A Bear's Rant

a conservative heretic commenting on hypocrisy and stupidity in a world with too much of both

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Big Ears Teddy and the Radio Star

Earlier in the week I wrote that I wasn’t interested in hearing the sordid details of the Jian Gomeshi rough-sex scandal and I meant it but there doesn’t seem to be any avoiding it now.

Has it really only been five days since this story broke? There have been so many reports, commentary and opinion published that it feels like it has been going on forever. Even the attack on Parliament Hill didn’t get this much coverage or opinion.

When it’s all said and done, it still comes down to a simple case of he said vs. she said and she said and she said and she said and she said and she said and she said and she said. That’s nine “she saids’ and counting versus one ‘he said”. It stretches credulity that there isn’t a least some fire under all this smoke. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Arguing Semantics in the Face of Danger

For one brief shining moment in Canada  last week, our political leaders were united.

On the day following the shooting of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and the subsequent attack by Michael Zehaf Bibeau on Parliament, our leaders stood together to condemn the attacks and to tell the world that Canadians would not be intimidated. They even shook hands and exchanged hugs after their speeches in a show of solidarity.

It was too good to last. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Fifty Shades of Ghomeshi

promo-qpodcast-smAs if two home-grown terrorist attacks in one week weren’t enough, Canada is now gripped by a sex scandal involving, at least indirectly, the state-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

No, Evan Solomon wasn’t found in a cheap motel room with an unidentified goat – but, you’re warm.

The host of one of the most popular radio shows on the CBC has been fired. In a terse public statement, the broadcaster announced that Jian Ghomeshi had been dismissed after “certain information had been brought to its attention”. Left there, the story probably wouldn’t have gone much further but it happened in Toronto and is what passes for show business in Canada so, of course, it wasn’t.

The Toronto Star with its usual high journalistic standards, came to the rescue with unsubstantiated, anonymous allegations by four woman of abusive sexual activity by Mr. Gomeshi. I tend to believe that if it wasn’t for unnamed, anonymous sources, The Star would have little to report every week.

In a pre-emptive effort to get out ahead of yet another bit of The Star’s brand of ‘gotcha’ journalism, Mr. Ghomeshi released his own statement on Facebook that not only provided some salacious admissions about his personal sex life, but more significantly (at least to me), was even longer than many of my blog posts. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Canada Strong and Free? Perhaps!

In the wake of the attack on Parliament and the shooting of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, the government is calling for increased powers for law enforcement and security organizations. Beyond introducing legislation to update the CSIS Act which is long overdue; the government is also hinting at new legislation to provide for things like preventative arrest and indeterminate preventative detention.

Some, who are already concerned with the growing intrusion of government in our lives, are resistant to giving even more power to government agencies. They see it as the continuing erosion of our constitutional rights guaranteed to us under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The other side of the argument, supported by more than a few Canadians, is that current laws do not meet the evolving world in which we live and that law enforcement and intelligence agencies need new powers to better enable them to track and identify potential national security threats. Many of them believe that it may be necessary for Canadians to accept some measure of restriction on our current rights and freedoms.

Both arguments have merit. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

As The Fires Burn, The Emperors Fiddle

NeroRome burned and Nero fiddled; or so the story goes.

Many historians have written that Nero not only played sad songs on his lyre as Rome went up in smoke; he actually started the fire. Some suggest it was because he was mad, which was probably true considering that it was a fairly common affliction among Roman emperors.

A book on the history of Roman emperors, that I’ve just recently finished reading, theorizes that Nero started the fire to punish some of his critics in the patrician class and to make way for the construction of new buildings including a grandiose palace in his honour.

Whatever is or is not true, two things are fairly clear. Rome did go up in flames and Nero was almost certainly  mad – stone, cold nuts. He, like many of his predecessors and successors was more obsessed with the privilege and indulgences of governing than with its responsibilities.

And so continued the formal decline – the big slide – of an empire that had sowed the seeds of its own destruction at its birth.

Take a look around. We don’t appear to have learned much since then and there are moments when I believe our political leadership has gone as mad as any Roman Emperor. Like the good people of Rome, many of us are just as happy to tolerate it as long as there are bread and circuses to feed us and to keep us amused. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Under Attack, Our Leadership Failed Us

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo (foreground) standing to post at the National War Museum

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo (foreground) standing to post at the National War Museum

Yesterday morning at 9:52, a lone gunman fatally shot Cpl. Nathan Cirillo as he was standing to post at the National War Memorial. Three blocks away, my wife Maggie had just left her office to make a presentation in a building across the street from Parliament Hill. As she took the elevator she, along with tens of thousands of other civil servants, had no idea what was about to be unleashed.

After shooting Mr. Cirillo the gunman, now identified as Michael Zehaf Bibeau, left the memorial to drive the short distance to Parliament Hill. He abandoned his car in a no parking zone on Wellington St. directly in front of the Parliament Buildings. Carrying a rifle, he walked from his car  onto Parliament Hill where he commandeered a car and drove to the centre block of the Parliament Buildings. Pursued bu the RCMP entered the building walking through the rotunda where he started shooting as he worked his way toward the Parliamentary library.  A few moments later, he was dead, shot by Parliament’s Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers who met his responsibility to protect the institution and its members.

        

It was during the shooting that the Canadian government in Ottawa, as well as much of the downtown core, went into lockdown and like countless others, I lost contact with my wife, her daughter and a dozen other members of our family.

There was no information available from our government about their security. Like everyone else, I was left with nothing but ongoing media coverage, often scant at times, to try to get some reassurance that Maggie and family members were and would continue to be safe.

Today, on the day after, many questions about security need, and have already begun, to be asked but the most obvious question to me is glaring.

Where was our political leadership yesterday? →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading