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

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bravo for People for Corporate Tax Cuts

Wow, I have to say my hat is off to the people at OPSEU who put this campaign together. They are doing a marvelous job of keeping a straight faee and keeping up the gag. This was in my inbox at the newspaper this morning.

Good Morning -

Are you wondering how you will come up with $500 to pay your share of the Ontario government's proposed $2.4 billion a year corporate tax cut? Today, People for Corporate Tax Cuts unveiled its province-wide campaign to shares tips on how Ontarians can raise the $500 every household must contribute to pay for the corporate tax cuts. The organization will also educate Ontarians on the important role the cuts play in executive salaries and bonuses, and paying for other vital management incentives.

Examples of how Ontarians can raise $500:
– 15 year old Jimmy Palmatier sold his hockey equipment to help his parents pay their share
– Rahid Gupta vowed to give up his health care benefits so the government could put that money towards the corporate tax cuts

For more information, please visit our website.

NOTE: A press release is included below with additional information.

James Stephen
People for Corporate Tax Cuts



(TORONTO) January 20 – People For Corporate Tax Cuts (PFCTC) has launched a province-wide multi-media campaign in support of the Ontario government’s plan to give corporations a $2.4 billion a year tax cut.

“Giving corporations a $2.4 billion income tax cut means that every household in Ontario will have to contribute $500 to pay their share,” announced Nuella Warkworth, PFCTC President, Chair, CEO and COO, at a Niagara Falls press conference held earlier this week. “We’re here to help them do that.”

Through www.peopleforcorporatetaxcuts.ca and a media advertising campaign, PFCTC will share tips on how Ontarians can raise $500 to pay their share of the corporate tax cuts.

“The goal of the campaign is to show Ontarians that there are many ways they can come up with their $500 share of the corporate tax cuts,” said Warkworth. “Take Mrs. Muriel Flagle, for example. This 77 year old woman sold her walker to pay her share and is a proud member of PFCTC.”

The organization will also educate all Ontarians on the important role corporate tax cuts play in increasing executive salaries and bonuses, and paying for other vital management incentives.

PFCTC will be giving away $500 prizes to those who submit the best videos or photos showing how they will come up with the money they need to pay for corporate tax cuts. If they are unable to come with the money, entrants may also outline what public services they are personally prepared to give up so that the government can pass the savings on to corporations.

People For Corporate Tax Cuts also wishes to ensure that the Ontario government gets the credit it deserves. Ms Warkworth explained, “Even though Ontario already has about the lowest corporate taxes in North America, our government is proudly determined to cut corporate taxes even further. People For Corporate Tax Cuts recognizes and applauds this well-planned transfer of wealth from the people of Ontario to our corporate friends.”

Nuella Warkworth is a tireless fighter for the rights of corporations and the executives who run them. See her videos at www.peopleforcorporatetaxcuts.ca

About People for Corporate Tax Cuts – www.peopleforcorporatetaxcuts.ca:
People For Corporate Tax Cuts is a grassroots organization, founded in 2000 and led by Nuella Warkworth. Headquartered in Toronto with members throughout Ontario, PFCTC’s mission is to advocate for ever more generous corporate tax cuts. The organization has been very successful as Ontario’s corporate tax rates have fallen significantly in the last decade. A 2010 study by the KPMG consulting firm shows that Ontario has much lower business taxes than the United States and our key competitors.

“Pay Your Share” The People For Corporate Tax Cuts Anthem is available on our website.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"My back still aches when I hear that word"

Like that sculpture? Apparently you are a family values-hating homosexual then, at least according to a bunch of Jesused-up nutcases in Southwestern Ontario.
The Short Version: Exhibit by local artist at the library is featured in the local newspaper. The article happens to mention that some of the artist's previous work focuses on presenting postive images of the gay community. Local Baptists - who haven't seen the exhibit-  throw a hissy fit about how everyone will get gay cooties by looking at some statues because they were made by a homosexual and someone at the library throws a bedsheet over the exhibit  until the higher-ups can discuss the controversy.

I used to work in and around Tillsonburg so I can't really say I'm surprised by the appallingly stupid bigotry involved here -- I know there are some real whackjobs in the neighbourhood. I'm just very disappointed in the lack of spine displayed by the library.

Now, on the plus side, the library board did vote unanimously to uncover the exhibit and most of the comment at the local newspaper about the issue have been along the "what the hell is the big deal?" line, but I cannot believe there even needed to be a discussion about this. There is nothing sexual about the art and those complaining about it should have simply been written off as the crackpots they obviously are.

Seriously, if the title of this sculpture had been "Wrestlers" I'm guessing this dingbat wouldn't have had any problem with it. 

tip of the hat to Slap Upside the Head 


If you aren't angry, you haven't been paying attention

Ian Welsh lays it out just about right. And David Lindorff further discusses the monsters in our midst.
The Skipper has been criticized by a few under the Godwin's Law argument, but I agree with him and with Welsh that we too often fall into the trap of reasonableness, that by going along to get along we too often normalize extremist opinion and outrageous attitudes by our tacit acceptance.

We grossly overvalue civility when we condemn people for using strong language to describe reprehensible actions and attitudes. Right-wing radio hosts and  tea party activists make horribly racist statements on a regular basis, but somehow calling them racists  is verboten. The American and Canadian government now routinely step all over basic human rights and openly embrace plutocracy, but to call them fascists is somehow considered beyond the pale. Somehow, somewhere along the line it became unacceptable in the mass media to declare the emperor is stark naked.

We, as a society, need to start calling people out and making them take responsibility for the things they say. I'm all for free speech. When someone starts casually talking about murdering people, about 'bombing them back to the stone age," I think everyone else should be free to to call them a monster without being lectured about how its impolite to do so.

Lindorff's example is a classic:

I brought my son and a friend last year to the notorious Army Experience Center, a multi-million state-of-the-art virtual war recruiting wonderland located in a mall in working-class Northeast Philadelphia. Filled with an array of very fast computers and video screens on which kids as young as 14 could blast away in realistic war scenarios, and featuring two darkened rooms that had the real bodies of an armored Humvee and a Blackhawk helicopter where kids could man the guns and operate in a 3-D video environment with surround sound so that you felt like you were moving through hostile territory and had to “take out” the “bad guys” while quickly identifying innocent civilians and avoiding shooting them. My son, his friend and I tried the Humvee out, and at the end of our “mission,” the recruiter, an Iraq vet, congratulated us, saying we were “the best gunners all day!” and that our error rate had been “only 30%.”
I asked him what “error rate” meant, and he said, “Collateral damage--civilians killed.”
“Thirty percent of the peope we just killed were civilians?” I asked, aghast.
“Oh yeah,” he said matter-of-factly. “Don’t feel bad. That’s not a bad percentage.” 

When did it become okay for soldiers to murder civilians? Why is torture, murder  and repression any more acceptable when embraced by Barak Obama than it was when it was done by George W. Bush, or for that matter Stalin, Hitler or Pol Pot. How can we as a society decry the use of gangs of armed thugs and secret police to suppress dissent in Iran, while applauding the same tactics in Toronto?


Taking over the asylum - an announcement

So, you've finally had it with TV News and big media empire newspapers that exist mainly to satisfy the egos of rich plutocrats and give car dealers and real estate salesmen a place to hawk their wares.
Talk radio either puts you to sleep ("Sure, it's January Canada and your yard has two feet of snow in it, but we're going to spend the next four hours with our gardening expert, taking your calls - hello Gordie from Kapuskasing, you're on the air!") or makes you wonder what the hell is wrong with some people ("Welcome to the red, white, and blue patriot hour , I'm your host -  the greatest living American - Lush Bimbo! Liebrals are stooooopid! Hurrah for Freedom! Eeeek, dusky islamomarxianarchists! I am NOT a racist, now let me tell you some "jokes" about Obama, fried chicken and watermelon!  Blar-har-har! Let's take America back! Fluoridation is a homosexual plot to take America off the gold standard again and make us all have abortions and speak French! Buy my "book"! Hurrah for anyone in uniform, even the UPS guys! USA! USA!").
You are pretty much fed up with most of the editorial page gang of mealy mouthed equivocators, gasbags, faux curmudgeons, half-bright contrarians and the publisher's schoolchums telling you that "both sides do it, sure there's a problem but it's too complicated to fix and ooooh! look shiny object! Shiny Object!!!"

Yeah, I know what you mean. And I work in that industry.

There is an antidote to the inane and insane. Think of it as Our Media Not Theirs.

Look over on the sidebar, under the radio. What, you may ask, is that doohickey? What the heck is Virtually Speaking?

That doohickey is the your ticket out of the commentary ghetto of mass media bloviations.

Once upon a time, a bunch of people who went through what you are going through now, decided that since it would be very bad form and probably illegal to actually fill the Meet the Press studio from floor to ceiling with real horse manure during a broadcast, no matter how good it might feel,  and so they really wanted an alternative. They wanted a talk show, just like the ones on the TV networks, but with smart, funny, interesting people willing to express an actual opinion and take part in a discussion about ideas instead of meat puppets burping up sound bites at each other. Where would they find these smart, funny, interesting people? It was a puzzlement. Then, one day, a couple of smart, funny, interesting people were doing what they usually did - reading blogs - and it dawned on them that there were lots of other smart, funny, interesting people reading and writing blogs and doing journalism on the internet or even in traditional media outside the Washington Beltway Village and hey, wouldn't it be great if you could get a few of them together to be smart, funny and interesting in real time instead of having them type everything and crosspost and link and html the life out of the discussion. Besides which, most bloggers are attention whores who will do anything if they think it means people will listen to them always willing to work for free for a good cause.
And thus Virtually Speaking was born.
A live audience in the Second Life cartoon universe sits and watches the aforementioned smart, funny, interesting people talk to each other over the Internet, while chatting among themselves and sending in questions. Other people listen to the show broadcast live over the Internet on Blogtalk Radio and some of them call in with questions or comments on the telephone. Still more people download the recorded shows as podcasts or listen to them on the Virtually Speaking webpage. And it doesn't cost anything and Rupert Murdoch, Conrad Black, Pierre Karl Peladeau and Richard Melon Scaife don't make a single cent off of it.

And those smart, funny, interesting people - just who are they anyways? Well, a partial list would include:

and of course the regular Sunday panel of bloggers, which includes in various combinations:

And it was good. Everybody had fun, issues were discussed and snark was shared. The Second Life thing is admittedly a bit geeky, but so what? As some of you may know, my secret shame is that I am one of "those people" who spend perfectly good free time I could be spending shopping, golfing,  reading Ayn Rand, or hammering roofing nails into my forehead hanging out with a bunch of weirdos from around the world in cartoon form in my little virtual tree fort, known to the hip comrades and cool cadres of the Second Life Marxist-Lennonist Party as the Red Zeppelin.

In fact, the Red Zeppelin has been the official home of the post shop wrap party on Sundays for the better part of a year now, which means that list of smart, funny, interesting people sometimes even come by and hang out after the show and see what the cartooniverse is all about. I play music, blather a tiny bit and then we all go catch a movie off YouTube and generally make a night of it. We have fun and I've made lots of friends -- but I digress.

Why am I carrying on so about Virtually Speaking? I mean, sure, it's a great, free, progressive forum where smart people talk about important stuff in insightful ways and all, but so what, right? They are mostly Americans, talking about American politics, which, while it is my favorite spectator sport and has a huge influence on us over here on the mouse's side of the bed, doesn't have the same immediate influence on our lives as our own politics has. We muddle along with the CBC and Globe and Mail and Power & Politics and The House and our own little corner of the blogosphere and we do okay, right?
But, as with Wayne Gretzky, William Shatner, socialized medicine and the Quebec Nordique, those demon Yankees  couldn't just let us have anything nice for ourselves without taking it and getting their filthy paws all over it. Eventually, the brain trust at Virtually Speaking turned its collective gaze northward and decided that Canadians are really just liberal-ish Americans or something and maybe they could learn something from a country that was a lot like theirs, but with government health care and a lot fewer handguns. And so they decided they needed a Canadian edition in the burgeoning line up of Virtually Speaking shows.

Remember those smart, funny, interesting people? Well, I guess they ran out of them. Everyone always said I had a great face for radio, so they've asked me to host a show.

To which I could only respond "Vive la revolution de sirop d'erable!" which confused them considerably since they want the show done in "American, not whatever they speak in Europe"

The first episode of Virtually Speaking Sundays:Maple Syrup Edition will be Feb. 20. Stay tuned for further details.

I know, I know...but by the time they figure it out it will be too late. I figure the first episode will be about whether to ban the polar bear hunt in Toronto.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Attention political strategists

This is how a new media campaign is run. This is how you make a political point in a memorable way. I don't know who the brains are behind this. I'll be amazed if it is something that the provincial NDP came up with, since it lacks their usual earnestness, but if I were in charge of any of the media stuff for any of the parties, I'd be hiring these people yesterday, if not sooner.

UPDATE: This is who commissioned the whole campaign.