Saturday, 26 March 2011

Erzra Levant tries to save CKLN? WTF?

Most of the predictable hand-wringing, teeth-gnashing, and nut job conspiracy theory rants that followed the loss of CKLN's license were from the usual suspects. The far wack-job left and the NDP activists who enable them. With the usual accusations of racism, "corporate agendas", fascism, white supremacy, sexism, homophobia, censorship and the various other foul deeds our ruling masters have in store for "the voiceless". Ho Hum.

And then there's Ezra Levant. For those who don't know he is the resident Glen Beck wannabe over at Canada's very own Fox News wannabe, the Sun News Network. There he is every damn day with that supercilious smirk and his snide "aren't I outrageous and clever" blanket attacks on Liberals, Unions, Muslims, the media "chattering class" (which he totally isn't a part of really), "elitists" (ditto), "social engineering" (double ditto), Greens, artists, teachers, feminists, the Europeans and basically anybody who doesn't think that Ayn Rand was a brilliant philosopher rather than a spoiled narcissistic hag with verbal diarrhea and an ego only slightly more ludicrously inflated than Ezra Levant's.

Actually you not recall that he once had delusions of getting Harper's job back when Harper was just getting settled in as Tory leader. Levant announced his intention of running as a candidate for the very riding that Harper himself wanted. So Harper told him to get lost, then Levant, with a laughably deluded sense of his own power actually refused, publicly daring the new leader of his own party to take him on. Later after having a temporary moment of clarity Levant grudgingly stepped aside "for the good of the party". Needless to say Harper was rather unamused and Levant's political career was even shorter than Harper's temper.

So our hero went back to being a carnival barker looking for a soapbox, oh and a lobbyist for the oil and tobacco industries, until he got a home at Fox North which went on the air on this April. He used his first show to attack the CRTC which had offended Fox North (and South for that matter) by not giving them the preferential treatment to which they are entitled, although he didn't mention that part of course. Preferring to instead rally support from the left for attack on the CRTC by coming to the defense of the recently shut down CKLN.

His full rant is below;

CRTC's a dinosaur
The last thing Canadians need is this group regulating the web
By Ezra Levant ,QMI Agency
First posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 10:15:01 EDT AM

A group of Canadian TV companies has banded together to ask the CRTC to regulate the Internet, and crack down on a U.S. based website called Netflix.
They're worried that, if left to themselves, Canadians will start getting their favourite movies and TV shows from Netflix over their computer, or even their cellphone, instead of from cable TV. And they want the government to stop that threat.
So it would be like the candle-making tycoons of the 19th century writing a letter to John A. Macdonald asking him to shut down that troublesome Thomas Edison fellow, and his dangerous electric light.
There's something pitiful here, almost sad. Instead of trying to compete with Netflix, Canadian big businesses are trying to rig the rules, forcing Netflix to submit to all of the red tape, taxes and government meddling they have to obey.
Regulating the Internet is an audacious proposal. The CRTC would have to build something like the Chinese dictatorship has done — the Great Firewall of China — to censor content the CRTC doesn't approve of.
Could you imagine if they were successful? How many bureaucrats would be needed to monitor the Internet, full time? They'd even need to get into your Facebook page, and your e-mails, to make sure you weren’t getting your videoclips from an illegal source.
Who is this CRTC? It stands for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. So it's about as fresh and current as the vacuum tube. They're a government agency created decades ago, back when people didn't know any better about letting the government control TV and radio.
Today, the CRTC's chief reason to exist is to perpetuate itself — to keep expanding its bureaucratic empire. It's called mission creep. If it was a private company, it would have gone out of business around the time Betamax did. When was the last time a government bureaucracy stopped, just because it became useless?

Pulled the plug

The CRTC is worse than useless, though. It’s dangerous to freedom. Take this shocking example from just last week.
The CRTC ordered a little community radio station in Toronto, called CKLN, off the airways last Friday. They just issued the command — and CKLN went silent, after 28 years of serving the community.
Why? According to the CRTC, there was “infighting” in the business. So what? What organization doesn’t have infighting? The CRTC does.
The CRTC says CKLN radio didn’t have enough musical diversity. That’s absurd — it was the first hip-hop radio station in Canada, that launched rap careers like Maestro Fresh Wes, a pioneering Canadian musician. So a radio station that featured black music and gay dance music was shut down for being too straight and narrow by a bunch of old white guys in Ottawa.
Maybe they’ll tell country music stations to have more opera for diversity, too.
But the real beef the CRTC had with CKLN radio was the little station didn’t fill out all of its paperwork properly. CKLN radio is a community station, run by volunteers on a shoestring budget. It’s affiliated with Ryerson University — many of the people running it are just students. But because they couldn’t keep up with the avalanche of paperwork and forms sent over by the CRTC, they’re put out of business.
This is the bright future the CRTC would bring to regulating the Internet.


As might be expected Fat Bastard Lehrer and the CKLN "community" wasted no time in embracing one of their right wing bogeymen and pasted links to this rant everywhere that would allow then, including a place of honour on the CKLN Wikipedia entry; Fat Bastard boasts that he has enough Wikipedia clout to shut down anything or anyone he doesn't like and a glance at the history of the Wikipedia article does seem to show that "someone" quickly deletes any attempt to make the article more balanced.

Setting aside the complete cynicism of Levant using these far left wackjobs to further his own (and his employer's) agenda of destroying the CRTC, you can certainly why Fat Bastard would feel right at home with Levant at Fox North. They both have the same total disregard for allowing a little thing like "facts" to get in the way of ideological propaganda.

Firstly CKLN was not shut down for being "too black or gay", nor for "not having enough diversity", nor for "not filling a little paperwork", nor is CKLN run "mostly by students". That hasn't been true since Adam Vaughn, David Barnard and Denise Benson took over in the early 1980's and edged out most of the students in favour of political activists and professional DJ's. CKLN was shut down for massive and ongoing incompetence and complete disregard for basic rules of compliance as the CRTC's ruling (which he did not quote from) shows.

Also he uses the usual lame "thin edge of the wedge argument" to suggest that the CRTC is looking to hack into your "facebook page and read your emails" which besides being bullshit neglects to mention that the govt. and courts can easily get a warrant to do that anyway and law and order right wingers never have any problems with that. Also I notice he has no problems with the fact that Harper is already monitoring our facebook pages anyway looking for people to ban from his rallies.

On a historical note I see he uses this Thomas Edison analogy about candle makers using the CRTC to ban light bulbs. Well Thomas Edison himself actually used lawyers and patent law to shut down competitors who had better versions of many of his "inventions".

Actually many of Edison's most famous inventions weren't even his. He bought most of his patents from others including the light bulb itself, the patent for which he bought from two Canadian inventors in 1879 when they were unable to raise enough capital to compete. That's right two Canadians, Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans actually invented the light bulb which Edison got all the credit and wealth for. I expect Americans to be this ignorant but seeing as how one of the slogans of Fox North AKA Sun News is "Unapologetically Patriotic" you would think they might want to show a little hometown pride. But then that would interfere with the point that Levant is trying to make here which is that Robber Barons like Edison must be free from government intrusion so they can create the products that make our lowly lives easier. Right?

Well maybe that whole light bulb affair was an anomaly. Edison invented other stuff right? Like the movies for example. Well no he didn't, but he did buy a lot of patents and became the major film maker in North America at the turn of the 20th century and he used his control of those patents to shut down competition thus retarding the development of the motion picture and record industries for decades while he protected his monopolies. He eventually lost in court, but it cost his competitors a fortune to do it. In the meantime the Europeans (who ignored his patents) were able to develop there own film industries to the point where those in France, Germany, Scandinavia and Italy were actually making more, and much better movies than those in cartel controlled America. It wasn't in fact until after World War 1 wiped out the Europeans and Edison was forced by the courts to give up his patent controls that the Hollywood industry finally took hold. Edison's own film studios didn't survive long, turned out that he had no talent as a film maker, and once there was competition he was finished.

Ditto for later developments in radio when David Sarnoff was able to use his superior resources and ownership of patents (none of which he invented) to keep FM off the dial for decades to protect his AM empire intact. FM was actually discovered by one of his employees, Edwin Armstrong. However Sarnoff decided that FM would make his AM empire somewhat moot, so he had the prototype destroyed and forced Armstrong out. Armstrong fought back by going independent but Sarnoff tired him up with litigation for years until a distraught Armstrong finally killed himself. His widow finally beat Sarnoff in court, but it took years, meanwhile FM was kept off the air for over a decade to the benefit of nobody but Sarnoff and his empire.

Then there's the electric car. There's a whole movie about that. And speaking of movies and cars you might want to check out "Tucker; The man and his dream". And so on. And there was no CRTC or FCC to blame for any of this. Just corporate greed. That's the "bright future" that Levant had in mind. And CKLN's "anti-capitalists" were perfectly happy to endorse this as long as their own pathetic and seedy monopoly is preserved.

Of course since this was written the Tory Government that Ezra Levant carries water for came out for a the most highly restrictive and highly intrusive proposed law to allow police to hack into your emails, with no warrant or probable cause whenever they decide that you, yes you may be a terrorist. Or a child molester. Or a drug lord. Or whatever. I'm sure we can count on Ezra Levant to defend us from this right? Hello? Is this thing on?

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