Category Archives: politics

Springwater Township’s Ethics Problem

I made this strip a few days before the Sept 17 Springwater Township council meeting, even though I promised myself that I was done with time-sensitive material. Oops.

In Springwater, we have issues with the quality of our elected representatives. Rick Webster, Councillor Ward 3, announced his intent to submit a disturbing motion, seconded by Deputy Mayor Dan McLean. In cases of perceived slander or libel against a council member, it would obligate taxpayers to pay for the lawyer(s) hired to sue constituent(s) on behalf of that elected council member. I know a local lawyer who worked on a recent libel case that billed roughly a million dollars. Funny, we trust our reps to spend our money with wisdom–like it was their own–yet Webster is unwilling to spend his.

That’s one problem.

He had the vocal support of nearly half the council, including the Mayor Linda Collins & Deputy Mayor McLean; one vote short of passing.

That’s another problem.

So, Webster et al are cowards with their money. After public outcry, like a champion of the people’s interest (eyeroll), Councillor Webster withdrew the motion so it couldn’t go to vote.

That’s a third.

Shall I mention the Midhurst Secondary Plan? I don’t know enough about MSP to critique it, but here are links. My understanding is that our elected officials refuse to consider another course–one that doesn’t add tens of thousands of residents to the community (can we say ‘increased tax base,’ quickly followed by ‘pay raise’?) and place unrealistic strain on local natural resources–especially given the views of residents. The province recognises local growth as poorly planned, & its mandate is to limit growth. The talking head lawyer (rather than an elected representative) claims the opposite, that the province has mandated the area’s growth & expected population (approaching 30,000), essentially an order to pave wetlands. At some point in the future, council members will get to say, “We didn’t say that.”

As addressed in the comic strip, certain members of the Springwater Township council are bullshit artists who would dare quash dissent, like the temporary dictators they imagine themselves to be, but we force them to wear their adult pants & suffer the indignity of ignoring criticism.

We little people are cruel that way.

B/c ignoring the wishes of the electorate is a smart move for those who will campaign for reelection a year from now </sarcasm>.

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Filed under Civil & human rights, politics

American Right-Wing Delusion Continues

American flag-cum-distress call, by boozker on deviantArt

American flag-cum-distress call, by boozker on deviantArt

I speak of hard line, right-wing Americans. If socialized health care was a freedom-ender, America would be alone in the developed world (a map!).

Of course, America’s using drones to kill kids overseas (176 in Pakistan alone), killing their neighbours at disgusting rates, torturing suspected combatants, and imprisoning citizens in higher quantities than in dictatorships (#1, baby), so they’re already alone.

But Jim Harris of DeKalb County, Illinois, is an intellectual bubble-occupier of a frightening kind. He’s hanged his American flag upside-down since the re-election of President Obama. In fact, he expected to be vilified for this, b/c he does seem to see it as an extreme form of political speech.

The best part? This right-wing rebel’s self-defeating statement, as he tried to explain that his dislike of Obama wasn’t about birtherism, Muslimism or racism:

I would have happily voted for Herman Cain.

Dude, that doesn’t make you politically savvy, critically diligent, or colour blind. It makes you stupid.

Also, I lied; that was only the second best part. The best part is:

(His daughter) voted for Obama.

(Moment of quiet contemplation.)

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Metal Militia Represent

Lately, I’ve been reliving my musical youth.

The days before The Black Album, bleached flour & strip mining.

Let’s just not speak of the Megadearth of good sense, or great lack of Nugents of political wisdom from our heavy rock musicians.

They will do anything for cash
But they won’t do that.
No, they won’t do that.

(IMO, the word Meat was looking for was ‘shouldn’t.’)

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Filed under Comedy, music, politics

Where the ‘Real’ Drama Is

Comedy and Tragedy, by raulsouza on deviantArt

Comedy and Tragedy,
by raulsouza on deviantArt

Back in the day, my mother dated this one guy. He was flawed, sure–we all are–but we connected on a few things. We were both musicians, & I was beginning to love film, a place he was already at.

We disagreed about sports, although ‘disagree’ mightn’t be the right word. He didn’t understand why I could dig the drama of fiction, but wasn’t engaged by sports. He couldn’t miss a televised basketball game or any Olympic event. (I could credit his influence on my affinity for curling, but I digress.)

His position was that, in sports, coaches set up players & strategies, & all have their skills & stats, but the outcome is an unknown, a mystery. Underdogs can kick–have kicked–the buttocks of superior teams, & mediocre players pull off uncharacteristically amazing plays.

In other words, to him, sports is where the real drama is, not in prefabricated scripting & pretentious symbolism (to put it a certain way). And I actually admired the point. But the narrative–deek left & put a ball in a basket–was a storyline that never resonated with me.

After all these years, I think our greater cultural sense is that real drama is in the unscripted. The rise of both the documentary as a respected storytelling genre, & reality shows as populist distractionism, reinforces his philosophy.

That brings me to politics: the political ‘arena,’ the ‘theatre’ of war, the truthiness of capitalist journalism, & the outright thought-modifying propaganda of political ads, stump speeches, & ideological op-eders & pundits.

Sports might be dramatic in terms of externalized, adrenaline-pumping, ‘doesn’t touch me’ entertainment; politics is drama in the most real sense of the word, that it has direct impact on our lives. From our freedom of movement, to freedom of speech, to the social safety net, to the regulations on things like clean water & building codes, to missiles murderously rocketing across borders, politics has immense influence on our everyday lives.

For its importance, I daresay politics might be second only to the seemingly life-&-death affairs of the heart, romantic & otherwise, in terms of the personal immediacy of love, jealousy, betrayal & heartbreak.

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Filed under Autobio, Civil & human rights, politics

Security: Impossible?

Image by Foxyjoy at deviantArt

Already we’ve cybered ourselves into a new Wild West. I think we’re on the brink of a new Dark Ages.

Imagine living in a ‘house of the future present,’ where all of your appliances are connected & interacting, so your life can run more smoothly than it used to. Do you truly have less stress, or do you sweat that your thermometer might offer a hacker access that ultimately compromises your bank accounts?

(A)fter the US Chamber of Commerce fixed its systems, a printer in one of its offices randomly started printing Chinese characters, and the group discovered that a thermometer in a chamber-owned apartment was communicating with an I.P. address in China.” (emphasis added)

That was after a monthslong cyberattack, & it took the help of the FBI to solve it. Feel safe yet? Read that article on the most recent Black Hat conference for a healthy dose of reality.

(I) covered up my computer’s Web camera with a piece of masking tape — a precaution that invited ridicule from friends and co-workers who suggested it was time to get my head checked. (Later,) I removed the webcam tape — after a friend convinced me that it was a little much — only to see its light turn green a few days later, suggesting someone was in my computer and watching.”

Whoops. I have mine covered. That article goes into various ways you can secure your passphrases (we now live beyond the world of the effective password).

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Filed under Civil & human rights, politics

Human Trafficking Laws Don’t Just Target Sex Traffickers

JusticeSome quotes from this excellent Jezebel article by Robin Hustle, editor of the Land Line.

“Pretty much everyone agrees that most trafficking involves forced labor that isn’t sexual. Of course, farm workers and factory workers aren’t as, you know, sexy as sex workers, and sex sells legislation, too.”

“Pimping laws already target the wrong people. By law, a pimp is anyone who gains from the earnings of a prostitute. Like the husband of a prostitute. Or the kids of a prostitute. Or the roommate of a prostitute. Pretty much anyone who’s crashed on my couch or let me buy them a drink is a pimp by that definition.”

“The criminalization of prostitution is the biggest hindrance to fighting sexual exploitation.”

I contend there is more dignity in giving a hummer to the ugliest, reasonably groomed person you’ve ever met (ie. needs to be legal, in a safe environment, where the performer enjoys her/his human rights) than there is in cleaning other people’s piss, puke & shit for minimum wage.

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Filed under Civil & human rights, politics, Religion

Happy Election Day (tomorrow), America!

I’ve got to hand it to the ambitions of right-wingers. From PM Harper flaunting the ‘no campaigning on election day’ rules in Canada by appearing on Canada’s publicly funded CBC Radio in 2011 (lampooned here [dead link]), to former Governor Romney’s explanation that it isn’t illegal to ‘advise’ their employees which candidate/party is in those employers’ best interests.

Which, unsurprisingly, resulted in Westgate Resorts’ CEO David Siegel threatening his employees, which inspired today’s OpinioNation [dead link].

To hear Romney’s plea for CEOs to “not illegal”-ly extort employees, this link will take you to the 26:45 point. Or listen to the entire interview below.

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