Sunday, December 28, 2008

ಇ'ಮ್ Still on Vacation in India

Alas, I see that the Israeli government has decided to act like a deranged psychotic and our newsmedia is too fucking stupid to remember that Hamas won power democratically in Gaza.
In other news, I intend to get a lot more politically active in the 3-d world when I get back to Canada.
Just look out, whoa nelly.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I'm on Vacation in India

इ'ल पोस्ट सम पिक्स ओं "एन्मस्से" व्हेन इ गेट बेक. हवें'टी बीन कीपिंग उप ओं थे न्यूज़. वहत'स थिस? ... इ'वे गोत सम हिन्दी स्क्रिप्ट थिंग ओं माय टास्क बार? एंड आईटी चंगेस तो ಕನ್ನಡ? ಹುನ್.

Run that through babblefish. Then this:
ಇಟ್'ಸ ಆನ್ ಮೈ ತಸ್ಕ್ಬರ್ ಆನ್ ಮೈ ಇಂಡಿಯನ್ ಸೈಬರ್-ಕೆಫೆ ಕಂಪ್ಯೂಟರ್.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Demagoguery

From the dictionary.com definition of "demagogue":
–noun
1.a person, esp. an orator or political leader, who gains power and popularity by arousing the emotions, passions, and prejudices of the people.
2.(in ancient times) a leader of the people.–verb (used with object)
3.to treat or manipulate (a political issue) in the manner of a demagogue; obscure or distort with emotionalism, prejudice, etc.

That last definition is what Stephen Harper did, thus making him the lowest form of demagogue. This is what right-wing corporate rule is reduced to; lying to the public and stoking up hatred of others, in order to mask their own thefts. Since his recent nauseating behaviour I have turned to refering to Stephen Harper as "harpo," in the same way that the diminutive "bush II" refers to his soul-mate in sleaze and stupidity.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Now to Get Drunk!

(oh, and stoned.) all work and no play makes thwap ...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Not Interested

bush II is giving autopsy reports interviews during the last days of his regime. He fails to apologize or admit ... actually, I don't care. I don't care about anything he has to say or how the miserable mainstream press fail to hold him accountable for blah, blah, blah. I'll become interested in bush II again when the people of the United States enforce their own laws and force that fuck to stand trial for his zillions of crimes.

ETA: We Canadians had better get our act together, because fat harpo is entering bush II levels of criminality and illegitimacy and half of us appear so brainwashed, dumbed-down and apathetic as to let him get away with it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Another Busy Day

This Joseph Stiglitz article; "Capitalist Fools" played to rave reviews on EnMasse.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Scotty Don't

I don't have the energy to say very much today:


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What part of "majority rule" do you not get?

Seriously.

The arguments that I've been hearing against the proposed coalition are so depressingly ignorant and/or stupid, that I'm often times at a loss for words.

We elect individuals to be our representatives as Members of Parliament. Technically speaking, we DON'T elect governments or prime ministers or parties. Realisitically though, we do vote for the party we like, sometimes because of the party leader, sometimes in spite of the party leader, sometimes because we like their party platform, or their general political outlook, because we actually like our local candidate, or some combination of those reasons.

But technically speaking we elect individual Members of Parliament (MPs) who then form a government. Party affiliation is a quick way of establishing what group has the best chance of winning and keeping the confidence of the House, but parties have no constitutional status.

At present, the harpo Conservatives have a MINORITY government. This means that they have won the largest single bloc of seats in parliament, but it is a MINORITY of the seats in the House of Commons as a whole. This turns out to reflect the popularity of the harpo Conservatives' share of the vote in the last election in which they received 38% of the vote. A MAJORITY of voters (62%) voted for someone other than a Conservative candidate.

I'll isolate this factoid: SIXTY-TWO PERCENT of the voters wanted someone other than the Conservatives of harpo.

For the record, I was dismayed with the harpo Conservatives' receiving a second chance at governing, just as I'm always dismayed that so many Canadian voters are so deranged, lazy, etc. so as to make both the Conservatives and the Liberals viable political entities. But regardless of my personal feelings, the Conservatives had the largest bloc of seats and so were entitled to form the government.

But, to govern, harpo had to reach out to at least one other bloc of MPs in order to command a majority of the votes in the House of Commons. As we all know, Harper did not do this. Instead, he actively, deliberately sought to alienate all three of the major opposition parties, who JUSTIFIABLY responded to this immaturity by deciding to form a government themselves.

Legally speaking, they have a right to do this. And unless one wants to have a revolution, right now, on this issue, that's the end of the story. That's how things work in parliamentary systems. There's nothing more to be said on the matter.

More importantly, the NDP together with the Liberal and Bloc Quebecois MPs command 163 seats to the harpo Conservatives' 143 seats. Together they represent the votes of 54% of the voting electorate to the harpo Conservatives' 38%. This means that the representatives of a majority of those who voted last election were going to work together to steer the country through what looks like it will be a major economic crisis, as opposed to stupidly poking each other with sticks as is the wont of the harpo Conservatives.

How anyone can label a coalition representing the MAJORITY OF THE VOTERS forming the government as "undemocratic" is completely inexplicable.

It is bad enough that in this country a party can form a majority government with the support of a minority of the electorate under our electoral system, allowing them to rule as if this country was a one-party state, but it is absolutely frightening to think that so many people in this country are so ignorant and confused as to believe that even a minority of the seats in the House of Commons represents a "mandate" to govern unopposed for a fixed four-year term.

One of the saving graces of our parliamentary system is that we can occasionally have minority governments that force governing parties to be respectful of opposing political views. The way some Canadians would have it, we could dismiss with parliament altogether between elections, since holding a government's feet to the fire is apparently "treason." They would remove completely the ability of the opposition to challenge the government and we don't even have the separation of powers or the veto that limits the power of the legislature or the executive branches of a presidential system.

Canadians who oppose the coalition would prefer a dictatorship, and, insanely enough, they would call it "democracy."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Tears of Psycopathic Clown

Seems that harpo almost started weeping as he spoke about the latest deaths among Canadian Forces personnel in Afghanistan.

All three Canadian casualties – members of the Operational Liason and Mentoring Team, which trains members of the Afghan National Army – were from the 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, based in Petawawa, Ont., where Prime Minister Stephen Harper happened to be Friday.

He seemed close to tears as he offered his condolences – and admitted to often being at a loss for words whenever tragedy strikes those willing to give their lives in service of their country.


What's up with that? harpo's been able to drone out empty words about "ultimate sacrifices" and "protecting democracy" in the past without getting emotional. What was different this time?

I rather suspect that being entirely selfish and self-centered, harpo was channelling the stress, discomfort, embarrassment and the humiliation of the dressing-down he had to endure by his usually deferential caucus for almost losing the government as a result of his compulsion for bullying.

Because, when all is said and done, I don't think harpo gives one shit about "the troops." He's put them in harm's way to curry favour with the US-Americans, so that he can make mindless boasts about Canada's being a "player on the world stage," ... he's kept them there "until the job is done," but reveals how much he cares about the "job" by surprise announcing that we'll be gone by 2011, no matter what the conditions in Afghanistan are. In short, they're there to make harpo look good, and if they die in the process that's too bad, it's "regrettable," but it won't deter him from his selfish desire to act like a bigshot in front of monsters as stupid and disgusting as himself.

harpo is a psychopath who cares only about himself. I know that I tend to obsess about this one, but for god's sake; harpo was able to respond to allegations of child rape on the part of the Afghan army and Afghan interpreters in the employ of the CF with a bullshit two-year "investigation." Child rape. And traumatized Canadian Forces personnel. For harpo, those are problems of political optics, to be re-directed where they won't have any effect. harpo has lowered himself beyond redemption.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Double Standards

I don't like Bob Rae because he stupidly infuriated the labour movement, and basically panicked when premier of Ontario, and bought into all the neoliberal, capitalist bullshit about how social justice, the arts, the environment, etc. are all just frills, to be afforded when the capitalist economy is doing well.

At the same time, I've said on numerous occasions, the ONDP was the best party the province could have had during that lengthy, Bank of Canada (and then Allan Greenspan)-caused recession. The plodding oafs in the Ontario PC or the Ontario Liberal parties would have been more than happy to impose catastrophic spending cuts, doing more damage to the province's social fabric.

However, to this day, the ONDP and its former leader Rae receive condemnation for their "disastrous economic record." I've never heard of any other party or any other leader receive such constant, perpetual mention of the economic conditions during their government. It's as if no other party ever had a recession; no other leader ever had deficits!

To see the unjust double standard here, just look at the media treatment of incompetent asswipe finance minister Jim Flaherty. He's the same bungling idiot today in Ottawa that he was as Ontario finance minister in the 1990s. During the middle of the Clinton prosperity (mostly a mirage, but with good economic indicators nonetheless) Flaherty managed to reduce the deficit, but only by breaking the backs of the municipalities, many major schoolboards, selling the province's assets to friends in business at fire-sale prices and through vast, cruel social service cuts. Even then his record was unimpressive compared to many other provinces.

But even after his rock-headed economic statement, which is universally condemned as a disaster, there's no historical context for people, to help them understand that this stupidity is really the best that Flaherty can do.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My Ever Changing Moods

This morning, some of the first thoughts that entered my head were about the recent political drama. I thought about the justness of the coalition's cause and its actions, and I thought about the horror (the horror) of having that ignoramus Flaherty in charge of the economy during an economic crisis. ("Gasp!" Do you suppose there's anymore downloading that Paul Martin missed, to help Flaherty fabricate his surpluses the way he did in Ontario when he downloaded crippling obligations to the municipalities?)

So, according to my ever changing moods, I say the coalition should fight on! Although there isn't much fire in my belly. (And I'm drinking Crown-Royal at 7:20 in the fucking morning!) ...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Let Harper Govern?

At first, I thought that if the G-G actually does the inexplicable and give Harper a prorogation simply to allow things to "cool-off" that things would in fact, cool-off, and the moment would be lost. He'd bring down a budget full of goodies, public memory of what an insufferable, immature, incompetent ass he'd been in November, 2008 wouldn't be as fresh, and wavering members of today's coalition would call for cooperation.

Then, after reading the principled determination of my fellow progressive and lefty bloggers, I started to think that dammit, our cause is just, it is legitimate, and the Canadian people might come over to our side, and even if they don't, it is the right of the majority in parliament to withhold its confidence, regardless of what the cynical, ignorant and deluded say.

But after reading about this EKOS poll on the CBC, I'm once again leaning towards just saying "fuck it." Let harpo keep his office. Let him hold on to power. Let him forget the humility that he's temporarily learned this week as he instead becomes capitavated with the mental image of how he managed to extricate himself from a crisis (which he'll forget was entirely of his own making). More importantly; let him govern Canada in what might be one of the worst recessions in decades. Let Flaherty, or whatever other talentless, brainless hack the harpocons puke up as finance minister, implement all of their discredited, anti-human economic policies. Let all those ignorant, confused Canadians (especially the aggrieved pioneers in the oil patch) suffer under the incompetent hand of their heroic harpo. Meanwhile, the opposition can abstain, malinger, yawn while in the House of Commons, and just say that they're following Michelle-Jean's instructions for the opposition. "Cooperate." "Play nice." "Give him another chance." ad nauseum.

If so many people are so clueless about how their government works and about how braindead "conservatism" is as a political philosophy, perhaps they need to be smashed over the head with reality?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

How I Respond to the G-G's Stupid Decision Were I as Stupid as a Blogging Tory

TEH GOVERNER GENERAL HAS COMMITTED TREASON!!!

Seriously, she had no write to make that decision!!!

We have a separtion of powers and the LEGISLATURE GETST O make all the decisions!!!

This is all the work of those DIRTY FUCKING WESTERNERS!!! haPRER has made us a hv-not provence, ... AND I HATE people like him, sewing up regional animostities!!

Michell-jean: Sounds FRENCH tom me! No wonder she just surrendered!!!!

and so on, and such forth.



This was a stupid decision. But it was constitutionally legal. Therefore, I'm going to have to accept it. It was constitutionally legal, but it was constitutionally ridiculous. Since when does a government get to have a "do-over" after such a fuck-up? December 4th, 2008.

I was going to be so proud of Canada's political system. But we tolerate anti-democratic bullies as much as they do in the USA I guess. This could have been the last-gasp of Rovian stupidity in North America. Alas, Harper gets to fight another day. The fat, evil piece of shit.

Canada and other "banana republics"

Another of the misinformed, ignorant and stupid arguments coming from the shameless morons who are sticking by Stephen Harper during this debacle is that forming a government out of a majority of MPs in the House of Commons, who together represent a majority of the electorate, is actually a "coup" that makes us a "banana republic" in the eyes of the world.

Who knew that Germany, France, Italy, Israel and Japan (among others) are banana republics?

Canada will have to join the ranks of these laughing-stock nations and hang its head in shame. Most painfully, we will not be able to look our closest neighbour and ally, the United States of America (with its flawless electoral system and its sterling record of checks and balances) in the eye.

*Interestingly enough; according to the United Nations link above, the actual "banana republics" tend to imitate the US presidential system. (Of the nations listed above, France actually has a hybrid presidential-parliamentary system. What I'm referring to is the practice of changing governments without elections when the ruling group loses power.)

Harper's Speech: More Stupid Lies For the Stupid People

... or the ignorant people.

This coalition is how our political system works. Everything Harper said last night was garbage. If you don't believe that, you either don't know how the system works, or you're a stupid, brainless Harper groupie.

The coalition's proposals are better than anything we'll get out of fuckhead Flaherty. They have the constitutional right to replace him, they should not back down in the face of ignorant public opinion or freeped online polls, or the number of comments from right-wingers who have a disproportionate amount of time and energy to spend spreading lies on the internet.

They should do what is right for Canada.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Think of the Damage that Socialists Could Do to the Economy!!!

One of the more amusing shrieks from the pro-stupid side of the political spectrum during this political crisis is for Canadians to think about the damage that the "socialist" NDP could do to the economy if it gets power in this coalition.

Let that sink in for a moment.

It's amazing. Being a "conservative" means never having to say you're sorry.

Guess what "conservatives"? This blogger is proudly socialist and one of the reasons for that is because socialism compares so well to the disastrous results of YOUR economic policies. You guys are the dangerously incompetent ones!

Right-wing economics have been in the driver's seat of the leading economies since at least 1980. Even social-democratic ("socialist") and real socialist parties have drunk the kool-aid and were yammering about "market realities" since the 1990s. As a result, we have the economic mess that we have today. Labour markets are "flexible" which means widespread insecurity. Unions have been tamed, which is big contributor to the wage stagnation of the past four decades. We have free trade, lower corporate taxes, monetarist low inflation policies, ... all of these things were supposed to bring us social and economic nirvana. What's the results though?

A decaying industrial base. Deteriorating public infrastructure. Crumbling healthcare systems. Greater poverty. Greater homelessness. A ravaged environment. An increasingly indebted society.

This is your handiwork. Own it.

And where did this present economic disaster start? Well, the standard story is the US housing bubble. But what did that consist of? People who couldn't afford houses were getting mortgages that they couldn't afford, and some people were using easy loans to buy more expensive houses that they hoped to "flip" before their terms were renewed. When US housing prices declined, and when mortgage terms changed, all these people were stuck with assets that they couldn't afford and couldn't sell.

But none of that would have happened if there hadn't been people offering credit to people who shouldn't have gotten it. But why were they offering this credit? (Don't blame it on the Carter-era CRA. That nonsense has already been dealt with.) They did so because they knew that they could pass these toxic mortgages to other people who would have to deal with the mess. They were more than willing to con poor people into thinking they could become part of bush II's "ownership society" or to work with up-and-comers who thought that housing was a sure-fire way to make a quick buck because there were plenty of people willing to take the risks of default off their hands.

Who were these other people? The vangaurd capitalists of a newly deregulated Wall Street. The peak of the capitalist system. There were literally billions pouring in, looking for avenues of "investment." With the real economy stagnant due to falling demand (caused by stagnating wages and job insecurity) this capital sought any oasis of expansion, and, once found, further infusions of liquid billions would create a self-perpetuating bubble.

But why would Wall Street think risky mortgages was a good place to put money? Because you could take these, and other loans, carve them up and re-bundle them into complicated derivative products, and then use your AAA status, your reputation as a cagey Wall Street giant to convince the world's "investors" that these derivatives are sound investments (which pay a high rate of interest because they're still based on poor people being gouged in the subprime market or what have you).

Capitalists being what they are, the giant Wall Street financial firms never stopped buying these mortgages and repackaging them into "mortgage-backed securities" because the customers never seemed to stop coming. When the market peaked, when the "greater fool" theory again revealed its limitations, the Wall Street giants had enough garbage in their possession to threaten their own solvency. The size of the amount of garbage that they sold is being deliberately obfuscated.

There is the source of this massive financial crisis. Unregulated capitalism. But these imbeciles on the right-wing have the nerve to yammer about the damage that "socialism" could cause? There's a reason that I hardly seek out right-wing opinion anymore. It's generally stupid garbage.

Conservative Atrocities = Easy Blogging

I was just thinking that it was so easy to write about US politics because the issues are so extremely stark and black and white and gargantuan. Plus the US-left, miniscule in political power in their own country though they are, are numerically bigger than the Canadian left, and there's lots more detailed analysis of that political system. But the main thing is that US politics, from the drowning and ethnic cleansing of New Orleans, to the blatant lies and brutality of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, to the stupidity and fanaticism of the Republicans, to the spinelessness and corruption of the Democrats, is so obviously about right and wrong, intelligent and stupid, that you can almost comment on it your sleep and still make sense. (Unless you're a "conservative" for whom everything is extraordinarily difficult and for whom most things end in miserable failure.)

But during the past few days, Canadian federal politics has taken on the same entertaining relentlessness. This is high drama, broadly painted, about important issues. If I had the time, I might have posted several posts a day. The important difference here is that it looks like the good guys (well, the least-bad guys) n' gals are going to win. Because this is Canada and our political system just isn't as fucked-over by corporate filth as is the US-American system.

Monday, December 1, 2008

They Actually Care About the Country (and/or Quebec!)

Blogging Tories, who lack any sort of ability for introspection, intellectual consistency, honour, or brain cells, are now in high dudgeon about the "coup" that's been months or even years in the making on the part of the opposition party. Out-of-the-blue it seems, they've just decided to make a grab for power using machiavellian "back-room deals" to thwart the will of the Canadian electorate.

1. Blogging Tories are all idiots, assholes, hypocrites and etc. so we're not really trying to justify ourselves to them. We're just having fun.

2. Coalitions are a feature of multi-party parliamentary systems. To call accepted political practice a "coup" is both illegitimate and childish.

3. Mere days ago the Blogging Tories were bragging about how they'd provoked the opposition with their elimination of public subsidies, in order to draw them out and prove to Canadians that they were only fighting to hold on to their entitlements. The argument was that the anti-stimulus package would stay and the opposition wouldn't put up a fight over that, thus showing that they're motivated by nothing but self-interest.

Since that brilliant scheme blew up in their faces (if it ever in fact existed at all), the coalition is now being presented as a long-standing scheme, which supposedly was in the works throughout the last parliament when the Liberals were hiding from the House of Commons on every important vote to try to avoid an election.

Once again; the brilliant scheme to provoke the opposition into challenging the government has been consigned to the memory-hole and now this proposed coalition arose from nowhere but a mad lust for power.

4. Stephen Harper signed on to the exact same sort of "back-room deal" to propose a "coup" in 2004 against Paul Martin's minority Liberals.

What's motivating the opposition. Both anger, and concern for the country. I'll confess to something here. Even Liberals care about the country. In a pro-corporate, empty-words, "gee-whiz, why can't we have 'flexible labour-markets' and good, steady jobs for everyone while capitalism goes untaxed and unregulated" kinda way. I believe that even CPC MPs believe in stuff. For the most part, ugly and stupid stuff, but there's a belief system there nonetheless. I believe that Flaherty thinks his anti-stimulus plan is what's needed, but I've said a zillion times that Flaherty is an absolute moron.

I think the opposition is generally nauseated with Harper's ugly, Rovian tactics AND they realize that Flaherty's idiotic "economic statement" is the last thing this country needs.

I was taken with "North of 49"'s comment on "Dymaxion World":

My take is that the Liberals, NDP and Bloc were galvanized into action initially by that last bit, but once they got looking at the economic update what they saw appalled them -- no stimulus, and Flaherty, the oh-so-trustworthy former Ontario deficit-hiding finance minister, claiming no deficit this time too. It is entirely within the realm of possibility that the Coalition partners actually care about Canada and Canadians, as they say they do, and want to take the reins of power because they foresee PM Harper and FM Flaherty's approach as a disaster.

Or if that's too improbable, consider that most of their constituents live in either Ontario or Quebec, and they see PM Harper's non-plan as likely to hurt the very people who voted for them. (Duceppe fits this model too: consider what he is asking for -- help for forestry and manufacturing, and some social-equality stuff -- all things that matter to his constituents.) So one could argue that they all are simply looking out for their base(es).

Another thing. When Harper said that this new Parliament was going to be a more cooperative forum than in the past two years, in light of the economic crisis, I believe the Opposition parties took that intention at face value -- but waited for proof. They didn't get it, did they? Harper just couldn't resist the chance to play the same crass and cynical partisan political games he's been playing all along. He dropped the only real ball that matters right now, the health of the country's economy, and picked up -- again! -- the political opportunity ball. He broke his word -- again.

The Opposition parties, I believe, were willing to give him a chance to actually lead, and he blew it. So they're going to try to shove him aside and get on with governing, and more power to them.