The Blogging Nazis

I wonder how the Conservative Party feels knowing that the co-founder of its unofficial online blogging community “The Blogging Tories” is promoting a concept torn right out of the Nazi playbook.

Here’s Craig Smith advocating a “positive” kind of state-sponsored eugenics:

It has been give a bad name because traditional attempts at implementation have focused on harming those deemed to be not worthy – forced sterilization or worse.

But what if we were to approach it from a positive perspective. Instead of infringing on the rights of the average and below average, why not implement measures that encourage procreation amongst those who score well in eugenics tests. It would be a point system something like this…

1. Genetics (100 points). Lose 20 points for each instance of the following: diabetes, heart disease (below the age of 60), cancer (below the age of 60) and 10 points for lesser genetic diseases. You also lose 20 points for any relative dying of natural causes before the age of 60 and you gain 20 points for every relative surpassing 90 years of age.

2. Athletic ability (50 points) – coordination tests, fighting tests, speed test, endurance tests, swimming, jumping, strength.

3. Intelligence (100 points) – comprehensive IQ test

4. Beauty (30 points) – subjective measure based on rankings of 100 random individuals.

Participation is purely voluntary. People who score 90%+ will receive $50,000 per child per year until 18 years of age. people who score 80%+ will receive $10,000 per child per year until 18 years of age.

I’ve always thought there was a lot of Ur Fascism running through the “thinking” of many of “The Blogging Tories” but it’s still kind of shocking to see this Lebensborn kind of nonsense being advanced so shamelessly.

McCain’s POW Card Maxed Out

In his speech yesterday in Springfield, Illinois, introducing him as Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden had a pretty funny line:

For completely unfathomable reasons, on this morning’s Meet the Press, Tom Brokaw felt compelled to act like a kind of witless concern troll by sharing some correspondence he received about Biden’s quip:

Brokaw: Chuck Todd, a career military person-who is not crazy about John McCain, immediately emailed me about that crack about seven kitchen tables, saying, “Wait a minute, that’s pretty gratuitous. Here’s a guy who spent five years in prison, not knowing where his next meal was going to come from.”

Todd: You know, it’s interesting that Democrats are getting a little more upset by that line of defense now. Coming… there’s a column this morning by Maureen Dowd in the New York Times sort of laying out this case that you know, is the McCain campaign using the…using that defense too often to try to pushback everything, but it does work, I think, with voters.

Maybe it does, but good grief, if even a stone-cold nutcase like MoDo thinks the POW “get out of gaffe free” card is “too much of a bad thing” then surely this particular line of defence has finally jumped the shark, at least among the press, if not the voters, as Todd flippantly asserts.

Harper’s “Mandate”

Considering that Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party have been running a de facto, if relatively low-key, election campaign all summer long (and, arguably, for a considerably longer period of time before that) by making extravagant promises to voters with their own money, deluging targeted ridings with taxpayer-funded propaganda rubbishing the Liberals, and vigorously stumping in the far corners and remote boroughs of the country (often at taxpayer expense), the PM’s latest efforts to weasel out of his fixed election date promise are more than somewhat laughable.

Having challenged Stéphane Dion to “fish or cut bait” at the end of July, Harper now says he may have no choice but to call an election if he can’t bully the opposition parties (who represent two-thirds of the voters, it should be remembered) into allowing him to move forward with his “mandate” unobstructed by their pesky objections, insufferable stalling and other such bothersome annoyances that some wooly-headed dreamers like to think are just part of how things are actually supposed to work in parliamentary democracy.

All of which makes the notion of so-called “Senate reform” being one of the reasons for calling an election kind of ironic, given that such changes are usually premised on the idea of introducing more “democracy” into the upper house. Well whatever. Everyone knows that any serious reform of the Senate would require opening up the constitution and it’s doubtful that Harper will get an enthusiastic mandate from the electorate to do that given past experiences in this area (although I could be wrong).

Which brings me in a roundabout way to my point: what exactly is the “mandate” that Harper wants the opposition parties to fall into line with in order to avoid a fall election? He was elected in 2006 on a narrowly focused platform built around five key priorities, which in case you’ve forgotten, were: cleaning up government by passing the Federal Accountability Act; cutting the GST; cracking down on crime; increasing financial assistance for parents; and, working with the provinces to establish a wait-times guarantee for patients.

Harper’s supporters claim that all of these promises have been made good on by the government, although critics would obviously choose to differ, but for the sake of our argument here, let’s imagine these are “accomplishments” as some incessantly boast. As such, wouldn’t it then make perfect sense to go to the electorate for a new mandate from the voters? It certainly seems to me that would be the correct thing to do, even if it does require him to break his silly fixed election promise, which was just an absurd fiction in the first place.

Japan Introducing Carbon Labelling

Can Canada be far behind?

Back in May, when the Harper government announced its new Canadian Food Labelling Initiative to clarify the definition of the expressions “Product of Canada” and “Made in Canada” on food labels and advertising in order to, as it claimed, “help Canadians make better purchasing decisions,” it may have missed an opportunity to further inform people — this time about the environment.

As reported recently in Australian paper The Age, the conservative LDP government of Japan is developing an extensive scheme (I love how the Aussies and Brits refer to these things as “schemes”) that would encourage companies — it’s voluntary, at least for now, and modeled on a British pilot project — to include “carbon footprint” labeling on food packaging and other products such as detergents and electrical appliances, with the aim of persuading companies and consumers to do more about their own greenhouse gas emissions.

Calculations of the detailed breakdown of each product’s “carbon footprint” will be made according to formulae being devised by the Japanese Trade Ministry. To promote the new initiative, the ministry released details of the “carbon footprint” of a bag of chips. One bag produces 75 grams of carbon dioxide: 44% from growing potatoes, 30% in production, 15% from the packaging, 9% during delivery and 2% from disposal.

According to the trade ministry’s Takuma Inamura, the new scheme is part of Japan’s stated commitment to reduce total carbon emissions by up to 80% by 2050. Whether consumers can be persuaded to consider a product’s “carbon footprint” as well as its price tag is unknown although it seems doubtful. In a recent survey almost 80% of Japanese shoppers said they would be willing to spend no more than an extra 2,000 yen ($20 CAD) a month on energy-saving vehicles and other eco-friendly products.

“Most people don’t know what the term carbon footprint really means,” Inamura said. “But we hope this will be a launch pad for other companies to take part and increase public awareness.” Of course, the Conservative government’s track record on public awareness schemes hasn’t been great — one of their very first actions after coming to power was to can the “One Tonne Challenge” set up by the previous Liberal government to urge Canadians to cut greenhouse gas emissions by changing their personal habits, from using less energy to conserving water.

CFAC Deep in “Goofball Territory”

Good on Colby Cosh for mercilessly flaying the wingnutty Canada Family Action Coalition (“Dr.” McVety’s political action committee), in the pages of the National Post this morning for its “ludicrous attack” on Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin.

CFAC’s letter of complaint is a bizarre document even if one overlooks the sheer improbability of having a Chief Justice cashiered over some supposed act of jiggery-pokery involving the Order of Canada. CFAC’s Web site, whereupon the hyperlink to the letter is currently broken, has marshalled “42 organizations” in support of their missive; eccentrically, the “organizations” include several small businesses (Can Am Fabricating and Welding stands strong in favour of life!) and at least one private citizen.

Its arguments, rest assured, are no less weird. The Constitution of the Order states that a member may be terminated if his conduct marks “a significant departure from generally-recognized standards of public behaviour which is seen to undermine the credibility, integrity or relevance of the Order.” According to CFAC, Morgentaler’s years of challenging abortion law are obviously in violation of “the norms of society”: Ergo, the Chief Justice of Canada must be fired. It’s simple logic, people!

Go read the whole thing. It’s really quite delightful.