Tuesday, November 30, 2010

If You Can't Take Winnipeg North

You may as well fold your tent. I bet the next gun control vote will be whipped. Layton, I am sure, will want to thank the NDP provincial government, for closing community police stations in a crime-infested riding. The people of WInnipeg North sent a message and that message is "Smarten up and start acting like a social democratic party again. We can vote for real Liberals if that is all that is on offer."
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Monday, November 29, 2010

Great Moments In Economic Stupidity

How to you solve an unemployment crisis? Why, by freezing the wages of government workers, of course. That will get them spending and creating jobs. Oh, it won't? Never mind.
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The Death Of Outrage

Don't expect too many people to get upset by this, for too long. Since Canadians don't give a shit about handing our own children over for torture, I doubt they will much care if our government is handing over foreign children. They are all the wrong color and belong to the wrong religion, for Canadian tastes, I'm afraid.
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Harper's Method Of Misrule

Step one: Make a decision in secret that will negatively affect Canadians.

Step two: If caught out by the opposition, change the policy, but only if it is easily demonstrable that it affects a key demographic of the Conservative base (see the long form census for a counterexample).

Step three: Blame the bureaucracy and act like you had nothing to do with the policy change in the first place.

Step four: Stand back and watch the MSM print headlines like "Ottawa gives low-income seniors a break", rather than "Conservatives caught trying to screw seniors".

Lather, rinse, repeat.
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Friday, November 26, 2010

Plus Ça Change...

'At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge,' said the gentleman, taking up a pen, 'it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.'

'Are there no prisons?' asked Scrooge.

'Plenty of prisons,' said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

'And the Union workhouses.' demanded Scrooge. 'Are they still in operation?'

'They are. Still,' returned the gentleman,' I wish I could say they were not.'

'The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?' said Scrooge.

'Both very busy, sir.'

'Oh. I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,' said Scrooge. 'I'm very glad to hear it.'

'Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,' returned the gentleman, 'a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?'

'Nothing!' Scrooge replied.

'You wish to be anonymous?'

'I wish to be left alone,' said Scrooge. 'Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned-they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.'

'Many can't go there; and many would rather die.'

'If they would rather die,' said Scrooge, 'they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides-excuse me-I don't know that.'

'But you might know it,' observed the gentleman.

'It's not my business,' Scrooge returned. 'It's enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people's. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen!'
Plus c'est la même chose:
In the Commons, Liberal seniors critic Judy Sgro portrayed the prime minister as the Grinch who stole Christmas.

"This bill was the last hope for these sick, disabled, and dying Canadians. Why is the prime minister so intent on hurting these vulnerable Canadians? How can he be so heartless? " she demanded.

Clement expressed sympathy for the plight of disabled Nortel workers but he pointed out that cutting off disability benefits was part of a court-approved settlement agreed to by all parties. He said trying to retroactively change that settlement by approving Eggleton's bill would result in "endless litigation, to the detriment of all" Nortel employees.

Clement castigated Liberals for trying to give Nortel workers "false hope" and said the government is "working on real solutions" to their plight.

Kennedy was skeptical.

"It's pretty clear to me that Harper and the Conservatives are not supporting this bill," she said. "That wouldn't be so bad if we thought they had another plan, another way to help us, but they've given absolutely no indication of that."
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If Only Caning Was An Available Remedy

Cane all bankers. Cane them, I say:
Before the bank bust, Ireland had little public debt. But with taxpayers suddenly on the hook for gigantic bank losses, even as revenues plunged, the nation’s creditworthiness was put in doubt. So Ireland tried to reassure the markets with a harsh program of spending cuts.

Step back for a minute and think about that. These debts were incurred, not to pay for public programs, but by private wheeler-dealers seeking nothing but their own profit. Yet ordinary Irish citizens are now bearing the burden of those debts.

Or to be more accurate, they’re bearing a burden much larger than the debt — because those spending cuts have caused a severe recession so that in addition to taking on the banks’ debts, the Irish are suffering from plunging incomes and high unemployment.
Then castrate them and send them to prison. They are a plague upon the nations.
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Shorter SIU

Yes, you were beaten by the police at the G20. But, all of the cops were acting like thugs, so we can't identify any single cop to charge. Case dismissed.

Your tax dollars at work, ladies and gentleman. It makes me proud to be Canadian.
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Likud Party

Canadian branch. Harper, once again, cruising for votes in the Florida Republican primary.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Least Surprising Headline Of The Day

Don Cherry wades into partisan politics. And, did you know, Cherry is a Conservative? I think Cherry is a blowhard, but if he wants to campaign for Julian "You can't see me" Fantino, that is his business (as long as he keeps it away from HNIC).
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Great Ideas Watch

Irish edition. What is the solution to the problem of an economy gang-raped by the world's banking community? According to the Irish government, cutting the minimum wage is the way to go. Fucking genius.
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Note To Jeff Simpson

Dear Jeff,

I am happy for your Australian friend. I am glad she was able to afford private health insurance and jump the queue. However, as you yourself point out, Australians complain about wait times in their public system, so your argument about private health care helping to take the pressure off the public system seems, a tad off. The thing is, the resources and staff used in the private system are drained from the public one (unless Australia has perfected cloning technology and are breeding doctors, nurses and technicians in a lab). As usual, any benefit to such a system is reserved for those who have the means to pay more for care. The rest of the population gets the leftovers. So, until you can solve the zero sum problem of public/private medicine, I think I will stick with public only care. Thanks for writing. Greg.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Conservative Distortion Field

Why are the Conservatives bullet proof on the construction scandal? So far the base is shrugging its collective shoulders. Could it be that the Conservatives have successfully convinced its base that anything that happens in Quebec has nothing to do with them. Quebec is full of "The French" and so "Our tribe" is not responsible. If so (and it seems to be so), it is a fascinating study in political compartmentalization (not to mention tribalism).
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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ottawa's Kegger Crowd

Travers today:
In politics it's possible to score points being right and wrong at the same time. Peter MacKay is testing that quirk — and Stephen Harper's patience — with frat-boy antics.
Harper's sole reason for caring about the incident was its target -- him. Otherwise, Ottawa is chock-a-block with "frat-boy-antics", oringinating in the Langevin Building. Harper, in other circumstances, would be as proud of MacKay's "antics", as any fraternity president. That is what Harper is, after all.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

There Is An Old Saying

I just made up: If you have no plans to govern, you might as well just fuck around. That is Harper's moto. This latest move has nothing to do with actual Senate reform (to say nothing of climate change). This is all about sticking it to the opposition, so the braying morons at the Blogging Tories can throw feces around, for a while. The geniuses at the PMO are up to their usual frat-boy stunts. *

*With apologies to frat-boys, who are mature in comparison to the motherfuckers at the PMO.
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Two Things

First, take a look at the picture attached to this article. It portrays Bob Rae as he is, a constipated member of the ruling class. I have never seen such an accurate portrait. Way to go Bob, you have finally made it.

Second, "bi-partisanship" in Canada, just as it does in the U.S., means "giving in to the military industrial complex". This kind of cooperation is approved of and encouraged by the corporate press. "Coalitions", on the other hand, are interpreted as somehow against elite consensus (or at least out of their control) and are therefore discouraged and vilified by the corporate press. So note the use of bi-partisanship in the case of the blue Liberal establishment's backroom deal with the Harperites on Afghanistan. Our owners are pleased with this outcome, praise God.
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Look A Shiny Thing

Well, at least this got Jack Layton to shut up about Afghanistan, for a few minutes. I am sure it is just a coincidence.
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Just Wait Until Next Time

Headline: Leaving Afghanistan in 2014 ‘a goal,’ not a deadline: NATO official. I expect that in 2012, Bob Rae will propose a brilliant new plan to extend our military deployment for another four years, so that our military can have the time to hand out puppies to each and every Afghan child. Prime Minister Harper will thank him and make it so.
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Harper's Friend In Times Of Need

Harper's deal with Satan holds firm. Harper could announce nuclear war with Iceland today and this would still be the lead story. Just where are the crossroads in Ottawa?
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Trial Balloon Alert

The Harperites are throwing smoke bombs everywhere, in an attempt to give cover to their embattled position on our non-leaving of Afghanistan. Their latest smokescreen is a vague promise to "protect the rights of women" in Afghanistan, as part of our new mission. I assume we will protect Afghan women from the right to safe abortions.
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Support The Troops? What A Joke

Talk is cheap, but the fact is, we don't support the troops. Sure, we line the "Highway of Heroes", but that doesn't cost anything but our time. When there is a real cost in tax dollars, our attitude is "Fuck you whiners", we want tax cuts for corporations and fifth generation stealth fighters to ward off an enemy that hasn't existed for twenty years". You think that is harsh? Why do you think the governments in Ottawa and Toronto can get away with cuts to mental health services? Because they can, that's why. As long as Canadians in general and the Tory base in particular is willing to put up with this kind of nonsense and continue to support a government that talks about the troops, but ends up screwing them, then the screwing will continue. But on the bright side, the corporations will be happy as they continue to ship jobs overseas and Peter MacKay sure will look great in a flight suit.
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Everything Old Is New Again

Take up the White Man's burden--
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.

Rudyard Kipling 19th Century Imperialist

"You can't look for quick fixes. You have to realize that these things require extraordinary time and effort. That is just the reality. You can't lose patience and you can't lose hope," Rae said.

"The world cannot afford to have little hidden corners that are festering with violence and conflict that go unmonitored or unassessed."

Bob Rae 21st Century Imperialist
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What Caplan Says

God, I wish I could write as well as he can.
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Friday, November 12, 2010

The Establishment At Prayer

So sayeth the Globe and Mail:
The Canadian government has made the decision to extend this country’s mission in Afghanistan. It will end its combat role and continue, in a more intensive way, to train the Afghan army and police. It is the right decision. Should it be put to Parliament to debate and vote on, as MP Paul Dewar, the New Democratic Party’s foreign affairs critic, says? No. Such a vote is not necessary or helpful.
Ahhhhhmennnnnn! Right then. Nothing to see here. Peasants should just tug their forelocks and move along.
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It's A Stephen Harper/Iggy World

And the rest of us just live in it. No need to bring this to parliament. All Harper needs to extend our stay in Afghanistan, apparently, is buy in from Iggy and Bob Rae and everyone else is expected to jump. Does the rank and file of the Liberal Party agree with the extension? Who cares? Not the leadership of the Liberal Party.
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Blast From The Past

The PM was Mr. Contrite yesterday, when he admitted we are going to keep our children in a meat-grinder for another four years, but I wonder how long that will last? I wonder how long he will keep up the "Gosh, I wish it was different" BS and embrace his inner war lord, once more? When will Taliban Jack be resurrected? I suspect all it will take is one question from Layton, doubting the wisdom of the Dear Leader.
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

One Quibble, Mr. Travers

I agree, on the whole, with your Remembrance Day column, but I take issue with this passage:
Decades after Vimy, the ‘50s Suez peacekeeping solution and five years into a sharp ideological shift, this country had no convincing story to tell. Instead of taking its assumed place in the vanguard of countries finding solutions, Canada is now dismissed as a backslider and obstacle to progress.
There has been no ideological shift in this country. The only shift that has occurred is a shift in votes away from the Liberal Party to the Bloc Quebecois and the Greens. Combine that shift with the "magic" of our retrograde electoral system and voila, Conservative government. So, don't despair, the old Canada is still there. All we need to bring it back is electoral reform, which I hope your newspaper will now support.
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

When Power And Politics Jumped The Shark

Today at about 5:15, when Evan Solomon turned our public broadcaster's flagship show about politics, into a literal gong show.*

*I also would have accepted "Day one" as the correct answer.
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Let Them Eat Bedpans

Tell me again, what is the difference between Liberals and Conservatives?
“Our interest is to ensure the taxpayers aren’t paying any more and they won’t,” he [McGuinty] said in Hamilton.

“We’ve made that commitment already.”

Asked if that means the hospitals might have to close beds or cut other services to make up for the wage settlement, McGuinty said that’s up to them and their workers to figure out.
Nurses are supposed to work for free (and if not, patients must suffer), but bankers can continue to count on Mr. McGuinty and the Liberal/Conservative Party to support their high class lifestyle.
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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Elites At Work

Funny, but I doubt you will ever see this raised as an example of our elites at work, by our political class. That's the thing about our elites, they are masters of misdirection. While we are all howling for the blood of teachers and garbage collectors, they are quietly committing the nation to four more years of wasted resources and squandered lives.

Update: Steve V. postulates that people don't "give a shit' about politics. This is a good example of why that attitude has taken hold. The feeling in the land is that all of the decisions have been made by elite consensus, behind closed doors and our role in our "democracy" has been reduced to that of cheerleaders for various elite "teams". Since there are much better mass entertainments available these days, who can blame Canadians from tuning out? Our participation is not wanted. Our leaders don't give a shit what we think.
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Monday, November 08, 2010

Harper's Foreign Policy

My Israel, Wrong or Wrong.
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Help For The Confused

From today's Globe on statements made by outgoing veteran's ombudsman, Pat Stogran:
Regardless of his future, Mr. Stogran said the government will have to explain what the war was all about to not only families of the dead, but also the wounded who will show up at future Remembrance Day services.
As a public service, here is what the war was about. It was a sop, from Jean Chretien to George W. Bush, because Chretien did not want to send troops into an illegal war in Iraq. Chretien thought by getting the troops posted to Kabul, Canada could point out to the Bushies that Canada was pulling its weight, and thereby keep the U.S border open to trade. This was a fine (but completely cynical) strategy, until the Martin regime overthrew Chretien. Paul Martin, in his usual fashion, dithered his way into moving our troops from the relatively safe Kabul to the meat grinder of Kandahar.

Martin, of course, threw himself under a bus and was replaced by Stephen Harper. Harper, who would have much preferred to have committed our troops to Iraq in the first place, has happily kept our troops in a no win situation (with a great big assist from the Liberals), in Kandahar, for four years.

In summary, the war in Afghanistan was a cynical sop to an ally that was feeling vulnerable and angry (and was quite frankly, driven a bit crazy)after a terrorist attack, in a bid to keep the economy going. You are welcome.
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Pollsters Standing By

Trial balloon alert. Not that they care what I think. What says the over 65, white, exurban/rural, male? That's all that matters.
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Saturday, November 06, 2010

Greg's Real Elite Quiz

Answer the following questions as best you can and score accordingly.

1. Did you attend public schools? (-30)

2. Did you attend private schools? (+30)

3. Do you have an MBA or a law degree? (+50)

4. Do you have a degree in the Arts? (-50)

6. Does your job title contain either "finance" or "international"? (+100) A bonus of +50 for those who have both.

7. Does your job bring you into direct contact with the public at large (excluding politicians)? (-100)

8. Do you work in the PMO? (+300)

9. Do you belong to a union? (-200)

10. Have you ever skied in Aspen? (+50 for each occasion)

11. Cottages. Rent (-50). Own (+50). Cottage? I can't afford to own a car (-100). Bonus of +100 if you own a cottage on Lake Rosseau or Lake Joseph

Add up you score. If you scored 200 or better, congratulations, you are a member of the ruling class.
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Magaret Wente, Oy

Her "Do you belong to the Elites" quiz says more about her than any "elite". Her elite runs the CBC, or teaches at U of T. In reality, the people who run the country work in corner offices, on the top floors, of bank towers on Bay Street; or in an office block across the street from Parliament. These are the people calling the shots in this country. Funny how Ms. Wente et. al. love to point away from the true elites, isn't it? I wonder why that is?
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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Baby Please

Democrats to Americans: Sure we screwed you against your will, but we wore a condom and said thank you at the end. The other guys won't be as nice.

Americans to Democrats: We'll take our chances, assholes.
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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Great Moments In Obsfucation

"I'm not a hooker, I'm a private pleasure facilitator."

"I'm not a thief, I'm a property redistribution coordinator".

"I'm not a lobbyist, I'm a strategic communications adviser."
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This Is Supposed To Make Me Feel Better?

Lawrence Cannon's defense, with all of the nonsense stripped away is this: Canada had nothing to do with the negotiations for Omar Khadr's repatriation. However, since the U.S. government and Omar Khadr's lawyers have come to an agreement, the government of Canada is duty bound to accept it. In other words, Canada has voluntarily given up its sovereignty to a foreign power, without any discussion or negotiation. And this is the defense that is supposed to shield the Harperites from criticism? They think it is better to be seen as selling out the country than to negotiate over Khadr's repatriation? Jesus, what are they smoking in the Langevin Block?
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Monday, November 01, 2010

Stephen Taylor Is So Cute

When he pretends that Omar Khadr had a real trial and that the opposition parties are now, somehow, in a tough spot. The reality is Stephen, that Khadr was railroaded, and the whole world (excluding Fox News watchers and the Conservative Party supporters) knows it.
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