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Sympathy For The Devil?

Politics and its Discontents - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 07:33

With tongue firmly ensconced in his cheek, Andrew Coyne writes that we are being too hard on Stephen Harper, a prime minister who has been cruelly betrayed by all those in whom he placed an absolute trust:
You will be familiar with the picture we have created of him: suspicious, paranoid, controlling, a leader who trusts no one, leaves nothing to others, insists on taking a hand in even the smallest matter. Well, you’d be suspicious, paranoid and controlling, too, if everyone around you was lying to you all the time.
Such deception would be enough to break the spirit of even the strongest person:
Consider what we have learned about the Duffy affair. More to the point, consider what he has learned. Wholly without his knowledge, several of his closest advisers, including his chief of staff, his principal secretary, and his legal counsel, together with his Senate house leader, the chairman of the Conservative party fundraising arm and the party lawyer, conspired over a period of several months to pay Duffy for his improperly claimed living expenses, then to pretend to the public that he had repaid them out of his own pocket, then to attempt to block, shut down, or rewrite a confidential audit, then finally to rewrite a Senate committee report so as to absolve Duffy of any fault.To have the foundations of his world so shaken must have exacted an enourmous toll on Mr. Harper:
Imagine the sense of betrayal he must have felt — the vertigo, the nausea — as it slowly dawned on him that everything he had been led to believe about the whole affair was a lie: that in fact, everyone knew. Everyone, that is, but him. Imagine the humiliation, to have been played for a patsy in this way — him, Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada — and what is more, for the whole world to know it. He is a proud man, but not immune to feelings of self-doubt. Would anyone respect him now? Could he carry on as leader, if he were not master even of his own office?And yet, while others might have lashed out in fury at the byzantine machinations of subordinates, the true character of the prime minister became apparent as he chose the road less travelled:
And yet, this good man, deceived, humiliated, betrayed on all sides, found it in his heart to forgive them. You or I, had we found ourselves in the same position, might have taken the most foul sort of revenge: fired the lot, paraded them in front of the media, forced them to answer for what they had done. But that is not, we can see now, Harper’s way: this supposedly ruthless autocrat, this cold, vindictive brute of caricature, responded to this monumental breach of trust with comprehensive mercy. No one was fired, though some were allowed to leave. Some are even travelling with him on his campaign. He was even going to forgive Wright, and would have, had it tested better."These are the times that try men's souls," wrote Thomas Paine. Out of this current political crisis confronting the prime minister, all Canadians have been presented the opportunity to see the stuff that Stephen Harper's soul is really made of.Recommend this Post

New column day

accidentaldeliberations - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 07:32
Here, summarizing these posts on the dangers of setting up past advocacy as a barrier to a place in public life.

For further reading...
- Again, Sean Fine's report on the Cons' general ideological screening for judges is here
- Glenn Kauth reports on Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin's lack of concern about Justice Russell Brown's past comments.
- Rachel Aiello reports on how political parties vet candidates through their social media histories, while John Baglow follows up on the NDP's vetting policy. And Jamie Weinman argues that we should expect more than to play "gotcha" with candidates' past tweets. 
- And finally, John Selmey offers an appropriate reaction to the quotes the Cons have seen fit to highlight in their attacks on the NDP:
The Meet the NDP website is a hilarious example of party miscalculation. In its attempt to smear the New Democrats, the Conservatives only end up bolstering their support among certain demographics. Many of the would-be embarrassing quotes come across (to my eyes, at least) as self-evident and even insightful. Friends of mine have been sharing the link on the Internet as a way of saying, “Look at all the cool stuff these NDP MPs have said!”

What's so hard about that?

Rusty Idols - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 06:48

Believing Harper just means believing that a paranoid, micromanaging control freak with a history of taking an active heavy hand in even the slightest minutia of the PMOs office, was completely unaware of convoluted months of scheming from those closest to him  to deal with a brewing scandal involving a star Tory Senator and serious financial malfeasance.

And then that this PM, known for his vindictive take no prisoners approach to betrayal and failure and those he considers enemies kept most of these trusted advisors on, even to run his reelection campaign, despite months and months of them lying to him to cover up unethical activity resulting in a huge scandal that has damaged his electoral prospects.

What's so hard about that?


A Blast From The Past

Politics and its Discontents - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 05:50
Many thanks to John B who, in response to my previous post, wrote the following and provided this video and this link. I daresay you will enjoy this eerily prophetic blast from the past, as the 'over served' and pompous Mike Duffy attempts a stout defense of his Senate expenditures less that one year into his illustrious post-television career.

I realize that the Beaverton piece is fictional, but let's not forget that Duffy was appointed to the Senate in late 2008 just after the election and possibly as a direct reward for his role in Harper's project to destroy Stéphane Dion.

It would also be informative to our current perspective to keep in mind that the infamous CBC interview during which Peter Stoffer attempted to draw attention to the expense claim abuses that Duffy had committed to support his "expanded role in the party, an exercise that, taking a page from the Jason Kenney manual for publicly-funded CRAP Party ethnopandering, the Scotch-soaked Senator dared to describe as an "outreach", took place in November of 2009, at least three years prior to the "revelations" that have led to the tap-dancing we are now observing.

Recommend this Post

Will He Escape?

Northern Reflections - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 05:31

If you wonder how conservatives -- real conservatives -- are reacting to Stephen Harper's cross country tour, read David Krayden over at ipolitics. Krayden writes that he will vote Conservative -- not because of Stephen Harper, but in spite of him and a campaign that is all about him:

At any rate, it’s misleading to talk about a Conservative party campaign in 2015. This is a Stephen Harper campaign. If you understand that, you understand the thrust behind the ‘Just Not Ready’ ad: the veiled suggestion that Trudeau can have the office once Harper is done with it. This campaign just doesn’t put the leader front and centre — it focuses entirely on Stephen Harper, apparently excluding all other candidates. When Harper was in Vancouver last week, he stood — alone — against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. No incumbent MPs or earnest candidates by his side. The slogan attached to his podium was about him; it didn’t even mention the party.
Krayden long ago reached the conclusion that Harper is not who he claims to be:

At any rate, he’s leading a party that is conservative in name only. In a July pre-campaign announcement, Harper proudly claimed that the introduction of his government’s Universal Child Care Benefit was a “historic day” for Canada. And so it was — it was the day that a serving Conservative PM decided to define his legacy and political prospects in terms of how much money he’s willing to dump on the taxpayers who gave it to him in the first place.

Harper has already cleared the caucus of social conservatives: the list of Conservative MPs not running again is a Who’s Who of evangelical, assertively pro-life legislators in Canadian politics. Harper and the keen kids in the PMO have intimidated this crew for years.

Harper was never a social conservative. Once, he was a libertarian. Now he’s a libertarian who thinks big government — big Harper government — is the answer to all of Canada’s problems. He has become a living, breathing oxymoron.
Some might be tempted to remove the first two syllables of that last word. But the truth is that Stephen Harper is too smart by half.  The Duffy trial has revealed how morally bankrupt the Harper government really is. Nigel Wright's blood is in the water. Ray Novak will be the next to bleed publicly.

The question is, "Will Harper be part of the carnage?" If there are enough people like Krayden willing to vote for him, Stephen may escape Nigel's and Ray's collective fate.

Thursday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 05:20
This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Alex Munter discusses the connection between public health and economic development, along with the need to take a far longer-term view of both. And PressProgress points out Matthew Stanbrook's message (PDF) that the Cons are undermining Canada's medical system through malign neglect.

- Doreen Nichol comments on the relationship between low-wage, precarious work and food insecurity. Michal Rozworski points out how the NDP's plan for a $15 federal minimum wage will have an impact far beyond the people who receive that wage directly, while James Armstrong reports that there's serious reason to question whether the Libs' apparent counteroffer to workers (limited to the ability to request flexible schedules) would help anything at all.

- Andrew Coyne notes in order to consider Stephen Harper's continued spin on the Mike Duffy payoff to be true, one would have to conclude that his staff was systematically lying to him at every opportunity. And Jeffrey Simpson examines just a few of the laughable claims being made by the Cons.

- Christopher Waddell sees the Cons' defining "lying piece of shit" moment as the natural outcome of the stage-management of events to overpower reporters and their questions. And Aaron Wherry raises the question of whether we'd be better served as an electorate if our campaigns were less scripted.

- Finally, George Monbiot takes Labour's leadership race as an opportunity to discuss why progressive parties and candidates need to articulate and defend their own values rather than reinforcing opposing viewpoints:
Across three decades New Labour strategists have overlooked a crucial reality: politicians reinforce the values they espouse. The harder you try to win by adopting your opponents’ values, the more you legitimise and promote them, making your task – and that of your successors – more difficult. Tony Blair won three elections, but in doing so he made future Labour victories less likely. By adopting conservative values, conservative framing and conservative language, he shifted the nation to the right, even when he pursued leftwing policies such as the minimum wage, tax credits and freedom of information. You can sustain policies without values for a while but then, like plants without soil, the movement wilts and dies.
Rebuilding a political movement means espousing what is desirable, then finding ways to make it feasible. The hopeless realists propose the opposite. They assemble a threadbare list of policies they consider feasible, then seek to persuade us that this package is desirable. If they retain core values, they’ve become so muddled by tacking and triangulation as to be almost indecipherable.

So great has the damage been to a party lost for 21 years in Blair’s Bermuda triangulation that it might take many years until it becomes electable again. That is a frightening prospect, but the longer Labour keeps repeating the same mistakes – reinforcing the values it should be contesting – the further to the right it will push the nation, and the more remote its chances of election will become.

Matrix politics

Dawg's Blawg - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 04:57
Blue, red and orange blend and fade to a dull grey. Welcome to electoral “politics” in an advanced “democracy.” Let us assume that Stephen Harper sets the current political benchmark, against which any proposed alternatives might be measured. He’s for... Dr.Dawg

Stephen Harper and the Fateful Attraction of Ray Novak

Montreal Simon - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 04:55

He's trying to carry on his campaign as if nothing has changed. As if the Duffy trial was a mere distraction.

But Stephen Harper couldn't conceal a wince yesterday, when reporters asked him about his beloved Ray Novak.

And whether he was planning to fire him. 
Read more »

The Duffy Trial and the Anger of the Con Base

Montreal Simon - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 00:50

By now most people have seen the video of that angry old Con attacking reporters for asking questions about the Duffy trial.

And it has become a popular internet meme. 

Chris Sigurdson.

But if you thought that Stephen Harper might be smiling, or in his case opening his mouth and showing his teeth, at that show of support from a member of his Con base, you'd be wrong.

Because there was another angry old guy at that rally, and he's Harper's nightmare.
Read more »

It's On!!!

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 23:50
Are you yearning for just a touch of payback for a decade of Harper rule? Reader Ben Burd has thrown down the gauntlet with a link to "Caption Generator, Create Your Own 'Hitler Reacts' Video from your Browser."

It's fun for the entire family.

Now that our own Fuhrer is holed up in his very own bunker left to deny reality at every turn, slake your thirst for a bit of Schadenfreude.  Write a script, cue it to the sub-titles.  Your very own Fuhrer bunker movie to bid Furious Leader a fond farewell.

Don't forget to include the entire General Staff - Baron Wright, Obergruppenfuhrer Kovak, Standartenfuhrer Perrin, and the entire cast of miscellaneous Hauptmans, Untersturmfuhrers and Feldwebels.

I'll give it a shot although I'm far from the artistic type.  Folks like LeDaro might find it more to their suiting and so might you.

See you on the other side.

Bwhahahahaha! Your life may be shorter, especially if you used a credit card on Ashley Madison.

A Creative Revolution - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 15:24

The tagline for a scumbucket cheater site: Life is short, have an affair.......

I am definately feeling the Schadenfreude!

I know, this story involves hackers and all that.

And I couldn't care less! 

Ashley Madison had approx 37 million accts. Now, there are many in that number that may have just been horny dudes in the dark in front of a screen with their dicks in their hands, no credit card info changed hands so those guys are probably safe. 

But there are probably a lot of them, who used their own credit cards and were actively paying to seek an affair. 

Today it all starts coming out, the info is now apparently searchable. Who will be there? Which captains of industry, which holier than thou art religious whackadoos will be exposed? How many mid life chrisis' will be totally exposed for all to see? Stay tuned. They already got a Duggar. 

To all those who were cruising around on this site? Batten down the hatches. Divorce is an expensive and emotional thing. 

You would have been better off just looking at porn. If you were not happy with the one you married, or are in a relationship with? End it or fix it.

No one deserves this kind of humiliation and pain because they happen to be with an asshat who can't keep their pants zipped or keep promises. 

Let the games begin! BOOYA!

Hey, Greece, Here's a Way Out of Your Debt Crisis.

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 15:00
It might not be a perfect answer but it could be a big partial answer.  Greece is a major gateway country for migrants trying to sneak into the European Union heading for Germany or Britain.

Greece plays an important role as a goal tender for the rest of Europe so why not get paid for its service?  The Greeks could send Brussels a bill on a "cost plus" basis.  All expenses paid - patrolling, interception, interning, processing and returning migrants to whence they came - along with a bounty per head of several thousand Euros.

If one side wouldn't pay I'll bet the other would - the same levy for entry into Greece and free passage across Greek borders into the rest of Europe.

Then Athens could allocate a percentage of the net to paying down their Euro Bank/IMF debt.  Sounds like a plan.

Tory Veteran Ready to Throw In the Towel?

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 14:52
Randy White is a full-blooded ReformaTory.  As an MP from 1993 to 2006 he's been a standard bearer for the Reform Party, the Alliance Party and, finally, the Conservatives.  Now, it seems, he doesn't like what Harper has done with the place.

Randy White told CTV’s Richard Madan outside an NDP rally in Parksville, B.C., that he’s “not happy with what’s going on in Ottawa.”

“There’s a lot of problems there. The Senate’s not even the biggest one, but it’s serious,” White said.

“The economy isn’t what the government is saying it is; it’s not good,” he added.

White said “a lot of people are looking for change and I’m thinking about change myself.”


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