Sunday, January 16, 2011

Why don't we just sew a swastika onto the flag now?

Let's get it over with.

Stephen Harper is just plain dangerous. He has not just cowed his own MPs, senators and the civil service; he has been allowed to run free by the so-called independent media. The only reason Harper gets away with his antics is because the Fourth Estate is far too accommodating. They fear that if they hold his feet to the fire they will lose what little access they have now. Start asking tough questions and you'll be eliminated.

Better the staged photo-op than no access at all.

Bullshit.

Harper is proceeding on an incremental program of power and control which is little different than what happened in Germany in the 1930s. He has disrupted, ignored and violated the conventions and traditions of our parliamentary system like no other Canadian prime minister before him. And the Fourth Estate, upon which an obligation to question such behaviour rests, has, with few exceptions, failed.

If Harper had his way, all power would be vested in him. Head of state, head of government, ministerial decisions; all of it. Parliamentary committees would be neutered completely.

And now, Harper has taken another step outside his jurisdiction. He is setting out to politicize the Canadian system of Honours and Awards and take control of something which quite rightly belongs in the hands of the Governor General.


In the Prime Minister’s Office, under officials working with House Leader John Baird, the most publicly partisan of all ministers, a review is under way of the nation’s honours system.
The aim is to associate the Prime Minister with more national awards, perhaps at the expense of the Governor-General, with whose office so many awards are now associated. All honours and awards, up to and including (if you can believe it) the Order of Canada, are under review to see which, if any, might be more closely associated with the PMO, and which new ones might be created that are tied to that office and, by definition, to the occupant of that office.
No big deal, some will say. It has no effect on the majority of Canadians who spend more time wondering when to cash in the empty beer cans than they do about the award their neighbour received or what it's called.

Except that it is another incremental shift of power and control from outside the PMO into Harper's hands. And it's deliberate.

The political opposition? Right where Harper wants them: Useless and far too comfortable. Media scrutiny? Right where Harper wants it: Sparse, tame and far too comfortable. Public action? Crushed: The G8/G20 lockdown of Toronto proved that Harper could impose what amounted to martial law and, not just get away with it, but have people accept it.

It is well-known that Harper is not content with democratically defeating his political opposition; he is intent on destroying it. All of it. If he ever achieves a parliamentary majority that destruction will include those who support his political opponents. He will polarize politics and demonize anyone who opposes him. He has already proven that he is willing to engage in orchestrated smears of anyone who criticizes him.

Canadians won't allow it?

The Germans didn't allow it either. German voters consistently denied Hitler a democratic majority. While leading a minority government he grabbed power in places which the average German thought inconsequential. They allowed him to nibble away at the prerogatives of the head of state until the head of state was folded into the same office as the head of government.

Think Harper isn't attempting the same thing? The evidence says otherwise.

42 comments:

Mark, Ottawa said...

"Why don't we just sew a swastika onto the flag now?
...
Harper is proceeding on an incremental program of power and control which is little different than what happened in Germany in the 1930s...

...German voters consistently denied Hitler a democratic majority. While leading a minority government he grabbed power in places which the average German thought inconsequential. They allowed him to nibble away at the prerogatives of the head of state until the head of state was folded into the same office as the head of government.

Think Harper isn't attempting the same thing? The evidence says otherwise."

Holy Godwin, Batboy! Just don't get all shirty when your toxic discourse gets the blame after some prominent Conservative is assassinated (regardless of realities).

Mark
Ottawa

thwap said...

harper's shutting-down Parliament to avoid scrutiny of his war crimes is evidence enough to counter any arguments that your blowing things out of proportion.

harper isn't hitler in that hitler actually believed in stuff (however rancid and crazy).

harper likes power for its own sake. Mainly for how it gives him the power to punish and humiliate people he doesn't like. He has no positive beliefs that I can think of. His adherence to "capitalism" is really to a system of inequality, the principles of which he has only the haziest notions.

I don't see why and how the media should fear the putz. If I was faced with a politician who made even a capitalist media disgrace itself and destroyed my credibility I would respond by trashing him and investigating him and make him grovel to get on and get a chance to respond. And I'd take a pass on opportunities to attend his bullshit photo-ops.

Dave said...

Toxic discourse Mark?

Don't pull a Godwin reference on me until you take down the Harper party's own Völkischer Beobachter.

Dana said...

Hey, everybody needs a role model.

Mark Francis said...

We're a ways from facism yet; however, a hallmark of fascism is the erosion of democracy and the people (at least a significant majority) dispensing with its institutions.

It is worth noting that Hitler attained power with no more than 37% of the vote. He made a power-sharing agreement with the German conservatives party at the time.

While he ruled, he continued to make deals with conservatives even after becoming dictator. He only stayed in power because of that alliance. As late as 1944 he continued to buy them off with perks and positions.

Authoritarian conservatives are easy bedfellows with fascism.

Certainly, Harper doesn't give a crap about democracy.

What's really scary is that he may think that he is working in the people's interest, instead of just out of his own. If it's the latter, relax in realizing that he can be bought out of power. If it's the former, will he ever really want to give up?

harebell said...

Erosion of democratic institutions, polarisation of politics and a false appeal to patriotism are certainly warning signs.
But comparing with Hitler is a little off target. Hitler actually saw the horror of warfare first hand, Harper has never shown even one iota of that level of personal courage. So much easier talking a good war while removing assistance to those who actually fight it. A fairer comparison would be with Kim Jong Il. The dear leader was well known for giving awards for made up patriotic acts or to toadies who only remove their tongues from his ring-piece long enough to tell him how wonderful he is.

Nadine Lumley said...

Salami slicing is a series of many minor actions, often performed by clandestine means, that together results in a larger action that would be difficult or illegal to perform at once. The term is typically used pejoratively.

In politics, the term salami tactics has been used since the 1940s to refer to a divide and conquer process of threats and alliances used to overcome opposition.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salami_slicing
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BlackRedVixen said...

We should also be reminded that Hitler never called elections following his own in 1932.

I don't know what kind of political system in Germany would've allowed him to get away with it back then, but, the point is, he had to shoot himself out of office.

Harper has dropped hints that if handed a majority, it's good luck getting rid of him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-21tbbV3FQ

Or how about this column from Gerry Nicholls, a former NCC colleague of Harper's:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/why-stephen-harper-will-trigger-a-spring-election/article1867837/

What I think is likely to happen, especially if (and he probably will, somehow or another) scraps the per vote subsidies, is that he would call elections dutifully, to make things look kosher, but if he succeeds in having eliminated the Liberal party, as Nicholls suggests he will try, and passes the NDP off as radically left evul socialists, it is likely that Harper could stay in office.

Boris said...

Hmm..context is everything. Hitler's power grab was heavily militarised with intent to massively war and invade neighbours. Makes sense given the WW1 and all that. Harper's is not so much. Sure there's a war but it's a nice "safe" one 3200 mils around the globe.

However the tendencies for total control and pathological intolerance of opposition remain shared between Hitler and Harper. And both have their scapegoat groups.

JJ said...

BlackRedVixen said: "Harper has dropped hints that if handed a majority, it's good luck getting rid of him."

What hints? Care to elaborate?

Dana said...

The CRTC appears to be getting close to making things easier for Harper too.

It may be loosening the broadcast regulations regarding false and misleading news stories.

Pretty soon there'll be no reason to pay attention to any news sources at all other than to see what false and misleading stories make the front page or the top of the broadcast.

Moon Rattled said...

I just call him SS Harper. And not in the saiboat sense.

Informed Despite Education said...

I have snuck on and saw this post and felt a need to add my own thoughts. Historical parallels would suggest that we are moving to a more totalitarian style of government. Power centralization has been happening in Canada for quite some time, the PMO has continued to acquire more power for decades. Our current dictator is just putting this process into overdrive.

The Hitler example is just one of the historical precedents one can draw upon. An older example is that of Caesar who consolidated all power in the hands of the consul of Rome. Stalin is often overlooked for he used more violent methods and a democratic system never really existed in Russia, but centralization can occur in even undemocratic systems. An example of this is Louis XIV, who neutered the aristorcracy and ruled by giving royal favour to favorits from what would have been the middle class in his age. All power and position came from him. Making yourself the center of all advancement is a useful way to solidify your power base.

If history is any guide then this shift is inevitable, but that does not mean we need to give up rather just skip a step and replace our current form of government. If we are lucky and do it fast enough we may avoid the violent upheaval that is starting to occur in the U.S. I would like to suggest that the first step may be to disband political parties. That would make for an interesting change in our country.

Pale said...

Thwap is correct that Harper is just a power hungry SOB for the sake of power.

I am never sure if his religious ties are actual, or just another networking deal.
Dangerous either way.

Harper is a CEO of a corporation. Cutthroat, is willing to destry the competition, and would love to merge with the mothership. (the US)

JJ said...

BlackRedVixen said: "Harper has dropped hints that if handed a majority, it's good luck getting rid of him."

What hints? Care to elaborate?


Nothing?
Colour me shocked.

This is why the left doesn't win anymore: the wider centrist electorate recoils from that kind of baseless, hysterical fear-mongering.

Rev.Paperboy said...

Stephen Harper may be authoritarian, but he's no Adolf Hitler.

Hitler, while he was a diabolical loon, was a gifted and charismatic public speaker. Harper is about as flamboyant as reheated oatmeal.

I don't think he has any designs to become furher just yet, but he doesn't want to be Prime Minister.

He wants to be President.

Maybe not for life, but for long enough to remake our entire "failed northern european-style socialist welfare state" into some kind of authoritarian corporate whorehouse where the poor and disadvantaged are left to scrabble for bread in order to keep wages low and workers fearful of slipping down the economic ladder. Oh, Harper and his backers will put a quasi-libertarian face on things - we will all be "free" and "personal responsibility" will replace the "nanny state" --- which means you will be free to starve to death in cold and dark, since it will no longer be the responsibility of the state to help you keep body and soul together. You will be free to remain uneducated since it will be your responsibility to pay for your own schooling at whatever rates the glorious free market will bear. You will be free to own all the guns you want, which is good, since the you won't probably be able to afford to subscribe to the police service after law-enforcement is privatized unless you live in a walled corporate compound where the company security division will keep you safe from those outside the walls as long as you swear fealty to the zaibatsu.
Oh, sure, we will keep on having elections, but governments will be so neutered as to be meaningless, as effective and powerful as the monarchy is today.
There won't be any coup or single sweeping change in the law, just a steady erosion of the social safety net in favour of "personal responsibility" and "market-friendly reforms" and lower taxes.

The Seer said...

You can't be Hitler without a huge standing army, looking for an excuse to invade its neighbors.

Now, Baby Doc . . . .

Boris said...

Hmm, Rev,

Hitler, while he was a diabolical loon, was a gifted and charismatic public speaker. Harper is about as flamboyant as reheated oatmeal.

It might be that reheated oatmeal is to Canadians in the early 2000s what diabolical charisma was to 1930s Germans.

Edstock said...

IMHO, you're right, Boris.

An election is coming, and I'll be happy if we get another minority Harper.

Sure, I'd like Stevie out of power, but I fear that's not going to happen, primarily because the Libs and the NDP and the Greens just can't get it together.

Iggy's coterie of wizards don't get it, but they feel they are so slick they can slide up-hill. The NDP is staffed by people who know they're not going to win, so the aparatchiki are less than creative.

So, we get an Opposition Stumble-Fest.

Recently I saw a headline on Google News that Harper was going to cancel subsidies to political parties if he gets a majority. Maybe that will improve Iggy's concentration.

Osumashi Kinyobe said...

Comparing Harper to Hitler is childish and so absurd it's not even worth commenting on.
Surely one can rise above this infantile mud-slinging and actually comment on Canadian politics?
Or not.

Paul said...

Your blog post is a wonderful parody of leftist moralizing ... bravo, great job. You've captured the inanity perfectly.

Hello Birdy said...

We have a Prime Minister who, as you see it is being ruthless.

I believe that Harper is trying fix forty years of Liberal corruption and insanity. That task takes a tough task master.

Harper is not a university professor, nor a lawyer. He is also very smart unlike the thug Cretin and the Marxist idiot Pierre Trudeau. Neither is he a spoiled rich kid with 'father' issue as was Paul Martin.

In short, Harper is the best thing to happen to Canada in forty years.

The changes back to a more self-reliant and citizen armed nation scares the crap out of you dependent pansies on of the left.

That is all these paranoid rants are about ... aren't they?

Boris said...

Your blog post is a wonderful parody of leftist moralizing ... bravo, great job. You've captured the inanity perfectly.

Says the raving non-military militarist and non-climatologist climatology critic. Small credibility gap there Paulywog.

Osumashi Kinyobe said...

Boris, if someone catches you at your own game, you should probably have enough sense to recognise it.
Enough with the juvenile comparisons and name-calling, unless you don't want to be taken seriously.

Rev.Paperboy said...

thanks Birdy, for proving my point.

Boris said...

OK,
And Paul was contributing an insightful bit of wisdom?

wv = wingli

wingli (n): a wing without a nut?

But seriously OK, Paul made a point about "leftist moralizing" but didn't really describe what he meant by that and if so how it was a problem. Perhaps I should have responded by saying "at least we have morals."

Hello Birdy also made no point addressing the substance of the post. HB went on about how Harper was fixing 40 years of Liberal corruption, called Trudeau and some other past Grit PMs names, and seemed to suggest we non-Cons are scared because Harper will let your crowd run around armed and lawless. Well that last point might be valid considering the eliminationist rhetoric often eminating from your crowd. [Hmm, would you be comfortable with leftists also armed and free?] None of what was said addressed the substantive points about the Harper actions which Dave uses to support his analogy.

So in a nutshell, making a point about name-calling doesn't actually support the unsupported claims made by your stable mates and, like those comments, has nothing to do with the topic of the post.

Rev.Paperboy said...

Boris, you may be right about the oatmeal thing. The difference between the two at this stage may simply be a matter of style. Certainly they have the same goal - unfettered power to drastically remake the country and "take it back" to some idealized golden era that never really existed the way they think it did.

And Birdy-brain, if you think Pierre Trudeau was a Marxist, you clearly don't know anything about Trudeau or Marxism. As for "dependant pansies of the left" --you really don't know anything about Dave, do you? I mean I suppose his drawing a government paycheque as a career military man could be construed as "dependent" by some hair-splitting pissant libertarian political theorists, but I don't think you'll find any "pansies" in the Canadian Navy or the Royal Marines Special Boat Service, whatever their sexual orientation might be.
And Paul, your comment is brilliant parody of the right-wing denialist comment, you captured the smug refusal to address any specific point raised perfectly.

Osumashi Kinyobe said...

Did I completely misread the comparison of Harper to Hitler?
What you did was typically leftist AND stupid (and well you know it). Comparing Harper to Hitler was done to put Harper in the same category as a maniacal dictator, which he clearly isn't, or you wouldn't be hammering away at your computer with this dreck.
You've glossed over Harper's time in office with the tone of an annoyed liberal.
This would-be editorial is tiresome.

Boris said...

OK, can you actually provide evidence as to why Harper is not an authoritarian?

Rev.Paperboy said...

Evidence? heckfire, Boris, I'd settle for an actual argument instead of the usual dismissive "Oh you liberals and your Hitler comparisions" concern trollery. Let's hear some serious comment from Osumashi about how Harper isn't trying to take on the role of the head of state and hasn't spent his time in office centralizing power and doing his level best to destroy any opposition.

Boris said...

Yeah, some sort of logical and consistant argument would be a lovely treat but I'm afraid that's either beyond their capacity, or they're afraid of being called a lefty-pinko lest they demonstrate any sort of sophistication to their discourse.

Dana said...

This is what happens when the PMO attack apparatus informs SDA about something.

The surprise is that there are so few of the undead small creatures crawling out of their rotting carcasses.

Dave said...

Yup. Kate's flying monkeys have been sent over by Dimiti.

Who cares? Their opinion is worth nothing - there or here.

Dave said...

Wow. I didn't think I hit the trilight switch that hard.

The flying monkeys only go that berserk when the they get caught in the bright light.

Comparing Harper to Hitler was done to put Harper in the same category as a maniacal dictator

Nooo. I am comparing Harper to Hitler at a time when no one knew Hitler was a maniacal dictator. Go back and read it again. And if, after that, you still don't get it, go back and read it again.

Your very presence however, and the burst from "debris trail" suggest that you were seared by the heat of the expanding gasses.

Osumashi Kinyobe said...

The bigger question, Boris, is can you?

Dave said...

The bigger question, Boris, is can you?

Dodge.

Just a wordy way to say "no". You lose.

Mark, Ottawa said...

Dana,

I hate to disappoint you about your fevered conspiracy but I have never had any contact with the PMO.

Perhaps (hah!) because I have been consistently critical of the government's approach to acquiring F-35s--amongst several other things.

Mark
Ottawa

thwap said...

Perhaps, just perhaps, the low-lifes at SDA aren't as numerous as they used to be?

I well remember the time that KKKate deleted one of my posts, along with another critic of hers.

Not because we were offensive. Not because we were stupid.

But because we showed her to be wrong.

It had to do with the bush II Whitehouse posting the plans for a nuclear weapon taken from Saddam Hussein's old files or something like that. Turned out that that move was a genuine contribution to the proliferation of WMDs.

KKKate and her kkkrowd are of no worth.

Again, my take on your post is that harper has not ideology to speak of, besides selfishness and callousness. But to dismantle worthy things he needs to cripple democracy and he has shown he has absolutely no patience, let alone respect, for even the forms of democracy.

Dana said...

"Dismantling things" is the only real policy the Harperites have.

There hasn't been one piece of legislation introduced by them yet that constructs something that had not heretofore been in place.

Other than their chimeric gestures toward transparency or parliamentary budget oversight - both of which have proven to be cynically and contemptuously empty there has been nothing but efforts at dismantling 40 years worth of legislation.

mike said...

Rev Paperboy, I much prefer a system where I have to stand on my own 2 feet versus one where I have everything provided for me, yet everything I earn is taken to provide the former.

Soliloquy much? More aptly, fearmonger much?

Rev.Paperboy said...

mike, so you'd like to stand on your own two feet would you? Well great, then I guess you will stop using all public facilities like road and schools and hospitals and public services like the police and fire and health departments?
Get real, we are all innerconnected and reliant on each other whether we like it or not.
You want to stand on your own two feet - great. What if you fail? Should we let you starve or freeze or bleed to death on the street?
Not everybody can stand on their own two feet all the time. Sometimes people stumble and fall.
You want a society where you have to stand on your own to feet - fine, but I'd rather have a society where we can all lean on each other a little when we need to and that helps us up when we stumble.

Scotian said...

Dave:

I know I am coming to this late, but well said! I tried to warn people about Harper and this sort of thing without making such comparisons back when he was still LOO, with the end result that I got branded by many as a hysteric or a Liberal operative (or both). I always said that what made Harper so dangerous, and unique from prior Conservative leaders was his complete disregard and contempt for the core methods by which we govern ourselves and the rule of law by which we do so. That with a Harper government it would not be money scandals we would have to worry about but abuse of power scandals, which are far worse and more dangerous to the health of any democratic system of government's long term viability.

I said that I saw him as at least as dangerous to the long term survival of Canada as a nation as the Separatists because of all this. For my troubles, I ended up spending the next couple of years feeling more and more like Cassandra, and hurting inside more and more as I watched the damage being done with most people oblivious, and many that weren't dismissing it as no big deal.

Process issues were not as important as ideology, as policy, or personalities after all for most, and certainly not worthy of being emotionally invested about. Except for me they were and are so worthy, so much so that after a couple of years of this I had to stop blogging about it because it was negatively affecting my health (which granted was not the best to start with but still) and why I am not around much anymore.

This was what I was always afraid of, and why I was so infuriated whenever I listened to Dippers go "Liberal Tory same old story" where Harper was concerned. Especially when I cannot believe that I am so special as to be unique in seeing the dangers of Harper on such core process issues that all those that actually make their living in political analysis and operations for the NDP leadership missed it and thought it was like still dealing with Mulroney or Clark and the old PCPC where that trope actually had some resemblance to reality.

What we have in Harper is the closest thing to a Hitler this nation has ever seen hold power in this nation, and that even now so many either fail to see it or worse are apologists for it without understanding the true nature of what they are aiding scares me. The mentality that it can't happen here is one I always fear, because with it comes a blind spot which makes it easier for it to actually happen here, something too many people can't (or won't, willful denial of reality's uglier aspects are alas far from uncommon in human nature) seem to grasp.

Again, good post Dave, very glad to have read it and am in full agreement with.