Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jack Layton, Rob Ford, and our Better Angels

I see that support for the NDP is surging and that Jack is getting the credit.

Harris-Decima chairman Allan Gregg said the NDP gain is most likely attributable to “the Jack effect.”

“The national outpouring of emotion we witnessed over Jack Layton’s untimely death appears to have translated directly into increased support for the party he leaves behind,” Gregg said.

But you know what's also awesome eh? A lot of Canadians, of all political persuasions, deserve some credit too. Because beyond partisan politics, his death seems to have brought out the best in us, by appealing to our better angels, and reminding us who we really are.

Take Rob Ford for example. Normally, as you know, the Fordzilla can be counted on to take crassness to new heights, or record lows. But since Jack's death he has stunned me by actually showing some class. He has been praising Layton as the man who taught him "everything" about City Hall.

And now he's even proposing a permanent memorial.

Mayor Rob Ford’s office has asked city to look at the possibility of naming Toronto’s Peace Garden in honour of Layton as a permanent memorial to the federal NDP leader, Toronto MP and former city councillor.

Started in the 1980s, the Peace Garden is currently under construction as part of the Nathan Phillips Square renovation. The square was repeatedly filled with chalk tributes to Layton last week.

Now it's entirely possible that His Lordship looked out of his office window shortly after Jack's death, and saw a young woman writing the first message on a wall.

I wanted to take ... I don't know, something. Flowers didn't seem right. So I bought a couple of boxes of chalk.

When I was done I left the chalk on the ground by the ramp, and ... things got sort of splendidly out-of-hand.

And the next time he looked out of his window he saw this...

And it scared the shit out of him.

But maybe, just maybe, for as short as this sweet moment might last, like so many others, he realized that after all is said and done, he too is a Canadian. And it could only happen here.

There is no politician like Jack Layton in Australia, the U.S. or Europe. Sure, those places have left-leaning parties with great leaders. But no one I know can speak to the people of the things that matter the way Jack could. And so those who knew something of Canadian politics looked to Jack for inspiration.

Yeah. Say it again: It could only happen in Canada eh?

Oh boy. You know I'm pretty hard on my country. As I am on myself. I want both of us to be the BEST we can.

But occasionally I'm reminded that for all our wrong turns, and our terrible mistakes, we still have so much going for us, we ARE different. And we are still capable of GREAT things.

So instead of running down to the beach after reading that poll, wearing my victory tuque, the one with the bells on it, and firing off bottle rockets, until Sébastien restrained me. Or the grumpy old man at the end of the street threatened to call the police.

I'm sitting here peacefully, and thinking...

My beautiful Canada, how lucky I am to live here.

Thank you Jack for reminding us who we really are...

And play it again my real Canadians...

h/t Aaron Wherry

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Would You Blog If You Couldn't Be Anonymous?

I ask that question because Dr Dawg thinks internet anonymity should be busted.

And he's in good company. So does Facebook.

I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away… People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. … I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.

And so does Google.

Now I understand where Dr Dawg and the others are coming from. I'm frequently appalled by some of the vicious garbage on the internet. Nobody should be able to defame someone or bully someone online. And get away with it.

But here's the thing eh? If you are defamed or bullied online you probably should use the legal system to punish those responsible. Instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water, punishing all kinds of innocent people. And playing into the hand of Big Business and Big Government.

Because there are many, many, many, good reasons to remain anonymous.

And the marginalized and the oppressed of this world have the most to lose.

What’s at stake is people’s right to protect themselves, their right to actually maintain a form of control that gives them safety. If companies like Facebook and Google are actually committed to the safety of its users, they need to take these complaints seriously. Not everyone is safer by giving out their real name. Quite the opposite; many people are far LESS safe when they are identifiable. And those who are least safe are often those who are most vulnerable.

And there’s nothing acceptable about those who are most privileged and powerful telling those who aren’t that it’s OK for their safety to be undermined.

Now try to imagine what the internet would look like if the marginalized were excluded, and it was the musty preserve of privileged people. Yup. BOOOOOOORING. 

As for me... I'm not really anonymous, people know my first name, where I live, and I use my full name on other internet sites. But when I started blogging I decided to do so anonymously because I was afraid that some crazy homophobe might turn up on my doorstep, with a Bible ....or a GUN.

And sure enough one did try to track me down, and had to be caught and punished hospitalized. Which was scary enough. And I don't have to worry about losing my job, or being arrested and tortured by some murderous regime. Unlike so many others. 

Although I do worry that Big Business wants to know more about you than even your closest friends.

The kind of naming policy that Facebook and Google Plus have is actually a radical departure from the way identity and speech interact in the real world. They attach identity more strongly to every act of online speech than almost any real world situation does.

So they can sell you stuff.

And what I think is even more alarming is that Big Government wants to blow up anonymity as well. Because they have seen how the internet can be used to organize protests and Arab Springs. How it can make the youth move as one. So they're cracking down EVERYWHERE.

In Britain.

As in Canada.

Because let there be absolutely no doubt, if the Harper Cons allow the police to search computers without a proper warrant, it will be the beginning of the end of internet freedom in Canada. Police will use their new powers to the max. Who can blame them eh? And they WILL be abused.

The writing is on the wall all over the world.

As in if we don't stop them, a wall, in a dark and secluded place, will be the only place you will be able to publish your opinions and remain anonymous....

Yup. When Big Business, Big Government  AND Dr Dawg want to bust anonymity, the writing really is on the wall.

But at least the good doctor has started a conversation that we all need to have. Before it's too late.

Would you blog, or write comments, if you couldn't be anonymous? Think about it.

Internet freedom baby.

Fight for it or lose it....

Jack Layton and the Little Tree

Well I see that although we only just said goodbye to Jack Layton, our classy media is already beating their tin drum over who will replace him.

And so are quite a few Liberal bloggers. Which seems rather crass, considering the timing, and considering their own problems.

You know...I love my Liberal friends. Although I don't have as many of them as I once did, because most of them joined the NDP in the last three days. I know that all of my friends share my vision of a better Canada, whether they wear red or orange. 

But like our tired media so many Liberals are obsessed with the grubby mechanics of power. Who gets to be da boss, who gets to ride in a limo, who gets to stick their snouts in the trough.

While the Jack Nation is building a powerful new movement...

A movement that will unite the left, and drive the filthy Cons from power, by appealing to idealism of the young and the noblest instincts of all Canadians, who are sick to death of old and tired politics.

The nostalgic dinosaurs of the Big Small Red Machine may not understand that yet, but you can be sure the Cons do and they are AFRAID. Quaking in their boots. Or going up and down like yoyo's. 

It will probably be a while before a Canadian prime minister again offers a state funeral to someone on the left.

With the Conservatives’ new hammerlock on power — accomplished with a mere 40 per cent of the national vote — here at least was one joyous moment in which we could watch the country’s most powerful orator confront a prime minister who had no choice but to stand every time the rest of the room rose in rapturous pleasure at Lewis’s inspiring call for a more equal and generous Canada.

There will come a time when I write about the NDP leadership race. But right now all I can think about is the wonderful news that they're going to scatter some of Jack Layton's ashes on my beloved Toronto Islands.

Jack's ashes will also be scattered on the Toronto Islands, where Layton married his wife MP Olivia Chow in 1988.

A memorial tree will also be planted at the site on the islands.

Because that little community loves the NDP more than any other ...

(Click pic to enlarge)

And I absolutely love the idea of planting a little tree to remember him.

Like this one near the ferry dock...

So on an icy cold day I can wrap it in a blanket, or hurry over with a watering can on a hot one. Or ring my bicycle bell as I ride by it, like we did at Jack's funeral.

And of course guard it with my life eh?

Oh little tree of hope. May you grow like our beautiful movement.

Until you touch the stars...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Life, Death, and the Bollywood Hosers

(click pic to enlarge)

I have to admit I'm having a hard time recovering from the overwhelming events of the last week. In all my life I've never seen anything like it.

Who knew the death of a politician could both sadden me, and inspire me to try to be a better person?

Who knew I would see so many Canadians of all ages, backgrounds, and political persuations join together to mourn the death, and celebrate the life, of Jack Layton?

Who knew I could love my people so much?

Golly. If the old beaver wasn't soaking up some rays down by the dock and giving me the evil eye...

I'd hardly believe I was still in Canada eh?

But then beyond our differences, or Jack's political opinions, or his call for hope and optimism, he also sent out a very human message that we can all understand.

Sort of like the message that Mr Raccoon is sending out these days, in this park near my house....

By enjoying a leisurely mid afternoon lunch, as well as a sneaky midnight meal at the all-you-can-eat dumpster.

You know...winter is coming. Summer never lasts long enough, just like life. So live it to the fullest. And seize the moment because you might never get another chance.

So while Jack's political message galvanized me and my friends, this message also affected me deeply.

And the reason is that about eight or nine times a year I have to go to a hospital, to have blood removed from me to control my hemochromatosis.

And this takes place in a large room which is also the Cancer Ward...

So as my blood drains out of me, and I feel faint, I get to stare at the beeping chemotherapy pumps. And at the old and young faces of those fighting for their lives.

Their courage inspires me beyond belief, just like Jack's did. Thanks to them nobody will ever have to tell me to seize the moment. And for that I am so grateful.  

Oh well. Enough of death and back to life. And in that regard I have to admit that right now I am extremely pissed off at my best friend Angus a.k.a Farm Boy, for failing to seize the moment to make us both FAMOUS.

You see after the fabulous Indian film festival in Toronto this summer, I told him that we should make a Two Hosers Do Bollywood video. Because we both love the music and the dancing.

But he procrastinated, no doubt moping about his boy friend.... and his tractor. Not necessarily in that order.

So what happens? Two hosers in Vancouver have beaten us to the punch, posted the video to YouTube, and got almost a MILLION views !!!!!

Oh well. Maybe it wasn't a such a good idea. It looks harder than I thought. Who knew you had to stand on your head eh?

But you know what I mean. Like summer, life is always too short. Seize the moment.

Like Jack did.

And enjoy it while you can...


P.S. If you have any or all of these symptoms.. Seize the moment and talk to your doctor. Because it could save your life.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Jack: The Video

I almost missed Jack's funeral. But luckily I didn't because it was a true gathering of the clan... or the Jack Nation.

And though it was of course a sad occasion because he was taken too young. It was also a chance to celebrate his life. And we sure did.

I wish I could say more, but I'm too tired. And besides somebody told me the other day that I write too much.

So here's a little video I made to give you an idea of what it was like to be there...

When it was over I was lifted by all that love, but I also felt sad and empty because now I know he's really gone. And beyond everything else it's such a horrible tragedy. Why Jack? Why now? How could this happen when we needed hope so badly?

But I'll never forget what Stephen Lewis said.

To hear so many Canadians speak so open-heartedly of love, to see young and old take chalk in hand to write without embarrassment of hope, or hang banners from overpasses to express their grief and loss. It's astonishing.

Inevitably, we fastened on those last memorable lines about hope, optimism and love. But the letter was, at its heart, a manifesto for social democracy.

Just like I'll never forget what his son said about how the best dreams are those that are bigger than your life.

And Stephen Page's magnificent Hallelujah.

Hallelujah for Jack Layton. For bringing hope to Canada like rain to a desert.

Will this recovered hope shrivel away in the light of day? Maybe.

But tonight the CN Tower is glowing orange. Everything seems possible.

Jack Layton is gone forever.

But his spirit marches on...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lezra Levant and the Orange Drag Show

Oh boy. This going to be embarrassing eh?

Remember how in my last post I said people should ignore how Lezra Levant, in an interview with Michael Coren, mocked the way Canadians were reacting to Jack Layton's death?

Well I changed my mind...

Because after screening the interview in question I now feel it may very well fact almost certainly is...

The worst television interview ever recorded...

In the history of television...

Anywhere in the world.

And the most RIDICULOUS. So EVERYBODY should watch it eh?

Because if Sun TV News had any credibility left, which I doubt, it's all gone now.

You know... somebody should tell Lezra that the makeup person didn't work for six long hours to make him less ugly, only to have him put on a wig. Hint. Hint.

But they never tell those bitter nerds the ghastly truth, because they're afraid to hurt their feelings. Or cause them to spit when they talk...even more than they already do. So they never learn. And without that crucial feedback they are LOST.

Oh well. At least there's a bright spot eh?

Since Lezra is now doing the show in drag, in an obvious attempt to improve his dismal ratings.

At least now we can call him DIVINE...

Although, sadly, unlike the real Divine, there is nothing beautiful about Lezra.

You know I wouldn't be surprised if he dresses up as Ann Coulter next. And challenges the head of the CBC to eat a heaping portion of scrambled eggs off his ample behind.

While Michael Coren plays his limey organ grinder, and Christie Blatchford plays his monkey.

Sun TV News. Churning through its body waste.

Heading for the bottom...

Hanging Out With the Jack Nation: My Video

I wasn't able to pay my last respects to Jack Layton today. When I went on my lunch break the line was just too long.

But I did spend some time with the Jack Nation at City Hall, and once again it was an awesome sight.

If only he could have seen it. Watching the memorial to Jack Layton unfold at City Hall on Friday, it was hard not to think, “God, he would have loved this.”

Not just because hundreds upon hundreds of people came to praise him, but because they came pledging to carry on his crusade of caring and hope.

Outside in the square, what can only be described as a happening was under way. Scores of people milled around, reading the messages scrawled in coloured chalk on the paving stones, writing messages themselves, taking pictures of the impromptu shrine piled with flowers. The city has never seen anything quite like it.

Because if Marcus Gee was moved, you can imagine how I felt eh?

I understand that some right-wingers, like the pathetic nerd Ezra Levant, have been acting like pigs. Again.

But who really cares? They are what they are, they don't understand what's happening, and they are AFRAID.

While our people are gathering strength from tragedy, preparing to answer his call to change the world. And they should be the ones we are writing about.

I have written quite a bit about what has been happening since Jack died. About how he gave us hope and a mighty new weapon.

And no doubt I will write more about what I think it all means in the next few days.

But I leave you with a little video I put together with some pictures I took today, and some video Seb shot for me on his lunch break.

It's a little rough, because it was noisy in the square, but I think it says all I want to say tonight...

We ARE so much better than them.

Jack gave us hope where once we had none.

Canada has never seen anything like it.

And the writing is on the wall...

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Washington Monument and the Holy Rollers

OMG. Shake me like a rattle. Or call me a prophet eh? Because as soon as I saw this.

I knew that the Christianist crazies would soon be howling at the moon, and proclaiming it to be a sign of God's wrath for the sins of America. i.e. the satanic sodomites, and the black guy in the White House.

And sure enough...

And of course, since holy money is tight these days, the old con man Pat Robertson had to get out there and make sure he got a piece of the action...

Because old Patty Cakes would never "get weird" on us would he? And when it comes to natural disasters, he knows what he's talking about.

A huge storm, Hurricane Gloria, threatened the Eastern Seaboard in 1985. Robertson took to the air on “The 700 Club” and prayed:

“In the name of Jesus, we command you to stop where you are and move northeast, away from harm.”

The storm moved, but it headed northeast and scored a direct hit on Long Island, causing millions of dollars in damage.

Lordy. All I can say is thank goodness the White House didn't come down eh?

Because we never would have heard the end of it.

Hey Patty Cakes. Shake it up baby. You ain't God's weatherman.

And John Lennon was bigger than Jesus...

The Jack Nation and the Promised Land

I found the sight of Jack Layton leaving the House of Commons for the last time incredibly moving.

The cannons blasting, the people clapping, the bells playing "Imagine."

And when the funeral cortege crossed the bridge into Quebec, so Jack could say a last goodbye to Quebecers, I had to turn my head away so my co-workers wouldn't think I cry easily.

But then tonight I saw this.

And my spirit soared because now I know that the Jack Nation is EVERYWHERE.

That something is happening out there.

And that it could change Canadian politics in ways most people cannot IMAGINE.

Because these words have fallen like rain on a desert.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

And I agree with Stephen Lewis, who will deliver Jack's eulogy.

"That's what's so fascinating about the phenomenon of Jack Layton. Everybody feels that he's a friend — and a friend that they would willingly follow," Lewis observed. "Beyond the sadness and pain of his death — and it is an incomparable loss — there will lie a legacy which continues. I really feel that."

I know it's fashionable in Canada to sneer at emotion. And to regard people like me, as hopelessly idealistic or naive.

But I don't care eh? Because I was born into a bigoted world, so I never had a choice but to struggle for a better one, or a Promised Land.

And although I might not cry easily, I am proud to wear my heart on my sleeve. I feel sorry for those who can't. For why should they fear death when they are dead already?

And long before I even heard of Jack Layton, I had another hero.

And these mighty words, the night before he was murdered, compelled me to fight the bigots and the bullies...

Did you see that tiny rainbow? That's what hope means to me. My Promised Land is a kinder, gentler, fairer world.

I want to get there so much. Just like Jack did, but couldn't. So we will get there for him.

Yup. Some people and some words CAN move mountains.

The Jack Nation is born. And even in the darkness of Harperland.

Hope has returned to Canada...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Krusty Blatchford and the Farting Dog

Oh.My.Doggy. I was hoping not to have to write anything about the way Christie Blatchford crapped on Jack Layton's memory, the day after he died.

Because as he so sadly showed, life is too short to worry about nasty things like that, when we've got a world to change. But since so much has been written about Blotch Belch Blatch.

And the harpie wingnut Barbara Kay is trying to outdo her by squeezing out this turd.

I thought I'd just ask the question: Why is everyone so surprised ? When Krusty has been in the Hall of Shame for YEARS.

And so has her writing.

Unfortunately, I must have used a too-loud voice, because I disturbed the dog, who reproached me with a sharp look and a disdainful pffftt or two from his rear quarters.
(13 May 2009)

How on earth did it come to this, that despair so perfumes the air? (14 February 2008)

Golly. I don't know. But how on earth could anyone write this?

Moi, je refuse: I shall cough into my cupped hands until I lose the slight dexterity that requires and then I shall hack unashamedly into the public air. By that time, I expect, I will be well into the public farting years anyway, so I figure I might as well cough too.

As I approach those years, I still have no idea why it is that as one gets older, one grows more flatulent, but I do recognize it as a curious truth...

Although I guess it does help explain why our boys in uniform don't love her quite as much as she loves them...

And why a soldier friend of mine once told me that given a choice between battling the Taliban, or riding in an APC with Blatchford, after she hadn't shaved for three days, he'd rather take his chances with the hairier ones.

Or why another friend once told me that he thinks her purple Afghan tales are better than gay porn. Because when she starts drooling about all those hunky guys, with their rippling muscles, their tattoos, and the sweat running down their brows navels, his member can't help springing to attention. ATTEN- SHUN !!!!

Even as his mind wanders.

Take that Molière...or Don Cherry.

And besides it's not like she hasn't been punished before eh? Like when the tiny terror bit Richard Colvin in the balls knee ankle. And even Paul Wells thought she was naughty.

In 20 years in journalism I have never seen anything resembling the systematic and sustained repudiation to which Christie Blatchford, the Globe and Mail‘s marquee columnist, is being subjected by her own newspaper. There is room in any good paper for disagreements among colleagues, and frankly there should, for a long time now, have been room for more of that at the Globe. But this goes further. This is breathtakingly methodical. And I believe it was needed.

But while any other self respecting Canadian journalist would have fled to a foreign country after that whupping, and assumed a new identity.

She didn't...

She just wrapped herself in bitterness, and crapped on Jack Layton.

Because he was right about Afghanistan, she was ridiculous.

And there's only one Krusty !!!!

But wait. What's this? Oh nooooooooooooooo !!!! Now even the Post is punishing her, by making her write about FIRE ALARMS !!!

Fire alarms? The great Christie Blatchford? Golly. Could this really be The End?

You know I had a horrible nightmare the day after I saw her squatting over Jack's memory. I dreamed it was ten years from now, and she was squatting over a rickety table in a dingy Legion Hall. Sucking up quarters and bottle tops like a hoover...or a CF-18. 

And then some old geezer in a wheelchair bumped into the table. It collapsed. She flew around the room, like a balloon with a hole in it. And I woke up SCREAMING.

Just like she's probably going to scream when she see this.

Krusty, Krusty we'll miss you. Pffftt.

We don't want to lose you.

But we think you ought to GO...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jack Layton and the Power of Myth

(Click pic to enlarge)

On my way home this evening, I stopped by City Hall to check out this improvised and rapidly growing memorial to Jack Layton.

Where people were dropping by to write chalk messages to the lost leader.

On the ground...

Or on a large wall...

And then when I got home, I read a story by Barbara Yaffe, who like most of the media loons in the Ottawa pond, was echoing the plaintive call of the Con media: Jack is gone, so the NDP is doomed.

Canada is not a socialist-minded country. Of 10 provinces, only Manitoba and Nova Scotia have New Democrat premiers. Canadians never have installed an NDP government federally. In Quebec, the NDP's recent success federally flowed from a political vacuum left by a sudden collapse in the Bloc Quebecois' following.

With Layton's passing Monday, his party now faces the prospect of losing much of the support it had from voters who were attracted by Layton himself.

And it made me wonder if any of those predictable loons knows what they're talking about. Because like most of those wretched scribblers, Yaffe can't seem to see the forest for the trees. Or in this case the writing on the wall.

These troubled economic times couldn't be BETTER for a social-democratic party. And the NDP may have lost a great leader, but Layton has bequeathed them and other progressive Canadians, something even more powerful: a real dyed in the wool Canadian myth.

Do you know how much a myth is worth in a country starved of them? Jack's tragic death, the person he was, and the message he left behind, have given progressives a secular saint for a better world, that we can hold up like a candle, or wield like a weapon.

One that will shelter the new NDP MPs as they wander through the Valley of Con Death, help excuse any rookie mistakes they might make, neutralize the "separatist" slander that will be excreted in their direction.  

And most importantly, mobilize young Canadians to their side, by giving them somebody to believe in. At last.

Because there they were on their knees today...

One after the other.

Writing love messages to Jack...

For he did so believeth in THEM.

Now they believeth in HIM...

And when you ask them to win one for Jack they will. And so will a lot of other Canadians.

You know the Cons know the power of a myth, and they are afraid.

The setup is tempting: Ailing leader, cane in hand, bravely hobbles through an election campaign with a wince and smile, leading his troops to shocking, unprecedented triumph — only to die prematurely and gracefully like a monarch butterfly.

That’s the martyr part. NDP strategists, no idealistic fools, know martyrdom is gold at the ballot box.

And so they should be.

Glory Hallelujah !!! I want to be an altar boy in the Church of Jack Layton !!!!

Where goodness RULES.

Stephen Harper and his Cons are the Satanic Hordes.

And hope lives FOREVER...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

They Didn't Call Him the Happy Warrior for Nothing...

He was the greatest leader I have ever known. His words will inspire us forever, and lead us to victory one day. And of course now he's a legend.

But one of the things I liked most about Jack Layton was that he was a REAL human being. Not a phony like so many other politicians.

And he could be so funny...

Can you imagine Stephen Harper being able to make fun of himself?

I can't.

Can you imagine Stephen Harper in a Gay Pride Parade?


But there was Jack on a brutally hot day, weak from his battle against cancer,  cheering his team on...

That song may seem sad now. But really it isn't, because his memory will survive, it will empower us, and lead us to the promised land. Or a land without Harper.

And I'll always remember Jack disappearing down the road with his horn and his rainbow umbrella. As the gay people cheered their friend.

Yup. He was one of a kind.

I've never been so eager to fight the Cons as I am now. Thanks Jack.

But boy will I miss him...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jack Layton: The Sadness and the Hope

I was walking my dog just before dawn this morning. There was a chill in the air I hadn't felt for months. But in the distance the sun was rising orange. So I should have known that Jack had died.

And when I found out I was so sad, not just for my MP Olivia, his family, his friends, and his party. But also for the Canada I love.

Because I admired Jack for many reasons. For standing up for the rights of women, gays and lesbians, seniors, and the poor people of this country.

I admired him for fighting so long for the human rights of homeless people.

Because believe me, like so many other humble citizens of this country, they too are mourning him today...

I admired Jack for the way he defended our precious medicare system from those who would destroy it.

I loved him for his down to earth humanity.

And for being a true friend of gay people...

But most of all I admired and loved him for the way he reached out to the French-speaking people of Quebec, and convinced them to give Canada another chance.

Because keeping our country together means everything to me.

I was watching the coverage on Radio Canada this afternoon, and reading their website, and it was deeply moving to see the tributes flowing in like a veritable torrent of grief.

Tributes like this one:

A great one, a sincere man, honest, positive, that's why we loved him. Thank you Jack.

Or this one:

Even if I'm only ten years old I think he was the best politician forever.

Because even a kid knew a good man when he saw one.

I was amazed how many of them compared him to Rene Levesque for his honesty and his humanity. Or all those who called on him, the Anglo federalist, to look after them from above.

My guess is that Quebecers just got themselves a new political saint, and that they will not easily forget him. 

Just like I will never forget Jack's last message to Canadians.

His message of hope for cancer patients. His love for his country. His faith in the youth of Canada:

There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

And his last words:

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

Rest in peace my happy, brave warrior. For we will NEVER forget you.

Today we are sad. Tomorrow looks bleak.

But sooner or later we WILL change the world....

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Late Night at Simon's: Bruce and the Magic Ponies

Shortly after the gay blogger Bruce McDonald killed himself, I went over to his shuttered site Canuck Attitude, and stole his jukebox.

I was hoping to remember him by playing some of the old tunes and cartoons he use to run late on a Saturday night. But for one reason or another it didn't happen. So I thought I'd start tonight.

I don't have any cartoons, because the good ones he used to run were harder to find than I thought.

But I do have a sweet story about how a mother reacted when her small boy fell in love with a character from Glee.

Because I know how he suffered from being different, and how he was bullied.

I also have another cute story from Quebec City, where a mysterious woman in black, who "runs like a gazelle" has been hanging little ponies all over the place to chase the greyness away.

The object of my project is to make people smile. It's a wink to the generation we are, young adults and big children. A peaceful symbol, unisex, and fairy-like.

I live in a city that is a bit grey, a blasé lover, who only takes out its attractions on special days, and often goes to bed too early.

Because I know Bruce could relate to that, and depression was his killer.

As for the music, that was hard to find too. Because although I love retro music, I don't know much about stuff from the fifties or the sixties.

But I'm sure he would have liked this one, his good friend JJ found this week.

Because in his way he was a rebel too.

And I hope he would have liked this one because it's something new but also something old.

And every time I play this song it makes me feel happy...

Too bad Bruce never heard it. Too bad the magic ponies couldn't save him.

Have a great Sunday everybody.

I'll be back on Monday...

Porky Tales: Rick Perry and the Bankers

Welcome to another edition of Porky Tales, where greed meets despair, and the Sopranos meet the bankers.

And where tonight we juxtapose how the Bank of America treated an elderly couple in Florida.

Seventy-year-old Sharon Bullington may lose her home because she paid her mortgage a week early.

That may not make much sense to the thousands of homeowners who are behind on their mortgages in Florida. But it seems it does to Bank of America, which has filed to foreclose on Bullington and her husband, James, 78, who is terminally ill.

With how they are apparently preparing to grease the wheels of the Republican candidate for President, and right-wing extremist, Rick Perry.

By having some shady looking operative sidle up to him at a meeting in New Hampshire, and whisper in his ear: "I'm from Bank of America and we'll help you out"

Only to have the offer caught on video....

Needless to say, the bank tried to deny it was doing the porky with Perry, but failed hilariously.

And the larger question remains: How could a corporate institution like the Bank of America back a Christianist fanatic with such wacky right-wing views?

And the answer is obvious. They like some of them a lot:

All Bank Regulation Is Unconstitutional: Criticizing the Security and Exchange Commission’s rulemaking process under the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, Perry asserts that “if the Constitution were shown the appropriate respect, Washington regulation writers wouldn’t have to worry about underrepresented views, because they wouldn’t have control over them in the first place”

Because like Rick Perry, and Stephen Harper, and so many Con porkers, they HATE Big Government. Except when they get $45 billion in government bailout money, like the Bank of America did a few years ago.

Or when, like the Harper Cons, they get to spend billions of tax dollars buying themselves an election. Tony Clement where are you?

Because it's never about what's good for ordinary people, or human society, only what's good for THEM.

Which at the end of the day leaves me wondering what happened to that poor couple in Florida?

And how anyone, anywhere, can still seriously believe the system isn't BROKEN...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Stephen Harper's Plan To Rebrand Canada

Uh oh. Hold the fruit salad. It turns out Stephen Harper's obsession with everything royal isn't just another moment of madness.  It's part of a Con Master Plan to lead us bravely into the future. By marching us back to the past.

Stephen Harper is working to recast the Canadian identity, undoing 40 years of a Liberal narrative and instead creating a new patriotism viewed through a conservative lens.

Restoring the “royal” prefix to the navy and air force this week is just part of the Prime Minister’s attempt at “creating a new frame” for Canada and Canadians.

And not only did this absurd plan spring from the fevered brain of Pierre Poislievre, the Con dick head. It's being blown up the hill by the Con buffoon Dean Del Mastro:

Dean Del Mastro, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, says this is about restoring Canada’s national identity which has been “lost.”

Canada is more, he says, than hockey, “saying ‘eh’ a lot” and drinking Tim Hortons coffee.

Can you believe that eh? Dean Del Mastro going on about our "lost" national identity.

And the glorious vision of our great Con ruler kruller...

OMG. How low have we fallen? Answer: so low that for the first time in my life I have to agree with Jack Granatstein:

“Nobody was pushing for this,” he says. “The idea of rolling back the national symbols to make them more British is just loony. Who does Harper think he’s appealing to? The NDP has attacked this move as has the Bloc [Québécois] so maybe he’s made his enemies come out. But I’m not his enemy and I’ve come out.”

Although I must give Harper SOME credit. After pedalling backwards furiously, like a circus clown, he's finally caught up with Dr Roy.

Take that trudeau. We will slowly, but surely undo your trudeaupian nightmare vision of Canada.

Because that Con idiot has ALWAYS called Great Ugly Leader HM PM, Her Majesty's Prime Minister.

Now throw Del Mastro a royal donut and think about that one eh? A Prime Minister who would play games with the future of our country for cheap political advantage. By turning it into a colony or a Banana Republic.

And then ask yourself how far back into the past do these Con apes want to take us? Why do they hate Canada so much? Why do they want to turn a young country into an old country? What are they on?

And where did they come from?

No. I knew it. There is no reasonable explanation.

But did you hear that monkey say "My name is Steve"?

And then start carving himself a stone toilet.

Doesn't THAT sound horribly familiar?

Yes. It's sad but true eh? Sometimes art does imitate reality.

When Stephen Harper said he'd change this country beyond recognition, he meant it.

Canada in the 21st Century, going backwards into the future...