Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Road Map To Harrisville

The prospect of a majority (fading, fading)is making the Tory faithful write all kinds of loopy things. I am sure the PM would love to comment on the proposal to ship water to the U.S.
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Monday, September 29, 2008


So, I guess the choice is between the NDP and a continued coalition of Harper and the Liberals? If I was a Liberal (which I am not, thank God), I would not want to get caught up in that dynamic.
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Pitiless Logic Of "Stop Harper"

Call it political karma. If Travers and Walkom are right (there has to be a first time), we should, in very short order, see Layton appeal to soft Liberals to come over to the NDP to stop a Harper "majority". Too bad we don't have an electoral system designed so we could vote for a party rather than against one, eh?

Sunday Update: Right on schedule.

Sunday Update 2: The problem with Layton's new strategy is that it buys into the idea of strategic voting. One wonders what he will say if the polls take a sudden turn in another direction?

Monday Update: Like now, for example.
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Bringing The 'Unite The Whatever' To Its Logical Conclusion

Too bad no one in the States cares about Nader this time, because I think he is right. Canadians who are on the fence about a "unite the left" movement should watch this and ask themselves "Do I really want a 'choice' similar to the one given to my American cousins?".

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Friday, September 26, 2008

The End Of John McCain?

Not many politicians could survive the following paragraph:
At the bipartisan White House meeting that Mr. McCain had called for a day earlier, he sat silently for more than 40 minutes, more observer than leader, and then offered only a vague sense of where he stood, said people in the meeting.
McCain had better know how to change water into wine, because he is in deep doo doo.
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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Riddle Me This

Why is Steve cruising for votes among Liberals? Surely, Liberals are progressive, salt-of-the-earth types? At least, that's the story they tell us every day.
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Harper Is Not The Second Coming Of John Howard, But Howard Hughes

Does this sound like a guy who enjoys "ordinary Canadians"?
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is shielded from the public as he criss-crosses the country, campaigning in a political bubble.

No handshakes on street corners or rallies in the parks. Only highly staged backdrops for his daily political message, and assemblies where Tory staffers and security officers closely monitor the crowds.
No handshakes? What the hell kind of "ordinary guy" doesn't like to be touched by other humans? How can you claim to understand someone you refuse to meet? Someone should ask Harper what movies he likes to watch.
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ok Jason I'll Bite

Since we are just asking questions. Is Stephan Dion secretly Celine Dion? After all, you never see them in the same room. Why is that? Don't ask me, ask Stephan. Or is it Celine?

Stephan or Celine? You decide.
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Steve's War On Artists -- But Only In English

Psycho Steve's jihad against artists continued today as he mocked artists as "government-subsidized whiners". When he was asked to repeat his remarks in french, Mr. Harper refused to include Quebec artists (who had attacked his cuts to culture at an awards show) in his list of enemies. Our Prime Minister is a coward. Pure and simple.

Update: Whoever came up with the clever "Conservatueur" was a genius.

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So Much For Being A "Progressive Party"

Scott Reid in today's Globe:
Liberals must counter immediately. That begins by positioning themselves in the sensible centre rather than as the best of the left. They must emphasize their fiscal credentials, sharpen their critique of Mr. Harper and begin now with a blatant appeal to NDP and Green voters that the Liberals alone can keep the Conservatives from a majority.
Mr. Sinister translates: We're the Liberals and we are a centre-right party, not a nasty leftist party. But progressives, just shut off your brains and vote for us anyway. Remember, Harper is a very, very, bad man. Booga booga.
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If I Was Dalton McGuinty (Or Jack Layton)

I would invite all of the Harper Ontario cabinet ministers to stand up for fair representation for Ontario, just as James Moore has done for B.C. I am sure Baird, Clement and Flaherty et al., would knock each other over, rushing to the microphone.
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Monday, September 22, 2008

Farewell Blue Sweater

Mr. Angry is back in town. Want to know what a Harper majority would look like? How does a war on teenagers sound? This will play well with the "Goddamn young punks!" crowd, who don't trust anyone under 70. Not that this group wasn't already voting Tory anyway.
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More Liberal Panic And "Solutions"

Expect more like this as we go forward. Got a problem with a multiple parties in a FPTP system? Don't bother reforming the system, abolish the other parties. That's the Liberal way. Maybe ten years of Tory rule will cure Liberals of this Borg mentality. But I am not hopeful.
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MSM Conventional Wisdom Watch

From today's Globe:
It is, of course, never quite so simple as one vote. It is impossible to gauge the effect of the hastily named Conservative candidate - long-time party worker and campaign manager Mary Lou Ambrogio - in an election that, at the moment, seems to be turning in favour of Stephen Harper. There is also the Green Party factor, which is likely to take more votes away from the NDP than the other parties.
Never mind that the NDP's poll numbers are at or above traditional support levels, in spite of increased Green support (if in fact it is even up). Do we need to look at other parties to see if they might be leaking support? Hell no. To hell with reality, we have agreed upon fiction to lean on. We are the MSM. If fiction sells papers, use fiction.
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Which Wing Is The Liberal Party Flying WIth Today?

It depends on who is doing the talking (and where is Mr. Dion when you need him?). Bob Rae is telling voters that Liberals are "Progressive" and so we all need to pull together:
"That's why I describe the Harper government as the house that Jack built," said Mr. Rae, referring to NDP Leader Jack Layton. "It's very much a creation of the strategic choices that Jack Layton and the NDP made. I went into politics to stop Stephen Harper and I am determined to do that so I am making a very simple pitch to voters who might have voted NDP or might have voted Green in the past to say, in this election, that there is a strong obligation on all of our parts to pull together."
His future leadership rival is telling voters that Liberals are not "Progressive" at all and all this "getting together" shit is just so much twaddle:
“I don't think the Liberal Party of Canada is a party of the left. There's no coalition to be done,” he said. “We're a party of the centre and people vote for us because we're in the centre.
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What News From Yon Sherwood Forest?

Atrios has it right:
They could've released a complicated plan which appeared to have controls and oversight but which would be hard to decipher from the language. Instead they made it plain for all to see that what they want is to be able to take money from you and give it to Wall Street firms.
This going to be the biggest reverse Robin Hood exercise in history. The American taxpayer is going to be screwed, badly and then the Republicans will go back to singing the praises of a "free market". The Dems will just do whatever the Republicans tell them to do.
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Learning The Wrong Lessons

Well, I must say, I am not surprised by this. Rather than build coalitions through electoral reform, liberals want to duplicate the "choice" offered to our American cousins. Oh well, I still have Monty Python.

Update: Thanks to POGGE, I have a new favorite page.
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NDP Campaign Song

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Friday, September 19, 2008

The Twenty First Century Bourbons

Paul Krugman lays out the situation this morning:
There’s only one bright spot in the picture: interest rates on mortgages have come down sharply since the federal government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and guaranteed their debt. And there’s a lesson there for those ready to hear it: government takeovers may be the only way to get the financial system working again.

Some people have been making that argument for some time. Most recently, Paul Volcker, the former Fed chairman, and two other veterans of past financial crises published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal declaring that the only way to avoid “the mother of all credit contractions” is to create a new government agency to “buy up the troubled paper” — that is, to have taxpayers take over the bad assets created by the bursting of the housing and credit bubbles. Coming from Mr. Volcker, that proposal has serious credibility.

Influential members of Congress, including Hillary Clinton and Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, have been making similar arguments. And on Thursday, Charles Schumer, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee (and an advocate of creating a new agency to resolve the financial crisis) told reporters that “the Federal Reserve and the Treasury are realizing that we need a more comprehensive solution.” Sure enough, Thursday night Ben Bernanke and Mr. Paulson met with Congressional leaders to discuss a “comprehensive approach” to the problem.

We don’t know yet what that “comprehensive approach” will look like. There have been hopeful comparisons to the financial rescue the Swedish government carried out in the early 1990s, a rescue that involved a temporary public takeover of a large part of the country’s financial system. It’s not clear, however, whether policy makers in Washington are prepared to exert a comparable degree of control. And if they aren’t, this could turn into the wrong kind of rescue — a bailout of stockholders as well as the market, in effect rescuing the financial industry from the consequences of its own greed. (emphasis mine)
That is my concern also. The Republicans and their ideological counterparts in Canada see any government action as evil. So, they may dump a trillion dollars into the waiting hands of the fools who created this mess, with no strings attached, no additional regulation and no lessons learned, just so they can continue living in a fantasy world where the private sector can do no wrong and the public sector no right.
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Connecting The Dots

From the guys who brought you bad meat comes the near world economic collapse. It is the same mentality at work.

The government is seen as a parasitic organism sucking the life's blood from the superior private sector. In conservatives, there is almost a child-like trust that "If only the government did not exist, the private sector could regulate itself."

Well, forgive this old Hobbesian, but humans are terrible at self regulation. Unbound by any rules, we succumb to the basest instincts of our character, greed, lust and pathological selfishness. You don't have to believe me. Look around you. At least 16 dead, because a Conservative government decided to move meat inspectors out of the meat industry's way. Billions of dollars spent trying to save a world economy corrupted by an ideology that didn't believe in government regulation.

Canadians are in the middle of an election and the party that believes that no government regulation is good regulation, is leading in the polls. If they do manage to hang on to form a government, Canadians can expect more of the same from them. That means more dead people and more lost billions. And please note, it isn't that conservatives and Conservatives are bad people. Rather, it is because they have a misguided belief that humans, left to their own devices, are saints and not humans. Canadians would be wise not to encourage their delusions, by rewarding them with a continued grasp on power.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Oh Mister Wells

You do know the most interesting people. Paul Wells points to a very interesting chart of voter behaviour. Guess which party is benefiting from a leak in the Liberal vote? Hint, it is somewhere way to the right of the NDP. In other words, rather than pointing the finger of blame at the NDP, the Libs should be worried by the behavior their own blue wing.
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Said With A Completely Straight Face

Adam Radwanski wrote:
The thing is, refusing to attack the NDP actually delegitimizes it as a serious opposition party - thus prompting stridently anti-Conservative voters to choose the Liberals over the New Democrats on election day for fear of wasting their votes. (emphasis mine)
Yet another ringing endorsement of the "logic" of our present electoral system by a Liberal-friendly opponent of MMP in Ontario. Tell me again why I should care if Harper's life mission is to wipe these guys off the map? To me, it would be the political version of the Darwin Awards.
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Name Games

No matter what else you can say about the NDP during this campaign, you must admit they are playing the game to win.
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AIG Bailout

Republicans are apparently socialists, when their buddies' assets are on the line.
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Political Karma

It will be fun to watch the liblogs respond to this little number:
But the party that has been so skillful at complementing its progressive arm with a business side appears to be flying on one wing these days. The so-called natural governing party of old has allowed itself to be characterized as just one of a cluster of parties on the left of the political spectrum, competing for limited votes. In the second week of the election campaign, the Liberals who slew the deficit in the mid-1990s are portrayed by their political opponents and commentators alike as a risky economic choice.
I can hear it now. Instead of "But, but, but, we're progressives, too!", the new mantra will be: "But, but, but we're cold-hearted bastards, too". Liberals, take this as a lesson. This is what happens to you when you abandon your Bay Street masters.
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Anti-Government Government And The Chickens Coming Home

I wonder how long it will be, before someone, either from another party or the MSM links the conservative mania for deregulation (tainted meat anyone?) with the mess on Wall Street?
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That's Two Votes For The Nice Man In Overalls

As I read Travers' column this morning I felt a rising sense of anger. He wrote about the rural urban split in the vote, using Stratford as his model and he concludes:
Seen from the theatres, bed and breakfasts and coffee shops, the ruling party's arts policies, and particularly recent cuts, are backward steps. Seen from the entrepreneurial perspective of a city that has found innovative solutions before, the national government's easygoing willingness to leave education to others is a failure to step forward.

Of course there's another view. It's from the country where there are more than enough votes to re-elect Schellenberger and where urban troubles are abstract, far away and, perhaps, just a little pleasing.
Not once in his column does Travers question the over-representation of the rural vote in our system. The undemocratic nature of this setup is just taken for granted.

Canada is in a bad way. Not only do we have a terrible electoral system, but we make the farce we call democracy even more grotesque, by weighing rural votes more than urban ones. The injustice of this situation has become so accepted by our elites that no one even thinks to raise it as an issue. Canada deserves better. We deserve representation by population, you know, democracy.
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Monday, September 15, 2008

Daily Dose Of Nik

The NDP keeps nosing up and the Tories nosing down. But basically we are where we have been for years.
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Liberal Campaign RIP

The Liberals are in such dire straights that they are now campaigning to become the fourth party in parliament.

LOL Update: Shorter Jason Cherniak. Hey, nothing personal. It's not like we actually believe in anything. We just want to fool enough voters so we can pull our nuts out of the fire. It's what we do.
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Taliban Heart Steve

And just as Jack was measuring for curtains, too. Meanwhile, Dion is thinking of joining Lavalife.
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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Toss Them Some Red Meat, Steve

I wonder is this connected to this? It sure has all the earmarks of a misdirection play, aimed at the base. I suspect internal Tory polling is showing that Steve's promise to withdraw the troops by 2011 is not going over well with the "kill the women and children first" crowd. Of course this could also be a rescue mission for Junior MacKay.

Update: And speaking of propaganda, I see the Liberal House Organ is getting worried about the NDP, too. Interesting. I love the last sentence, by the way. Heaven forbid a party should engage in politics during an election campaign. The idea!

Update 2: Meanwhile, right on time, the liberal commentariat, rather than concluding that electoral reform is the way to go, is urging the development of a two party system. Christ on a crutch.
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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Good News Everyone

Greg Staples is back and he's buying the beer!
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Let The Games Begin

Now that it is becoming clear that the Liberals are in trouble, do I think they will correct themselves and move forward? Not a chance. I expect the search for scapegoats will intensify and the voices denouncing any "fool" who doesn't see the Liberal party as the bastion of all things progressive (I'm looking at you John Barber), will grow more desperate and personal (although how do you top calling people who voted NDP last time, sheep?). Why do I think this? Because it is easier to do that than to look into the collective, black soul of the Liberal Party. They know, deep down, they wouldn't like what they'd see.

For myself, I am getting closer to the point of deciding whether or not I will vote in this election. I probably will, but only as a way of sending cash to my party of choice.

As I see it, power and the prospect of absolute power, does strange things to people. Look at the NDP. They aren't even close to being in power, but they are getting closer to the Liberals if you believe the latest poll. Do you ever hear the words electoral reform coming out of Jack Layton's mouth anymore? The prospect of having the power of a phony majority casts a spell over our politicians, like the ring did in Lord of the Rings. They are so obsessed with the power that a "majority" provides them, that they can't see how corrupting it is to themselves and to our politics.

Am I afraid that Harper will win a "majority"? Yes, what rational human being wouldn't be? However, Harper might just be the enema that Canada needs. Maybe a few years of anal probing by the Conservatives will finally convince those who hate electoral reform that it might not be a bad thing after all. On the other hand, the forces of inertia have profited for so long from the crazy way we choose governments that I am not optimistic they will draw the right conclusions from the future unpleasantness of Tory rule.

In the final analysis, the politics we have as a people is the politics we deserve. Until the Canadian people rise up and demand electoral reform, we will not get it. Maybe a few years of unfettered Harper rule will spur us on. But I doubt it.
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Friday, September 12, 2008

The Campaign So Far

In one corner is the government is spinning doomsday stories about doing anything about climate change. On the other side, the opposition is mostly fighting amongst themselves. Operation "Majority With 34%" is going very well.
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I Too Am Sparticus

Way to go Green Party. You have joined the political big leagues. You are threatening to sue you first blogger. While I dislike the video in question because it misrepresents Ms. May's position, I think it is outrageous for a party that just spent the last week fighting for its right to be heard, to reach for their lawyer's phone number the first time someone posts something they don't like onto the Internet.

I think, if you had been patient, you would have found that the blogosphere is a pretty self-correcting place. I was first taken in by the video when I first saw it, but my peers set me straight, pretty damn quick. I changed my post from one of support for the contents of the video to one denouncing it, once I found out it was a fake. If you had just let this run its course, your party would have received a lot of sympathetic support. Now, by choosing Stephen Harper's favorite tool of choice, the lawsuit, you will be denounced as the typical politicians you say you are not. Again, congratulations. You are now just another party.

Update: How fitting that Stephen Taylor has claimed responsibility for the video in question.

Update 2: Here is my transcription of the question and answer.

Steve Paikin: Why so little will (for a carbon tax)...Elizabeth?

Elizabeth May: All (inaudible) politicians are scared to death to mention the word tax and they think Canadians are stupid... and cannot... and i fundamentally agree with that assessment. But most politicians think that if you say we're going to put on a carbon tax and reduce you income tax they don't think they can sell it. It's all about votes.

I would like Ms. May to clarify which assessment she fundamentally agrees with. I think she is saying, poorly, that she agrees with the assessment that politicians are scared of taxes, rather than Canadians are stupid. But to be honest, the way she said it, does leave it open to interpretation. The original clip is posted (starting around 38:32). Listen to it and decide for yourself.
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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nanos Knows

Nik Nanos has posted his first tracking poll. No surprise. The Tories are stuck at 37%. It is like they have this glass ceiling they can never crack. Their only hope for a "majority" (since their numbers have been stagnant for 3 years) is vote splitting. That's a hell of a system we have here.
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It's Good To Know

I am not the only one feeling hopeless about this election. Oh, the glories of FPTP.
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Don't Worry Sir, Harper Was Just Fishing For The Womens' Vote

Stephen Harper is in trouble with the dad of a fallen soldier, over his timetable for withdrawing from Afghanistan. Since I think this is a time limited promise, I don't think the anger is justified.
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The Anti-Politician Political Dirty Tricks

Ok, I am the first to admit that I don't know what I am saying half the time. However, calling voters "stupid" doesn't seem to me to be a prudent thing to do when you are asking them for their votes. Just as it seems somewhat unorthodox to endorse candidates from another party. Who knows, though? Maybe this a winning formula for a new 21st century politics. After all, who would have thought that choosing a soap opera for a running mate would help John McCain? Maybe the 21st century will be the political bizarro century.

Fake Clip

H/T to Buckdog.

Update: James takes me to task for the video in question. I don't remember the conversation he alludes to, but he is a truthful sort, so I believe him. It just goes to show that editing audio can do all sorts of mischief. I apologize to Ms. May for falling into the trap of believing what I heard. I still want to know why she is endorsing Liberal candidates though.

Update 2: I am leaving the video up but only to let people know it is a fake.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Note To Elizabeth May

Now that it looks like you will be included in the debate, you have the following homework assignment. Prepare to answer this question. Ms. May, you have already endorsed Stephane Dion for Prime Minister and you have also endorsed at least two other Liberal candidates in ridings being contested by your own party. Why should we take you seriously as a party leader and potential prime minister? I suspect it will be the first question you face, so start thinking about your answer now.
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Harper's Afghanistan Promise

Buyer beware. He also promised not to tamper with income trusts and not appoint people to the Senate. I suspect this promise is only good until October 15.

Update: Oh and ask Danny Williams how well Harper keeps his word.
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If I Am A Sheep...

Does that mean John Barber is a pig? Yet another panicky liberal laughably claiming "left-wing" status for the party of John Turner, John Manley and Paul Martin, with the added minty freshness of smearing anyone who may disagree, with the label "sheep". Mr. Barber should perhaps save some of his disdain for those who worked against electoral reform in Ontario and who would spearhead the anti-reform side at the federal level, rather than rail against people who have legitimate differences with the corrupt and cowardly Liberal Party. Of course, to do that, Mr. Barber would have to say something bad about his friends in that oh so progressive Liberal Party and we can't have that. It might give some comfort to the Tories.
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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Elizabeth May Is Not Much Brighter Than Junior

I pity the people of Central Nova. Note to Elizabeth May. If you are trying to be included in a leader's debate, as the leader of an independent party, you do not offer to support the candidate of another party. I wonder how Doug Anderson feels this morning? How would you feel, if you read the following?
Ms. May also came under fire yesterday for sending a mass e-mail offering her support to a Liberal candidate running against Conservative minister Jim Flaherty.
It is bad enough not running a candidate against Dion in his own riding, but to then also abandon your own candidate in favor of a Liberal (while in the process of arguing for inclusion in a leader's debate), is just plain stupid. I am sorry you won't be included in this debate now, because I think you are just the agent of chaos this campaign needs. However, you only have yourself to blame for this and no one else.

Update: Gerald Caplan wants May included and I must say, he makes a good case. I can only assume he didn't know about the email to Osahawa-Pickering, which may have changed his mind:
Gerald Caplan ( former NDP campaign manager): Very forcefully yes.

I'm dismayed at the decision to keep Ms. May out of the debate. It's contrary to democracy, common sense and civil decency. I'm hugely disappointed that the NDP is party to this exclusion. I'm shocked that the Conservatives and NDP apparently have threatened not to participate if she had been included. I'm incredulous that Mr. Layton would use the Liberal-Green deal in a single seat to argue that they're virtually the same party. I can hardly believe Mr. Harper's brazenness in saying, without an iota of proof, that Ms. May intends to endorse Mr. Dion.

Now we are left with the spectacle of four men babbling to each other, while another man moderates. Nice work, boys.

Make no mistake: Ms. May is being excluded for no reason of principle. This is all about exploiting an opportunity against a potentially dangerous opponent. Another word for this is opportunism. This is a decision that may well come back to haunt both the Conservatives and the NDP. And they'll have no one to blame but themselves.
Update 2 It seems Elizabeth just can't stop herself from endorsing Liberal candidates. Please let her into the debate. It would be worth it just to have her answer the question, "Why?".
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Monday, September 08, 2008

Junior McKay Is An Idiot: Part 786

I am not sure what Junior is all fired up about. Maybe he would rather she yelled that she wanted a war economy? In any case, he seems to be threatening Jack Layton with a manly retreat to his potato patch,if he doesn't get his way:
Defence Minister Peter MacKay has called for NDP Leader Jack Layton to fire a Nova Scotia NDP candidate for her behaviour Thursday at a Halifax peace protest.

But the party says the candidate did nothing wrong.

Halifax West NDP candidate Tamara Lorincz was among a group of Halifax Peace Coalition protesters demonstrating outside the Cunard Centre on Marginal Road. They were protesting the DEFSEC Atlantic 2008 exhibition, a trade show for defence contractors.

Ms. Lorincz hollered at some uniformed members of the Canadian Armed Forces as they drove by.

"This is a racket and it should be shut down," she yelled. "We need a peace economy, not a military economy."

That shows that Ms. Lorincz is "unfit for public office," said Mr. MacKay.

"I felt physically ill," he said Sunday in an interview. "I thought it was just one of the most disgusting things I’ve heard in a long time. I honestly believe Jack Layton should pull that woman’s nomination papers."
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McGuinty's Good Idea

I normally don't agree with Dalton McGuinty, but he has a good idea this time. People need to vote in Ontario's interest. We want our democratic share of seats and we want our fair share of our money. Tell the politicians running in Ontario. Fight for Ontario or fuck off.
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Also Good Ad

Since the Tories are out of ideas already, the Liberals are supplying some.

Update: As BCer in TO mentions on his blog, the Liberal video has grave technical difficulties. I could not embed it in my blog because I could not get blogger to accept the html provided by the Liberal tech guys. Given the flawless performance by the NDP (by putting their video on the tried and true Youtube), I would give the out of the gate nod to the NDP.
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Sunday, September 07, 2008

A Freudian Would Have A Field Day (And Other Impressions)

Did anyone else catch the name of Harper's pick up band mentioned on CTV? Steve and the Firewalls? Really? Come on now net folks, (especially those with Photoshop). This is just crying out for parody.

Other impressions of day one? Harper had easy questions and still couldn't get through his launch without looking like a douche. "I presume he (Dion) is a family man." Really? There is some doubt in your mind, Stephen. Your best guess is that he loves his family, unless you hear otherwise? What's next "I presume he doesn't diddle sheep"?

Dion came off looking a bit better than expected. He did make one boner that the Tories will seize on. He was talking about his Green Shift and said that Canadians will see "Tremendous income taxes", when I presume he meant to say that they would see tremendous income tax cuts. His English continues to be a work in progress.

Layton was fine, but I think it was a big mistake not to take questions. It gave the press an excuse to cut away from him quickly.

Duceppe was strong, I thought and I would probably vote for him if I lived in Quebec. In fact of all the leaders, I like him best.

May has cast herself as the conscience of the election. She has, in effect taken on the role traditionally played by the NDP leader. This was made possible because the NDP is trying to take on the role of the Liberal Party in this election. I am sure the Greens, like the NDP before them, has many moral victories to come in the days ahead.

All in all, an interesting beginning. It is obvious that Harper is counting on vote splitting and I think he is right to do so. He has the absolute loyalty of his flying monkeys and will come very close to pulling out a "majority" with the lowest popular vote in Canadian history. The question will be whether the opposition vote remains fragmented enough, in just the right places, to help him out.

To say I am conflicted at this point, is an understatement. Of course I would not like to see a Stephen Harper "majority" in action. I suspect he would recreate Harris' Ontario on a grand scale. I lived through that nightmare once, so I do not eagerly anticipate it again, . However, if ever there was an opportunity to point out the sheer stupidity of our system of choosing a government, it is now. A horrible "majority" led by a sociopath like Harper, elected with a vote in the low 30s, might, just might, shake enough of our elite opinion makers to the point that electoral reform may make a comeback.
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Good Ad

But, it creeps me out the way Layton says NEW Democrats, as if to suggest that they might be new Democrats

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Rebranding The President

Harper today:
Harper is "a minivan-driving hockey dad from the suburbs" and "the most middle class prime minister this country has ever had," the aide said.
Harper two years ago:
On a visit to Niagara Falls, where Harper spoke to the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario at the Brock Plaza Hotel Thursday, staff stood outside, watching Harper's motorcade, noting the size of the convoy and comparing it to that of previous prime ministers. Pierre Trudeau, one recalled, going back to the '80s, arrived in Niagara Falls with two or three cars and the same number of police cars. Harper, according to a photographer, had with him six limousines and a van, four police cars and 15 or more motorcycle police.

Parliament Hill observers say Harper's motorcade has increased in size, with more SUVs and more armed officers. "There's no doubt since he came to office we've seen these black Suburbans with SWAT team people," says a Member of Parliament who spoke off the record. "The good thing about these Suburbans is they have back doors that open and have a guy sitting at the back looking out and they're high and can see over other vehicles." (The SUVs he's speaking of are V8 Chevrolet Tahoes.)
Ya, he is so real.
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Note To All And Sundry

My vote is up for grabs. The first party to pledge, in writing, that they will bring in PR, based on the Canada Law Commission model, wins my vote. The pledge must also make it clear that there will be no further consultations, studies, or referenda and it must be done within six months of taking office. These are my terms. If they are not met by any party by October 14, I may just take a pass this time. Signed, a fed up voter.

Update: I know I sound like a crank, but I don't think I can face another election about nothing.
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The Hits Just Keep On Coming

Given the economic circumstances, "it's a crazy time for the country to take risks," he (Harper) said.
Then why risk your government in an election a year ahead of time?
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Or Maybe This One?

What is the Kyoto accord? We understood it was to be about global warming but we do not even say that in the throne speech. We say instead that it is about something much vaguer called climate change. It deals with, not as most Canadians believe, air pollution or controlling smog, but with so-called greenhouse gases, in particular with emissions of CO2, carbon dioxide, the breath of life, the gas used in respiration of plants and animals.
Stephen Harper, In The Commons, October 1, 2002.
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Or Maybe This One?

The first thing the government must do is actively find common ground with the opposition parties to better serve the Canadian population.
Stephen Harper October 6, 2004
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I Wonder If We Will See This Quote In An Ad?

"When I am elected, I will set fixed election dates," Harper said. "There will be no more manipulation of election dates." Toronto Star, November 28, 2003.
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Calm Before

I am gathering my wits (what little wits I have anyway). This is going to be a long and painful election period. I expect the Tories will play it dirtier than the worst fever dreams of that old bastard, Richard Nixon, who is after all, their patron saint. I think the opposition has a chance, but only if they come out swinging and focus their attack on Harper. He is the one pillar in this house of cards. Knock him down and the government is gone. It isn't as if he hasn't given them plenty to work with.
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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Is Sarah Palin The Most Anti-Library Politician In the U.S.?

First it was the story about Frau Palin threatening a librarian with dismissal for not wanting to ban books. Now, I find this in a story about the governor slashing the budget for a home for unwed teens (note the irony). Take a look at the graphic. You will see that that great lover of literature slashed something else, too.
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Oh Sarah

I know Republicans are really excited right now but, the speech was Republican boilerplate. It touched on all of the golden oldies: "support the troops"; "blue state Americans don't die enough for the empire"; besides "only people who live in small towns are real Americans"; "we shouldn't have to depend on foreign oil, we need to make our own"; and "hey, here's an idea, let's cut taxes". Of course Republicans love her. She is a reflection of the Republican movement since Goldwater. There was nothing new in the speech though. The only change she was pitching was a change from George Bush to John McCain. In fact she struck me as a female version of Cheney (both love them some big oil and both have weird mouths). She will appeal to the base, but I sincerely doubt she will win over many independent voters.

Ms. Palin has one habit, that they are going to have to break her of (in my opinion). She has a habit of clenching her jaw after she has made a point. It's as if she is saying. "Ya, I said you mother was a whore. You want to make something out of it?" I can only describe it as a "Cheney mouth". It will appeal to the S&M crowd in the Republican party, but I suspect it will turn off many, many others. Republicans may love a mean VP, but Americans probably don't want another Dick Cheney. One was plenty.

Update: I forgot to mention one other thing. The section about "special needs children" made me sick. Palin said that if elected she would champion their cause. Ya, right. We all know her support will be of the moral kind, the "I feel your pain" kind. Anyone asking for government money to actually help with the health care of these children will be politely (or maybe not so politely, told to go away and reflect on what it means to be an American).

Update: I realize that this will confirm my membership in the "Eastern Elites", but I think Gail Colins watched the same speech I did:
Reform Day was, of course, tailor-made for Palin, who is all about reform. Particularly, reforming the Republican party. Normally, in a democracy, the way you reform a party is by tossing it out of power until it learns its lesson and gets its act together. But the McCain-Palin plan is to reform Republicanism by keeping Republicans in control of the White House and most of the powerful posts in the federal government. That’ll show them.
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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Dennis Perrin Speaks

It's as if he is looking into a magic mirror and can see Canadian politics as it is practiced by Liberals and Conservatives without any distortion:
Over the past days, I've reached for various masks that hang on my office wall, then submerged myself into character while touring a number of liblog comments sections. It's not pretty. There are some truly twisted mindsets claiming to be "liberal," or worse "progressive." Even mildly broaching the idea that perhaps, just maybe, Obama/Biden is not the fix that is needed, that it is more of the same, only with tin halos and false smiles, will get you slammed. The Ticket will not be questioned, not in any serious way. The Republicans and the Republicans alone are the source of all evil in this land. Every tired retort is repeatedly aired -- McCainiac, Naderite, racist, sexist, etc. You know the script. Facts don't matter. Refuting their falsehoods, meaningless. We have entered the religious phase of the campaign, and only those embracing the faith may speak without being slimed. If it wasn't for PETA, I suspect that snake-waving would be part of the ceremony, provided that the snakes were registered Dems, of course.
Substitute Liberal for Democrat and Conservative for Republican and it is completely applicable here (or will be as soon as Harper drops the bomb).
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Just One Thing About Sarah Palin

May I suggest to those who think that the fact that Sarah Palin's daughter is pregnant is important, that it is, in fact unimportant. The way the Palins have handled the situation is exactly how one would hope evangelical Christian parents would handle it. They have accepted the facts and their child with love and the daughter is getting married. Now, whether you agree with that solution in this day and age is another thing, but they are acting as their principles dictate. I am not detecting any hypocrisy at all. So let's get back to policy differences and leave the personal lives of politicians alone.

Update: I would like Sarah Palin to explain her position on Alaskan independence, for example.

Update: Yes, it does look like Mr. Palin was a member of the Alaska Independence Party until as lately as 2002. Sarah Palin sent the AIP a video of support to their 2008 convention.

These things raise some interesting questions. Is Mr. Palin still sympathetic to Alaskan independence? As the wife in a deeply committed Christian marriage, does Mrs Palin submit to her husband's political views as commanded by St. Paul in Ephesians 5: 22-24? Does her video to this year's AIP convention show the good judgment required of someone aspiring to become Vice President?
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Monday, September 01, 2008

Where Are Our Insect Overlords When We Need Them?

I realize there are some of you out there who think I have lost my marbles. Who can blame you? But, read this section from Aaron Wherry, today and see if you can say that the world hasn't turned into a giant piece of absurdest performance art:
On this, a word from the Prime Minister. Or at least his spokesman, who was quickly dispatched to offer the government’s perspective on that nail, who had hammered it and into whose coffin it was driven.

What followed was a bellyache for the ages. Mr. Dion, we were told, had refused to promise that the Liberal opposition would capitulate to the government on every vote from now until October 2009. What’s more, we learned, Mr. Dion had even refused to state exactly when and under what conditions the Liberals might vote against the Conservative side. Parliament, the PM’s man mourned, had grown too partisan to be of any further use and these “uncertain economic times”—a phrase the government side is quite fond of these days—demand assured certainty.

Never mind the Prime Minister’s publicly spoken expectation that an election will only to another of these minority governments. And never mind the business of that fixed election date the Prime Minister was once so keen on honouring.

So an election then?

“The fixed election date law provides for this exact situation. Mr. Dion may not understand what that law is,” the PM’s man said. “If Mr. Dion wanted to avoid an election date, if he wanted to respect the spirit of the fixed election date law, he would give some assurance that the government could survive.”

At this, my tape recorder seemed to pick up an audible laugh from someone in the crowd.

The TV correspondent was soon back in front of the camera. “It’s on really for sure now,” he said.
All that's missing is John Cleese and a laugh track. I ask you, am I insane or has the world gone sideways? These people are leading our country. You either have to laugh or kill yourself and I choose mirth. There may be some hysteria mixed in for good fun, but what can you do?

Update: Oh, here is John Cleese now.

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