The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have since 2005, adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL:

Thursday, January 05, 2006


We can only hope you join us as we cry: Stop the Insanity!

Oh, we're not talking about the random shootings in major cities, not yet, anyhow; we'll get to that at a later time.We're talking about....well....insanity.

In the past couple of days we've watched prominent Liberals and far-left columnists like Frances Russell turn into raving loons from the mania that's overcome them now that some polls have the Conservatives leading.

On Tuesday, Paul Martin came to town to start Stage Two of his election campaign. After a speech to the Canadian Club, he ran like a jack rabbit from the reporters waiting to ask him questions. In his place stood his Manitoba lieutenant, Reg Alcock.

But what a stand-in.

Alcock's eyes were shiny and bulging from their sockets. He had such a wide phony smile screwed on his face he looked like The Joker. He spit answers at the press like a junkie freshly fixed on meth. If there had been a sofa in the room, we swear he would have jumped on it and announced his undying love for Paul Martin and his wish to have children with the man. The reporters kept flashing looks at the sidelines for someone with a tranquilizer gun to stop Alcock if he got any further out of control.

Why didn't Paul Martin stick around to answer some questions? He did answer, bellowed Alcock. He spoke for two hours. He answered every question before he left. Weren't you listening?

Uh huh. Okay, Reg. Whatever you say.

What we do know is that Martin wanted the stage to declare his values were different and superior to the values held by Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party. Some people might say this was being divisive. Not Frances Russell.

No, according to Frances, only the Conservatives are divisive. They "set groups in society against each other." Like George Bush (booo) and Margaret Thatcher (booo). And Mike Harris, don't forget Mike Harris (booo.)

It's a wonder the Conservatives are only neck-and-neck with the Liberals, she wrote in her column. After "22 months of the most relentlessly negative campaign in Canadian history, staged by Harper's Conservatives."

That 'relentless campaign' just happens to coincide with the Auditor General's report that exposed Adscam and the subsequent Gomery Commission hearings that heard the evidence

* kickbacks,
* payoffs,
* cover-ups,
* phony contracts,
* threats,
* waste of hundreds of millions of dollars,
* at least a million dollars funnelled to the Liberal Party
--- shall we go on?

Frances Russell hopes not. To her, the "scandals" as she calls them were a piffle.

The real outrage was the "daily battering of words" like corrupt, corruption, and criminal conspiracy. It was these words---and not the corruption and criminal conspiracy themselves---which have "corroded the civility of our political culture" and driven voters away in droves.

Uh, huh, sure, Frances, sure. That's it. Those damn words. They did it.

And if the words weren't enough, there was the Tory plan to station military in big cities where they would be handy if needed to deal with natural disasters. Voters might be fooled, but not Frances Russell. She knows the real reason for a military presence in cities is to create a U.S. style (booo) "security state" (booo) whose real purpose is "social control" (booo).

Sort of like those ugly years when the Princess Patricias were stationed in Winnipeg. Who can forget. The horror. The horror.

And the insanity didn't end there. Russell decided to conclude her I-hate-the-Conservatives rant with a reference to a "real" Canadian, an entrepreneur from Vancouver who has "recently returned to Canada from the U.S." with insights into the "real plan" of the Conservatives, as the headline on her column put it. Jayson Kaplan was the name of the entrepreneur who wrote a letter (posted on the Politics Canada website) urging his "fellow Canadians" to see the close similarities between Stephen Harper ( boooooo) and George Bush (booo).

Here, words failed her. Russell, obviously, is not a big fan of words. Sure, she had a few pithy paraphrases of what Kaplan wrote. But the real meat of his letter didn't fit into her column.

The Black Rod would like to help her out and get them to the public.

First, though, we note that Kaplan hasn't "recently" returned from the U.S. His letter has been on the internet for the past year and a half. He obviously wrote it to influence the last election. It's just being recycled, like Liberal Party promises.Kaplan says he's writing "to save Canada" from the evils of a leader like George Bush (booo).

"It is clear that if elected, Harper will make Canada more like the USA in most ways. Voting for Steven Harper is like voting for George Bush. The two are just too similar in their campaigns and in their beliefs."

And how's that? Here's what's missing from Russell's column (emphasis ours):

It is not mere coincidence that both Bush & Harper come from Oil-related regions and interests (and of course they are both against the Kyoto accord). Harper & Bush are very tricky about their campaigns, rather then openly admitting they don't care about the environment and want us to consume more oil, they spin the circumstances and make claims that the Kyoto accord isn't fair, or that there is no proof it will work, and of course they say "we need tough environmental laws to lower smog", but Kyoto already addresses all of this. The bottom line is that the large corporations that back Harper & Bush want us all to keep consuming more oil.Got it? It's all about oil.

Of coooourse.

It's a conspiracy.

Anything you say, Jay.

Now put down that axe.

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