Saturday, February 25, 2012

One Young Staffer is Not Enough

Conservative operative Michael Sona, is taking the fall for the voter suppression scandal and has resigned as a staffer.  What the conservatives would like us to believe is that he acted alone.  Give me a break.

Sona, in the background during Ezra Levant's sponsorship of Ann Coulter, is a product of the Manning Centre for Destroying Democracy, fashioned after Morton Blackwell's Leadership Institute

Voter suppression is one of the courses taught.

Journalist Jeff Horwitz signed up for a weekend seminar and wrote an excellent article on the subject.
The students, strait-laced kids from good colleges, seem unconvinced. The lesson -- that with sufficient organization, the act of voting becomes less a basic right than a tactical maneuver -- doesn't sit easy with some students at first. Gourley, a charismatic senior from South Dakota and the treasurer of the College Republican National Committee, assures them: "This is not anti-democracy. This is not shady. Just put [the polling place] somewhere where you might have to put a little bit of effort into voting." The rest, Gourley explains, is just a matter of turnout.
Just a matter of turnout".

Sona was the young man who tried to steal the ballot box at the University of Guelph, forcing the rules to be changed, ending the practice of making it easier for students to vote.  Harper knew that he'd lost the youth vote, so had to make sure they didn't vote at all.

These are the kinds of things these young operatives are taught.  They don't dream them up on their own.

So how much is Sona's "resignation" going to cost the Canadian taxpayer?  Two decades ago, Ezra Levant and Jason Kenney claimed that $40,000 would buy a lot of silence, when they paid off Matthew Johnston.
In 2011, Christiane Ouimet, the Harper appointed ethics czar was given $500,000, when she promised to head to Florida so as not to explain why she ignored more than 50 ethics complaints against the government.
So what's the going rate for silence in 2012?  Enough for Sona to start his own firm, I'll wager.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Why are we so Shocked to Learn that the Conservatives Stole the Election?

During the G20 in Toronto, when Canadian citizens were being arrested, beaten and shot with rubber bulletts, simply for engaging in their democratic right to protest, at Charles McVety's Christian College, another event was taking place.

With an election on the horizon, Harper's point man to the Religious Right, was hosting a seminar with none other than Karl Rove, the man who helped to steal two elections for George Bush.

McVety also runs the Canadian chapter of Christians United For Israel, a frightening and Apocalyptic Christian fundamentalist group, that promotes the nuclear annihilation of the Middle East.  Apparently that's what God wants them to do.

The Christian College had previously hosted an election stealing seminar with Ralph Reed, attended by Jim Flaherty and several Conservative operatives.

The fruits of their labour were finally realized in May of 2011, when Stephen Harper got his majority. 

However, it was the manner in which he obtained this goal that is now in question.  Not questionable at all though, given the fact that they learned from the best American democracy thieves:  Rove and Reed. (and for Harper the late Paul Weyrich)

Of course, Harper is again claiming not to know about the bogus phone calls, that have led right back to the Conservative Party.  He is "promising" to get to the bottom of it.

Just like he promised to investigate the election financing scheme that brought him to power in 2006.  Instead, he sued us, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And let's not forget the Cadman affair, when a dying man was bribed for his vote.  Stephen Harper didn't know about that either, and when a tape was produced suggesting otherwise, he claimed that it was doctored.  An FBI forensic lab proved that he was lying.

Again, he sued instead of explaining himself.

For a man with such unprecedented control, it's hard to believe that he wasn't aware of what was happening right under his nose.

This makes him either a first class liar or the stupidest man in the country, neither good attributes for a leader.

I think Elections Canada must determine that the last election was a fraud.  I doubt the NDP would want that, however, so what they should do is simply hold bi-elections in all of the ridings that Conservatives won through voter suppression and bogus telemarketing smear campaigns.

If they get away with this, it means that we will allow them to get away with anything.

Monday, February 20, 2012

If Maurizio Bevilacqua Wants to Clean up Vaughan I Know Where he Should Sweep

404 System Error, score another home run with their exposure of some questionable financing in Julian Fantino's campaign.

Seems Fantino is running two separate accounts, in a non-transparent fashion, one with a balance of $300,000.

Why two accounts and why were the records of only one of the accounts presented to Elections Canada?

Is Fantino accepting donations over the $1,100.00 limit imposed by our current government?

As a former Mike Harris crony, nothing that Julian Fantino does surprises me.  He had quite a reputation back in the day.

NOW magazine reported in October of 1999, of:   Fantino's Conservative ties to (Mike) Harris and the law-and-order platform ... "The kind of policing Fantino embodies is the scary part. The steroid boys will get a free hand. It'll be road-boss country again." It's moving the policing discussion a huge step backward," says another councillor, recalling the "kiddie porn" busts Fantino presided over in London that, when all was said and done, amounted mostly to an anti-gay witch hunt."

And a month later when he was handed the job of police Chief in Toronto:  "... firm signals from the Progressive Conservative government at Queen's Park that Mr. Fantino is the man Mike Harris and his people have wanted for the job."  His appointment was political and not based on merit.

Harris wanted to put a tough face on his so-called "law and order" agenda, and Fantino's was that face.  Sadly, that's all he brought to the job, as one retired RCMP Sgt from Caledonia says: “Fantino was a complete joke as far as law and order was concerned

The case of Peter Shoniker is a perfect example.  Shoniker was a fundraiser for Mike Harris and the boys, who was caught in a sting involving money laundering.  Seems Shoniker washed clean $700,000 and outright stole another $50,000.

When he was approached by an undercover RCMP corporal in 2003, and asked for help to launder $250,000, money he said was stolen from the pension fund of a Hamilton union, Shoniker readily obliged. He told Cpl. Lewis he would use his special status as a lawyer to evade police surveillance. And he bragged about his connections to highly placed police officers:.“I'm untouchable, untouchable by the police. Not a cop in this country who would dare burn me, question my integrity.”

And indeed at his trial, guess who came to his rescue?  Yep.  Julian Fantino, who painted Shoniker as a saint.

Fantino knew how to play the game.  Attack the gay community but make sure that your Conservative friends are taken care of.

Another example of this was brought to light in April of 2011, when it was revealed that Fantino had secured a $10 million federal grant for a hospital in Vaughan, that appears to have been given under false pretenses.  In fact, two members of Fantino's re-election team resigned over the scandal. 'Two Vaughan Conservatives have quit their riding association over a $10 million federal grant given to a health care project spearheaded by MP Julian Fantino’s former fundraisers.'

And the two former fundraisers in question?  'Michael DeGasperis, the hospital group’s chair, and Sam Ciccolini, the director, ran Fantino’s successful byelection fundraising campaign in November 2010.'

Now go back to the leaked documents on 404.  Who is handling these questionable transactions?   Sam Ciccolini and Michael Degasperis.  Recipients of the $10 million gift.  And as the Star notes, this money is not even going to the hospital, which is a provincial expense, but is 'earmarked to help develop a site for health-related facilities to complement a hospital.'  Private, for profit, health care.  As yet there are no shovels in the ground.

There needs to be an investigation into this, but now that the RCMP are not allowed to investigate the government, one of their primary jobs, fat chance of that happening.

The new mayor of Vaughan, Maurizio Bevilacqua,  is determined to clean up Dodge, ending backroom deals and changing their reputation as the “City Above the Law”.

But until they get rid of Fantino and his cronies, I'm afraid it will be a futile effort.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

If Stephen Harper Was Still a Libertarian he Would Hate Stephen Harper

There is a great site called 404 Systems Error, that functions much like Wikileaks, though with Canadian content.

They have recently posted an old fundraising letter of Stephen Harper's from 2001, when he was heading up the corporate funded activist group: the National Citizens Coalition.  The NCC has always painted themselves as Libertarian, so I now wonder why they are not sending out fundraising letters calling Harper "a jackass".

In August of 2001, what got his boxers in a twist was Elections Canada, who were going after a blogger Paul Bryan, for violation of the Elections Canada Act, by prematurely posting results of the vote.

Harper calls then head of EC Jean-Pierre Kinglsey, "heavy-handed" and "an advocate of the most minute of controls and regulations".

And yet two years later, Harper and Peter MacKay were able to convince Kingsley to register their new party on a Sunday:     "The documents that were provided show that the initial presentation to the Chief Electoral Officer concerned the creation of a new party, not a merger. To date no explanation has been given for the changed wording or of how it was arranged that the Chief Electoral Officer received the merger application on a Sunday".

It's interesting that this new party was created on December 7, the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbour.

However, in 2001, Stephen Harper believed that EC was taking "the threat to freedom to a new and dangerous level."

Enforcing the law, according to this devout Libertarian, was "more dangerous than luring children toward violent pornography".  He also believed that control of the internet and the press just for the sake of controlling information was "ominous and very scary."

So should we be scared now that he controls not only the press, but is monitoring the internet? "Our basic freedom of speech and our right to information is at stake here."

The Conservative's new Bill C-30, is exactly the kind of "gag order" that the NCC once fought against.  Yet I went on their website and could find no opposition to it.  Proof that these groups are nothing more than fronts for big business.

To stifle debate, the Conservatives are suggesting that anyone who opposes the Bill is in support of child pornography.  But all tighter monitoring will do, is drive them underground, where they'll reap bigger profits because of the increased difficulties of distribution.

Maybe Stephen Harper should go back to the National Citizens Coalition.  Our country could sure use someone so passionate about protecting us from a tyrannical government.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Climate Change Deniers Get Caught With Their Carbons Down

Heartland Institute is an oil industry front group, devoted to dispelling the science of climate change.  The bulk of their funding comes from Exxon and the Koch brothers.  The same Koch brothers that Stephen Harper is using our tax dollars to build a pipeline for, so that they no longer have to pay decent Canadian wages.  The jobs will instead be outsourced to Texas.

Recently, Heartland got caught with their carbons down, when sensitive material was leaked to the press.

Astonishingly this leak required no espionage or hacking.  Someone simply contacted the institute for a copy of their budget, and got exactly what they asked for, by a careless (ex?) employee.

Maybe we should try this with the National Citizens Coalition.

But now that names have been named, can Heartland survive?  Several so-called socially conscious corporations are a little red-faced, and may not renew their tax-exempt donations, including General Motors and Microsoft.

Heartland are amateurs though.  Why simply rely on tax-exempt status and court corporations?  In Canada, Stephen Harper found a way to fund similar groups with our money.  Case in point, Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, once run by his former chief of staff Kory Teneckye.

After several of us bloggers blew the whistle on their 2005-06 annual report, filled with images of conservatives from Rhona Ambrose to Gerry Ritz, they pulled it from the internet.  I have a hard copy in my files that I keep meaning to get out and scan.  There is a photo of Harper that I'm sure was photo-shopped.  They probably bought in online as they do with many of their "official" images.

CRFA also tried to use a televised ad that included a speech by Stephen Harper during a campaign stop.

For their efforts, Jim Flaherty's 2007 budget included a two billion dollar grant for research into using Green Giant creamed corn to run your Hummers.  Or something else just as ridiculous.  It's not like they actually research anything.

Another 32 million was given for an ethanol plant in Collingwood, that never did go anywhere.

Stephen Harper even brazenly gave a Senate post to another CRFA employee, JoAnne Buth.  Nice to see that cronyism is alive and well and living inside the conservative bubble.

From Friends of Science to CRFA to the Heartland Institute.  It's all about money, money and more money.  Our money.

Gag the scientists but pay the fuel industry to spout nonsense.

This one's for Larry Miller:
"Our national policies will not be revoked or modified, even for scientists." Adolf Hitler

Friday, February 17, 2012

So What Does Larry Miller Think of Jason Kenney's Hitler-Like Move?

'Walking past the hundreds of stately Somali refugees lined up outside the gates of the UN High Commission for Refugees here in Nairobi -- men in tidy shirts and slacks, women in baby blue, fuchsia or copper chadors -- the pasty face of Jason Kenney floats into my mind.

Later, watching the images of the nearly 400,000 starving Somali women, children and men crammed into the Dadaab refugee camp on Kenya's border with Somalia, there he is again, forcing his way into my imagination: Jason Kenney, Canada's minister of immigration and xenophobic rhetoric ....'  (1)
In Kenney's world only the tidy shirts and slacks need apply.  Unless of course you're a tidy shirt and slacks wearing Muslim.  His department has made it clear "No Muslims!" (Harperland)

Astonishingly, Kenney has been able to redefine the term "refugee" as "queue jumper," "illegal alien," or his favourite xenophobic term: "terrorist."
Fortunately for Peter Van Loan, someone like Jason Kenney was not immigration minister when his family fled Estonia after it fell to the Soviets.  They were able to avoid arrest and execution, when given asylum in Canada.  Or as Bruce Cheadle reminds us of Vic Toews.

There's a global recession and Canada's economy is not immune. Shiploads of strange, foreign refugees — economic migrants and oppressed minorities — have been landing on our shores, fleeing civil war, economic upheaval and famine. No one is certain how they can be assimilated and there are concerns about criminals, subversives and agitators in their midst.  "If (their) ... government is threatening to deport them ... it is probably because they refuse to obey the laws of the country, and we should have full information regarding the facts," one mainstream advocacy group objects.
The year was 1929 when migrant Mennonites were fleeing deportation to certain starvation in Siberia under Stalin. Fortunately for Toew's Ukrainian refugee parents and grandparents, they were able to find safe haven in Canada.  Those queue jumping, illegal alien terrorists.

However, today Toews refers to those like his parents and grandparents as "customers".  From his June 2011 press conference he explained the reasoning behind his mistrust of potential "smugglers".  "What we're trying to do is to put a big question mark in the minds of the potential customers.  About the prospect of quick family reunification and we're trying to say to them that you, even if you get asylum status in Canada, it won't necessarily be permanent. We believe that those doubts seeded in the minds of potential customers  will significantly depress demand and the price point ..."

"No one is certain how they can be assimilated and there are concerns about criminals, subversives and agitators in their midst."  The "customers" of the Toews family perhaps?  Just as fortunate for them, Vic was not yet in the picture and indeed there would not have been a Vic at all if Kenney was running the show in 1929.  At least not in this country.

In an unprecedented move, Jason Kenney has presented legislation that will create "safe" lists.  Bill C-31 would also block claimants from so called “safe” countries from appealing a negative decision to the new Refugee Appeal Division and it would eliminate a provision that called for a committee of experts to decide which countries would be placed on the safe list.  It also ultimately gives the Kenney full discretion over the yet-to-be-established safe list.

His list.

Where's our Nazi spotter Larry Miller?  It's a dangerous thing when one man can make and control a list that determines the fate of entire groups of people.

One country on Kenney's list is Czechoslovakia, and concerns the Roma of that country.  Those queue jumping terrorists need to stay home.  After all, as he points out, Czechoslovakia is a democratic country and champion of human rights.

Or are they?

According to Canwest European Correspondent Peter O'Neil:
A ghastly arson attack that has left a two-year-old girl fighting for her life contradicts Canadian and Czech government assertions that an exodus of Roma refugee claimants to Canada is driven by economics, rather than fear of persecution, say members of the Roma community here.  ... They say they face a constant threat of neo-Nazi attacks and hateful demonstrations, where marchers head into Roma communities and call them "parasites," organized by increasingly sophisticated organizations such as the far-right Workers' Party.

"We are afraid for our lives," said Martin Duna, 31 ... "We are worried that Hitler is coming back." ... Duna's reference to Hitler, who sent Roma, as well as Jews and homosexuals, to extermination camps during the Second World War, isn't as extreme as it may sound ... Czech municipal politicians have won nationwide public praise for evicting Roma from apartments to live in metal containers in city outskirts; and human-rights groups have reported involuntary sterilizations of Roma women from the late 1960s to as recently as late last year.  Growing neo-Nazi violence, as well as discrimination and even segregation in areas such as health, housing, education, criminal justice and employment, have been reported in numerous publications issued by the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the U.S. State Department and Amnesty International.
Does this sound like a country committed to human rights?

And how does someone like Jason Kenney qualify as the supreme keeper of lists and authority of what constitutes oppression?

He has a high school education, dropping out of prep school at a time when that prep school, St. Ignatius was accused of running a cult.  He made headlines in San Francisco for his attacks on the gay community.  He challenged the Pope Paul because he opposed the Iraq War. He established the Christian Coalition in Canada, a group determined to take North America back to the time of the Reformation.

Or according to one of Kenney's teachers the '50s.  Not the 1950s but the 1550s.

He has had no job outside of politics, running a pyramid scheme called the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, inspired by Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform.  Much of his time was spent traversing the country forcing politicians to sign a pledge not to raise taxes.  Mike Harris signed Kenney's pledge.  Enough said.

This new legislation is nothing more that a power trip by a narcissistic nincompoop.

I can't wait to hear what Larry Miller thinks of all this.  Maybe I'll give him a call.

1. In Africa, It's Sickening to See Tories Play Refugee Politics: Here at the bleeding edge of the Somali crisis, I can't shake the face of Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, by Cam Sylvester, The Tyee, July 20, 2011

Thursday, February 16, 2012

First Abortion Then Contraception or is it the Other Way Around?

Remember the Lil Rascals and their He-man Women Haters Club?  Well they grew up and helped to launch the conservative movement.

In the United States, in the 21st century, GOP presidential hopefuls, are now arguing over the legality of contraception.  Can you imagine?


It's being labelled a womens issue, but how many men out there support a ban on contraception?

If this was a decade ago, living in Canada, I would laugh and laugh and laugh.  But given that our own government has the same regressive ideas, I have little to laugh about.

In fact, in the United States, people are fighting back against the Religious Right.  Planned Parenthood is standing their ground, while in Canada, it is being knocked to the ground.

Prop 8, the California law banning same-sex marriage has been overturned as unconstitutional, and other states are slowly granting the right to equal marriage.  In Canada Harper is playing games through the back door.

He has been working hard and often secretly, to roll back gains made by Canadians in terms of social issues.  And while claiming not to have plans to  reopen several debates, he is doing just that.  He hates to lose and he has lost on so many fronts.

Now another pawn has made a move forward, in an attempt to move us backward.  Stephen Woodworth, Conservative MP for Waterloo.  We've seen them all from Brad Trost to Rod Bruinooge, pretending to be acting alone, when in fact they can't even choose their own tie in the morning, without risking the ire of the exalted one, if it clashes with the planned mood of the day.  (Thank you Dean Del Mastro for that bit of info)

Woodworth is not acting alone, but is just the latest mysogonist selected to "reopen the abortion debate".

He wants to declare that a fetus is a human being.  If this is passed then I hope that all mothers and pregnant women take the government to court, demanding retroactive benefits to cover the time from the date of conception to birth.  Nine extra months of universal child benefit and child tax credit.

And since it's womens reproductive rights that are being tampered with, why not extend the courtesy to men?  All males, once they reach the age of 18, must have a sperm test.  Anyone with a low sperm count would then have the letter "L" stamped on their forehead.

If women can get an extra nine months of benefits, why should they risk hooking up with a loser?

Rick Santorum is now leading in the polls for the Republican nomination in the U.S.  Pundits and comedians are having a field day with his views, and many are now mocking his sweater vest.  Apparently that is the uniform of the social conservative.

Santorum wants to wage war on Iran, killing innocent children, while claiming to be "pro-life".  He opposes gay rights, equal marriage and wants to legalize peeping into the bedrooms of Americans, but only by government.

And how exactly is he any different from our current government?

If you think this will stop at abortion, think again, and again and again.

They will not stop until we are a nation of gun totin', women hating, gay bashing, war mongering, narrow-minded Neanderthals.

Or what is more commonly called "conservatives".