I’ve spent some time living outside of Canada, specifically in China. Over that time, I’ve learned to truly value Canada. It is one of the precious gems in this world.

In my Canada, folks stop to pull others out of a snow bank or offer to boost their car. It doesn’t matter what religious garb they are wearing. This is Canada. Helping our neighbour is just what we do.

In my Canada, we are tolerant and accommodating of the different cultures that make up our mosaic heritage. On Canada Day, our parades are features the many cultures that make up our country. In China, in contrast, on their National Day, they parade their big guns.

In my Canada, we eventually try to make up for our past mistakes, where we weren’t as tolerant and accommodating as we should have been, such as with the Chinese, Japanese, and our First Nations.

In my Canada, hockey is more than just a winter sport, it is a metaphor for how we work together and cooperate to achieve our goals. We are the True North Strong and Free. When we see something that needs to be done, we step in and do it. That’s what made us good peacekeepers.

I have, up until now (and that time, when I was in University, I voted NDP to bug my dad) have always supported the federal Progressive Conservative Party. I didn’t like Reform because “Right Wing” and “Religion” are two things that should be kept far apart. I understand how merging the Conservative Reform Alliance Parties would reduce the split in the conservative vote.

Harper isn’t my kind of Conservative. His vision of Canada isn’t my Canada.

My kind of leader would mend tears and build consensus. Our flag is like that. It was born out of consensus and compromise.

Harper seeks to win by tearing us apart. Rather than being the True North Strong and Free, he tells us to be scared, that only he can protect us. His vision of Canada is one where my security is sacrificed for the government’s security. Where we are fearful of our neighbours and are encouraged to report them to the government.

Harper’s Conservative Party isn’t my Conservative Party. Harper’s Canada isn’t my Canada.

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HarperTaxCuts

We all would like to pay less taxes. As much as I understand that taxes are a necessary thing, I’m tweedleeager to legitimately pay less.

But tax cuts are not free which made this editorial cartoon funny to me. Aside from confusing who is Tweedletax and Tweedlespend (I had thought the Liberals were the spenders and the NDP were the taxers but the labeling has it reversed), the implication is that they are either taxing us or spending our money but Harper with his tax cuts is not doing that. But tax cuts are a form of spending. For me, that’s the punch line, the one that folks who would post that cartoon in support of Harper just don’t get.

Not only are tax cuts a form of spending, they aren’t very effective at spending the way you want unless carefully constructed.

But first, tax cuts as spending. To use a simple system, let’s suppose our revenue is 1000 and we spend 600. That would leave a surplus of 400. If we increase our spending by 100, our surplus becomes 300. Instead, if we cut taxes thus reducing our revenue by 100, our surplus also becomes 300. It is a simplistic system but it should illustrate how tax cuts are a form of spending.

Over the past few decades, we’ve had certain political parties tell us that tax cuts to the wealthy, that somehow taking my taxes and giving it to wealthy people, is good for the economy. With Harper’s current tax cuts, he is pretty much trying to buy our votes by giving more money to the wealthy. Yep, when you say it that way it makes no sense at all.

Trickle down economics is the idea that spending money on those who already have money will result in trickle down economic benefits. Those with money will spend the extra money they get and create jobs. How a political party with that plank in its platform didn’t get jeered off the stage is beyond me. Oh, that’s right, the electorate were promised tax cuts. It doesn’t take much to distract the electorate.

Of course, with the government spending so much money on the wealthy and large corporations, there is less money to spend on the things that we expect the government to do. The solution, of course, is austerity. Governments cut back on services to balance the budget. We see this with the Harper Government in the billions sucked out of departments that provide the services we expect from the government. That surplus reported by them had to come from somewhere. If it didn’t come from revenue (taxes) then it came from spending (services). The more they give to the wealthy, the less there is for everybody else.

Generally, tax cuts aren’t a good method to spend our money. A general tax cuts favours those with more money. For example, a 10% cut across the board will mean that someone who is making very little and is likely not paying much in taxes now might not get enough savings to buy a cup of coffee. Whereas, someone who is already paying loads in taxes will save enough to pay several months of my rent. Also, if there are no conditions on the tax cuts, the government can’t predict how the money will be spent. Will it get spent in Canada or will it get moved out of Canada? I kind of suspect that Harper doesn’t really care, as long as his friends are taken care of.

HarperC24

Let’s think about this for a bit… a man lost his citizenship because he planned to do something really bad. Thankfully he was caught, even without the benefit of C-51.

The man is in jail but he’s scheduled to be eligible for parol in 2016. He has a wife and a child. But as a non-Canadian, where can he go on parol? Will he be deported to Jordan? If he really is a dangerous terrorist, how can we basically give him a get out of jail free card with deportation? If he no longer is the dangerous terrorist he was, how can justice, morality, humanity be served with deportation?

C-24, the law that allows for his citizenship to be revoked, according to the Conservatives, strengthens citizenship. But I just don’t see how. Before C-24, I believed that becoming or being a Canadian was something important and enduring. If a new Canadian got his citizenship through fraud could have it revoked because he never really earned it in the first place; it wasn’t his.

Now the Conservatives introduced cracks into what it means to be a citizen. If you do this and you fall under such and such conditions, you will have your citizenship revoked. Of course the actions and the conditions, now having been shown to be changeable are open for more changes. This thing called a Canadian Citizenship I thought was solid is now shown to be brittle.

Last year, Rex Murphy made a case in favour of C-24. His “ultimate” case involved a hypothetical Canadian joining up with an organization like ISIS and murdering another Canadian. Now, a year later, a Canadian has lost his citizenship because he planned to do something really bad. Next year, will we see pedophiles deported? Or will it be a friend of mine because he supports the boycott of Israel products made in the occupied territories? What Rex Murphy didn’t get in his opinion piece is that the “slippery slope” doesn’t always go from trivial to serious. It can go from specific, like in his example, to broad.

Personally, I don’t really care what happens to Amara aside from my belief that the security of Canada is better served by keeping him in Canada. However, the revoking of his citizenship harms what it means to have a Canadian citizenship. To follow Rex Murphy’s opinion piece, under Harper’s Conservatives, a Canadian citizenship now has the same gravity as a club membership.

Rex Murphy: The case for revoking the citizenship of Canadian terrorists

Ottawa cites hate crime laws when asked about its ‘zero tolerance’ for Israel boycotters

Game of Thrones rape scene prompts outraged fans to quit the series

Anybody else find it a bit… struggle for the right word… the CBC held within its walls a man that was known within the circles to use his position to sexually assault women… and now it comes down harshly upon the Game of Thrones for its most recent rape scene… the right word escapes me.

Doesn’t really matter. The CBC isn’t the only outlet that is worked up over the rape of Sansa Stark.

It is horrific. And it should be. It should turn your gut. Alfie Allen’s face is a tapestry of guilt, shame, and horror as the violence is done. While we were spared seeing the act, we weren’t spared the pain and degradation.

What were people expecting from Ramsay Bolton on his wedding night? This is the man that hunts down ex-lovers for sport, who cuts penises off to send to fathers, who pridefully destroyed a man to make him into a pet named Reek. He flays the living to make a point about paying taxes. His father murdered Sansa’s brother and mother. Did we expect that Ramsay would try to woo consent from Sansa? No. Fucking his new wife would not be enough for Ramsay, the man who thrives on dishing out degradation. To mark is territory, he would need to violate her.

The writers did a good thing to make sure that we understood that the Bolton and Stark marriage was consummated in rape. Putting Theon in the room and reporting the event through his horror and shame made sure that we knew exactly what was happening. There is no skipping over it. There is no possibility of misinterpretation.

I look forward even more to seeing what Sansa will do, how her character will develop. Ramsay is an idiot with a single talent. But Sansa is discovering more about herself and her strength. She won’t be crushed by Ramsay.

When I first started watching the Game of Thrones, I was expecting something nice where the character of the actor I like very much, Sean Bean, would one day find his way to the throne. The End. But we all know how that turned out. When Ned Stark’s head rolled onto the stones of King’s Landing, I knew that nobody was going to be safe.

While I’m not sure what the critics wanted from the wedding night, I suppose is reassuring that there is such outrage to the rape of Sansa. Of what I’ve read, it is unanimous that it was rape. However, I’m sure there are those who find it difficult to see that Sansa was raped. She was legally married in a ceremony she fully participated in. She didn’t actually say “no.” And if she happens to bring charges against Ramsay, I don’t expect that the local maesters nor whoever would pass as the police will find the charge of rape to be with merit. Thus, according to guys like Eddie, in a posting he made on FaceBook about performance art, that makes it not a rape.

Quote of an idiot

Eddie — Obviously if the school – AND – the police declined to file charges then there is no evidence of a rape and the bitch is just lying. He probably turned her down and she got her “feelings hurt” which is the case in over 70% of rapes reported across the u.s. Woman should not lie and make up stories over something so serious. It’s just not right what these woman do to men these days. (I left his errors uncorrected.)

Guys like Eddie are idiots with thick skulls. Calling them such on FaceBook isn’t going to make them any smarter. However, talking about the rape of Sansa Stark just might nudge a bit of sense into the “Eddies” out there. Unless the guy is utterly broken, he can’t escape the wrongness and the depravity of Ramsay’s act nor can he, with his dignity and decency intact, make the case it wasn’t rape. There are points of discussion around what is consent — she agreed to a marriage but not to being violated. Where is that line that defines violation? Why does rape often go unreported? Why do those raped often balk at going to court?

What I’ve found disappointing in the articles that I’ve read is that nobody is using this art as a focal point in the discussion of rape. Instead, there is hand wringing a plenty over the morality of the artists. If they want something safe to watch, they ought to torrent “Dallas” and join a meaningless discussion of “Who shot J.R.?”

Ages ago, I started watching Rush Hour 3 while on a flight to China. I was actually looking forward to the movie as the first two were mindless fun. From the start, I felt it was too much Tucker and not enough Chan, too much stupid and not enough smart. But then there was the torture scene. Tucker’s character was all into it. Chan’s character, while hesitant, went along with it. I just turned it off at that point. I had expected more from Jackie.

Torture doesn’t work. There is no scenario where the bomb will be disarmed or the children saved though torture. Torture is evil, that’s why the bad guys do it. It’s done for just a couple of reasons: sick pleasure and hearing what you want to hear.

Yet, it seems to me, more and more good guys are doing it. Rush Hour 3 wasn’t the first example I’m sure but it stuck with me because I had a 10 hour flight to kill and Jackie Chan had let me down. Most recently, having got a Netflix account, I started watching their “Daredevil” show. In the second episode of the first season, our hero is torturing a bad guy to find a child. Our hero isn’t alone in the act, he’s getting helpful advice from a nurse. At least our hero is honest in that he’s doing this because he likes it. But, we are not suppose to believe this and the nurse’s spoken doubt gives voice to this disbelief.

Rescuing the child cliche is the door opener for the audience’s general acceptance that the hero has important goals and tough choices to get to them. It’s a trope tiresomely trundled out to show that hero is dark, dark troubled heroes have got to torture.

I guess Stephen Harper is trying to be a dark hero. I find it beyond understanding how a Canadian leader could stand by torture. I am sickened that our government would allow the use of information gleaned from torture, information that can not be considered reliable and the use of which only bolsters individuals and entities that Canadians would find despicable and deplorable.

Harper isn’t a closet Daredevil. With Bill C-51, his endorsement of torture, and the myriad of other issues, neither is Harper the Good Samaritan in Fisk’s version of that parable. While Harper might believe that he would be the Samaritan of that story, he is more akin to Fisk’s “ill intent.”

Update, late off the press: Is Harper the worst prime minister in history? I really dislike headlines like that – Is X the worst Y in history? It’s like a odiferous puff of dried bullshit wafts off the mouse click as the browser goes to the page. So, don’t read the page looking for Harper’s ranking but look at his track record in office — ill intent.

I really do want to like Larry Wilmore’s show.

I mean, the man’s got great dimples.

And he’s got that flavour that Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert have. Or, at least in the same sort of genre ballpark as they are. If we consider a rather large ballpark. I think my favourite parts are when Larry is talking to Jon at the end of the Daily Show. After watching that few seconds of banter, I’ve thought to myself that I’d give Larry’s show a shot. Even after having given the show a shot, the banter has brought me back into the ballpark to see what’s happening.

Small doses. Bits on the Daily Show and bits at the end of the Daily Show. But when I watch the larger doses, I can’t even finish it. Tonight I watched Larry Wilmore talking about Hillary’s announcement for the Presidency. His guests were an idiot and two smart women, an actress and a journalist. The dog in the trash bit as good. The Game of Thrones bit was good. But the banter sucked. The idiot should have kept his mouth more shut in deference to the smarter people around him. However, he does have his purpose and that’s where I think my patience with watching Larry fades. Larry, more than once, cut off the actress for the sake of a joke. Larry does that a lot – cut off discussion for the sake of a chuckle. Jon gets to the joke without taking a detour from the content. Larry seems to lack the confidence to do that. Jon leaves you with the impression that he actually knows his shit. Larry stays with the low hanging fruit because it is easier and not as risky as the meat of the issue. Getting back to the purpose of the idiot… The only reason to keep an idiot at the table is to cover the low end of the spectrum, to keep you from looking too dumb. The problem though is that the bar gets defined by the idiot and it gets defined low.

I watch shows with hosts like Stewart because, while the politics might be comfortable, the intellect and the humour are, well, not disappointing. That’s not quite the right word. Put it a different way. I think sitting with a group of friends drinking coffee chatting about stuff, Jon would invigorate and challenge the conversation. The Larry on his show would get tiresome always trying to score that chuckle with some quip that he thought was funny.

Actually, I think Larry on his show isn’t quite the real Larry. I think if he didn’t try so hard to get the chuckles, if he let the issues he’s trying to discuss get out on the table more, it might be a show I’d watch. I hope so. Colbert is gone. Stewart is going. I’m not sure where I’m going to be getting my news with the appropriate liberal bias.

Old content is gone, saved and retired to my Documents/Creative folder. More than a few years collected in an XML file. In my work, in my medium, all that I am there within can be placed into a small sliver of silicon. What I make also fades quickly into ancient sands. On of my biggest projects is utterly nowhere to be found. There might be a floppy disk somewhere but there is nothing nearby that can read it. A box. Printed paper. Far more durable than any of my works.

But it has changed a bit now. I can form bits together into a useful sculpture and place it upon a public shelf. As long as there are devices supported that can give breath to my little bits, they will live their virtual existence. But for how long. 5 years? 10 years? Not likely. My works are like fluffs of poplar seeds blowing past, barely lasting a season. More durable works stand a bit longer, perhaps even used to press the leaves of my metaphor into dried shapes. But only a bit longer.

I’ve come to that age where I marvel at this slice of time I’ve been given. Because of my science I can peer over the edge of the knife into either side of the blade. This sharp edge which is mine and the abrupt planes of the blade extending forever from the past and forever into the future. I’m sure that with a change in perspective, beyond what I’m capable of, my tall sharp blade as I perceive it, would be but a ridge in some cosmic vinyl disc, a ripple in the universe’s holographic surface. It’s all data and it’s all ephemeral and it’s all information and it’s all eternal.

And now it is put away. Archived to make room for new ramblings.