Saturday 11 October 2008

Brutal Comedy

Flippped CBC Radio 1 on this morning. That silly but usually somewhat amusing saturday morning show "Go" was on. There is a segment Brent is doing these days called "Mob Rules: Canada's Political Mosh Pit". It's basically a panel discussion, in a sort of an informal gloves-off sort of format, it seems. Anyhow, a rather resounding slap down of the conservative talking head really was worth noting. You can listen yourself on this link, starting sometime just after 8 minutes in.

The conservative, a former Reform Party MP, Jim Silye, starts sticking up for the Harper government and confidently correcting some misconceptions about the government. It was quite a strong speach and had me wondering if I knew the facts myself. His points were (and some of these are apparently pretty much the party line going around these days), on the topic of arts funding:

- there is a falacy, in fact Harper increased spending on the arts
- there was a 45 million cut on a 4 billion arts budget, just on some programs where the art clearly "crosses the line" of decency.
- some high profile Canadian artists quickly organised and spoke out against it, and Harper listened to them and backed off and recinded the cuts, as a good prime minister should

Well, i hadn't heard about the backing off. And I also hadn't heard this line about the cuts being only a small percentage of an overall budget. But Jim was quoting rather specific numbers, so surely it must be true.

Then Kady O'Malley, a columnist and blogger for Mcleans magazine, is called on and you can sort of just hear her shaking her head saying: "I am stunned." She goes on to utterly blow the political pack of lies out of the water so thoroughly, none of the points are mentioned again.

- She covered the bill C-10 hearings, to which this is related ("a huge income-tax bill")
- Harper didn't reccind anything, he decided not to introduce the bill with those provisions
- He didn't listen to anyone, but rather only when his poll numbers were "plummeting off a cliff" in Quebec, he did the very least he could do
- on the issue of claiming a 4 billion dollar budget for arts, they include the olympics and the Human Rights commission. (Two rather big ticket items which really have NOTHING to do with the specific issue of arts support.)
- and on the topic of whether the cuts are for ideological reasons, she goes through the various ever weakening cover stories the Conservative party has tried to use to explain it.

Anyhow, listen for yourself and see how bald-faced the Conservative spin (virtual lies) can be (sometimes almost fooling even me), and how someone (thank God) who knows what she is talking about, can take them apart like so many inappropriately placed toothpicks.

After that was over, almost aways stunning Debaters came on, and was even more sparklingly brilliant than usual. This is a show, if you've never heard it, where they bring together two comedians to debate real issues. The audience decides who wins, based on keenness of wit, verbal brutality, and occasionally even the logic of the argument. Today's topics were "who is the better leader, Dion or Harper" and then "Is a minority or majority government better for Canada". You can listen yourself on this linked page. Really, besides the out-loud laughs, it gives one hope to think that there are such mentally sharp folks among us still. Sadly (or happily, depending how you look at it) none of them are the politicians who offer to lead us...

I might also apologise for two political posts in a row. But... with financial markets around the world collapsing, and the insanity we've seen in the States brought about largely due to a particular politician managing to hoodwink barely enough people to get himself into power causing so much pain in the world and eroding human rights in general... maybe we really should spend a little more time on the issues, political and social... maybe.

Well, i'm off mountain biking now! Rob is about to pick me up and take me to am apparently highly regarded MTB trail he knows in the Don Valley.

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