Posts tagged ‘George Orwell’

Canadian Authoritarianism: Prosecuting People With the Wrong Opinions

This comes to us from that bastion of freedom called Canada, where half of Americans wanted to run when Trump got elected.

It’s like something out of George Orwell’s 1984**.

Canada’s Competition Bureau, an arm’s length agency funded by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to the tune of almost $50 million annually, investigated three organizations accused of denying mainstream climate science for over a year, following a complaint from an environmental group.

The bureau discontinued its 14-month probe in June, citing “available evidence, the assessment of the facts in this case, and to ensure the effective allocation of limited resources”, according to Josephine A.L. Palumbo, Deputy Commissioner of Competition, Deceptive Marketing Practices Directorate.

But it will re-open its investigation should it receive relevant new information from the public.

The complaint was filed by Ecojustice on behalf of six “prominent” Canadians, including former Ontario NDP leader and UN ambassador Stephen Lewis.

It accused three groups, Friends of Science, the International Climate Science Coalition, and the Heartland Institute of making false and misleading claims about climate change, including that the sun is the main driver of climate change, not carbon dioxide, and that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.

When it launched its complaint in December, 2015, Ecojustice told the National Observer it would press the Commissioner of Competition to refer the matter to the Attorney-General of Canada for “criminal charges against the denier groups”.

**I presume the author is referring to the general understanding of what 1984 was about, rather than Hillary Clinton's revisionist opinion that 1984 was a cautionary tale about the danger of not having enough respect for government authority figures.

Gift Idea for Readers

T-shirts with the entire text of great books printed on them.  Here is the one for Kafka's The Metamorphosis.  My son wanted a George Orwell one but there are none available as of yet.  Most seem to be books old enough to be in the public domain, which is likely no accident, though there are a few newer books.

morph-tee-6_1024x1024

Report Dissidents to the White House

Several people have emailed me this: Apparently the White House web site is asking that you report anyone writing things on health care that don't match the Administration position so the White House can "keep track".

There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can't keep track of all of them here at the White House, we're asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.

Wow, "disinformation."  You wonder why people ever listen to those counter-revolutionaries and aren't satisfied with just reading Pravda.

Well, we at the global headquarters of CoyoteBlog Enterprises are certainly happy to help.  I sent them this email today:

Thanks for the opportunity to report disinformation where people write things that don't match what the President is saying on health care.  Please check out this document I found on the web -- a number of parts bear very little relationship, and in fact outright contradict, what the President is promising about health care reform.

The link is to a copy of the House health care reform bill.  If you are so inclined, you might wish to offer similar help.

Postscript: My son, who is a big fan of dystopic novels like George Orwell's "1984" might ask if he would get extra credit for turning in a family member.

Update #1: The White House site in question is really ridiculous.  It responds to critiques of what is actually in the bill with statements like "the President has consistently said that if you like your insurance plan, your doctor, or both, you will be able to keep them."  Well duh, of course he has.  But this President, even more than the average President, will say just about anything.

At this point, since the President is purposely uninvolved in the crafting of the legislation and has admitted at times that he doesn't even know the details of what is in it, talking about his promises or preferences is irrelevant.   In fact, nobody is talking about the President's promises and intentions any more, with actual legislation on the table.   They are talking about what is actually in the written bills in the House and Senate.

So the question is, what is in the actual legislation, and does it match Obama's promises, and the current answer is clearly "no."  And will the President veto a health care bill that doesn't follow through on his promises?  Don't make me laugh.  He is going to sign any bill with "health care" in the title no matter what it says -- his advisers have already made that clear by saying that the entire Presidency is riding on having some kind of bill pass that does something with health care.

By the way, in this we can see the White House strategy for passing such controversial bills.  Their hope is to jump directly from the President's "everyone is a winner and there is no cost" rhetoric directly to signed legislation.  They want people focused on his promises, which are enticing, and not the reality of the actual language of the bills, which is ugly and in many ways bear no relationship to the President's rhetoric.  This worked for the stimulus and almost worked for Waxman-Markey and was tried again for health care.

Ve Have Vays of Making You Conform

I am not sure this even needs an introduction.  Comparisons to "1984" are invoked in political discourse almost as much as those to Nazi Germany, and most are overblown, but the George Orwell novel is all I can think of when I see this:

It may be almost 2007, but it feels more like "1984" at Michigan
State University. The university's Student Accountability in Community
Seminar (SAC) forces students whose speech or behavior is deemed
unacceptable to undergo ideological reeducation at their own expense.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is challenging
Michigan State to dismantle this unconstitutional program, which
presents a profound threat to both freedom of speech and freedom of
conscience.

 
"Michigan State's SAC program is simply one of the most invasive
attempts at reeducation that FIRE has ever seen, yet it has been
allowed to exist at the university for years," FIRE President Greg
Lukianoff said. "As bad as it is to tell citizens in a free society
what they can't say, it is even worse to tell them what they must
say. Michigan State's program is an immoral and unconstitutional
program of compelled speech, blatant thought reform, and
pseudo-psychology."
 
According to the program's materials,
SAC is an "early intervention" for students who use such
"power-and-control tactics" as "male/white privilege" and
"obfuscation," which the university cryptically defines as "any action
of obscuring, concealing, or changing people's perceptions that result
in your advantage and/or another's disadvantage." Students can be
required to attend SAC if they demonstrate what a judicial
administrator arbitrarily deems aggressive behavior, past examples of
which have included slamming a door during an argument or playing a
practical joke. Students can also be required to attend SAC for
engaging in various types of constitutionally protected speech,
including "insulting instructors" or "making sexist, homophobic, or
racist remarks at a meeting." When participation in SAC is required,
"non-compliance typically results in a hold being placed on the
student's account," an action that leaves the student unable to
register for classes and thus effectively expelled from the university.
Students are required to pay the cost of the SAC sessions.
 
Once in the program, students are instructed to answer a series of
written questionnaires. In their answers, students must specifically
describe how they are taking "full responsibility" for their offensive
behavior and must do so using language that the director of the session
deems acceptable. Most students will be asked to fill out this
questionnaire multiple times, slowly inching closer to what
administrators deem to be "correct" responses.

PC indoctrination at our nation's universities is alive and well.  It just astounds me that a group of adults thought this was acceptable.