Monday, August 31, 2009

Then And Now

"(Calling an election) is a decision that belongs to me, that's true ... I will choose a good moment." Stephane Dion, July 2008
"We're going to have a good discussion, and we'll make a decision when it suits us," Michael Ignatieff, August 2009
Aside from Iggy's use of the "royal voice", one statement is virtually indistinguishable from the other. Hat tip to Warren Kinsella.
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Quote Of The Day: Blindingly Obvious Edition

From the sage of the Sunday Star, Angelo Persichilli:
The problem for Ignatieff is not that he doesn't have ideas. Rather, I believe his problem is that his ideas to cope with the economic crisis, aside from some partisan packaging, are the same as those of Harper's government.
What can one add to such an insight?
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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ya Know

I probably should have planned my trip to the Fan Expo before last night. Still, had a great time in T.O. today with my sons.

Sunday Update: It sounds like Dan had a similar experience, but he, at least, got in. Ours wasn't a totally wasted trip, I introduced my younger son to the joys of Bakka Phoenix Books (number one son has been before). He came away with a really nice Phillip K. Dick collection.
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If I Was Steve, I'd Be Worried Too

News item: ‘God's verdict' outranks history's, PM says

Steve says:
“To be honest with you, I am a lot more concerned by God's verdict regarding my life than the one of historians,” the Prime Minister said with a laugh, according to the article.
No doubt it was a nervous laugh, because I am certain our dear leader has read what Jesus has to say on how judgment day will be run:
Matthew 25:31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
I wonder if Steve whispers Omar Khadr, Suaad Hagi Mohamud, and Abousfian Abdelrazik's names, in his sleep?
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Friday, August 28, 2009

Rome On The Rideau?

I must say, I have been waiting for Coyne to arise from his slumber and smite the loons in Ottawa. I have not been disappointed. Never get in the bad books of a libertarian with a pen. He writes, on the occasion of Harper's latest Senate appointments :
I suppose you can mount some sort of chess-playing rationale for Harper’s latest descent: he had to appoint somebody — might as well be people whose loyalty he can depend upon; with a majority in the Senate as early as next year, he’ll be in a better position to pass Senate reform; if he’d appointed respectable, upstanding pillars-of-the-community types, the kind with cross-party support, he’d simply be rehabilitating the status quo. So you see, by appointing egregious partisan hacks, he’s actually still a reformer.
But if that’s his strategy, why be so timid about it? Why not appoint his horse? Or convicted criminals? Colin Thatcher to the Senate!(emphasis mine)
Mr. Coyne, is of course, referring to the infamous incident in which the mad Emperor Caligula named his favorite horse as a Senator. I think it an apt comparison, although I think it does do a bit of an injustice to Caligula.
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Come On In

Ok, screw politics. As most of my friends are aware, I am a geek. So, imagine my squeals of delight upon reading this story. Summer Glau, Alexis Denisof, Jamie Bamber and Michael frak'n Hogan! The only one missing from the list is David Tennant and it would put it past Joss to find a part for him, too. Dollhouse is turning into the place to be for all fanboys. I can't wait for season 2. I just can't wait.
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Doer To Washington?

All I can say is, if he does jump, it will be the most disappointed I have been in a politician since Stephen Lewis went to work for Mulroney. Maybe even more so. Mulroney was dodgy, but at least he was on the right side of apartheid. Harper is another story. No self-respecting social democrat should get close to that mouldering pile of diseased filth. You never know what might jump off it and bite you in the ass.

Update:Well, he has jumped. Enjoy eating someone else's shit for a living, Gary.

Update: You know what burns me about this more than anything else? It is pushing me further along the path of thinking that all of our politicians are interchangeable parts in the giant, corporate, machine. No one believes in anything anymore, other than keeping that goddamn machine oiled and in working order is the highest goal. Fuck.
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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Could Have Knocked Over With A Feather

I didn't know that Dr. Dawg was an NDP blog. I guess, to Liberals, all leftists look alike.
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Oh, Now I Get It

No wonder Liberals were making a big deal about Layton going to see Harper. They think if they can get a few of their interns to walk behind Layton with a sign, we won't read the story in the Star, in which they (YET AGAIN) signal to Harper that he has a clear field for a good while yet. As Warren Kinsella says. I smell a dirty deal! WWPETD?! Wankers.

Update: Money quote:
"You can't push the election button every time . . . I think that is irresponsible."
The eternal cry of the Liberal Party. "We think it is irresponsible to have an election, unless we think we are going to win. In which case, no one had better stand in our way, or we will be cross!" Christ, what wankers.
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What's Wrong With Our Politics...

In one small paragraph. By the inimmitable Norman Spector:
Many Canadians no doubt think that our country would have been better off had he [Harper] fallen on his sword before now. Others, and I’m in that group, think we’re better off with Conservative hacks, flacks and bagmen, and not just Liberals, sitting in a Senate that should be but is impossible to abolish and that is virtually impossible to reform.
Translation: We haven't tried to abolish the Senate, but it must be too hard, right? So, let's pack the place with our hacks, instead. Why should the Liberals be the only ones to wallow?

And people wonder why Canadians are tuning out our political betters?
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Senator Doug Finley

Yet another argument in favor of abolishing the Senate. Suey, suey!
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Liberals Leave Reality Based Community

Socialist-loving newspaper, the Globe and Mail has this headline this morning: Layton Sees No Reason To Back PM.

I have no idea whether, in the end, Layton will make a deal to avoid an election. Jack and I are not on speaking terms. But, if Harper suddenly decides that socialism is his true calling and renounces and undoes all he has done over the last three years, then Jack should definitely give it a look. I won't hold my breath though.

I will say this, it is hilarious to see Liberals up in arms over the merest suggestion that the NDP will make a deal with Harper, after all the Liberals have done to prop him up for three years. Liberal partisans even go so far as to insult NDP voters by using Tommy Douglas in their propaganda. This is the same Tommy Douglas who once said that Liberals have a wishbone where they ought to have a backbone. Some things never change. The Liberals are the last group on earth who should give anyone lectures about taking stands, since you have to have experience in the topic before teaching anyone else.

Instant Update:Meanwhile the Tories are spinning their own conspiracy theories:
“The meeting was cordial. But it's also clear to us that the NDP want to work with the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois. I think that Mr. Layton asked for the meeting so he can pretend he's not working with his coalition partners, but the reality is that he is.”
Jack Layton must be the greatest political mastermind since Machiavelli. Or, he has the looniest opponents, ever.
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Question Of The Day

Will someone please explain to me which one is the Liberal, Tim Powers or Rob Silver? From their writing it is impossible for me to tell.
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Wheelin' And Dealin'

Warren smells a dirty deal. He may be right, but not I suspect, with Layton. As a side note, I wonder if Warren had a hand in the mini-parade following Layton around? I suspect not. Why give the fourth party the satisfaction of knowing you might be worried about them? Warren strikes me as being too smart to give anything away.

Update: Now that we know there was no deal, how long will it be before a Liberal affects boredom with the whole thing and claims that it was just another case of Layton trying to get attention? Not long is my guess.

Update 2: I guess I was wrong. I guess Warren won't let reality get in the way of an entertaining fiction. He is having his own "keep the government's hands off my medicare" moment.
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Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Agony Of The American Left: A Lesson

It is instructive following Ian Welsh's documentation of the disillusionment of the American left, about Obama(even though people like Ian did warn them). Obama is just acting like any Canadian Liberal would if placed in the same situation. Indeed, Obama's campaign was a proto-typical Liberal campaign -- he used meaningless platitudes like "hope" to sucker the "progressives" into projecting their lefty hearts' desires onto him. Then once the election is over, Obama thanked them very much and then ruled according to the wishes of the corporations that own the country.

Leftists in Canada should take this as a warning. Never get into bed with Liberals (and that includes third way New Democrats). They will use you for their own gain and then dump your sorry ass to the curb when it suits them.

Update: "Progressives" should tuck this away for future reference. Whenever Iggy and the boys begin singing Kumbaya in the next election (and you just know they will), remember who is conducting the show from the wings. Hint, it aint the progressive wing of the Liberal party.
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Friday, August 21, 2009

When High School Goes To War

This may be one of the most offensive things I have ever read in a newspaper. It was written by an editor at the Globe:
Because of its willingness to bleed and lead, Canada has gained power, influence and stature. All that could disappear
In one sentence, the writer has managed to trivialize our sojourn in Afghanistan. He has turned our sacrifice into a contest for the attention and affection of the "cool kids". That is the justification for a lot of stupid behavior among 16 year olds, but should not be the basis of foreign policy decision-making. This is not a high school and we should not base our decisions on whether it's "what everybody else is doing" and fearing that any step away from the herd will diminish our chance of getting laid by the cheerleaders.
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Oh No!

The Tories are warning that they want a majority this time, or else -- A COALITION WILL PULL THE PLUG ON GRANDMA! Watch the media for pants-shitting, by various anonymous "Liberal officials". We all know it is coming.
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Civil War Is A Comin'

Not between the Democrats and the Republicans, but between the corporate wing of the Democratic Party and its progressive wing. Only in America you say? Pity.

Update: Meanwhile the Martin Government the Obama Administration, is telling everyone to remain calm, they still love Republicans.

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Modern Political Lexicon

Glenn Greenwald lays out the definitions of common political expressions. This is in the context of the U.S., but the same meanings are, I find, quite applicable to Canada.
Lanny Davis is just a face that reflects the grime and sleaze that lies at the core of our political culture. But it's a rather vivid face for what is typically meant by Centrism (i.e., it's shrill and irresponsible to suggest there's anything fundamentally wrong with our political culture); Civility (it's rude and disrespectful to highlight the oozing conflicts of interests and paid whoredom which animate our leading political luminaries); and Bipartisanship (the same narrow set of corporate forces always prevail no matter which party is in "control" by constantly paying those who control those parties). As unpleasant as it is, that's why there's value in casting one's eyes on how Lanny Davis functions.
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A Column About Nothing

Chantal Hebert lays out why the corporate press is so disappointed by the NDP convention:
For a few fleeting days, it almost sounded like the NDP was about to turn itself from the self-appointed conscience of the federal Liberal party into a Liberal franchise in its own right.
That didn't happen (thank God) and our betters are bitter. Yes they are.
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

One Week Harper Is Going Walkabout In A Catholic Mass

And the next thing you know he is calling our northern citizens "People with unwiped bums". Our Prime Minister needs help, badly.
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Don't Call Obama "Mr. Dithers"

Call him "The Waffler".
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Bob Herbert Is Mad

Not mad enough to call Obama a "corporate whore", like someone I know, but mad none the less.
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Laugh Line Of The Day

From the comics at the Toronto Star editorial board:
Now, the NDP has evolved as more of an enabler for the Conservatives, while playing spoiler against the Liberals.
In reply, I refer to Jesus, from Matthew 7:4:
"Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye?
The Liberals have propped up this government for three years, but why should reality get in the way of making a point?
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Who Says The Oligarchy Has No Sense Of Humor?

They are laughing in the face of Parliament, every day.
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Monday, August 17, 2009

Censored By Computer

What an interesting experience, being censored by a computer program. I submitted a comment to MacLeans and it was instantly deleted by the "administrator". Unless the administrator is a speed reader he could not possibly have read my comment. No, this was deletion by "stop word list". I wonder if it was the word "shit" or the word "wanker" that big brother caught and caused my opus to be thrown into the cyber gulag.

To the best of my recollection, my entry read:
Lawrence Martin laments: Young Canadians have scant interest in old-style politics and old-style politicians. As they see it, the boring old guys (BOGs) who run this country offer no hope for real change. So they stay away from the polls and support a party that is seatless.
If only there was a way to elect our members of parliament so that the party young people support wouldn't be seatless. If only old farts like Martin didn't shit on the idea of electoral reform. If only Martin wasn't such a wanker. If only.

There, that wasn't so bad, was it?
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

So Mister Sinister, How Are You Feeling?

A lot better today than Friday. The stupid name change "debate" failed to materialize. May it sink into Halifax harbor, never to be seen again. Peggy Nash is the new President of the NDP and that is great news. All in all, I would say the grass roots of the NDP is where I am on most issues (although I would have supported the pipeline through Ontario). The front office guys still make me nervous, but electing Peggy Nash shows me that NDP members are still have their heads pointed in the right (left?) direction.
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Problem? The Establishment's All-Purpose Solution

From his platform in the Globe, Norm Spector tackles the problem of vote splitting.
Let’s face it: The stronger the Dippers and the more they eat into the Liberal vote, the greater the chances that Stephen Harper and his family will continue to enjoy their chef’s fine food and that great view overlooking the Ottawa River after the next election, notwithstanding the Conservatives being supported by a mere 36 per cent or so of Canadians. Plus he’ll have the power to name senators and judges and fly around the world in his own jet meeting interesting folks like Barack Obama, if not Bono.
That is a humdinger all right. Having a government supported by only 36% of those who bothered to vote, is an outrage in a supposedly modern democracy. I bet you can't wait to hear Spector's solution. I hope it is electoral reform! Let's go see.
It took numb-skulls on the centre-right three consecutive Chrétien victories to figure out that they had to unite their forces if they hoped to form government again. Now, with Michael Ignatieff hugging the centre and playing doppelgänger to Mr. Harper, it’s beginning to look as though it will take dim-wits on the centre-left at least as long to figure out their path to victory. In fact, after striking out on their coalition coup — an embarrassment that you’ll not hear mentioned by the speechifiers at this weekend’s meeting — it might take them even longer.
Doh, it's unite the "left"! Of course. What Canada needs is a two party system, just like the United States. What a fucking brilliant idea. I'm surprised Ian Capstick hasn't written about it.

Instant Update:Oh, and Norm gets the extra special Wanker of the Year award for using the word "coup", in connection with the coalition proposal. In fact, I am thinking of retiring the award, in Norm's honor.
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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ed And Me And The NDP

If the NDP stood for what Ed Broadbent stands for, there would be no question of my support. The question is, is there any party in this country willing to embrace the social democratic principles Broadbent articulates? The bland, centrist mumbling from the "Democrats" would suggest no.
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Friday, August 14, 2009

Wanker Of The Day

Neil Reynolds has some nasty things to say about J.S. Woodsworth and the early CCF. Reynolds implies that Woodsworth was reported to have said some condescending things about ordinary people, during the 1930's:
"The untrained masses," he explained, "are incompetent to pass judgment upon the complicated problems of capitalism."
(perhaps Mr Woodsworth was talking about the grandparents of today's Canadians who believe we elect our Prime Minister directly -- ed.) . Imagine, a person from another era saying something that might seem strange to modern ears? I expect capitalists from the same era were all sunshine and roses? Given the context of the time, Woodsworth was a saint. Mr. Reynolds owes him an apology.
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Ian Capstick Describes The New Democratic Party

And it sounds an awful lot like the Liberal Party.
Democrats in Canada are centrist and leftist socialists, social democrats, unionists and workers, either fiscally conservative or liberal. Democrats believe fundamentally in democracy and the will of people, we believe government does not exist only to be made smaller or, worse, only to “earn” votes in the next election. Democrats can work with people in all political parties to forge compromise and build solutions. Democrats can lead governments.
If the Democratic Party of Canada thinks that class issues are now passé (even going so far as showing "critics on the left" the door), in the midst of a crisis rife with class issues, then the political spectrum of Canada is getting closer and closer to being a monochromatic "choice" between neo-liberalism and neo-liberalism lite. Is this what social democrats in Canada really want?
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When A Vulcan Chess Master Meets An Isotope Crisis

I know we should all be amazed by the lack of urgency and bloodlessness emanating from the Harperites about the shortage of medical isotopes, caused by the shut down of Chalk River. But, I for one have exhausted my supply of amazement. This is just how government works, or rather doesn't work, under 21st century conservatism. In Harper's mind, the government should never have been in the business of producing isotopes in the first place. The fact that it was producing them and there is a problem and he is in charge of the government, in no way contradicts Harper's first principle. So, the response from Harper is a metaphorical shrug of the shoulders. To Harper, the people suffering as a result of the shortage of isotopes, should be thought of as teachable moments. In Harper's mind, they are the result of government involvement in areas where it should not tread, and not something he should do much about. Too bad really, they got sick at a bad time and as a result of their own stupidity for voting Liberal all those years. Now, if only we had private health care and they had the right kind of insurance....
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Robert Reich On Obama's Secret Dealings WIth Big Pharma

I want universal health insurance. And having had a front-row seat in 1994 when Big Pharma and the rest of the health-industry complex went to battle against it, I can tell you firsthand how big and effective the onslaught can be. So I appreciate Big Pharma's support this time around, and I like it that the industry is doing the reverse of what it did last time, and airing ads to persuade the public of the rightness of the White House's effort.

But I also care about democracy, and the deal between Big Pharma and the White House frankly worries me. It's bad enough when industry lobbyists extract concessions from members of Congress, which happens all the time. But when an industry gets secret concessions out of the White House in return for a promise to lend the industry's support to a key piece of legislation, we're in big trouble. That's called extortion: An industry is using its capacity to threaten or prevent legislation as a means of altering that legislation for its own benefit. And it's doing so at the highest reaches of our government, in the office of the president.
Go read the rest. It is important.
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Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Liberal Motto

Warren Kinsella, in an otherwise hilarious entry about the NDP, finished his well-meaning advisory with:
There are many other possibilities for a new name for the NDP. By way of conclusion, we would only echo that old adage: if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. (emphasis mine)
This is certainly true and Mr. Kinsella knows whereof he speaks. That has been the Liberal Motto for well over 100 years. I hope the NDP takes his advice to heart and avoids the same sorry fate as the Liberal Party of Canada.
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Friday, August 07, 2009

Thank God The Recession Is Over

Now we can blame these lazy good-for-nothings for their "condition". Really, if everybody had the sense to go work on Wall Street, we wouldn't be in this mess. These so-called unemployed need to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, just like Wall Street did.
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The Magic Eight Ball Says

Is Barack Obama just another corporate whore, who is willing to sell out the American people, to the corporations that own the country? All signs point to yes. Liberals, they are always so predictable. One wonders why Jack Layton is so anxious to get into bed with the likes of Obama?
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Thursday, August 06, 2009

God Bless Radiohead

And Harry Patch and all his brothers (especially you Grandpa Lou) from the trenches, RIP.

Update: Forgot to mention (duh), that you can download this (and should do so), here. The proceeds go to the Royal British Legion.
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When You Are A Hammer (Or Even A Sack Of Them)

The whole world looks like a nail. That's why tools offer us only limited solutions. Speaking of tools, for Liberals, the solution to any problem, is to become a member of the Liberal Party of Canada.
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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

"Temporary Workers"

Carol Goar in today's Star:
When Canada decided to allow employers facing acute labour shortages to hire temporary foreign workers, seven years ago, no one foresaw where it would lead.
That is complete bullshit. Anyone who says they didn't know, is either lying or didn't bother to do even a cursory investigation into temporary worker programs in other countries. If they had spent about five minutes looking into the history of "guest workers (gastarbeiter)" in Germany, they would have realized that "temporary workers" are almost never temporary. There is an economic imperative to their staying in the country that receives them, both on the part of the workers, who need the money to send home to their impoverished families and the employers, who love the pool of cheap labor. As the system matures, the "temporary workers" who stay illegally, after their visas run out, are under even more economic pressure and are ripe for exploitation. As I say, this has all been seen before in other places and is very well documented.

How do I know? I know because it was the subject of my Master's thesis, written almost thirty years ago. Carol Goar's "we didn't know", is designed to cover Liberal asses in a Liberal newspaper, rather than as a reflection of the reality of what people knew when the program was started.
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Monday, August 03, 2009

Quote Of The Day

From Nobel Award Winning economist, Paul Krugman, talking about Wall Street's relationship with America:
Neither the administration, nor our political system in general, is ready to face up to the fact that we’ve become a society in which the big bucks go to bad actors, a society that lavishly rewards those who make us poorer.
I would say the same about Canada, but add that we are however, a society that is willing to attack working people with sick benefits. Aren't we brave?
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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Obamacare Dissent From The Left

All I can say is, poor America. Like us, they deserve better.

H/t to Galloping Beaver.
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The Oligarchy Speaks

In the form of Angelo Persichilli:
Having said that, let me elaborate on some of the myths that some still believe are the essence of the union movement.

First, unions do not represent the entire working world. They are only interested in defending the wages and benefits of their members, most of the time at the expense of other, non-unionized, workers.

Second, even though they may claim to support the interests of children, students or patients, in reality there always is a demand for better wages or benefits behind almost every dispute.

Third, they live in isolation. Most of the time, their demands are made with no consideration for the conditions of other workers in the same country, not to mention the reality in other parts of the world.

Unfortunately for them, globalization has exposed their idyllic oasis and they refuse to realize that the emperor is naked. That's why they keep asking for benefits like the sick days Miller has just confirmed for them: pay them because they are not sick!
This suggests that Mr. Persichilli believes that unions are bad because they fight for the interests of their members and are not willing to accept the wages and conditions of their Chinese counterparts. This is no surprise to me. The Oligarchs and their mouthpieces have argued for years that we treat the working class too well and them too harshly. Thank God the unions are around so public anger can be redirected away from things like executive compensation reform (which isn't even on the radar in Canada). Otherwise, people might start asking uncomfortable questions, like, why is it that the gap between rich and poor is getting larger, in spite of those evil unions?
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Saturday, August 01, 2009

State Of The Union

David Sirota looks at the health of American democracy and pronounces it terminal. We don't need to worry in Canada though. Our democracy has been dead for about two decades.
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