Make the silent heard and the invisible seen.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fuming leaves a stench

After the sometimes fuming Q & A by MPs on the parliamenty operations committee of flummoxed Rahim Jaffer (a.k.a. "Ra-ra-helena") and his business partner, what are we left with? A stench but no rotting corpse.

  1. The Conservatives have washed their hands of their former colleague; thrown under-the-bus, banished, excommunicated. Jaffer went into the hearing expecting the Tories to circle-the-wagons around him. He left the Hill, after stumbling and bumbling before a scrum of reporters, to drift alone toward Disgraced Island where his fallen wife awaits; with no coke.  
  2. His business partner, Patrick Glemaud is shady. The NDP's Pat Martin's questioning was particularly agressive, showing his distaste with numerous ad hominums. During one particularly testy exchange over Glemaud's dodgy answers about documents concerning the pair's three clients, Martin spat that he wouldn't trust Glemaud as far as he could throw him. Glemaud was offended by the whole process, quelle surprise.
  3. Jaffer and Glemaud have bad memories. At one point Glemaud drew audible astonishment when he claimed he couldn't remember the names of their three clients.
  4. The two are bad businessmen. They're ruined, and they only have themselves to blame for getting tied into a Gordian Knot that nothing will unloose.
  5. The stink of influence peddling hangs over the government.
  6. But, after today's televised entertainment, the reality showmanship from both sides - the judgement of the committee and the performances of the contestants - there remains no evidence and no connection between the pee-yew and the PMO. 
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Sunday, April 18, 2010

I heard today

Politicians may be good at looking into camera lenses...
... but not investigating. - Patrick Brown (CON), Question Period, CTV
 So much for getting at the truth behind tortured Afghan detainees and "Ra-ra-helena."

Unethical authenticity

The headline in the National Compost,  Keeping it 'real': On the hunt for authenticity (4/16/10), by Kathryn Blaze Carlson, didn't mention Jay-Z. Jay-Z, if you're not hip, is proclaimed in Esquire's recent "People that matter" profile, "the CEO of authenticity."

Ms. Blaze-C writes at length about the hooey of "the search for the authentic... the dominant moral imperative of our age," in Andrew Potter's book - The Authenticity Hoax: How we get lost finding ourselves - clever title.

And Jay-Z is its CEO?

Potter's book premise, likely, could just as easily been a column. The "excellently named Kathryn Blaze Carlson," Potter gushed on his blog, does that for us, saving the 30 bucks we would have spent on his book.

I doubt Potter consulted Immanuel Kant before making the statement he did. But, when you come from his point-of-view - the advertising age - then authenticity in advertising is the moral imperative of our being. That's sad.

I doubt Immanuel Kant imaged his concept of moral imperative used so off-handedly. He'd certainly never have imaged hip-hop or the looming figure of Mr. Z, the most famous hip-hop artist ever, as moral imperative's front-man. Moral imperative is BIG philosophy. Jay-Z shills the ersatz authenticity that Blaze-C writes about Potter writing about. It's branding to ellicit a consumer reaction. Where I'm from, branding is what you do to cattle., and not the same as the free will that compels Kant's principle.

Authenticity, as a Kantian moral imperative, won't be found by today's mob seeking ox-blood tinged floors, organic orange juice, safaris and hot yoga, or Jay-Z's endorsement of Budweizer - the beer of da 'hood. Morality is not a bio-degradable label or an awards show shout-out to god. If it is, then we're, sadly, not up to Kant's highest expectations.

Moral imperative is rational, Kant argued. Rationality demands that we promote the highest good, and we can and ought to bring it about.  It demands that we do it because it is the highest good.

You might think your do-gooding is acheiving humanus authentikos, but unless you have a conception of the end your high-horse is heading, you're a donkey. You can't buy a ticket to go knock, knock, knocking on heaven's door. Can't be done.

Today's virtuous authenticity seekers think they're the genuine article just by being seen installing an outhouse in their New York condo - to protest modern plumbing, no less. Look at our biffy! We have acheived status as believers in the highest good. Our lives are not miserable! These are the true authenticity achievers? If they knew the truth, that their biffy could not help a moral universe, they'd be sad. Their moral motivation to buy a 15 dollar jar of lowbush blueberry jam or $400 Reeboks would be undermined. Their fickle faith in the moral imperative of our age, consumerism, sad though it may be, would be proven false.

Sorry, we can't achieve the highest good listening to people like Potter use BIG philosophy to sell a book about advertising. Moral imperative, indeed - I'm not buying.

Source: A companion to philosophy of religion
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Thursday, April 15, 2010

How is an abortion bill not an abortion bill?

“How is an abortion bill not an abortion bill?” said Liberal MP Anita Neville. “This certainly introduces discussion into the House of Commons and it is a rather sneaky way of doing it. The government hasn't got the courage of bringing it forward in a straightforward way to appeal to their base, so they are doing it in a back-door way and I think it is deplorable.”

As quoted in the Toronto Star, Neville's question was in response to ultra-Con backbencher Rod Bruinooge, chair of the all-party pro-life caucus in Parliament with a secret membership and, in all likelihood, a secret initiation rite and handshake. Bruinooge introduced a bill that would penalize anyone who “coerces” a woman into ending her pregnancy against her will.

An abortion bill is not an abortion bill when it is a bait-and-switch tactical maneuver by the Prime Minister's office to deflect attention from more serious questions surrounding the alleged complicity of Canada's military in the torture of Afghan detainees and, to a much, much lesser degree, the sleazy antics of former status of women minister Helena Guergis and her partner Rahim Jaffer - the neo-con celeb couple who are now and henceforth called "Ra-ra-helena," as befits the gossip-feeding  Canadian equivalent to "Bennifer" and "Branjolina." (And to be said in the style of 70s disco classic Rasputin by Boney M.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has kept the 69% of anti-choice geezers in his Conservative caucus muzzled. He has also repeatedly stated that the abortion debate would not be reopened in the House while he is PM. At least he recognizes the Canadian consensus - the abortion debate is over. Done. Finished. You lost, years ago. Move on.

So how is this abortion bill not an abortion bill, despite Bruinooge's contrived explanation? When it suites Mr. Harper's political gamesmanship.

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The end of the road

I have changed somewhat, as is evident in this picture. A bit scruffier, seeking more the life of a voluntary peasant, and suited in mind and spirit to small town life at the end-of-the-road.
Many times in the past, I've asked, I'm living at the end of a one-way dead-end street, how did I get here? I'm here. I know how and why. I can see beyond; beyond Major Rock, Hernando Island and the mountains of Vancouver Island.

The road ends, for now, on British Columbia's Sunshine Coast in the harbour village of Lund. Lund is where highway 101 ends; where I have taken residence in a small and delightful single-wide trailer, secluded in the trees above a stream; overlooking the wonder; where I will write and document and report, as I have done throughout my career. But, no more constrained by corporate or commission interests.

This isn't so much about me. I write this only to apprise you that there has been change. I will write about my life, the people and the experiences of Lund, because there are stories to be told here, I assure you. But my continuing duty as a journalist is to make the invisible truth of the news seen.

As always, with reason, respect and common sense.