news producers, who over time develop an ingrained habitual fear of publishing material that seems hysterical or angry.

This certainly has an effect on the content of news reporting, but perhaps even more importantly, it impacts the tone of news coverage, where outrages are covered without outrage, and stories that are not particularly “balanced” in reality — stories that for instance are quite plainly about one group of people screwing another group of people — become transformed into cool, “objective” news stories in which both the plainly bogus version of events and the real and infuriating version are given equal weight.

There's another aspect to the media coverage of the bankers' debauchery that has bothered me. Throughout it all, most if not all the engineers of these fraudulent investments remained anonymous and faceless. Understand this - the Wall Street financiers who masterminded the complicated schemes that left hundreds of thousands of US citizens bankrupt and homeless won't be held accountable for their crimes. They have walked away from the carnage with fat bonuses in their pockets.

Not so Bernard Madoff. He has become the scapegoat for Greed, diverting attention away from the blue-bloods and their wannabees at the top of the food chain.

There's a wide vein of anti-semitism in our North-American societies; exploiting the case of Bernard Madoff to draw attention away from the structural causes of the financial collapse is so very convenient. And so repulsive to many Jews, given that the majority of Madoff's clients/victims were members of, or connected to the social and cultural networks that he navigated.

Unfortunately the institutional champions of judaism are too busy attacking the critics of Israel to note a most insidious and repugnant populist display of anti-semitism shrieking at them in headlines, news items and prurient stories on TV, publications and the Internet during the last year.

Madoff has become the new Shylock. Is this happenstance? I don't think so. This is judeophobic opportunism, in my humble opinion. But don't expect rightwing socons David Frum or Mark Steyn to point this out. They know how their bread is buttered - and they like it that way.

Stevie the Spiteful, Brand New Friend of Women, Except Canadian Ones

I've been a bad blogger. There are a bunch of things I want to catch up on but first some news about Stevie Spiteful's government, you know, those great, brand-new friends of women, well, as long as they aspire only to baby-making.

That great investigative organization, the Catlick Church reveals that the ReformaTories have been slashing grants to the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health, formerly Planned Parenthood.
An Interim investigation has found that over the past half decade, the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health has had its federal government grants cut by more than 99 per cent.

The federation, formerly the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada and still the Canadian member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, has charitable status, according to the Canada Revenue Agency. The CFSH says on its website that it “promote(s) sexual and reproductive health and rights in Canada and abroad.” It also admits being a “pro-choice organization.”

There are some details on federal funding under the most-abortion-loving PMs evah, Chretien and Martin, then this (note date):
Beginning in 2007, grants from the federal government began to decrease as it received $743,745. Its expenditures fell to $1,655,249.

In 2008, grants totaled $482,498 while its expenditures dipped to $1,467,005, about a million dollars less than it spent just three years earlier.

In 2009, total grants were $9,381. The Canadian Federation for Sexual Health’s expenditures last year totalled $815,153. Federal grants accounted for just 1.1 per cent of its spending.

Oooo. Look who's taking credit. That misogynist homophobic gang with the galling name:
For years, REAL Women has made presentations to the finance committee’s pre-budget hearings, asking for cuts to special interest groups, including Planned Parenthood and its reincarnation as the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health.

Those damned special interest groups, you know, like women.

What I want to know is -- WTF? And -- why haven't we heard about this from CFSH? And -- or the media?

h/t SUZY ALLCAPS. Pssst, SUZY, if you guys didn't gloat about stuff like this, obviously, we regular people would never find out about it.

Friday 29 January 2010

Not the new Borat - Update

Supporters of James O’Keefe give him waaaay too much credit for the ACORN sting.

The boy is clearly a Sacha Baron Cohen wannabee. He engineered a stupid Punk’d gig that he shopped around to rightwing media people. Someone – not saying Karl Rove but perhaps someone aspiring to his crown – saw how it could be leveraged for political gain against the Democrats and Obama.

So O’Keefe was commissioned - by FoxNews? - to go out and do the prank 2 more times. The audio on the tapes was professionally 'sweetened' and the whole thing edited. Voilà! He's now Mr Bigtime investigative journalist. Then the newbie political operative got a little too ambitious. Without doing any serious research about exactly what the type of criminal offenses he might be flirting with, he used twitter at the beginning of January to announce that he was going after something MASSIVE.

Based on "intelligence" provided by local teabaggers, he dropped by Mary Landrieu’s office with frat boy buddies. Amateur? No, worse than that, he’s some sort of idjit non-savant.
Opponents of health-care reform legislation had complained this month that they repeatedly heard busy signals when they called Landrieu's office to register their views.[...]

O'Keefe considers himself a journalist with creative approaches to exposing wrongdoing. He told conservative talk show host Glenn Beck that he was not afraid to go to prison if necessary to do his work. In late December, he again tweeted about the power of undercover citizen-journalists. "Hidden audio/video is the new gun: 1st grade teacher fired after being caught on book bag tape"
Oh, and by the way Jim-bo, your great-granny wants you to return her sheared grey mouton fur jacket.

Update: JJ at unrepentant old hippie connects some of the usual suspects to James O'Keefe. He's in good company - Lie-là Rose to name one. And read the weasel words he uses to describe his dirty tricks:
James O’Keefe has admitted spearheading a misguided “phone-tampering” operation at Sen. Mary Landieu’s office in New Orleans this week. “As an investigative journalist, my goal is to expose corruption and lack of concern for citizens by government and other institutions,” writes O’Keefe. “On reflection, I could have used a different approach to this investigation, particularly given the sensitivities that people understandably have about security in a federal building.”
"Sensitivities"?!?! WTF? Those are laws you're flouting boy-o, not "sensitivities".
From here.

Thursday 28 January 2010

Kay Mère Has a Burr Up The Saddle.

Well, goodness gracious. From Canadian Cynic's: Heathers and courtesy of Dr Dawg, we discover that some people can dish it out - think of all the vile and mendacious invectives Babwa has rolled out against feminists - but can't take it.

And since those fresh horse puckies were too pungent for even The Postal Nation to publish, guess who got tasked to do so.

Yup. Best female friends forever. Until the Rapture, of course.

Wednesday 27 January 2010

We got 'em on the run!

Yesterday, local CAPPers confronted Tony (aka Tony Cashmere) Clement at York University. It was twittered but not widely reported otherwise.

Today, Saskatoon CAPPers forced Tony C. to slink out the back way and then put out a press release about it, on Facebook of course. (emphasis mine)
More than a dozen members of the Saskatoon Chapter of Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament attended a flash rally outside the Radisson Hotel in downtown Saskatoon between 11:30am and Noon today. The group marched back and forth along the sidewalk bringing their message to members of the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce who were attending a luncheon with Minister Tony Clement at the Radisson.

"We want to keep the pressure on until Parliament resumes and the Harper government is held accountable to Canadians and a working democracy," said Mary Jean Hande a participant at today's Flash Rally.

Chants of “Pro-democracy not prorogue,” “You can prorogue but you can’t hide,” and “This is what democracy looks like” echoed through the buildings in Saskatoon’s downtown core. Minister Clement escaped the scrutiny of the demonstrators by slipping in the back door of the hotel and staff at the hotel barred entry to the demonstrators who wished to bring their concerns to the Industry Minister.

"Our group braved -30 Degree wind chills to bring a message to Minister of Industry Tony Clement that the abuse of Canada’s democratic institutions for political reasons is not acceptable," said Flash Rally participant Peter Garden. "We are urging other chapters of Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament and any concerned Canadians to monitor public appearances of the Harper government, Cabinet Ministers and other MPs, and then publicly confront them on the prorogation of parliament and the attacks on democratic institutions."

The flash rally follows the mobilization of more than 25,000 Canadians in over 60 communities, including over 450 people in Saskatoon, on January 23 against what many Canadians see as the erosion of Canada’s democratic institutions under the Harper government. The leaderless, grassroots, national group, Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament (CAPP), has vowed to continue the pressure on the Harper government to return to work and be accountable to the Canadian electorate.

CAPPers are planning other flash rallies.

They're turning up at constituency offices trying to ask questions.

They 're holding constituency office vigils.

And the best part -- all that photo-op grandstanding on Haiti seems not to have done the ReformaTories any good, according to the latest poll.

Membership is still growing at Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament. A few minutes ago, it stood at 219,133.

I'm having too much fun!

Beleaguered by ReformaTories . . . and by Burglars

We've blogged about the beleaguered-by-ReformaTories human rights group Rights and Democracy before: here and here.

The peculiar story just got peculiarer.

The Globe and Mail is reporting that the group's Montreal offices were hit by burglars. A couple of lap-tops were stolen and the police are still investigating.

Hmmm. That's the second time today that the word 'Watergate' floated through my mind.

Earlier, I was reading JJ the Unrepentant's blog on the arrest of James O'Keefe. Who dat, you ask?

JJ quotes from the source:
A conservative activist who posed as a pimp to target the community-organizing group ACORN and the son of a federal prosecutor were among four people arrested by the FBI and accused of trying to interfere with phones at Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office.

Activist James O’Keefe, 25, was already in Landrieu’s New Orleans office Monday when Robert Flanagan and Joseph Basel, both 24, showed up claiming to be telephone repairmen, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office said Tuesday. Letten says O’Keefe recorded the two with his cell phone.

In the comments, J.A. Baker draws our attention to his tweets on the matter.

One of them was 'Shallow Throat'. . .

Michele Bachman: Not acting like a "lady"?

DJ! may not blog as much about Michele Bachman as we do about that other tea-bagging, rightwing, anti-feminist religious zealot (and former Republican vp candidate) but when we do ...

We hear that the RNC is shrieeeking because a Democrat senator purportedly said something sexist to Bachman. So we went looking for an explanation of what happened and found

First, the background: Specter's remarks came during a special broadcast [...] to mark the first year of President Obama's term. Specter, the 79-year-old Republican-turned-Democrat, who is facing a tough primary [...] at one point during an exchange over the health-care bill noted that Bachmann had said she voted for prosperity.

"Well, prosperity wasn't a bill," the Pennsylvania senator began to explain. "Well, why don't we make it a bill?" said Bachmann, talking over him. "Now wait a minute," Specter said. "Don't interrupt me. I didn't interrupt you. Act like a lady."

"Well, I think I am a lady," Bachmann said. "I think you are, too," Specter said. "That's why I'm treating you like one. But just don't interrupt me."

Needless to say, conservatives have been completely up at arms over this comment. [...] Bachmann is decrying his "arrogance," saying he "basically told me to sit down and be quiet."

She's right. He did tell her to sit down and be quiet. But that was because she was interrupting him. With nearly 30 years in the senate under his belt, the rules of civility that are second nature in congressional debate are no doubt reflexive to him. Congress people refer to each other as "esteemed colleague," "gentleman" or "gentlewoman." The term "lady" to him, both from his history in office and from being of an older generation would not be as loaded as it could be for those of us under the age of 60.

Then, there is the fact that Bachmann wasn't upset by his term, but for being told to stop talking. Her response back, "I think I am a lady," shows clearly that she embraces that word and the characteristics implied by it. Of course, the Republicans have taken the clip and run, in an attempt to help Specter's opponent in the next election.

And, without the smallest trace of irony, the RNC is claiming Specter is treating women like "second class citizens" (because taking away their rights to their own bodies, on the other hand, is NOT treating them like second class citizens).

And of course, you've read by now about the punk Watergate-wannabees being busted and likely charged for a number of federal times and allegedly attempting to wiretap a Democrat senator's office.
Canadian Cynic: Yeah, about that whole ACORN thing ...

As JJ reminds us: "It’s not a crime if you’re a Republican!" Neither does obstructing access to abortion constitute an assault on women's rights, IYAR.

the lie has become ... a pillar of the State (re:redux)

They LIE.
They lie they lie they lie THEY LIE!

Over at Canadian Cynic, C. C's ... and you don't fuck with Kady O'Malley illustrates how the ReformaTory foot soldiers have received their talking points and marching orders. They're all over the comments sections of online media, spewing the same lies over and over again like Attack Parrots™©.

They LIE.
They lie they lie they lie THEY LIE!

From Paul Wells' latest article about Rights & Democracy and the comments that follow from ReformaTory acolytes, we learn there's a hierarchy amongst the Attack Parrots™©: the MASSIVE prevaricators, the doublethinkers and the common liars.

They LIE.
They lie they lie they lie THEY LIE!

Update: And perhaps they also have "friends" who read obituaries and know when to break in during a funeral to steal the good stuff.

"In our country the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the State - Alexander Solzhenitsyn."
This bit from David Matas is deliciously ironic and perhaps unwittingly transparent:
"Human rights NGOs are reluctant to take money from governments, for fear that it might compromise their independence. Political NGOs are not as reluctant, and are often financed by sympathetic governments. GONGOs, government organized NGOs, have been a traditional feature of communist regimes, but they proliferate wherever repression is found. ..."
Is Matas admitting it's effectively what Harper and his bullies are putting in place, a Rights & Democracy GONGO that will further their dominionist imperative? The hounding to death of Remy Beauregard by a trio of ideology-driven party goons leaves no doubt as to Stevie's intent and his appetite for whatever means it takes to move Canada in the "right" direction.

Tuesday 26 January 2010

Inquiring Minds . . .

In a comment on this by deBeauxOs (who has a movie coming out next week ;)), longtime Intertoobz pal Toe nails it:
When I saw that headline the first thing I did was to see if Byrne was a Con floor-crosser, nope. I forget how many Cons are in the Lib party now, but it's a lot. Why can't we just be truthful - in that the Cons are Reformers, the Liberals are Red Tories and the NDP are Liberals. Sheesh.

So, where did the social democrats go?

Stevie the Spiteful, Brand New Friend of Women

If you've eaten recently, don't click. It's our PM, Stevie the Spiteful, with an op-ed in the Star of all places.

The knee-slappingness of it:
Yet, it should not take a natural disaster to turn our attention to the less fortunate. The world's poor have been hit hardest by the global economic downturn and in these difficult times we must address their pressing needs.

Indeed, all too frequently, tragedy strikes those who can least afford it. The lack of the most basic services can lead to dire consequences, especially for the world's most vulnerable populations. Each year, it is estimated that 500,000 women lose their lives during pregnancy or childbirth. Further, an astonishing 9 million children die before their fifth birthday.


Sorry to yell, but, I mean, really.

This is the guy who gloats about cutting funding to women a.k.a. 'Left-Wing Fringe Groups'.

Tofu Pie - It's the New Anthrax.

Or so believes MP Gerry Byrne.

Right about now I'll bet that Iggy is unabashedly (though secretly) envious of Stevie Spiteful's ability to muzzle most of his caucus (except for the usual lunatics like Maurice Vellacott).

An MP from Newfoundland and Labrador says Monday's incident in which the federal fisheries minister was hit in the face with a pie should prompt Ottawa to look into whether PETA, an international animal-rights group, should be labelled a terrorist organization.

"There has to be a review whether or not PETA has crossed the line now by attacking a federal minister of the Crown for the purpose of public intimidation of an office holder," Byrne told CBC News.

Meanwhile, Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea, having survived this assault perpetrated with soya curd, is making the most of the situation.
[...] she is not daunted by getting a pie in the face. "If this is what it takes to stand up for Canadian sealing families and this industry I'm certainly very proud to do it." Shea said she believes the attack on the seal hunt is just the beginning, and other industries will become targets.
Other industries will become targets? That sounds ominous. Let's see ... it can't be the medical isotopes-producing industry, the ReformaTories let that one die an ignominous death. The SUV manufacturing industry? Gone, too. Are there any industries left in Canada to attack?

Say, would the last industry to leave Canada please remember to close the light? Ta.

Monday 25 January 2010

When Ignorance and Disrespect Collide.

In spite of the fact that I've often watched ice dancing/skating events on television - a not-so-secret-vice/indulgence - I'm not sure what the technical term is for the above. A double klutz supported by cultural ignorance?

The judges' panel may have given them high marks, but the oddly designed clothing, free-form "jungle" moves and world fusion music chosen by Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin have offended a great number of people.

In dark-toned bodysuits, complete with what they claim are authentic Aboriginal paint markings, the pair easily won their national ice dance competition three weeks ago at their first performance of the routine, making them favourites for gold. But while the judges in St Petersburg may have been impressed, many in the Aboriginal community are not. [...]

Domnina, 25, and Shabalin, 27, they recently spoke to ice-skating website Golden Skate about their motivations for the dance. [...] Asked about their research of Aboriginal culture, Domnina said: ''We've watched video clips on the internet of these dances and it is really like this - complete with the leaves around the knees.''

The music the Russians perform to has also raised questions. Ice-skating fans have identified the track as being composed by Sheila Chandra, a Briton of Indian descent. [Asian Indian, that is.]

From here. And more:

The Four Host First Nations that are helping Olympic organizers sponsor the 2010 Games have asked to meet with a pair of Russian skaters who have been criticized for wearing loin cloths and dark-skin bodysuits in their dance routine. [...] "My first reaction is that I feel really disheartened that this took place, particularly given how the indigenous people in Australia feel about it," Tewanee Joseph, CEO of the Four Host First Nations, said yesterday. [...]

"They are coming into our territory. They should feel comfortable here but at the same time, we want to educate them on our culture [...]

Victor Kraatz, a world champion ice dancer from Vancouver, said he felt the Russians had "decided to go a little bit Hollywood'' in their depiction of the Aboriginal dance and that they had "dumbed down a little bit" the character of the dance.

Oh noes! Dumbed down the culture of First Nations and Aboriginal people. Like that rarely happens. For a good blogpost regarding the deliberate and hypocritical misrepresentation of Aboriginal people, go read stageleft.
However, Olympic judges don't subtract performance points when athletes' ignorance and disrespect are displayed.

'Put this lightning in a bottle'

That's what the pollster-guy said on CBC's The Current this morning on the weekend's rallies. He was talking about how Obama married the power of the Intertoobs to an inspirational message and leader. (And how's that going for you, Merka?)

So, who can do it here? Jack? Too smarmy for many, including me. Iggy? Mr. Torture Lite? No way. Lizzie 'Nuance R Us' May? In some bizarre parallel universe, maybe.

So, who?

Short answer: We got nuthin' and nobody.

The only thing that could possibly boot the Harpocons is a coalition AND deals among the opposition parties to run ONE strong candidate against the Cons in each riding.

For one election.

Harper will be gone. The ReformaTories will be in disarray. Then the Libs, Dippers, Greenies, and Bloquists can go back to their partisan games.

One election.


Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament still growing -- now 216, 131 -- and pissed at all the dismissive coverage the rallies are getting.

Harness the wrath, the passion, the engagement, the energy.

Put this lightning in a bottle.

Sunday 24 January 2010

We must be winning. . . .They're acting like bigger idiots than ever

The various ReformaTory spins being put on yesterday's Pro-Democracy rallies are instructive (and fun!).

Over at Free Dominion, at first some refreshing honesty from my Facebook friend Connie Fournier.
There were thousands of people on Parliament Hill. I would guess about 5000.

We went there half expecting it it to be a crowd of freaks wearing terrorist garb and masks like the group that was in Ottawa protesting Bush that time, but we were surprised by the people who were there.

They were a bunch of normal looking Canadians.

That said, we did leave early because the speakers were crap. One thing that we learned when we were organizing rallies is that you have to get your speakers to stick to the message. We left because we were sick of hearing about "climage change". A guy behind us was saying he left because he didn't want to listen to someone talking about some problem with Nortel.

Anyway, I agree with Narrow Back. Harper is in trouble.

After some more typical FD drivel, Connie wades back in again:
Is the CPC telling people to say that it is better to not have Parliament than to have it? It seems to be quite the theme here lately, and I find it quite disturbing coming from people with populist Reform roots.

I'll put this as plainly as I can. Any country that is being run by one person is a dictatorship.

I know that none of you would be dismissing this if a Liberal had sent everyone home to run things himself. You'd really be better off to just say that you don't care than try to justify it.

A very few of her minions, l like the above-mentioned Narrow Back agree with her. The rest put their hands over their ears, chanting 'IdontcareI dontcareIdontcare.' Like this poster, EdS, who can't handle the quote function and has a 'I miss Ronald Reagan' poster for an avatar:
{quote="Connie Fournier"]I know that none of you would be dismissing this if a Liberal had sent everyone home to run things himself. You'd really be better off to just say that you don't care than try to justify it.[/quote]
That is my position, precisely. If the Liberals had done this, I would be ranting on street corners. That Harpoolah has done it...
Ho-hum... you're right... I don't care. I don't care what Harpoleon does. He could declare Martial Law... don't care. Don't care what happens so long as no bastard liberal is in power. Those vile curs, those socialistic progressive bastards are scum. I hate them with a passion that cannot be described.

Another novel ReformaTory approach is to deny that there were any rallies atall atall. CC in a post tellingly titled 'Let the dumbass, retarded wankitude begin' demolishes one Blogging Tory called The Iceman.
Pause to savour what happened here. Iceman wants to go to the CAPP rally to mock people who actually value the idea of a real democracy. He does not bother to actually check any of the countless online sources of information to find out where that rally is marching to. Instead, he takes a wild guess ... and guesses wrong. He therefore concludes there was no rally, and goes home.

If a four-year-old did something like that, I would consider them retarded.

Go to CC's to read the whole thing and get the link to Iceman's hilarious photo essay on Where the Woozle Wasn't.

Meanwhile, one of the discussions at the CAPP group focuses on collecting examples of such spin and considers ways of confronting them. Drop by with examples or advice.

Oh. And membership is still growing. It hit 215,000 early this evening.

ADDED: I think I might be getting a girl-crush.

Harper was at our rally too!

"L'état c'est moi." A placard attributing the famous pronouncement of Louis XIV to Stevie Spiteful was spotted at the Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament rally in Ottawa yesterday, just before Harper showed up. He was large and perfectly cartoonish with a big "Burger King" crown, a kitteh on his shoulder and a sign that read: What! Me worry?

We surprised ourselves in Ottawa with an amazingly large turnout. And people kept coming, adding to the crowd for the first half-hour. It was quite inspiring with good public speakers, chosen for their relevance, not party politics. A number of speakers addressed the bills, the issues, the urgent questions that were dismissed by the ReformaTories as irrelevant: climate change, bringing our troops home from Afghanistan and the effect of MASSIVE bankruptcies such as Nortel upon disable workers.

The Raging Grannies sang; we were supplied with lyrics by their young-ish helpers, presumably Grannies-in-waiting. And Trevor Strong of the Arrogant Worms was there too, leading the 3,500+ crowd in song. It was quite a well organized and well-attended event with an effervescent and good-spirited crowd. I took many pictures of the home-made placards, all of them inspiring and appropriate.

CAPP Rally -- Toronto

That was a blast! (And a huge relief. . .) People are still arguing about the numbers, but who cares?

There were lots and lots of people out in Toronto. All kinds of people -- babies in strollers, toddlers on adults' shoulders, high-school and university students, middle-aged and up to quite antique. And while anyone would have to admit that the ethnic diversity did not reflect the average subway car in rush-hour, I'd say that all members of the human family were represented.

The NDP and Greens were there with banners, as were a number of unions. The NDP had printed signs that said on one side 'Democracy Works' and on the other 'Stand Up to Harper'. They were NDP orange and had the logo at the bottom of one side. I noticed that some people holding up the signs had torn a small rectangle out of the bottom and realized that they objected to the NDP logo and had removed it but were still waving the signs around.

I have no problem with political parties supporting our cause and helping by paying for signs. I carried one.

But the handmade signs were really fabulous and the best one -- actually I saw two instances of it -- was impromptu as well as handmade.

This being Toronto of course there were mounted police and when you have mounted police, you have, of course, horseshit to step around on the march. Marchers were pretty good about alerting followers when such was the case.

At one point, though, not only were people diverting around something, they were laughing their asses off and taking pictures. I didn't bring a camera and wanted to share this, so I put out a request on the Toronto Rally Facebook page and got an immediate reply from photographer Mathew Rossi, who then kindly gave me permission to post it here.

The original Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament group is still growing. It hit 214,000 members this morning.

And people want to continue the energy and organizing. There's now a What's Next (that's not the correct name) group. Building on the success of yesterday, it's booming in numbers too.

Saturday 23 January 2010

Stay tuned, CAPP rally reports to come

Fast note: deBeauxOs was at the Ottawa rally; I was at the Toronto one. Reports when we recover.

Omen from Oman

Sarah MacDonald in Oman kicks off today's Democracy Rallies. More of her pictures here.

Find your local rally here.

And, there are many stories in the news this morning about the planned rallies and the Facebook phenom. I liked this one -- it mentions bloggers too.

Friday 22 January 2010

Spelling Does Matter

Tomorrow, proofread your signs.

We don't want to be associated with anything like this.

Harper ReformaTories: mash-up of theocracy and stalinism.

They LIE.

They lie they lie they lie THEY LIE!

It starts with the seeds of casual exaggerations or tiny prevarications. Those sprout in warm ReformaTory manure, a pungent mash-up of theocratic arrogance and contemporary stalinism.

When they're ready for transplanting, they are lovingly wrapped in rhetoric and faxed/emailed to their acolytes & the sycophants (aka the MPs). They are proclaimed as self-evident truths by a phalynx of Attack Parrots™© ever ready to shout down any reasonable objection or the judicious presentation of actual facts contradicting them because ....

They LIE.

They lie they lie they lie THEY LIE!

Stevie, his bullies and their machinations are now indeed transparent: their tactics are obvious. The emperor has no clothes.

The growing, growling citizenry has caught on to the ReformaTory game.

They LIE.

They lie they lie they lie THEY LIE!

In our country the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the State - Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

Will Canadians accept this, in our country?

I believe not.

Apologies to Jem Rolls for borrowing a particular phrasing, cadence and spirit of his spoken word poetry - though it captures perfectly the imperiousness and arrogance of the ReformaTories.

Lizzie and Me

(This non-partisanship is killing me.)

Elizabeth May gets it.

From her blog (emphasis mine)
Since I posted my last blog on New Year's Eve, urging Canadians to demand respect for democracy and accountability from their government, I have been heartened to see so many actions launched. People who have never been political in their lives are organizing.

January 23 has been chosen as a day for rallies for democracy. I am going to post all those sites where actions are proposed. These efforts are not those of the Green Party. I want to be clear that we are not trying to claim "credit" for this grassroots movement, neither do we necessarily support every call for action. But the word needs to spread and greens from across Canada should support local actions in their area. The list grows daily, so let me know if we have missed any.

There. If Lizzie 'Nuance R Us' May can get it, how hard is it?

Jack and Me

*sigh* I guess a pol is a pol is a pol. They can't help themselves.

Yesterday it was Iggy. Today it's Jack.

This is the message he sent out to NDP members:
Friends –

Three weeks ago, Stephen Harper locked the doors of Parliament and shut out your elected representatives.
Canadians are sick of the secrecy and arrogance. They’re tired of the old politics of Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.

Canadians are turning to a new kind of politics. A grassroots politics on Facebook and in neighbourhoods, at town halls and rallies. The new politics is New Democrat politics.

Join our movement today.

Our solution to prorogation is simple. Prorogation should only happen after a vote in the House of Commons. We’ll work to make that the law.

And you can help New Democrats stand up to Harper. This Saturday, join us at one of dozens of anti-prorogation rallies across Canada.

Together we’ll send Stephen Harper a clear message – democracy works.
Jack Layton

Um, NOOOOO! The new politics is NOT NDP politics. The anti-prorogue movement is NOT your movement.

Retract it, Jack. And apologize for seeming to appropriate a grassrooots, non-partisan citizens' movement.

Or else you look as opportunistic as Iggy and the Libs.

And that ain't pretty.

P.S. You are welcome to join us tomorrow, though.

(I just sent Jack and Olivia -- my MP -- emails that say pretty much that. I'll report if/when I get a response.)

Thursday 21 January 2010

Iggy and Me

OK. I admit it. Michael Ignatieff and I have a troubled relationship. (We are related by marriage, but I don't think he knows that.) I have tried to be nice and even supportive.

But today, after promising he never ever no-how no-way do that again, he did it again.

In a totally typical and predictable Liberal way, he and his handlers have opportunistically tried to hi-jack another grassroots group -- Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament.

After his open letter to CAPP evincing support and bum-kisses, his on-line town hall today, supposedly to address CAPPers' issues, was a TOTAL FUCKING JOKE.

I give you the bits that have anything REMOTELY to do with CAPP's issues.
[Comment From Wendy Perry Wendy Perry : ]
Mr. Ignatieff,will you be attending one of the CAPP rallies?
Thursday January 21, 2010 3:00 Wendy Perry

Michael Ignatieff:
Thank you Wendy for your question. Yes, I will talk at the Ottawa rally on Saturday.
Thursday January 21, 2010 3:00 Michael Ignatieff

[Comment From Ian Perkins Ian Perkins : ]
Mr. Igantieff can you explain why Canadians are upset with the prorougation of Parliament?
Thursday January 21, 2010 3:00 Ian Perkins

Michael Ignatieff:
Ian, Canadians want their MPs back at work and they want their Prime Minister to be accountable to Parliament.
Thursday January 21, 2010 3:01 Michael Ignatieff

[Comment From Jeff Jedras Jeff Jedras : ]
I'd like to ask about democratic reform. Many Canadians feel the current First Past the Post system doesn't fairly value or reflect their votes. Do you believe we should consider a new voting system, and what do you think that system should look like?
Thursday January 21, 2010 3:01 Jeff Jedras

Michael Ignatieff:
Im prepared to look at reform of our voting system provided that reform doesnt fragment the country and weaken the ability of national parties to hold the country together.
Thursday January 21, 2010 3:02 Michael Ignatieff

Michael Ignatieff:
Whats important is getting more Canadians to turn out at elections. Our participation rate is now below 60 percent. We need to get more people involved.

Mario Lagüe (moderator):
3:02 [Brad Bossack] -
Greetings, as a member of CAPP (Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament), I wish[...] to speak of changing the currant democratic structure to providing and endorsing more participation within the process decision making. As you have seen, there are many Canadians who are feeling very disenfranchised, and are rallying to be heard in a new way. What are your feelings and idea's on democratic renewal in this country?
Thursday January 21, 2010 3:09 Mario Lagüe (moderator)

Michael Ignatieff:
Politicians need to get out on the road and answer tough questions face to face with voters. there:s a hunger for direct participation and involvement. Thats what I discovered on my tour of colleges and universitiesand I want to keep on going with town halls in every Canadian community I can get to.

Comment From Alan Goodhall Alan Goodhall : ]
Thank you for this forum Mr. Ignatieff. Yesterday Mr. Layton stated to the media that the NDP would propose legislation to limit the power of a prime minister to prorogue the house. Do you feel legislation is required or is this more a question of ethics of the party in power and best left to the public to decide through the ballot box?
Thursday January 21, 2010 3:39 Alan Goodhall

Michael Ignatieff:
Provided a Prime Minister respects Parliament and its authority, legislation isnt needed. Mr. Harper used prorogation to duck a confidence vote and to evade tough questions in the House. That;s wrong. Ive already pledged not to use prorogation that way. The problem is not the power itself, so much as its abuse.
Mr. Harper has abused his power.

Comment From Glynn Pearson Glynn Pearson : ]
I am very concerned about your response about prorogation. Harper was elected on promises of accountability and transparency after a debacle with the Liberals of the day (including a long prorogation). I don't know you and I don't want you to feel disparaged but it has been demonstrated that we cannot trust the person in power to act with the public's best interests in mind. Would a new Liberal government consider committing to legislation to ensure the responsible use of prorogation?
Thursday January 21, 2010 3:55 Glynn Pearson

Michael Ignatieff:
As a great writer once said, rules are for people with no character. Meaning, that you need to legislate when you cant trust the people who hold power. My view is that we dont need to legislate limits on prorogation. We just need to return to the basic understanding that used to limit prerogative power, namely that you dont use it to duck tough questions in parliament and you dont use it to duck a confidence vote. harper used it this way and it was wrong, and Canadians are telling him dont ever do that again.

Faff, faff, and more faff. (Go to the link for some really gagsome slo-pitches about his favourite part of the job, for example.)

Insulting, the whole damn exercise. We, the grassrooty CAPPers, got all moisty-panty, thinking, 'Wow, party leader takes note of discontent, wants to address us.'

Ha. Iggy and his handlers bethought themselves: 'Hoho, a ready-made huge audience. We'll deign to talk to them -- showing off our super-duper webby skills -- and they'll all join Iggy's Facebook page.'

In short, it was a better handled version of the attempted co-option of the feminist 'Left Wing Fringe' movement.

I sent in a question, which, needless to say, did not make the cut. It was:
Mr. Ignatieff [moi being polite], would you work with the NDP and the Bloc to form a coalition that would represent the majority of Canadians and work cooperatively on the pressing problems of the day?

So. Sorta-cousin-in-law Iggy, FUCK YOU.

Male chastity belt?

Did Glenn Beck just page DAMMIT JANET! to the courtesy phone?

Here at DJ! we have an
ideological position about male chastity belts and it seems strange to contemplate that on this one point we may be in agreement with Beck. Was that the sound of hell freezing over, just now?

Our perpective on the above apparatus is simple and it was shaped by the Bush/Cheney administration's bias in funding sex education in schools.

The problem with Abstinence programs currently in vogue in the US and some parts of Canada is that they just don’t go far enough. As every religious zealot proclaims in their own defense, boys will boys, men will be men; it’s simply NOT THEIR FAULT they can’t seem to keep their ‘primitive animal’ urges under control and their willies inside their pants.

This manifests itself in the doctrine of strict Catholicism, Orthodox Judaism and Islam and their clumsy attempts to protect men from temptation and sin (aka women). As evident in thousands of years of self-justification from men accused of rape, sexual assault and incest, they say they just can’t stop themselves. And one of the unfortunate side-effects of unleashed male sexuality is female pregnancy. Not to mention the profligate spilling of man-seed. Won’t somebody please think of all the wasted semen?

Thus the time has come for the male chastity belt.

Now contrast and compare if you will, the current situation with regard to a newly elected Republican senator.

Supporters of Senator-elect Scott Brown winced as he offered up one of his daughters as "available" in his victory speech Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, Glenn Beck took to his radio program to sharply criticize Brown's remarks. The controversial host suggested that Brown needed to be "monitored" [...]

"I want a chastity belt on this man," Beck said. [...] Later on in the segment, Beck added, "I'm just sayin', congratulations, now let's monitor him, let's put an ankle bracelet on him, let's know where he is at all times."

During his victory speech Tuesday night, Sen.-elect Scott Brown introduced his daughters, Ayla and Arianna, to the world, thanking them for their help in the campaign. "And just in case anybody who's watching across the country, yes they're both available," he said.

As a mixed chorus of laughter and boos roared up, Brown said: "No, no, no. Oo. Only kidding. Only kidding. ... Arianna is definitely not available, but Ayla is." [...]

This isn't the first time Beck has expressed reservations about Brown. In a column he wrote for Fox News on Tuesday, he said: "I don't trust Scott Brown yet. Americans don't know him. He posed naked in Cosmopolitan magazine back in 1982. I mean — really? I question the judgment of man who thinks anyone wants to see the male body naked...."

Though Ted Kennedy seemingly inherited the bimbo gene that afflicted the male members of his clan, I don't believe he ever offered up his daughter as recompense to campaign workers and party supporters. Or posed for Cosmo.

CAPP: Older, Engaged, Voters

From the Globe:
Over the last few weeks a number of pundits have been unsure how to react to sudden rise of the Facebook group Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament. Conservative politicians attempted to label the over 200,000-person strong group as part of "the chattering classes" and political pundits have questioned whether online protests even have meaning or weight.

What is more likely is that few politicians or pundits have actually spent time on the Facebook group and fewer still have tried to understand who its members are and what they believe. Recently Pierre Killeen, an Ottawa-based online public engagement strategist, conducted a survey of the group's membership in partnership with the Rideau Institute.

Over 340 members of the anti-prorogation Facebook group shared their views and while not a scientific survey, it does provide a window into the group's makeup and the motivations of its members. Some of the results will surprise both pundits and politicians:

I took this survey. And none of the results surprise me. There were discussions at Facebook, asking how old members are, whether they voted last time, what their main beefs with this sneaky move are/were.

CAPP members are older than expected, blowing that notion that the group was just a bunch of kids.

CAPP members vote -- 96 per cent said they voted in the last federal election. The author notes that survey participants frequently overstate their voting histories, so this number is not rock solid. But in contrast, only 60 per cent of eligible voters voted in the last election.

CAPP members are new to online activism.

Their issues are both democracy and accountability.
Lastly, when asked why they joined, just over half (53 per cent) of respondents indicated it was because “proroguing parliament is undemocratic” and another 33 per cent said it was because “Parliament needs to investigate the Afghan detainee matter."

The impact?
And what should people take away from all this? The Facebook group matters for reasons beyond those I initially outlined for The Globe. The fact that this is the first time a majority of those surveyed have joined a politically oriented online campaign suggests such groups may serve as an on-ramp to greater activism and awareness.

More importantly, however, if the survey results are even remotely representative, then the members of the Facebook group vote. Any time 200,000 citizens say an issue will affect their vote, politicians should not discount them so hastily.

Finally, given that Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament has signed up twice the number of Facebook members than all the political leaders combined (Conservatives 29,616; Liberals 28,898; NDP 27,713; Bloc 4,020; for a collective total of 90,247 fans) this is a constituency whose impact may be better monitored in the voting booth than on the street.

But the street matters too. Find your rally here. There are more than 60 to chose from.


CAPP membership is just about to hit 208,000.

ADDED: Here's a link to the author's blog, David Eaves.

Here, let's make that broad broader.

The fashion police or more properly, vigilante stylists have taken it upon themselves to loudly shame women who have the nerve to appear in public with visible curvaceousness.

See the above? That's not a 'before and after' photo-shopped slenderized model.

The photo on the right was the original picture taken on the red carpet. The one on the left was distorted, perhaps to reinforce the point the NYT flak was trying to make about 'big-boned' gals.

Here's a phenomenon we've noted, that shows itself in the outright attempt to humiliate women who don't and won't obey the imperative of "You can never be too thin ...."

We wrote about it here. Jezebel has been documenting the revisionism, calling it The Photoshop of Horrors, when images are manipulated to turn models into stick figures.

Hopefully, Brigitte - the German magazine which made an editorial decision to no longer use models in its pages (not sure if the ban applies to advertising too) but rather to photograph real women with their flaws and natural beauty, without any digital embellishments - will be successful. Then perhaps girls and women will no longer torture and starve their bodies.

Wednesday 20 January 2010

Ignatieff Responds to CAPP

An open letter to the members of Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament. (I put that [you] in the second para.)
To the members of CAPP,

This Saturday, January 23, thousands of Canadians will attend anti-prorogation rallies organized by the Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament (CAPP) Facebook group. They won’t be going as Liberals or New Democrats, as Bloc Québécois, Conservatives or Greens. They’ll be going as Canadian citizens, united in their opposition to Stephen Harper’s shut down of Parliament. That will happen because one of you had the courage to stand up in protest – and then another, and another, and another.

I want [you] to know how heartened I am by the mere existence of this group – the largest spontaneous online political movement we’ve seen yet in this new digital age of politics in Canada. I am heartened because the vitality of our democracy depends on the participation of its citizens, regardless of their political stripes. And your efforts and your numbers – over 200,000 of you so far – proves that Canadians truly are standing guard over our democratic traditions and institutions.

Some dismiss your efforts as nothing more than a click of a button. They are wrong. I know that your organizers have been volunteering their own time for several weeks to prepare Saturday’s rallies. And I know that thousands of you will be taking time off school and work, or away from your families to attend them. Anyone who pretends that those sacrifices don’t count is highly mistaken.

When this group first formed, your rallying cry was “Get back to work.” Well, on January 25, the day Parliament was set to resume, my entire caucus will be back on Parliament Hill for several weeks of roundtables and working sessions on job creation, veterans affairs, the environment, health – issues you care about. Issues that can’t wait.

And this Thursday, January 21, from 3 - 4pm EST, I will be holding an online town hall on my Facebook page. It’s part of a national conversation about this country’s future that includes all Canadians and recognizes the importance of open and honest debate. I encourage all members of CAPP to join us on I will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

When Stephen Harper shut down Parliament on December 30, he was counting on Canadians’ reacting with cynicism and indifference. You showed him that’s not who we are. You showed him that Canadians believe in their institutions and have clear, common sense expectations of their politicians: Get to work, work together and get the job done. It’s what’s expected of every Canadian all day long, and politicians should not live by a different set of rules.

I hope your important work these past few weeks means Stephen Harper gets that message loud and clear this Saturday.

Michael Ignatieff

Be there or be square. (All this talk of protest has knocked my slang back about 40 years.)

My question: Will you work towards a coalition?

My real question: Do you think you can grow a pair before Parliament comes back to work?

Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament membership now over 206,500.

Tuesday 19 January 2010

Teabagger WIN!

The US Democrats are as fucked up as our Liberals.

I really really really don't understand why the The Good Gals/Guys® lose to the Liars/Homophobes/Misogynists/Racists/Fear-Mongers etc.etc.

Can anyone enlighten me?

Kate McGarrigle

I can chart some of the great moments of my young womanhood by the Kate and Anna song that I was playing "Over and over and over 'til the words come tumbling out of my head."

This witty song, of gorgeous musical texture and complexity, captured a poignant moment of later years.

Kate McGarrigle - a generous musician, a consummate artist, a mother and an inspiration to multitudes because in every human heart there's an artist waiting to create joy in Her image.

I'm Baaaack!

In the midst of the horror that is Haiti and the mounting disgust that Canadians are demonstrating towards Stevie the Spiteful, a diversion/update of a personal sort.

Remember back in March I got evicted?

Then in July, it looked like I was going to get evicted from my temporary sanctuary. Mercifully, that was 'all a big mistake' -- on the bloody landlord's part -- so, never mind.

It was always my intention to return to my apartment when the renovations 'so extensive as to require vacant possession' (terms the Ontario Residential Tenancy Act uses) were complete. Two of the other three tenants who fought the eviction intended to return as well.

We pay the same rent as before -- the big incentive -- but are subject to an Above Guideline Increase sometime in the future.

The 'extensive' work that needed to be done was in two areas: new heating system and new wiring. Because the legal fight was dragging into the fall of 2008, the heating was completed with us in residence.

In the vacant units, the renovations really were extensive -- totally gutting the places exposing groovy brick walls. Old hardwood flooring was torn up and replaced with some petroleum-based shite.

The floorplans were redesigned. Units like mine -- one bedroom -- had the largish living room turned into living-kitchen, kitchen turned into 'den'. All new windows, appliances, and fixtures -- replacing sash windows with mingy modern jobbies, gas stoves with electric, and claw-foot tubs with plastic.

In other words, YUCK!

Throughout our banishment, we kept trying to find out when we could return.

MASSIVE silence.

Then, in September, we got the word. The other two could return on December 1. For me, ringleader and senior shit-disturber, return date was January 1. (That'll show me!)

The smarter of the other two called to tell me that her place had NOT be gutted, NOT been rearranged, and the gas stove and old tub were still there.

'So what's changed?' I asked.

'I've got several more electrical outlets', she said. 'And it's been painted. You'll never guess what colour.'



The fucking landlord had taken eight months to fish new wiring through the walls -- exactly as we had argued was possible with us in residence at the Landlord-Tenant Board hearings -- and paint.

But what of my place?

I found out on January 1. Just like my neighbour's, all the same but for outlets and paint -- but my place (smaller, mind) took an additional month.

So, I'm back. And very happy about it.

I'm looking forward to running into landlord and grinning at him. 'You didn't fuck my place up!'

I was going to host a virtual housewarming party, but then all the excitement over the anti-prorogue demonstrations and all the misery in Haiti scotched that notion.

Maybe later.

(UNPAID ADVERTISEMENT: I used professional movers. They were absolutely fabulous -- reasonably priced and fast. A wine glass was broken and the world's ugliest ashtray got chipped, but that might be down to me and the unprofessional move out of here. The guy actually called me the night before the move to reassure me that all was well. If anybody in Toronto needs a mover, email me and I'll give you his number.)

Re-arranging the deck chairs on the HMS Titanic

As C.C. points out in Doing the Harpo-Con shuffle, Harper's Most Spectacularly Titanical are being re-deployed, a few deserving the back benches of the House of Commons where the sun never shines and MPs get coal in their slippers at St-Nicholasmas.

So far, nothing indicates that the
Minister for Empty Suits is going to enjoy a come-back.

As for Lisa Raitt, I sure hope she didn't spend a whole lot of money on a designer wardrobe because the effect will be lost in the nosebleed section of the venues where the Owe-lympic events will be held.

Stevie Spiteful and his NEW! Improved! flock of Attack Parrots™© - another photo opportunity, at taxpayers' expense.

Monday 18 January 2010

First Nations and the VanOC

Co-habitation is always fraught with conflict, unresolved issues and, occasionally, opportunities to set aside disputes and differences.

The upcoming Olympic©™ Winter Games in BC are such an occasion. In spite of the sometimes violent, often acrimonious history between the people native to Canada and the various ethnic groups who immigrated here, there seems to exist a precarious agreement among some of their descendants to make the best of the situation. The BBC's take:

The Games, set to attract international attention, have a particular importance for Canada's aboriginal peoples, as many of the sporting events will take place on their ancestral land.

The peoples involved - the Lil'wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations - who live on and share the land, have joined forces. Together with the Vancouver Olympic Committee (Vanoc), they will be hosting the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games in a partnership that is making Olympic history.

This is the first time that aboriginals have been official partners in the Olympics and have been involved in every aspect of the Games starting from the bidding process. [...] Tewanee Joseph, head of the umbrella group known as the Four Host First Nations, sees the Vancouver Winter Olympics as a great time for aboriginals to rebrand themselves in a positive way.

"What people will learn is that we're business people, we're entrepreneurs, we're visual artists and we're performing artists. You know our culture is really living and thriving today and it's been through challenges," says Mr Joseph. "We no longer want to be seen as just Dime Store Indians, just beads and feathers. I think for us those stereotypes are very important for us to break."

Despite all the potential positive attention on their culture, many of British Columbia's aboriginals still feel that the decision to hold the Olympics in Vancouver (and the resort town of Whistler) was wrong.

"A lot of First Nations considered the land to be stolen," says Josh Anderson from the Lil'wat Nation. [...] For aboriginals like Rose Henry, of Sliammon heritage, and Jayson Fleury, who is Saulteaux-Cree, the idea that Vanoc is spending [billions of dollars] on the Games is upsetting.

They both belong to the Olympic Resistance Network (ORN) whose motto is "No Olympics on Stolen Native Land." They believe that some of that money should be spent on issues like homelessness and addiction.

"If you go to Vancouver's downtown eastside, you will see that most of the homeless are First Nations people and they are from this area," says Mr Fleury. "So their rights, their livelihood are not being honoured in any fashion."

"It is costing us a lot more than just the dollars," adds Ms Henry. "Many of our community members are paying with their lives with the inadequate housing and healthcare and so the rippling effects go beyond the 17-day party that's going to be happening here that we can't afford."

From here. One wonders if the ReformaTory government will wait until after the Games to launch another legal appeal against Insite.

The Bloggers Who Were Reluctant to Join Facebook But Did Group

So far, it's a pretty exclusive club. Just moi, Chrystal Ocean of Challenging the Commonplace, Willy Loman, and JJ the Unrepentant.

We joined (or, in JJ's case, reactivated her account at) Facebook to get in on the action at the Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament group.

I'd set up the group actually at Facebook but for two things: a) it seems like work, and b) it would be kinda impolite to use FB space to diss FB.

So I'm starting the group here.

Who's in?

Sunday 17 January 2010


I missed it by 1.

Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament.

Now, to get boots on the ground. Find your rally here.

No Prorogue! Sunday Afternoon Version

Christopher White, founder of the Facebook group Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament just posted this clip on the wall with this comment:
We need a politician who can do this:

OK, it's sappy, but I have a thing for men in skirts.

Membership stands now at more than 198,600. Sure would be nice to get to 200,000 for the Monday Morning Peanut Pundit Gallery.

Here's the link to find about next next Saturday's rallies. By my count, 49 communities are planning events.

And while we're on the topic, Question Period's poll last week was on whether Harpie should have prorogued Parliament. Answer: 84% said NO.

This week's question:
Will the government's handling of the Haitian crisis blunt the anger over prorogation?

You know what to do.

Saturday 16 January 2010

Ready for His Close-Up.

Broadway show-tunes kidding aside, there's something about the depth of Stevie Spiteful's narcissism and his love affair with being photographed (unless of course he's attending to other err..., business) that reminded me of the current occupation of another prime minister.

Something that I read recently ... aha! Here it is!
At last we have found Tony Blair's core principles, his true ­beliefs, the real third way. It is handbags. He is in the final stages of negotiating a job with Louis ­Vuitton Moët Hennessey. It not so much a corporation as a posh-brand pile-up on Millionaire's Row. [...]
Will Harper's short-lived stint as a Canadian politician be worth only one small paragraph in his CV? Does he have an eye on more profitable ventures? Is he angling for work as a model for luxury goods? He may be in luck - no longer is it necessary to have a chiselled and buff body in order to be photographed hawking perfume or designer goods. If Photoshop can shave inches off the thighs of already anorexic catwalk models, think what they can do for Moby Steve.

Many people use politics as a means to land the job of their dreams. $arah Palin? Ya betcha! And also.

He's ready for his close-up Mr Ford.

Un grand merci to lagatta who brought the article about Tony Blair to my attention.

Teabagging for profit - you betcha!

The "Tea Party Nation" (the Tea Party Patriots handle was used for awhile, which produced the unattractive acronym TPP, pronounced teapeepee) keeps shifting and changing names which makes branding the organization somewhat tricky.

Progressives like to remind them that it was their own members that came up with the teabag monniker early on which they quickly tried to jettison. Kind of like C.R.A.P. - Canadian Reform Alliance Party - anyone remember that snafu?

Anyhow, although the organizers of the Nashville convention next month are trying to control media spin, it appears that some journalists are asking uncomfortable questions.

The $549 per person price tag for the sold-out Feb. 4-6 event -- which is closed to all but a "select" group of media friendly to the movement -- has angered some activists. But they began to raise questions when it was revealed that, unlike those similar national events, the organizer of the convention registered the group behind the event - Tea Party Nation - as a “for profit” corporation.

The little-known organizer is Judson Phillips, a self-described "small-town lawyer." He is a former assistant district attorney now in private practice, specializing in driving-under-the-influence and personal-injury cases. He is organizing the convention with his wife, Sherry, his sister-in-law, and a handful of other volunteers.

A background check of various public records databases raises questions about how he has handled money in the past. The search shows that Phillips filed for Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy in 1999 and during the past decade, he has had three federal tax liens against him, totaling more than $22,000.

In an interview with NBC News, Phillips admitted to the financial difficulties. He declined to comment on the bankruptcy, but said the federal tax liens have been paid off. “I work for myself,” he said. “Sometimes you have a good year; sometimes you have a bad year; sometimes you get a little bit behind; the government files a lien. They’ve been paid off. ” [...]

Phillips, who said he ran in a Republican primary for a seat [a Tennessee county board] in 2002, denied that his personal finances have any bearing on his ability to be a responsible steward of Tea Party funds.

“That question is so - that question is not asked about NBC with its advertisers or anything else,” Phillips charged. “We are putting on an event that is a convention. People are paying for their attendance. It’s a private event. People who are coming to it are private; people who are participating in it are all private citizens. It’s not really any of anybody else’s concern.”

Oh really? I'd bet that some of the teabaggers might be interested in knowing where their hard-earned money is going - whether to building a political party or building a business for Judson Phillips and his friends.