Six In The Morning: Gwynne Dyer!

6-in-the-morning1. HERE COME THE OLYMPICS As I’m typing this, the opening ceremonies are about to start in Sochi. As you’re reading this they’re probably over. The important thing, though, is that Russia arrested some activists in St. Petersburg for protesting Russia’s homophobic, bigoted and ignorant gay propaganda laws. The Gay Star News calls it “Russia’s first gay arrests”. I’m having a really hard time taking these Olympics seriously. On a related note, Google did a really good thing. UPDATE I’m listening to the opening ceremonies… CBC’s announcers are really bad.

2. FOUR MORE REASONS STEPHEN HARPER AND THE CONSERVATIVES SUCK They’re using Revenue Canada to harass political enemies. The Conservatives, who get in trouble with election rules a lot, are attacking the Chief Electoral Officer. They’re also planning to raise the limit on how much people can donate to political parties, which gives wealthy people more ability to help their friends. Oh, and Stephen Harper plays in a band with someone who was charged with sexual assault.

3. A CONSERVATIVE POLITICIAN APPARENTLY CLINGS TO BIGOTED IDEAS? NO!!!! Rob Ford said this to reporters about World Pride day:

“I’m not going to go to the Pride parade. I’ve never gone to a Pride parade. So I’m not going to change the way I am.”

So, does this mean he’s a homophobe who refuses to change? Or does he just hate a good party? What’s his problem? And why do I feel bad for him instead of writing him off as a lying, self-centred bigot prone to tossing blame around for political advantage? Well, Doug Ford says he and his brothers aren’t homophobes: they just don’t like “middle-aged men with pot bellies running down the street buck naked.” Well, I dunno about the naked part but I can think of some big-bellied middle-aged men I’m not a fan of, either.

4. U.S. EMBARRASSED BY LEAKED TAPE OF DIPLOMAT SAYING “FUCK THE EU” An American diplomat speaking about the crisis in the Ukraine was secretly recorded (probably by Russia) saying “fuck the EU”. Tee hee! Anyway, Germany is maaaaad.

5. WINNIPEG’S MILLIONAIRE MAYOR IS SUING A WINNIPEG STUDENT NEWSPAPER Wacky. Don’t see how Katz can win this fight — the rule is punch up, not down.

6. A JAPANESE POLITICIAN RUNNING FOR OFFICE ONCE SAID MENSTRUATION MAKES WOMEN UNFIT FOR GOVERNMENT The quote, from 1989: “Women are not normal when they are having a period … You can’t possibly let them make critical decisions about the country [during their period] such as whether or not to go to war.” Yikes. I don’t understand why politicians like this aren’t pelted with rotten fruit everywhere they go. I suppose a sex boycott will have to do.

GWYNNE DYER! TONIGHT! GO! Tonight’s topic is “The Triumph Of Non-Violence”, presumably about the Arab Spring and what’s going on in Thailand. The lecture’s at 7:30 in the U of R’s Education Auditorium. Don’t have a clip of that but here’s Gwynne talking about climate change. See you tonight!

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth was carried to Regina in a swarm of bees. He's been with Prairie Dog since May 1999 and will die at his keyboard before admitting his career a terrible, terrible mistake.

12 thoughts on “Six In The Morning: Gwynne Dyer!”

  1. (2) They’re taking a page from the IRS handbook, recently utilized by President Obama.

    (5) There’s been a lot of stink surrounding the fire hall deal. People at City Hall have lost their jobs; racialist posters have popped up downtown; the MSM have been all over it. It’s a right mess awaiting the next mayor.

  2. (2) Meh, seems like a non-issue to me. We have restrictions in place on the political activities of charities (which are directly afforded tax-exemptions and are allowed to give their donors tax receipts — in effect a subsidy by government). It makes sense to occasionally audit them. There seems to be no evidence that Harper had anything to do with auditing these organizations: the linked article specifically asserts that the investigations were driven by complaints from Ethical Oil. Now, if the CRA categorizes science education activities as political, then I’ll get mad. Especially since it would be another sign of government agencies toeing Harper’s anti-science line. Until then, it seems like a fabricated issue.

  3. It’s not a fabrication, Brad, that Ethical Oil was founded by a member of the Harper’s PMO. It’s the same childish sleight-of-hand the Conservatives got dinged for in the In&Out affair. The lines between the oil industry and the Government of Canada have become increasingly blurred, with 22 million taxpayer dollars going for an Oil Sands PR campaign, former Harper cabinet minister Chuck Strahl working for Enbridge and the SIRC at the same time, and over $400 milllion in federal subsidies to the oil industry since 2007.
    As Ethical Oil refuses to disclose its funding, one can only look at where they devote their resources (such as the occasionally racist NeilYoungLies campaign) and where their members turn up (such as the Prime Minister’s Office ) for clues.
    It may indeed be a fabricated issue, but the fabricators are the PMO-linked attack squad at Ethical Oil.

  4. As regards Prof. Dyer: you have my envy over your ability to take in one of his lectures in person.

  5. This “Ethical Oil” organization targeting these charities for CRA audits? It fails the smell test.

  6. A) I am willing to be persuaded that Ethical Oil has suspicious connections to Harper. Unfortunately, searches for the organization are overwhelmed by a shit book by a shit author. Can anyone provide me with sources to connect the dots?

    B) I’m of the opinion that it’s completely reasonable for an investigatory agency to target likely infractions. When an organization applies for tax-exempt status contingent on not being mostly political, it makes sense to target organizations who have applied using references to political movements. The IRS has targeted such groups using a number of key words: “Tea Party” and “9/12” on the right, “Occupy” and “progressive” on the left, “Israel” on both sides. If it is established that a particular subset of these groups was disproportionally targeted, I’ll buy into malfeasance. It has not been established to my satisfaction, so I’ll reserve judgement.

  7. There is a question of how you define “political”. Is general advocacy on behalf of a cause or in opposition to a cause being championed by another organization a political act? In a broad sense it likely is.

    Then there’s more overt forms of political activity, where specific parties and candidates are endorsed during election periods. Some churches in the U.S. have been quite active in this area, with some pastors/congregations openly defying the IRS provisions. Since churches in the U.S. benefit from tens of billions of dollars in tax exemptions each year it’s a pretty important issue both from a civic revenue and political perspective.

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