Tom Flanagan trending on Twitter after comments about child pornography

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derrick derrick's picture
Tom Flanagan trending on Twitter after comments about child pornography

Twitter was buzzing last night after comments by former Harper top advisor and campaign manager Tom Flanagan about child pornography. In response to a question, Flanagan said Wednesday: 

On the child pornography issue, since that was brought up... I don't look at these pictures. The closest I ever came to it ... it's a long story but I got put on the mailing list of the National Man Boy Love Association and I started getting their mailings for a couple of years, so that's about the closest I ever came to child pornography, so it is a real issue of personal liberty, to what extent we put people in jail for doing something in which they do not harm another person... 

A video of the comments, made during the Q&A of a talk at the University of Lethbridge Wednesday night, is available here

It so happens that Tom Flanagan was Stephen Harper's 2004 election campaign manager, when the campaign put out the notorious press release entitled, "Paul Martin Supports Child Pornography?" The release was retracted (although Harper refused to apologize.) 

The progressive blogger 'Dr. Dawg' wrote briefly about Flanagan's position on child pornography several years ago: 

An aside from Indian-fighter Tom Flanagan: 

But that’s actually another interesting debate or seminar:what’s wrong with child pornography — in the sense that it’s just pictures? But I’m not here to debate that today.

And here, revealed in all its splendour, is the concept that lies at the rotting heart of social relations under capitalism--commodity fetishism. The rupture between consumption and production has become so wide that a picture is no longer a picture of someone, but just a fantasy aid. An object for sale. 

Let's have that debate, Tom. I guarantee it'll be the last we hear of you. 

Flanagan is a regular commentator on CBC TV's Power and Politics. 

Issues Pages: 
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Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Yeah, he provides the comic relief on P&P. Lately he's been obssessed with making sarcastic remarks about the constant criticism of Harper on that show.

Slumberjack

He's wrong too about babble regulars and their relationship with you, as I've yet to experience any particular sense of adoration.

Unionist

Slumberjack wrote:

He's wrong too about babble regulars and their relationship with you, as I've yet to experience any particular sense of adoration.

Feel the love!

 

Slumberjack

Laughing

Unionist

[thread drift]

Hi derrick! Always good to read your posts. And it's hardly surprising that Tom Flanagan is everything he confesses to being, and worse - like his protégé Stephen Harper.

But whenever someone comes here referring to the "progressive" blogger Dr. Dawg, I think it's important (especially for newbies) to point out that he is a vitriolic red-baiting enemy of babble, a defender of [url=http://enmasse.ca/forums/viewtopic.php?p=88668&sid=66012e94058859c1ab33a... abortion[/url] (in particular, attacking the women at babble and EnMasse for daring to call out Elizabeth May for her stand on "frivolous" abortion...), defending "poor" Cheri Di Novo after her support for a conservative motion attacking Israel Apartheid Week (links available on request), joining in the Zionist chorus attacking AdBusters as anti-semitic, and the rest.

I don't call people "progressive" because of some abstract positions that flow from their keyboard. When they attack fellow leftists and ally with our enemies, they cross the line.

We don't need Dr. Dawg's brilliancy to see through Tom Flanagan. Or, I'll venture to say, for anything else.

[end of drift until next time someone mentions Dawg, in which case the Stalinist (his word) onslaught shall be reignited.]

ETA: AdBusters published an arguably anti-semitic article in 2004, reprinted here (for reference only), but Dawg's attack didn't aim at that - rather, he blasted the comparison of Israel's treatment of Gaza with the Warsaw Ghetto.

 

6079_Smith_W

Slumberjack wrote:

He's wrong too about babble regulars and their relationship with you, as I've yet to experience any particular sense of adoration.

Okay.... that made me drop the copy of "The Handmaid's Tale" I was reading and laugh out loud.

 

Unionist

Boom Boom wrote:

Yeah, he provides the comic relief on P&P. Lately he's been obssessed with making sarcastic remarks about the constant criticism of Harper on that show.

Not any more:

[url=http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/02/28/ex-harper-advisor-tom-flanagan-f... advisor Tom Flanagan fired from CBC after saying viewing child pornography does no harm[/url]

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I love that his bison coat shot is now his stock file photo.

Also, I can't link to the tweet right now, but Andrew Coyne is having a hard time with the fact that this is the full expression of any libertarian argument: decoupled social relations, isolation from implication or responsibility, and obscenity.

6079_Smith_W

Unionist wrote:

[url=http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/02/28/ex-harper-advisor-tom-flanagan-f... advisor Tom Flanagan fired from CBC after saying viewing child pornography does no harm[/url]

The most interesting thing is that none of the people quoted asked the first thing that came into my mind: what the fuck was he thinking? 

I don't agree with Flanagan - given that I think it's pretty clear his comment was was rhetorical, and not just a question. But to read some  of the response you'd think someone caught him in a closet in a compromising position.

I think he is responsible for the words that came out of his mouth, but the fact that everyone seems to think the proper response is a relentless pile-on says more than anything .

Unionist

Catchfire wrote:
I.Also, I can't link to the tweet right now, but Andrew Coyne is having a hard time with the fact that this is the full expression of any libertarian argument: decoupled social relations, isolation from implication or responsibility, and obscenity.

You don't mean this minor explosion, when Norm Spector throws back some of Coyne's logic about the Whatcott case?

https://twitter.com/acoyne/status/307180462701420544

 

6079_Smith_W

Oh that is funny. Spector's response downthread is especially droll. Thanks U. 

Here's Coyne's article. Makes me wonder if he actually read some of the material Whatcott was distributing.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/02/27/andrew-coyne-supreme-cour...

 

 

Debater

Luckily for Stephen Harper the defection of an NDP MP to the BQ is taking some of the attention away from his former adviser appearing to say viewing child pornography is okay.

Flanagan has now issued an apology with a statement, but it's probably too late to save his position on Evan Solomon's show.

Unionist

Debater wrote:

Luckily for Stephen Harper the defection of an NDP MP to the BQ is taking some of the attention away from his former adviser appearing to say viewing child pornography is okay.

No, no, no. Luckily for Mulcair, today is the Pope's last day in office, which is detracting attention from Tom Flanagan's secret trip to Russia during the meteor attack.

Everything is interconnected.

http://youtu.be/NzlG28B-R8Y

 

 

Sandy Dillon

Debater wrote:

Luckily for Stephen Harper the defection of an NDP MP to the BQ is taking some of the attention away from his former adviser appearing to say viewing child pornography is okay.

Flanagan has now issued an apology with a statement, but it's probably too late to save his position on Evan Solomon's show.

According to the C.B.C. News web site he's already been canned from Evan Solomon's show!!

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

If the CBC had any principles it would have fired him when he called for the murder of Assange but better late than never.

6079_Smith_W

kropotkin1951 wrote:

If the CBC had any principles it would have fired him when he called for the murder of Assange but better late than never.

Yes, agreed. It is funny what gets a rise out of people. 

Debater

CBC has become pro-Conservative in the past few years.  It always amuses me when people on Rabble accuse it of being pro-Liberal.

Have you noticed the weekly trashing of the LPC that Peter Mansbridge and Rex Murphy engage in?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I believe they are the state media so in their minds they just giving the government its due.  If the Liberals get back in you can be assured they will realign the coverage to where it was twenty years ago when they used to take cheap shots at both the Conservatives and Reformers.

It remains to be seen what they will do with the NDP but if our BC CBC coverage is any indication they will not be supportive even if they form government.

Slumberjack

The CBC is always mindful of the hand that feeds it, with the exception of the public, to whom it shows little more than contempt judging by its reporting standards.

theleftyinvestor

Some discussion of pedophilia and child porn happened at this thread as well: http://rabble.ca/babble/science-technology/understanding-pedophiles-amon...

In that thread I mentioned a few scenarios where mandatory minimum sentencing for child porn may be problematic. There are some legitimate nuanced criticisms of the exact laws Harper enacted on child porn, including 1) the potential for young people with cellphone cameras to unwittingly turn their friends into felons, as has already happened in the USA and Australia; and 2) concerns over whether this hard criminal approach is actually the one that best prevents abuse of children.

However Flanagan did not appear to be coming from either of those angles but rather from a "freedom" angle (?)... and besides which, Flanagan is not well known for nuance.

knownothing knownothing's picture

Unionist wrote:

[thread drift]

 

 a defender of [url=http://enmasse.ca/forums/viewtopic.php?p=88668&sid=66012e94058859c1ab33a... abortion[/url]

 

You think there is something wrong with even debating issues?

Slumberjack

Round here at least, rights are not up for debate.  For instance, we don't debate whether or not someone can sit at the same lunch counter as everyone else, and we don't debate whether people should have control over their own bodies.

6079_Smith_W

@ SJ

Yes, but this is a cloistered space. The same rules do not apply - nor should they - in the greater community, whether we consider the matter settled or not.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Yes but in the greater community people who want to reopen those kinds of debates merely show their political ideology. 

SJ I was going to ask whether we should repeal the right of citizens of Asian descent and FN's people to vote as was done in BC in the 1870's. 

Slumberjack

The cloistered space of Rabble is presumably what is being referred to in this thread.  Why, where do you think we are?

6079_Smith_W

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Yes but in the greater community people who want to reopen those kinds of debates merely show their political ideology. 

True enough, and I agree. I was just talking about SJ's point.

Slumberjack

kropotkin1951 wrote:
SJ I was going to ask whether we should repeal the right of citizens of Asian descent and FN's people to vote as was done in BC in the 1870's. 

For that type of discussion we'd have to head on over to the Sun-newz message boards, or perhaps Tom Flanagan's blog if he has one.

knownothing knownothing's picture

Fair enough

Debater

It has certainly been enjoyable watching the downfall of one of Stephen Harper's sociopathic former advisers.  Harper's associates and appointees have certainly been involved in a lot of scandals lately and it has taken a toll on Harper in the polls.  Duffy, Wallin, Porter, Brazeau, Flanagan etc. etc.  One ticking time bomb after another.

The only good thing to happen to Harper this week was Mulcair losing one of his MP's to the BQ.  It's no wonder Harper took the opportunity to bring the defection up at the press conference yesterday in order to change the channel from what has been a plauge-filled month for the Conservatives.

knownothing knownothing's picture

Debater wrote:

 

The only good thing to happen to Harper this week was Mulcair losing one of his MP's to the BQ.  It's no wonder Harper took the opportunity to bring the defection up at the press conference yesterday in order to change the channel from what has been a plauge-filled month for the Conservatives.

Apparently, he wasn't even asked about the defection he just brought it up out of the blue.

milo204

What's funny is that conservatives are in a sense getting a taste of their own shit.   The kind of backlash flanagan is getting is exactly what cons try and dish out whenever someone questions the free market or israel...it also reminds me of the witch hunt for "commies" during the cold war...

Junkyard Dog

So, to repeat a question that's already been asked: What on earth could Flanagan have possibly been thinking when he conjured up this self-inflicted shitstorm? Any thoughts?

theleftyinvestor

It could be that a few years ago when the bill was being passed, he had at least a somewhat coherent argument regarding the possibility of the mandatory minimum sentences casting too wide a net and resulting in disproportionate sentences. And when asked about it unexpectedly, he flubbed it completely and spoke faster than he could think.

But that's some pretty generous speculation on my part. The fact that he used the word "freedom" at some point suggests he was coming more from a hardline libertarian angle. And libertarian arguments tend to fall apart when children and other vulnerable groups we care about are recognized as part of the universe.

Debater

What surprises me is that Flanagan went on to say that he had 'accidentally' ended up on NAMBLA's mailing list.

Not very smart . . .

Debater

knownothing wrote:

Debater wrote:

 

The only good thing to happen to Harper this week was Mulcair losing one of his MP's to the BQ.  It's no wonder Harper took the opportunity to bring the defection up at the press conference yesterday in order to change the channel from what has been a plauge-filled month for the Conservatives.

Apparently, he wasn't even asked about the defection he just brought it up out of the blue.

Yup.  It's the one opportunity Harper had this week to change the subject away from his party's own scandals and poke the NDP.

6079_Smith_W

Debater wrote:

What surprises me is that Flanagan went on to say that he had 'accidentally' ended up on NAMBLA's mailing list.

Not very smart . . .

a bit smarter than letting the press dig it up on their own, which they most likely would.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

I'm surprised he didn't use the Pete Townsend "I was just doing research" defense.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Junkyard Dog wrote:

So, to repeat a question that's already been asked: What on earth could Flanagan have possibly been thinking when he conjured up this self-inflicted shitstorm? Any thoughts?

He was thinking that there's no harm to anyone in the filming, producing, distributing and watching/consuming of children being raped. Then he said it.

Crystal clear to me.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

In parliamentary systems, MP's defect from parties all the time. 

Paul Hellyer defected from BOTH the governing party and the Official Opposition(and defected back now and again).  He didn't destroy either of those parties(the only one he managed to destroy was the one he tried to found, but that one didn't really exist yet. so it technically doesn't count as a destruction). 

Robert Toupin defected from the PC's to the NDP to sitting as an Independent(then tried to defect from that, if you can actually defect FROM being an Independent to joining the Liberals).  Most of those parties are still here and there are still Independent MP's.

It isn't that big of a deal, Debater-and it certainly doesn't justify your obsessive spamming on the subject.

All you're doing by pushing for a Liberal comeback is helping Harper get re-elected.  Your party had its chance and, since it can't win next time and has no principles(unlike the NDP)it should do the decent thing and go away.

jas

Not that I care to defend the guy that much, but I can see his comments as being simple ignorance. 

To say: "It is a real issue of personal liberty, to what extent we put people in jail for doing something in which they do not harm another person” is not in itself controversial, but with regard to child porn, it suggests that he simply hasn't made the connection that child porn is child sexual abuse. I hate to say it, but I think there are many regular folk and porn consumers who are not pedophiles or child abusers but who also don't make this connection, possibly because they're not familiar with the material. In fact, we've seen it here on Babble with the use of the term "kiddie porn", which is not used here maliciously, but imo, betrays an ignorance of the realities of these images.

Of course, I have to wonder how one "accidentally" gets onto a NAMBLA mailing list, unless one is gay, which Flanagan may be, a pedophile, or a regular consumer of porn. I also don't know what kind of images NAMBLA was trading in (which they presumably now are not, since it's illegal), but it's possible that this brand of "man-boy love" porn doesn't look as exploitative as other kinds. I don't know. I do remember NAMBLA being a regular advertising presence in Vancouver's gay newspaper not that long ago. Late eighties? Possibly into the '90s?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

jas wrote:

 

Of course, I have to wonder how one "accidentally" gets onto a NAMBLA mailing list, unless one is gay

Wait...what?  Please tell me you didn't just post that.

jas

Read the rest of the sentence.

Do you think that NAMBLA does not market itself to gay men?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

I'm not a gay man, so I'd have no way of knowing for sure.  My assumption is that almost all gay men would tell NAMBLA where they could go.  But phrasing it as you did gets into a whole weird area. 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Maysie wrote:

Junkyard Dog wrote:

So, to repeat a question that's already been asked: What on earth could Flanagan have possibly been thinking when he conjured up this self-inflicted shitstorm? Any thoughts?

He was thinking that there's no harm to anyone in the filming, producing, distributing and watching/consuming of children being raped. Then he said it.

Crystal clear to me.

Nailed it again.

Thanks for the blunt clarity.

 

6079_Smith_W

Seems to me he made comments on federal child pornography laws a few years ago, no? I'm not surprised he would check out the site of a group which took an extreme stand on the issue. Especially given that he shares some of their views.

But assuming anything more about him would be just that.... an assumption.

Considering how he had his brain turned off that night, I'm a bit surprised that he had the foresight to get in front of that bit of obvious gossip fodder.

 

Unionist

knownothing wrote:

Unionist wrote:

[thread drift]

 

 a defender of [url=http://enmasse.ca/forums/viewtopic.php?p=88668&sid=66012e94058859c1ab33a... abortion[/url]

 

You think there is something wrong with even debating issues?

Not issues. Fundamental human rights. Anyone who wants to debate whether women have the right to abort a foetus can certainly do so. But they can't then call themselves "progressive". And they are certainly welcome to absent themselves from this place.

But here's my question: Why did you ask me that? My answer must have been obvious to you from my post which you quoted. So did you have something further to say, or you just have that one question for me?

 

jerrym

Slumberjack wrote:

The CBC is always mindful of the hand that feeds it, with the exception of the public, to whom it shows little more than contempt judging by its reporting standards.

Agreed. It's pretty sad when Harper cheerleader Don Martin on CTV sometimes has harder questions for Cons than Evan Solomon. Furthermore, it was reprehensible that CBC kept Flanagan after his Assange assassination comment. 

ryanw

Mitterand did it

when you're in power; what is one outrage amongst so many others

Sean in Ottawa

I would not give Flanagan a free pass at saying there is a separation between the creation and the consumption of pictures of kids getting raped.

This is his ideology -- the very heart of it!

This is a guy who preaches about the relationships of supply and demand in the market.

No, he can't pretend, after all he has said, that the consumption of kiddie porn does not support the creation of it.

I have not heard how it is financed or made profitable (surely not advertising?) but I am confident there must be a connection. Anyone know how the criminals making it get their money? Do the consumers of it pay those who make it directly?

 

 

theleftyinvestor

It's easy enough to find accidentally for free, as my 13 year old former self, more than half my life ago, can attest to... I would imagine the motive is rarely profit.

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