Not since Cicero had a major political thinker been a practicing politician in the center of the arena. So it is refreshingly welcome to have Burke reassessed today by another politician, Jesse Norman, Member of Parliament for Hereford and South Herefordshire who has taught philosophy at University College London.
Edmund Burke: The First Conservative is not a standard biography.1Norman has set his book in two parts. Part One, “Life,” is a lively review of Burke’s political career from his “outsider” origins to his entanglement in the causes of Ireland, America, India, and France. How those controversies generated his ideas is largely left to Part Two of the book, “Thought.”
Sen. Mike Duffy attempted to influence the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission’s upcoming decision involving the right-leaning Sun News Network, a source has told CTV News.
A well-placed source told CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife that Duffy approached a Conservative insider with connections to the CRTC three weeks ago to discuss Sun Media, which is asking the federal regulator to grant its news channel “mandatory carriage,” or guaranteed placement on basic cable and satellite packages.
“You know people at the CRTC,” the insider quoted Duffy as saying. “This is an important decision on Sun Media. They have to play with the team and support Sun Media’s request.”
There's a team? You mean there actually is a vast right-wing conspiracy in Canada?
This is the happiest day of my life. For years, indeed longer than I can recall, the seedy backroom stuff was always being done to aid and abet the Trudeaupian project. It was always some OISE or Osgoode schooled hack trying to subvert our liberties or rig some rent seeking scheme. Now we're doing it! Our side! First it was Nigel Wright cutting large cheques, now it's Mike Duffy leaning on some guy who knows some people at the CRTC.
This is wonderful. We're the Establishment. Kinda. Sorta. Farewell Pearsonalities! Hello Harperalities! OK. OK. I'll work on something better.
Let us take this moment to bask in the glory of the dawn. At long-last we've out Liberaled the Liberals by every major metric. Getting some washed-up Senator to call a guy, who knows a guy, to discretely "suggest" to a supposedly independent body that something get approved is so perfectly Ottawa. Admittedly Jean Chretien tended to be a bit more direct. He'd just call up the CEO and start lobbying. Perhaps the Tories just haven't been in power long enough to feel confident in the direct approach.
The likely victim in all this will be the Sun News Network. Whatever impact Senator Duffy had on discussions as to SNN's application, which was probably close to nil, the CRTC would now harm its own credibility by approving the network's request. While the independence of the CRTC has always been as debatable as its relevance to modern Canada, the patronage hacks who man the commission at least have to go through the motions. Telling Kory Teneycke to get another job would certainly help to burnish the CRTC's image.
After Mike Duffy's little lobbying expedition this will likely become imperative. They will feel compelled to assert the commission's independence by telling those Harper lapdogs over at the SNN to get real work. That the SNN has been a fairly consistent critic of the government will be ignored. The network is a threat to the stranglehold of the MSM, so this will be seen as convenient opportunity to destroy the network.
As a leading donor, Canada will continue to provide food and basic health services to the people of Mali. Today, Lois Brown, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, on behalf of the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, reaffirmed Canada's support for the people of Mali at an international donors' conference in Brussels, Belgium.
As a leading donor, Canada is working to ensure that basic needs of the people of Mali are addressed, said PS Brown. "Once again, Canada has demonstrated during this conference that we remain focused on helping Malians build upon stronger ground."
Even assuming most of this money isn't wasted, which is likely an optimistic assumption, how is this an appropriate function of the Canadian government? Private charity perhaps, but the federal government? Mali is of no strategic significance to Canada, though a bit more so to the Americans. Any thing we do there will be of marginal benefit to the people. The only way to solve extreme poverty is through economic growth. The only way to sustain long-term economic growth is though freer markets and freer trade. The cut-a-check-and-feel-good routine does none of those things.
It seems the Julian Fantino is taking the same spin over substance approach in Mali as he did in Caledonia.
The Truth About Trudeau says PET ballooned the deficit, ballooned the unemployment rate, ballooned inflation. It says he undermined our alliances, downgraded our military, held hands with communist dictators. It disses the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It says he did zip on the environment and scuttled constitutional accords. It says no prime minister did more to damage national unity.
Mr. Plamondon presents a detailed array of statistics and some solid analytical work to buttress his claims. He draws on some pungent observations from Liberals themselves. On Meech Lake, former Trudeau minister Francis Fox says his old boss “couldn’t stand to see Brian Mulroney succeed where he had failed.”
In other words Bob Plamondon's new book, which I've pre-ordered, is saying what those on the Canadian Right have been saying for nearly fifty years. It's just that few of us have bothered to write a book. The shelves groan with books about Trudeau, about people who knew Trudeau and even about people who ran into Trudeau at a club once. The only figures in recent American history who get this sort of treatment are Reagan and JFK.
The vast majority of what has been written about Trudeau, a fair portion of which I've waded through over the years, sits somewhere between mildly critical and hagiography. There was certainly a flood of columns, pamphlets and even the odd quickie book about Trudeau back in the 1970s and 1980s that painted him in an unflattering light. Unfortunately almost all of them shaded into the fanatical, fantastical and conspiratorial.
It would be nice to think that PET was working for Moscow, but there is no evidence that he was anything more than a fellow traveller. Even if something had been unearthed explaining his years in power as a vast Left-wing plot it will fail to explain how this man held power for nearly sixteen years, especially in a country where the average PM is in office for about five. Millions of otherwise sane Canadians voted for Pierre time and again. In an unavoidable way he was simply the messenger of the age.
What hopefully Mr Plamondon's work will accomplish is to spark a critical reassessment of Trudeau's legacy. It wasn't the worst of times, but it was hardly the best of times either. If we can cut down on the hagiography and return PET back to normal historical size, an important figure along the ranks of John A, Laurier, Borden, King and Pearson, that would be a considerable improvement. The casting of our fifteenth Prime Minister as Jacobin superman, either pro or con, distorts a whole period in our history.
With Iron Man 3 hauling in $174 million at the box office last weekend, this is a good time to pay tribute to a great architect whose hold on the American imagination is finally getting the respect it deserves: John Lautner.
No matter where they’re filmed or when they’re set, the Iron Manmovies take place, at least aesthetically and psychologically, in the shiny, optimistic, future-infatuated Southern California that peaked in the early 1960s. Billionaire Tony Stark’s Iron Mansion in Malibu, which the evil Mandarin demolishes in Iron Man 3, is a fictitious CGI homage to the sometimes hilarious—but often surprisingly lovely—science-fiction houses and coffee shops, gas stations, and motels that Lautner erected all over the Los Angeles area from the 1930s into the 1980s.
Finally, while the mainstream media and pollsters might be chagrined by their middling trust scores, they’ll be encouraged to know that they are still doing much better than the so-called ‘new media’. Both social media in general and bloggers in particular receive very low trust levels. The future of news may be digital but many Canadians are scanning social media and blogs with deep skepticism.
According to the referenced survey only 8% of Canadians trust bloggers.
Which begs the obvious question, indeed so obvious that the professional pollster quoted above didn't bother asking it: Have 8% of Canadians even read a blog?
Those of us who comprise the mostly unpaid army of bloggers are perfectly aware that we are a niche. Really thousands of little niches. Most people do not get their news or commentary from blogs, or at least from blogs not affiliated with an MSM outlet. It's why we call the MSM the MSM, they're the mainstream and we're the outsiders. So when you ask Bob and Mary Canadian do you trust bloggers, a term they're probably only vaguely familiar with, they'll say no.
Does anyone trust something they know almost nothing about?
What's impressive is that the MSM has trust ratings in the 32-33% range, despite decades of incumbency and powerful distribution networks. When most people are very familiar with your product, and still think you stink, that's a huge credibility issue. Bloggers are doing this for the hell of it and some spare change. The MSM is doing this for a living. If upstart amateurs have one-quarter the trust level of professional journalists, that says far more about journalists than bloggers.
Pollsters, ironically, scored lower than journalists.
The upper end of the trust scale is dominated by nurses, doctors and teachers. Trusting the first two is a matter of life and death. You don't really have much of an option when you're sick. Teachers trust levels have been steadily slipping for decades. This suggests that the public might be catching on that public school teacher's unions are mostly interested in protecting public school teachers jobs. They're a union after all. It's what they do. For decades thousands of otherwise unemployable educators, educrats and union organizers have profited immensely from the Norman Rockwell image of teachers.
The slightly pretty and somewhat slim young female teacher, the apple on the desk and the wholesome children dutifully sitting in perfectly aligned desks. How much of that image was ever reality is debatable. The Blackboard Jungle was set in the supposedly idyllic era of the 1950s. Still the image is powerful enough that it clouds the perceptions of people who never experienced anything like it. In part the Rockwell image of education is what we want to believe. Just as we trust doctors because we have little choice, so many of us trust teachers because we have to. Education is a near government monopoly. Most people send their children to the nearest state run school.
It takes two to trust. The actions of one person read through the perceptions of the other. It's surprising how long it can take for questionable actions to alter unrealistic expectations. But in time they do alter. With that trust goes an entire business and political model.
But don't worry too much. The bloggers will still be here.
Salaries of presidents of U.S. public universities rose almost 5 percent in the last fiscal year, even as tuition rose and student debt soared, with the median pay package topping $400,000, according to a report released on Sunday.
Penn State's Graham Spanier was the top earner last year at the time he was fired over the Jerry Sandusky scandal, according to the study by the Chronicle of Higher Education, though his compensation was inflated by $2.4 million in severance pay and deferred compensation.
Look at the bright side. In a few years time many of these university campuses will be sold off. The buying opportunity of the century. Think of the possiblities. Resorts, corporate head offices, data farms and prisons. Just use your imagination.