The Blood Red Line in the Sand between Valour and Vulgar

by Charles Adler

I wasn't going to talk about Brigitte DePape today. Didn't want to generate any more publicity for the Parliament Hill protesting page for her so-called courageous act. But the response to her Friday photo op forces me to discuss my loathing for some of the privileged. The privileged are those people who have Canadian citizenship – more than 30 thousand. They are free people, free to protest virtually anywhere in this country including Parliament Hill, including Parliament itself apparently. She won't be charged for violating any law. Indeed if she were charged or even fined there would be a mountain of bull dung heaped on Harper from the usual bull dung suspects in media and elsewhere. Yes, I know she lost her low paying job as page over the protest. But gainful employment is not something she will be missing out on. Several organizations will be only too happy to attach themselves to her cause. She is not a spoiled brat who took advantage of her privileged position that many young people really, really want to have because they love their country and honor her democratic institutions. No, she is not a spoiled brat. She is hailed as a democratic activist. From a so-called progressive blog known as the Mark. I know this blog because the guy who puts it together hates my show and lets me know it. Not all who hate this show love the Protesting Page. But I am not surprised that there is a connection. Since I am not a Harper Hater and have turned the rhetorical lamp a time or two on those who are, it’s not surprising that this blogger writes the following today:

The young woman responsible for the only interesting thing to have happened in a Throne Speech since forever has won some new allies.

Brigitte DePape might have been fired by her Senate overlords for her “Stop Harper” protest during Friday's Throne Speech, but she's already got one job offer lined up – from American filmmaker Michael Moore. The left-wing activist director said he thought DePape's protest was "powerful" and "iconic" and would want her to work for him. Her former coworkers and other Parliament Hill types have been all too keen to criticize DePape for her protest, claiming it showed no respect to the institution, easily forgetting that not three months ago the government itself was found to be in contempt of Parliament. But her hand-made stop sign, and the photos of her being escorted from the red chamber, have reverberated across the country, with a handful of pro-DePape groups popping up on Facebook and a “Stop Harper” rally planned in Ottawa for June 10.

And the very first post on this blog reads this way.

What she did was absolutely fantastic, and highly effective! Bravo! I hope we don't soon forget it and I wish more of us were like her — she's a real Canadian Heroine! She spoke for more than half the country, which is more than what 1/2 the country could actually do. A true inspiration!

Considering the responses to her heroic act, it's pretty clear that the majority of the people agree with what she did, which goes to show a majority of Canadians do not agree with our government, meaning our government is out of touch with the people of Canada. Her act has shown that there is a fire burning strong in the hearts of Canadians – the need to re-form this government from a money and power loving one, into a truer and more sensible people loving one.

Our government has become distant, frail, and corrupt from its unhealthy concerns for money and power. The Canadian citizens may soon be required to take a strong hand with the government, to strengthen it's closeness with the people, and loosen its bonds with corporations. In order to create a government that serves the people more than it does today.

Hopefully soon we will see the needed change to our government, the change that the future generations will be thankful for.

Question: Does anyone honestly think that Brigitte DePaper is the role model that young people have been waiting for? This is the profile of courage when it comes to Democratic action? Is this an insult to young people or are some young simply guilty of insulting themselves?

This country needs an Arab spring she said, referencing the democratic street protests that have taken place, in the Arab world-Tunisia, Libya Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt, and Syria.

Would anyone mind if I focused on Syria for just a moment. And I say this because there are indeed young people taking real risks with real courage who are paying a real price. Hamza al-Khateeb would be one such person…When I tell you about this thirteen-year-old Syrian child you may agree that he paid a slightly higher price for his courage than the Parliament Hill Page.

From the Associated Press writing about the pudgy cheeked little boy and others like him in Syria.

The images grow no less shocking with time — a gaping wound on a tiny skull, the hair matted with blood; a gunshot that pierced the skin of a small torso and went straight toward the kidney; and finally, the broken neck and severed penis of a 13-year-old boy, his mangled body contorted on a plastic sheet.

The images of children activists say were killed in a government crackdown on protests are circulating widely among Syrians on YouTube and Al-Jazeera, Facebook and opposition websites. And they are stoking even more fury against a regime the opposition says has lost all legitimacy.

Syria's government tried to blunt the anger with promises Wednesday to investigate the killing of 13-year-old Hamza al-Khatib, whose tortured and mutilated body turned him into a symbol of the Syrian uprising. But protesters deride that and other government concessions, including an amnesty that freed political prisoners on Wednesday and a committee to prepare for national dialogue, as nothing more than a ploy to buy time for President Basher Assad. They say at least 25 children are among more than 1,000 dead, with government crackdowns that increase the toll almost daily.

The deaths of two girls — a 12-year-old killed Saturday when her school bus came under fire, and an 11-year-old shot to death Tuesday while her town was being shelled — appeared certain to inflame tensions. Already, a Syrian opposition page refers to the older girl, Hajar Tayseer al-Khatib, as "the flower of Syria's martyrs."

Leading Facebook page The Syrian Revolution 2011 addressed the regime directly in a posting: "Why do you hate our children. They are the symbol of our revolution. They are our freedom and the future of our country."

State television aired an interview with Dr. Akram Shaar, who examined al-Khatib's body. He said the cause of the death was shooting, and three bullets had hit the boy's body. He added that what appeared to be bruises and signs of torture were the result of natural decomposition since the boy died on April 29. His body was handed over to his family on May 21, state TV said.

The station also aired a recorded interview with al-Khatib's father who said he was received by Assad this week. The father added that the president considers "Hamza as his son and was touched" by the death.

On April 22, two boys whose ages were 7 and 10 were shot dead by security forces in the southern village of Izraa. A video aired then showed a man ran carrying the body of a young boy, whose hair was matted with blood from a gaping head wound.

Zuhair Awad al-Amar, 8, died after he was shot near the kidney on May 21 in the southern village of Nimr. A YouTube video showed his injury as a narrator said "these are the reforms of Bashar Assad."

These children are being killed by Syria's so-called Security Forces. Security forces in the Arab spring means security for the dictator and massive insecurity for the people who are desperate for a measure of dignity.

Could there be anything less dignified in our approach to what's going on over there than allowing a young parliamentary page to be puking up words about how Canada needs an Arab Spring to Stop Harper. Stop Harper from what? How did the Harper regime respond to the Parliamentary Page Protest?

Was she tortured, mutilated, made to disappear? Was a single hair on her head ruffled? Did she endure the pounding of Harper government goons?

What is the message that a Canadian brat sends to the children of Syria. "We think you're just characters on a TV show and you're making it difficult for us to watch? It's so much easier for us to watch someone who looks like she was cast to play the little girl in a sequel of the Adams family than to see torsos of young people tortured and murdered by the thugs of the Arab spring.

 

Let's bring it home now shall we, to Canada's spring where all sorts of deep penetrating analysis is blooming around the incident on Parliament Hill, the clarion call to Stop Harper.

The leading Stop Harper news organization is the venerable Toronto Star. They tried Stopping Harper with an avalanche news stories revolving around his "Contempt for Parliament" Contempt for Democracy which should be translated as Contempt for the Toronto Star's view of the Natural Order. The Toronto Star which has been for the Liberal party what Anthony Weiner's Twitter Page has been for him. The lead organ. The Toronto Star after propping up Liberal after Liberal gave up the ghost during the campaign, gave up on Michael Ignatieff and endorsed Jack Layton. They thought voting for Layton would be the best way to prevent Harper from getting a majority. And I guess all those readers the Toronto Star has in Chicoutimi and Rimouski and St Georges de Beauce were taking their inspiration from the Toronto Star and voting to Stop Harper.

Ok, so the Toronto Star had zero impact on Toronto and Ontario and Harper's Thugs won the day.

Just as theToronto Star had zero impact in Stopping Rob Ford and Ford's Thugs won anyway.

It's frustrating to be told you're an impact player but every time you take to the ice you're either checked into the boards, or someone skates around you or you are laughed at. Pretty soon you start to write like Heather Mallick the Toronto Star's role player, their number one paper tiger thug.

And she writes:

The skylark in question is that bright-eyed and braided young page, Brigette DePape, 21, whose mother is proud of her, as am I, as are thousands of Canadian young people who put idealism before an intern-type job that leads to fancy well-paid things if you’re willing to shut up.

It is a country, DePape said, that needs “an Arab spring.”

I have never heard the Harper-managed Canadian slide into backwater status put more eloquently. Well played, Brigette. She’s bright, she’s brave, she made her stand. If that makes her elitist — Harper’s favourite pejorative — so be it.

Unusually for me, I have been reading online commentary nationwide, written by people who lack the courage to use their own names. I was shocked. DePape is being given her due. “A courageous and peaceful example of protest,” one emailer wrote. “I’m surprised she wasn’t Tasered.”

The words of Heather Mallick of the Toronto Star, who would not have written them if the Parliamentary Page had held a sign saying, “Jack Layton Stop Supporting Separatism,” or  “Bob Rae Stop Supporting the NDP.”

Had a Page scrawled that chicken scratch on her little placard Heather Mallick would not have called her courageous and if she had written it, the Toronto Star would not have published it.

Courage has been defined as spitting in the faces of millions of Canadians who voted to stop minority governments from wasting time and money, to stop the constant talk about and spending hundreds of millions of dollars on elections. Canadians voted to stop election addiction. And theToronto Star calls that anti-democratic and the Page compares that to regimes which shoot eight year olds and saw the penises off thirteen year olds.

A young Canadian, more than five years younger than the young Page who is a poster child for Toronto Star/CBC Canadians. Another young Canadian wrote this about this very important day in world history when Canadians engaged in real fight for Democracy. It wasn't about Stopping Harper. It was about Stopping Hitler.

On June 6th, 67 years ago, the Canadian forces, alongside the British and American forces, were part of the greatest invasion in history. 130, 000 Allied soldiers and the largest naval fleet in history gathered to work towards a common goal, the defeat of German defences on the Normandy beaches. The soldiers prepared to storm the Normandy Beaches and gain a foothold in occupied Europe required to recapture France from German control and eventually try to win the war from the Western front. It seemed like suicide but Allied soldiers fought valiantly and brought down the German defences, entering Germany into a 3 front war and a likely loss. At the D-Day Landings, Canada was the first to achieve the objectives that it was assigned to after landing at its assigned beach, Juno Beach. Canada was the only one besides British and American forcesto receive its own beach to invade, code-named Juno Beach, a huge responsibility in itself. Allied forces depended on the successful invasion of Juno Beach to carry on fighting in occupied Europe and establish a secure and safe beachhead for troops and supplies to land. Canada had played an essential and strong contribution to the D-Day Landings, as it was in charge of invading Juno Beach, and did it successfully.

Canada achieved its objectives for the D-Day Landings and had massive success compared to other Allied divisions with a force of 14, 000 soldiers taking in the fact of the huge amount of fortifications at Juno Beach, it was a huge accomplishment. After only 3 hours of the initial landings, the Atlantic Wall at Juno Beach had been shattered allowing forces to push past the beach and sea wall to launch attacks into occupied Europe. By the day's end the Canadian forces had achieved an enormous task, much more than what had been expected of them. The 3rd Canadian Division had pushed farther into France than any other Allied Division – 8 kilometres inland (Landry 48). The next day also held promise for theCanadian forces, which had managed to link up with British forces that had landed at Sword Beach. This was important tobe able to secure a beachhead in Normandy allowing for further forces to land and push inward into occupied Europe (Roy 13). By July 9th, Caen had been captured by the Allied forces, with huge contributions from the Canadian forces that had fought against the Schutzstaffeln, one of Hitler's elite units. Caen, an important strategic location had been captured, "thanks in large part to the persistent efforts of the 3rd Canadian Division, Caen was at last in Allied hands (Veterans Affairs Canada). The capture of Caen dealt a crucial blow to the German defences in France, allowing the Allies to put firm foothold in occupied Europe from which they could launch attacks to take back France. Canada achieved its objectives at the D-Day Landings and the important objectives afterwards.

Canada had the monumental responsibility of invading a heavily fortified position, code-named Juno Beach, a huge responsibility that no other country besides the United States of America and Great Britain had. Canada was put to the responsibility of invading Juno Beach with 14, 00 soldiers, and 450 dropping behind enemy lines. 10, 000 sailors Royal Canadian Navy and its ships were among the invading naval forces, while Lancaster bombers and Spitfire fighters from the Royal Canadian Air Force joined the attack from the air (CBC). Taking Juno Beach was not an easy task but through hard work and dedication the Canadian invaders managed to overthrow the German defences and hand the German forces a stunning defeat. "Juno Beach was arguably the most heavily-fortified of the five invasion beaches" (Canada at War). The so called impenetrable Atlantic Wall had been penetrated and the Allies could now start landing additional troops and supplies. At night's end on June 6th the Canadian 3rd Division had fought the resistance from the determined German counter-attack and had achieved many of their objectives. Although the town of Caen was still not captured, this objective was overly optimistic (Roy 39) but the Allied forces with great contributions from the Canadian forces managedto capture this objective too. "Resistance was stiffening as they came closer to Caen but by nightfall the leading elements were over eight km inland" (Roy 26). Some of the soldiers had even reached Caen – Bayeux road – the 1st Hussars (Roy 26), a very close distance to the town of Caen. This meant that Canadian forces were the closest to the town of Caen, an important objective in the Normandy Landings. The Canadian forces had achieved the great task of invading from Juno Beach and had managed to push far inland.

The Canadian forces not only had to storm ashore from Juno Beach successfully but they also had to achieve many other objectives in occupied Europe. The Allies had made plans according to the successful Canadian assault and the successful fulfillment of the objectives afterwards. This meant that Canadian forces played a large role in the battle to come after D-Day and the Allied success also depended on the success of Canadian forces. After the invasion, Canada was given the task of liberating the Netherlands from German control (WarMuseum). After the initial attempt at break into the Netherlands had failed, the job was handed to Canadian forces, probably in respect to their successes at the D-Day Landings and afterwards. The Canadian forces met heavy resistance and determined German defenders but they managed to liberate the Netherlands. After the D-Day Landings, British and Canadian forces linked up to secure the beachhead and launch further offensives into France (Veterans Affairs Canada). Beach bombardment at the start of D-Day also included contributions from the Royal Canadian Air Force. Canadian bombers squadrons were composed of Lancaster bombers and Spitfire fighters and they weakened German industry and attacked strategic locations to decrease the resistance encountered by the invading soldiers (Reynoldson 38). The Allied forces depended on the success of all parts of the D-DayLandings and the Canadian forces did not fail to impress even if it came at a high cost.

Canada made massive contributions to the D-Day Landings and achieved many of their objectives, sooner than other Allied divisions. They instilled pride in the nation and had shown the power of Canada, as a great military power and as an ally. The 3rd Canadian Division had moved the farthest into France by nightfall and Canadian forces were the first to achieve their objectives after landing at their assigned beach. Canada was the only nation besides the United States of America and Great Britain that received its own beach to invade and had broken through the German defences at Juno Beach successfully. Allied forces also depended on the success of all parts of the invasion and Canadian forces did not let them down, achieving their objectives with great success. Canadian forces had created great pride for the nation with the tremendous success of the D-Day landings and had shown the world that Canada had the power to become a great military power in the future.

Our country took nearly a thousand casualties on D-Day and many times during the five year successful effort to Stop Fascism from having Global Dominion. I am not here today to bury Brigitte the Page. I am here to use her You Tube moment to make the point that 67 years ago thousands of Canadians, most of whom were her age or younger, were prepared to sacrifice themselves to preserve freedom and democracy and those journalists who covered it and analysed didn't need to create a fairy tale, didn't need to spin spin spin. Having met many of today's Canadian warriors who serve us in uniform, I am safe in saying that many young people in this country don't hold up signs for the cameras. They hold guns and they hold the lives of many other young people in the balance and we are proud of them. They are the descendants of those boys who became men on the beaches of Normandy 67 years ago. May they rest in peace and may we never forget the blood red line in the sand between valour and vulgar.

We’ve Become a Nation of Takers, Not Makers

By STEPHEN MOORE – Wall Street Journal

If you want to understand better why so many states—from New York to Wisconsin to California—are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, consider this depressing statistic: Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government.

It gets worse. More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to a nation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of state and local employees. Is it any wonder that so many states and cities cannot pay their bills?

Every state in America today except for two—Indiana and Wisconsin—has more government workers on the payroll than people manufacturing industrial goods. Consider California, which has the highest budget deficit in the history of the states. The not-so Golden State now has an incredible 2.4 million government employees—twice as many as people at work in manufacturing. New Jersey has just under two-and-a-half as many government employees as manufacturers. Florida's ratio is more than 3 to 1. So is New York's.

Even Michigan, at one time the auto capital of the world, and Pennsylvania, once the steel capital, have more government bureaucrats than people making things. The leaders in government hiring are Wyoming and New Mexico, which have hired more than six government workers for every manufacturing worker.

Now it is certainly true that many states have not typically been home to traditional manufacturing operations. Iowa and Nebraska are farm states, for example. But in those states, there are at least five times more government workers than farmers. West Virginia is the mining capital of the world, yet it has at least three times more government workers than miners. New York is the financial capital of the world—at least for now. That sector employs roughly 670,000 New Yorkers. That's less than half of the state's 1.48 million government employees.

Don't expect a reversal of this trend anytime soon. Surveys of college graduates are finding that more and more of our top minds want to work for the government. Why? Because in recent years only government agencies have been hiring, and because the offer of near lifetime security is highly valued in these times of economic turbulence. When 23-year-olds aren't willing to take career risks, we have a real problem on our hands. Sadly, we could end up with a generation of Americans who want to work at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The employment trends described here are explained in part by hugely beneficial productivity improvements in such traditional industries as farming, manufacturing, financial services and telecommunications. These produce far more output per worker than in the past. The typical farmer, for example, is today at least three times more productive than in 1950.

Where are the productivity gains in government? Consider a core function of state and local governments: schools. Over the period 1970-2005, school spending per pupil, adjusted for inflation, doubled, while standardized achievement test scores were flat. Over roughly that same time period, public-school employment doubled per student, according to a study by researchers at the University of Washington. That is what economists call negative productivity.

But education is an industry where we measure performance backwards: We gauge school performance not by outputs, but by inputs. If quality falls, we say we didn't pay teachers enough or we need smaller class sizes or newer schools. If education had undergone the same productivity revolution that manufacturing has, we would have half as many educators, smaller school budgets, and higher graduation rates and test scores.

The same is true of almost all other government services. Mass transit spends more and more every year and yet a much smaller share of Americans use trains and buses today than in past decades. One way that private companies spur productivity is by firing underperforming employees and rewarding excellence. In government employment, tenure for teachers and near lifetime employment for other civil servants shields workers from this basic system of reward and punishment. It is a system that breeds mediocrity, which is what we've gotten.

Most reasonable steps to restrain public-sector employment costs are smothered by the unions. Study after study has shown that states and cities could shave 20% to 40% off the cost of many services—fire fighting, public transportation, garbage collection, administrative functions, even prison operations—through competitive contracting to private providers. But unions have blocked many of those efforts. Public employees maintain that they are underpaid relative to equally qualified private-sector workers, yet they are deathly afraid of competitive bidding for government services.

President Obama says we have to retool our economy to "win the future." The only way to do that is to grow the economy that makes things, not the sector that takes things.

Campaign-trail frowns could burn Harper

By CHARLES ADLER, QMI Agency

The Canadian dollar is rising. The Canadian economy is humming. Job creation is happening virtually everywhere.

You would think this is a time when the prime minister of such a fortunate country would be a happy warrior, above the parochial fray and well on his way to a very big victory on May 2.

But when you see the PM these days on the campaign trail, he looks tired and irritable. When you see his chief opponent, he looks like he is having the time of his life. This isn't some namby-pamby, lefty spin job. I am simply doing my job, telling the truth to people who are reading the words of someone who did the CBC compass test and was officially declared conservative.

I am not saying the sky is falling for the Conservatives because the prime minister is looking like he needs a good night's sleep and/or a bottle of happy pills. But there is one fact of life in the age of TV campaigns, as shown a half-century ago during the Kennedy-Nixon debates. Voters listen with their eyes. If they see a knight in shining armour brimming with confidence, they tend to react positively.

Michael Ignatieff may not be anywhere close to the second coming of John F. Kennedy. Stephen Harper may not be the man Oliver Stone would ever cast as Nixon. But three facts are clear:

1) Harper is presiding over a successful economy in troubled times. That's a car you don't have to sell. You just have to put it in the showroom and online and then stand beside her.

2) From now until May 2, Harper has every reason to congratulate the Canadian people for performing like troopers and creating robust economic growth. In doing so, ordinary Canadians fought the headwinds created by doom merchants like the PM's political opponents and many members of the media, including some in the business media.

3) Harper has every reason to be happy about the country's great accomplishments since he became prime minister. For anyone who doubts how well this country is doing, take a quick trip to Florida, California, Arizona or Nevada and ask anyone if the price of their home is worth much more today than it was a decade ago. While many middle-class people in the U.S. have lost a decade in family-wealth creation, Canadian families have prospered. As they say in some parts of the U.S., "It ain't braggin' if you can do it." Canada has earned its bragging rights.

When John and Mary Canadian Tire watch the prime minister on the tube for the next four weeks, they should be seeing a happy and proud papa. He should be looking like a young father whose kid just scored the winning goal in the most important game of the season.

Stephen Harper needs to step up his game right now. His loyal supporters are counting on it. If the PM doesn't get happy in a hurry, his coalition nightmare could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Coalition of the losers (WITH AUDIO)

Listen to the full monologue here:

Adler monologue march 28th

If this election yields yet another Tory minority, expect a three-headed monster to grab at power

By Charles Adler, QMI Agency

Last Updated: March 27, 2011 9:31am

OK, Canada is not Libya or Egypt or Yemen.

We are not economic basket cases that have been governed by psychos, superstition and savagery. We are not teetering on the abyss.

But this would be a very poor time to exercise typical Canadian complacency. The election nobody wants could suck us into a black hole that nobody needs.

In your high school physics class you may remember the teacher describing parts of space where nothing, absolutely nothing could escape, not even a flicker of light. Nothing.

If the Harper Conservatives end up with something short of a majority, the Black Hole Coalition is activated. Michael Ignatieff has no plans to go back to Harvard. The plan is to go back to the drawing board, to the game called "Let's do something European. Let's have a coalition."

Now we remember how Canadians reacted the last time to the prospect of a coalition government where the first liners, to borrow a hockey term, would be Stephane Dion centering for Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe. But that was then and this is now.

Here's what Now looks like. The Tories fail to get a majority in May and when Parliament reconvenes they fail to win a vote of confidence following another attempt at a budget.

Michael Ignatieff reaches for his posterior and pulls out a piece of paper with a lot of signatures on it. They all have one thing in common. None of them are members of the Conservative party. All of them are members of parties that lost.

Some could call it a coalition of losers. But it would be a coalition that could easily win the day with the Governor General.

This time the GG could not allow Stephen Harper to prorogue or to have another election so soon after the previous one. He would have to take seriously the notion that this cast of characters now in opposition could between them have the numbers to sustain power for a period 18 months to two years.

Stephen Harper with a minority government facing the opposition he has now and is likely to have after this election wouldn't have much of an argument to counter the Coalition forces. What's Stephen Harper going to say? "Your Excellency. Give me a chance to dissolve Parliament, declare Martial Law and we can make this country purr like a Ferrari."

And you can stop laughing now.

The problem with this joke is it's no joke. Before Christmas of this year one of the most successful economies on the planet could be in the hands of three people who should never be allowed near the National Vault. Can you imagine a scenario where Michael Ignatieff is the Prime Minister, Jack Layton is the finance minister?

His highest priority would be keeping his eyes on his BlackBerry, where Gilles Duceppe is updating the Separatist Shopping list every hour.

The crystal clear message to the West would be “Create your own Bloc Quebecois.” That’s the only way to have real clout in Ottawa.

The Black Hole scenario along with the decaying of the Daddy Dalton brand is why the Tories ought to be able to crush the Liberals in the Greater Toronto Area. That would be the key to snatching victory from Michael Ignatieff who at this moment is channeling Mick Jagger. " I see a Red Door and I want to paint it Black."