Monday, December 23, 2013

It's Callted "Research," Michael...

Research! You would think, perhaps, that iPolitics' Michael Harris would have heard of it?

Well, if you read his most recent column with a careful eye, you may be forced to conclude that, no. He hasn't heard of it.

In something of a desperate bid to confuse the Harper governments Economic Action Plan ads for the Liberal Party's own Adscam, Harris winds up making some rather scurrilous comments about the ads:

"No one is better at giving himself straight As than this PM. The new explanation went something like this: The ads were worth it because after seeing their key message — that Canada was doing better than any other developed country in tough economic times — Canadians would burst with pride at what a good government they had.

Setting aside the neck-snapping shift in the justification, there was another problem with the ads.  They weren’t true either. Canada does not have the highest growth rate in the G7 — the United States does. Outside the G7, the economies of Australia and some Scandinavian countries also grew faster than Canada’s did."

Looking back on 2012, we can quickly see that Harris' claims here are tacitly false. The United States GDP outgrew Canada's... in the third quarter. Through the entirety of 2012, the GDP of Canada and the United States each grew at 2.1%. It took an unexpected third quarter for the US to pull even with Canada in 2012, but the shine wore off through the final quarter.

It's especially worth noting that Canada out-performed the United States in per-capita GDP growth, widely considered to be a better predictor of overall economic growth.

So in other words, Harris would have to make a single quarter a microcosm for the entirety of 2012's comparative growth, ignoring all other quarters, for Harris' claims to even seem true.

It certainly also helps that Harris is using current economic numbers -- the US has once again had a strong third quarter -- when the numbers used in the ads, aired during the 2013 NHL playoffs, were most likely from the first quarter of 2013. Canada's GDP numbers blew the US away in quarter number one. Talk about shifting the goalposts in truly epic fashion.

It's enough to make you wonder about the editing that takes place in the iPolitics offices. This is far from the first time Michael Harris has thrown caution to the wind and committed a savage burn on his oblivious readership. It's actually become quite routine.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

My Open Letter to Olivia Cole

Hi, Olivia.

Allow me to begin this letter by doing something I suspect is unthinkable to you: I honestly don't give a rat's ass if you're white. That you would begin your "open letter to the three white students who filed a discrimination complaint against their black teacher" by mentioning that only doubles my contempt for you.

Does it stun you to hear that one white person can feel contempt for another? Well, you'd better get used to it.

In a sense, I almost feel sorry for you. You must really think that white people walk around all day wearing invisible knapsacks and high-fiving each other for being white. All the while, hiring all sorts of people solely because they're white. And apparently all the more ready to listen to your "white privilege" tripe because apparently we take things more seriously coming from other white people.

These assumptions about how other people think about race speaks volumes about how you think about race. Who the hell was ever taught that "white is always right?" Were you taught that? Really? Really?

Now, I know these are trying times for you. The push-back against your extreme and socially-corrosive ideology is growing. The more you and the people who share your ideas have attempted to tighten your oppressive fists around the minds of others, the more minds have slipped through your fingers. It's not going to go away any time soon.

Perhaps what stuns even more than your obvious lack of self-knowledge is the sheer extent of your condescension. You have the nerve to lecture these students about their lessons in what you believe the "true" history of the United States is without bothering to acquaint yourself with the fact that Shannon Gibney is supposed to be teaching an English course.

Or perhaps even your assertion that Gibney is trying to make them "better." "Better" than who? "Better" you?

Here's the truly stunning thing. And seeing as how you've revealed that you take what you hear more seriously when it comes from a white person (right?), I'm sure you'll take it seriously indeed.

The people who stuffed your too-empty-by-half mind with this nonsense are oppressing you. And you've internalized your own oppression. And if that makes you feel good about yourself, then so be it. But the least you can do is stop demanding that other people submit to the same oppression to which you've submitted.

If you want to internalize your own oppression, that's fine. Stop demanding the rest of us do the same.