Technically not the very first flakes, but definitely the first that decided to hang around for more than a few minutes. Enough, at least, for me to dust off the ole camera.
Archive for November, 2012
Not long ago I was accused of being brainwashed because I follow politics. I tried to get more information about my alleged brainwashing from my interlocutor and was bluntly told that I never used to follow politics, so why now?
This person also reads (or at least used to read), TCL, so really would’ve been fairly familiar with how long I’d been following politics; and when I look back through my old posts I realize it’s been for a lot longer than I’d been “brainwashed” for. In fact, the only real thing that’s changed is that I’ve become critical, begun to dig a lot deeper, and think about things a lot more thoroughly.
In other words, I’m “brainwashed” because I now think and express myself a lot more freely.
I have regular discussions about politics with this person and am often confronted with their obstinate support of the Harper government. This, at least in part, is one of the reasons I’ve been so vocal (if the word can be applied to writing), about my criticisms of the numerous ways that he and his gang are trying to destroy freedom in Canada.
By “freedom” I’m not alluding to some vague notions of self-expression (though that is certainly true), I’m talking about simple physical freedoms like being able to walk down the street without fear of arbitrary arrest, or being free to express simple opinions and truths without having the government crack down on you, harass you, or spy on you secretly.
This same person, the one who accused me of being brainwashed, came from a repressive communist country where such things were a regular thing, so I assumed that this kind of thing wouldn’t sit well with them. Yet when faced with stark evidence like Bill C-38 or Bill C-11, and expecting at least a modicum of thought, some skepticism, maybe a willingness to dig a bit deeper, even if just to prove me wrong, I instead got derision.
The best retort they can muster is to call me dumb (and brainwashed), and to demand to know why such things concern me.
The real question is, why don’t they concern you?! (And I’m brainwashed)
It’s not tough to imagine, then, with people willing to live with their eyes and ears covered like this, that Harper continues on his merry way to making Canada a massive repressive regime within which citizens are expected to cower in fear and dare not speak ill of the government lest they be “disappeared” into some dark dungeon, indefinitely, with no trial, judge, or jury. The same citizens are actually fully supporting such moves, and they sure don’t want to hear how such things could possibly be bad (even if they’ve lived through such terrors themselves). Heck, why would you even need evidence at that point?
If you’re still paying attention, though, there is still some hope.
In the US, the NDAA (innocuously disguised as a recurring military funding bill), includes a variety of passages that allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens (in fact, anyone at all), without trial, in military Gulags not unlike Guantanamo Bay. With Bill C-38, Harper has allowed the US to legally waltz across the border with complete impunity and “remove” people at any time they wish.
Not to be outdone, of course, the Harper government is introducing Bill S-7, the “Combating Terrorism Act” (the catch-all term for everything and anything designed to separate you from your rights and freedoms these days), which has many of the same features as the NDAA. Here are some highlights to expect should this thing make it through:
- People may be put under “preventive arrest” for up to three days.
- The “preventive arrest” may be due to an alleged association with a “terrorist” (which may include everything from environmentalists to anyone critical of the government), alleged knowledge of a “terrorist” or their dealings, or — my favourite — being suspected of future involvement with terrorists.
- As with all good Kafkaesque schemes, those arrested are not allowed to know the details of their arrest or know any of the evidence against them.
- Those arrested must stand before an “investigative hearing”.
- A judge can jail those arrested for up to year if they don’t enter into recognizance, which is a fancy term for a conditional release — you have to appear regularly before a court, may have to wear a tracking device, etc.
- Such arrests can occur without any charges being laid. In other words, they don’t really even need a good reason, just that something didn’t seem right about the person.
- Any evidence that is used against the arrested person (which, of course, they are not allowed to know anything about), can be obtained from foreign sources or through torture.
- These changes would become part of the Criminal Code of Canada — everyone would be subject to them.
It’s interesting to see how the October 23rd vote on this bill went down: unanimously voted in by both Conservatives and Liberals. I’m sure I’ve stated my belief more than once that they’re now essentially one and the same apparatus (McGuinty’s latest escapades also illustrate this quite well). Literally anyone outside of these two parties voted against it.
It’s also worthwhile to read the discussion at the second reading of the bill, even just to get a sense of the basically blasé, done-deal rhetoric that proponents could muster (when they could be bothered to speak on such trivial matters at all) — oh, and don’t forget 9/11!
To me it seems self-evident that anyone and everyone should be at least slightly concerned about such laws and, moreover, the types of government that would be continuously bringing them forward. The only way to avoid concern is to be completely oblivious to everything when presented with it, to deny reality when it’s staring you in the face, and to sing the praises of our glorious leader even as he’s setting up mega-prisons and the means to fill them with anyone who doesn’t toe the line.
But I guess I’m just brainwashed.
I received a chain email yesterday:
The day that Albert Einstein
feared may have finally arrived.
Having coffee with friends.
A day at the beach.
Cheering on your team.
Having dinner out with your friends.
Out on an intimate date.
Having a conversation with your BFF
A visit to the museum
Enjoying the sights
You may have seen this already. Apparently it’s been making the rounds on a number of websites in various versions.
Whether or not you’ve seen it, though, it’s obvious that what this is is a not-so-subtle, inter-generational jab at the youth of today. And, at first blush, it has the appearance of being backed by one of the world’s foremost thinkers.
But once you dig a little deeper you quickly realize that this take on the “idiots” of today’s generation is really more of a reflection on those who perpetuate it.
Take the most obvious point, for example — the Einstein quote. It’s a fake. This is demonstrated on site after site; and really the thing that Einstein feared about technology is how dangerous it has become (in the form of things like the hydrogen bomb, for example). In fact, use of the word “idiot” by Einstein seems highly unlikely. Additionally, the quote in it’s current incarnation doesn’t seem to exist anywhere prior to 2012 (and I remember a reference to something similar dated to around 2000).
In any event, it ain’t Einstein. And you know how people could verify that? Technology, for starters!
But lets assume that the quote is correct, regardless of who said it.
A “generation of idiots”?
The pictures show kids on mobile phones — disconnected from the world around them, maybe, but what about this makes them “idiots”? Well, if a two-way interaction with a screen makes them “idiots”, what does it make the generation that precedes them?
Spending quality time
Yeah, that knife can cut both ways, and the older edge goes just a little deeper. Besides, the progenitors of these “idiots” are the ones responsible for making them that way (either that, or they’re a bunch of irresponsible goofs).
I also couldn’t notice the use of the acronym BFF in one of the images — something that came about as a result of the need for brevity in text-based conversations on small screens. Kind of ironic. Almost as ironic (maybe intentionally — if only it had been communicated with finesse), as one of the replies that to the thread that was broadcast back out to the email herd:
“Sad isn’t it
Sent from my “contract free” BlackBerry® smartphone on the WIND network.”
I rest my case.
This fall has been just amazing for myself and our family.
First off, I got to have the birthday’s of all birthdays! I honest to God did not expect that I got to have 3 bday celebrations thx to the bestest man in the world! (my birthday was October 1).
Friday, Saturday, Sunday (I treated Him to a private brunch!).
That brings us to Monday, Oct 1, 2012, the best surprise gift day I ever got!!
What was so special? Patrick made reservations forTwo at the Fairmont Royal York!
Brunch was beyond words amazing and fairly priced to boot!
We have since gone to Kit Kat on King West, etc etc.
If you’re in town hit me up and we can go to great places together!
Love is healing my heart body and soul AND throw in some good food then you have it made!
PS: follow your life’s passions and have a drink to celebrate!
Hello again to the desk (bed… ) of SarahD!
On Monday at 10:32am Mayor Robert Bruce– who names their kid Bruce?) Ford got FIRED!! :-)
He intentionally breached the codes of office and a high court judge told him what was what.
The man who fires people at will clearly received the city’s retribution.
I have some questions for you all: do you think that he did what he did intentionally?
Given the dynamics of the Ford family, do you believe that played a part in the manner of Rob’s tenure as Mayor?
I frequently wonder if things would have been different had DOUG not had been sitting there telling him how to function lol.
Would Rob Ford have been a good Mayor of Toronto all by himself without Doug?
I can understand that family is family and they should be by one’s side however, Toronto did not elect a two-person Mayor…
My thoughts request your thoughts so feel free to write back!
Peace, love, and good health to you,
The idea that Ford would easily win a re-election if ousted was making the rounds before the judgement was announced. And, of course, every fool pundit and their dog was claiming that, for sure, he would be re-elected. Hands down. No doubt.
After all, the people of Toronto love Ford and think he’s doing just a great job with everything!
Sites like Canada.com have dedicated more than one column to propping up a man who, by his own admission, can barely tie his own shoelaces. The National Post typically marches in lock-step with the Ford dictatorship, so they’re not shy about showing their own support. And, of course, the Toronto Sun might as well be called The Rob Ford Daily, though that future is uncertain since he recently turned on them.
Yup, it’s pretty much a done deal … if Ford runs again, he’s a shoe-in and his ouster will just be a huge waste of time! Easy!
So…yeah…there you go; when it comes to Ford, the bullshit just won’t stop. The media lackeys … erm … pundits, may not have learned that lesson, but at least it looks like the voters have.
No one can say that this was a “Leftie” conspiracy against Rob Ford — the judge who passed the judgment was in favour of the Harper government in the Guergis case.
And despite the blatantly false, grossly uninformed, and incessantly misleading bleating of ardent Ford supporters like CP24’s Stephen Ledrew (I’m sure Jerry Agar won’t be far behind), Hackland’s judgement was not a mere “technicality” (“highly unlikely” to go anywhere, according to Ledrew, mere moments before the verdict was delivered), or based on “Ford helping the kids”.
And despite CP24’s best attempt to spin the verdict by showing the “range of responses” from Twitter, which included one outraged respondent and a question about how long Ford has to appeal, my own experience both online and off (I’m sitting in a downtown coffee shop as I write this), shows an overwhelming amount of joy and a feeling that justice has finally been done. Not a “he got his” feeling, but a “law prevailed as we knew it must” feeling — something I’m sure, based on all the feedback I’ve seen, Ford supporters just can’t wrap their heads around. And there aren’t many of them around anymore (this is why I’ve mused more than once about the real conspiracy, the one that’s propping Ford up).
I can honestly say that I knew in my heart of hearts that this had to be the verdict. As I’ve stated in numerous previous posts, the judge’s job is to make sure that the law is followed, and in this case the law was very clear. Ultimately, as Ruby, the lawyer who brought the case against Ford, said in a televised conference shortly after the verdict was released, Rob Ford did this to Rob Ford. That was so plainly and painfully obvious to anyone who read the details of the case that any judgment to the contrary would’ve been a shock, not the other way around. Not that it’s stopping Ledrew and the CP24 team from trying to push this lie into the “range of responses” and trying their damnedest to steer the conversation in this direction.
But if you still don’t believe how un-shocked I am at this verdict, just scroll back through a few past Ford conflict of interest posts on TCL and compare the language I used to that used by the judge himself (be sure to read the whole judgement while you’re at it):
Hackland: “In view of the respondent’s leadership role in ensuring integrity in municipal government, it is difficult to accept an error in judgment defence based essentially on a stubborn sense of entitlement (concerning his football foundation) and a dismissive and confrontational attitude to the Integrity Commissioner and the Code of Conduct. In my opinion, the respondent’s actions were characterized by ignorance of the law and a lack of diligence in securing professional advice, amounting to wilful blindness. As such, I find his actions are incompatible with an error in judgment.”
TCL: “The real problem with Ford, aside from believing he can pick and choose which laws to follow, is that he’s personally offensive, and has been from day one. He shows no remorse for any of his actions, and if he stays in office there’s no reason to believe that things will get anything but worse. Much worse.”
Hackland: “For the reasons set out above, I have concluded that the respondent contravened s. 5 of the MCIA when he spoke and voted on a matter in which he had a pecuniary interest at the meeting of Toronto City Council on February 7, 2012, and that his actions were not done by reason of inadvertence or a good faith error in judgment.”
TCL: “This can easily be seen as vote buying — you donate to Rob’s foundation, he gets you tax receipts and special favours when he gets into the Mayor’s seat. Even if that never happens (though with Ford, it most likely would), the chance of it happening is eliminated by having things like the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (in fact, that’s the sole reason for this law to exist in the first place!) Maybe Robbie didn’t know that it could be perceived this way? Not a fucking chance.”
Hackland: “In assessing errors in judgment, just as it may be relevant to consider the position of a novice elected councillor with limited experience with conflict of interest issues, it is also appropriate to consider the responsibilities of the respondent as a long-serving councillor and Mayor. In my opinion, a high standard must be expected from an elected official in a position of leadership and responsibility. Toronto’s current Code of Conduct is modelled on the recommendations of The Honourable Denise Bellamy, who conducted the Toronto Computer Leasing Inquiry, in 2005, when the respondent was a member of City Council.
TCL: “Thing is, Ford had gotten the book of rules just like every other Councillor — of which, of course, he has no memory but does have a clear recollection of what he ate for breakfast that morning (that’s the actual reply) — sat in and voted on meetings with reports by the Integrity Commissioner where conflicts of interest were clearly spelled out, had access to Ana Kinastowski who heads City Hall’s legal department, and could also use a part of his office budget for independent legal advice if he wants it. And don’t forget how many times Ford had recused himself in the past when the conflicts of interest were laughably far removed from him. And just in case there was any doubt, Ford is reminded how Sandra Bussin had mentioned that Ford might be in a conflict of interest prior to the meeting, and that according to the same document he kinda remembers signing, the final responsibility for such things lies with him.”
I could go on but it’s kind of beating a dead horse. And I have to be upfront and say that I’m definitely not the only person to point out these “discrepancies” in Ford’s thinking and statements.
But no matter what I think or say, it’s very satisfying at the end of all of this to know that common sense, as reflected in law, has prevailed. On occasion, the law actually works!
Ford is now busily figuring out how to spend the next two weeks before he has to give up his seat. Apparently there’s an appeal in the works and we can be pretty sure the Supreme Court is going to be hearing of this outrage. In the meantime, though, City Council is thinking about if they should appoint an interim mayor or if there should be a by-election. Ford won’t be barred from this so presumably he could run (and win), once again. Considering the amount of bad blood he’s racked up so far though, even if he throws his name into the ring, I can’t see him winning again. Sorry, Ledrew, but you’re wrong on that one too.
I know — I didn’t follow up much on Rob Ford’s conflict of interest case of a few months ago, although I’ve been eagerly awaiting a verdict.
I actually went down to the court house on the first day of the trial to hear him give testimony, and it was pretty much what I’d expected. There was a lot of side-stepping and claiming that during his decade or so at City Hall, he’d never really read the rules, barely talked to any legal aid, had most of his decisions made for him, and ignored the advice of fellow Councillors — what more could you expect from a mayor?
I tweeted from the court room so I’m sure Twitter will have some record of exactly how things went down that day, but there was really nothing new learned on that occasion except the amount of derision in the court that morning. Justice Hackland warned against “outbursts” when someone produced a quiet snicker at one of Ford’s remarks. It may have been the one where he said, “You read it to me, but I haven’t read it,” (referring to a previous conversation that he’d had with Clayton Ruby about reading the rules and which, apparently, failed to make any impression), but really there were so many that I could easily be mistaken.
In any event, it just smacked of one giant insult against common sense to hear the man speak and try to wriggle his way out of responsibility for his own actions.
The reason I mention this is because, at long last, the court is supposed to be delivering its verdict on this coming Monday (at 10 a.m.) In practical terms, Ford may not be mayor come Tuesday morning. That would mean not only a possible by-election, but also Ford’s absence from any municipal politics for a number of years (so presumably Harper would immediately take him on in some cabinet position).
Let justice, law, and the truth prevail!