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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Another Day

Another "Bimbo Erruption" from the Tory base. H/T to CC.
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The Poor Little Guy Who Holds All The Power (And Rules Like A King)

That is the name of Harper's forthcoming book. Not really, but it should be. It is hard to believe the guy is still playing the underdog after ruling for three years. I mean, he must have mentioned the fact that he didn't have as much fun as he wanted to, because they were all against him, about 3 or 4 times post debate. But hey, if the media is going to go along with that spin, why not, it has worked for the Republicans for 40 years. You just can't pay for headlines like Rivals Gang Up On Harper. His supporters will eat it with a spoon and my great aunt will feel sorry for poor, poor, Mr. Harper.

As for myself, I thought Dion will win the approval of the pundit class with his performance (at least in English Canada), Layton did fine, but the pundits hate him anyway so he will be judged a loser, Duceppe was his usual self, leaving me wishing he was a member of the NDP and May was cute as a button (I know, you are not supposed to say that, but she has this twinkle, you know?) and I agreed with her assessment that Harper was a fraud.

Update: It looks like Kinsella and I watched the same debate.
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