Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oh Jesus Christ

Liberal Bloggers who are creaming themselves over Ryan Dolby (the former NDP candidate for Elgin-Middlesex-London)'s decision to withdraw and prevent a split-vote from giving the riding to the harpercons, ... could you please take the five seconds of thought necessary to not make this another episode of "Vote Liberal. Always and Everywhere. Vote Liberal."

The NDP isn't going anywhere. And unless I see you posting tomorrow advising Liberals to quit in ridings where THEY are the third-party spoilers, I'll write you off now and forever as stupid, hypocritical hacks.

Maybe while you're writing those open letters to third-place Liberal candidates, you could also explain Ignatieff's love affair with the tar sands, how practically your whole stupid front bench (Martin, Rae, Manley) wanted to join the invasion of Iraq, your handling of the torture file in Afghanistan, your party's working with the harpercons to limit the testimony of victims of Colombian government terror during the Colombian Free Trade hearings, your party's history of corporate tax cuts and austerity for everyone else, and on and fucking on.

Your party really isn't progressive. It's the Canadian version of the Democrats. The Republicans appeal to the basest instincts of US-American voters and then plunder the chumps when elected. The Democrats appeal to the higher ideals of US-American voters, only to betray them.

While We're Asking harper About his Coalition Hypocrisy ...

This comes via "Impolitical" - "Harper then and now on costing of legislation"
Mr. Stephen Harper (Calgary West, Ref.): Mr. speaker, it is a pleasure today to debate Bill C-214, the program cost declaration act tabled by the hon. member for Durham.

Let me take a few minutes to outline the purpose of the act and what is behind it. The act, which is a votable item, would require departments of the government to provide a financial or cost analysis of each piece of legislation on its introduction to the House of Commons or at the time the minister or governor in council issues regulations or other instruments.
...
This legislation would cause legislators and their departments to be more conscious of the financial impact their legislation would have. The PCDA, as it is called, would provide for a greater degree of disclosure and accountability for government programs and lead toward a more integrated expenditure system. It would give members of Parliament and the public more knowledge and to that extent more control and scrutiny over how government spends.

If this type of legislation had been in place years ago, I believe it is true that would not have so easily created the massive deficits and debt which the federal government is now forced to deal with.
...
I guess the real question is why anybody would do it any other way. When we think about it, it is quite extraordinary that in this day and age governments would think of tabling and publicly adopting legislation without providing assessed cost information as part of the process.
It's testimony to something about this country that harper thought thinks he can get away with this kind of shit.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

HAH! Read the Pathetic harpercons Weeping and Whining!

With a hat-tip to "Mr. Sinister," I give you this Chronicle-Herald editorial - "Stop Harper-ventilating":
We’re talking about the "reckless, unprincipled coalition" that Mr. Harper has invented as his political opponent and chief whipping boy in the 2011 campaign and the underlying attitude that it’s somehow illegitimate for other parties to work together without him in a minority Parliament if he isn’t able to find a way to govern co-operatively with any of them.

"I don’t choose to work with other parties. So reward me with a majority. Or we’re doomed." The sophistry of the prime minister’s coalition hyperventilating really amounts to nothing more than this.

...

Keeping financial information from Parliament was not exactly a principled stand on which to be defeated. But if Mr. Harper had his majority, it wouldn’t matter. He could stonewall legitimate requests for cost estimates to his heart’s content and defeat contempt motions.

But that’s not an appealing argument to take on the campaign trail. So the PM is asking Canadians to see a strong opposition not as an insurance policy against high-handed government, but as a threat to democracy.

...

What sparked the united opposition revolt was an out-of-touch fiscal update that ignored the recession that was beginning to grip the country, that offered no stimulus for the econo­my and that took a petty partisan swipe at cutting public funding the out-of-power parties depended on. To avoid defeat, Mr. Harper sus­pended Parliament and quickly produced a new budget with the stimulus spending that he now holds up as evidence of his government’s strong economic management.

Again, this is not a great argument for the proposition that a Conservative majority would have served Canadians better.

The whole thing is pretty good really. I left out the part where harper is rightly trashed for his titanic hypocrisy on the whole issue of coalitions.

I just thought you all should check out the laughable whining of the harpercon zombies down in the comments section below:

Of course Harper must be stopped at all costs according to the CH. There is not an unbiased bone in the body of this media outlet and its columnists.

Not working with others? How did the minority government last five years then? Because the government was supported by the people and to this day do not have much use for the official opposition leader and his party nor the other opposition parties.

Do I agree with all the tactics used by the Harper government? Not at all. Howeve, the government had to fight tooth and nail against three opposition parties who comprised an informal coalition to stop any progess the Conservatives could make.

There is no indication that Ignatieff has any leadership abilities. He can't even manage his own party.

The United States has a "great communicator" and that country is in a world of hurt. The man has turned into a dud and I suspect with Ignatieff as PM the same fate would befall Canada.

and ...

There is a big difference between forming a collation with your opposition in order to form a government, when the leader of the party with the most seats is requesting the dissolving of the government and the calling of an election, and the situation that transpired in 2009-2010. Here the leader of the party with the most seats (Harper) was being forced aside by the three Amigo's (Layton, Dion, Dueceppe) Harper was not going to the Governor General in order to have her grant a dissolution of parliament, Harper was about to introduce legislation to eliminate the $2 buck a vote give away to the Liberals, the Block, the Greens and to the N.D.P. That is what woke them up from their tax induced sleep, and forced them to gang up to protect their turf. Anyone who tried to portray that coalition as a defense of democracy is truly deluded, it was the defense of their financial well being, pure and simple, enough of this foolish talk about the voter being the the most important part of the political process, the survival of the party is front and center. Sort of like Russia without the czar.Eh Iggy?

and ...

This newspaper is so biased

It's not even so much the anti-Tory editorials. If this paper wants to perpetuate our culture of defeat, maybe that's what sells papers in this neck of the woods. I actually agree this editorial board's silly opinions are better than none at all.

But what's troubling is what this paper prints under the guise of news. Headlines since the weekend include "Harper faces blowback over coalition" and "Harper pushes fear factor". Those headlines aren't news, they're leftist opinion.

Halifax will vote for orange fenceposts anyway so in a sense it doesn't really matter, but it's a little bit embarrassing that the publication that claims to be the region's newspaper of record takes more cues from Pravda than the Washington Post.

and ...

I hardly think it's fair to say the Conservatives won't work with other parties after they've navigated their way to one of the longest-lived minority governments in Canadian history. Do you think your readers are stupid?

That being said... if Harper benefits from talk about a possible coalition, it's because the public doesn't want those parties to gain power. It's called democracy.

In the glory days of Canadian Cynic's blog, he showed us several times, on a daily basis, how these cretins are physically incapable of following a point and dealing with it on its own terms. One of the clearest attempts of these nincompoops to address the editorial's point is the five year duration of harper's minority government.

Presumably these folks followed politics (they're writing comments to political editorials after all), but they seem happily ignorant of harper's consistent brinkmanship during his minority government. He REPEATEDLY forced through unpleasant legislation and DARED the Liberals to reject it and force an election. (Remember "every vote is a confidence vote"?) Instead, we hear fantastical distortions of history and political reality like this:

Not working with others? How did the minority government last five years then? Because the government was supported by the people and to this day do not have much use for the official opposition leader and his party nor the other opposition parties.

The government was supported by the people? What alternate reality is that from? Harper had 38% of the votes of the 60% of us who bothered to vote. Then and now, the MAJORITY of people who bother to vote REJECT harper.

Mostly though, these fools resort to the middle-aged version of "the teacher didn't like me" whine. "Your newspaper is BIASED!!" they whine.

Let me share something with you shit-heads: The fact that your party is one of the two constant contenders for power in this country is a fucking miracle. No it's not, it's and INDICTMENT of our political culture.

But notice how none of these partisan hacks even attempt to face-up to the fact that harper is denying Parliament the necessary information for debating policies. Listen to Dale at "Hill Queeries" again:

By the way, this is HUGE. The underlying premise of parliamentary democracy is that parliament grants a government supply (money) to carry out its agenda. If parliament can’t scrutinize a government’s legislative platform and its cost, how can they adequately grant supply? They can’t. That’s why this abuse of cabinet confidences is a fundamental attack on our very system of government

How would those whining babies at the Chronicle-Herald comments section feel about a Liberal or NDP government doing this? What sort of world would we have if stupid, ignorant, lying people had the sense to STFU and stay home at election day. If they could have consistent moments of clarity, it could be every time an election rolls around, when it dawns on them:

"I hope the Conservatives win. Waitaminnit! I'm a fucking idiot! I believe the most obvious lies and I'm a scared, selfish, S.O.B. who doesn't get along with others. Any party someone like me would vote for would have to be some kind of sick monstrosity. I think I'll drink myself unconscious on election day instead."

Monday, March 28, 2011

"The Economy" is Another harper Weakness

Here's a depressing story:
Canadian voters rank the economy as the top issue in this election campaign, far outpacing the question of ethics and accountability which helped bring down the Harper government Friday, according to a detailed poll conducted for the Toronto Star and La Presse.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is their clear choice as the best person to manage the economy, according to an Angus Reid Public Opinion survey of 2,365 Canadians over the past two days.

“Stephen Harper by a pretty clear margin,” said Jaideep Mukerji, vice-president of Angus Reid Public Opinion.

This is depressing on a couple of levels. First of all, it makes it look like Canadians would be just as happy living in the People's Republic of China as they are in democratic Canada. The PRC dictatorship now bases most of its right to govern on its effective management of the economy.

"But don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone?"

It's also depressing though because it reveals the dominance of right-wing ideology in this country so that even when they fuck-up, right-wing, pro-business ideologues retain their aura of competence.

But things aren't entirely hopeless. Because just as harper's "COALITION!!! COALITION!!" scaremongering can be, and has been, blown out of the water by the belated focus on his own proposed coalition with the separatists and the socialists, so too can harper's reputation as a steady hand on the tiller of the economy be devastated by a quick look at the reality.

Part I of our look at the economy is the dismal mess that has resulted from three decades of "pro-market" dogmatism. Households are increasingly indebted as wages have stagnated and employment is increasingly insecure.

The deregulation of the financial markets has produced a culture of lawless fraud and carelessness which resulted in a speculative bubble the implosion of which caused the great recession, necessitating trillions of dollars in bail-outs in the USA, UK, Ireland, and elsewhere. harper was prepared to go down that road, deregulating finance and real estate, but thankfully he was unable to move fast enough.

Canada's banking and real-estate sector did not require tens of billions of dollars in bail-outs, but the recession itself has necessitated deficit spending that will amount to well over a hundred-billion dollars by the time it's over. Think about that! One-hundred billion dollars not to build infrastructure or to invest in people, but just to keep from falling backwards, just to stand still basically.

But when it came time to maybe force the bloated financiers on Wall Street, Bay Street, the City of London, etc., a tax on their transactions, ... say as an INSURANCE PREMIUM to help governments pay for the disasters these subsidized gangsters create, harper was in front of the movement to nix that idea.

Of course, there's also the big deal that Flaherty was too blind and stupid to see the great recession coming even when it was already upon us. In the fall of 2008 the dunce was predicting small surpluses for the foreseeable future. Six months later the deficit was going to be 40-something billion dollars. Remember when Paul Martin would always be "surprised" by 5-10 billion dollar surpluses (which he'd "discover" long after budget time so that he couldn't spend them on needed public services)? Flaherty makes Martin look like an atomic clock for accuracy with his errors of tens of billions of dollars.

The harpercons are pretty proud of their "Economic Action Plan" aren't they? You'd almost think the whole thing was their idea. But remember, a stimulus package to prevent the economy from falling into a recessionary spiral was forced upon harper and Flaherty by the opposition parties. Everything that the harpercons want to attribute to their "Action Plan" should in all fairness be credited to the opposition parties.

So, given the fact that Flaherty doesn't have a clue what's going around him, that he advances the policies that caused financial sector meltdowns around the globe, that his forecasts are off by tens of billions of dollars, that he rewards the people who cause global downturns, and that he had to coerced into responding to the great recession, why does he think he's a competent economic manager?

And, furthermore, how can Canadians trust a guy who won't tell them how much his party's policies are going to cost them? Besides the fact that the massive prison-building campaign and the new fighter jets are useless bullshit policies, we're also talking about possibly spending $50 billion on them. While there's a recession and already $40 billion annual deficits. And he's going to compound his revenue problems with corporate tax-cuts that do not pay their way??

Flaherty is the same bungling incompetent he was during the Harris reign of error. He'd be laughable if he wasn't impacting so many innocent peoples' lives.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

"B-b-but THE LIBRULLSS!!!!"

Here's how pathetic the harpercons' arguments are: While this was admittedly in response to a Liberal blogger's claim that no Liberal has even been suspected of being in contempt of Parliament, "Anonymous" spoke up.
In 2002 the Speaker suggested that the issue of whether Lib Defence Minister Art Eggleton lied to the H of C regarding Afghan detainees - in other words he was accused of breaching the privileges of MPs, a la Bev Oda. I can't link to it 'cos I'm on a mobile device but you can check out Hansard on-line for Feb 1, 2002.

Eggleton wasn't found in contempt b/c at that time the Libs had a majority government and had the votes to ensure no breach of privilege/contempt motion could succeed. Which is my problem w/ the recent claims of contempt. This was hardly an impartial jury making a finding of contempt; this was just everyone voting along party lines.
I have a vague recollection of that actually. You can search through this blog to see the low opinion I have for the Liberal Party of Canada, its ethics, its Afghanistan policy, its imperialism in Haiti. I despise the Liberal Party of Canada.

But now the harpercons, the party of "transparency" and "accountability" defending lying to Parliament and hiding their policies' spending estimates from Parliament with a witless, "B-b-but the Liberals did it too!!"

Not only is that pathetic, it's also evidence of their unfitness for government. If the Liberals pulled shit like that and got away with it with a majority in Parliament, the harpercons show that they're stupid, incompetent hacks to believe that they can get away with the same garbage when they don't have the votes.

Here harpercon stooges (and everybody else), this is why the Bev Oda scandal and the withholding documents scandal are important.

Altering documents and then lying about it would allow a government to forge department recommendations out of whole cloth. They could simply type the names and forge the signatures of department staff recommending any course of action the government wants, and then if the policies turn out badly, the government turns to their forged documents and say that they were following the expert advice of their bureaucrats. The bureaucrats would obviously scream blue murder, but the government ministers would just keep lying and it would be their word against the staffers'.

Is that the sort of government we want?

Withholding basic information about policies to Parliament is withholding from the people's representatives the expert advice paid for with the people's money. A government that kept expert advice and projections to itself could ram anything through Parliament while the opposition parties struggled to educate themselves on these subjects in order to try to provide criticisms or alternatives to the detailed, specific ones being advocated by the government. "Debate" under such conditions would be farcical at best.

Finally, ... here's something that would stir a harpercon's vital fluids: Imagine if an NDP government signed a security treaty with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez! Imagine if it all was negotiated in secret and only the minimum of details were provided for the "debate" in Parliament!

Do unto others, harpercons, as you would have done unto you.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I Don't Think Women Should Be Allowed to Vote

It's just a bunch of "political games" anyway. Just a bunch of bull-shit, partisan crapola. Whattaya got to lose ladies?

Or so stephen harper would say, were he to elaborate on the significance of his absolute contempt for Canada's political scene and the institutions it perpetuates.

The reason I didn't make my thought experiment titled "I don't think men should blah, blah, blah" is because there's enough history of women's exclusion from the political process on top of my status as a white male to make that title seem much more ominous than the thought experiment of excluding men from the political process.

All the reasons that women would resist losing the right to vote, ... all the reasons for the suffragettes' campaigns, for the Black Civil Rights movement, for the heroism and heroinism in the Middle-East today, ... THAT'S democracy. And even if harper were sincere about his views on the allegedly low state of democratic practice, (which he isn't btw), he does nothing to advocate for genuine reforms (because he's happily part of the problem remember).

Is stephen harper a hypocritical, self-pitying sack of shit?

I tend to think so.

Too Bad For you stephen harper!

Right now, his contemptibleness is reminding me of the giant, cockroach shaped aliens at the end of "Godzilla vs. Gigan." I watched that one with my first boy over and over when he was a wee tyke. The insect-alien's last words as it lies dying on the floor of its wrecked headquarters (from which the dastardly creature was plotting the destruction of all humanity!) became a sort of a catch-phrase for the two of us whenever something went wrong:

"But the plan was going so well! So well!"

That must be how harper is feeling. Yeah, they had lots of cash. People have been brainwashed into thinking the economy is doing well and that the harpercons are somehow responsible. Ignatieff remains unpopular. Why shouldn't he have felt that he could kick sand in everyone's faces again?

Then he shot himself in the foot. Who doubts that Bev Oda mindlessly signed on to her staff's recommendation to fund KAIROS but that harper overruled her and crudely altered the document after the fact? Who doubts that Oda was allowed to keep her post after lying to Parliament only because she wasn't going to take the fall for harper who put her in that position in the first place?

Then harper thought that our political system was as debased as the Karl Rove-managed US-American one is, and he thought he'd actually be able to tell Parliament itself to fuck-off when it asked for spending estimates on his government's policies, but Speaker Milliken, as he did with the stand-off over the Afghan torture documents, showed him that it isn't. The people's representatives have a right to know what the government is planning and how much it will cost.

Then, the loathsome Bruce Carson was caught trying to extort First Nations into giving water contracts to the private firm that his fiancee is employed by, and shows to everyone how sleazy the harpercons are and how useless harper's much ballyhooed anti-lobbying legislation is.

harper will probably still get a minority. Our electoral system and the regional influence on it will make sure of that. But it will be a greatly reduced minority. A lot of conservative voters were appalled at the deficits being piled-up by the harpercon government. A lot of principled conservative voters can no longer stomach harper's blatant contempt for Canadian democracy. A lot of harper's supporters are going to stay home. The Liberals will probably pick up a few seats in Ontario. The NDP will definitely take some harpercon seats in British Columbia. harper will have his minority, but it will be irrelevant. We don't elect presidents. Prime ministers are made in Parliament. They are made BY Parliament.

After he loses power irrevocably, harper must be dragged before public inquiries and forced to come clean on what he did in Afghanistan. Those generals who were given the Colvin emails when Parliament was being told that "national security" issues prevented that body from seeing them, must be forced to say who gave them to them.

harper should be tried for war crimes and if he is guilty, then he should be hauled off to serve the hard time he planned for the poor that his other policies created.

Prison for harper!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Democracy: Familiarity Breeds Contempt?

I have some sympathy for politically aware people who say that none of the candidates or parties in this election does anything for them. I used to feel that way at times. When Bob Rae betrayed social-democratic values as premier of Ontario, I stayed that election out. I didn't know that mike harris would be as bad as he was, but I don't think that even then I would have said "Bob, no matter how much you trashed our values and strengthened the hegemony of neo-liberal bullshit, I have no other place to put my vote, so here you go."

I am in total concurrence with any US-American progressive who doesn't vote. There's a two-party stranglehold on the electoral sham down there and there often aren't even alternative candidates who one can vote for just to make a statement. On the other hand, were I a US-American, I'd be doing what I'm doing up here, which is to question the left-opposition as to just how is anything supposed to change, and trying to join or start a mass-movement dedicated to achieving genuine change. ("Workers as Citizens." link, link, link, link, link)

But people who contemptuously dismiss present democratic options while being completely unaware of current events and completely ignorant of how their political system functions, don't get much sympathy from me. In their case, their contempt is a corporate-created mindset, based on propaganda that feeds into their lazy self-righteous sense of consumer entitlement. This is a deliberate campaign, probably the underlying philosophy of the entire public relations movement, funded, as it is, by the capitalist class. Every time someone who doesn't understand the importance of legislative oversight of the executive branch pats themselves on the back for being "above politics" and snidely insults all politicians as criminal sociopaths, and then stays home and doesn't vote, they're doing exactly what our corporate masters want.

Because politics isn't going anywhere. The law-making process that governs us, and decides how much we pay for our internet, or the fees that financial institutions are allowed to charge us, or whether the medicines we buy are dangerous or not, or whether eco-systems get devastated for profit or not, or whether our tax dollars go to help rapist warlords buy expensive property in Dubai or not, or whether our tax dollars buy the bullets that rip into the throat of a 13-year old Pashtun boy fighting the government that killed his father and raped his sister, ... it's all going to continue.

And there are powerful interests who want you to ignore the whole thing and leave the field to them. You can go on watching "Girls Gone Wild" until your electricity is cut-off because the wealthy wanted a recession to fight inflation, and your public-sector job was cut to fight the deficit. By that point though, you'll be too busy scrounging up a couch to sleep on and a burger-flipping part-time job to compensate your friend to be able to figure out how it all works and what can be done about it.

This election is not about harper versus Ignatieff, but about democracy itself. We have had a prime minister whose assaults on the very fundamentals of representative democracy are legion. If this sort of government is to become the new normal, then we're all well and truly fucked. harper has dragged democracy to its lowest point in at least half a century. He is a symbol and he has to be stopped.

And stopping him has to be seen as a starting point only. In life there is always an opportunity to start over. In politics, until a system has been ground down into the dust, the people who are affected by it can always start again. When harper goes down, Ignatieff, Layton, Duceppe, etc., must be put on notice in no uncertain terms that harper's methods were illegitimate and they will not be tolerated again.

And then we on the left, who have opposed the failed mission in Afghanistan from the beginning, who have opposed destructive "free trade" deals from the beginning, who have opposed the assaults on public health care consistently, who have tried to speak out about the dangers of global warming, who have opposed the policies that have increased economic inequality and rising levels of household debt, who have opposed the racist criminalization of Muslim Canadians and residents, who have opposed the ruinous deregulation of industry ... including the financial industry, ... we who have been on the winning side of every argument, must stop with the tactics that have turned our intellectual victories into real-world failures, and confront reality and make sure that a politician such as harper can never come to national prominence again.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

There HAS To Be Accountability

I still think that the election will return another harpercon minority. Regional factors, class interest, and the Bell Curve of intelligence, dictates that harper's hold on the West, reactionary moneyed interests, and stupid, ignorant people, will stand firm. [NOTE: I intend for those three labels to represent different groups of people. People from Alberta are no more stupid than people in Ontario or Nova Scotia.]

But if harper resigns after failing yet again to get a majority, or whether he tries to stay on, it won't matter. Unless Ignatieff wants to subject Canada and his own person, to still more (as yet) undetermined years of brinkmanship and abuse, the harpercon minority will be voted down at the first opportunity and Ignatieff and Layton will pay a visit to Rideau Hall.

Enough is enough. Both parties, but especially the Liberals, were more than accommodating to harper's bullying. He had his chance. He had numerous chances to behave properly in a minority situation and he failed to meet the standards required by democracy.

But when we form the government, should we become like the harpercons? Should we be contemptuous of the opposition (however contemptible the harpercons showed themselves to be)? Should we use a majority of seats in the House of Commons to push through anything we want? Should we use our majority to abuse the power we'll have over committees?

No.

We shouldn't become bullies. But we shouldn't be the cynical enablers. We should make sure that the Liberals don't behave like US Democrats, "looking forward, not backwards" and allowing past crimes to go unpunished and past anti-democratic excesses to become incorporated into Canadian politics as capitalism unravels.

One can be law-abiding, classy, and principled, without being a doormat. There are rules in place, there are avenues that can be taken, to make sure that the harpercons are punished for their sins. After we win, there must be investigations and then there must be criminal proceedings where warranted.

Who leaked the Colvin emails that were so important that not even Colvin himself or Parliament itself was allegedly unable to see them?

What happened to the investigation on child rape in Afghanistan that harper believed needed two years to complete?

Where is that handbook for harpercon committee chairs on how to obstruct committee business?

My point is that after we take power, we should step up our demands for accountability. We can play by the rules and still be absolutely ruthless in destroying the harpercon mentality and setting the precedent that blatantly undemocratic and blatantly criminal behaviour is not tolerated in this country.

And if former harpercon leaders imagine that the don't have to attend what they insult as "kangaroo courts" then lock the fuckers up.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Comment on Jim Flaherty

It is patently obvious that Flaherty dyes his hair.

It's pretty rich that a dunce who didn't even see the great recession coming (even after it had already hit the USA), and whose "action plan" had to be forced out of him, can still present himself as a sober, steady hand on the economic tiller.

It's a testimony to the intellectual bankruptcy of our hegemonic political-economic ideology.

[I wrote this in response to Montreal Simon's post about "Jimbo Flaherty's Hunger Budget"]

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

NDP (and the other guys) Reject harpercon Budget

HOOOORAY!!!!

Fuck-head flaherty's clueless bromides budget has been rejected by all three opposition parties!

Layton said he'd work with Paul Martin's minority government and he did, until Martin contemptuously rejected NDP demands to stop the privatization of health care. (You Liberal bloggers might want to take note of that. The privatization of health care is a major anti-progressive course and it's one of the reasons that I reject the Liberal Party.)

Layton said he'd work with harper, and he did at the beginning, but when harper's scum-baggery became too great, Layton put him on notice.

The one time Layton cut a deal with harper after the proposed coalition, I agreed with him one-hundred percent on the need to prevent a disastrous election, although I thought Layton should have asked for much, much more for the bargain.

I have to say, I got a kick out of the way Liberal bloggers were sticking their chests out now that Ignatieff has got his war on, while trashing the NDP for looking like they were going to do a second time what the Liberals did 75 times.

I do think some sort of apology is in order.

Then again, it ain't over until the fat lady sings.

Federal Election Talk and War in Libya

Some random thoughts for this morning:

Obviously there has to be an election. I've long held to the idea that harper is unfit to govern due to his demonstrated contempt for our entire political system. He is by far the most undemocratic prime minister we've ever had. They're a disgrace, they're contemptible, they have to go.

But it saddens me that the NDP makes so many noises about accommodating this abomination. Maybe some of that is just covering their asses politically, trying to pretend that they don't want an election and will move heaven and earth to demonstrate to all the lazy, whining, ignorant potential swing voters who begrudge the half-hour it takes to exercise their franchise, that the NDP tried not to inconvenience them.

It saddens me more than it amuses me to see all the Liberal bloggers fired up about their "Hope and Change" symbol, Michael Ignatieff, as the possibility of an election becomes stronger. I actually agree with their fighting words about the detestable harper and their mockery of Layton's sudden embrace of "making Parliament work" after a couple of years of bombastic brinkmanship. But it's just so fucking ridiculous. Yes Liberals, go on believing that Ignatieff promises something substantially better than harper on the economy, on foreign policy, on the environment, on culture. The fact of that matter is that 21st-Century "liberalism" tends to mean freedom of speech for pornographers and anti-Muslim racists, and the right of women, racialized minorities, and gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, and transgendered persons to compete in the marketplace (subject to unspoken cultural limits). Aside from that, liberalism means rising inequality, suicidal destruction of the environment, and continued imperialism and torture.

The Liberals, like the US Democrats, will perpetuate the downward spiral of living standards (which they contributed to mightily under Chretien and Martin), with, perhaps, a retreat back from harper's authoritarianism to the more benign bullying of the Chretien years. (It's also possible that the Liberals will take a cue from Obama and actually EXPAND upon the lawlessness and monstrousness of the bush II regime!)

And it saddens me even more to think that our political culture in Canada is so thoroughly debased that the NDP remains a distant third-choice of Canadians, with the present gang of clearly incompetent, clearly ridiculous, clearly contemptible harpercons as the political party of choice of the largest bloc of voters.

And now for Libya. Ah yes, Libya. Gotta get on board with the Western intervention in Libya right? This time the imperialists, the mass-murderers, the plunderers, the rapists, the dictator-loving hypocritical asswipes are being genuinely altruistic right? Of fucking course not.

Given the fact that all they'd need to do to stop the equally barbaric assaults on civilians in Bahrain or Yemen would be to tap their dictator allies on the shoulder and softy suggest that maybe they shouldn't gun-down innocent people in the streets. That Obama is doing nothing of the sort must make sensible people wonder about his sanctimonious droning about Libya's Qaddafi. (To be perfectly honest, I simply skipped those three or four lines of quoted text whenever I read about the Libyan intervention. Obama disgusts me and I can think of no greater waste of time than to read his pedestrian rhetoric and his hypocritical bullshit.)

New rule: No matter how grievous the tragedy, the fact that our governments are staffed by monsters makes it the case that their intervention anywhere in the world can only make things worse. Stop calling for Western governments to "do something" whenever the mainstream media draws your attention to some crisis somewhere in the world.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Paul Carson and the harpercons

There's something about this Paul Carson guy that seems to typify the entire harpercon culture.

Paul Carson is 66 years old. He was a lawyer who lost his license for some (
apparently small scalemore like stealing $20,000 from his clients!) criminal behaviour. He became an adviser and political fixer for the Canadian federal "conservative" movement. He became one of stephen harper's personal advisers, before obtaining some serious wingnut welfare position as the head of the harpercon created Canada School of Energy and Environment in Canada (created with a harpercon federal grant in 2007).

Now, somewhere between 2008 and 2010 it appears that Carson became involved with (now 22-year old) Michelle McPherson. McPherson was, at one time, an Ottawa escort.

[Right off the bat I'd like to say that I don't see any moral problems with something like an "April-December 29th" romance. Whatever. Anything's possible. I also don't have that much of a problem with prostitution. I especially don't have any problems whatsoever with the prostitutes themselves. Sex is morally neutral. It's their bodies, and it's their lives. Whatever. Personally, I don't think that I would ever avail myself of a prostitute's services but only because I can't be sure that they're not being coerced with physical threats or by bitter economic necessity.]

All that having been said, the idea that a 66-year old man getting engaged to a 22-year old former escort, is bad optics.

But I wouldn't even be talking about this stuff if not for the real scandal. That link to "Accidental Deliberations" is pretty cool. It assembles some reporting and commentary that you all should read.

Basically, the story goes like this: When a health crisis erupted at the Kashechewan Reserve after decades of Liberal mismanagement and neglect, Paul Martin's minority government was forced to cobble together the Kelowna Accord. When Martin told the NDP to go fuck themselves over their concerns about health care privatization and his government fell, the Liberals were defeated in the ensuing election and the nauseating stephen harper came to power. Being a complete scumbag, harper cancelled the Kelowna Accord, including the money for building the infrastructure for providing safe drinking water to First Nations reserves.

Of course, not even harper (at least at the time) had the unmitigated gall to try to pretend that everything was hunky-dory at places like Kashechewan. They would provide money to help these reserves obtain clean drinking water. They said it, but they didn't do it.

What they did announce, with great fanfare, was the legislating of tough, new water quality standards for First Nations reserves, but, as the Globe & Mail reports (and hat-tip to "Accidental Deliberations"):
First nations leaders were allegedly being warned by the promoters of the H2O Pro system that new legislation before the Senate will require them to meet stringent drinking water standards but will provide no resources to do so.
And then Carson came along with H20PRO and some helpful advice:
The communities were allegedly told that government connections could be used to find money for the equipment and training if they purchased the systems.
Nice 'eh? Our long-suffering First Nations are being used as a cash-cow for racist politicians and their crooked hangers-on. And, apparently, as part of the extortion, Carson's fiancee was being given 20 percent off the top of these water contracts, just for showing up as H20PRO's agent. (This WAS extortion. They were being forced to clean up their water. They weren't given the resources to do it. They were told that buying the resources from the politically connected company MIGHT allow them to access the money to give their communities safe drinking water and avoid penalties for not complying with federal legislation.) And then, to top off the racism, the extortion, and the sleaze, the connected harpercon stooge wants to soak the First Nations even more by attaching a 20% gratuity for his trophy wife.

There is something about the naked corruption, thuggishness, and crudely obvious criminality of Carson's behaviour that makes this scandal so emblematic of the harpercon government in general. As well, the titanic levels of incompetence (Carson's blatant influence-peddling and self-aggrandizement were all revealed after all) give it that typical harpercon flavour. This whole movement is the slip-shod construction of a political movement out of fifth-rate hacks and goons.

Just look for yourself at the sort of people associated with this nauseating government:

One of harper's front-bench champions is the always idiotic, always bullying, always pathetic John Baird.

Then we have Public Sector Integrity Commissioner Christiane Ouimet, who took $11.5 million dollars to scream at her staff and not do her job.

There's Canadian Human Rights Tribunal's Shirish Chotalia who likewise creates toxic work environments and prevents the institution she's paid to lead from doing its work.

There are the cowardly, Zionist-imperialist simp bullies dragging Rights and Democracy into despair and irrelevance.

One and all these harpercon shills reveal themselves to be bullies and incompetents. With this Paul Carson specimen we see all that and more. I suspect the whole underside of a rock that is Canada's organized "conservative" movement is equally sleazy, corrupt, and pathetic.

Canada has always had its flaws, but we are better than this as a people.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Message For harperbot Trolls


If on the very small chance that you have the moral and intellectual ability to feel bad about taking the harpercon party of Canada's money to infest progressive blogs and defend the harpercon government's deliberate assault on Canadian democracy, ... just stop doing it.

That's right. Continue to take the harpercons' money, but just stop defending the attack on democracy.

But, you say, isn't that unethical? Please! You've just spent days arguing that nobody cares about harpercon lying to Parliament. Nobody cares about withholding information to hold the government accountable. Nobody cares about harpercon minions sending out fund-raising appeals on government stationary. Nobody cares about harpercon aides trying to get their girlfriends to profit from selling water contracts to First Nations reserves without clean drinking water.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with taking stephen harper's money and doing nothing for it. In the first place, with that gang of incompetents, it's not like anybody is going to check up on you! ("Conservatives" tend not to worry about what they get for taxpayers' money anyway.) In the second place, even if harper does find out, what's he supposed to say? Just look him in the eyes when he's berating you for stealing his money and say "Who cares?"

Then turn and walk out the door.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Liberal - Tory - Same - Old - Story!!!

SIGH.

Yesterday, I wrote some commentary about stephen harper's revolting words about the significance of the recent Japanese earthquake tragedy as reported here.

Now, that's a Liberal site, but I still found it ridiculous and outrageous that part of the response to an abomination emerging from harper's mouth, some commentators there used the whole thing as an excuse to bash the NDP. For Christ's sake!

When I pointed this out, Scotian took umbrage and posted a long reply. My reply to that shall be my post for the day ...

Scotian,

Sorry guy, but I find it absolutely ridiculous that at a moment when harper says something so completely repulsive, your second instinct is to use it as an opportunity to trash the NDP.

You know, we all could have been united in our outrage against a guy who I HAVE ADMITTED is worse than the Liberals, whose party is worse than the Liberals.

You could have saved your antipathy for the NDP for another day, but instead, you decided to pollute things with the same tired, irrelevant bitching and carping about the NDP. That was YOUR decision.

And, let's not forget, it was Liberals from Trudeau to Chretien who centralized power inside the PMO so that harper's taking it to the next step wasn't all that great a step.

And it was Chretien's Liberals who perfected laughing their way through scandals and lying to the people ("We'll KILL the GST!") that harper has only elevated to a degree.

It's been the Liberal Party of Chretien and Paul Martin that so savaged public health care and used the EI fund to cover tax-cuts for the wealthy.

It was the Liberal Party of Paul Martin that helped overthrew Haiti's democratically elected president and helped install a regime of thieves and murderers and under Canada's adherence to the "responsibility to protect" Haitians are starving and suffering under unelected governments and sham elections.

harper is worse, but maybe that's just the leftist in me being blinded by my own political inclinations. Maybe, as in the USA, the "good cops" the Democrats of Obama and Clinton, are worse than the "bad cops" the Repugnicans under bush II.

At least with the bad cops, you know they don't like you and want you dead. Sometimes the good cops can fool you into making you think they're your friends and you give them more than you should have.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

harper's Japan Remarks: The banality of evil

So, upon witnessing (along with the rest of us) the terrible devastation of the earthquake and the tsunami, and now, the deadly explosions of ill-prepared nuclear power stations in Japan, harper furrows his brow and tries to make a "teachable moment" out of the tragedy:
“All of these things should remind everyone, should remind everybody in Canada, should remind all the parties in Parliament, that the global economy remains extremely fragile. It does not take very much to make us all, not just in Canada and the United States but all around the world, very worried,” he said.

“The fact of the matter is this should be a wake-up call that we cannot afford to take our focus off the economy to get into a bunch of unnecessary political games or, as I said, an opportunistic or unnecessary election that nobody was asking for.”
Oh my fucking god.

The man has absolutely no humanity. Can't you just imagine the clod?
Acquaintance of harper: "My parents died in a car accident."

stephen harper: "I think your tragedy is an indication that nobody knows where the global economy is going to go and that the last thing we need are more political games from partisan interests in Ottawa."

Acquaintance of harper: "You're insane. Get out of my sight!"
The man also has absolutely no brains.

Don't the nuclear meltdowns in Japan signal that there needs to be greater democratic accountability when countries make big decisions on things like nuclear power, the regulation of big business, the buying of multi-billion dollar fighter jets, the building of multi-billion dollar prisons?
Me: "Hey harper! What's the meaning of life?"

stephen harper: "I don't know. Nobody knows. Just as nobody knows how the world economy is ..."

Me: "Never mind that. Is there a God?"

stephen harper: "If there is a God, He's definitely angry with all the political games they're playing in ..."

Me: "Shut the fuck up. Does torture debase the souls of those who practice it?"

stephen harper: "I'm not sure. But playing partisan games deba.."

Me: "I'd stay and chat, but there's something really boring on tv that I'd rather watch instead."

FINI

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More Politicians Who Have Sunk Beyond Redemption

Yesterday I wrote about how if Barack Obama hadn't already lowered himself beyond redemption he did when he forced P. J. Crowley to resign for his criticism of the torture of whistle-blower Bradley Manning. The Harvard constitutional lawyer, Barack Obama, has been "assured" by government lawyers that the solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, daily humiliation, and overall torture of Bradley Manning (who hasn't been convicted of anything) is "appropriate."

While we're on the subject of people who are irredeemable, let's mention stephen harper for his repeated demonstrations of his utter contempt for Canadian democracy. Then there's Dalton McGuinty for his slinking around torpedoing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms with his use of the Public Works Protection Act. McGuinty should also be condemned for his abuse of the First Nations in the interest of mining corporations up in northern Ontario.

Another individual, while he's not a politician, has a job with a high political profile, Toronto Police Service chief Bill Blair, for his cynical, disgusting, hypocritical, violations of Canadians' Charter Rights and his assholeish smearing of the victims has also proved himself to be beyond hope. (Some people give Blair high points for his much better rhetoric than his doofus predecessor Julian Fantino. All Blair's nice words mean though, is that he's a better liar. Blair has been trained to know what to say to mitigate the suspicions of some groups of people about the police.)

What makes Canadian politics so depressing is the almost total lack of realistic options. While McGuinty is hopelessly nauseating, in practical terms he'll be modestly superior than the authoritarian corporate stooge (and possible successor) the Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak. Hudak is basically a sequel to the thuggish Mike Harris. Indeed, Hudak has married Deb Hutton, who was Harris's assistant back when the stupid goon was allegedly roaring that the OPP "get the fucking Indians out of the park" at Ipperwash, and allegedly pressuring them into the disastrous confrontation that killed Dudley George.

Paul Martin
, for what he did to Haiti. Peter MacKay for his buffoonery. Lawrence Cannon for his disgusting mistreatment of Abousfian Abdelrazik and Suaad Hagi Mohamud. And on and on and on ...

Monday, March 14, 2011

On the Firing of P. J. Crowley

As most of you know, Barack Obama has fired State Department spokesperson P. J. Crowley for his statements on the torture of Bradley Manning. Calling Manning's torture ""ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid," raised the ire of the detestable public relations creature that is Barack Obama.

Like the amoral Wall Street/Imperialist shill that he is, Obama farted out of his mouth sounds to the effect that just like bush II would turn to psychotic morons like Alberto Gonzales or John Yoo, and have them scribble something like "it isn't torture if you don't lose an organ or a limb" or "it is not illegal to crush the testicles of a suspect's child to coerce a confession (so long as you have a good reason to do so)," Obama has found some other piece of slime to say that Manning's torture is "appropriate."

I just want to point out here that if Obama hadn't already lowered himself beyond all hope of redemption during his shitty administration (vetoing the UN resolution against Israel's illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories; keeping the Guantanamo torture chamber open when he said he'd close it [and by which he meant that he'd simply move the torture victims somewhere else]; raining death from the skies upon the people of western Pakistan with his massive expansion of drone strikes; assuming the right to murder his own country's citizens overseas without any due process of law or any form of restraint; and pretty much the entirety of his economic policies), he has so lowered himself now.

In firing the commendably honest Crowley, the sickening Obama reminds me of nothing else but the sickening stephen harper in his attack upon the upright and outstanding Richard Colvin. It goes without saying that I would never want to be tortured. Nobody would want to be tortured. Nobody should be tortured. It's inhuman. (Although we humans seem nauseatingly prone to torturing each other.) I suspect that if Mister Obama and Mister harper were turned over to the sadistic goons who have tortured others on their behalf, and they were reduced to crying like babies and "confessing" to any bizarre plots their torturers invented, both of those assholes might, MIGHT rethink their revolting behaviour in this matter.

So, where are the Democrats here? As Glenn Greenwald says in the link above, they're conspicuously silent about Obama's torture policies and his suppression of Crowley when they were roaring to the skies during the bush II regime. What sort of partisan stupidity causes people to forget all their human values when it comes to their own team's actions? How important is it to these imbeciles that their team wins even if their team tortures people?

FWIW - I generally support the NDP politically. But you can search this blog and you'll see that this support is not without qualifications. If I thought the NDP was hopeless then I'd think that electoral politics was entirely hopeless and I don't want to believe that just yet. But our politicians can become as scuzzy as our system can infect them to be. Nobody is better placed to ensure that a political party doesn't lose its humanity than its own members. If Democrats rose up enmasse and told Obama that they will repudiate him for his torture policies, and meant it, this barbarism would end.

EDITED TO ADD:

I'd like to reemphasize my point here. Barack Obama has lowered himself beyond redemption here. This behaviour is the equivalent of somebody killing one of your loved ones. You don't "forgive and forget" something like that. If somebody kills one of your beloved and then asks if they can borrow ten bucks, the last thing on your mind should be "will they pay me back?" When people murder the ones you love you don't go "I might want to use their lawnmower this summer so I'd better stay on their good side." You don't think "Next time they ask me for something I might say no."

Or the big one: "I'll still keep that person as a friend because my other neighbour is a total idiot and scum-bag."

If your choices of friends and neighbours are george w. bush and Barack Obama, your best option is to move. And, for the record, since John Kerry let the Repugs steal a second election and after the Democrats regained Congress and CONTINUED to fund bush II's wars, I have said that US Americans should abandon electoral politics.

What makes Obama worse than bush II here is that Obama is a constitutional lawyer. bush II was a lazy-minded idiot-ignoramus. He might even have believed John Yoo's insane ramblings. Obama knows better. He didn't have to ask anyone if Manning's treatment was torture. He knew beforehand. He's contemptible, lying, cowardly scum.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

There's No Reward For Hard Work In Canada

Crushing levels of taxation leave us with almost nothing left over ...


Bone-headed politicians seemed determined to punish success ...


Overly generous welfare systems allow others to live comfortably while refusing to work ...


Remember, we're all in this together ...



In all honesty, I have some wealthy acquaintances. I like the way they live. I like the way I live when I'm with them.

But can we dispense with the factually-challenged meme that Canada is a punishingly high tax country where hard-working capitalists are unable to enjoy the fruits of their labour?

And if the class-war sentiments of this post offends anyone, I have to ask if they get just as up in arms when people describe other people on social assistance as chiselling, lazy cheats, and unionized workers as overpaid, lazy crooks?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bare-Knuckle Rules Following

I have often fantasized that if the opposition parties defeat harper, they treat the harpercons with the same contempt and brazen illegal bullying that the harpercons used to dish out.

But it's just occurred to me that the rules of the game in Canada are such that they wouldn't have to break the rules like the harpercons are constantly doing. So, no lying to Parliament. No doctoring documents. No appointing bullying hacks to hound decent political managers to their deaths. No abuse of the power of prorogation. None of that sickening nonsense.

Just do everything by the book AND HOLD THE HARPERCONS ACCOUNTABLE for their sins. While the sham that is the Democratic Party of the United States blustered about the illegal, undemocratic policies of bush II's terrorist wars, not only did they do nothing about the Repugs criminal behaviour upon re-taking control of the legislature, they actively embraced same inhuman, authoritarian policies.

Hopefully, with the NDP and the Bloc supporting them, the Liberals won't be able to indulge in such stupidity. Here's how it should go: The harpercons will not get a majority. They are too obviously stupid, they've alienated too many regions of the country. They're mired in scandals and all they can do is bark about "AdScam." There will be another minority government. As soon as that happens, form a coalition.

FORM. A. COALITION.

End of fucking story.

Vote non-confidence in the harpercon government and tell the Governor-General you've formed a coalition. Let the harpercons scream. Let them threaten impotently that they'll take it to the people.

IT DOESN'T MATTER.

It doesn't matter because coalitions are an acceptable part of a parliamentary system. It's legal. When it's done at the very beginning of a Parliament, the Governor-General has no choice but to comply. It's the will of the majority.

Let the people complain. As with so many other things in Canada, the people don't matter. And in this case, where the country is basically split 50-50 and part of the public's opposition to coalitions is based on partisan self-interest with most of the remainder being based on ignorance, it's a good thing that a coalition government can ignore them.

THE IMPORTANT THING IS THAT THE OPPOSITION PARTIES WILL NOW HAVE POWER.

AND THEN THEY SHOULD USE IT.

Create a national daycare program. Bring the troops home from Afghanistan. Cancel the F-35 contract.

Here's a really wild concept for right-wing Liberals. Enacting policies that benefit the majority is good politics! It creates support for you among the general public!

And, as well, .... HOLD THE HARPERCONS ACCOUNTABLE!!!

There's no need for some sleazy handbook for committee chairs to obstruct the work of Parliament. The coalition must use it's majority to have the in-and-out scandal publicly aired. To investigate that sleazy obstruction handbook for committee chairs. To tear apart the bullshit committee looking at torture documents and have a public airing of that whole sickening mess.

Unlike the stupid Democrats who could very well be digging their own grave as Obama betrays his voters and lets the Repugs batter them, the Coalition should use its power to scrupulously destroy the conservatives as a political force. Let harper's ignorant and/or greedy political base self-pityingly wail in hypocritical self-righteousness. Let them make their empty threats. (They don't vote for you anyway.) Let them take their stand by the torturer-enabler. Let them take their stand by the incompetent bungler. Associate with that scum if you want to. It only makes your protests all the sweeter to our ears.

I would hope that Ignatieff's bruised ego, and the sense of mainstream Liberals of the profound danger of harpercon government to capitalist democracy (such as has been voiced by columnists who i mentioned yesterday) would enable them to join with the NDP and the Bloc in this pursuit of accountability for the harpercons.

I would hope that unlike the USA, our mainstream political elites are not so completely compromised and anti-democratic that they'd treat harper with respect and permit him to debase our politics for another day.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Canada's Punditocracy Call's It Like It Is

I have to admit it. Actually, there was some good analysis of the significance of harper's attempt to refuse the Colvin emails and other documents to Parliament. In that act of contempt towards Parliament harper was revealing more authoritarian traits than anything the concern trolls have been able to tar Venezuela's Hugo Chavez with. The problem though, is that after that it was back to business as usual. It's like finding out that cousin Leroy tried to kill Aunt Laverne, stopping him in the act, and then inviting him over to the house again next year for the Thanksgiving weekend as if nothing had ever happened.

But with the recent Bev Oda lying to Parliament scandal and the Federal Court decision on the "In-and-Out" scandal, some columnists are connecting the dots.

First, there's Carol Goar's "Harper is cutting off 'lifeblood of democracy'";

The list goes on. Harper has stymied parliamentary committees, removed outspoken government watchdogs and obstructed Access to Information requests. He has prorogued Parliament twice.

Six years ago, as opposition leader, he wrote these words in an essay published by the Montreal Gazette: “Information is the lifeblood of a democracy. Without adequate access to key information about government policies and programs, citizens and parliamentarians cannot make informed decisions and incompetent or corrupt governments can be hidden under a cloak of secrecy.”

It would be hard to put it better than that.

Then there's Lawrence Martin's "On the road to the harper government's tipping point":
The recent math is eye-popping. But getting the full picture requires going a little further back. We recall the PM on the Afghan detainees’ file denying Parliament its right to see documents. The Speaker overruled him, pointedly suggesting that he might show more respect for democratic traditions. Before this, Mr. Harper had shut down Parliament, an act that brought thousands of Canadians to the streets to protest against what he was doing to their democracy.
...
During the Chr├ętien government years, I reported extensively on malfeasance by the Liberals. To do the math on the Harper government is to conclude that, while it has no sponsorship scandal on its books, it’s already surpassed its predecessor on a range of other abuse-of-power indices.
Finally, Chantal Hebert spells out the implications of the [now successful] vote about whether the "In-and-Out" scandal is a case of electoral fraud and “assault on the democratic principles upon which Parliament and the electoral system are based . . . .” in a column entitled: "Liberals set the stage to bring down the government."

But if the opposition parties really do subscribe to the stark sentiments expressed in this week’s Liberal motion, it will be hard for any of them to justify continuing to do business with the government at the time of the budget.

In a minority Parliament, the opposition can blame the government for many things but not for its own self-inflicted impotence.

Ignatieff, Layton and Duceppe could hardly take the Conservatives to task for alleged abuses of the democratic process in an election campaign 12 to 18 months from now without being asked why they turned out to be ready to overlook them this spring.

Indeed. The sum of all these arguments is that harper is a despot in embryo. He inhabits a democratic system but he despises it and wants to mutate it into something less. These basically elite commentators are pretty happy with the system as is. They might be "pragmatic" left-Liberals at most, who believe that "something" should be done for the poor, but not so as to get in the way of Canadian business-as-usual, but they recognize that harper is NOT business-as-usual. He's dangerous and he needs to be called for what he is.

Unlike the degenerate mainstream newsmedia in the USA, I think a majority of Canadian opinion writers appear to realize that dangerous precedents are being set and that enabling abuses of state power is exceedingly foolish. Take for instance the way the NYT and others are agreeing with the Obama regime's attack on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. Assange is going to be arrested and imprisoned for receiving and publishing information from leaked government documents. This is something that journalists are supposed to be doing every day. These idiots probably think since they're already so craven and so much a part of the system, that they will never be on the receiving end of the same state actions. That sort of foolish, blind trust is a sure road to personal destruction.

Anybody who has so many secrets and lies to cover for that they need to attack the basic principles of journalism is certain to have more and once they get the precedent of jailing reporters and whistle-blowers with newly-invented crimes, they'll attempt to expand those powers.

Right now it appears that most of our leading opinion makers realize the dangers and while all they can do is sound the alarm in a newspaper column, they're doing it, it's highly important, and their publishers are allowing them to do so.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Property Damage Versus Torture

It's interesting how fucked-up people can be. Well and truly fucked-up and even when you take them by the hair on the back of their head, shove their faces right up to their stupidity and then rub their noses in it, they still can't figure it out.

On the intertubes somewhere I'm being taken to task for my non-condemnation of the fire-bombing of a RBC branch. Given the fact that nobody was hurt, and given the fact that one of the things they were protesting about, global warming, is pretty serious, ... um, make that catastrophically serious, ... I'm still a little uncertain as to whether trashing empty buildings is really such a sin against decency and civilization.

I'm not interested in debating with those people who doubt anthropogenic global warming. For the most part, those people are on a different planet as far as I'm concerned. (That just happened but I think one could stretch that concept to make all sorts of points!) The following is for the sane people who believe that the combination of a 95% scientific consensus and a predictive model with sterling results means that global warming is real:

The scientific consensus, the VAST scientific consensus is that we are causing global warming and that global warming is going to [it's too late to stop any of this stuff] cause massive flooding of all the world's coastal areas, which will result in massive homelessness, massive losses in crop areas which will cause massive famines, massive hurricanes, massive droughts, the altering of ocean currents creating a much colder Europe, meaning higher heating bills and lower crop yields, massive starvation, disease, wars, misery, ... etc., etc., . Not counting the species that are going to go extinct, tens of millions of human beings will die.

It's the carbon economy that is pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and the Alberta Tar Sands is one of the largest single contributors to this disaster.

Now then, let's compare: Massive alteration of the planet's eco-system, the extinction of numerous species of animals, and the death and misery of tens of millions of human beings, vs. fire-bombing empty buildings.

Now, here's the thing. If, like most people in the progressive Canadian blog-o-sphere, you want to maintain that fire-bombing that branch was out-of-line, given the facts that, oh, I don't know, banks are virtuous corporate citizens, or that bricks and glass and electronics can feel pain, or the anxiety of that bank branch's employees when they pulled up to work the next day and saw that it was trashed is more important than the anxiety that's going to be felt by the millions of Bangladeshis when their homeland goes underwater, ... we can have that debate.

BUT, the reason I'm writing this post is because the stupid fucker who is attacking me for my position here is on record as supporting the Mubarak dictatorship during the recent citizen's uprising in Egypt!

I mean, how fucked-up can you be to accuse somebody of being a dangerously violent political thinker when you believe it is necessary and just to maintain a dictatorship that has been robbing and torturing its people for over thirty years? Hmmm. Fire-bombing an empty building or beating people to death, ... which is worse? It's a puzzle all right.

When I pointed this out to the dunce (repeatedly) the shit-head continued with the lame accusations and refused to deal with the reality of his support for torture and dictatorship at all. When I attempted to force the fuck-wit to confront the ridiculousness of his/her/its gargantuan hypocrisy, he/she/it lamely said that there's "plenty more" violent ravings here at my blog. This means two things: First, that the psychotic idiot is defiling my blog without my knowing it. (Yuck.) Secondly, that the self-righteous, self-satisfied, inhuman pompous ass can't fucking figure it out yet, that property damage is nothing when compared to torture.

I think what I'm mostly on record in stating is that I don't condemn vandalism. I do say that in the face of state violence to stifle dissent or to suppress democracy that the tactical use of violence is necessary although it is often counterproductive. I have absolutely no respect for individuals who try to use that to paint me as an undemocratic, violent terrorist. Especially since a lot of these individuals, such as the shit-head being discussed here, support the torture of Egyptians and the killing of Iraqis. If you're going to condemn violence you really ought not to be endorsing some of the largest exercises in violence.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Can a Slut be Raped?"

That was the title of a review (apparently in TIME Magazine) for Jodie Foster's "The Accused." That film was was based on a true story in which an intoxicated, single woman was gang-raped in a bar and the men who did it manage to plea-bargain down to "reckless endangerment." In all honestly, "Answers" has the best synopsis:
Based on a real-life 1983 incident, The Accused tells the story of Sarah Tobias (Jodie Foster), a working-class party girl who likes to live it up with her friends and flirt hard with the guys. After a fight with her boyfriend, she heads to a local bar to cool down -- and after a few drinks, plus some dancing and flirting, she finds herself thrown on top of a pinball machine and gang-raped by a bunch of locals, while others watch and cheer the proceedings. District attorney Kathryn Murphy (Kelly McGillis) takes Sarah's case but quickly negotiates a plea bargain in which the attackers' charges are reduced to reckless endangerment. Her reason: defense attorneys could use Sarah's not-so-pretty past to paint her as "asking for it," getting their clients off completely. But a stunned Sarah accuses Murphy of selling her out, and when the lawyer sees how the incident continues to destroy Sarah's life, she decides she must seek true justice. This time, she goes after the crowd of onlookers for "criminal solicitation" -- those who were egging the rapists on.

Jonathan Kaplan's fact-based drama, one of the most thoughtful examinations of the crime of rape on film, features an Academy award-winning performance by Jodie Foster. An account of the gang rape of a free-living waitress (Foster) by some of the male patrons of a dive bar, the film exposes the manner in which the pre-feminist blame-the-victim attitude toward rape victims, still predominant in many areas, is also hard-wired into the legal system. A more subtle secondary theme concerns the role of social class, and the difficulty experienced by the working-class victim in being heard, especially by her well-bred attorney (Kelly McGillis). When, driven by her client's rage, the lawyer finally brings the rape's bystanders to trial, the film means to implicate a society which has always maintained an unwritten code which would shrug off such behavior.
I'm mentioning the TIME review though, because I remembered reading the reactions it produced. There were a lot of angry letters absolutely slamming the reviewer for just not getting it. Yes, "sluts" CAN be raped. She was flirting with those men, not asking to be raped.

[I was going to use an asterisk to explain my use of the word "slut" --- that I use it as an affectionate term of endearment for somebody (male or female) who has a lot of sexual partners. However, upon finishing the sentence, I realized that the reviewer was attaching the label to a woman whose sexual history was completely unknown and who had just been acting flirtaciously!]

So, that was 1988, and that movie (which now has a tv-melodrama feel to it because of some of the heavy-handed characterization of the villains) was super important at the time, because it attacked the very notion that women are "asking for it" when they dress or act a certain way.

So here it is, two decades later, and cops still think that if a woman dresses a certain way ("like a slut") then she's increasing her chances of getting raped.

Now, I'm a middle-aged, white male. My mom (soon to be 80!) is one of those socially conservative, pre-feminist-feminists. I don't think she's ever identified with those "radical, lesbian, man-hating, birth-control-pushing" (not her words, just a compilation of the stereotypes) feminists of the late-sixties and the 1970s, but she was always pretty quick to stand up for her rights and to criticize men and the world they had made. (To the extent that by adolescence I was rolling my eyes at her criticism of the male animals in the nature shows when they didn't participate in parenting!)

Thanks to her though, while I often wobbled on the dark side as a young man, and while I'm still entirely too complacent about women's issues (as I am on race and other issues), I've always acted on the premise that "no means no."

In the internet response to the Toronto cop's stupid outburst, I read this devastating reversal of preconceptions:
  • If a woman is drunk, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman is walking alone at night, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman is drugged and unconscious, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman is wearing a short skirt, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman is jogging in a park at 5 am, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you’re still hung up on, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman is asleep in her bed, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman is asleep in your bed, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman is doing her laundry, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman is in a coma, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman changes her mind in the middle of or about a particular activity, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman has repeatedly refused a certain activity, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman is not yet a woman, but a child, don’t rape her.
  • If your girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, don’t rape her.
  • If your step-daughter is watching TV, don’t rape her.
  • If you break into a house and find a woman there, don’t rape her.
  • If your friend thinks it’s okay to rape someone, tell him it’s not, and that he’s not your friend.
  • If your “friend” tells you he raped someone, report him to the police.
  • If your frat-brother or another guy at the party tells you there’s an unconscious woman upstairs and it’s your turn, don’t rape her, call the police and tell the guy he’s a rapist.
  • Tell your sons, god-sons, nephews, grandsons, sons of friends it’s not okay to rape someone.
  • Don’t tell your women friends how to be safe and avoid rape.
  • Don’t imply that she could have avoided it if she’d only done/not done x.
  • Don’t imply that it’s in any way her fault.
  • Don’t let silence imply agreement when someone tells you he “got some” with the drunk girl.
  • Don’t perpetuate a culture that tells you that you have no control over or responsibility for your actions. You can, too, help yourself. (Men Can Stop Rape)
So, I wrote this post because a couple of days ago my partner asked me how anybody could think that a woman was asking to be raped simply for dressing a certain way. I was uncomfortable because I could explain the logic (so to speak), having once acquiesced to it myself those decades ago, but I knew that if I tried to explain it it would sound like a justification. I said that the basic reason was that we have an anti-woman culture and an anti-sex culture. I then admitted that I'd once bought into the idea that a woman could increase her risks of getting assaulted by dressing a certain way.

Then, this morning, she said "Happy International Women's Day" and then something along the lines of would I make breakfast or do the dishes or make dinner or something.

The real thing I like about that list is that it puts the responsibility where it belongs. On the potential rapists and the actual rapists. It's so clear, but our culture is still so patriarchal that it can come off as shocking. As I said, I'm complacent. I'd be like those men in Golda Meir's cabinet, a couple of seconds after this:
As the late Israeli PM Golda Meir famously — and presciently — told her cabinet during a debate about a curfew on women to protect them from a spate of rapes, maybe it’s better to confine the men.
Can't you just see it? "Hunh! Instead of locking up the women because men are raping them, ... we should lock up them men! But, but, I'M A MAN! Waitaminnit!"
I've always said that I'm not a feminist. Because they wouldn't really have me. But I'm a supporter and so here's this male blogger's International Women's Day post.

Monday, March 7, 2011

1848 and 2011 (again)

It's true. What's going on across the Middle East, in Ireland, in Iceland, in Latin America, and the latest battle for hearts n' minds in Wisconsin, is party of a larger world struggle. A struggle that will be very protracted and difficult.

"2011 is 1848 Redux. But Worse"

Quote:
This is the important lesson that history has for the rebels of 2011. Euphoria is not victory. The removal of symbols is not the change of regimes. Whether in Athens or Cairo, Bahrain or even Wisconsin, the revolutions will not be won in the streets. They will not be won early. They will be resisted fiercely, cleverly, tenaciously, and with all the resources that the assaulted powers can muster, including the most important resource of all: time.

If the revolutions of 2011 are to succeed — and it’s a big if in every case — several things need to occur. The grievances must be extended beyond the core of protesters and taken up by their larger populations. The protesters must seize control of not just city squares and capitol buildings, but the institutions of power themselves. And the protests must be sustained, for years if necessary, until fundamental change is secured. These will be extremely high hurdles to clear but unless they are, the revolutions will ultimately fail.

Read the whole thing.

(For the record, and while not claiming any unique perspicacity myself, I referred to 1848 myself, here)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

thwap the Media Whore

What is it with David Bowie? I'm 44. I met my partner about, oh, I don't know, ... six or seven years ago? She's a fair bit younger than I am. A good friend of mine is in his mid-fifties and his partner is a couple of years older than he is.

So, anyway, in an early holiday present avalanche, I gave my early-20's something a CD of Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars." She loved it. Big time. So one night, we're all together and the goils start gushing over David Bowie. How he's the most beautiful man in existence.

So, ... okay. No mas! No mas! (whatever that means) I don't see how Bowie is so Beautiful, but whatever. .... So here's the thing. While our wimmenfolk were salivating over this OTHER MAN, I, entirely in a spirit of parody, and fun, and self-referential neo-pseudoist whatchamacallit, i admit to making the homophobic joke of "What do you see in that fag anyway?"

And I admit to this because in all honesty, I've overcome the stupid homophobia of my late-baby-boomer growing-upness. The joke is that when a guy back in the day felt threatened by women being attracted to other dudes, he lamely tried to tell the gals that the dude was queer.

And I ain't a homophobe no more. Except in the case of male-rapists who happen to be gay and bigger than me. Damn right I'm skeert!

And thing is ... I wasted a lot of time. Back in the day I wouldn't have listened to Bowie's "Let's Dance" and I wood-ah been missing out on shit like this:



All of this is my way of seguing into the reason why I want to embed the next YouTube video. I ain't pretending to be younger than I am. I ain't trying to be hip to what the kids are listening to. Lady Gaga hasn't made a song that i don't mind. They're all okay. I don't understand why she's such a monster, but I'm okay with the reality that she's huge. Sure. I don't mind.

So there was this YouTube sensation, ... Winnipeg's Maria Aragon, who appears (in the still for her YouTube video) to be smiling away singing Lady Gaga's tune about how your sexual orientation is nothing to be persecuted for. So Lady Gaga saw it and tweeted about it and it's got over 19 and a half million hits and everything, so they sang it together at the ACC in Toronto a couple of nights ago.

So, not having heard the original, or Aragon's version of it, I decided to watch a YouTube video of their duet and I have to say that this is the first time I appreciate that Gaga has as good a voice as Christina Aguilera and that the song is pretty good and that Aragon is a talented youngster herself.



I thought it was nice enough to post.

The Arabs Need Us

That's supposed to be a deliberately provocative title. But I do mean it a little bit. The revolutions in the Middle East have shown (to all the nit-wits out there who deny the reality that the democratic impulse is common to all people) that the Arabs don't need us to teach them how to be democratic.

But what they do need from us is for us to restrain our governments and to change the system of political-economy that is built on plunder and destruction. I've thought about this for about a decade now. If blood-thirsty imperialists continue to rule the roost, then the revolutions of the world will continue to go the way of revolutions of the past. They will by necessity become violent. This violence will brutalize the leadership and the people. They will be expensive and will force spending on weapons rather than national development. The imperialists will make them paranoid by always attempting to subvert them. They will be straight-jacketed into failed economic models. And on and on.

All of this makes someone like stephen harper all the more dangerous. As limited and compromised as our political system is, we do have certain rights and freedoms that allow us to advocate for change. We are allowed to criticize and challenge our leaders. Because of elite control of political power and the media, we can only penetrate the miasma of capitalist junk culture to a tiny degree (witness the propaganda coup of the boorish Rod Ford victory in Toronto and the way that Book of Genesis is Truth - Climate Change is bunk psychopaths get to parade around as if they're serious thinkers).

But if we're unable to experiment with saner political-economic models here in Canada with all of our rights and all of our resources, how can we expect rebels in the weaker, poorer countries to be able to pull-off something lasting? (Which is not to say that their societies are incapable of producing anything. It is to say that whatever they accomplish will probably not last if it offends or threatens the imperialists.)

When harper (and McGuinty and David Miller and Bill Blair and Rob Ford and Chris Bentley and etc.,) attack protesters, our rights are diminished. When harper celebrates lying to Parliament, our culture of democracy is debased. When harper tells his subordinates to ignore summonses from Parliamentary committees, the principle of democratic oversight of executive power is gravely weakened. When he refuses to let Parliament see spending projections he is basically saying that he should spend taxpayers' dollars as he sees fit with no challenges. When he subverts elections and petulantly attacks the courts when they rule against him, he is attacking the one slender reed of democratic power that we have. The right to choose our quasi-dictators freely and fairly.

Before we commit do "doing something" for Libya or anywhere else we should first get our own sorry house in order. And the very first thing that must be done is to punish the man who spits on our democracy on a daily basis but who still, bizarrely, expects that his own laws be obeyed.