"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Friday, October 28, 2011

This will not stand!

"You won't recognize Canada when I get through with it"
-Stephen Harper

Not content with running roughshod over the wishes of the majority of Canadians and eliminating the long-gun registry, ignoring the majority of wheat farmers and cutting the throat of the Canadian Wheat Board, the Harper conservatives are now starting to tinker with national symbols.

Dam the beaver — use the polar bear as official emblem, Tory saysOTTAWA—A Conservative senator says it’s time Canada was symbolized by something more majestic than a buck-toothed rodent.
Senator Nicole Eaton wants the polar bear to replace the beaver as an official emblem of Canada.
She says the polar bear is Canada’s “most majestic and splendid mammal,” and a powerful symbol in the lives of native peoples in the North.
She believes the furry, white carnivore’s “strength, courage, resourcefulness and dignity” is an appropriate symbol for modern-day Canada.
By contrast, she derides the lowly beaver as a “19th century has-been,” a “dentally defective rat,” a “toothy tyrant” and a nuisance that wreaks havoc on its environment.
I suppose next they will want to change the flag to a circle of 10 white maple leaves on a blue field in the top left corner over a field of red and white stripes, or maybe just bring back the Red Ensign, since they seem to want to burn down anything that has happened since Diefenbaker was prime minister.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Keeping occupied

Cartoon shamelessly stolen from Alison at Creekside, who got it from LeDevoir.

It appears the Occupy Wall Street movement is starting to crumble a bit around the edges. Some of the reasons are the external ones you might expect - like the Oakland police launching tear gas into an unarmed, nonviolent crowd or the steady drip of arrests and trouble sparked by police agent provocateurs and the constant efforts in the press to insists the protesters don't know what they want or understand what they are protesting about (which is, not to put too fine a point on it, utter bullshit).
Then there are the more practical reasons. The weather is turning colder and the resources that make the protest possible are running low. Simply put, most people cannot afford to spend week after week camping out in Zucotti Park or wherever else is being occupied.
Unlike the Teabaggers -- who just rolled up on their mobility scooters or arrived on Koch-sponsored bus tours, got shouty about keeping the gummint out of their medicare and waved badly spelled signs for an hour or two and then went home to watch FOX News, clean their guns and wait for their next social security cheque--the Wall Street occupiers are mostly people of working age who would rather be working. Some of so-called professional protestors or full-time activists, some are  college students, some are returned vets, some are just regular people with nothing left to lose, but most of them would much rather be working a paying job than freezing their butts off and getting threatened with a macing in the park.
No, the main threat to the occupy movement at this point seems to be the movement itself. You can only live in the parks and public squares for so long without bathrooms. The democratic nature of the movement can only be hijacked so many times by malcontents, purity trolls, single-issue hostage-takers and anarchists before the organization starts to pull itself apart. And don't lets get started on the drummers. As in any bottom-up movement, the center cannot hold indefinitely and as in any liberal movement where everyone's opinion is given equal time and consideration from the moderate to the most radical, cohesion has limited lifespan before groups start to splinter.
I think the movement is making their point, but would be better off to push hard while they still have momentum in the short term for some kind of concession in Washington that would let them declare victory and go home before attrition and cold weather whittle down their numbers or the powers that be decide that the short term PR problems a violent sweep by riot cops would bring is a lesser evil than the PR nightmare of Occupy Wall Street carrying on through Christmas.
One possible move the occupiers around the country should consider is a collective march on Washington or Wall Street in the style of the Bonus Army. You think the 1% are worried now, wait and see the panic when a million or so people from around the country converge on a single power center in numbers that would overwhelm any possible police response


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

both need braaaaaaains

There is a rare seasonly-themed event this week that I would love to attend, You don't often see seasonally themed events for political wonks, but this one promises to be a classic
Daniel Drezner, a professor at the  Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University is speaking about his latest book at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo tonight. His latest book being Theories of International Politcs and Zombies.
I haven't read it (yet) but thanks to my extensive study of political science and repeated views of The Walking Dead, I have learned to tell the two apart. The trick is that one is a staggering, putrid, rotten, mindless creature that destroys anything it can touch and has a seemingly insatiable appetite for human flesh, the other is a zombie.
Leave your jokes about the UN, the G20, the Commonwealth, the conservative base, the GOP leadership race and the undead in the comments.


Monday, October 24, 2011

In other news, the sun set in the west today and is widely expected to rise in the east tomorrow...

I'm shocked, just shocked that Christie Blatchford said something stupid, mean-spirited and offensive about not-police people who work hard to help people in need.That hasn't happened since her last column.


I smell Nobel prize!

Dear Nobel prize panel,
Never mind handing out prizes for curing cancer or ending war, a solution has been found for the greatest modern plague known to the western world: idiot trolls on internet comment threads. 
While this blog has largely been free of such dumbassery, such people have long since ruined the comment threads at any major media outlet from the Globe&Mail to Youtube (possibly the stupidest, most ill-informed and downright hateful commenters anywhere outside of the right-wing echo chamber blogs coughsmalldeadanimalscough)
All hail the wonder that is OUTKUBE!

your truly,

P.S. Sorry for not writing to you in Swedish or Norwegian, but since you usually give the literature prize to someone writing in English, I figure you must all be fluent.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Viva the usual suspects!

92 years old and he is still fighting for the 99%. His machine "surrounds hate and forces it to surrender." FSM bless Pete Seeger and his fellow travellers!


the birth of the tea party movement

Before Archie Bunker made bigotry just another endearing trait of old white guys, like flatulence or Republicanism, there was Joe.

While Archie Bunker was eventually redeemed and learned to think past his prejudices and was, in reality, a very clever move by Norman Lear to subvert conservative bigotry, "Joe" was a little uh, darker. The sad part is, today's Tea Party Conservative thinks of Joe as a hero and seem to view the movie as a documentary. And FSM knows, today's so-called centerists like David Brooks and the Sunday morning talks show types love to punch the dirty hippies.