The most disturbing expression of this government’s relativism is what one might call its relativization of knowledge. That it could casually dismiss the unanimous expert opposition to the bill, without bothering to offer a rebuttal, shows contempt not just for those involved but for the whole concept of expertise. Experts can sometimes get it wrong, of course, even where they are agreed. But the insinuation here is that they are wrong because they are experts, of which their very unanimity is further proof.
That way lies madness, as we saw in the long-form census “debate.” It takes us into a partisan Bizarro World, where the more indefensible the policy is, the more it must be correct — for the more universal the expert dissent it arouses, the more this is taken as evidence, not that the policy is crazy, but of a kind of academic class hatred of the Harper government.
That’s one possible explanation, certainly. The other is that it’s crazy.
… under any normal government, this would be considered fairly devastating stuff: not only near universal expert opposition, but a widely held suspicion that the bill, far from merely flawed, is expressly designed to tilt the next election in the Conservatives’ favour. As for Mr. Poilievre, the revelations that he had acted in such consummate bad faith on such a critically important bill — failing to consult, ignoring some experts’ advice and misrepresenting others — would ordinarily be career-limiting, to say the least.
But this is not a normal government. It does not operate in the usual way, nor does it feel bound by the usual rules. After all, if this were a normal government, it would not have as its minister for democratic reform such a noxious partisan as Mr. Poilievre, whose contempt for Parliament and its traditions registers every time he rises to speak in it.
I think Andrew’s onto something here.
Today and for the past several months people have been debating the pros and cons of a proposal to extend the runways in order to accommodate long haul jet service. Surprisingly we have not heard anything about the underlying air transportation problem that this proposal is intended to solve. It cannot be access to national or international cities because of the range of destinations and frequencies available at Pearson. It cannot be access from the city centre to the major business destinations because Porter already serves them. It cannot be economic stimulation because the proposed destinations are already well served by other carriers from Pearson. The city does not have an air transportation problem. The proposal is solely about revenue and market share for a private company using a publicly owned airport.
Tom Driedger’s got a pretty good point.
Absent in any of this, of course, is any consideration of The Public Good. And we’re subverting the mechanisms and institutions of governance for this because … ?
Bill Moyers on Dark Money, the Attack on Voting Rights & How Racism Stills Drives Our Politics
Published on Jan 27, 2014
http://www.democracynow.org - Legendary broadcaster Bill Moyers joins us to discuss his latest investigation which explores how the influence of large, untraceable political donations known as “dark money” have become the greatest threat to democracy in the United States. In “State of Conflict: North Carolina,” Moyers and his team explore how wealthy right-wing donors are greatly influencing state politics. “This is more than North Carolina,” Moyers says. “It’s a harbinger of how organized money is the greatest threat to democracy because it unbalances of equilibrium. Democracy is suppose to check the excesses of private power and private greed and if money disestablishes that equilibrium we’re in trouble.” Moyers, the host of “Moyers & Company,” also talks about the long fight to secure voting rights. Fifty years ago, he was serving in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration at the time of the “Freedom Summer” campaign in 1964 and the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Moyers has won more than 30 Emmy Awards. He also was a founding organizer of the Peace Corps, served as press secretary for President Lyndon Johnson, and was a publisher of Newsday and senior correspondent for CBS News.
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@NYTimesKrugman hits it out of the park. Why don’t we have a guy like this up here?
Photo: Silhouette Man wonders WTF is wrong with Americans.
Some years ago, I read a book by Barbara Tuchman titled The March of Folly. It was so influential, for me at least, that I used it in my master’s thesis. It was a historical survey of societies pursuing policies contrary to their own interests. Tuchman examined several examples (Renaissance popes prompt Protestant secession, the British loss of the North American colonies, the United States in Vietnam), but one of the common themes was that the stupidity of these policies wasn’t something that only became apparent with hindsight. No, the sheer dumbfuckery had to be obvious right then and there.
Of course, Silhouette Man makes the point a lot more succinctly. And it applies to Canada as well.
(H/t Brad Fraser and James Shakey.)
Hmmm. What are the odds that this oily deathtrap hellhole is owned by some corporation with a phalanx of lawyers and spin-doctors on speed dial? And a raft of lobbyists assuring Congress and regulators that the industry is capable of policing itself?
And in case anyone’s been living on another planet and thinks we’re immune to this in Canada, I’ve got one word: Apache.
- Via @DrDawg, an #EthicalOil whoopsie | #tarsands #bullshit #Mordor
- #EthicalOilBullshit, the Sierra Club, and demonization: Where we juxtapose, once again | #astroturf #tarsands
- The Birdman of the Tar Sands
- Over two years later, and the Kalamazoo tar sands spill in Michigan is still not cleaned up
- What you have is a war between money and evidence
As prime minister, Stephen Harper has exercised about as much judgment as Justin Bieber behind the wheel of his white Ferrari. Bruce Carson, hired as a convicted man. Arthur Porter, put in front of the country’s deepest secrets as head of SIRC, now under arrest for fraud. Nathan Jacobson, photographed between Harper and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, awaiting extradition to the U.S. for $43 million worth of admitted money laundering. The PM’s parliamentary secretary under investigation by Elections Canada and under no obligation to step aside. Harper Senate appointee Patrick Brazeau up on assault and sexual assault charges. Duffy back in the news with more expense problems as outlined by Tim Naumetz in the Hill Times — and the ever-present odour of corruption from the ‘in-and-out’ affair, mingling with the deeper stench of the robocalls scandal. Through it all, one man has been at the helm — Stephen Harper.
Michael Harris is on fire.
Apparently the U.S., unlike India, has moved past its own backward history of victim-blaming. Apparently, I am to believe, according to the New York Times and Nicholas Kristof, that it is India which must deal with its sexual violence. And the Good Mr. Kristoff and the New York Times know this because the US has dealt with its own sexual violence. It’s now in the past, judging from the smug authority of the Times.
(h/t Stephanie Guthrie and Sarah Barker)