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CCE in brief

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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

News Flash: No One Ever Thinks They're the Bad Guy

This is the government that has taken active steps against any group that attempts to provide Canadians with perspective other than their own - including Parliament.
Even as cracks show in their policy framework - like his oil as Canada's economic anchor idea - Stephen Harper holds stubbornly to his ideology.  He's Father Knows Best.  What other people tell us is bad for us, but we need to accept as fact every bit of narrative his team feed us.
I think there are many malicious bones in Harper's body, but I don't think he is actively out to sabotage Canada.  That is what he's doing, though, but doing so in good conscious because he is functionally fixated on his own perceived superiority.
The United States invasion of Iraq was based on information received from torture.  Of course, we know now that there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq and that the information provided was false. 
This is what happens in torture.  When you break a human being with pain, it's not about fearing reprisals for not being forthright, it's about domination and as a result, pleasing your captor with whatever you think they want to hear.
The evidence has told us this again, and again, and again.  But the Dick Cheneys of the world are adamant that, as history's actors, what they did in good conscious was right, produced valuable information - and that they'd do the same again.
In any other story - in our own stories - these individuals would be the bad guys.
As with any good story, however, the bad guys exist so that the protagonist may learn something about themselves.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Sounds Like a Hero to Me

Depression is toxic - it eats at a person's soul, but can also make them particularly uncomfortable to be around.  Many of the "energy vampires" out there battle with depression or anxiety, which absolutely can be contagious.
We're taught and encouraged to avoid people who are a drain on us (at the same time we're told this mental health thing has to be addressed).  Ha didn't follow this advice and, through persistence, patience and positive reinforcement, helped a vampire become a contributer.
If that's not an act of heroism, I don't know what is.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Graphically Open

It's so much easier to understand how amazing this stuff is when you map it out like this, isn't it?

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This and That

A couple of things that are sticking out for me today:
US Torture:
Dick Cheney is confident they did the right thing and would do it again.  He's not willing to entertain opposition to that perspective.  As one of history's actors, it's the job of others to understand that he is right and they aren't bright.
What has the cost of the War On Terror been to the US Economy?  What ROI have they received from their investment?
It's not about money, it's not about safety or whatnot, because if it was they'd be using methods that were more effective and as a result, landing on practices that had better outcomes.  But they aren't.
Putin and the Bear:
He's firmly in control of the country and gosh, people love him.  When things go wrong, it's not his fault - it's someone else's fault.  The story is whatever he wants it to be, right?  He's the boss and people are happy with letting him be the boss.
You Don't Know What You Don't Know
I'm a former Queen's Park staffer.  I've been involved in the appointment process.  And I had no idea there was a law against this - I'm still not 100% clear what the law actually states, but then I'm not compelled to spend the time looking it up, either.
Political staff aren't trained on this stuff, nor, would I imagine, are Party staff.  Are Members?  If so, by who?  Do they get a test to make sure the knowledge registered?  I'm sure Party lawyers have knowledge of such matters, but what of it?
Cronyism is an established part of politics and has been in perpetuity.  Does offering a leadership opponent a Cabinet post if they drop out fit into this legal framework?  How about offering internships or jobs to the kids of big funders? 
Big picture - who isn't guilty of playing politics in politics? 
And don't get all indignant about this.  Most voters don't know and don't care about how nomination process work, or laws get passed, or the actual rules of accountability in Parliament. 
Ignorance is bliss, right?   We pay experts so that we don't have to worry about the minutiae.  Or at least, we pay people we're confident are experts to take care of the details for us.
If they're confident, then they're likely to have a firm hand on the rudder, be in control.  Not waver or waffle in their positions.
I'm sensing something akin to a cycle here, but I'm sure it's all in my sociology-committing head.  Otherwise, the folk like Cheney and Putin would have recognized and responded to it accordingly - right?

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Know Thyself.

I have often said, and will always maintain, that this question isn’t about our enemies; it’s about us.


Fear the Zombie apocalypse, you become that which you fear.  The enemy is your teacher.

When you fail to understand this, you fail to understand yourself, and your foe.  Then, you're lost.

Why History's Actors Need to Study History

“Physical abuse or other degrading treatment was rejected not only because it is wrong, but because it has historically proven to be ineffective.”

Until the aggressively competent get it into their heads that social gravity applies to them as much as everyone else, this cycle of stupid mistakes will continue.

Has Nick Gone Nice?

This is what Nick Kouvalis is saying today.  And here's what he said November 5th, 2010:
In the new version, Tory was out anyway - Kouvalis was just playing games to make sure that was true.
In the original version, he cleverly boxed Tory out of the race.  If that's folklore, it's folklore he created.
I'm less fussed about the fact that he's changing gears - all people do that, all the time.  New positions are regularly defined as refinements of old ones (floor-crossing being my favourite example).  We want to see ourselves in different lights at different points of our lives and can/do interpret the past in ways that are convenient for our present (if not our future, but that's why we have cognitive dissonance and confabulation in the first place).
Kouvalis could be reinterpreting his past for public consumption alone - that's what spinsters do - but it's possible he's trying to convince himself as well.
What would make me think that?
While he still comes off as supremely confident in this interview, his wording borders less on arrogance than we've seen in the past.  Additionally, he's less belligerent and more proactive.
There may have been faked calls and other shenanigans in this campaign - I've no doubt there was.  What's more interesting is the fact that Kouvalis isn't talking about those things; in fact, this is the most policy-oriented interview he's done that I've read.
People age and mature.  They are influenced by the company they keep, and clearly Tory runs a completely different ship than Rob Ford did.  At the same time, some tigers never change their stripes, but recognize the benefit of appearing as though they did.
The variant of Nick Kouvalis we see in this interview is not the same one we're used to.  Whether maturity, context or an ability to read the landscape and know what's going to work in one's interest for the foreseeable future, this says something.