Archive for March, 2011

The doctrine of the big lie of Stephen Harper.

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Nobody seems to be able to match Canada’s Stephen Harper.  He has been perfecting his ability to use the big lie for years.  He has turned it into a doctrine.

It was the English-language leaders’ debate in the 2008 federal election that showcased Stephen Harper’s ability to use the big lie without the slightest unease or hesitation.  During the debate, Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, repeatedly attacked him on the concerns about the economy.  By then, most knowledgeable observers knew that there were serious economic problems.  The American housing market was collapsing and the auto manufacturers were in trouble.  Deep fissures were starting to tear apart Wall Street’s banking system.  With both the American and Canadian governments in the latter stages of election campaigns, the lack of controls or leadership over the North American economy were becoming apparent.

Yet in the televised debate to English-speaking Canadians, not a strand of Harper’s carefully coifed hair twitched.  He ignored Ms. May.  He ignored Jack Layton.  He smirked at Stéphane Dion.  Harper was in the zone.  He knew he had to stay away from any discussion of the economy.  It was easy when the strongest attack on the subject was from the Green Party.  He went back to Ottawa with a small increase in seats but still a minority.  And he went back to economic chaos.

But as any accountant, consultant or lawyer can tell you, your client’s chaos is your opportunity.

Harper had the opportunity to spend our money lavishly in buying future votes.  He soon had his elected Conservative yes-men running around the country with oversized pasteboard cheques, taking the credit for the Harper government’s supposed generosity.  And the beauty of it was that many of those cheques, even if they were real, would never be cashed.  The public was never told all the conditions and limitations and restrictions on the municipal politicians posing with Harper’s minions and those cheques for the local media.  The joke was that Harper’s people never considered the announcement to be real unless it was announced several times—with new cheques.  People started to catch on when it was noted that many of those pasteboard cheques had the Conservative Party logo instead of the Canadian maple leaf symbol.

For the last two and a half years, Harper has been pushing the agenda of the big lie.  He shut down the House of Commons to block MPs from questioning his government over issues with Afghanistan, Conservative election spending and provincial equalization payments.  He told Canadians a different story.

There is no reason for a Governor General not to allow the proroguing of parliament for legitimate reasons but Mr. Harper abused it.  He raised the ire of many Canadians when he again prorogued parliament at the end of 2009 to stop the parliamentary enquiry into Afghan detainees.

But there was nothing he could do when the combined opposition found his government guilty of contempt of parliament.  There was no way around the confidence vote that forced the governor general to call this current election.

Once again, he went back to the big lie.  He had all his minions and yes men join him in claiming that Michael Ignatieff was trying to put together a coalition with the Bloc and NDP to keep him out of his Prime Minister’s office.  This caught Michael Ignatieff by surprise as he had refuted the idea of such a coalition back when he replaced Stéphane Dion as Liberal leader in 2009.  Harper had himself proposed just such a coalition back in 2004—that was supposed to make him Prime Minister instead of Paul Martin.

And that is the problem with the big lie doctrine—you have to keep track of your lies.

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Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Got a four-page letter from our MP yesterday

He received $157,000 a year–as an MP’s pay

He went to Ottawa and had nothing to say.

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The new language of the Information Era.

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

It used to just be smiley faces.  Next were abbreviations for the lazy and two-finger keyboarders.  This became a torrent as texting deteriorated to meet the two-thumbnail requirements of texting from tiny cell-phone keyboards.

It is not that we are complaining that it is destroying the English language.  There are many aspects of our English that are archaic and need to be changed.  The Americans have almost reached a point in this of separating into having a language completely of their own making.  And it is not that the English are all that hidebound.  The things Brits do the language can make you wonder.

This comes up because of an abbreviation on a text message the other day that said, ‘btw.’  The message was not from Botswana nor was it about ‘bad-tasting water.’  The translation to ‘by the way’ had to be explained.

This is similar to the more common abbreviation such as ‘lol.’  You see it all the time.  We were under the impression that it meant ‘lots of luck.’  From some people, it was also assumed to mean ‘lots of love.’  Now we find out that it means ‘laughing out loud.’ Who would have guessed?

Thankfully, a kind person sent me a handy primer of the most common abbreviations and further help with reference to a web site called urbandictionary.com.  While this is most helpful, we do not expect to be ‘lmao’ or saying ‘wtf’ too often in print.  There just might be some readers over 21 in the crowd and we want them to be able to understand what is being said.  (And not be offended by unnecessary vulgarity.)

The reason that English language has over a million words today is because we need them.  We use them to help people understand what we are saying.  In our day-to-day language, we use maybe 4000 words that our friends and family understand.  Hundreds of thousands of English words are technical terms that people in different professions use to be clear and communicate effectively with their colleagues.

And that is what using language is all about.  We use it to communicate clearly and concisely what we want to say.  We capitalize words to say we are starting a new sentence or to say these words are a proper name for someone, a place or institution.  We punctuate properly to help ensure clarity.  We eschew bold face in text because we prefer not to shout.  We use long words only when necessary.  Short sentences are easy to read.

Our English language helps us communicate with millions of people around the world.  We should show it the respect it deserves.  And when we have said what we want, stop.

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Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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Monday, March 28th, 2011

If they can’t handle Harper’s ‘coalition’ game,

Michael Ignatieff’s brain trust are really lame.

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Weighing in against the pundits!

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Your writer has never lost a bet on a Canadian election.  He is hardly about to lose this time.  We are looking at a 37-day campaign.  This is Day Two.  Over the next three weeks, there will be considerable jockeying for position.  To start to firm up your forecasts before then is a mistake.  Many things happen in campaigns.

But by April 18, we will be ready to put figures to our forecast.  Easter comes the following weekend and some people will want to pray.  Never did believe in that very much but if it helps people get their minds around things, that is fine.  And by then there will have been some debates and a few surprises.  People will have a better perspective of their voting options.

When we publish our figures in this blog, there will be people who will tell you ‘That guy is smoking something strange.’  No we are not.  We will remind you that last year it was almost impossible to find anyone to bet against us.  It was the campaign manager who we took.  We had shown him our figures for the outcome for mayor and he said that we were out to lunch on the figures for the three also-rans.  Even the candidate agreed with him but our candidate was not about to put money in the pot.  It was great collecting the ten bucks from the campaign manager.

There are too many readers of this blog to take on all comers because we do not make bets we cannot cover and easily pay.  And it is in Canadian money so none of our non-Canadian readers can take advantage of a chance to lose their greenbacks, yen, pounds, kroner or marks.  Not that our foreign readers would disagree with us anyway.  If they have not figured out that we have a liberal bias by now, they do not read us very often.

The bet limit per individual will be ten bucks.  It will be on the honour system.  Nobody likes to look cheap and welsh on a ten-buck bet.  You can bet less, but once the betting hits my limit, I will tell the latecomers that the betting window is closed.

As things stand now, the pollsters are dealing with old information.  They are spouting to support a position instead of really thinking it through.  They will change their story later without hint of embarrassment.

As of now, the news media are just showing their bias.  Any newspaper that hangs repeated stories on the Conservative stance about some fancied ‘coalition’ is in the Conservative Party’s pocket.  They will be very slow to relate to the realities of this election because it is unlikely that the Conservatives can hold their position.

The trust factor has yet to be measured and the censure of the Harper government by parliament is not yet understood by Canadians.  The pathetic budget effort of Jim Flaherty will soon be forgotten and voters will be examining the federal party leaders in a new light.

We are looking forward to it.

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Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Comment for today.

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

This’s an important and truly historic event,

Replacing those in contempt of parliament.

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Is there a level to which Conservatives will not sink?

Friday, March 25th, 2011

The good news is that we are headed to a federal election.  That means there is light at the end of the tunnel for Babel voters.  They have the opportunity to replace their current Member of Parliament.

Just the thought makes you feel better.

One of the issues going into this election is the ethics of the Conservative government.  They have none.  The Conservatives are fully prepared to lie, cheat and steal or what ever it takes to cling to power.  These people have prorogued the House of Commons twice to stop the House from getting information and censoring them.  The Conservatives are the only government ever in Canada to be found in contempt of parliament.  Four senior Conservatives have been charged with criminal disregard for the election laws.  Mr. Harper has appointed so many of his friends to the Senate that he has made it not a House of sober second thought but a house of Harper thought.

More important is the quality of representation we have had in Babel for the past four years.  To say we can do better is to put it mildly.  This disappointing twerp has spent hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars over the past four years to send us absolute drivel.  He has never met a charity that he would not use to further his re-election.  He sends us scurrilous diatribes against other political parties without foundation or truth.

This is a person who uses the memory of his own grandmother to try to convince us of his sincerity. Recently, he appeared before the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission in support of CTV’s secondary television station, ‘A’ Channel.  He told the commissioners that his grandmother used to tell him what he had done wrong at Barrie city council meetings because she watched it on ‘A’ Channel.  That was amusing until you remember that Rogers Cable broadcasts city council meetings.

Babel deserves better.  Last year Babel could have hung on to the temporary National Command Centre that was located here during the billion dollar G8-G20 fiasco.  Instead of spending so many millions on the temporary centre, a little effort by a knowledgeable MP would have made it a permanent high-technology fixture in Babel with some excellent employment opportunities.

Our parliament needs to restore its good name with Canadians and with the rest of the world.  We cannot let these pathetic Conservatives drag us further down into the mud.

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Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Comment for today.

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

You think an election will cost too much to do?

That nice Stephen Harper will cancel it for you.

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Nobody is perfect: Errata happen.

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Lately things have been a bit rushed.  That is no excuse but, when you rush, errors can accumulate.  Two recent stories had errors.  The first was a story that gave an interesting spike to the readership.  You are always interested in what makes one story more interesting that others.  The story was about the order for the F-35 fighter aircraft.  The second error was minor and was in the story about the current human rights case against the Babel police.

The F-35 story was tongue in cheek anyway.  When it was written, we had forgotten that two of the Canadian Forces Airbus A-310 jet aircraft had been configured as strategic air-to-air fuel stations for the F-18 fighters Canada now has deployed.  This came to light when we found that six of the F-18s were sent to Italy to go to war with Gadhafi.  The first question asked was how the heck did those planes fly across the Atlantic?   The answer was they took their flying fuel stations with them.

The story was not all that wrong.  To attack the southern United States with 65 F-35 jets would require something like 24 of those fuel carriers.  It was a silly suggestion.  How would our Prime Minister, Cabinet Members and the Governor General get around if all the VIP Airbus A-310s’ had to be deployed as gas stations?  And there is nothing stealthy about an A-310 loaded with jet fuel.

At least people seemed to have a good laugh about it.

Nobody was laughing at the story about the Babel police human rights case and the idea of the Whitby police investigating the Babel police.  Both are fictional.  It occurred to us when we first heard it that Whitby is part of Durham Region.  We should have taken the few minutes needed to check.  The town is policed by the Durham Regional Police; the Whitby Detachment representing some 17 per cent of the Durham personnel.

Mind you, we are still puzzled as to why Durham coppers have been selected to do the investigation of what is going on in Babel.

We slapped our own wrist for those boo-boos.

Babel’s all-wise civic leaders might just have a chat sometime with Simcoe County’s civic leaders.  There were serious concerns about mounting policing costs at Monday evening’s Babel council meeting. There just might be an interesting case made to examine whether it would be cost efficient to have a county-based police force instead of the mix of services the county has today.

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Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Comment for today.

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Babel’s student mayors program is tough on kids,

In council they need help propping open eye lids.

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