Sunday, December 30, 2007

Shhh, The Walls Have Ears

This is really, really creepy. I used to think Psycho Steve was like this guy, but now I think he is becoming more and more like this guy. Harper is at heart a Tsar. He is an autocrat and not particularly competent in any field save for running a fine internal intelligence network. Hat tip to the Jurist.
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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Biggest Story Of The Year

No contest. This will have consequences for all of us in the coming year.
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On Accountability

Robopundit writes some good stuff about something that has been bothering me lately. He is worried about the decline in the idea that our elected representatives are responsible for making policy, preferring instead to let bureaucrats and "special panels" do the heavy lifting.
Once a parliamentary principle, the bargain that allows mandarins to speak truth to power from the shadows while ministers stand in the spotlight is so badly broken that few noticed when Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day left it to the border agency's Alain Jolicoeur to answer awkward questions about the how and why of the Vancouver airport Taser horror.

Sadly, Day's sudden modesty isn't an anomaly. Despite at least partly winning the last election on the strength of their accountability promise, Conservatives are accelerating the Ottawa tactic of passing the buck so often to so many people that where it stops is a mystery. More bureaucrats are appearing in public and the Prime Minister is making a habit of appointing panels answerable only to him to consider public policy issues that were once the purview of those we elect.

Short term, those methods work too well. Politicians can take credit and then bob and weave around public opprobrium while others carry the can.

Long term is entirely different. As Hillier is demonstrating to the Prime Minister's discomfort, the clout that comes with public profile is easy to loan, difficult to recover. Once established as marquee players, bureaucrats will bridle at recasting as docile supporting actors. With their own agendas to protect and careers to advance, they are sure to ad lib and their lines won't always please politicians.
I would extend this criticism to include "citizens' assemblies". As we witnessed in Ontario's electoral reform fiasco, the politicians love citizens' assemblies because they remove responsibility from their collective shoulders. Politicians can claim neutrality over the output of such bodies, thus freeing their proxies in the media and party to criticize (and organize opposition to) the assembly's policy proposals, should they be anathema to the party in power. After all, again as we saw in Ontario, the citizens' assembly has no infrastructure to use to refute the criticisms leveled at their proposals. They are sitting ducks, waiting for their inevitable clubbing.

The fact is, we have an extant "citizens' assembly". It is called a parliament. We citizens elect the members to that citizens' assembly and it is, at least theoretically, responsible to us. It should be up to our elected representatives to propose and adopt policy. Sideshows like citizens' assemblies just serve to muddy the waters over responsible government. Politicians need to step up and say "This is our policy. Judge us on it and no one else". In other words, we need politicians with spines.
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Monday, December 24, 2007

Rest In Peace Oscar

Man, what I wouldn't give for a seat at this reunion gig in heaven today. Someone will have to sit in for Herb Ellis, but still a great lineup.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Comedy Of Errors

John Filo explains why Buzz Hargrove and Anne Klein are clowns, for those who haven't yet figured it out.
Filo said the CAW strategic voting concept “was flawed from the beginning” because it called for members to vote for Liberals without asking for the Liberal leadership to endorse or promote NDP candidates in ridings where New Democrats had a good chance to win.

“It was a comedy of errors,” said Filo. “It was so naive to call for support of Liberal candidates without getting a reciprocal endorsement deal in the many ridings where NDP candidates traditionally do’s what I call unilateral disarmament.”

Filo said he also would have revoked Hargrove’s membership after he so blatantly threw his support behind the Liberals.
Unilateral disarmament. That sounds about right. When Liberals tell New Democrats to put partisanship aside, what they really mean is vote Liberal. Period.
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Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas Baby

To all the censors. Merry Christmas!

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Ya Basta

It is no secret I am having difficulties with the NDP at the moment. I think they are becoming perilously close to a clone of the Liberal Party, willing to sell out principles to buy votes (particularly in Quebec). However, when I see articles like this, I blow a gasket.

Klein is another in a long line of aging "progressives" who wet their pants if the Liberals aren't the government in Ottawa. Never mind that the Liberals have a terrible record on the environment. Never mind that child poverty was still a major problem at the end of their term. Never mind that national daycare was a no show until it made a sudden "deathbed" appearance after 13 years. Never mind all of that. If it isn't the Liberals screwing the country over, then something is wrong with the universe.

Klein and her progressive pals (Maude, Buzz, James and the rest) always blame the NDP for messing up a good thing (the good thing being unending Liberal rule). They always, always, always want NDP voters to feel guilty about voting for the NDP. They always want NDP voters to "do the right thing" to stop the Tories. That right thing is, of course, to vote Liberal (With no strings of course. Don't ask Liberals to change the electoral system, Heaven forbid!).

Never, ever, do these champions of progressive politics stop to actually look at the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party is a centre right party that pretends to be progressive just long enough to sucker the gullible like Klein and her friends. The apparchiks of the Liberal Party know that if they whisper "Tory majority" into the right ears, they can cause a cascade of panic amongst the dimwits in the media who call themselves "progressives". This has to stop. Klein and her friends are going to really have to look at the political landscape in this country and ask themselves if we can't do any better than the Liberals or Conservatives. If all they have to offer is "Vote Liberal or a puppy will die", they might as well save their breath. No one is listening any more.
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Psycho Steve Just Doesn't Understand

From today's Globe:
The Prime Minister also defended his government's position at the recent Bali climate change talks that all major emitting countries must sign on to a new greenhouse gas reduction deal.

"What I have trouble grasping is how you can have the kind of thing you had at Bali where everybody gets up and beats their chest and says it's a looming disaster and then virtually none of them are willing to actually endorse the principles that would lead to an effective international protocol."
Steve's confusion is understandable. As a conservative, Steve also doesn't understand why a guy who makes a billion dollars should pay a greater percentage of his income in taxes than a guy who makes forty thousand. For conservatives "fairness" means the rich and poor pay the same, regardless their abilities to pay. As with income, so to with climate change.

Update: Oh and don't you just love Steve's ominous warnings against those of us who want action on climate change? In his interview with Mansbridge, Harper had his usual smug smirk on his face. He said this:
"...Ask your viewers to think of that (costs of implementing climate change regulations) whenever they have other people out there saying we should be doing more, because once we start -- Really these thing start biting, the criticism we are going to be getting is we are doing too much."
It's like he is saying"You want action on climate change? Slap. There's you action on climate change!" Harper seems to relish the prospect of imposing hardship on his own people, rather than helping them through the tough times ahead and mitigating the worst impacts of his policies, as some kind of collective punishment for failing to see the "brilliance" of his argument against any action. (Don Martin sees this side of his personality up close and doesn't like what he sees).
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wise Words My Young Friend

Michael Cera (the most successful actor to have come out of Brampton in 10 years) tells us how to live our lives. Based on this classic.

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Something To Keep An Eye On

To me, this is a good thing. I think equality rights should trump religious law (that's why I supported the Ontario government's decision to back away from religious family courts). I wonder though if the Blogging Tory community, usually the first to decry the subjugation of women in Islam, will embrace the Supreme Court's newfound muscular equality rights stance.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Word Of Caution

For those out there who believe things will get better on the climate change file, once there is a new resident in the White House. I share Monbiot's skepticism.
So don’t believe all this nonsense about waiting for the next president to sort it out. This is a much bigger problem than George W Bush. Yes, he is viscerally opposed to tackling climate change. But viscera don’t have much to do with it. Until the American people confront their political funding system, their politicians will keep speaking from the pocket, not the gut.
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Harper's Leadership Problem

If I was an opposition party researcher, I would hang on to this story. If the next election is to be run on "leadership", how could one do better than to use the following line:
"Harper runs into trouble when Harper runs out of script."
If I was in an opposition party's communications shop, I think I would be pushing that line as often as possible, until the writ is dropped. It seems to me, a case may be made that Harper is in fact a control freak for a reason. If Harper is not in total control of events, he quickly loses control of the issue. True leadership requires someone who can improvise when they are not in total control. Harper is just not up to the job.

Update: Thanks to the eagle eyed readers for the edit. :)
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Monday, December 17, 2007

The New Menace: Christianism

While the Blogging Tories are still fixated on the threat of radical Islam, American conservatives have found a new threat, Christianism.
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Baird's Turn On The World Stage A Critical Disaster

The reviews are in and Baird was a flop. My favorite line:
It is hard to argue that one is building bridges when they so obviously lead nowhere.
As for the fallout, there won't be any, at least in the short run. The reality is, Baird did his master's bidding and so will be more popular than ever with Psycho Steve and the Hothouse Gang over at the Blogging Tories. His run will only end when this road production of the Little Shop of Horrors leaves town.
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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Question For Stephen Taylor

Does Andrew Coyne work for the Liberal Party, too?
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New Rules

Never play poker with a guy named "Doc". Never draw to an inside straight. Never depend on Europeans, in a negotiation, to stay strong.

The Europeans are gambling on regime change to save all our asses. The Americans and Canadians are gambling that science is just religion with lab coats. It's a tough call to decide who is following the riskier strategy.
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Friday, December 14, 2007

Dimitri Soudas, Douche

"The minister's job is to provide direction, inspire leadership, and get things done," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper's spokesman, Dimitri Soudas.
Explaining John Baird's decision to skip an important meeting at the Bali summit, sending a low level bureaucrat in his place.
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The Root Of Modern Conservatism

The author is writing about another conservative government, but it is truly the hallmark of all modern conservative governments, from Harris, to Bush, to Harper:
Thanks to a combination of incompetence and ideology—the governing principle of the Bush administration seems to be that the best way to delegitimize big government is to make sure that it functions poorly
As I have said many times before, if you are an anti-government party, governing properly is last thing you want to do.
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Canada's Back

And the world is taking note. Feel proud yet?

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

From The Department Of Poetic Justice

Hire a separatist hack, aim him at the Liberals and receive a report that condemns your own government. Gotta love them Tories.
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Shorter Brian Mulroney

Don't believe anything Schreiber says, except when he says I'm innocent.
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Better Than Any Poll

This editorial by the Sun tells me that the public is not at all happy with Psycho Steve and his merry band. I never, ever, thought I would see the day when the Sun called anything John Baird did "shameful". The only reason I can think the Sun is putting this out into the world, is they are hearing from their readers and their readers are not liking what is going on in Bali.

Instant Update: Stephen Harper's paranoid rantings about Liberals on judicial bodies destroying the nuclear industry has trickled down and out to other corners of his dark empire. Yesterday, one of John Baird's security goons did the whole protection racket routine on youth delegates to the Bali conference. You know what I am talking about. He confronted a group of peaceful protesters and gave them the old "Nice protest you have here, too bad if you went to an Indonesian prison for it." Shameful. And then Harper's personal press flack did two things, first he tried to spin the threat as concern for the kids welfare and two tried to spin this as yet another case of Liberal "subversion". These guys are so fucking crazy it just hurts to watch.
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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Return Of Psycho Steve

So, the PM, after attacking a regulatory body responsible for our nuclear safety as "Liberal appointed" (get out the barf bags, Ethel) and then in typical fashion threatened to blame parliament if it did not follow orders, rammed through a bill to force the reopening of a nuclear reactor. Never mind that the regulator gave the AECL a year to comply with its order for an emergency upgrade. Never mind that the health and safety of the communities surrounding the reactor are now at risk. The government was being criticized for something bad happening on its watch, so damn the risk and full steam ahead. God help him if there is an accident.
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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stop The Tory's Copyright Law

Here's how:
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Is Baird Losing It?

It is just bizarre that John Baird would continue to use the Liberals as his shield, even when the international community is criticizing his government's negotiating position. Everyone knows the Liberals were useless on the climate change file, but as an excuse, they are past their "best before" date.
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Saturday, December 08, 2007

What Are The Greens? Are They PC's? Liberals? What?

Take a look at this interview of Elizabeth May, with Garth Turner. She spends most of her time either boosting Stephane Dion or previewing the next version of the "Think Twice Coalition". Someday the Greens will move closer to the European model, and when that day comes I might consider voting for them. As long as the Greens are led by May, neither will happen.

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Canada's Bali Position The Flat Tax In Action

The government's position in Bali that it will only accept binding targets if China and India are too, is an international manifestation of that old right wing chestnut, the flat tax. In a progressive system of taxation, the CEO is assessed a higher level of tax than the file clerk, because the CEO is judged to have a greater capacity to pay higher levels of tax. This is anathema to right wingers, like Harper, who see this as "socialism" and an attempt by the state to redistribute "hard earned" income from the rich to the poor. The flat tax proposes that everyone regardless of income will be taxed at one rate, so that a file clerk and CEO will be charged the same level of tax despite the huge gap in income.

This is, in essence what the Harperites are trying to impose on Bali. Harper is already on record as calling Kyoto a "socialist scheme" of income redistribution. His solution is to treat the effort to curb greenhouse gases like a flat tax on the world. Everyone, regardless their level of development will be forced to accept the same burden as the rich countries (who truth be told have dumped the vast majority of GHG's into the atmosphere while getting rich) or Harper will not play. Harper's plan should be seen for what it is, an attempt to use the reasoning behind a crazy tax scheme, for which there is no support nationally, to the international stage.
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Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Revolt Of The Polluting Class

If anyone wants some insight into the mind of our prime minister, on the subject of global warming, I would recommend reading Peter Foster, in the Financial Post today. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that our prime minister agrees that any move to regulate industry in any meaningful way is the equivalent of Marxism.

The Harper strategy is laid bare. Harper's plan is to "cater to the ignorance/alarm/hypocrisy engendered in their electorate"... "while keeping a firm hand on the nation's collective wallet". In other words, he and his "Environment" Minister, will cry and cry and cry again for the environment. They will tell us they believe something must be done to save us from catastrophe and then will work to sabotage any remedy that will include concrete, mandatory action. If Harper gets his way (and it looks like he is trying to gather a coalition of the unwilling), humanity as a collective (sorry, what a repulsive word except when it comes to tax cuts) is in trouble.

Update: The phrase "cater to the ignorance/alarm/hypocrisy engendered in their electorate" betrays a loathing of common people. It carrys with it the idea that the people are ignorant and so it is ok to treat them cruelly, because they are just stupid animals. This is the "spirit" that leads to view citizens as "sheeple". It is a malevolent cancer in conservatism and it must be expunged.
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Sunday, December 02, 2007

What's The Worst That Can Happen?

It is obvious to me this guy has never run into either Stephen Harper or the Blogging Tories. Denying reality is what they do.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Lifting The Veil On Stupidity

The Liberals are declaring their initial support for C-6 a "mistake", while the NDP is just saying they can't support the bill as written (My question to them is how can this piece of crap be rewritten to your liking?). I would say the Liberals have won this round in the Mea Culpa sweepstakes.
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For A Change

There's lots of good news today.
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