Saturday, August 20, 2005

Point Proven

Thank you Peter Rempel for helping me out and proving the point I was trying to make in my previous blog article.

In case some of you missed it, it was a little satire on how the right has been acting in the whole Jean affair. Robert McClellend got it, and let Peter know in his own special way:

"It’s not a smear, you dishonest jackass. The point of the post is not to claim that Poilievre is or was a member of the Alberta separtist movement. In fact, he quite clearly states it’s an unfounded allegation. The point of the post is that if unfounded allegations were enough for the right whingers to demand the GG answer the question of whether or not she was a separatist, then an unfounded allegation should be enough for him to demand that Poilievre answer the question of whether or not he’s a separatist.

And Rempel, the GG is a meaningless position in Canada. Poilievre is an Ontario MP. If he were an Alberta separatist it would have far more consequences than if the GG were one.

Anyway, thanks for bringing this up. As you know, all that matters in politics is that the accusation is made and that it get attention."


For days before the video turned up, the right-wing was screaming for Jean to reveal how she voted in the 1995 Referendum or what she thought of the ex-FLQ member who renovated her library. They each immediately assumed she was guilty of being a separatist and wanted her blood. All driven by rumours and innuendo from the separatists themselves.

No benefit of the doubt. No innocent until proven guilty. Just guilty.

After being attacked as a Martin drone, a separatist sympathizer and accused condoning the FLQ acts, I had enough. I remembered that little allegation from the Election prediction page from May when I was reading it back then. It was posted May 22, 2005 by an anonymous person claiming to be a Liberal supporter and ex-PC. I never gave it much thought, because, as I have said elsewhere, I didn't (and don't) really care. It probably wasn't true and even if it was, its was water under the bridge, since Peirre Poilievre then went on to join the Reform Party and later the Alliance and Conservatives. He even worked for Ezra Levant (ok, that might actually make him look more like an Alberta separatist, but I think you get my point). But since he's my MP, and I don't particularly care for him for other reasons, un-related to the Jean affair, I thought I'd use him as my example. I then discovered he was exploiting Jean for political gain himself. Very serendipidous. Not a surprise, coming from Poilievre, but serendipidous nonetheless.

So I wrote a nice little article, attacking a Conservative as they had attacked Jean before the video came out - based on unsubstatiated, unfounded claims of links to separatism. In this case the alleged link was even more serious - instead of simply associating with separatists and possibly harbouring pro-separatist feelings, Poilievre was alleged to have actually joined and been active in a separatist party.

Well, lo and behold, instead of attacking Poilievre as they had attack Jean, demanding an explanation, they defended him. They defended him exactly as I and others had defended Jean, before the video came out.

So if it ok to attack Jean based on little or no evidence (remember, I'm talking about the time before the video. The attack was well underway when the video surfaced, so it didn't start all this), why isn't Poilievre, who currently holds a much more dangerous position for a separatist to hold than Jean would, held to the same standard of scrutiny and derision? You don't suppose its because he's a Conservative do you? I mean, although this was a satire, most of them didn't get it. For all they knew (since they clearly thought I was serious), a video of Poilievre drinking it up with Alberta separatists at a University of Calagry pub would turn up on Tuesday.

The bottom line, as Peter Rempel, bijoux55 and a host of other bloggers in various comments threads have shown, there is a double standard in conduct. Any malfeasance on behalf of the Conservatives is to be forgiven and minimized. On all others, especially the Liberals or those asssociated with them, it is the ultimate evil that needs to be fought and destroyed lest it overtake us all.

This was never about Jean, the Governor-General position or separatism. This was another attempt, started by the separatists themselves and carried on by the right, to embarass and annoy the government and the Liberal Party, at any cost, as loudly as possible. It was meant to gain cheap political points and sensationalism. It was meant to exploit the ignorance, fears and hatreds of average Canadians for political gain. It was another example of the vicious, negtative attack style politics that has infected Canada in the last 6 months, a style that most Canadians are growing quite weary of.

And the video? Hardly a "smoking gun" but as even Paul Martin and many Liberal bloggers have pointed out, it was disturbing. But in the intervening 12 years, she and her husband have not joined a separatist party or been involved, actively or otherwise, in separatist politics. And twice in the last few weeks, she has re-stated and re-iterated her loyalty to Canada quite clearly. Even after the video, that was good enough for me. It was good enough for Stephen Harper. And I suspect, good enough for most Canadians, who have better things to worry about.

Now for the record, I don't know or care if Poilievre was ever a member of an Alberta separatist party. He probably wasn't, for what its worth. My criticism of his exploiting this situation for his own personal, political gain stands, however. Even the leader of his own party is satisfied, yet he continues. Those of you who live in or near this riding know that exploiting situations for personal, political gain is nothing new for Pierre Poilievre. He's been doing it since he became an MP and this is not the first time. My dislike for Poilivre stems from a living in Nepean-Carleton and watching his antics and watching him operate, not from any of this or any unfounded allegation of being a former separatist.

So when next the right start the hand wringing over another issue, remember how they acted in repsonse to this and what they are really like. And aways keep this in the back of your head:

"Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo."
H. G. Wells, The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman (1914)
English author, historian, & utopian (1866 - 1946)

I hope they all remember the taste they got here of the stuff they regularly dish out, and think about it before the start dishing it out again.


Note:
By the way, the Monty Python reference (which I thought would give this away as a satire, but I guess I underestimated my target audience) was:

Alberta Separatist Party -> Separation Party of Alberta

is from

People's Front of Judea -> Judean People's Front ("Splinter!")

From 'The Life of Brian'.

Too subtle?

30 Comments:

At 4:04 PM, Blogger jeff said...

FLQ = Terrorist. Simple as that. Mike, you are dumber than a brick of shit.........

 
At 4:06 PM, Blogger jeff said...

"I've tried very hard not to blog about the Michaëlle Jean affair, though I have commented in many blogs about it."

Ring a bell hypocrite?

 
At 4:12 PM, Blogger Mike said...

jeff,

Yeah, I'm not sure what point you are trying to make with those last two comments except to spam me with ad hominem attacks.

It seems jeff that you haven't got the point yet have you? Try reading it again, only slower.

Oh, the irony of you, some one who regularly posts pro-Alberta separation rants over at MyBlahg, calling me a hypocrite is just hillarious.

Have a good day jeff.

 
At 4:28 PM, Blogger PR said...

Thanks for this. I enjoy false bravado.

Did you write the Ottawa Citizen about Pierre, or was that a lie?

 
At 5:15 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Peter,

Sorry you were the one that got caught up in this. Frankly, I thought you were actually one of the more reasonable voices in all this, judging from some of the blog comments I saw from you. Until yesterday, of course.

When I wrote this, I figured it would be bijoux55 or old jeffy from above that would take the bait and run. They seem not to get it, even now.

No, I didn't write the Citizen. That was a poke at the letter writting campaign to the Queen that PP is running and some of the Letters to the Editor I read in the paper over the last week. I did ask some folks out west to look into it, though. My guess is that they won't find anything, and if they did, I don't think it would matter, except to get PP to stop spaming HRH ER II. I haven't heard from them, so I'm guessing its unfounded.

Mind you, the whole point was for the allegation to be unfounded.

Look, between you and me, lets end this. I got you and now its over. Mme Jean is OK with Stephen Harper and just about everyone else. This is really a non-issue for everyone except for the real die-hard partisans.

Honestly, just think about how it felt and what you were thinking when you were going after me. Remember that for the next time, and lets not blow this stuff out of proportion. The only one with a real good criticism of the whole thing was George Freeman on your site, and I told him so.

Shall we call it done and move onto other things, like healthcare or trade or terrorism? You know stuff that people actually care about.

 
At 5:24 PM, Blogger PR said...

This is fun. Make wild accusations, when proven wrong claim that you were being disingenuous and gloat over the silly people who took you seriously.

Please Mike, tell me how you "got me" again.

 
At 6:07 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Read the above Peter. I purposely made the same kind of wild accusations, based on the same kind of rumour and innuendo, about a CPC MP as the right wing rabble were making against Jean, before the video. The exact same.

Instead of acting consistently and holding PP to the same questioning and standards as you did to Jean (remember, before the video), you defended him (rightly so) voraciously.

You see what I'm getting at? Same kind of accusation, different response. Same kind of circumstances, different response. Down on the farm, we call that 'moral relativism' and I thought it was something the right normaly accused the left of. And you got caught doing it.

If you can demand answers as to the loyalty to Canada of someone, anyone, based on the unfounded rumours started by the separatists themselves, I should be allowed to ask the same thing of a CPC MP under similar circumstance. Shouldn't I? Especially when he represents my riding.

Now I'm talking before the video came out. This didn't start with the video, it essentially ended there. This little joy ride was well underway when the video came out. And that's when Mme Jean restated her loyalty to Canada - again.

Nope, you were caught applying the old right wing double standard - Allegations against the right and their representatives are unfounded and demand proof. Allegations against everyone else is Gospel and you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent.

I set it up, you took the bait. Robert McClellend figured it out and even told you and you still didn't get it.

Get over it Peter. You were so willing to wade in to something to try and embarass the Liberals, you didn;t even consider that you might be being played by the separatists. I just played you again.

Good enough explanation?

Now, Stephen Harper says its over. You might want to follow his lead and move on.

 
At 6:34 PM, Blogger jeff said...

Mike, why do you turn a blind eye to the supporters of terrorism?
Frankly I'm not sure why you do or why you don't. I've given up trying to figure your *kind*. All I know is that if you or your ilk get in my way there will be fists flying.........

 
At 7:05 PM, Blogger Scott Tribe said...

Well Jeff, if Mike is turning a blind eye, isnt Stephen Harper doing the same thing? Saying her statement was good enough for him and wishing her well in her new post?

Looks like you better demand Harper to resign as well, if you want to stay consistent with your arguments.

 
At 7:30 PM, Blogger Mike said...

As this whole fiasco shows, Scott, consistency isn't exactly their strong suit.

 
At 7:36 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Peter,

BTW, All my posts to your blog seem to have disappeared, not just the first.

When I try to post to answer your questions I get this:

"Sorry, but your comment has been flagged by the spam filter running on this blog: this might be an error, in which case all apologies. Your comment will be presented to the blog admin who will be able to restore it immediately.
You may want to contact the blog admin via e-mail to notify him."

So you think you can look into that? I was able to post last night just fine, but now I can't. And now the 5 or so posts that were interspersed in the thread are gone.

Perhaps your spam filter?

 
At 7:40 PM, Blogger andym said...

"...if you or your ilk get in my way there will be fists flying......... "
Hah!

Great one, Mike! Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.

 
At 8:17 PM, Blogger Dr. Dawg said...

Mike, nice of you to give Rempel the benefit of the doubt. But too nice. He censored your comments, pure and simple. Not only did he get sucked in and blown out in bubbles with your little satire, not only doesn't he get it even when it's explained to him, but he doesn't even have the nous to leave your comments up. Why not just leave him to his pathetic echo-chamber?

 
At 8:35 PM, Blogger bijoux55 said...

Paul Martin:"First the good news, it is not Karla Homolka..."

 
At 8:51 PM, Blogger PR said...

We've had problems with disappearing comments. To be honest, it's starting to piss me off. I have my suspicions about what's going on, but I'm not the admin. Hopefully he can figure it out.

Dawg, stop being an asshole.

 
At 9:00 PM, Blogger Balbulican said...

Mike, for several days running I had my comments deleted from threads on "The Politic", as did Jim Bob. I got the same messages you did when I tried to post.

At Peter's suggestion, I communicated directly with the moderator, who restored my posts. Then they disappeared again. Just mine, as far as I could tell: no conservative or libertarian posts were disappearing.

I communicated again with the moderator, who apologized and reference d a problem with their Spam filter. He restored my posts one more time.

Then they disappeared again.

At that point I gave up. Someone is screwing around with their system, and I was being selectively deleted. I am disgusted. For a real laugh, navigate to the little essay they've posted on how they welcome discussion and a diversity of voices. What a fucking joke.

 
At 10:01 PM, Blogger DazzlinDino said...

MAn I love a good Python reference.....

I still stand by the fact that there were better choices out there. As I have said, I have nothing against her or doubt her intelligence. Sometimes I wonder however if MArtin didn't maybe KNOW the rucus this would cause and how he could maybe use it to make the Conservatives look bad through their reaction to it. I mean, I'm sure SOMEONE did some homework on her. Just a thought .....

 
At 5:44 AM, Blogger DazzlinDino said...

Consider yourself "quote tagged" dude.....

 
At 9:00 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Dazz,

I have no problem with people thinking there was a better choice out there. That's a decent argument.

I mean when I first head of Jean, I didn't know who she was until I happened to watch "Rough Cuts" that night. Then I thought "man, I guess you have to work for the CBC to be GG. Whose next, Rex Murphy?"

And George Freeman over at Peter's thread made another decent observation - yet another GG from "central Canada", as he puts it. Which is a fine, understandable arguement. He was not smearing or attacking Jean personally, he was calling into question the obvious pandering to Quebec and the whether the criteria should include more regional focus. He simply thought that there should have been a GG from out west, or possible event the Martimes. All very valid, cogent arguments. A very good position in opposing Jean. And I told him so, but my post disappeared along with the others.

Ah well.

Anyway, had he not already been named a Senator, I would have prefered Lt Gen (ret) Romeo Dalliare as the GG.

And am I quote tagged or is someone else?

 
At 12:34 PM, Blogger Scott Tribe said...

Dazzling Dino, re: your theory that Martin did this pick to cause disarray among the Conservatives.... I find that an interesting theory, but quite frankly, if he was being that Machiavellian, I'd say he would have picked Jean for the disarray it would cause among the soverignists (which if you believe Hebert of the Star, it has).

The fact that some of the Conservatives and their BT supporters have jumped into the fray (if you believe in that theory) was probably an unexpected occurrence. The fact that some of your folks have acted rather shamefully over it (ie - "Martin should have picked a 'native' Canadian to be GG") is just more cannon-fodder for the rest of us to point at and say "see?"

 
At 1:42 PM, Blogger bijoux55 said...

Oscar Peterson, Oscar Peterson, Oscar Peterson. Or. Leonard Cohen. We have sooooo many heros to choose from. What the hell even Lucien Bouchard. But not someone who at some time promoted violence toward Canadian citizens. I am not right wing, a conservative, just a fierce patriot. Is there a man with soul so dead who never to himself has said, this is my home my native land. Apparently there is an her name is Michaelle Jean.

 
At 1:50 PM, Blogger Mike said...

bijoux55,

You are being dishonest now. Whatever Mchaelle Jean's past indescretions may have been, she has NEVER "promoted violence toward Canadian citizens". That is simply a lie and you know it.

She had drinks with former members of the FLQ. These guys once tried to use and promote the use of violence in the cause of Quebec separatism. But by 1993 all of them, while still being separatists, had renounced violence as a means of political change. And all of them had served their sentences for the crimes they had previously committed.

To claim Michaelle Jean promotes or promoted violence because she had drinks with them is beyond crazy and the totally illogical.

She didn't even live in Canda when the violence occured - she was a child in Haiti.

Holy crap, can you even try to get over this?

 
At 4:33 PM, Blogger Balbulican said...

"Oscar Peterson."

You know, B., there was a moment when I really wondered whether there was actually any substance to your post...whether, in fact, you had actually thought this through beyond the level of a simple tantrum. Your nomination of a dying piano player as GG answers this question. Thanks.

 
At 5:09 PM, Blogger Scotian said...

I understood your point from the get go, but then I also understood the slime attack on Ms Jean for what it was as well. I am getting very tired of reading people that insist that someone is guilty until they prove themselves innocent, especially when there is no clear evidence to support the allegations being made in the first place. As well, didn't it occur to anyone that when it was the hard core Separatists in Quebec that started this issue up that maybe, just maybe that was a sign that they feared having her as GG? Not to mention hoping that some of the more excitable opponents to Martin and the Liberals would see this as a way to attack Martin and the Liberals on the GG issue that they had not been able to until this point. As well as hoping to further whip up some anti-francophone sentiment (or at the minimum the appearance of such) in the ROC for them to use to further show the intolerance they claim Canadians have for francophones and Quebecois generally?

As you know I wrote my own observations on this matter on my blog some days ago. I have also been getting ready to make a comment regarding Cindy Sheehan and the sliming she has been enduring, but the more I think about it the more I am thinking of showing how the same means of attack and slime were used by those on the Right attacking these women without any actual hard evidence to support the allegations being made.

As I think it is known to some, I have been harshly critical of Grewal and Harper regarding Grewal. I have accused both of lying to Canadians about the Liberals being willing to sell Senate seats for votes and claiming to have supporting evidence when they did not. However, I also showed why I believed this to be the case and presented actual evidence to support this claim. I also did not make this argument right from the outset, but rather waited to examine the evidence for myself before reaching my conclusions. I then started posting not only the conclusions but the reasons why I had reached them and the factual basis for such. Yet this is considered to be empty sliming and acting like a Liberal paid operative, while the questions raised regarding Sheehan and Ms Jean are somehow reasonable concerns and valid in their entirety.

It is not simply the slime that irritates me so, it is the blatant partisan hypocrisy being dressed up as some kind of noble defence of principles. If you are going to claim you are motivated by matters of principles and ethics then be consistent in their applications. Otherwise you show yourself to be the worst kind of hypocrite. Not to mention your own character defects by being willing to participate in baseless smear jobs when it is politically expedient. Whenever I only see attacking of the messenger and not the message I see that as implicit evidence that the message cannot be refuted. Thus all that is left for these people to do is slime the messenger and hope they can discredit the message that way. However, sooner or later that runs up against someone that cannot be discredited this way, or at least not with this approach without it becoming clear that this is what is going on even to those that normally do not pay attention to these matters.

As for Peter Rempel, attacking the messenger is about all I ever see him doing, so I tend to see him being discredited by his own words as a reasoning and rational blogger/commentator. That he did not understand the clear point you were making regarding the lack of substance being used to attack Ms Jean comes as no surprise. That if this is the new evidentiary standard then the critique of your MP is at least as valid in its focus, and that your MP should be made to answer for it just as Ms Jean was being required to answer similarly unfounded allegations. That those demanding such from Ms Jean should be equally demanding the same from your MP if principle truly was their driving force and not some more ignoble purpose(s), so why weren't they.

Thank you for an excellent illustration of the inherent weakness of this type of attack, especially when it is based on unfounded allegations instead of anything resembling actual clear evidence.

 
At 9:20 PM, Blogger DazzlinDino said...

Scott....The "Martin knew" scenario was just one I thought I would throw out there and see what reaction was. I highly doubt it myself, but if it were true, it would be brilliant. Sleazy, cheap, and shameless, but brilliant....

 
At 8:24 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Dazz,

Considering how he handled the SSM and budget votes in June, I can se why your little scenario is plausible.

I mean, sleazy, cheap and shameless seem to be the order of the day in Canadain politics this year....

And I agree. If it is true it is brilliant. We really gotta watch that guy, I really think the whole 'Mr. Bumbles" thing is an act.

 
At 11:26 AM, Blogger v said...

Enough Soap Opera-ism guys. Let's get back to what is important, like our new "PATRIOT" Act, and how the NDP just sold out 32 million Canadians by bowing to their banker masters and acquiescing on bank mergers. Justice, indeed!!! Human rights, indeed!!!

 
At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Greg said...

Guys,

A couple of things, Peter is only a contributor to the ThePolitic, I'm the moderator and editor of the publication. If you have a problem with the comments system, please contact me directly through our contact form. Please do not spread conjecture and speculation about censorship in your individual weblogs, without atleast giving me a chance to respond.

Second, if the warning, "comment has been flagged by the spam filter" was given to you immediately after you posted your comment, it means that our spam system, SpamKarma [http://unknowngenius.com/blog/wordpress/spam-karma/] has tagged your comment as spam. If you don't take the time to notify me of this problem, I won't even know that your comment has been deleted. If you continue to ignore the problem (and attempt to post), then the system will recognize you as a repeat offender and will proceed to deleted all remaining comments made by you in our comment system. If you're presented with the warning, why have none of you notified me? The only exception to this was Balbulican, but even he appears to be convinced that I am censoring him.

Since we've installed our spam filter, we've managed to avoid over 136,379 spam messages from being posted on our website. Unfortuntely a few false positives have occured. But If you contact me, I will do my best at rectifying the situation.

Mike, I've gone in and manually approved your comments, everything should be there. If I've missed something, please drop me a email (though the contact form @ thepolitic.com) and I'll do my best to recover your comments.

I've installed an update to the SpamKarma filter, which is sapposed to stop the false positives. I invite everyone over to post some comments and test it out.

Thanks for your patience,

Greg

 
At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Greg said...

To following up on my recent comments, Mike's comments were deleted by our spam filter because his IP address, 24.112.45.49 has been blacklisted by some of the spam database services. You can see for yourself here:

http://www.dnsstuff.com/tools/ip4r.ch?ip=24.112.45.49

This does not mean Mike is a spammer! This only means someone sharing the spam IP address, or address block has been blacklisted.

Mike and I have discussed an arrangement where his IP address won't be an issue if he chooses to post on ThePolitic.com again.

I hope this puts this issue to rest.

 
At 5:32 PM, Blogger Mike said...

All further to Gregs note above. He has restore all but 2 of my earlier posts on that thread and he is trying to find them.

Hopefully this should retore the entire thread soon. Otherwise some of Peter's and my posts make no sense and quote postings that don;t exist.

Thanks to Greg for trying to fix this.

 

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