Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Eddie Greenspan's Scary Crime Blunder

Appearing in the National Post today was something that could be considered Eddie Greenspan's last public words. In the article he condemns Prime Minister Stephen Harper's approach to crime.

He calls Harper's approach to crime "scary."

"We know of no person knowledgeable about criminal justice in any democratic society who has ever proposed imprisonment for all convicted offenders. But earlier this month, Canada’s Public Safety Minister, Steven Blaney, who oversees our penitentiaries, bluntly told Parliament that 'Our Conservative government believes that convicted criminals belong behind bars.' No qualifications, no exceptions.

An opposition MP understandably replied, 'Mr Speaker, that is scary to hear.' Scary? It’s more than scary. It is hard to imagine such a statement being made by someone who supposedly has knowledge about crime and the criminal justice system."

Of course, Minister Blaney's comments in Question Period should not be confused as a comprehensive position on crime, as Greenspan seems to have done. But as a general principle -- criminals belong behind bars -- one could do far worse. Greenspan himself manages.

"Imprisonment is certainly appropriate for some offenders. But it is worth examining two arguments that are often made for imprisoning offenders who could be punished in the community. Some believe that crime will be deterred if punishment severity were increased. Scores of studies demonstrate this to be false. This is inconvenient for Mr. Harper since many of his 86 so-called 'crime' bills (33 of which have become law) are based on the theory that harsh sentences deter. Canada’s first prime minister, John A Macdonald, understood deterrence better than does Mr Harper. Macdonald noted that 'Certainty of punishment …  is of more consequence in the prevention of crime than the severity of the sentence.' Mr Harper, who could benefit from empirical evidence, chooses instead to ignore it.

Some believe that offenders learn from imprisonment that 'crime does not pay.' This, too, is wrong. Published research — some of it Canadian and produced by the federal government — demonstrates that imprisonment, if anything, increases the likelihood of reoffending. For example, a recent study of 10,000 Florida inmates released from prison demonstrated that they were more likely subsequently to reoffend (47% reoffended in 3 years) than an almost perfectly equivalent group of offenders who were lucky enough to be sentenced to probation (37% reoffended)."

Why are these two paragraphs so terrifying? Because Greenspan was considered an elite criminal defense lawyer, and so represents the legal thinking of Canada's legal establishment. And because it's perhaps the most shortsighted and limited view on criminal justice imaginable.

For one thing, the study Greenspan cites is perhaps one of the best examples of unisolated variables on record -- Florida is not exactly a jurisdiction known for its historic dedication to rehabilitation. As one of the key pillars of any criminal justice system, rehabilitation is key to preventing inmates from reoffending. Florida has pursued this route with renewed diligence only since 2011.

Prior to this renewed focus Florida's inmate population had grown by 40% in 11 years. It doesn't require a criminal defense lawyer to recognize this as undesirable. But Florida's growing prison population was not due strictly to imprisoning criminals, but rather what the state was not doing for them on the inside.

So there's the first point on which Mr Greenspan's final words are disturbingly lacking.

Mr Greenspan treats imprisonment of a criminal strictly as punishment. And while it is punishment, it serves a goal key of any criminal justice system: protecting victims from their victimizers by keeping them locked away.

So Mr Greenspan seems to prefer punishing criminals "in the community." Which often entails releasing criminals into the same communities in which those whom they victimized live. And Greenspan, as a criminal defense lawyer, was very successful in helping push this agenda into policy.

What did this bring us?

Well, the RCMP report on missing and murdered indigenous women is very illustrative. Hauntingly illustrative, in fact.

Indigenous women were disproportionately likely to be murdered. More than this, they were disproportionately likely to be murdered by a family member. More still, they were disproportionately likely to be murdered by someone with a prior history of violent crime. Even more yet: they were disproportionately likely to have been a prior victim of a violent crime at their killer's hands.

And via the Gladue ruling, a worrying number of aboriginal are effectively turned loose in their communities under a preference for so-called "restorative justice techniques." And while the Gladue ruling is often treated as inapplicable for more serious and violent offenders, and repeat offenders, this has often come far too late for missing and murdered indigenous women. Far too often the recidivist crime to which Gladue was considered inapplicable was their murder.

That's a tad too late for "restorative justice" and "punishment in the community," as Mr Greenspan clearly preferred.

I've previously written that there in fact should be a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, but not on the terms that the activists, lawyers and social workers who created this problem would prefer. Instead, this should be treated as an opportunity to call the legal establishment that created this problem on the carpet, and put them and their policies on trial once and for all.

Were he alive today Eddie Greenspan would almost certainly be among them: called to answer for the problem that his ideas, his agenda and his shortsightedness created.

Fortunately for him he did not live to see such an inquiry. Which is by no means a reason why he should be excluded from such scrutiny now that he's passed on.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Here Lies Critical Theory, Slain by #Gamergate

Recently, I was alerted to the deeper issues of #Gamergate. Perhaps you've heard of it. It's been going on since August of this year.

From the tone of the hashtag by which it proliferates, one may think that #Gamergate is a scandal of some sort. When I first began to hear of it in August that was the conclusion that I drew. My understanding of it at the time was that the hashtag was for discussion of a scandal regarding collusion between video game developers and video game journalists. That was partially true.

More recently, Victor Vargas explained to me that the real importance of #Gamergate was in defending the artistic medium of video gaming from so-called "social justice warriors" who demanded that the medium be subjugated to their extreme agenda.

For the uninitiated, #Gamergate is less a cohesive social movement and more a group of individuals who are concerned about the state of video gaming in general. They don't want to see the quality of video games as an artistic medium degraded by journalists who will not report honestly or ethically about games. That includes not only game "reviewers," but also those who report on video games via an op/ed format. This is where the social justice warriors become an issue.

If there's any one thing that these social justice warriors -- or SJdubs as I call them -- seem to excel at it's misrepresenting the medium in order to magnify, exaggerate, or outright invent examples of sexism or misogyny in gaming.

A prime example is that of Anita Sarkeesian. No one has dismantled and revealed her misrepresentations nearly so well as Thunderf00t has.
It turns out that Sarkeesian is not the only one misrepresenting video games in order to try to advance her toxic ideology.

Recently, a game developer by the name of Henry Smith published a blogpost mocking the notion that gamers could feel oppressed as gamers. It's as confused, disjointed, and internally inconsistent as any other piece of SJdub pontificating. For example, he dismisses gamers commenting on their perception of oppression as "white men with expensive toys."

Strangely, this overlooks the number of women, people of colour or LGBT gamers who may feel oppressed specifically as gamers. Surely Smith believes that such people are oppressed as women, people of colour or LGBT, but seems to insist that they cannot feel oppressed specifically as gamers.

Well, with gamers intermittently targeted by the media, government and assorted busybody groups, who could blame them? It seems like every time there's a mass shooting in the United States video games are put under the microscope and gamers examined as ticking time bombs.

Perhaps what troubles Smith about this idea so deeply is that "gamer" is self-identification that crosses the boundaries of race, gender and sexuality. Given the idea, popular among SJdubs, of intersectionality -- an idea that holds that individual identities are multi-faceted, and so an oppressed person may experience oppression on any one or multiple bases -- Smith simply isn't adhering to the critical theory ideology very well.

I suspect that what alarms him most deeply is that, despite the idea of the intersectional identity, a white person can even possibly be oppressed, or even permitted to feel oppressed. And in order to deny any white person who feels so oppressed that sense of entitlement, Henry Smith -- by all accounts himself a white male -- instead sets out to dictate to PoCs, women and LGBT how they may or may not feel oppressed.

It seems like he's failed to check his privilege... if you believe in that kind of tripe.

It's very lazy thinking. But it turns out that lazy thinking is something he excels at. Here's an excerpt from his blogpost, another little bit of kvetching that he didn't bother to give even the most basic amount of thought to:
It's enough to make you wonder if Smith has actually seen that ad, or bothered to think about it any further than using it as a jab against the so-called "sexist" video game industry.

That's a notion disabused by doing something so simple as actually watching the advert:
Just as Anita Sarkeesian blatantly misrepresented Hitman as allegedly "inviting" the player to murder strippers, Smith misrepresents the Advanced Warfare advert by amputating the context.

In Sarkeesian's case, she claims that Hitman "invites" (her words") players to murder strippers. And while the player does, indeed, permit the player to murder some strippers, Sarkeesian ignores the detail that the game mission in question not only does not require the player to do so, but discourages the player from doing so by penalizing them for the act. In fact, the game encourages the player to avoid any interaction with the stripper NPCs (non playing characters) altogether.

Not to mention that should the player listen in to the stripper NPCs' conversation they learn that these women have been traumatized by their exploitation at the hands of a man named "Dom." Listen to that conversation and it becomes clear that the game developers intended for the player to be disgusted by these women's suffering.

Many feminists would applaud that commentary on the exploitation of strippers -- unless they're one of those "sex work is empowering" lunatic third-wave types.

That's how Sarkeesian misrepresents Hitman. Smith misrepresents Modern Warfare by simply pointing out that it -- le gasp! -- features a skantily-dressed and breathtakingly-hot woman in it. And doesn't bother to acknowledge the context in which she's presented.

In the ad, the player falls into a stall in a bazaar from a very tall height. Instead of being killed on impact, he is instead stunned. While stunned the player sees a gorgeous woman is approaching him, cooing with romantic interest.

Then the "expert player" character -- played by Taylor Kitsch -- commands his immediate attention by shouting at him "what are you doing!? We don't kiss goats."

When the player looks back to where the woman was he sees that she has been replaced by a goat -- or rather that she had been a goat the entire time.

She was never real. She was a hallucination. And that's very telling. A deeper analysis of the ad could suggest that this even offers comment on the standard of beauty this woman represents: she isn't real. Her beauty is fleeting, and perhaps even illusory. And even if she was ever real, the idea that she is available to the player, sexually, romantically or otherwise, is just as illusory.

Who should be offended by that ad? Perhaps people who kiss goats. Henry Smith seems to think the answer to that question is "women," or at least "feminists." Yet when we examine the advert more deeply than he does, we find that the cause for offfense is far more questionable than he implies.

This is just one example of why I feel video gaming, and #Gamergate in particular, will ultimately provide critical theory with the grave this toxic ideology so requires. They've picked their target poorly this time.

The modern video gamer is well-educated and not particularly fond of being told what to do or what to think; perhaps less about themselves and their hobbies than anything else. The intellectual battle being waged over #Gamergate has laid bear the bag of tricks preferred by the SJdub hordes, and gamers are proving not especially susceptible to it. They excel at identifying and outing dishonesty and deception, and that has not worked to the advantage of the SJdubs. Not in the least.

Very soon we can look forward to the following epitaph: "here lies critical theory, slain by #Gamergate."

The world will be very much better for it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Free the Interview!

Even though he's as firmly entrenched on the global naughty list as his father ever was, North Korea dictator -- and the only fat person in that entire country -- Kim Jong-Un got his Christmas gift early.

Sony Pictures has scrapped The Interview.

After threats of "9/11 style attacks" on movie theatres Sony has cancelled the film's release. They have no plans to ever release the film... or so they say.

But if Sony truly has no commercial plans for the film this is an opportunity to give the ultimate middle finger to Kim Jong-Un and the North Korean hackers who prove that some how this narcissistic twit's bruised ego -- not the millions of starving people in their country -- is somehow that country's greatest priority.

How do they do this? That's simple. All they have to do is give the movie to the internets.

They could do it under the guise of an deliberate act or they could orchestrate a "leak." But even in the extremely unlikely event that somehow Kim Jong-Un does have cells of terrorists ready to attack movie theatres,they'd be rendered utterly redundant against the faceless mobs of the internets downloading and sharing the film at will.

The movie's already been made, the money's already been spent. At least by giving the film up to the internet Sony can gain some return on their investment... even if that return is jamming their thumb in the eye of a hopelessly-narcissistic tyrant.

I know that would at least get them on my nice list.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Let's Not Call it Jihad After All

I know what you're thinking: he must be joking right?


I know what you're thinking now: then he must be nuts. Right?


I know what you're thinking now: has he gone soft on Islamic terrorism?


In writing this blogpost I fully expect a lot of my readers to have an impulse to disagree vehemently, especially considering the as-of-this-writing-ongoing terrorist hostage taking in Australia. I'm prepared to accept that. I also have faith in my readers to fully understand the argument I'm going to make. Whether or not you agree with it is, of course, entirely in your hands.

But I'm fully serious when I say that we shouldn't call Islamic terrorism "Jihad." And I'm entirely sincere when I say that we should call Islamic terrorists "Jihadis."

Here's why:

In calling their terrorism "Jihad," and in calling themselves "Jihadis," these terrorists are seeking something absolutely vital to their cause: a sense of justification. A means to aggrandize their barbarism. We shouldn't strengthen their claim.

Muslims do, indeed, treat Jihad as a religious obligation. Canadian traitor/walking bullseye Abu Anwar al Canadi said so himself. But then the question remains: what, exactly, is Jihad?

ISIS and al Canadi seem to think Jihad may be declared against anyone who takes up arms against them. Many Islamic scholars --
among them those of the Ahmadiyyah Jiamat -- would disagree. They would contend that Jihad has specific conditions which must be met. Those conditions, in short, are:

1. Muslims may only fight against those who prevent themselves or others from practicing Islam.
2. Muslims may only fight against those who fight them without cause.
3. If the above conditions are met, Muslims may only fight battles they have the means to win. They are not permitted to sacrifice their lives in vain.
4. Moreover, Muslims may only fight in the way in which they are fought.

Such scholars would contend that Jihad can take several forms, and the fourth condition described above is particularly crucial in this. Jihad could very well be an armed conflict. But it depends on by what means Islam is being attacked.

If the "attack" is religious criticism, then Muslims are encouraged to respond by debating their critics. If the "attack" is one of poverty, (the attacker need not even be another person or people) then Muslims are encouraged to give of their time and money to alleviate that suffering. If the attack is by force of arms then they are allowed to protect themselves by force of arms.

Taking a close look at these above conditions, it's clear that ISIS cannot truly justify any attacks they perpetrate as Jihad:

1. Neither Canada nor Australia prevent Muslims from practicing Islam.
2. Although Canada and Australia are both fighting against ISIS in Iraq, ISIS has given us cause to do so.
3. Even if condition #1 were met and even if condition #2 were met, ISIS does not have the means to defeat us in Iraq or Syria or in Canada or Australia.
4. Even if all above conditions were met, ISIS is permitted to fight us only in the way we fight them. In this case that means with their fighters operating openly, in uniform, under a declared state of war.

If any of the above conditions are not met, they cannot truly and rightly justify their actions as Jihad. And it isn't merely "any" of the above conditions that are unmet. It's "all."

So according to Islamic doctrine, the battles ISIS is waging, the attacks they are threatening us with, are not truly Jihad. It's merely terrorism. But if we ourselves call them "Jihad" we are helping them establish a religious pretext for their actions that they otherwise cannot truly and rightly establish.

Here is the reason why we should not call this Jihad: because if we do we are actually doing them a favour, and doing much of their dirty work for them. And we shouldn't do that.

We should just call it for what it is: terrorism. Barbarism. Because that's what it is. But let's not call it Jihad. Because that's what it isn't.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Loopy Logic of Abu Anwar al Canadi & HIs Apologists

It was almost like clockwork: no sooner had John Maguire -- aka Abu Anwar al Canadi -- released his propaganda video threatening Canada and calling upon Canadian Muslims to kill non-Muslims, opponents of Canada's anti-ISIS mission began blaming this on the government.

Their argument? Terrorists would not be attacking Canada if we hadn't sent our forces -- first military advisors to the Iraqi military and now CF-18s -- to fight ISIS.

It's not a strong argument: one that suggests ISIS should be able to dictate Canada's foreign policy just because we're afraid that some Canadian Muslims have taken up ISIS' cause. It's an inherently cowardly argument: a suggestion that Canadians should submit to living under de facto occupation by the Islamic state.

That's a bad idea.

Anyone who thinks that such a strategy would protect Canada from attacks are sadly mistaken. And if they're using al Canadi's speech to support that argument they didn't listen closely enough.

From the treasonous little monster's speech:

"Have you forgotten that Allah tells us how the disbelievers will behave towards the believers? Allah says that the disbelievers will never cease fighting you, they will never cease fighting you until they turn you back from your religion, if they are able to do so. 

So, the mujaheddin continue to call you to one of two options: hijra [migration to the Islamic State] or jihad.

You either pack your bags or you prepare your explosive devices. You either purchase your airline ticket or you sharpen your knife.

You either come to the Islamic State and live under the laws of Allah or you follow the example of brother Ahmad Rouleau and do not fear the blame of the blamers."

Al Canadi -- he has comically taken a name meaning "the light of Canadians" -- has declared that Muslims in Canada must kill non-Muslims essentially just for being non-Muslims. He argues that non-Muslims will not refrain from oppressing Muslims and preventing them from practicing their religion, so it is permissible for them to kill us.

This is false and al Canadi knows it. The fact that he was not prevented from converting to Islam while in Canada is proof of it. The religious freedom of Muslims is guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That freedom does not exist in lands dominated by ISIS, not even for Muslims. In the so-called "Islamic State," it's Islam or death. Hell, it's one specific sect of Islam or death.

There are thousands of murdered Christians, Kurds, and even Muslims of what ISIS deems to be the "wrong sect" scattered across ISIS-occupied Iraq and Syria to attest to that. Many among them are children.

And al Canadi somehow musters the gall to accuse Canada of committing atrocities... all while he knows full well that his ISIS friends have been murdering children.

In short: Abu Anwar al Canadi is a liar. When al Canadi is not lying he's making claims -- that ISIS only threatens and attacks Canada because Canada fights them -- that even if he actually believes them cannot possibly be true.

They're relying on the lies and demonstrable absence of logic in Canadi's speech in order to justify their position. And in doing so I'd argue that they're effectively giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

The Canadian passport bearing the name John Maguire has now been revoked. There are only two ways he can ever return to Canada: either in handcuffs, or with a bullet embedded between his eyes.

Personally, I prefer the latter.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Should Veterans Trust the Liberals?

Let it not be said that Julian Fantino hasn't fouled up his portfolio at Veterans Affairs. It's undeniable: he has.

The Conservatives don't have much time to right this ship before the 2015 election. The election is actually the least of reasons to do it... the best reason to do it is because it's the right thing to do. But right that ship they must, and they should do it with a minister who is up to the job. Someone like Laurie Hawn or Leon Benoit.

The Liberals are gearing up for the 2015 election by promising that they are the party to right that ship.

Yeah, right.

It should also never be said that the Conservatives haven't done far, far better on Veterans' Affairs than the Liberals did the last time they were in government. It should also never be said that this wasn't hard.

Consider, for example, the sad story of Stephanos Karabekos.

The year was 1995. David Collenette was then the Minister of National Defense. Karabekos was a close associate of Collenette who had campaigned for him during the 1993 federal election.

Trouble began to brew for Mr Collenette in his own riding when the Chretien government decided to cut veterans' benefits to former members of the Greek resistance living in Canada. As of 1997 there were 8,400 former members of the Greek resistance in Canada.

It turns out this was a problem. Department of Veterans Affairs projections suggested that, under the renumeration plan of the day the $65 million paid out to such members would account for 60% of the budget. Clearly something had to be done, and did the Liberals ever. In the 1995 budget they stopped all support payments to veterans of any resistance movement, including the Greek resistance movement.

All the VA offices were open, but it didn't matter. Former resistance members could find no assistance there.

Collenette's riding, Don Valley East, has a very large Greek community. Many of them were either relatives of a Greek resistance member, or had been themselves. The problem for Mr Collenette was obvious.

He set out to solve his problem in the way that any Liberal would do. He didn't reach out to the Department of Foreign Affairs to reconsider their decision to financially abandon all former resistance members now living in Canada. Instead he paid Stephanos Karabekos to go out and "soothe the feelings" of the Greek community.

For this -- an activity that had clear implications for his ability to be reelected in his riding -- Collenette paid Karabakos $95,000. By the law of the day, any contract of $30,000 or more had to be put up for tender, allowing any individual with the skills to perform the work to bid on it.

Instead, Collenette hired Karabakos -- who, again, had campaigned for him in 1993 -- in contract installments of less than $30,000 apiece. In doing so he was able to sneak DND spending that conveniently helped his reelection prospects past the Treasury Board.

The Greek resistance fighters never did get their benefits restored. But Karabakos got his $95,000 and Collenette did get reelected in 1997. If Collenette really was relying on the Greek vote then Karabakos did a good job of "soothing hurt feelings" in Don Valley West. Collenette was reelected by the same 21,511 votes that elected him in 1993.

The purely-political approach to Veterans Affairs was one the Liberals took constantly during their time in government. There's no compelling reason to take them seriously now.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Unberable Lightness of Michael Harris, Part 2: Mowat Logic

Michael Harris' Party of One has finally arrived. And as Prime Minister Stephen Harper has not been the sort of politician that provokes impartial thought -- very few media types have been up to this task, and many who lay claim to a reputation for impartial thought most certainly haven't -- very few impartial reviews of the book are available.

But when I first set myself to the task of examining Harris' "journalistic" work at iPolitics, I made a prediction: that given how stale, banal and amateurish his work at iPolitics was, we could expect his book to be pretty much more of the same.

The book either hasn't disappointed, or has disappointed, based on whether or not you think more of the same stale, banal and amateurish work is a bad thing. Today, the following page of the book was tweeted by a critical reader:
In this excerpt from the book, Harris invokes Farley Mowat -- who served bravely as an officer during the Second World War, God bless his soul -- to rage against the very idea, often attributed to Harper, that Canada is a "warrior nation."

Earlier in the book, Harris makes the case that this so-called "transformation" of Canada into a "warrior nation" was rationalized largely around Canada's participation in the Afghanistan War. Harris also blathers a little about the War of 1812 -- apparently he's rather disturbed that the Canadian government would commemorate a key anniversary in Canadian history -- and a little bit about Libya, but it's mostly about the Afghanistan War.

Mowat fumed that "this son of a bitch incited Canada into becoming a warrior nation."

The logic is altogether absent. If Canada truly has recently become "a warrior nation" -- and has not always been at least partially so all along -- and that transformation was predicated on the Afghanistan War, then that transformation pre-dated Harper's time in office.

After all, it wasn't Harper who was Prime Minister when Canada committed its troops to the decade-plus-long conflict. It was Jean Chretien. He did so without a Parliamentary vote, and without any significant debate. Quite the contrast to how Harper handled the extension of the Afghanistan mission, the Libya mission, and the now-ongoing Iraq mission.

(So much for Harper the anti-democrat.)

Not to mention that Liberals were supportive of the deployment of CF-18s against Muammar al-Ghadaffi in Libya, and against ISIS in Iraq. While Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has chosen to play politics with the latter in hopes of picking up a few stray votes from the NDP, the fractures in his party are crystal clear. It's obvious that were political roles reversed Canada's contribution to the two conflicts would be every bit the same.

So there's a rather glaring factual and logical error. Perhaps we can expect that from Mowat, who for all his writing talent and his iconic Canadian writings was also known to be a little eccentric -- and who was apparently enamoured enough with Pierre Trudeau so as to gift him a dog -- but as a journalist, part of Harris' job is supposed to be to mediate such remarks against facts and against at least basic logic. He seems to have made no effort to perform that vital task in these pages.

Perhaps because if he had the natural and unforced conclusions would hurt his narrative.

All the same, I get the sense that Michael Harris' book has had its 15 minutes of fame. Booksellers don't seem to be especially enthusiastic about it, and I imagine the anti-Harper nutjobs who are the totality of the book's intended audience have already bought their copies.

I don't expect to hear much about the book in future. Excerpts such as the one above make it clear why.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dear Amy MacPherson

I'd like to thank you for making me part of your deranged story defending Jian Ghomeshi. Now that you have, I consider you obligated to answer my very-specific criticisms of your *ahem* "work" on this story.

I'm amused to see you finally see that you've felt some embarrassment at taking the side of someone who seems to get his jollies by beating up women in the bedroom. This suggests to me that perhaps you actually do have some shame, even if you're too proud to acknowledge it publicly.

As with previous updates to your story, I'll dispense will the most banal and meaningless portions of it. You may recall that after Lucy DeCoutere came forward -- and you suggested she was essentially acting as a lacky for the government. I believe your exact words were "civilians won't substantiate for the Star's claims, but the army will." I asked if you would attempt the same hitjob on Reva Seth.

While I'm surprised to see that you actually did, I'm actually quite amused to see that in doing so you've managed to lose your own plot:

"A day after publishing, her article was edited without identifying the changes and the Huffington Post declined to reveal her ties to the executive of the federal Liberal party."

Uh, what?

Amy, this whole time you've been screeching about l'affaire Ghomeshi being the centerpiece of some sort of Conservative Party conspiracy to undermine the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You haven't been able to demonstrate the involvement of even a single CPC figure in the story, but you've alleged this nonetheless. So now your complaint is that the Huffington Post -- you know, that online publication that hasn't carried any of your work in more than a year -- didn't disclose Reva Seth's links to the Liberal Party?

I hate to break this to you, but this doesn't support what your argument has been. It in fact undermines it. You must realize this... don't you?

What amuses me even more is the precise means by which you draw the connection between Reva Seth and the Liberal Party:

"Three months later in August 2014 and two months before the Ghomeshi scandal, the identity of Seth’s husband that was carefully concealed from all other sources was finally mentioned in the Globe and Mail. It turns out that Reva Seth is married to Rana Sarkar and the latter is a close friend of Gerald Butts, who is widely known as Justin Trudeau’s top advisor and longtime pal since childhood.

Recently Sarkar lost his nomination in Don Valley North and it was an unexpected turn of events. The party executive agreed to change the nomination date and this led to accusations of impropriety, as well as complaints about the open nomination process. When Sarkar lost by a margin of 3:1, accusations were levelled against Ontario cabinet minster, Michael Chan, for interfering. Ethnic tensions were also stoked regarding manipulation of the Chinese community to achieve this result."

Huh. So Seth's husband is a failed Liberal nominee. Amy, you seem to have no notion that it's unreasonable to cast aspersions on Seth's motivations by citing the political affiliations of her husband. You don't think that Seth is her own person or something?

Beyond that, Amy, I feel that you must answer the following extremely-important question: why, exactly, would the detail that Seth's husband is a Liberal and a friend of Gerald Butts be disclosed in a column in which Seth explains why she made the mistake of not going to the police with her experience being abused by Jian Ghomeshi?

I imagine that your pal Andrew Mitrovica has never bothered to explain this to you, but whether or not disclosure is ethically required as part of a story or a column is whether or not it's relevant to the subject matter of the story or column.

You don't have to be Inspector freaking Poirot to figure out that the detail that Seth's husband is a Liberal is not relevant to Seth's story of abuse at the hands of Jian Ghomeshi. Amy, if you wish to make the case that it is, then that case is up to you to try to make. But considering that your tactic to date has been to allege that Ghomeshi has been the victim of a CPC conspiracy theory, the detail that the only person whose political involvements you've been able to demonstrate is Seth's husband does not work in your favour.

Previously, I made a half-joke -- because I was only half-joking -- that you've been trying to draw these partisan associations in a badly-contrived game of "six degrees of Kevin Bacon." It's a fun game to play when you're at a party, but the methodology of this game is not a sound journalistic process.

To explain this to you most simply, Amy, drawing a connection of two or more Kevin Bacons during the game does not actually mean that the people being associated actually know or have ever even met Kevin Bacon. It's a game of remote association. Most people understand this.

So while it's more impressive that, in adapting this game as your "journalistic method," you can draw a connection between Reva Seth and Gerald Butts in just two Gerald Buttses than drawing a connection between Lucy DeCoutere and Stephen Harper in three Stephen Harpers, that remains entirely illusory. It doesn't in itself mean that Seth has ever actually met Butts (although I would personally expect that she probably has) and even if she has it doesn't mean that Seth or Butts have any involvement in this conspiracy you bizarrely theorize about.

Before I close out here, I'm going to take note of one more means by which you've attempted to sweep Seth away:

"I inquired about Seth’s credentials. At the Law Society of Upper Canada I found that Reva Seth surrendered her licence and is no longer permitted to practice law in this country. Although she did obtain her degree at Western University, it’s been a number of years since she’s been licenced in this discipline and the degree was a foundation for the next leg of her education.

In journalism it’s expressly important to describe personalities correctly. An example is consensus that a PhD can’t be addressed with the title 'doctor', or it would confuse the public too much about the authority of medical practitioners. If Ms. Seth and the Huffington Post had been forthcoming, they would have identified the complainant as a former lawyer, or someone who holds a law degree but doesn’t update skills as required to maintain a practice, with the authority to advise clients or the public at large."

Well, first off Black's Law Dictionary defines a lawyer as "a person learned in the law." Seth may not practice as a lawyer now, but she has in the past. It's not outrageous that she or others continue to describe her as a lawyer. I'm sure that if she described herself as practicing, or tried to practice, the LSUC will take issue with that. Until such a time as they do you're just grasping at straws, and you already were doing so the instant you contacted the LSUC. Whether or not Reva Seth is a practicing lawyer now is not especially relevant to why she did or didn't come forward then.

But I'd love to make use of this passage to drive home a point I've been making about your professional status as a journalist:

You describe yourself as a journalist in your Twitter profile, and you try to tell the rest of us what is or isn't important in journalism. You promote yourself as a journalist. Yet according to your own profile page on the Huffington Post, that publication hasn't carried any of your work in more than a year now.

Apparently you were, for a short time, a blogger with the CBC. They no longer carry your work either. In fact, I've searched around trying to find even a single publication, online or otherwise, that carries your work. The only one that seems to do so is your own blog.

I don't think it's at all unreasonable to take these facts together and conclude that you are not now really a journalist, you're just some deranged and deluded crank who publishes to her own blog because no one else will have her. Even Rabble.ca hasn't picked up any of your bile, and their standards are almost non-existent.

I think there's a reason for that.

But I'll tell you what, Amy: I'll conclude this blogpost with my personal challenge to you. We'll see how your work measures up ethically, seeing as how you like to talk as if you're all about the ethics.

I challenge you to at least attempt to register your blog as a news organization with the Ontario Press Council. That would make you subject to their judgements regarding the ethical standing of your work. Once you've done this, I'll submit an ethical complaint regarding your take on the Jian Ghomeshi story, specifically about your treatment of those who have complained against Ghomeshi.

If the OPC gives you a pass, you can consider yourself vindicated. I'll then withdraw any and all objections to the ethical standing of your work.

If the OPC rules against you, however, you stop referring to yourself as a journalist and apologize directly to Jian Ghomeshi's victims.

Don't get me wrong, though: I honestly don't expect you to accept this very-generous deal. Because not only are you well and truly fucked in the head, but I think you know it.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Memo to Amy MacPherson: It's Over

...Her career, I mean. If she ever works anywhere in the Canadian media again it's going to have to be because some editor somewhere is even more fucked in the head than she is.

Because Amy MacPherson is fucked in the head. I don't really enjoy saying it, but it just so happens to be the most concise way of saying it.

Yesterday, I noted on High Noon that concerned readers -- concerned about the sheer dementia of her take on l'affaire Jian Ghomeshi -- had questioned her about yesterday's developments in the case. Most significantly that actress/RCAF Captain Lucy DeCoutere had come forward.

MacPherson promised an update to her story in "a few." Finally, at 8:48 am ET (6:48 am MT) MacPherson vomited forth this:
So MacPherson's response to Lucy DeCoutere coming forward is, effectively, to smear her by playing "six degrees of Stephen Harper." She managed to make the connection in just three Stephen Harpers. That would be impressive if it weren't incredibly deranged.

And as for MacPherson's claim that "civilians won't substantiate the Star's claims?" Well, today author Reva Seth came forward. Not only is Ms Seth not in the Armed Forces, she's a lawyer. So for MacPherson to try to discredit her with an ad hominem attack, as she tried and failed with DeCoutere, may not be entirely wise.

If anyone has attempted to confront Ms MacPherson with this bit of information over Twitter she has yet to respond. But she also has yet to delete her incredibly deranged conspiracy theory from the internets either (memo to Ms MacPherson: good luck with that).

Absolutely nothing about MacPherson's take on the story makes sense, or is even supported by the evidence -- or any evidence at all. MacPherson has yet to produce any evidence to even remotely support her theory. She's produced no evidence to support involvement from Rob Ford. She's produced no evidence to support involvement from Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Yet she rambles on regardless.

Whatever Amy MacPherson's next move is, one thing is beyond question: it ought to be retirement. Another thing is beyond question: it probably won't be.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Now That I've Been Convinced About Jian Ghomeshi...

Let me start out by noting that Jian Ghomeshi has not yet been charged criminally, nor has he been convicted. I'm told that Lucy DeCouture will press charges, but we'll see about that.

That being said, I think I'd like to see if Jian Ghomeshi would like it if I choked him and slapped him around just a little bit. I'm going to draw the line at pushing him down and groping him, but I will declare myself thusly: if I ever encounter this guy I'm going to fuck him up.

But there's more yet that needs to be said. People who do the things Ghomeshi has been now-convincingly-alleged to have done are half the problem with sexual violence against women. But there's another half of the problem, and I'm going to go ahead and say what it is. Even knowing that I'll face a rhetorical swarming over it, I'll say it:

The other half of the problem is the women who stay quiet about it.

Don't get me wrong. I don't mean to be callous about this: I feel like I understand that it's not easy for a woman who has been victimized to come forward. They have a lot to worry about. I understand that sometimes their assailant is in a position of power over them. I understand that there are some who blame the victim. I understand it can be painful to recount their experiences. I get all that. I get that coming forward is tough. I understand it, and I sympathize.

But here's what must be said: predators thrive off the silence of their victims. Unstopped, they continue to claim more victims, and it's in no small part because their victims don't speak up.

Whether their victims are intimidated, persuaded, or rationalized into silence there is one thing that is certain: the silence of the victim always, always, always works to the advantage of the predator. Always. Always. Always.

That doesn't make them to blame for future victimizations. The only one to blame is the predator. But in staying silent they become an unwilling enabler to the predator. No one has to like this, but that doesn't mean that it's not true.

I'd hope that Lucy DeCouture -- who may have found her courage late, but found it nonetheless -- would tell women to never stay silent about this kind of an attack. To stop the predator dead in their tracks, and never allow them to victimize again. Just like Jian Ghomeshi should have been stopped.

In closing, Moxy Fruvous was a shitty band.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Unforgiven: Defeatists, Partisans & Peaceniks Need to Put a Sock In It

Today Canada was the victim of a low-grade 9/11-style coordinated terror attack. Shots were fired at four locations in Ottawa, including Parliament Hill and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. One Canadian Forces member is dead. So is his killer, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, reported as Canadian-born and a recent convert to Islam.

Many have taken to social media to insist that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is to blame for this: that Canada is under such attack only because we have sent CF-18s to bomb ISIS militants in Iraq.

The logic is flawed, and the greater implications of it are nothing short of alarming.

The attack in which Zehaf-Bribeau participated is only one of two in the past week. Martin Rouleau, also a Canadian-born convert to Islam, attacked Canadian Forces members in what many have described as a Lee Rigby-style attack. (In actuality, Ahmad de Converti -- Rouleau's chosen name -- was far more cowardly than Rigby's murderers, who at least stayed to face the police who arrived to shoot them.)

Not long ago I wrote a blogpost noting that we're fighting ISIS in Iraq so that we don't have to fight them here. Well, as it turns out they're already here, and now we are fighting them here.

While I remain adamant that we must not treat Canada's Muslim populations as if they are all ISIS members or even as if they're potentially ISIS members, we can no longer deny that fighters for the Islamic State are walking amongst us. Perhaps not many, but clearly some. Two attacks within a week, with two victims, speak for themselves.

So suppose that we were to do what the various people who want to pin the attacks on Harper seem to want us to do: withdraw our warplanes from Iraq, abandon our alliance with Israel, and essentially allow them to dictate our foreign policy to us in order to placate these ISIS fighters already hidden in our midst. What would we have just done?

We would have just submitted to living under de facto occupation. Perhaps living under occupation by a force that we may not otherwise be confronted by, but under occupation no less.

We would have handed to ISIS, on a silver platter, Canada as their first conquest in an empire of fear.

I'd be tempted to tell these assorted defeatists (who seem to think we cannot defeat the Islamic State), partisans (who simply point the finger for political gain) and wannabe peaceniks (who seem to miss the detail that there can be no peace with organizations such as ISIS, by their own accord) that they're welcome to live like this.

But if they live like that, so do we all. So they aren't interested in it. And if they aren't content to face the reality of today's events then they just need to put a sock in it.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Rattling The Birdcage: CRA Audit of "Bird Watchers" is Spot-On

If you've been anywhere near the #CdnPoli Twittersphere over the past couple of days, you've heard a lot of chirping about it:the Canada Revenue Agency is investigating a bunch of bird watchers for political activity. Sounds ridiculous, right?

Well, not nearly so much. And it took Greg Renouf to reveal it.

I don't want to steal too much of Greg's thunder. I highly recommend visiting Genuine Witty and reading his story. I am, however, going to quote a specific snippet and add to his analysis.

From Greg's post:

"I spent the first minute of my investigation into this story by looking up the website for the Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists and making my way to the About page. Once I arrived at the page it became immediately apparent this is more than just a group of “birdwatchers”- they’re a group that’s taken on the task of protecting and preserving wildlife. Shortly into my second minute I read the last line of the group’s objectives: 

'to support public interest in nature and its preservation by supporting the enactment of wise legislation and by other means that fall within the scope of the Corporation.'

The first problem is that supporting the 'enactment of wise legislation' is a whole lot more than simple birdwatching. The next problem here is that “supporting legislation” is not a charitable activity- but there’s no problem with that- unless they’re spending more than 10% of their resources on that activity. We’ll have to leave that up to the CRA to decide- that said, if you search the KWFN on Google News, they certainly do spend a lot of time pushing this mandate."

Greg's right. The Income Tax Act stipulates that purely political activity is to be limited to 10% of an organization's spending, and may not be a primary aim of the organization. Educational activity on political matters, however, is permitted; it's how think tanks qualify for charitable and non-profit status.

"Supporting the enactment of wise legislation" is inherently political. If KWFN had instead stipulated that "informing public policy" is a central goal of their organization, they'd clearly be in the clear. Clearly.

But this is a matter of semantics, right? Right? KWFN could be stating "supporting wise legislation" -- as in specific pieces of legislation they deem to be wise -- but then simply educating people as to the potential "wisdom" of this legislation, then letting people make up their own mind about those issues, right? Right?

Sorry. But no. From a column appearing in the KWFN newsletter:

"Ontario may be facing a spring election and time is running out to pass Bill 83 [an act protecting speech on environmental issues from SLAPP lawsuits]. Please ask your MPP and political leaders to pass this law."

A column educating readers about the potential benefits of Bill 83 without asking them to support it -- entrusting to them the task of making up their own minds about it, as educated people are wont to do -- would have been well within the rules stipulated by the Income Tax Act, which the CRA is obligated to enforce, This column, advising KWFN members to take specific political action in support of a specific bill, absolutely does not.

It looks like the KWFN are not entirely innocent victims after all. The Canada Revenue Agency's audit is entirely justified. In fact, it's entirely reasonable to wonder how they've gone this long without an audit, or how they received charitable status in the first place.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Phantom Menace, Pt II: Media Party's Outrage is Heavily Misplaced

No, it's not Attack of the Clones.

Previously on Bad Company I tackled the alarm raised about a series of emails exchanged between a consortium of Canadian media outlets about the use of copyrighted news footage in political advertisements. In 1988 a court case ruled that networks could not refuse to run an ad on copyright grounds, but the consortium is still threatening to do it in 2015.

Perhaps in response to or in anticipation of this, the Conservative Party has proposed to amend the Canada Copyright Act to allow for use of copyrighted news footage in political advertisements.

The Media Party immediately blew a gasket. And while the unequivocally unexplosive emails exchanged between various media bigwigs show no sign of collusion for political ends -- to my reading they seem genuinely and not-at-all-wrongly concerned about their copyrights -- the hands of media commentators are not nearly so clean.

Media commentators, on the other hand are frequently being downright hackish. They're overlooking the not-so-finer points of the matter and falling all over themselves to find something nefarious in all of this. Their greatest enabler so far has been copyright law expert Michael Geist. I don't dispute his expertise in copyright law, but his reading of elections law leaves a lot to be desired in his analysis of this amendment to the Copyright Act.

From Geist's column:

"...the proposal is very narrow. It would only apply to political parties, politicians, candidates, and their agents. The creation of an exception that only allows a select few to benefit is not a provision that can be defended on freedom of political speech grounds. We are all entitled to exercise our political speech rights. A new exception that guards against copyright stifling such speech should apply to all."

Really? Well, no. Let's look at the relevant section of the document Geist cites as his source:
Readers may want to do what Geist seems to have not done: read the bullet point before the one that refers to political parties.

"Proposed changes... would allow free use of 'news' content in political advertisements intended to promote or oppose a politician or political party or a position on a related issue."

That happens to be the Elections Act definition of third-party advertising. A registered third party is any group authorized to advertise in an election in support or opposition to a political party, or to promote or oppose a position on a related issue. Under the Elections Act, registered third parties are treated very much the same as a political party: they must have an official agent, report their expenses to Elections Canada, and are subject to spending limits.

In other words, for the purpose of the election, the registered third party is just that: a registered. Third. Party. Albeit a party that runs no candidates for election.

So while perhaps the next bullet point talks specifically about political parties, it's also helpful to note that it does so purely as a means of example -- that's what the "i.e." is meant to specify.

Don't expect anyone in the media party to correct this obvious mistake by Geist. As it turns out, Geist's error, even if they recognize it or not, helps them build up the idea that this is some nefarious hijacking of copyright law for political purposes. The fact that the amendment simply changes the Copyright Act (the legislation) to catch up to LPC vs CBC & CTV, 1988 (the case law) seems to be either entirely lost on them, or is simply being ignored. It wouldn't be the first time either transpired, especially where the Conservative Party happens to be involved.

And while the use of an ominbus budget bill to amend this legislation is a choice that is entirely open to be questioned (while omnibus bills are frequently used for such legislative "house-keeping," budget bills should contain the budget, and nothing else), that does not make the changes, in themselves, the sign of a malevolent or fascist government (as Don Martin recently suggested).

No matter how you slice it, there is more smoke than fire involved in this issue. It's just as simple as that.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Phatnom Menace: Attack Ads, the Media Party & the Collusion Scandal That Isn't

So this is happening: the Conservative Party is planning to introduce legislation amending the Canada Copyright Act to exempt political ads from copyrights held by newsmedia. And the Media Party is up in arms over it. Right? Right?

Well, yes and no. Yes, they are up in arms. No, it's not really a political thing.

Recently, emails exchanged between representatives of several news outlets were released. Some people are pretending that these emails are damning evidence of collusion between those news outlets, perhaps for political ends.

If that's the argument intended, then the emails will disappoint. Far from explosive, they're really a quite-banal series of continuous consultations between various news outlets trying to discuss how they will protect their copyrighted material.

The ultimate result of this correspondence was the following letter:
It's actually very underwhelming stuff. Apparently they're concerned that the use of their footage in political ads will raise questions about their independence. Never mind that all sorts of people already raise all sorts of questions about the political independence of the news media: conservatives complain that the news media is too left-wing, and the left complains that it isn't left-wing enough.

The only thing in these emails that comes even close to being provocative, let alone damning or explosive, is this email from CBC's McGuire:
There may inevitably be questions about what construes an "out-of-context" use and whether or not there is sufficient context to justify that. (For example, partisan Liberals love to cite "context" in regards to Justin Trudeau's expressed admiration for China's basic dictatorship, but there is no context present that would make an aspiring democratic leader's admiration for a dictatorship acceptable.)

There are plenty of questions that McGuire and company should feel themselves compelled to answer. Such as: is use of their footage to expose the relevant shortcomings of a political candidate -- as was done to Stephen Dion (who, regardless of how bitterly Liberals may lament it was not a leader) not in the public interest? And can media outlets actually refuse to air an ad because it happens to use footage that may (or may not, as the case may be) belong to another news outlet? Previous case history (LPC v CBC, CTV, 1988) seems to indicate that they don't. Political ads were deemed to be in the public interest.

Are the media party simply taking this stand to protect Justin Trudeau? Their emails make mention of the coming 2015 election only by way of acknowledgement of its approach. And again, the case history -- the Liberal Party suing in 1988 to force CTV and CBC to air their attack ads -- seems to indicate this is not a matter of their political preferences.

In short, this story just is not what some people are making it out to be.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Quick and the Dead: BCHRC's Showdown With Its Own Legitimacy

For as long as Human Rights Commissions have been controversial in Canada, it has frequently been said that no HRC would ever help a Christian.

It's been said that discrimination against Christians is an institutionally-accepted form of discrimination. But in the case of Bethany Paquette vs Amaruk Wilderness Group (aka an epic bunch of Norwegian assholes), that notion will be tested.

It hasn't been very often that a HRC news story in Canada has featured any actual, demonstrable discrimination. But this one has. This isn't t say that HRCs rarely deal with cases of genuine discrimination, but that those cases rarely make headlines. But this one has.

Bethany Paquette applied tfor a job with Amaruk Wilderness Group. Paquette is an experienced river rafting guide. She applied for a job as -- get this -- a guide. But she also has something that soured the deal: a biology degree from Trinity Western University.

So apparently it wasn't enough for Olaf Amundsen, a self-aggrandizing buffoon in the company's human resources department (as it were) to merely tell Paquette that she wasn't qualified for the job. (This would apparently be untrue, based on Paquette's experience.) Instead he felt compelled to write her an email abusing her for what he simply presumed were her religious beliefs.

"Unlike Trinity Western University, we embrace diversity, and the right of people to sleep with or marry whoever they want," he declared. But as it turns out, Amundsen is quite the bigot himself. "The Norse background of most of the guys at the management level means that we are not a Christian organization, and most of us actually see Christianity as having destroyed our culture, tradition and way of life."

Ironically, that's an allegation made against LFBT persons by those Christians who happen to believe in discriminating against them.  Mr Amundsen isn't nearly as different from such people as he'd like to believe.

If you read the law strictly, by the letter, Mr Amundsen and his friends at Amaruk are, to use a parlance he and his cohorts will appreciate, fucked. It's unlawful to discriminate against someone on the basis of their religion in matters of employment. Mr Amundsen may think himself clever enough to try to skate around it -- claiming that he was merely expressing his opinion after rejecting an allegedly-unqualified applicant. But Paquette;s qualifications put the lie to that. Mr Amundsen is entirely transparent, and dead to rights. Even the Britisch Columbia Civil Liberties Union seems to think as much.

He's not even necessarily wrong about some things. When he states that Trinity Western University's values covenant -- which requires students at the university to publicly affirm a belief in traditional marriage in order to be permitted to attend the university -- is discriminatory.

It's also inherently coercive. So for Amundsen to ascribe such beliefs to Paquette -- whether she believes in such things or not -- is presumptive. To then churn these presumptions out in an email laden with bigoted remarks about Christianity is, in a word, stupid.

Then again bigots such as Amundsen are rarely intellectual giants.

If the letter of the law is more important to the BCHRC than the individual biases of HRC commissioners, then Olaf Amundsen and Amaruk Winderness Group are, to put it most simply, fucked.

Unless, of course, all the people who have said that a Human Rights Commission would never help a Christian, even in cases of actual discrimination, are right. But if they are, then these institutions have no legitimacy at all, and must be abolished.

Your move, BCHRC.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fighting Them Over There So We Don't Have to Fight Them Over Here

In regards to fighting terrorism and Islamic extremism, it's the oldest line in the book, so much so that it's at risk of being dismissed as an exhausted old cliche: we're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here.

There's actually good reason why this line is so frequently discounted as utterly hackneyed: it's been uttered by ever proponent f of the War on Terror who, when challenged on the necessity of the conflict, had no better answer. We're fighting them over there in Afghanistan, in Iraq, so we don't have to fight them over here.

With the United States, Britain, Canada and others set to open a new offensive against ISIS in Iraq, that line will be repeated again. But this time it's more true than ever before.

Let's look back a week: British aid worker Alan Henning -- not a soldier -- was beheaded by ISIS in cold blood. In response, The Independent ran a solid black font page. It read: "On Friday a decent, caring human being was murdered in cold blood. Our thoughts are with his family. He was killed on camera for the sole purpose of propaganda. Here is the news, no the propaganda."

It's a heartbreaking story. And sadly for Britain, it's not the first cold-blooded murder they've experienced at the hands of such extremists.

Let's look back a year: Just a little more than a year, actually. Lee Rigby is murdered in the streets of London, hacked to death by two Muslim extremists. Unlike Henning, Rigby was a soldier. Off duty, unarmed, beset upon by a pair of extremists with machetes in broad daylight. They then stood by Fusilier Drummer Rigby's corpse and professed their extremist beliefs until police arrived and promptly shot them (though unfortunately did not shoot them dead).

It was the most brazen terror attack in British history. Not during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, not even on 7/7 did terrorists so readily stand by their handiwork.

And the Rigby murder was not an isolated incident. They're threatening to do it again, right in the streets of Britain.

Peace-loving Muslims -- the ones who came to Britain to escape the barbarism of these extremists, the ones so frequently overlooked at times like these -- reacted now as they did then: with outrage over these heinous acts. They know as well as anyone what fighting this kind of savagery really means. As with their extremist counterparts we may not necessarily know them to see them, but we will know them by their actions. If they haven't already, they will let us know where we stand. We should be wise enough to embrace them when they do.

Canada would at least seem to have been far more fortunate. Islamic terror plots here have been thwarted. The RCMP and CSIS will likely have to be every bit as vigilant as they have been to date in order to ensure this remains the case. Judging from Britain's example we can't expect to continue to be so fortunate by fate alone.

We know who we're fighting. We've seen their handiwork. And we fight them in Iraq so that we don't have to fight them here.

It's not a cliche anymore.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Whip Out Your Ideas, Justin Trudeau: Let's See How Big They Are

“Why aren’t we talking more about the kind of humanitarian aid that Canada can and must be engaged in, rather than trying to whip out our CF-18s and show them how big they are?” Justin Trudeau asks.

Hoo boy. Leave it to the Liberal leader so simultaneously dump on the professionalism of the Royal Canadian Air Force -- as if they specialize in global pissing contests -- and provide an idea that, while it seems on the surface to be the sort of sunny response to a global situation that Liberals are known for, also turns out to be entirely half-baked.

Not that he really has any ideas.

In the course of a speech given to the Liberal-organized Canada 2020 conference, the only thing Trudeau would commit to in terms of ideas is that he hasn't made up his mind. He has no idea how to respond to the ISIS threat in the Middle East. He has no ideas, but he insists that Canadians shouldn't listen to the ideas of the other guys.

Good gawd. This is the guy who wants to be Canada's next Prime Minister. Who Liberals want to be Canada's next Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will roll out his government's proposal on how Canada will deal with ISIS tomorrow. The debate will be on Friday. Yet he and his party are acting as if they'd rather debate the matter this minute... with a leader who hasn't made up his mind yet.

This could only come from the Liberal Party and be passed off as if it were a tenable position. They've learned the easy way to not expect a lot of Canadians to think even once, let alone twice, about the base fatuousness of this position. Perhaps with good reason: one cannot think about the shortcomings of even the meagre offerings Trudeau has already mustered and still maintain that narcissistic sense of unjustified intellectual vanity that so often comes with being a Liberal.

Suppose that Canada were to do as Trudeau suggests, and send only a humanitarian mission to Iraq. How has ISIS already embraced aid workers there? They beheaded British aid worker David Haines. So if we provide aid to the two million people currently displaced within Iraq -- as well we should -- but do so without any boots on the ground to protect aid workers, what happens?

ISIS takes the heads of any aid workers they can get their hands on, and probably kills a good number of the people who those aid workers are intended to help. Hell, ISIS has placed that genocide on their agenda already.

Then ISIS takes aid supplies and turns it to their own use. Whether he intended to or not, Justin Trudeau would have just provided aid and comfort to the enemy. Not by treason, but by naivete.

No wonder Justin Trudeau won't talk about any ideas he may have. And I wouldn't expect him to anytime soon. No. Instead, he'll talk about the past: he'll talk about how Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2003 (when he wasn't yet Prime Minister) being taken by bad intel regarding the status of Saddam Hussein's ongoing quest to procure weapons of mass destruction.

Two million refugees in Iraq would happily -- if not cheerfully -- explain the difference between the 2003 and 2014 scenarios to Justin Trudeau if given the opportunity.

It's not likely that Trudeau is talking to many of them. No, he's too busy impugning the professionalism of the RCAF and making juvenile dick jokes to get around to that.

It's with the detail that the polls are currently in Justin Trudeau's favour that one of his vaunted advisors -- perhaps General Andrew Leslie -- should pull him aside and tell him to get his head in the game. Should he become Prime Minister he won't have the luxury of kicking back and making penis jokes while global events unfold. If, right now, he wants to become Prime Minister then he'd better start showing Canadians he's ready for it.

The time is now, Justin Trudeau. If you have any fully-baked ideas for how Canada should respond to ISIS, whip 'em out. Show us how big they are. But they'd better be bigger and better than what you've produced to date.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The CCPA CRA Audit Explained, As it Were

So, the Canada Revenue Agency is auditing the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives for potential violations of the Income Tax Act related to charitable or non-profit organizations. The operating suspicion is that the CCPA has engaged primarily in political activities, as opposed to educational activities.

That's ridiculous, right?

Well... maybe not so much.

Writing in the Huffington Post, CCPA "economist" Toby Sanger sets out to challenge Prime Minister Stephen Harper's assertion that corporate tax cuts have not harmed Canada's overall corporate tax haul.

As it turns out, Sanger's argument hinges on the following graph:
Comically, the graph actually directly contradicts Sanger's claim. Pay close attention to how corporate income tax revenues interacted with CIT rate cuts between 2008 and 2014. Notice anything? Such as, say... modest yearly growth?

Certainly, Sanger can demonstrate an absolute decline in CIT haul between 2006 and 2014. Apparently the reader is supposed to simply presume that this is attributable to CIT rate cuts. Yet Sanger seems to have left out one crucial event that undoubtedly, undeniably affected Canada's CIT haul: the 2008 recession.

Go ahead: search Sanger's screed for the word "recession." You won't find it. It's not there.

How can an allegedly-seasoned economist like Sanger simply not mention the recession?

I think the answer is remarkably simple: mentioning the 2008 recession would remind readers that there is more to the absolute decline in CIT haul than simply CIT rates. Once the drastic drop between CIT hauls in 2006 and 2008 is revealed to be attributable to factors other than CIT rate cuts, the very premise of Sanger's article evaporates. And my bet is that Sanger knows this.

According to the Income Tax Act, charitable and non-profit organizations are tax-exempt if they engage in educational activities. But in deliberately excluding not only pertinent information -- but in fact the most pertinent information -- from his article, Sanger has crafted a piece that is not educational or even informational, but is in fact disinformational.

As such, it is inherently political.

And while neither Toby Sanger nor the Huffington Post saw fit to disclose his involvement with the CCPA, the question is still begged: does the nature of Sanger's work in the Huffington Post reflect the nature of his work for the CCPA?

If it does, the Canada Revenue Agency's audit of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is in fact well-justified... and it will likely not end well for the CCPA.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hey Grievance Mongers... This is Your Time to Shine!

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (or PSAC for short) is a cancer at the heart of Canada's vast government bureaucracy. Now, to their list of offenses against the Canadian public -- which previously included endorsing separatist parties during federal elections -- we can add this:

They apparently want paid time off -- up to 10 days at a time -- to mourn "Aboriginal spirit friends."

What is an "aboriginal spirit friend," you may ask? Apparently it's "it refers to the loss of a spiritual leader in the community, such as an elder. We have negotiated bereavement leave in other agreements for such losses,” according to a PSAC spokesperson.

10 days seems a little much. Other than that, it's not entirely unreasonable... so long as the bereavement time for "aboriginal spirit friends" is only available to those who are actually aboriginal.

Otherwise, PSAC has just run afoul of something that far-left grievance mongers refer to as "cultural appropriation." It's what they accuse white people of whenever they observe a custom or even wear clothing from a culture deemed by such grievance-mongers go be "non-white." The very idea of it seems calculated to keep people of difference races or cultures separate, and is as such inherently racist, but they seem to cherish this "idea."

PSAC is entirely familiar with this "idea." It's been pushed one people at some of the events they've hosted.

I think this all begs a question: is PSAC members taking time off to mourn "aboriginal spirit friends" a form of cultural appropriation? If you take the new-age racist grievance-mongers who push this "idea" at their word, it is so long as those taking the time off are not aboriginal. But can non-aboriginal PSAC members be trusted not to attempt such an act?

Well, speaking purely anecdotally I've witnessed PSAC members on Twitter boasting about taking sick days when they are not sick. So obviously not all of them are nearly so unscrupulous as to not abuse any options available to get paid time off.

So far, I've yet to hear so much as even a single critical race theorist call out PSAC over the potential for this kind of abuse, or even demand that PSAC amend their proposal to prevent it. Odd, that, considering that this is their time to "shine."

Sunday, September 14, 2014

$15 Minimum Wage? Not as the NDP Would Have It

Well, it looks like Justin Trudeau can kiss the hard-core pothead vote goodbye. The NDP have just figured out a way to take it away from him.

At the cost of economic disaster, mind you. But all the same.

Recently, the NDP rolled out a proposal to increase Canada's federal minimum wage -- the minimum wage applicable to federally-regulated industries -- to $15 an hour. Sounds great, right? Well, not if you pay attention to history.

Here's what history tells us about raising the minimum wage, at least under certain circumstances: as of 2014, Canada's minimum wage, adjusted for inflation, was all of one cent more than in 1974. In 1974 the minimum wage in Ontario was just $2.74. Forty years later, it's $10.14. That might seem like a significant increase, until you consider that $2.74 adjusted for inflation is $10.13.

There's a reason for this: wage pressures are inflationary. And when a wage pressure is government-induced, that inflation is guaranteed. It's basic economics: if you increase the cost of an input, such as labour, entrepeneurs will increase the price they demand for their product. Suddenly everyone is paying more for everything so everyone's dollar is worth less.

So will a $15 minimum wage really improve things for minimum wage earners? As it turns out, no. Not only would it not really improve anything for minimum wage earners, it would result in catastrophic losses for the middle class, and more-bearable-losses for the wealthy. As the price of everything from housing to utilities to groceries to clothing to, well, everything will rise, swallowing up what might otherwise appear to be gains. No one gets further ahead, and everyone would fall further behind. (At least it would reduce income inequality!)

That's how the NDP would have it. But a $15 minimum wage could work without such a disaster... if accompanied by offsetting corporate and small business taxes. And we all know how much the NDP loves cutting corporate taxes.

But deep corporate and small business tax cuts -- perhaps as much as 50% of the current rate -- may be the only way to stave off the inflation that would otherwise accompany a $15 minimum wage. That puts the NDP at something of an impasse.

If they can't find it in themselves to navigate this impasse in the only workable way, the NDP's $15 minimum wage proposal would be nothing more than a blueprint for another Great Depression.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why PM Harper Deserves Consideration for Nobel Peace Prize

Previously on Bad Company, I took the signatories to a petition demanding that the Nobel Peace Prize committee reject Prime Minister Stephen Harper's nomination out to the woodshed. They didn't like it.

Not one of them substantively answered the criticisms contained in that blogpost. The reason for this is obvious: it's because they can't.

And of course they can't. The only reason to demand that the NPP committee circumvent the process of considering nominations made to it is that they're deathly afraid that Harper will get serious consideration, if not the award itself. Personally, I expect that Prime Minister Harper will get serious consideration, although I don't necessarily expect he'll win the prize.

I don't disagree with Frank Dimant that Harper has shown remarkable, even unique, moral clarity on the issue of Israel. Unlike those who signed this ridiculous petition, Prime Minister Harper knows were the blame for the conflict, and for civilian deaths in Gaza, belongs: on Hamas. They, who go out of their way to start armed conflict with Israel, then put their civilians in harm's way.

That being said, that's not the reason I think Harper warrants serious consideration for the award.

The reason in my mind is the maternal health initiative Harper has championed on the global stage. It was once said that mother is the name of God on the lips of a child. Prime Minister Harper is well aware that when you take steps to improve the health of mothers and their children you take a vital step toward alleviating health crises in the developing world.

Now I'm certain that many signatories to the "deny Harper" petition will object strenuously. Their idea of "maternal health" seems to be funding abortions in countries where the procedure is often contrary to law. Harper has wisely defied them by refusing to fund abortions as part of the MHI. This is another reason why he should be considered.

I'm not holding my breath for Prime Minister Harper to win the prize based on this achievement. If helping to stem the devastation wrought by AIDS in Africa wasn't enough to win President George W Bush the Peace Prize -- and having accomplished nothing was enough to win President Barack Obama the prize -- the Maternal Health Initiative likely won't secure it for Harper.

And that's OK, so long as the award goes to a more deserving nominee. I'm entirely open to that possibility. I'll be waiting... and watching... to see who ends up winning.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Put the Blame for Missing & Murdered Inidgenous Women Where It Belongs

Writing on Rabble.ca, Sarah Hunt has drawn the most predictable (and racist) conclusion regarding murdered and missing indigenous women: blame whitey.

"Over the past few weeks, we have seen a rise in media coverage of violence against Indigenous girls and women following the murder of 15 year old Tina Fontaine. Discussion reached its peak last week during the annual meeting of premiers, which was seen as a venue to push for action to address the root causes of this ongoing atrocity. Yet as the meeting fades out of memory and Tina becomes the latest in the seemingly endless string of murdered young women, I fear that this flurry of dialogue and public outrage has yet again failed to bring about real change.

I fear that no amount of increased awareness and political organizing will actually end the violence if we continue along this current trajectory because we are still not shining a spotlight on the real causes of violence. No, I'm not talking about the drug use and street involvement that some journalists have drawn attention to in their portrayal of Tina Fontaine's final days. I'm also not talking about widespread poverty on reserve, or even the myriad factors that systematically marginalize Indigenous girls and women.

What this latest round of media coverage has failed to address is simply this: white male violence.

Indeed, the erasure of that violence as a topic of social and political concern is arguably a form of violence itself, as it serves to remove white men from the equation. White men get away with being unmarked by the violence they perpetrate, not at fault for carrying out a form of violation that is as old as colonialism itself. They also disassociate themselves from the institutions and systems that serve to normalize violence against Indigenous people -- systems that were designed and are largely upheld by (you guessed it) white male leaders.

For example, we have heard very little about the fact that the multiple murder trial of a 24 year old white man, Corey Legebokoff, is wrapping up this week in Prince George -- an area associated with the Highway of Tears. Indeed, no one has been connecting the dots between Legebokoff's multiple killings and the widespread violence against Indigenous girls and women in that area.

Apparently, Hunt resents the tragic facts of Tina Fontaine's last days being recounted because it impedes her agenda of just blaming the white devil. So instead she moves on to drawing some rather bold conclusions from the Corey Legebokoff trial: the white man is to blame after all.

The especially interesting thing about this is that Legebokoff is on trial for murdering four women. Of those four women, two were white and two were aboriginal. (Legebokoff is literally an equal-opportunity murderer, so far as race is concerned.) And so on the basis of half of Legebokoff's victims, Hunt casts the finger of blame at white people (especially white men) for the murders of indigenous women.

In social science, this is called a sampling error. It occurs when a subset of a statistical sample is used to draw conclusions about the sample as a whole.

So far, Hunt has found two murdered indigenous women killed by a white male. And based on this sample (of two) she draws her conclusions about the entire sample.

Well, the RCMP did not draw its conclusions based on a subset as small as two. They drew it based on the entirety of a sample of 1,181. Based on that sample of cases, this is what they concluded:

-The solve rate for murdered or missing indigenous women is practically identical tothe solve rate for non-indigenous women.
-Indigenous women were most likely to be murdered not by a stranger such as Corey Legebokoff, but by someone known to them. Either an acquaintance (30%), their spouse (29%) or other family member (24%). More than 90% of murdered indigenous women knew their killer in some way.
-The bulk of the killers of these women were men with criminal records, attained via previous violence against the women they eventually killed.

So the overwhelming majority of the murderers of indigenous women were indigenous men already known to the victim. Somehow Hunt has managed to look at this and conclude that "white male violence" is the underlying root cause.

The only way that Hunt could have even possibly reached these conclusions is to wilfully disregard the results of the exhaustive RCMP study and simply create her own out of whole cloth, with nothing more than a sampling error to support them. Why would motivate an academic to do such a thing?

It turns out that the answer is in her bio:

"Sarah Hunt (PhD) is a writer, educator and activist currently based in Lkwungen Territories (Victoria, BC) and is of Kwagiulth (Kwakwaka’wakw), Ukrainian and English ancestry. She has more than 15 years’ experience doing community-based work on issues of justice, education and cultural revitalization in rural and urban Indigenous communities across B.C. Most recently, Sarah’s research investigated the relationship between law and violence in ongoing neocolonial relations in BC, asking how violence gains visibility through Indigenous and Canadian socio-legal discourse and action."

It's only natural Hunt would be wilfully blind to the grim realities reflected in the RCMP report. Simply put: she, and the kinds of policies she has advocated, has a direct hand in this matter becoming as out-of-control as they have gotten. While indigenous women have been murdered by the violent thugs sent loose by a justice system instructed to go easy on them because they're aboriginal, she and her ideological cohorts have been telling us that if you can just hug a thug hard enough, everything will be OK.

With 1,181 murdered and missing indigenous women to show us how wrong Sarah Hunt and her cohorts are, I say "enough. It's over. You're done."

It only reaffirms my belief that there should be a Parliamentary Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, but not the one that Sarah Hunt and her ilk imagine. They imagine an inquiry as a soapbox from which they can disregard the facts, invent their own, and push their failed agenda. The result will be more missing and murdered indigenous women.

Canada needs a very different inquiry: more of a trial, with Sarah Hunt and her cohorts in the docket, answering for the policies they pushed. One in which they will not be able to evade the blame for softening Canada's criminal justice system so that it no longer even tried to protect the women who eventually wound up murdered at the hands of those who had already victimized them. A trial that will discredit them so thoroughly that, PhD or not, the public will recognize their unworthiness and we will never hear from them again. They will be relegated to the irrelevance they have so richly earned.

Then the rest of us will go on with the business of protecting indigenous women by an act so simple, obvious and intuitive as keeping their assailants in jail so that they cannot harm their victims again.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Anti-Harper Petition an Exercise in Intellectual Cowardice

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and the far-left desn't like it.

Front and centre in the increasingly-public spectacle of the far-left losing their minds over it is a petition started by Calgarian Liberal hack Ed Tanas. Tanas was so outraged by the nomination, by Frank Dimant of B'Nai Brith, that he was driven to anti-Semitic comments.

I've spent some time slowly peeling back the layers of Tanas' mania at High Noon. He's not an individual bursting with credibility. So not much has to be said about he himself here.

But I will speak at further length about his petition, and just how, frankly, cowardly an effort it really is.

As explored masterfully by the Calgary Herald's Susan Martinuk, almost none of the 20,00 unhinged signatories have produced even a single valid reason why Harper's nomination should be denied:

"The real drivers behind any support for the petition can easily be detected in the comments made by its supporters. Most are a nebulous collection of hateful phrases that have no facts or logic to support their claims. According to them, Harper has 'committed crimes against Canadians' and has 'beady eyes.' He is also 'a disgrace to mankind,' 'a warmonger,' 'evil' 'an oppressor,' 'a fascist' and a 'social monster' who should be charged with 'treason.'

Frankly, these people should spend a year or two living under the rule of a Third World dictator. Maybe then they can comprehend the real meaning of such words.

Comments that state reasons (still not facts or statistics) invariably focus on Harper’s unwavering support for Israel, the 'evil, mass-murderer that kills innocent children.' A few others mention unexplained reasons such as aboriginal policies and dismantling Canada’s health-care system."

So more or less all of it is generic left-wing rhetoric, and absolutely none of it is true,... save that Harper does, in fact, support Israel. Although what the signatories say about Israel is false. Which makes that a wash.

Now here's the thing: signing this petition is an act of intellectual cowardice.

If they were true, the reasons cited by the signatories would indeed be damning of Harper's nomination. There's no question whatsoever about that. If the Nobel committee found these things to be true, there's no way Harper would be considered seriously for the award.

So if the signatories really had any confidence whatsoever that the things they say are true, they would have no objection to the Nobel committee considering Harper's nomination. By attempting an end-run around the evaluation process by petitioning the committee to reject the nomination out-of-hand, they're instead demonstrating that they have no confidence in the things they say; that they are aware that the things they say are untrue, and simply expect the nomination committee to accept them unquestioningly.

This is not to say that if the Peace Prize is awarded to someone other than Harper that what these nutjobs say about Harper is true, merely that there was a more deserving candidate. Which is, frankly, how these awards should be awarded.

There is a pro-Harper petition as well. It hasn't been circulating for as long as the anti-Harper petition, but if you believe the Nobel Peace Prize committee should consider Harper''s nomination, you could do worse than to sign it.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Hamas: the Death Cult in Charge of Gaza

Well, Israel-haters and Hamas-boosters, the jig is up: the evidence is in. There is no question now that Hamas fires its rockets from amidst densely-populated civilian areas.

The first concrete, indisputable evidence arrived via France 24:
The sight of Palestinian children playing around Hamas rocket silos is one that will likely horrify me to my dying day.

The sight of a Hamas rocket silo with a UN flag fluttering atop a building less than 100 feet away is one that will remain emblematic of the brazenness of Hamas and the utter failure of the UN to stand up to this cowardice for decades to come.

Not long after a crew from India's NDTV captured, on video, a Hamas crew planting, concealing and then firing rocket from a vacant lot immediately adjacent to hotels and apartment buildings: In both of these cases, these silos were rigged with remote-fire capability. In other words, the Hamas militants who planted those launchers then high-tailed it to safety, leaving the civilians in the aforementioned hotels and apartment buildings to be blown to pieces by any Israeli counter-strike.

Today, this got me thinking: in particular, about the idea that Hamas uses human shields. While these incidents may seem to confirm that, it's occurred to me that perhaps it isn't true after all.

Consider the very idea of what a human shield is: a human body used to cover an aggressor from fire; from behind which an aggressor may attack, but may not be attacked without harming the person being used as a human shield.

It may seem to fit the situation in Gaza, but here's the thing: when Israel counter-attacks, the militants who launched the initial attack are long gone. Hamas has obviously long accepted that firing a rocket from densely-populated areas is not guaranteed to deter Israel from counter-attack. So now they hide far away and fire these weapons from a safe distance. The civilians in the densely-populated areas are simply hung out to dry while the terrorists themselves are in no real danger. By design these terrorists endanger these civilians, deliberately getting them killed while they themselves are seldom in any real danger.

That is why it has occurred to me: the civilians being killed when Israel destroys a Hamas rocket silo aren't human shields. They're human sacrifices. Quite literally.

This is the peril of an ideology that teaches that "martyrdom" brings with it rewards in the afterlife, so death is actually to be welcomed. Now, Hamas militants are no longer content to seek martyrdom for themselves: they're perfectly content to martyr civilians against their will, and without their consent.

They aren't used to protect rocket silos. They're no longer meant to. Now they're merely sacrificed. And sacrificed because it serves the purposes of Hamas and their de facto allies among the anti-Israel movement. Hamas gets to commit an increasingly (although not yet entirely) futile act of aggression against Israel. The Israel-haters get collateral porn to slather across the internet. Apparently every one wins so long as innocent Palestinians lose their lives.

Well, enough is enough. Hamas must be destroyed to the last man. This grisly and opportunistic practice of human sacrifice cannot be permitted to continue.