Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ezra Levant: Condescending And Racist

When my local fishwrap prints an unbalanced op-ed piece that comes from someone shilling for the oil and gas industry I get angry I'll admit but I also have come to expect it. My real complaint is that they almost never print an opposing opinion on the same day for balance. Truth is most people don't read the newspaper every day anymore and so if the local paper prints a differing opinion sometime later in the week it may not be seen and a lying narrative is born. The narrative can be killed or have a stake drriven though it but if no one is there to read it then it lives again as a zombie lie -- the purpose of these kinds of zombie narratives is to obscure the truth and affect public policy. The last ten years are rife with examples of zombie lies regularly disseminated as common wisdom in the various media.

  Ezra Levant is someone who makes a living as part of the right-wing Wurlitzer whose purpose in these times is to obscure the case for global warming and clean energy. In the past he has supported Quebec separatism in the hopes that it would end bilingualism and multiculturalism in Canada. He also hoped that Quebec separation would be a catalyst for the government to deny First Nations groups the justice on social issues they were seeking and environmentalists the changes in public policy that they sought.

His career in advocacy for extremist right-wing positions began early: 

As a student he accused the University of Alberta of racism for instituting an program of affirmative action for hiring women and aboriginal professors. He also organized a debate between Doug Christie, a lawyer known for his advocacy in defence of Holocaust deniers and accused Nazi war criminals, and Thomas Kuttner, a Jewish lawyer from the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission.
He has been involved in numerous libel cases that include attacks against Alberta PC Senator Ron Ghitter who sued him and Canadian Alliance MP Rob Anders (famous for voting against making Nelson Mandela an honorary citizen of Canada because he said he was a communist and a terrorist) for defamation and in 2000. Both he and Levant admitted liability and issued a formal apology to settle the suit. In September this so-called advocate for free speech wrote a column for Sun Media accusing George Soros of funding avaaz.org, a group lobbying to stop Sun Media being granted a license for Sun TV News Channel, and strongly attacked Soros's character and history by alleging that as a child he collaborated with the Nazis. Soros threatened to sue Sun Media for libel and on September 18, Sun Media issued a retraction and apology to Soros stating that:

On September 5, 2010, a column by Ezra Levant contained false statements about George Soros and his conduct as a young teenager in Nazi-occupied Hungary. ...The management of Sun Media wishes to state that there is no basis for the statements in the column and they should not have been made.Sun Media, this newspaper and Ezra Levant retract the statements made in the column and unreservedly apologize to Mr. Soros for the distress and harm this column may have caused to him.
More recently a court ruled that he pay $25,000 to Giacomo Vigna, a Canadian Human Rights Commission lawyer, for libelling him with "reckless indifference" to the truth in blog posts about a major hate speech case.

As evidenced, he is a charmer and it was his op-ed the Montreal Gazette printed Tuesday about how Alberta's tar-sands are an "ethical investment." I kid you not. Destroying the environment, pumping tons of pollutants into the atmosphere is this guy's idea of an ethical investment. The mind would boggle but it's the early 21st century and corporations rule the playing field and so this is pretty much SOP for the media and for corporate shills. I winced but couldn't even be bothered to talk about it on my radio show that morning -- I had other things scheduled and I could get around to discussing this bit of whoring for the oil and gas companies later in the week.

In my search into the character of Ezra Levant was I thought I had come across enough damning evidence to suggest that he was racist, a shill and in general a man seemingly without any redeeming characteristics so far as his participation in public life went. Then I came across two videos posted over at Rabble.ca that show engaged in a debate about the tar-sands with indigenous youth worker and activist from Fort Chipewan Alberta, Gits Crazyboy. He proves himself to be far worse than I had previously thought. He is condescending, racist and simply vile. Watch and be amazed that this man could be allowed to be represent anyone or anything -- an embarrassment to the human race:



Odds and Ends

Over at Rabble.ca Murray Dobbin has written a timely piece about our sociopathic corporate overlords and makes a great argument for changing how we view and deal with this phenomena, beginning with taking away their personhood. Turns out that voters in the US, where this year's Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court has enshrined this kind of corporate citizenship allowing for their unlimited spending in political campaigns, want Congress to amend the Constitution and overturn this ruling by a double-digit margin.

 Sun Media continues its' ongoing war on the public broadcaster. The CBC is currently fighting federal information commissioner in court to stop Suzanne Legault’s office from reviewing files that have been requested under the access laws but have either not been delivered or delivered with some of the requested information removed. Many of the requests come from Sun Media's QMI Agency and the court has ruled in favour Legault's request to review the files but the CBC is appealing the ruling. Like a lot of other issues in Canadian politics this is about process and a bit dry but nonetheless important. NDP heritage critic Charlie Angus told QMI he thinks the CBC is right to fight claiming the CBC is under-funded and being undermined by the current government.


The Tories were apparently not telling the truth about the costs of the long-gun registry that they tried to kill. Who could have guessed?

South of the 49th Sherry Boehlert, a member of a vanishing breed of moderate, pro-science Republicans writes about global warming and the science that the GOP can't wish away.

The hatemonger who runs Fox news, Roger Ailes, blames unscrupulous rabbis for his calling the execs over at NPR, nazis. What a classy organization. And now that the Pope has declared health care to be a universal right, will Ailes and the rightwing media characterize him as being like Hitler in the same fashion that they accused Democrats who were in favour of health care reform?

The current battle over the ratification of the NEW START treaty has the Economist declaring that, ...this is a bad moment in the United States for thoughtfulness on foreign affairs—at least in the popular press and in the halls of Congress. The right-wing media have attacked President Obama's New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, claiming it "may harm national security." In reality, the treaty enjoys widespread support among military leaders, who have called its passage a "no-brainer," and have argued that the treaty makes the US safer. Ah, those pesky facts!