Wednesday, May 30, 2012

On Sun Talk for May 29, 2012.

The Sunites are really sleepwalking through this week. It's honestly hard to find new things to say about their topics, as they keep rehashing the same old nonsense. It's one thing to have a series of topics that you keep returning to; it's quite another to keep saying the same thing about them. The former speaks to interest, but the latter speaks to obsession -- and a lack of both insight and imagination.

Daily Brief

Akin is always reliable, in that, as the closest to a news program on the slate, he always has new things to talk about. And he's also, I think, the brightest of the four -- certainly the one with the broadest interests -- thus he rarely runs out of things to say.

Yesterday was no different. Did you know there's a Minister of International Trade? Yeah, me neither. His name's Ed Fast, and he's the MP from Abbotsford, BC. He was on to talk about a "blue chip panel" to advise the government on free trade.

This is fine, in theory, except for two problems. First, I can't find a list anywhere of who's on the panel. If some folks are advising the federal government on policy, shouldn't we at least know who they are? (To be fair, this may just be a failure of my Google-fu.)

Second, the folks on the panel are all CEOs, as if the only interests that matter in free trade are business interests. Certainly, business should be at the table. But who is going to speak for the rest of us? In theory, the Minister, I suppose, but how likely is that? What about labour? Environmental groups? Aboriginal peoples?

It's disturbing to think that, not only are bad free trade deals going to be negotiated that favour multinational business over anyone else, but representatives of business are going to be the only ones at the table. It's the same crap that led to (for example) that terrible copyright bill, which protected industry at the expense of everyone else.

Let me be clear: I think business should have a voice in free trade negotiations, and I have no in principle objections to free trade. However, bad free trade deals result when one voice drowns out the rest; and that's guaranteed to happen when only one voice gets to speak.

Arena

Poor oppressed Catholics have to live in society with the rest of us and can't do whatever they want with public money. Waah. Next.

News Update

This human foot story is weird. I was reading updates about it all night, in the other part of my job. Initially, I thought it might just be a sick prank -- fake foot, fake blood, maybe with some raw meat thrown in to generate the smell. Then I read that the foot was real, and still thought it was a really sick prank, from someone with access to body parts. (Not as odd as you might think. Someone who worked in a medical lab or for a medical supply company could have access.)

Then we hear that there's a torso in Montreal and another body part sitting in a Canada Post sorting facility and... yeah. This isn't just a joke from someone with a weird sense of humour. This is something else. I"m not sure what. Some sort of a "don't fuck with us" message? If that was the idea, then there would've been some sort of indication of who was responsible -- the person we're not supposed to be fucking with. The only other idea I have is that this is a mistake. The foot wasn't meant to go to the Conservatives, but somewhere else.

Adler

It's so wrong that I miss Adler, but, while Adler's amusingly crazy, Bonokoski is just obnoxious. Bonokoski was pushing the climate change denial line with some douche offering fatuous, simplified arguments on a complex problem. The latest cherry-picked data point is that the planet hasn't warmed in 15 years. Which is, of course, meaningless, as the claim is about an overall trend, not one line from one arbitrary historical point to now.

I really don't see why the right has to oppose the reality of climate change, honestly. What could be wrong about saying that, hey, let's make less pollution and maybe use our resources more efficiently? Aren't efficiency and keeping to yourself supposed to be classical conservative values? (That this breed of "conservatives" don't actually hold to conservative values is one reason for refusing to call them such.)

As far as I can tell, it's not ideology, but cruelty, that motivates the opposition. Some people are passionately worried about the environment, so let's make them feel bad. And nothing about that deserves to be called conservative, or taken particularly seriously.

Byline

Lilley is having a really off week. Like his heart just isn't in it. Some paint-by-numbers smears of Tom Mulcair, which make Lilley look stupid rather than Mulcair look bad. And some bizarre conspiracy-theorizing about the UN. Apparently they want to rule the world or something.

I guess Brian Lilley doesn't pay too much attention to how things work internationally, but the threat to sovereignty and liberty doesn't come from the UN turning into some sort of One World Government. They're far too bureaucratic and consumed by in-fighting.

No, the real threat is the fact that the businesses which exist domestically, and are at least somewhat restrained by domestic governments, are largely unrestrained internationally. There is no authority that they answer to other than themselves, once they cross borders or step outside them completely.

In other words, it's not that there are no governing institutions internationally, and we need to resist the creation of one. It's that there are governing institutions, but they are distorted. The international realm is governed by international business. And that's probably the biggest threat to our freedom there is.

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