Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Tories' U.S.-based Khadr comms strategy is a really, really bad idea

Since the subject is Conservative party politics, let me begin with a joke from the U.S. presidential election of 2016.

It belongs to Conan O’Brien.

“Fox News has forbidden Sean Hannity from appearing in any more campaign ads for Donald Trump. ‘We want to appear neutral while covering the race between Mr. Trump and that Sickly, Lying Witch.’”

And remember what Fox reported in the wake of the mosque shootings in Quebec City? That a Moroccan was the shooter — an explosive piece of misinformation that earned the network a rebuke from Prime Minister Trudeau.

All of which is just to suggest that Conservative MP Michelle Rempel might have picked a better venue for spreading her venom about Omar Khadr than Fox News.

After all, Fox is best known for teat-suckling all things right-wing in the known universe — specializing, of course, in the care and feeding of President Trump himself. (I suspect they burp him after interviews.)

The quality daycare that Fox provides to conservative politicians comes with a dividend. Fox is the one TV network in America that gets to actually interview the Orange One live. Compare that to the daily White House press briefing, where all CNN and the others get is a delayed audio feed superimposed over an ugly photo of Sean Spicer.

The first duty of anyone appearing on Fox News is to say something really stupid. Rempel was quick to oblige. She told the Fox-struck nation and host Tucker Carlson that the Omar Khadr case was “not a partisan political issue”. That’s funnier than Conan O’Brien’s joke.

There was more veracity in Rempel’s “fart” speech in the House of Commons — you know, the one where Green Party leader Elizabeth May took her to the woodshed for unparliamentary language.

The truth is the CPC still thinks that the Highway of Hate is the road back to power. They believe that the Omar Khadr case is the perfect, partisan political issue — both to punish the Liberals and to raise money from their base.

What is that hardcore after following the crushing defeat of 2015? These are the people who liked the idea of banning the hijab, loved the Barbaric Practices Act and wanted to see Omar Khadr rot in jail for the rest of his life — his child soldier status, his experience of torture, Supreme Court rulings and Charter of Rights be damned.

Of course, CPC HQ denies that cashing in on Khadr had anything to do with setting up a special website dedicated to whipping up public fury about the apology and payment to Khadr by the Trudeau government.

The first person who recognized the potential for galvanizing (and milking) the base through Khadr was none other than the man who bungled the file with all ten thumbs while in office: Stephen Harper.

It was the former PM who telephoned the American “victims” of Omar Khadr in order to apologize for the fact that the government of Canada paid Khadr $10.5 million.

It’s not the first time that Harper, a self-certified Tim Horton’s Canadian, has taken the extraordinary step of apologizing for, or disowning, the actions of his own government to the citizens of another country. Which is just to say that he has always been reliably treacherous when his political self-interest is in play. As his larcenous and now deceased appointee, Arthur Porter, wrote in his memoir, with Harper it was party first and country second.

Back in 2003, Harper penned an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal along with Stockwell Day. These witless war hawks whined that it was a “serious mistake” for Prime Minister Jean Chretien to refuse to join the coalition of the willing in the disastrous invasion of Iraq.

History soon proved that the serious mistake belonged to Harper and the guy who believed dinosaurs walked the earth 10,000 years ago. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Saddam Hussein’s arsenal. The invasion was a disaster. Half a million Iraqi dead, and nearly 5,000 U.S. soldiers laid low.

Despite his previous, lamebrained international meddling, Harper got the ball rolling with his latest apology to Americans because he smelled blood in the political water over Khadr. Don’t tell us that this is not a partisan political issue.

But here’s the curious part. Like Harper, the Conservatives who are still active in politics took their case to the United States as well. And it wasn’t just Michelle Rempel on Fox.

Peter Kent, who as environment minister won more fossil awards than the president of Exxon-Mobil, wrote an inflammatory piece in the Wall Street Journal under the blazing headline: ‘A Terrorist’s Big Pay Day, Courtesy of Trudeau.’

This, Kent called “informing Americans” about the Khadr case. That’s like starting a barbecue with a gallon of gasoline and a lit match.

It comes down to this. It’s up to the CPC to develop and market whatever political policies they choose. If they choose to denounce the payment and apology to Omar Khadr, they should by all means proceed with vigor and make their case. If they want to “condemn” the prime minister, as the oleaginous Pierre Poilievre is trying to do with his MP’s petiiton, let them fill their boots. All’s fair in love, war, and politics.

But by going to the United States with a fact-deprived account of the Khadr case, the CPC has hurt this country for imagined political gain. It is utterly despicable.

The new CPC leader, Andrew Scheer, is not the leader at all. Stephen Harper — with all his spite, bile and supreme selfishness — is still the spiritual guru of this bankrupt party. The CPC threw away its chance to reinvent itself in order to remain aligned with its Far Right Republican roots. And that is the reason the CPC turns to the United States to conduct Canadian political debate. The CPC is a mere branch plant of the GOP.

U.S. federal research staff at the Food and Drug Administration recently received an email from their bosses (subsequently leaked, of course) stating that all office televisions must be tuned to Fox News, not CNN.

Maybe Michelle Rempel got the memo, too.

Original Article
Author: Michael Harris

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