Saturday, April 30, 2005

Proving the Negative

The title link takes you to the CTV page: Cdns. suspicious of a Tory hidden agenda: poll

For manipulation to be most effective, evidence of its presence should be nonexistent... It is essential, therefore, that people who are manipulated believe in the neutrality of their key social institutions. -- Herbert Schiller

The two most annoying words in the English language are: Hidden Agenda.

They are vague and mean nothing, yet they are potent and impossible to elude.

One can't disprove the existence of a secret agenda. A lack of evidence is simply a testament how crafty and cunning one is.

The phrase 'hidden agenda' is the perfect tool of manipulation. Paul Martin needn't suggest what is hidden. Nor is the onus on him to prove that anything is hidden at all. He only has to chant his mantra and the media has done the rest.

These words are more powerful and more destructive than: corruption, scandal, fraud, lies -- because those words all have clear meanings. Philip K. Dick said about propaganda: The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.

Propaganda by omission - as practiced by the Liberals, is perhaps more persuasive and more malicious than out-and out accusations. It allows the public to infer a meaning; a particularly exploitive move when confidence in all government is fragile.

Most of us have read about propaganda, media manipulation and the power of marketing (link to US Army PsychOps Manual) It works, or the advertising agencies wouldn't be making the big bucks and the corporations wouldn't shell out -- Those two words 'hidden agenda' have skillfully demonstrated to me, the magnitude of its force.

Everyone wants to get their message out, and most politicians use hyperbole and invective in the course of pursuing their goals. It can get messy and ugly, but the listener is in charge of accepting or rejecting the message.

Only the unscrupulous rely on propaganda by innuendo in the quest for governance. And it's because they haven't a legitimate avenue through which to pass.


Friday, April 29, 2005

Can You Hear Me Now?

Warwick asks what (besides blogging) can we do to get the conservative message out. I don't have an answer, but I share the concern.

The difference between conservatives and (L)iberals is that (L)iberals are all the same, and conservatives are all conservative in different ways. Although liberal and conservative ideas converge in many areas (Red Tories/Fiscal Conservatives) in the expression of these shared opinions conservatives are labeled 'heartless' and liberals as 'prudent'.

A conservative who is anti-abortion or anti-same-sex marriage is a (religious) right-wing extremist prepared to deny rights to people who don't agree with his narrow view of the world. A liberal with the same views is a person of conscience.

It is frustrating beyond expression.

I am political, but not Political. I think blogging is an outlet for some conservatives because many of us would not express our views in public. That's the case with me. In my job, within my church, at school -- My world tilts decidedly left and I prefer to listen, rather than engage.

I am afraid to come out publicly against same-sex marriage, for access to privatized health care, against national daycare, for taxation reform to benefit one income families, against the Liberals and for the CPC.

There are things you can't talk about in mainstream Canada (I'm being incredibly Toronto-centric here, as I have no idea what the climate is like elsewhere.) But I have been comforted to note that some of the Blogging Tories are from this bright red city.

The truth is that (L)iberals in Canada are highly mobilized. As Warwick says, they ARE the media.
If you go to the Liberal website they list a whole page of call-in shows, letter to the editor email addresses, etc. where their supporters are encouraged to go and pump the party (or more accurately, vilify Harper).

If there is nothing we can do, then maybe there are things the CPC could do that would get their message out. Electronically, they leave something to be desired. They have a sign-up for a newsletter, but I've never received one. They have a contact email, but they don't get back to you. They need to think about these kinds of things if they want to get the word out.

The Toronto Sun has two good columns today, one by Peter Worthington about Paul Martin's failures in recent days. The second is Michael Taube, who writes praising Stephen Harper, and gives him free advice along the lines that hammering the Liberals on corruption isn't scoring points. He's absolutely right. People just shrug when they hear about governmental corruption -- it's what they expect.

Harper has to make this election about the disquieting decisions and reversals Martin has made recently -- all done to thwart democracy and to obstruct the working of Parliament. This desperate cling to power is absolute proof that Martin should not be governing -- and Harper has to find a way to get this message out.

Rex Murphy was great last night too. It's not on their website yet, but look for it over the next few days. He actually said Martin should resign.

Maybe some people are listening.


Thursday, April 28, 2005

Lift the Covers, Jack

The empty vessel makes the greatest sound. -- Shakespeare

In his open letter to NDP supporters, Jack Layton defends cozying up with the Liberals saying:

"our responsibility is to make the budget better and ensure this minority Parliament gets something done."

Today Layton chastises Stephen Harper for having a position (defeating the government) which by coincidence, rather than design, is the same as the Bloc's: Harper risks `getting into bed' with Bloc if election forced: Layton

About his own dubious and very deliberate deal with to support the Martin government, yesterday Layton said:

I know that there will be people who will say, 'Ah, yeah, that's Layton. He loves corruption. The NDP, they just love corruption. They're really corrupt themselves because they support the Liberals.' That's a totally ridiculous accusation. We're helping people. We're opposed to corruption," he said.

And of course altruist that Jack is, he didn't make that deal to help his own fortunes:

"We'll say [in an election] that we worked for the people while all the other parties were just taking care of their own business to their own advantage. Ordinary people will make their own decisions and I'm quite confident that what we're doing now will help us," he said.

How's that for a double standard?


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Martin is *Ethically Challenged*

. . . and Paul Martin reaches into the magic hat once more, this time for Mr. Harper . . . and what do you know -- he's pulled out -- what's that? Why it's another lie.

No wonder people are cynical about politics. Perception is everything and truth is nothing.

Paul Martin and Jack Layton -- forget whether you agree with either of their politics -- have made nice to 'make this minority Parliament work'. In the Globe & Mail article they say:
The Prime Minister said the new spending reflects priorities that he was already intending to implement in the future.

It doesn't matter if it's all smoke and mirrors -- they get an A+ for playing well with others.

Then there is Stephen Harper. It doesn't matter what he does now; Martin has thrown him a bone and if he doesn't take it and play nice, he will appear disagreeable and unco-operative. People will likely perceive him as putting lust for power above the working of the country.

Martin would have NDPers believe that Jack Layton's priorities are also his.
He wants them to forget that these 'priorities' ranked so high that they weren't in the budget.
He wants them to believe that he's punishing the rich corporations by withholding tax cuts when he's reaching around into another pocket and pulling out a mirror-twin rabbit to entice conservatives -- all the time knowing the lingering perception will be that Harper had a choice to prop up the government and 'make this Parliament work.'

Earlier today, Harper had a great line: "To deal with Liberal corruption, we get an NDP budget," he said. "What the Liberals don't steal, the NDP gets to spend." You can read the full story here in the Calgary Herald

Those same people who choose to see Harper as the bad guy in all this don't seem to realize that if a government falls due to a non-confidence vote, or the failure of a crucial piece of legislation -- that is democracy in action -- it proves that the government is working.

But perhaps Jack Layton is beginning to realize he's been played, today Macleans quoted him as saying about Martin: "He's either fooling around with Canadians again or it's an admission they didn't know how to count our dollars . . . It really strikes me as game-playing. He's once again trying to please absolutely everybody with promises that he's probably not going to be able to keep."

For those of you who subscribe to the NP there is a great column about cheating by Peter Battistoni. It makes you realize that when politicians become ethically bankrupt, it is critical to purge them from government.
No consequences for bad behaviour means no incentive to remain honourable.
One would hope people will act with integrity as a matter of conscience, but 12 years of no reproof might make anyone think they're untouchable.

'Nothing emboldens sin so much as mercy.' William Shakespeare

canadianna, hoping for a better Canada

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Cost of Doing Business

Was there ever any doubt that they would reach a deal?

And a sweetheart it is too.

Layton gets all the goodies he wants so he's a hero.

To pay for it only 'big' businesses will have their promised tax cuts eliminated, and Martin can dip into all that surplus money for the 'gap'. Everyone hates 'big' business, so Martin is a hero too.

Where are words like 'honour' and 'integrity' and 'principle' in the Canadian lexicon?

Where are the people who would rather resign, than prop up a regime so thirsty for power it's willing to drown the truth with hollow promises, wasted time and voter apathy.

Jack Layton has said: "The NDP is in no rush to judge the scandal . . . " He said that a few times again today.

Passing judgement on this Liberal government is not a prejudgement. We have their history on which to judge them. If people want to make a distinction between the 'Chretien Liberals' and the
'Martin Liberals' it makes no difference. They've each left a trail of broken promises and lies in their wake. And perhaps Martin should be judged more harshly, because much more was expected of him.

" . . . no rush to judge." People say that like it's something to be proud of. Apparently surrendering the power of reason and discernment is a laudable quality.

How much does one have to know before one knows he's being made a fool?

The Gomery Inquiry is not a court of law. No judgements will be made. No pronouncements of guilt or innocence. No final picture of what really, really, really happened.

But let's ourselves, not rush to judge. Let's watch events unfold, mouths agape, minds vacant -- until Mr. Gomery tells us what to think.

Stephen Harper was interviewed by Michael Coren on CFRB this afternoon (They don't have an audio link at the moment.) Anyway, Harper said something to the effect of -- the Liberals need to clean up their party and they should be doing it on their own time, on their own dime. Even those who aren't in a rush to judge must realize that is a fair and reasonable conclusion -- but let's wait till Gomery is over to decide --- after all, what's to lose?.

canadianna, hoping for a better Canada

Monday, April 25, 2005

It's the Little Things

This is what government must do. We identified a problem: the democratic deficit. And we took immediate action by implementing transformative change. Let me pause here for a minute. Transformative change. What does that mean? To me, it means a fundamental shift in approach and direction, it is not stop-gap measures imposed incrementally. It requires a determined focus and a relentless drive. But the reward is tangible results, progress you can see and gauge.
-- Paul Martin in a speech to the Empire Club (April 16,2004)

It's no news that the 'democratic deficit' is alive and well, living in the person of Paul Martin --- but unless you're looking for it, and are reminded often enough, the little things can get buried or be forgotten.

From day one it was clear Martin's actions were not in synch with his words. Behaviours which would have crippled the credibility of any other party -- such as the parachuting of candidates -- were open practices. Criticism was never answered. Apparently a shrug is enough to get Liberals off the hook.

Martin, for all his mushy public persona, has a reputation of a 'my way or the highway' personality. Even members Martin's own caucus were outraged when Martin refused to allow a free-vote to all members of his party on Bill C-38 (same-sex marriage) -- cabinet ministers were told they must toe the party line, and dissident's were encouraged to skip a vote altogether.

Then we had Glen Murray selected for the Round Table on the Environment after his failed election bid. Despite the Commons Environment Committee rejecting this blatant patronage appointment, and Parliament subsequently voting 143 - 108 against it, and later still, the Environment Committee voting not to pay Glen Murray an estimated $40,000 for his place at the Round Table -- this past week, Paul Martin spokesman Scott Reid said the appointment will go ahead and that Mr. Murray will be paid.

Saturday past, we have Paul Martin dodging questions about Art Eggleton's senate appointment from Anthony Germain from CBC radio's The House (click: Listen to the Latest Program -- about 17 minutes in). Germain pressed Martin, asking more than once whether Eggleton's appointment was made in return for having given up his seat to Ken Dryden. It's an interesting listen for those who have the stomach to hear Paul rationalize his continued stay at 24 Sussex.

Now it appears Martin's ministers are taking a page from his book. Kate at
small dead animals gives us this heads up about the military's ombudsman stepping down because she was obliged to forward sensitive complaints to Defence Minister Bill Graham.

All of these little things, and so many others that I've simply forgotten over the past year and a half -- each taken on its own is a sad commentary on democracy in Canada.

Taken together as part of a larger picture and in the context of the past 13 years, they are a frightening harbinger.

I sometimes joke that we live in an elected dictatorship, but with each passing day, and each successive election it becomes less funny.

If like me, you wonder whether Canadians will ever stop ignoring, forgiving and justifying anything (L)iberal, Mike Jenkinson from the Edmonton Sun has an interesting piece.

canadianna, hoping for a better Canada

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Kate's Carnival of Newbies

Thanks to Kate for the listing -- and for even doing this for us newbies.

If you haven't already, check out her site for some cool new blogs that you mightn't find otherwise. I've already added some of them to my links.

Cheers Kate!

God's Country? Guess So, if Bono is God

We know only too well that our Foreign Policy is set by the UN.
And we know that our Social Policy is set by an appointed activist judiciary.
We also know that the bills passed by our parliament are subject to the scrutiny and approval of an unelected, unaccountable Senate ---
--- but did you know that it is GOD himself who set our foreign aid target?

You all know by now that supposed rock star/conscience of the world, Bono, is taking our beleaguered PM to task about his reneging on the deal they'd made at prior to the election last year. The laugh of it is this quote from Bono:

Not honouring commitments is like "renegotiating your deal with God downwards," he said.

I was none too impressed with Martin when he kissed up to Bono to make this agreement. (Don't get me wrong, foreign aid is not intrinsically a bad thing, I simply don't believe it ever gets to those for whom it's intended.) It just made me cringe to think of some outsider, a rock singer no less, felt fit to come over and tell us where our tax dollars should go and that our supreme leader was only too excited to let him.

Had I realised it was God himself the deal was made with . . .

Is there anyone more arrogant than a (L)iberal?
That's a rhetorical question, by the way.

canadianna, hoping for a better Canada