Tuesday, December 30, 2008

You've Come A Long Way Baby

The Republican Party has come a long way since Earl Butz uttered these famous words in 1976:
"The only thing the coloreds are looking for in life are tight p - - - - , loose shoes and a warm place to s - - -."
Such a statement would be unthinkable today. Afterall it was delivered in private to a few others. What a primative time the 1970's were. Unlike yesteryear, when only a select few could share in the laughter, today's Republicans use modern technology to help spread the racism around. Way to go boys! The Republican Party means progress!
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Why I Fight

Needless to say, the Bush administration offers a spectacular example of non-goo-gooism. But the Bushies didn’t have to worry about governing well and honestly. Even when they failed on the job (as they so often did), they could claim that very failure as vindication of their anti-government ideology, a demonstration that the public sector can’t do anything right.
Anti-government governing must, must, must be sent to the ash heap of history. It is on the back of the truck now and hopefully the new driver knows the way. With any luck, the Canadian Conservative Party will become the libertarian equivalent to the Albanian communists -- sad holdovers of a failed and false ideology.
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Israel, Gaza And Peace

Just a note to Warren Kinsella. Even modern and multicultural democracies make mistakes (have you been following Canadian politics in the last two months?). Using F-16's as a means of solving your problems with a neighbor, is a mistake (just as firing rockets at a neighbor known to use F-16's is completely insane). The peace process is the way forward. It is the only way forward. Now, back to the seasonal delights.
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mr. Ignatieff Ponders

Michael Ignatieff is troubled by his party's governing record.
The party, he said, needs to look hard at why Liberal governments have difficulty delivering on their best intentions, such as ideas for helping native people and building infrastructure.
There is no mystery here. The Liberal Party is composed of two groups, one that cares about such issues and another that actually runs Liberal governments. There is a disconnect between the two groups and the only thing that keeps them together is the "promise" by the governors that "someday" the wishes of the progressive wing will be realized. That that day keeps receding in the distance, is of little consequence to the governors, as long as the progressives keep voting Liberal. Because as we all know, voting Liberal is the most important thing.
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Friday, December 26, 2008

National Intimidation State

First, we have the case of a town in Quebec, losing funding for their anniversary party because they voted the wrong way. Now we have the story of a Jewish centre for disabled children being threatened. Why? Because it dared to invite Michael Ignatieff to a party:
Georganne Burke, who works for the Minister of State Gary Goodyear within Industry Canada, also insinuated that having Ignatieff at the ceremony could pose a problem for the school, according to event organizer Gary Gladstone.

"I am advising you that Georganne Burke called me this evening at about 10:30 pm (on Sunday) enraged, advising me for the benefit of the Jewish community the menorah lighting should be cancelled," Gladstone wrote in an email obtained by CTV News.

"(Burke) further went on to say that she felt it would do serious damage to Zareinu to have the event there," he said in the email.
When we get to the point in this country when, after hearing such tales, our inclination is to say "Thank God I live in Tory riding", we are screwed. Proroguing parliament made us look like we lived in a Third World country. This trend only confirms it.
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Monday, December 22, 2008

Position Seven, Mister Slave

Petting and slapping at the same time, Prime Minister Harper practices his own peculiar brand of S&M politics.

From the press release announcing the dumping (but only temporarily -- really) of the government's own vetting process for Supreme Court Justices:
The Prime Minister personally consulted with the new Leader of the Opposition prior to making Justice Cromwell’s appointment official. The Official Opposition has informed the Government that it welcomes Justice Cromwell’s appointment.
From the press release announcing that the Puffster has gone to heaven:
"If Senate vacancies are to be filled … they should be filled by the government that Canadians elected rather than by a coalition that no one voted for."
Both press releases were sent out today.
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bad Time To Be Poor

Since I am snowbound anyway, let's take another stroll down memory lane. This one comes from the second greatest Canadian band ever. It was written during the Mike Harris years (co-staring Jim Flaherty) and it is as true today as it was then. Hopefully the Harper years are the just death rattle of Thatcherism and really soon we will return to some semblance of civilization.

Update:It's a bad time to be poor.
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For everyone stuck at the Pearson.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I Have Two Words For The Banks

And they aren't "Merry Christmas". More proof that these blood sucking bastards are completely divorced from reality. These vampires are lucky the peasants aren't at their doors with pitchforks and torches.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Note To Michael Ignatieff

Macleans is suggesting that you are eying a new dance partner. I would suggest you read this first. He only wants you for your vote Mike and he won't call you the next day. I only say these things because I care.
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Spin The Wheel Steve

Well, the PM has changed his mind again. First, the downturn was "a good buying opportunity" and now it "could be" a depression. Does anyone else get the sense that Steveo is not a "steady hand" at the wheel of the ship (maybe the kind of "steady hand possessed by Edward Smith?--ed.)? Meanwhile "sources" have told the Globe that Flaherty is safe because he "is compliant with the Prime Minister's wishes." Does that fill anyone with confidence?
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Monday, December 15, 2008

Say What

In sum, there's a point I wanted to make: an Opposition coalition does, indeed, exist. Principally, it's the coalition calling itself the Liberal Party of Canada.
I guess Warren won't be coming to the "First Annual Coalition Christmas Clambake".
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Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Like Paul On The Road To Damascus?

Wells has seen the light:
One rough division of labour here at Maclean’s has long held that Colleague Coyne advocated for electoral reform, whereas I didn’t care. Those days are over. Part of the recent crisis was due to the way our electoral system affords the Bloc Quebecois far more space than the other parties are willing to afford it legitimacy. If we don’t think a separatist party has as much right as the others to determine who keeps or loses power, then it makes no sense to hang onto an electoral system whose many insanities include its tendency to give the Bloc more seats than its share of votes. I will be looking for a mainstream party that credibly and seriously advocates major electoral reform, to bring our Parliament more closely into alignment with the voters’ wishes.
Despite the mess we are in politically, I count this as a good day.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Harper On The National

Well, I watched "Sweater Strategy II: The Humaning" on the National last night. Harper was all warm and fuzzy and "let's get together for the good of Canada". Blech. Sorry, I threw up in my mouth a little. His eyes though, could not hide the seething anger at being challenged by the "conspiracy". He will do what he can to get Ignatieff to dump the coalition and then he will dispatch Ignatieff. It was as clear as the smirk on his face.
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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Way I Am Feeling Right Now

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Dear Liberals

Thanks for expediting the leadership. Now all I ask is that your leader take a clear stand on the future of the coalition (and letting Jim Karygiannis speak to the media does not count). Thanks.

Update: I am not suggesting that Iggy have a news conference (In fact that would be a stupid strategy). However, I think Layton has a right to know how the Liberals are going to jump. After all, how Iggy handles his relationships with the other leaders may determine his own fate in a possible minority situation of his own.

Bonus Food For Thought Update: The fact that Andrew Potter is writing endless screeds promoting the idea that the coalition would destroy the Liberal party, should tell the Liberals that a coalition might be the way to go.
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Monday, December 08, 2008

Christie Blatchford

Should go back to writing love letters to soldiers. Her understanding of minority government is as bad as her latest crush's, Stephen Harper. Embarassing.

Update: Favorite quote:
In my simple mind it went like this: If this was something Mr. Harper believed in doing, then why was doing it so wrong? Wasn't that why he wanted to win, to try stuff he wanted to try? And didn't we all sort of understand that the guy who won the election probably would try to bring in his ideas?
Simple mind? You said it, Christie. Can you count to 155, Christie? Neither can Steve.
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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Dear Liberals

Get your act together. If you want to continue the coalition, fine. If you have a better way to get the economy on track and want to make a separate deal with el presidente, fine (I won't be happy, but hey that is the nature of parliamentary democracy). Either way, make up your freaking minds and fast. Your coalition partner deserves that much consideration, at least.

Late Sunday Update: I doubt it had anything to do with my whining, but it looks like the Liberals are about to make their leadership race a sprint rather than a marathon. It may or may not have an impact on the coalition. That is for Liberals to decide. I am just glad they seem ("seem" is the operative word at this point) to be getting it together.
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Friday, December 05, 2008

Great Minds, etc.

Calgary Grit today:
So I do think passing a Conservative budget that adopts many of the principles the coalition has been advocating, while not an ideal situation, wouldn't be a horrible result. I really hope that the Liberals and NDP vote against it, and that it passes with the support of the evil separatists. If nothing else, that would be an embarrassment to Harper and, more importantly, I would find it really funny.
Me, in the comments over at Ben The Tiger's place the other day:
I think the coalition should vote against the budget and the Bloc should vote for it.
As CG says it would be amusing and I think a noble act, as the final gesture of the coalition, to make Harper look the fool he is.

Update: Although, CG if you are reading this, Harper will probably announce that if one of the other parties does not support him he will go the the GG for dissolution. I know that sounds insane, but this is Harper. He wants the opposition on its knees praying to him. So, if the coalition does want to do something like that, they had better keep quiet about it.
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Quoted Without Comment

From Firedoglake after Joe Lieberman's non-sacking:
No matter what Joe Lieberman does, the people who are protecting him hate you [the left] much more than they hate him.
Iggy supporter, Warren Kinsella, on Bob Rae's effort to keep the coalition alive:
Some people just are a lot more comfortable about governing with the NDP than others.
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This Break

May allow Canadians to judge the efficacy of waiting (Harper's preferred option) to stimulate the economy. Of course, in two months, Harper will have spent untold millions on ads saying that he would have stimulated the economy sooner, if not for the power grab by the opposition. The fact that this is a lie, will not deter Harper in the least. Oh, and I am sure that if a major event happens, like say the bankruptcy of a car company, happens during the break when recalling parliament is almost impossible, will be blamed on the "socialists and separatists" too. If nothing else, the Harperites are very good for the advertising and broadcasting industries.
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What To Do Now?

I am sure that question is being asked all over Ottawa this morning. The public really, really doesn't understand minority government and quite frankly doesn't care to try. All people want is for politicians to get their act together and "do something". The problem is, no one in the other parties can work with Harper. The man simply cannot be trusted. On the other hand, the government is getting huge numbers as a result of this week and if you don't think Harper will use them to squeeze the other parties, you haven't been paying attention. So, to sum up, the country is in a panic, and the government is being run by an incompetent psychopath, who is being challenged by men who make incompetent psychopathology look palatable. We Canadians are well and truly, screwed.

Update: And pardon me, but if the Liberals think that trying to pretend they already have a new leader, will not work. It won't fool anyone and makes the real head of the coalition look weaker and more incompetent than he already does.
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Thursday, December 04, 2008

We're Doomed

Paul Wells is depressing the hell out of me. I think because there is more than a little truth in what he is writing today:
I hope I have made it clear since the summer that I have come to believe Stephen Harper is turning into a really bad prime minister. He is incoherent, vicious and unserious. His fall update was idiocy on stilts, and when he sent his transport minister out two days later to disown the work of his finance minister, nobody in the country blinked because nobody in the country takes what this government does as a government seriously.

All the opposition had to do was come up with a better alternative. They have failed. This is a depressing moment in our nation’s politics.

Update: In retrospect the coalition may have come one election too late.
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Like A Rapist Asking For A Hug

A senior goverment official speaking on background said Canadians should expect to see Harper using the break to ask the opposition parties for their specific proposals for the economy.
I bet the boys in the PMO had a good laugh over that quote.
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Just Because I was Right About Prorogation

Doesn't mean I have to be happy about it. Mme. Jean was perfectly within her right to prorogue parliament. I am obviously unhappy she did so, but I believe in our system and I can live with her, in my opinion, bad decision. I think she has done two things today. First, I think she has set a terrible precedent. Now, anytime a prime minister gets in a jam, he or she will have Mme Jean's decision to cite as a get out of jail free card. Second, in this particular case, I think Mme. Jean has saved Harper's bacon, at least temporarily. I may be wrong, but I don't think so.

The Tories will lay the wood on the Liberals for the next six weeks and then they will find some way (as they always do) to get around voting on the Throne Speech to present a budget first. Have no doubt, this budget will be so thick with pork fat that it will take a week to dig through it. Harper will then turn his piggy features toward the Liberals and say, "Defeat me and I will get my election. Count on it." Given the state of the parties, I suspect the coalition will fall apart.

As for the country, it is much, much worse shape than it was a week ago. Our parliament is toxic, our PM thinks nothing of pitting one province against another and the economy is in turmoil. A real leader would have avoided all of this. Harper, sadly, is a master manipulator and a consummate liar, but he is not a leader.
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Harper Having An Impact

The lead editorial headline in Le Devoir this morning: "Harper, le pyromane" (Harper the Pyromaniac). Meanwhile in BC and keeping on the theme of fire. It seems someone burned NDP Nathan Cullen's sign down the night before last. It is time for the firebug in chief to take his matches and go home.

Update: I ran the Le Devoir editorial through Google translate. It is always an adventure, but the translator did a fairly good job. Read it yourself. See for yourself the damage Harper is doing to our country. It is time for him to go.

Harper the pyromaniac

Since the threat to overthrow the Harper government by a coalition NDP-PLC with the support of the Bloc Quebecois, Conservatives all ministers, including representatives of Quebec and the prime minister, adopt a very aggressive towards those that 'so-called "separatists". Behind these attacks appears to light so far retained a disregard of the former Canadian Alliance against the legitimate and democratic aspirations of French-speaking Quebec.

The frustration is such in the Conservative government that all shots are allowed to win the favor of public opinion in Canada and Britain. Both in their advertising that House members Conservatives have lost all sense of restraint, at the same time accusing the Liberals of betraying their country and the Bloc of betraying their ideals. It emerges from the conservative approach of pure fragrance of hatred against cursed "séparatisss" who choose the Quebec before that of Canada as a nation to protect their culture and identity.

When Conservative MPs and the Prime Minister rose in the House to accuse the PLC-NDP coalition to hand over its fate in the hands of a party that seeks only to destroy Canada, they make a triple fault: first d 'ignore the constructive contribution of the Bloc for democratic debate that took place in Ottawa for more than eighteen years and then not to recognize that all federalist parties, including the Conservative Party, have already signed formal agreements and informal with the Bloc in the interest of parliamentary work and finally, that the presence of the Bloc in Ottawa is also legitimate and respectable than any other member.

During his first term at the helm of a minority government, Stephen Harper has tried to forget about the radicals he had held in the past against Quebec nationalists. To listen since the beginning of this crisis of credibility that overwhelms his government about to be overthrown in four days or four weeks, these efforts have been buried under a torrent of spite because that gives millions of Quebecers do not having served a term majority on a silver platter.

The Conservatives have already forgotten that they have elected a handful of members in Quebec during the last two elections, while the Bloc won a majority of seats? That Quebecers have elected members of the Bloc instead of Conservative MPs, it is not a coincidence that they felt in their hearts and conscience that this party was better placed to defend their interests within the federation. However, the Bloc has not received the mandate to make independence in Ottawa and its support for the coalition does not particularly that goal. In fact, anyone who contributes the most to raise the passions and destructive ire of French at the moment is Stephen Harper and not Gilles Duceppe!

What happens past few days in the Commons confirms the negative interpretation from the economic statement last week. Whoever came during the last election campaign as a man of openness is emerging as a vengeful politician, and since Tuesday, the head of a party of arsonists. This climate, this is neither the Bloc nor the NDP or the Liberals who are responsible, but the very man who, heading a minority government, should have exercised restraint, openness and trial at this time of crisis in the country: Stephen Harper.
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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Reaction To Harper's Commercial

Shorter Stephen Harper: There I was, minding my own business, when these three guys decided, for no reason, to gang up on me. AND ONE OF THEM WAS A GOD DAMN SEPARATIST!
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Speaking of Coups

Coyne is calling for one in the Liberal Party. It doesn't seem to bother him much, either.
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Where We Are Today

After yesterday's performance in the House by the PM, I would say we are past the point of no return. I can see no way out but to play this right to the end, now. However, this is going to be ugly and people should not underestimate how ugly it could get. Harper has essentially signaled to the opposition that he may lose, but he is more than willing to leave the "victors" a politically radioactive lump to govern. Meanwhile Iggy supporter, Warren Kinsella, has gone to ground. If I was a tea leaf reader, I would say that is not a good sign.

Update: Peter Russell, a man for whom I have a high regard, has a reasoned analysis of our parliamentary system and the situation in which we find ourselves. Sadly, his reason will be lost amid arguments over flag placement.

Update 2 Ok, he is back. I can breathe again.
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Quote Of The Day

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel -- Samuel Johnson

Johnson didn't know how right he was.
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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

When The Vulcan Chess Master Met Big Blue

Over at Greg Staples place, OC and Greg S. have opined that Jack Layton was plotting against Harper and so no matter what Harper did, it is irrelevant because Layton was out to get him no matter what. I won't bother arguing about whether or not Layton was out to replace Harper, because I suspect it is true. Imagine a politician from one party plotting to replace the leader of another. What I do take issue with is the idea that Harper could have done anything and it wouldn't have mattered. There, I strongly disagree. Because without Harper and his disastrous, ridiculously clumsy, economic statement, Layton would be a man with a plot and not an about to be cabinet minister.

Harper, in his hubris, kicked the opposition once too often, going after the unions, women and (especially in the Liberal Party's case) the existence of the parties themselves. Without the economic statement's completely boneheaded partisanship, the Liberals would have found a way to support Harper. After all, they are broke and basically between leaders. It took as special brand of anger to get them to agree to follow Jack Layton into a constitutional gray zone. That anger was supplied to them by Stephen Harper. So, as I said to Greg and OC, Layton may have set the charge on this bomb, but Harper could have sidestepped it easily. But he didn't. Instead, he decided it would be fun to light the fuse.
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Speaking Only For Myself

Aside from that unpleasantness about Quebec separating, I think "Prime Minister Duceppe" would be much better in the job than the current occupant. Come on, be honest, having watched his performance both in the House and in debates, you think so too, don't you?
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News Item

Prime Minister Harper slagged Peter MacKay during Question Period, yesterday:
When we are talking about why people should have confidence, why should anybody have confidence in the leader of a party who would agree to fold his own party into another party, and to deal with the separatists in order to get the power the voters denied him at the ballot box?
Harsh and I think calling all Reformists "separatists" is a little over the top too.
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Monday, December 01, 2008

Where Now?

My money is still on prorogation. Desperate people do desperate things and these guys are wetting themselves. I suspect if their private polls find that a majority of Canadians a) don't know what prorogation is and/or b) do not mind a government in power for two weeks taking another two months off, the Tories will pull the plug.

Tuesday Update: John at Dymaxion World raises an interesting point.
Mike Duffy raised the issue of the government running out of money unless the Parliament votes on new money bills soon.
I admit, I hadn't thought of this, although I suspect it wouldn't bother some on the government side much. You can be sure the minions in the PMO are checking every corner of the known universe for some obscure rule, not used since the 13th century, that allows the King to raise money without Parliament's consent.
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Harper Wanted Layton To Be PM In 2004

According to Pierre Poilievre:
Poilievre rejected suggestions by the NDP that its co-operation with the Bloc was no different than what Conservatives did in 2004. At the time, opposition parties wrote then-Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson noting she could be asked to dissolve Parliament should the Commons defeat the Liberal minority government.

"We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation," says the Sept. 9, 2004, letter signed by Harper, Duceppe and Layton.

"We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise, this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority."

Poilievre said the situation is not the same.

"The word 'coalition' never appeared," he said. "It never suggested in the letter that … then opposition leader Harper would become prime minister.

"All it said is that opposition leaders who represent the majority of the House should be consulted before the dissolution of Parliament.

"You can look through all the records, and you will find that Stephen Harper has never even … remotely entertained a coalition with the BQ. " (emphasis mine)
So, if the Tories never wanted a coalition with the Bloc and Harper did not want to be PM, the only logical conclusion is the Harper wanted Layton to become PM in 2004. Who knew?
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Mystery Solved

Via Democratic Space the identity of the Tory Taper has been revealed. To say that the NDP "provided" the Tory Taper with the information required to join the conference call is a stretch to say the least.
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Why Now?

I will break this down so that Conservatives can understand why they are on the verge of falling. The times, dear Conservatives, call for a Conservative Obama. What we got was Richard Nixon.
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Sunday, November 30, 2008

It Looks Like It Is On

CBC is saying it is a deal. I wonder if the two parties will sit together in the Commons tomorrow? Exciting times.
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Most Sensible Line Of The Day

From Paul Wells post:
Some Liberals say the NDP will not accept Bob Rae as PM. I spoke to an NDP negotiator who said the party does not care who serves as PM. “The Liberal leader will be PM. The Liberals get to decide who their leader is.”
My feelings exactly.
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Rogue Government

Yesterday morning, in comments to a Paul Wells post, I innocently asked "Paul is prorogation at the end of next week, out of the question?". I asked simply as a mental exercise. I asked myself, what is the slimiest, most cowardly way that the government could put off a day of reckoning until conditions might be better for them?

Think about it. If Harper prorogues, he can call parliament back after Obama has taken office and he can act as if none of this unpleasantness ever happened. Harper will come in with a new Throne Speech and a budget chalk full of goodies. Never mind that it will months later than needed and never mind that should something really bad happen between now and then, there will be no parliament to deal with it. It will also push the occupancy date of this government into months rather than weeks, so Harper will be able to whine to the GG that an "established" government is being threatened by a cabal of opposition parties and damn it, only an election can solve it.

To a sociopath like our PM and his minions in the PMO, it sounds like a "clever" plan. I put the thought aside though, because not even Steve, would do something that wantonly destructive to the parliament and politics of the country during an economic crisis. Apparently I was wrong to think so. Again. With Steve, a man without a moral compass of any kind, anything, anything is possible. If he gets away with this, the only tool left in his bag, would be to call out the army. But he wouldn't do that, would he?

Sunday Update To Another Story: Also, yesterday evening I suggested that perhaps this government could survive if Harper walked the plank and the Tories put in someone like Jim Prentice in his place. Apparently, someone was listening. Tip of the hat to Blogging if necessary, but not necessarily blogging.
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Saturday, November 29, 2008

F.U. Do Over?

News item:
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty scheduled an announcement on Sunday as the government sought to persuade the country it was combating the economic slowdown, the CBC reported.
I wonder what Flaherty will say? "Gee, I was just kidding about cutting spending. Really, look here let me throw some money at these homeless guys. See, we're serious! Don't vote us out, Steve will kill me!" It is a possibility. Or, Flaherty could try to hold the line and feed the base. With this government, the only thing you can say for sure is, they won't be thinking of the country's best interest. We will either have a thrown together snow job or a rock-ribbed Republican hootenanny. Just more games from a bunch that just can't seem to grow up.
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Tories Throwing Meat To The Wolves

The wolves seem unimpressed. Really, seriously, about the only thing that might appease the opposition at this point is Harper's personal resignation. Anything less than that and I think the conclusion is forgone.
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Tory Drinking Game

Every time you hear one of these talking points over the next week, take a drink.
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Line Of The Day

From Aaron Wherry in MacLeans:
As his spokesman explained to reporters beforehand, the government will simply prevent the opposition from moving forward with its confidence motion on Monday. Apparently they can do that. Canadian democracy is wonderfully flexible that way. Though not flexible enough, mind you, to tolerate a coalition government comprised of three parties representing more than 60% of voters.
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Time For A Change

Robopundit gets it right. The tactical genius is to blame for this mess. It would be good for the country and for his party, if he went back to the private sector. Prime Minister Jim Prentice might be able to save this government, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not.
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Friday, November 28, 2008

If You Remember Just One Thing During The Next Week

Remember this. The Liberals, NDP and the Bloc represent a majority of voters in this country and they have a majority of the seats in the House. Stephen Harper is the head of a party that represents a minority in both categories. Stephen Harper likes to pretend that this is not true, but he will, much to his dismay, discover this is the truth during the coming days.
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Games, The Games

I had hoped that the greatest economic crisis in 70 years would be enough to focus the mind of this government. I was obviously silly to hold that hope. I thought, "Surely, they will put aside the silly games they so love, for the good of the country?" What a fool I am sometimes. To Conservatives, I am sick of games. I am sick of "the game". For the love of God, will you just govern? If you aren't interested in the job, then for all of our sakes, please resign, enmasse and let someone else do the job. There is no shame in admitting you haven't a clue how to do the work for which you were elected. There is only shame in playing silly games while the country is sinking into economic despair.

Friday Update:Wells feels the same way, but says it so much better.
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Ok One Thing

Note to opposition parties and their friends on the nets. Do not bite on the cuts to party subsidies. Go after the government on its passivity during the economic equivalent of Armageddon. That is all.

Update: Btw, it occurs to me that do this will only ensure that the Liberals will simply abolish the rest of the financing rules, if and when they regain power. Nice one Steve.

Update 2:Best take of the day. I love the way he outlines the cooperative efforts of governments and opposition parties around the world and then turns his eyes to Ottawa. The bush league Bushies are in for a world o hurt.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nothing To Say

Canadian politics will be consumed with deficits and the Liberal civil war for the foreseeable future. I have nothing to say about either issue other than I support both. I am trying to take a more positive attitude toward life (since cynicism has only made me miserable), so I may not have much to contribute to the blogosphere for a while. I will drop by other sites to leave comments and I may write here from time to time, but I think the blog-intensive part of my life is on the wane.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gee, This Sounds Familiar

Oh "progressives", will you never get a clue?
This on a day when one anonymous Democratic aide bragged to Chris Cilizza that letting Joe Lieberman keep his chairmanship would mean: "The left has been foiled again. They can rant and rage but they still do not put the fear into folks to actually change their votes. Their influence would be in question." It's odd that Buchanan shows more respect for the left than leading Democrats do. The Lieberman decision is an abomination, and Obama and the Democrats may well regret it. Buchanan is no friend of the left, obviously, but he's an old-time pol who understands the importance of keeping the base happy. Too many Democrats seem to think the first thing they should do when they get power is display contempt for their base.
Of course, "progressives" in the U.S. have an excuse, they don't have many voting alternatives. Canadian "progressives" on the other hand, just keep getting kicked in the nuts and come back for more.
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Funk Will Save The World

The meltdown in the world economy, Stephen Harper, and God the Liberals, always with the Liberals. Is the constant flow of bad to apocalyptic news getting you down? Never mind. The groove is in the heart.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008


From the great minds think alike department. Conservatives in Canada and conservatives in the U.S. are eyeing the furniture and pricing the silver, in a desperate attempt to meet the rent, or so the story goes. Really, this is nothing more than more of the same, from the same geniuses that gave us the 100 year deal for the 407.
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Friday, November 14, 2008

Least Surprising Headline Of The Week

What's next, "Sun Rises Today, Will Again Tomorrow Scientists Predict"?

Instant update: Will Stephen be the lone spoiler at all international meetings from now on? Will the international community care, if the U.S. changes course?
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What Obama Should Do And What He Will Be Up Against

J.K. Galbraith, writing about another crash (1987) and other era of deregulation and crazy supply-side economics, outlines what needs doing and the consequences:
The rush to increase taxes, still uncertain as to result was unquestionably unwise in the immediate aftermath of the 1987 crash. But, in the longer run, if we are to avoid what may perhaps be called the Mexicanization of the American economy, there must be strong steps away from past fiscal policy. Taxes must be raised, one hopes on those best able to pay. This will close the budget deficit, resist inflation, allow interest rates to remain low. Low interest rates, in turn, will encourage capital investment and improvement of capital plant and avoid upward pressure on the dollar. From these steps will come our best hope for narrowing the deficit in our international trade.

Such action is not pleasant -- both higher taxes and a lower dollar address adversely the standard of living. The latter can be protected to some extent by a more rational policy on military expenditure -- a sensible response in an age of nuclear overkill. But no one can suppose that from years of aberrant economic policy there is any completely agreeable escape. Those who warned against past aberration should not now be expected to come up with a perfect solution for adverse results. And those who urged the aberration will not do so. Economic, like alcoholic, excess has its inescapable aftermath. (The Great Crash 1929 from the Introduction)
The solutions to this crash are probably obvious to all. Short term stimulus, followed by prolonged long term tax hikes and government cutbacks (since it is unlikely that military spending will come down any time soon). Whether Obama has the will and the American people the stomach for this is very, very much in question. After all, Americans have for years been told that they can have government services without paying for them and become rich by trading bits of paper to each other. I don't envy Obama one little bit.
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Shorter Friedman: Since we all know foreign policy is merely an extension of personality politics, foreigners who hated the invasion of Iraq because they hated Bush, should now embrace Iraq, since they like Obama.
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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Sanity Returns?

Let's hope this is true. It would be good to think our PM is neither so reckless, nor stupid as to create a phony confrontation a month after a $300 million election. My guess is the government did some polling and found out if they did approach the coming session with that attitude and were defeated in the House, they would get slaughtered in an election. People are scared. Really scared. Especially in Ontario and Quebec. This recession is going to be bad. The very last thing people want their government to be doing is playing silly buggers with the opposition. This government and this governing party have a serious problem with the idea of governing. As Rachel Maddow observed on Colbert the other night, why hire someone who doesn't believe in the job in the first place? The Conservatives have to dispel the idea that they don't believe in government.

The people of Canada have given Harper and his crew one more chance to prove that they are not ideological ass clowns. One more chance to prove that they understand government actually has a role to play. If they do not have the ability to adjust, they will get tossed onto the sidelines like their ideological inspirations in the south.

The signal sent in the Globe article is a positive one. I just hope it sticks.
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Friday, November 07, 2008

Viva La Revolucion!

Never fear Republicans, you have your own Che Guevara and he heading to the hills to begin the fight anew. Republicans, because they are more into permanent revolution than actually governing, are brilliant at pivoting into insurgency mode, whenever voters toss them to the curb. Viva!
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From The Department Of Useless Statistics

David Brooks (although I have heard other conservatives blather on about this too as they try to discourage any change in governing philosophy) writes today: Only 17 percent of Americans trust the government to do the right thing most or all of the time, according to an October New York Times/CBS News poll. Gee, I wonder why? Maybe this number will change if they have a government, that you know, believes in government.
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Thursday, November 06, 2008

The First Taste Is Free, Mr. President

Harper is wasting no time trying to corrupt the Obama regime. It is trying to convince the new government that the oil sands are a good way to ensure America has a secure source of energy. "Never mind the pollution Mr. President-elect" says the snake in his ear, "the oil sands are so sands are soo easy, soo secure. What's the harm in a little more carbon in the atmosphere, eh? In the long run we are dead anyway." All I can say to Obama is, beware. This is the same group that tried to defeat you during the election by leaking private and erroneous information. They are bush league Bushites and cannot be trusted.
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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

To The Neighbours

Congratulations to the American people on the successful conclusion of their election. Even to a cynic like me, it is inspirational to see people so motivated to take political action. Senator Obama's message resonates beyond the borders of America. His message touches on the founding Tory ideals of Canada. Peace, order and good government are as Canadian as it gets and they are Obama's watchwords. Americans need a good Tory government right now, after eight years of radical experiments, both at home and abroad. Here is hoping our neighbours get what they need.

As a sidelight, I agree with the prevailing sentiment this morning that the election of Obama is an amazing event. To think that a bi-racial American was elected, given the history of America, is mind-blowing. As a Canadian, it is hard to imagine us confronting our own history in the same way and electing, say, a Metis Prime Minister. Just when you think America is finished, Americans go and do something unexpected, gutsy and great. Thanks for that.
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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Saturday, November 01, 2008


One last screw up from an incompetent and crooked administration? I report, you decide. Ask yourself, who benefits from a leak of this kind just before an election where both race and immigration are subterranean issues?
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Not That I Think This Is Wrong, But

I think it is kind of rich for the Wall Street Journal to suddenly embrace "bipartisanship". The best line is this one:
Put simply, as Peggy Noonan said on this page last Saturday, 43%, the absolute minimum expected size of the Republican vote, isn't nothing. It would be a profound mistake to underestimate the desire of the electorate for bipartisanship, conciliation and a centrist approach to problem-solving.
Funny, I don't remember them telling George Bush to take the 49.99 percent of the vote of 2000 (of Gore and Nader) into consideration when making policy. The prospect of losing power does some damned odd things, neh?
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My Take On Obama

This is pretty close to how I perceive Obama. Obama is a Tory in the old sense. He would have fit right in with the old, WASPY, Progressive Conservatives. He has the same sense of "don't change if you don't have to", combined with noblesse oblige present in Toryism (not to be confused with Harper Republicanism). If he is elected, the lefties in the United States are in for a shock (except Dennis Perrin who sees things pretty clearly). This guy is not, not, not, one of them.
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The Party Is Over

What happens when you take an iconic commercial and bring it up to date? You get one of the best political videos I have ever seen.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Heck With Obama And McCain

I want to know who is taking over for David Tennant!!!! James, if you are reading this, call Dan K. He is probably out on a ledge somewhere.
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Obama And Timing

Linguistics professor Deborah Tannen reacting to the Obama speech, points out something I hadn't considered:
It was brilliant to end the half hour magazine-show style presentation by moving to a live closing. Realizing the show was suddenly live sent a jolt of electricity through the room in which I was watching; everyone sat up and gasped.

The live ending reflected back on the prior half hour: here was Obama, looking and sounding exactly as he did in the produced segment, and this was real, so what came before must haven been real, too. It also sent a very eloquent metamessage: that Obama could time the closing of his talk to tens of thousands of people so perfectly and seamlessly, gave the impression of control, discipline, and breathtaking competence that are exactly what is needed in a leader, especially now.
It was a subliminal message to a nation still angry at the incompetence of the Bush administration. Interesting.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Like To Make A Hand Relief

This is great only because I get to see Borat once again.

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What's That?

Why, it looks like another middle finger to Ontario. I wonder what all those new Ontario Conservative MP's are doing now, since they have obviously had their balls removed?
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Monday, October 27, 2008

The Ultimate Consequence Of Anti-Government Governing

Roger Cohen in the NY Times, today:
It’s now clear that our credit system the world over was rotten all the way through, a giant house of cards maintained by the ingenious connivance of banks, rating agencies and insurance companies in a monumental heist. The only buyers anyone trusts any more are governments.

No wonder Alan Greenspan says he’s in a state of “shocked disbelief.” He’s not the only one.
This is what happens when you leave capitalists solely to their own devices. Imagine spreading this philosophy to other sectors like for example, food processing. Oops, we don't have to imagine. We have already done that.
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Shorter David Frum

Yes, Republicans destroyed the economy and looted the treasury, but you need to elect Republicans to keep the Democrats from doing the same thing, or worse, stopping us from doing it again, in the future.
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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Biddy, Biddy, Bop

And for those few of you who are wondering what that music is that Ron Howard is using in the background.... It is "Cantaloop" by Us 3.

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Opie, Andy , Richie And The Fonz For Obama

Much cooler than Jon Voight, Stephen Baldwin, and James Woods.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Deficits As Sin

The Globe and Mail has an editorial today, decrying deficit spending. It reads like a sermon on the evils of drink from the early 20th century. The parsons who control the editorial boards in this country had better get one thing straight, we are in a world of trouble and the last thing governments need to do is stop spending. If the Great Depression taught us anything, it was that during times of economic contraction, the worst course of action is to exacerbate the contraction through government spending cuts. It may make the editorial boards of our papers feel good by making balanced budgets somehow more virtuous, but it bears no relation to the realities we are facing. If we are to get through these next few years with as little pain as we can manage, everyone -- governments, opposition parties, the public, and the press -- is going to have to realize issue of balanced budgets is not one of virtue versus sin. It is simply a rational decision to minimize the damage caused by a lack of private sector spending. Browbeating governments into making the situation worse may make us feel better in the very short term, but it is a position that will come back to bite us, and sooner than we think.
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Random Factoid Of The Day

Income inequality and poverty rates skyrocketed under the "progressive" rule of the Liberal Party of Canada. A grateful nation must surely have rewarded their good work.
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Monday, October 20, 2008

Dion Non-Post

What the Liberals and Mr. Dion do about the leadership that party, is strictly none of my business.
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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Toronto Star: Still A Bad Paper

The Toronto Star, every day, is showing that it is not a voice for progressive politics in this country. It is in fact the voice of racism, the voice of fear, the voice of the smug few who run this country for the narrow interests of money and greed. After backing the ill conceived campaign of a tired and moribund federal Liberal party, and seeing that campaign crash and burn in utter failure, the Star is in a fighting mood. Is it fighting against the Conservative Party? No. Is it fighting the bankers on Bay Street? No. It is fighting the idea that the way we elect our parliament is unjust and undemocratic.

This morning readers of the Star were "treated" to an editorial entitled "PR: Still A Bad Idea". For those of you who are from outside of Ontario, you should know that the Toronto Star and its writers were the propaganda shock troops for the anti-reform forces, during the referendum on electoral reform last year. Now, having witnessed yet again, the undemocratic nature of our electoral system and worried that people might start to get ideas about changing things, they have sprung back into action. The editorial begins:
Last week's election results have prompted renewed calls for a change in our system to "proportional representation," or PR, as it's known.

An electoral system used in many European countries, proportional representation allocates seats in Parliament according to the share of the popular vote attained by each party. Thus, the Conservatives, with 38 per cent of the popular vote in last week's election, would have just 117 seats, not 143. The Liberals would have 81 seats, up from 76, and the New Democrats, 57, up from 37, while the Bloc Québécois would fall from 50 seats to 28. As for the Greens, who were shut out last week despite winning 7 per cent of the vote, they would get 23 seats.
All of this is true. Even the Star, which can stretch the truth to beyond the breaking point, can't deny this and so they don't even try to deny the fact that the Greens were skunked. They can't defend against the truth, so they acknowledge it and then ignore it completely.

In the eyes of the electoral reformers, this would mean that the Liberals, New Democrats and Greens – with 161 seats among them, a bare majority – could get together in a coalition to topple Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives and form a government.

Overlooked in this analysis is the potential for the Liberals, NDP and Bloc to forge an anti-Conservative coalition under our existing system. The same factors that are preventing that from happening today – some in opposition dislike the other parties more than they do Harper's Conservatives – could work against a coalition forming under proportional representation.
Note the neat little bait and switch. They are saying that the Bloc and the Greens are interchangeable parties for purposes of coalition building. Only someone who was either ignorant of Canadian political history or trying to build a case for a lie would make that claim.

The last section of the editorial is where things really get odious.
Furthermore, the analysis is backward looking – transposing last week's results onto a new system. In all likelihood, if Canada had a system of proportional representation, the outcome would be very different, given the demographical and geographical diversity of the country. The pro-life Christian Heritage Party, for example, might win enough votes to get seats. And new parties might emerge to win seats – say, an Alberta First party or even ethnic parties.

So Harper might be kept in power by entering a coalition with pro-life and Alberta First parties. Now that, indeed, is a scary prospect. (emphasis mine)
This is the tack the Liberal Party and its allies took during the last provincial election. When in doubt, raise the ethnic vote as the nuclear weapon of public discourse. Maybe "ethnic parties"? What does that mean? Are the Ukranians going to rise up and vote as block? How about the Irish? No, it is pretty clear here and elsewhere that the Star and its allies are talking about ethics of a darker persuasion, who might go to mosques rather than churches. This kind of race baiting is the lowest of the low and the Star should apologize immediately. The authors of this piece of crap need to come out into the open and explain what they mean and why they are using racism as a means to block democratic reform in Canada.
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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ah, The Modern Republican Party

It just seems to have an endless supply of Palin clones, ready and willing to go out and say the craziest things possible into the nearest microphone.

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Saturday Reading

Paul Krugman's introduction to the new edition of Keynes' General Theory. Bonus points if you go out and get this too.
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Friday, October 17, 2008

Overthrowing Ideology And Gotchaism

If Krugman is right (and hey, the guy just won a Nobel), we are going to have to spend more government money to get us out of the mess the private sector has gotten us into. This means the Harperites are going to have to spend money they don't have and the rest of us are going to have to not carp about deficits. The worst thing the NDP and Liberals can do at this moment is complain about government spending. This will only serve to reinforce the Conservatives' ideological fall back position that government spending is evil and must be kept small at all costs. If this happens, the pain being felt by Canadians will be more prolonged and severe than it needs to be. Our politicians on all sides had better think before they speak over the coming months. We are entering times when the welfare of the Canadian people should trump partisan advantage. I doubt our politicians are up to the challenge, but they need to give it their best shot.
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

One Bit Of Good News

Remember Sharon Smith, the Conservatives go-to girl in Nathan Cullen's riding? Well, Sharon lost to Nathen Cullen in the election. I love it when justice is done. Heckofajob Sharon!
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Testify Brother! Oh Wait, Something Shiny

Ed Broadbent writes passionately about our failed democracy. The MSM yawns and asks "Isn't there a Liberal leadership thingee we can obsess over?"
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Could It Be People Thought They Were Wasting Their Time?

People are lamenting, once again, a low voter turnout. For me, it is sad, but not a surprise. People a) didn't like the choices offered to them and b) thought that their vote would be wasted because our electoral system is rigged against representation by popular vote. The fact is we have a government elected with about 12% less than a majority of the popular vote. This government will behave pretty much as the last one did, by using a combination of intimidation and obstruction. The prime minister will not listen to anyone but himself, so no change there. Is it any wonder people stayed home? I am amazed anyone showed up at all.
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Story Of Election 2008

Progressives who insist on casting their lot with the Liberals, please take note. The story of this election was the flight of Liberal voters not to the NDP, but to the Conservatives. Think about that for a while.
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The Other Election

Is taking a rather odd turn. Libertarians are endorsing Obama. In other news. Dogs are marrying cats.
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As Inevitable As The Sunrise

The Star has not one, but two, editorial page exhortations for people to vote. The writers of neither piece can understand why people aren't honored go out and vote. Well, let me explain.

People might not be so thrilled in participating in an exercise where the outcome will be a government with the support of well less than 40% of the population. They, unlike the writers of the Star's editorial page, know that any system that gives us a government where 2/3 of the votes are ignored, is not democratic in any sense of that word. Perhaps those who choose not to vote are sick and tired of wasting their time participating in a process they know from the outset is rigged against them? Hectoring people about their democratic responsibilities does nothing to fix the fatal flaws in the way we choose governments. Only electoral reform, which the Toronto Star sleazily opposed in Ontario to the benefit of its political masters, can fix what ails this country. If you want people to participate in democracy, you must first give them democracy.

I have outlined the reason why I will vote and it has nothing to do with democracy. With me, it is purely a cash donation to the party of my choice. If others choose not to vote, it is because our system is a failure, not because they have no democratic impulse. The editorial writers of the Star should be ashamed to defend this farce as democratic.
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Monday, October 13, 2008


No matter how tomorrow turns out, Canadians will be the losers. We will, once again, be governed by a single party with far, far less than majority support among voters. Canadians will be told to accept this as a legitimate expression of "democracy", rather than as a fluke of vote splitting, created by a deeply undemocratic voting system. Frankly, I have seriously considered not voting this time, because I don't live in a swing riding and my vote will not change the outcome of this election in any way. However, I will go out an vote, simply because to do so will help fund the party of my choice.

People who read this blog regularly, will not be surprised that I have decided to vote NDP. It does somewhat surprise me. There are things about Jack Layton that make me cringe, but given the alternative programs of the other parties, I think the NDP is the superior party to have in power during this coming economic crisis.

Harper has made it clear that he will cut government programs rather than go into deficit (which has a distinct 1930 ring to it) and Dion has made it clear that all his promises are up for grabs, except the Green Shift. I simply don't trust either of them to put the interests of middle and lower class Canadians ahead of those of their friends in the oil patch and Bay Street. So, for whatever it is worth, since as I have explained, my vote is pretty much meaningless, I will cast it for Cindy Jacobson.
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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ok, Now I Understand

Why the voices calling for strategic voting are getting so strident. Nanos knows too.
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Strategic Voting: The Rant

Paul Wells, in a comment to this posting wrote:
There’s nothing particularly wrong with Ti-Guy’s support for Greens staying Green. Nor is there nothing particularly wrong with Bridget wanting the anti-Conservative vote to rally around one flag (although it’s always, always a Liberal flag, isn’t it?). (emphasis mine)
That's my problem with calls for strategic voting. Whenever I see one of these urgent pleas to "stop Harper", there is almost never, ever, a statement that all parties are equally against the Harper agenda. No, they are almost always like this:
A vote for the Green or the NDP (most ridings in Ontario) is a vote for Harper’s policies and an endorsement of his actions over the past 2 1/2 years. Progressive Canadians should support Dion - come on people - he is probably the most left leaning Liberal leader that we have ever had! He is Liberal in name - what is a rose - would is smell as sweet by any other name???? Canadians on the centre left are too hung up on partisan politics. What about Dion the man and his platform offends the rest of the left?? We can have a greener, fairer and richer Canada. VOTE FOR CANADA - VOTE LIBERAL!!!!
Hysterical, factually incorrect and mindlessly pro-Liberal. Now that is excusable because, Bridget probably is a Liberal and is advancing what she sees as Liberal intersts, but how about Elizabeth May?

Yesterday the Star wrote this:
May made the statement yesterday after acknowledging that some Green candidates have expressed concern about vote splitting that could result in Tory victories.

"It's up to our local candidates to decide in a close riding whether they feel their participation is likely to elect a Conservative or not. I'm not weighing in on that. But in the vast, vast majority of ridings in this country, voting Green is clearly the right thing to do," she said in an interview last night.

May acknowledged that her refusal to call on all Canadians to vote Green has caused her grief in the party. But May said she has always made clear she puts principle before partisanship, and that a Liberal government would be better for the environment than a Tory one.
Again, given the record of the past Liberal government, this is factually incorrect. But May, the leader of a supposedly separate party, makes the claim anyway. And why does she not also endorse the NDP, for example, if she is going to throw her support somewhere? Isn't the NDP a pro-green party,in the broad sense? It would make sense, west of the lakehead, to endorse the NDP, but she doesn't. Why? Because May's intention and those of her ilk, is not to stop Harper, but elect Liberals, which are two entirely different agendas. They are trying to do covertly and with fear, what the Liberal Party cannot do with its own program and leadership -- get people to vote Liberal. It is sneaky and dishonest, and doesn't address our real problem.

Our real problem is not that people are voting "the wrong way". Our problem is that we have an electoral system that is so screwed up that people's voting intentions are totally lost in vote splitting. Let's fix the real problem and let "solutions" like strategic voting die an unlamented death.
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Saturday, October 11, 2008

How Liberal Is The Star? How German Is The Pope?

Star's screaming headline: Tory majority possible: poll. Is there any doubt that Operation Scare The Shit Out Of The Dippers (Version 2008), is getting close to a climax? The only thing missing is exclamation marks and pictures of Nazis running wild in the streets.
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Good Ad To Finish A Well Run Campaign

It is simple and it puts its point across graphically.
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Mr. Emerson, Your Senate Seat Is Waiting

From today's Globe and Mail:
On Friday, Mr. Harper would not rule out appointing an unelected person into his cabinet.
The writer of the article thinks it's about Quebec, but I think it all about getting the only half-sentient cabinet minister Harper had, back in cabinet. Just because a guy is two-faced and can't pass the democracy test, that's not a bar. It's a requirement.
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This Is Interesting

Not for the headline, which is completely misleading given the survey, but for the seat model:
The Ontario survey of 1,060 voters shows the Tories at 37 per cent support, a two-per-cent hike over 2006. The Liberals are supported by 32 per cent – a drop of eight percentage points from the last election - while the NDP is backed by 20 per cent – the same as last time. The Green Party is up six per cent to 11 per cent, although its supporters are softer than those of the other parties and have previously moved away from the party come election day.
When put through a seat model, the Tories could gain up to 10 seats and the NDP seven. The Liberals would lose 17 seats.
So, let's get this straight. The Tories go up 2 percent and can gain 10 seats. The NDP stays the same and may gain 7 seats. The Liberals are down 8 and may lose 17 seats, all because the Greens are up 6 percent and stand to gain zero seats. Got to love the "logic" of FPTP.
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Friday, October 10, 2008

I Am Not Saying I Believe Them, But...

If these numbers are right, the first past the post system is going to have a real workout. The outcome of the election will be in the splits. How nuts is that?

Update: Plugging in these numbers into the Hill & Knowlton seat projector, I get these numbers at the end.

CPC 111
Liberal 89
NDP 54
Bloc 54

Who says Canada is boring?
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News Flash

Don Martin has a satori moment. I congratulate Mr. Martin on his achievement. He now sees Stephen Harper as he truly is, without the fetters of delusion.
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Class Warfare

Think the American left is onside with Obama and the bailout? Think again. I have said this before to my Republican friends. Obama is the Paul Martin of American politics and his presidency will be a Paul Martin do over. Hat tip to Excited Delirium.
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Tuesday Can't Come Soon Enough

So I can wash the bad taste out of my mouth. What a steaming pile we have for a "democracy", here.

Sometime next Wednesday morning, a "winner" will be declared. The winning party will have the support of about a third of those benighted souls who actually turn up to vote. The leader of that winning party, will declare that he has a "mandate" to ignore the other two thirds of the voters and the serious journalists will nod their heads sagely and pretend that that isn't a completely insane position to take. Then they will go back to their favorite pastime, handicapping the "horse races" in the various party leadership contests that are "sure" to ensue. Ordinary Canadians, those who still have roofs over their heads, will switch the channel (if they still have TVs), glad that this putrid carnival is over for another 18 months or so. It is often said that people get the government they deserve. I used to believe that, but not anymore. No body deserves this.
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Thursday, October 09, 2008

This Just In

Four months ago, 80 year old Reid Scott announced he was switching from the NDP to the Liberals. That is all.
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Who Will The Globe Endorse?

I bet Jack, Gilles and Elizabeth are all nervous with anticipation. Oops, I guess Gilles has already been eliminated. Well I guess it's down to Jack and Elizabeth, then.

Update: Apparently they went with a dark horse candidate. Someone by the name of Stephen Harper. Now, that is a surprise. Who would have thought the Globe and Mail would go for a Tory?
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Stephane Dion, Progressive Conservative

Presented without comment, from today's Globe and Mail:
Mr. Dion, meanwhile, pledged to work closely with Canadian banks, regulatory agencies, economic experts and the Bank of Canada as part of his “action plan” for the first 30 days of a Liberal government.

But in the same breath, he attacked NDP Leader Jack Layton for proposing “re-regulation” of the Canadian banking system.

“It's not for politicians to direct the banks in Canada; Mr. Layton failed to understand that,” Mr. Dion said. “It's (also) not for ministers to be inept and unable to do anything; Mr. Flaherty failed to understand that.”
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My Name Is Stephane Dion And I Am A Human Shield

For a Prime Minister who is too chicken to face the mess in Afghanistan alone.
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Ballot Question 2

Which party and leader understands the economic situation at the ground level?

My own question. Why is Stephen Harper smiling? He looks positively giddy at the prospect of profiting from people losing their retirement savings.
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Star To Greens: Go Away

Green supporters should get used to this. The Liberal house organ wants you to just f-off and die. Don't you understand that the Liberal party is the best one to defend your interests? After all they did so much while they were in government, right? Welcome to the big leagues guys. You have now become 'bothersome' to the powers that be.

Update: Of course, it would help if the Greens had a leader who didn't agree with the Star.
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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Interview

After watching the PM's interview with Mansbridge last night, I was struck by two things. First, Harper's "plan" (although he danced like crazy when Mansbridge pushed him on it) is to cut government spending, which during a recession/depression is about the stupidest thing a government can do.

Second, Harper is one cold son of a bitch. Mansbridge tried his best to warn him against his own character, but Harper ignored him. He gleefully indicated that there were many good buys to be had due to the crash. Mansbridge looked absolutely horrified, as he should. This is people's life savings going down the toilet and Harper, death's head grin in place, is telling people not to worry because it just means that those not stupid enough to buy high, can now profit from other people's misfortunes. I have been flamed before for saying this, but Harper is not normal. He has absolutely no empathy for other human beings. This is not a guy you want running the country when the economy is in the toilet.
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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Great Schlep

Sarah Silverman is banging (no not Matt Damon this time) the drum for Obama in Florida. She might just be on to something.

The Great Schlep from The Great Schlep on Vimeo.
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Can You Smell The Panic?

The Tories released their platform amid polls suggesting they are losing support in central Canada. Did they stand behind their principles and give the finger to those cheese-eating cultural types, especially in Quebec? They did not. They folded like a cheap umbrella. I suspect it is too little, too late. Duceppe will claim (correctly) that this is a desperate move from a desperate party and that Harper can't be trusted to keep his word (and I am sure Danny Williams is on his speed dial for back up). Flip flopping in the last week is seldom a wise move.
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Kady's Confusion Over Dion's "Plagarism Scandal"

I must admit, I share Kady's confusion:
I have to confess to having suddenly been struck by bout of bepuzzlement over who, exactly, it was who uncovered this “story” in the first place. Was it Steve Janke, or Trusty Tory correspondent Paulsstuff? Although the two posts appeared at roughly the same time — yesterday afternoon — neither appears to have credited the other. Is it possible that the source may have been an unknown third party, who sent along a friendly tip to more than one blogger? The alternative scenario — that Janke and Paulstuff independently, yet virtually simultaneously, stumbled over the same speech, and came to the same conclusions — would seem to be a coincidence so statistically unlikely as to be impossible.
Is it possible Janke and Trusty Tory have cracked the secrets of time travel, and like Hiro and Ando, are right now out, saving the world? Or, could it be that the Tory war room is using the dynamic duo to leak a story so stupid, that they wanted to have some plausible deniability when, not if, this story self-destructed in a blaze of retardedness? Occam's razor will lead you to the right conclusion.
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Good Advice From Gerry Caplan

In today's Globe, Gerry Caplan writes:
If I were Mr. Layton, I'd hammer the deregulation theme to bits. In every area, from Bay Street to food inspection to water inspection, first the Liberals, then the Conservatives, allowed the foxes to take over all the hen-houses. Those chickens have come home to roost, and we don't yet know the political consequences either here or down south.
I think this is really good advice.

Layton's line should be "Where were the other parties when your food was being poisoned? Where they when the banks and Bay Street were practicing all kinds of economic voodoo? And where will they be when the economy falls apart? With their friends on Bay Street, not with you. My friends, both of the old line parties believe regulation is the problem, when we can see tangible proof, with 20 dead citizens and an economy in free fall that regulation is part of the solution. Both the Liberals and Conservatives are wrong and your own eyes and common sense are right. Vote for us and you will elect a party that is on your side, for a change." It is a pretty good line of attack. The question is, will voters believe Layton will be the agent of change they desire?

Update: Interestingly, Liberal Party supporters have a different take. Support the banks y'all. After all, the banks supported the Liberal Party for years.
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Monday, October 06, 2008

Ballot Question

Which party do you trust to get you through a depression? The answer to that question will determine the winner.

Update: Someone close to the PM should tell him that every time he says:
“Let's be clear: the prime minister of Canada isn't going to go around the country predicting a recession when we're not in a recession now,”
voters in central Canada hear: "Alberta is not in a recession, so there is no need to worry." Ontario and Quebec are in bad shape. Just because Alberta's economy is ticking along enough so that "overall", Canada is not technically in recession, does not change that fact. I know it drives Albertans nuts and I am sorry, but the sad fact is, there are more voters in central Canada than Alberta. For the PM to deny the economic reality of the two biggest provinces is stupid politics. The perception here is that he is either divorced from reality or he just doesn't care. Neither perception is a useful one, one week from an election.
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Junior MacKay: When In Doubt, Make Shit Up

Junior is on the defensive over the British Commander's remarks about Afghanistan being unwinnable:
He said Mr. Layton was wrong to interpret Carleton-Smith's opinion as support for the NDP's stance.

“Jack's off base as he is on so many issues,” said Mr. MacKay, who was also in St. John's to shore up support for the Conservatives.

“Mr. Layton's position has been that we should completely capitulate and somehow sit down and talk with the Taliban, which is impossible for the Canadian government to do.”

Mr. MacKay did not say whether he agreed that the war in Afghanistan was not winnable.

But Mr. MacKay said he read Carleton-Smith's remarks in the Sunday Times of London “with great interest” because the British commander supported the Conservative position that the Afghan government must lead any discussions with the Taliban.

However, the newspaper did not quote Brig.-Gen. Carleton-Smith saying that.
Of course the newspaper did not quote Carlton-Smith saying that. Junior is cornered and so is making stuff up on the fly (which, for someone operating on half the normal brain function of a regular person, is not a good practice).
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Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Next Week Is Going To Be Fascinating

A new poll suggests the Conservatives are sliding further away from majority territory while the NDP are closing in on second in the wake of the two leaders debates.
From the Globe and Mail.

Update:For example, expect to see more like this, in the coming days. I almost feel sorry for Liberals. It's like they are living my life, four years ago. Strategic voting is evil and needs to be ended once and for all.

Update 2: My God, the Liberals' internal numbers must be showing free fall, if they are pulling out these old chestnuts. Dion will be calling Layton "Red Jack" by the end of next week.
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Meanwhile In Afghanistan

Things are still going well. Who knows? If things keep going this well, maybe the boys will be home before 2011. I am sure the proposed "dictatorship" solution, has some appeal to our ruler.
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Harper's New Bag

Stephen Harper has found a new way to piss me off and I am not entirely sure if it isn't intentional. You see, Steve has imported another American cultural artifact -- the flag pin. Just like his now largely abandoned "God Bless Canada" benediction, the flag pin is another cheap, dime store political prop, beloved by Republicans and their culture warriors.

When I said I couldn't be sure it wasn't an intentional one finger salute to me and other left-wing Canadian nationalists, I mean it. This could be just an unconscious aping of a foreign political culture. This could merely be a case of Harper's complete lack of imagination. He could be so devoid of wit that he has to import political symbolism from somewhere else, rather than creating his own. That is possible, but I doubt it. Instead, I think Harper (and the frat boys who surround him) gets off on rubbing our noses in the fact that he is a proud Americanist. I am sure he and his pals are sniggering at the latest way they can make "lefties' heads explode". Well done. Bravo.

Update: A few others have noticed this new fashion statement.

Update 2: Where our politics is headed.

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Salutin Tells The Truth

And the crickets chirp. Look, over there, a shiny thing! Canadians deserve better, but our elites like things just as they are, thanks.
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Friday Morning Quarterback

The morning after the night before. Harper muddied the waters (ie lied his ass off)enough to survive. He threw out statistics and programs out at random, without context, in order to give an appearance that his government is actually governing (which is in fact, the last thing it wants to do). Albertans should be proud of him. He defends their interests very, very well. On the other hand, he seemed quite indifferent to Ontario and Quebec's problems. Telling unemployed people to be patient while the economy changes is a charming theory, but for someone paying a mortgage, it is a bit too "Ivory Towerish" (and I think Layton scored some points for that Volvo plant in Goderich example). For someone trying to present himself as Joe Everyman, it seems an elementary mistake he could have avoided.

The others were about how you would expect. Dion was earnest, but difficult to fathom. He tried his best but when he got excited his english deteriorated quickly. Layton was strong in some ways, in command of his platform and his critique of Harper. On the other hand, he still has this thing about him. The only way I can describe it is by quoting the Simpsons. He "reeks of effort". He distances himself from the viewers by looking like he is trying too hard. It is hard to describe, but it is offputting. Maybe it's just me. I doubt he hurt himself with last night's performance.

Duceppe looked kind of bored last night. I continue to agree with most everything he says. If he could just get past that whole separatist thing, he would make a fine leader of the NDP.

May was great. She didn't take any guff from Harper. However, there were times (especially when she went off on the Green Shift) that she sounded like an ancillary Liberal leader. Ironically, her performance may cost the Liberals some seats, something she has said she would feel badly about. I think her worst fears are going to come true.

Overall, I think it was a good discussion. I wouldn't call it a debate. Harper didn't alienate his base, so he will still have around 33 to 36 percent of the vote. The rest of the parties will divide up the rest, probably more evenly than in previous elections. The magic of the FPTP system is about to be on display for everyone to see.
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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Pre-Game Silliness

I think the debates are cool and all, but the leaders are just sitting around a table and frankly they all are dreary white guys (except of course for Ms. May). They need some kind of gimmick to jazz up the experience for the viewer. So as they are introduced, I thought they could each have some theme music. Something that says something about them.

For Gilles Duceppe:

For Stephane Dion:

For Jack Layton:

For Elizabeth May:

For Stephen Harper:

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