Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dear NDP: Please Send the Canadian Forces to Help Qaddafi Crush the Rebels

Then we can accuse anyone who disagrees of not supporting the troops. And every time they question helping Qaddafi we can tell them how much they're hurting the troops and depriving them of the morale they need to fight.

Of course, that would be a pretty ruthless and stupid way to prove a point. The point which was already proven, to whit: All those "support the troops" jackasses are stupid jackasses.

Things are true because everybody else says that they're true

Like, for instance, that the NDP is weak on economics. Really? It's already been established that provincial NDP governments have the best track records at (least on that "deficit" issue which so many people obsess so witlessly about) among the variants of the three main parties in Canada.

There's more to it though. As I've said numerous times, the policies that have been sold to us by "serious" economists and "serious" political parties HAVE NOT WORKED. Allowing transnationals to sell anywhere, without any responsibilities to the countries they are selling to, has meant the flight of jobs to authoritarian dictatorships where workers' attempts to organize are defeated by state and corporate violence. Workers in the developed countries have been forced to get by on unstable, service-sector employment, which has not enabled them to maintain the levels of consumption needed to buy all the goods now produced in poor country sweat-shops and industrial hell-holes, with those consumers piling on more and more household debt.

Treating workers as an expense to be evaded through off-shoring or automation has produced a hollowed-out economy based on debt, financial fraud, and financial market bubbles.

Cutting taxes on corporations and the wealthiest 5% of income earners has NOT produced surges in job-creating investment. It has, instead, increased economic inequality, which has contributed to the hollowing-out of the economy. This is primarily due to the fall in government revenues and the subsequent slashing of public services and income support programs. (Unemployed public sector workers do not buy a lot of houses or cars. Sick people pushed out of hospitals too soon are not going to contribute in the workforce as quickly. Students broken by high tuitions and later burdened by huge student loan debts don't buy as many houses or cars or what-not either. Poor people, unable to afford rent and groceries do not pay rent of buy groceries. Surprise, surprise.)

It doesn't fucking work. It has failed. It is failing.

Furthermore, given the level of talent occupying the government side of the House of Commons these days (harper, Baird, Clement, Flaherty, Ritz, MacKay, Day, Toews, Ambrose, Oda, Van Loan, Kenney, ad nauseum), I gotta say that I find it rich that anyone is saying the NDP isn't ready to govern.

Look "serious" people: You've had three decades to prove that your neo-liberal, neo-con imperialist fantasies can work, and you've failed. It looks like more and more people have grown unimpressed with your claims and your endorsements. And that looks mighty good indeed.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A New Deal For Liberal Stalwarts

This completely surprising surge in the polls for the NDP has caused me to reconsider one of my hopes for Canadian politics.

I've long argued that the Liberals representing the mushy middle of Canadian politics could not stand the strains of the inevitable breakdown of late-capitalism. I always thought (hoped) that the Liberal Party of Canada would die, so that the battle could be between the superstitious cromagnons of the Conservative Party and that the party that resisted that would be the NDP (which at least acknowledges that capitalism is flawed to some degree).

The worst thing in the world would be for the battle to be between the Conservatives (behaving very much like US Repugnican slime-balls, religious freaks, morons, and psychopaths) and the Liberals (pretending to oppose most of the extremist corporate-imperialist agenda, but only acting like more mature, technocratic enforcers of the same anti-human agenda, like the USA's Democrats).

But here's the deal Liberals. (By that I mean: those Liberals whose activism is based on careerism; those Liberals like the guy at Eugene Forsey Liberal who has principled disagreements with the NDP (some good, some not-so-good); and those people who genuinely believe that the harpercons are freaks and that Jack Layton is a lefty-extremist [?!?], even though they like medicare, the CPP, and etc.,) If you find yourself in third-party status, and harper has a minority, there's still a way to salvage something from the wreckage.

Join up with the NDP to form a majority, and use it to destroy harper and the harpercons. Let's haul harper and assorted minions up on war crimes charges. Let's expose the assaults on democracy the harpercons indulged themselves with and heap them with opprobrium. Let's formally legislate safeguards for Canada's parliamentary system which harper abused because they were only customs and conventions, and let's explain to Canadians in minute detail why this is important and why harper was so bad to have broken these trusts.

In short, join with the NDP in enforcing accountability, even if only to destroy the harpercons as a political force so that you, the Liberals can move into their place.

Maybe, if this happens, it could be a sign of the superiority of our political culture to the entirely-debased-by-capitalist-hubris USian political system.

Whaddaya say?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Are Ordinary Canadians Pulling Our Legs?

Us political junkies didn't see the NDP surge coming. Neither did the punditocracy or the pollsters. There was absolutely no sign of it in the letters sections of newspapers or comments sections of online mainstream news services either.

And, while I'll admit that I have considerably more devotion to political issues than your average Canadian, I don't think that I'm out of line to say that there is a prevailing sentiment of "anyone but harper" among non-harpercons in this electoral cycle, as clear as the "anyone but Bush" that existed among what passes for the left in the US population during his reign of error n' terror. Which makes it doubly surprising that the traditional alternative to the Conservatives, the Liberals, are doing so badly.

There's no doubt that the harpercons' relentless attack ads have had an impact there. But it's also true that Ignatieff is a stranger in a strange land. Some social studies that i'm too lazy to look for (this is a morning's post on a frikken' blog remember) have said that there are major differences in the ways that Canadians and USians look at many issues. In some respects, the denizens of Canada's most right-wing province, Alberta, would find themselves more at home among US Democrats than Repugnicans. Ignatieff's stance on economic issues is closer to the harpercons' than it is to Canadian centrists and progressives. And, of course, there's the big bugaboo, foreign policy. Canadians have been lukewarm towards our "mission" in Afghanistan, but tend not to criticize it out of deference to "the troops." But Ignatieff is an enthusiastic advocate of imperialism, and he was an early cheerleader for the bush II regime's invasion of Iraq, which was never popular in Canada. More, Ignatieff is a continentalist, and Canadians wouldn't need harpercon attack ads to be concerned about his unprecedented coronation as the Liberals' golden boy after so few years back in the country.

When he got here, Ignatieff was clearly a political novice. He didn't know the rules of the game all that well or how to play them. He was stiff, and unconvincing. It's taken him up to this election to finally explain why he came back to Canada (a feeling that he had to practice what he preached about civic participation at Harvard). It's taken up to now for him to actually appear comfortable and poised as a politician. Unfortunately for him and for the Liberal Party of Canada, it appears that "now" is too late.

Is that all that explains the NDP's rising fortunes? Ignatieff and Rae stupidly agreed with the harpercons to extend Canada's military mission in Afghanistan without a debate. Chantal Hebert says that that is what soured a lot of Quebec voters on the Liberals. (Hebert is always saying that the sovereigntists are failing, so I don't know much else about what's going on with the Bloc.)

Perhaps the NDP's strength in Quebec is galvanizing their supporters in the West and in certain Ontario regions and making other voters think about where the best place to park their votes and "back a winner" might be. I simply can't account for this.

Is it really the case that the Canadian electorate is polarizing? Have there been all sorts of conversations around kitchen tables and in living rooms about how the country has been going too far in killing decent jobs, in slashing health care, in rewarding the big banks and telecoms, in kow-towing to US imperialist ambitions?

Are English Canadians rejecting the Liberals, or an uninspiring Liberal leader? Are we polarizing between left and right or are Quebec voters picking a viable (and humbled) social-democratic alternative and English Canadian centrists and progressives following suit?

This much is true: For better or for worse, Canadian voters have foiled the idea of strategic voting. If, ... no, let me put that differently; IF this election keeps harper at minority status AND the Liberal Party is reduced to third-party status, this will have been a very, very, very good election. (And as far as discussing the issues that I care about, in the way I think they should be discussed, this has been a very bad election.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dear Corporate Shills: Fuck Off

The nerve of those assholes! To think that after having brought us the great recession, something that's going to cost us $150 billion minimum, corporate Canada and it its dim-witted spokesmen want to warn Canadians about the economic consequences of the NDP? Seriously?

In the first place, as provincial governments, they're almost always among the more sensitive managers of neo-liberalism. Compared to the problems Bob Rae faced, fuck-head Flaherty demonstrated massive incompetence. Rae saved a couple of important employers ... DeHavilland and Algoma Steel, during a long, drawn-out recession, and in the face of Paul Martin's downloading of federal funding responsibilities to the provinces. Flaherty racked-up multi-billion dollar deficits during a period of consistent economic growth and he presided over a massive rise in homelessness, poverty, and the de-funding of health care and education.

All of it went to tax-cuts for the wealthiest which produced zero benefits to society. Now, these assholes are sitting on hundreds of billions of dollars and they're not investing it in Canada and they think that we care about their self-interested whining about how not lowering corporate taxes even further is going to "discourage" them?

Fuck that shit.

For more sober economic analysis, keep watching this blog.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Edgy Comedian" Guy Earle

Altavista anything about the Guy Earle case, the self-professed extremely left-wing physicist/comedian, and you're bound to get a slew of hits to right-wing troglodytes (Steyn, Levant, Shaidle) for whom the man is a hero in the cause of free speech.

Seems that back in 2008, two lesbian women were having drinks on the patio of a Vancouver restaurant when, at 11 pm, they were told that the patio was closing and they'd have to move their drinks inside. According to the human rights tribunal decision, the two women and a friend went inside and sat at a booth near the stage. There was an open mic comedy night being hosted by Earle going on, of which they had been unaware and uninterested. They began discussing with the waitress what their next order of drinks would be and there was some back and forth about whether some brands of beer were available or not. Apparently, this conversation irritated Earle, and when one of the women kissed her partner on the cheek, Earle began to make disparaging comments about "dykes."

Earle then went on to accuse the "dykes" of ruining the night of awesome talent on display that night and made further comments about how the dykes should go home and fuck each other with their strap-ons. This produced some boos from the audience and prompted one of the women to tell Earle that he wasn't funny. (He isn't.)Things escalated to one of the women throwing water at Earle and Earle taking the woman's sunglasses and breaking them. Of course, everything was punctuated with Earle shouting about “fucking cunts”, “stupid cunts”, “stupid dykes”, and “fucking dyke cunts.”

Earle was taken to a human rights tribunal where he was found guilty of discrimination and fined. He intends to take his case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Here's the thing. This case has made me reconsider my free-speech extremism. I still believe that people should be free to write about how much they hate defined groups of people. They can even get together, in, say, a church, and say how much they think homosexuals are evil sinners. Or, they can vent about black people, white people, whatever people, on the internet. So long as they don't start advocating physical violence against them, such hatred should be legal. It's stupid, but it shouldn't be outlawed either. Furthermore, if I'm in a coffe-shop somewhere and somebody makes an outburst about, say, white guys, that's legal. Even if it's the owner or an employee. The customers can even directly tell me that they hate white guys like me. If, however, the owner or the employee does that, ... then that is practical discrimination. And that's where the line should be drawn.

Earle, and a lot of other of his defenders, are saying that art is different. As a comedian up on the stage, Earle's right to free speech is even more important than if he were just some guy ranting on the sidewalk. I don't think so. As a guy performing on a public stage, I think Earle's right to be bigoted and prejudiced is LESS important than somebody ranting in private or to nobody at all.

He's a "comedian" is supposedly a defence. Remember when lame-ass Mark Richards destroyed his career by calling a (genuine) heckler a nigger? Well, why should it be any different, any less monstrous to attack someone for their sexuality? Especially since more gay kids are bullied into suicide than practically any other group of young people?

And here's where the idea of practical discrimination comes in: I'm sure black people aren't surprised when they hear some white racist hsss "nigger" at them. I'm sure they hear stupid shit like that all the time. It probably kills them a little inside, but they're resigned to it to a degree (I think).

But I don't think any black person in Canada today, no matter how much scar tissue they have over their feelings, would tolerate cashiers, waitresses, teachers, landlords, etc., pointedly giving them inferior or no service because they're black.

So why should lesbians be expected to sit back during a night on the town and endure some unfunny dipshit yelling at them for being dyke cunts?

How would Guy Earle like it if he went out to a night of "comedy" and got on the receiving end of being a needle-dicked, rapist, pasty-faced man? Every night? Especially in a world where women were always telling him to whip his cock out and if he doesn't, it's because it must be tiny. Or if every black man told him his small white dick couldn't satisfy a woman and that's why all the white women go for the black guys? [In case it isn't clear; all of this garbage is an attempt to reverse the so-called "edgy" comedic stylings of white, male comedians in a white, racist, patriarchal society. White, heterosexual guys don't have to worry about going to see a comedian and getting personally insulted for being who they are] You see, if Earle went out to hear some comedy, and 4/5ths of the comedians were ALWAYS something other than white males, and it was common to hear insults directed at white, heterosexual guys in daily life, ... like, sometimes, black dyke policewomen were always harassing us and the courts were discriminating against us and we were going to prison more often, for more years, than other groups of people, I'm pretty sure that Earle wouldn't find it "edgy" to have to sit there, once again, and be insulted for who he is. Especially if he didn't expect to find himself at some shitty open-mic comedy show.

cons, dippers, n' libs [finished!]

Maybe we Canadians are going to get the government we deserve. Part of the reason for this, ... a very important reason for this, ... is because the habitual voting preferences of those Canadians who do vote, has revolved around two parties that have no interest in dismantling an electoral system that serves to perpetuate their two-party rule and which, while leaving them high and dry and powerless every once in a while, also gives them as much absolute power as the Canadian political system can give them. Sadly, when in power provincially, the NDP (which tends to absorb more "Liberal centrists" than it sheds pro-corporate slimeballs upon the demise of that province's Liberal party) has also sworn-off dismantling or archaic first-past-the-post electoral system.

But, aside from our electoral system, which makes healthy political diversity a liability, there's also the debased nature of capitalist-democracy and the short-term selfishness of Canadian partisans, we find ourselves in the situation we have now.

CONSERVATIVES

The Conservatives - I find myself living in Forest Hill, Toronto now. One of the wealthiest ridings in the country. So obviously, I see a lot of Conservative signs. These are generally wealthy people who like the Conservative image of being strictly small government and low taxes. I don't know how much they dig the idea of stopping gay-marriage or electing a party whose cabinet masturbates before every meeting thinking about the poor foreigners "the troops" are killing today. (They used to have circle-jerks, but alas! (the male old-timers say) the presence of women in the cabinet broke the chain, and since it's hard for a guy to beat his meat and skillfully finesse a clitoris, they all look after themselves now.) These wonderful people vote Conservative because they like having more money at tax time and they honestly don't give a shit if ordinary Canadians (the majority) are left with a useless, unaffordable health care system or can't afford an education.

Then you have your lower-income, or "blue-collar" Conservative supporters. These are people trained to believe that it's far more important to keep fags and dykes from being able to get married than it is that they can afford a doctor's visit for their kids, or ... well, you get the idea.

Last, but certainly not least, there are people who are just overall stupid. In any group there's likely to be a bell curve, and while "intelligence" is a subjective term, we know that there are some people with hardly any brain capacity who are practically vegetables and there are geniuses whose brains work much faster than ordinary people's. Some people are smart and some people are stupid. In a trippy kinda way, it all balances out in the end. A genuine drooling imbecile really only does as much damage to the world a their body is capable of physically producing, whereas a brilliant but fucked-up artist can traumatize hundreds of people and a brilliant but shallow scientist can build atomic weapons or poison the oceans. Still and all, some people are just stupid assholes who raise their children in nonsensical religions, enthusiastically cheer for wars with anyone because they're "cool," and vote harpercon because they don't understand how the economy works, are twisted closet-cases and they're racist.

I'd say that twenty to twenty-five percent of any large population are of the undeniably, overall stupid, wouldn't really want to have to associate with 'em, "Oh my god! Did you see what that stupid fucker did NOW?!?" variety of stupid.

LIBERALS


The other big party in Canada is the Liberal Party. Who votes Liberal? Well, for a long time, it used to be Quebec federalists. A solid bloc of voters. Used to be, way back in our history, that the Conservative Party had Quebec votes sewn up because they were the party of Confederation and they had an understanding with Quebec's Roman Catholic Church that they wouldn't interfere with religious issues in Quebec. Eventually though, the aggressive Protestantism of the rest of Canada, the bigoted English violations of French language rights outside Quebec, and the British imperialist nature of English Canada, got too much for Quebec voters and they switched to the Liberals (ignoring the Church's sanction against voting for them, which itself had broken down under the assaults from English Canada) and turned Liberal.

This is getting too historical for me. After about four decades as a Liberal stronghold, Quebec turned to Mulroney's Progressive Conservatives until the defeat of the Meech Lake Accord whereupon Quebec votes were divided between the federalist Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois. The vacuous Paul Martin (the "brilliant" finance minister who tamed the deficit -- a couple of years ahead of time -- by slashing spending and raising taxes --- WOW!) left an increasingly numerous group of Quebec voters wondering what the point of voting was and they turned increasingly to the Bloc to reflect their values.

The Liberal losses in Quebec were mitigated throughout the 1990s by the division of the right-wing vote into the rump Progressive Conservatives and the Reform/CRAP reflections of Western Canadian alienation. Jean Chretien's electoral success really needs to be examined in a riding-by-riding study of how the Liberal message really succeeded in the light of the split right-wing vote. Once the Conservative Party of Canada swallowed the Progressive Conservative Party (and spat out whatever didn't agree with it, like tolerance, maturity, a grasp of reality, etc.,) the Liberals immediately fell to minority status under Paul "Mr. Dithers" Martin.

But who really votes Liberal in this day and age?

People who really believe that you can have your cake and eat it too. People manifested of the same delusion that allowed Paul Martin himself to say with some degree of sincerity that the Liberal Party tried to makes sure that no Canadian was left behind, when it was the Liberals who eliminated the federal housing department, raised EI premiums and restricted benefits, lowered the federal contribution to health care and education, implemented "free trade" deals which devastated manufacturing jobs, and on and on. These are comfortable, upper or middle class people who are okay with gay rights, who believe in a woman's right to choose, who like Medicare, and etc., etc., ... but who think that all you have to do to have social justice is vote for a Liberal every four or five years, and you don't have to pay any attention to what they do in between their making that X beside the Liberal candidates' names.

These are people who genuinely believe that the NDP is part of the "loony left" and that the Liberals of Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau just "gave" Canada medicare and the CPP and all that other stuff because they thought it was a good idea, because they were Liberals, because that's what Liberals do, because.

They're like the liberals in Lou Reed's tune: "I try to be as progressive as I can possibly be, as long as I don't have to try too much."

Then there are Liberals who voted to try and keep Canada together by voting federalist in Quebec. And the genuine progressives who find themselves in some right-wing area where the NDP gets 8% of the vote and they feel there's no other realistic option to even try to defeat some "Conservative" homophobic, racist who thinks caring about the environment is stupid, and for fags and who hates fags so you know how much he hates the environment.

Then there are Liberals who know that the Liberals are the players in their area. The ticket to government contracts and favourable legislation is through the Liberals, and if the proles want to hear stuff about "compassion" for the homeless, or whatever the fuck, sure, say it. Maybe even toss 'em a few crumbs, ... they don't really like the idea of homeless people and it makes them feel vaguely pleasant to say they'll "do something" for 'em, but now let's get back to business.

NDP

I'm to the left of the NDP. I'm more socialist than social-democratic. I believe that there's no such thing as a "free market" and that furthermore, what we have for a free market worked relatively well in a number of ways for a number of people, as part of a long, difficult, chaotic, and non-creatively destructive fashion back at the beginning of the last century, for a significant number of people, but we've learned how to do MUCH better after 1929.

I believe that the rightward turn of political-economy after 1980 was incredibly misguided and deluded and has produced all sorts of disasters and failure. If you look at the numbers for the 1970s, GDP growth rates, employment figures, government finances, homelessness, etc., the decade that "discredited" Keynesianism was better than the last couple of decades by far.

What we have been living through is three decades of class warfare fought as low intensity conflict. Money and power (to the extent that it had been diffused downwards between 1945 and 1973) has been redirected to the top of the political-economic power structure. That has been done under the aegis of a sophisticated propaganda campaign to make people believe that there was no alternative but to restore all power to capitalist elites in the desperate hope that they would be pleased enough with our subservience to offer employment and investment. It didn't happen. Instead, investment was channelled overseas or into speculation. If ordinary households hadn't responded by taking on increasing debt levels, if young adults hadn't been able to keep living under their parents' roofs (in large enough houses bought and paid for through unionized wages and sustained by decent union and government pensions) there would have been far less economic activity under the reign of neo-liberalism.

Some of the biggest enablers of this con-game have been liberals. I don't know how much people like Bill Clinton, Paul Martin, Jean Chretien, Barack Obama, Michael Ignatieff, etc., actually believe in the crapola they spew, (and, personally, i suspect that a lot of those guys believe in most of what they say), the practical impacts of their delusions and/or lies have been enormous. To be fair, so-called "social democrats" believed the same nonsense to a degree. The whole culture became infected with this group-think that said that unfettered capitalist oligarchy was the ONLY way to ... well, sometimes they promised "prosperity" and other times (usually after the prosperity failed to arrive) they promised, um, ... well, "stability" and something like the least amount of stagnation of any political-economic alternative.

At least though, social-democrats retained the ability to look at capitalism critically. They didn't tend to believe that "free trade" deals which opened economies to massively powerful competition, which deregulated industries, which allowed transnationals to shut-down here and re-open sweat-shops in impoverished dictatorships, would inevitably bring about high levels of employment, new jobs and high wages in Canada.

At least the social-democrats believed that the poor shouldn't be utterly ignored, their benefits slashed, their housing left to the private sector (read: increased homelessness), and that unions, which extract some of the wealth from the owners of capital to share it with the workers, are an inherently evil thing and a drain on society.

And I think what sickened Canadian social democrats and their socialist supporters about the Liberals was their insufferable smugness and hypocrisy. We really do have a hard time deciding who we hate more: boorish neanderthals like Rob Ford, bush II, or Mike Harris, or simpering, lying weasels like Paul Martin and Barack Obama. Both crews cheer on imperialist war, but the liberals, with their drivel about humanitarianism, their faux-reluctance to spill the blood of others, their cynical exploitation of idealistic buzzwords, ... they're a more difficult opponent to demonize. Perhaps it's better to have "conservatives" to oppose because they don't hide their vile natures as well.

And in Canada, sitting so close to the United States, with the pathetic spectacle of US politics on such close, constant display, with the liberal Democrats exposed as cynical triangulators, exposed as being utterly contemptuous of their progressive base (witness their dismissal of single-payer or even a public option for health insurance), and performing like spineless, mewling cowards in the face of Repugnican aggression, it's been especially galling to listen to Canadian liberals (whether corrupt, cynical Liberal party hacks, or the better sort of Liberal supporter I described above) say that the best option for progressives in Canada is to abandon the NDP and support the Liberals.

(If you're interested [and i'm sure you're not!] you can google my statements on Buzz Hargrove's delusions about the Liberals and what would happen to organized labour if the NDP were to disappear.)

Argh. This post doesn't go near far enough to convey how much I despise the Liberal Party in Canada. I've got some straightening up of the old apartment to take care of. If any Liberal Party supporters are wondering why dippers have such a hate-on for the Liberal Party, this little bit o' writing here might help explain things.

I still say that for this election, defeating harper was and is an important enough sign, symbolizing that Canada, when it counts, rejected the disgusting US-style contempt for democracy that harper imported here, that voting Liberal is necessary. Just as voting NDP is necessary where they're the contender. It will be the saddest thing should Liberals or NDP candidates lose to a harpercon by less votes than was received by an NDP or Liberal rival.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Listen Liberals ...

This ain't a dig. I'm working on something to explain partisan attitudes in Canada (it's currently in an incomplete form about two posts down). This is, rather, an important reason why the NDP might have a genuine surge in Quebec and why the Liberals are struggling.

Chantel Hebert once decided that stephen harper meant what he said in a speech where he said he now loved Canada's medicare system, and discounted his whole professional life's work attacking it, ... so I will forever take her with a grain of salt, ... but i think she's said something important here:

A Liberal who once was the most prominent New Democrat in the country set the NDP on its upward election trajectory in Quebec.

Until Bob Rae brought the Liberals and the Conservatives together in pursuit of an extended Canadian military presence in Afghanistan last fall, the New Democrats were spinning their wheels in Quebec and going nowhere fast.

Their parliamentary divisions on the gun registry threatened to put their lone Montreal seat in play and an ailing Jack Layton had slipped off the radar.

On the heels of Michael Ignatieff’s well-publicized summer tour, Quebec voters were starting to come around to his party.

But after the Afghan decision, Quebec lost interest in the Liberals. The move put Layton back on the province’s map; it gave him a defining issue to distinguish the New Democrats from the Liberals.

That would be the mother of all unintended consequences wouldn't it? Bob Rae's delusions about Canada's "responsibility" to prop-up a government of rapists and thieves only flew with about 45% of English Canadians, but such stupidity is pure poison in Quebec.

Do the RIGHT Thing Patrick Ross!

I can't resist the pile-on! I will pay Patrick Ross the respect of saying that he can string together three sentences at a time that make a point. As such, he's probably treated as the second coming of Socrates among his shit-head, right-wing peers, and it went to his head.

Ross had the unfortunate, tragic brain-fart to try to go toe-to-toe with Canadian Cynic, and stupidly crossed the line into uttering legally-actionable libels and slanders. CC took Ross to court, but Ross didn't show up. Ross, no doubt shaking in fear that the blustering from his third-rate brain wouldn't really impress a judge in an actual court of law so he didn't even try to respond, and instead cowered at home, leaving the judge with no other option but to rule in CC's favour and award him, in total, $85,000.

Now, Ross is hiding like some cockroach after the light was turned on. Alternating between bouts of nauseous weeping and fits of increasingly pathetic petulance. Hiding! That, and I hear he's been getting steadily fatter gorging on comfort food and booze.

Patrick me boy, ... you're right about one thing: EIGHTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS is a lot of money. Maybe you thought you'd strike oil in Wingnuttia the way Ezra Levant or Michael Taube did. Alas! It's a lottery Patrick, and your numbers didn't win (yet!).

But look, just add that EIGHTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS to your student loan debt, come up with a payment plan, and start doing all that hard work you believe in your fantasies is all that is standing between every Canadian and the American dream. Personal responsibility. Accountability. The rule of law. Those are all supposed to be "conservative" values, right Patrick? It's time you started walking the walk.

Friday, April 22, 2011

cons, dippers, and libs (work in progress)

Maybe we Canadians are going to get the government we deserve. Part of the reason for this, ... a very important reason for this, ... is because the habitual voting preferences of those Canadians who do vote, has revolved around two parties that have no interest in dismantling an electoral system that serves to perpetuate their two-party rule and which, while leaving them high and dry and powerless every once in a while, also gives them as much absolute power as the Canadian political system can give them. Sadly, when in power provincially, the NDP (which tends to absorb more "Liberal centrists" than it sheds pro-corporate slimeballs upon the demise of that province's Liberal party) has also sworn-off dismantling or archaic first-past-the-post electoral system.

But, aside from our electoral system, which makes healthy political diversity a liability, there's also the debased nature of capitalist-democracy and the short-term selfishness of Canadian partisans, we find ourselves in the situation we have now.

CONSERVATIVES

The Conservatives - I find myself living in Forest Hill, Toronto now. One of the wealthiest ridings in the country. So obviously, I see a lot of Conservative signs. These are generally wealthy people who like the Conservative image of being strictly small government and low taxes. I don't know how much they dig the idea of stopping gay-marriage or electing a party whose cabinet masturbates before every meeting thinking about the poor foreigners "the troops" are killing today. (They used to have circle-jerks, but alas! (the male old-timers say) the presence of women in the cabinet broke the chain, and since it's hard for a guy to beat his meat and skillfully finesse a clitoris, they all look after themselves now.) These wonderful people vote Conservative because they like having more money at tax time and they honestly don't give a shit if ordinary Canadians (the majority) are left with a useless, unaffordable health care system or can't afford an education.

Then you have your lower-income, or "blue-collar" Conservative supporters. These are people trained to believe that it's far more important to keep fags and dykes from being able to get married than it is that they can afford a doctor's visit for their kids, or ... well, you get the idea.

Last, but certainly not least, there are people who are just overall stupid. In any group there's likely to be a bell curve, and while "intelligence" is a subjective term, we know that there are some people with hardly any brain capacity who are practically vegetables and there are geniuses whose brains work much faster than ordinary people's. Some people are smart and some people are stupid. In a trippy kinda way, it all balances out in the end. A genuine drooling imbecile really only does as much damage to the world a their body is capable of physically producing, whereas a brilliant but fucked-up artist can traumatize hundreds of people and a brilliant but shallow scientist can build atomic weapons or poison the oceans. Still and all, some people are just stupid assholes who raise their children in nonsensical religions, enthusiastically cheer for wars with anyone because they're "cool," and vote harpercon because they don't understand how the economy works, are twisted closet-cases and they're racist.

I'd say that twenty to twenty-five percent of any large population are of the undeniably, overall stupid, wouldn't really want to have to associate with 'em, "Oh my god! Did you see what that stupid fucker did NOW?!?" variety of stupid.

LIBERALS


The other big party in Canada is the Liberal Party. Who votes Liberal? Well, for a long time, it used to be Quebec federalists. A solid bloc of voters. Used to be, way back in our history, that the Conservative Party had Quebec votes sewn up because they were the party of Confederation and they had an understanding with Quebec's Roman Catholic Church that they wouldn't interfere with religious issues in Quebec. Eventually though, the aggressive Protestantism of the rest of Canada, the bigoted English violations of French language rights outside Quebec, and the British imperialist nature of English Canada, got too much for Quebec voters and they switched to the Liberals (ignoring the Church's sanction against voting for them, which itself had broken down under the assaults from English Canada) and turned Liberal.

This is getting too historical for me. After about four decades as a Liberal stronghold, Quebec turned to Mulroney's Progressive Conservatives until the defeat of the Meech Lake Accord whereupon Quebec votes were divided between the federalist Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois. The vacuous Paul Martin (the "brilliant" finance minister who tamed the deficit -- a couple of years ahead of time -- by slashing spending and raising taxes --- WOW!) left an increasingly numerous group of Quebec voters wondering what the point of voting was and they turned increasingly to the Bloc to reflect their values.

The Liberal losses in Quebec were mitigated throughout the 1990s by the division of the right-wing vote into the rump Progressive Conservatives and the Reform/CRAP reflections of Western Canadian alienation. Jean Chretien's electoral success really needs to be examined in a riding-by-riding study of how the Liberal message really succeeded in the light of the split right-wing vote. Once the Conservative Party of Canada swallowed the Progressive Conservative Party (and spat out whatever didn't agree with it, like tolerance, maturity, a grasp of reality, etc.,) the Liberals immediately fell to minority status under Paul "Mr. Dithers" Martin.

But who really votes Liberal in this day and age?

People who really believe that you can have your cake and eat it too. People manifested of the same delusion that allowed Paul Martin himself to say with some degree of sincerity that the Liberal Party tried to makes sure that no Canadian was left behind, when it was the Liberals who eliminated the federal housing department, raised EI premiums and restricted benefits, lowered the federal contribution to health care and education, implemented "free trade" deals which devastated manufacturing jobs, and on and on. These are comfortable, upper or middle class people who are okay with gay rights, who believe in a woman's right to choose, who like Medicare, and etc., etc., ... but who think that all you have to do to have social justice is vote for a Liberal every four or five years, and you don't have to pay any attention to what they do in between their making that X beside the Liberal candidates' names.

These are people who genuinely believe that the NDP is part of the "loony left" and that the Liberals of Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau just "gave" Canada medicare and the CPP and all that other stuff because they thought it was a good idea, because they were Liberals, because that's what Liberals do, because.

They're like the liberals in Lou Reed's tune: "I try to be as progressive as I can possibly be, as long as I don't have to try too much."

Then there are Liberals who voted to try and keep Canada together by voting federalist in Quebec. And the genuine progressives who find themselves in some right-wing area where the NDP gets 8% of the vote and they feel there's no other realistic option to even try to defeat some "Conservative" homophobic, racist who thinks caring about the environment is stupid, and for fags and who hates fags so you know how much he hates the environment.

Then there are Liberals who know that the Liberals are the players in their area. The ticket to government contracts and favourable legislation is through the Liberals, and if the proles want to hear stuff about "compassion" for the homeless, or whatever the fuck, sure, say it. Maybe even toss 'em a few crumbs, ... they don't really like the idea of homeless people and it makes them feel vaguely pleasant to say they'll "do something" for 'em, but now let's get back to business.

NDP

I'm to the left of the NDP. I'm more socialist than social-democratic. I believe that there's no such thing as a "free market" and that furthermore, what we have for a free market worked relatively well in a number of ways for a number of people, as part of a long, difficult, chaotic, and non-creatively destructive fashion back at the beginning of the last century, for a significant number of people, but we've learned how to do MUCH better after 1929.

I believe that the right-ward turn of political-economy after 1980 was incredibly misguided and deluded and has produced all sorts of disasters and failure.

[... maybe I'll pick this up later today or tomorrow. (as if anybody gives two shits, or even one fucking shit.]

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Constitutional Crises r' Us (plus some separate observations)

Curiosity Cat directs our attention to Tom Flanagan's reply to John Duffy, stating that the harpercons seem prepared to drag us into a constitutional crisis by saying he will not recognize the right of the Governor-General to allow the opposition to govern should they vote non-confidence in another harpercon minority:
DUFFY:Then there's the serious and urgent part. If it turns out that Mr. Harper really does believe that a non-plurality government is unacceptable, we're into another world here. That would amount to a view so far at odds with the actual constitution as to threaten a crisis. We saw the edges of this frightening scenario materialize in 2008, with threats of separation, street action and assertions of extra-constitutional force majeure. Is that where the Conservatives will head if cornered in Parliament?

FLANAGAN:There’s no point in discussing constitutional hypotheticals right now. We have to remember that constitutional conventions are formed by what office-holders such as the prime minister and governor-general do in concrete situations. That’s why conventions can evolve over time.

DUFFY:[harper's] attempt to delegitimize any government that isn't Conservative is dangerous. Let him affirm the legitimacy and go to town on the policies and stability. That would be healthy. Instead, Mr. Harper continued Wednesday to refuse to accept the legitimacy of a non-plurality governing scenario. Which really does lead to the crucial question: Will Mr. Harper respect Canada's Constitution?
Some anonymous commentator at Curiosity Cat's has tried to perform some Westminsterian jiu-jitsu by arguing that it would be the G-G creating a constitutional crisis by refusing to obey the prime minister's request/demand that Parliament be dissolved and a new election called. I believe that this scholarly argument lays that claim to rest. Here's the money shot:
First of all, the governor general’s decision was actually going to be a substantial intervention in the political process regardless of whether she granted prorogation or not. Indeed her decision to grant Mr Harper’s request has in fact prevented our elected members of parliament from resolving the issue in a timely fashion. The governor general was clearly informed by the opposition parties of their desire and intent to vote no confidence in the government on December 8th, and to support an alternative government.

Parliament’s ability to vote confidence in a government is all the more important in the early weeks following an election that produced only minority parties. Only the elected members of the House can determine who has the right to govern in a minority situation. The incumbent prime minister has a right to meet parliament after an election, but only that. The prime minister must win and maintain the confidence of parliament in order to continue governing. The governor general has prevented a newly elected parliament from expressing its judgment on the prime minister.
I must admit that I find it rich that a (possible) harpercon supporter is accusing any party other than its own of fomenting a constitutional crisis! That link comes from an opinion written in response to the Governor-General's 2008 when stephen harper was busy applying Karl Rove's handbook to Westminster-style Parliament to cries of shock and outrage worldwide.

harper did it again in December 2010 when he prorogued Parliament to try to avoid giving it the information it was demanding regarding his conduct of the war in Afghanistan. In so doing, harper was merely following the examples of other prime ministers, such as Jean Chretien, who abused their powers in the same way that they (like harper) call elections whenever it suits them. However, coming as it did after his unprecedented abuse of the power to avoid a non-confidence vote, and doing it so casually by phoning-in his request, and doing it to try to cover-up war crimes, his second controversial prorogation sparked a wave of outrage among informed, sane people across Canada.

When Parliament resumed, harper dragged out the issue of the supremacy of Parliament into another constitutional showdown that was resolved by Speaker Milliken's decision that the government was obligated to produce the persons and papers that Parliament demanded. (This has, in typical Canadian-elitist-stupid fashion, created the farcical committee that has been going through the documents for over a year without exercising their ability to release whatever they choose.)

During this crisis, remember, there were militarist psychopaths braying that they would place the "honour" of the Canadian Forces over the rights of Parliament. Need I say that such an attitude, especially when used to cover-up allegations of war crimes, is hardly healthy for a democracy?

harper would have produced another constitutional crisis with his order to government employees to not obey summonses from parliamentary committees had the Liberals not "caved like spineless jellyfish" and declined to vote for the NDP-Bloc motion that the government respect the rights of Parliament. (That's rich 'eh? The Bloc Quebecois has more respect for Canada's Parliament than either the harpercons or the Liberal!!!)

The harpercons created two Charter crises, by refusing to defend the Charter rights and freedoms of two Canadian citizens, Omar Khadr and Abousfian Abdelrazik, forcing the Supreme Court to rule for the rights of the former and Federal Judge Russel Zinn to issue a powerful condemnation of the government in his ruling for the rights of the latter.

Finally, harper has produced the two crises that brought about the recent defeat of his government of racists, closet-cases, con-men, and corrupt assholes; his nonchalance over Bev Oda's lying to Parliament about the altering of public documents and his [AGAIN!!!] contempt of Parliament in his refusal to allow Parliament to see cost estimates for his stupid crime legislation. Detailed cost estimates, produced by bureaucrats working for us, the taxpayers, are being refused to Parliament on the spurious grounds of "cabinet secrecy." Speaker Milliken has again been forced to make an unprecedented ruling, happily clarifying for all time, the supremacy of Parliament over the executive branch. His ruling demonstrated that there are grounds for contempt charges in harper's government's behaviour, producing the non-confidence vote that has produced this election.

The record is clear to anyone with the ability to see it. harper has been continuously testing the constitutional limits of executive power. He has repeatedly gone beyond those limits. The difference between tyranny and democracy is the people's ability to restrain the power of those who govern them. harper's precedents would render the people's rule null and void.
FOR THE RECORD: The big news on prog-blogs when I started writing this was the NDP moving well into first place in a poll among Quebec voters. Personally, I'd be very happy if the NDP's aggressive campaign (targeting the Liberals as much as the hapercons) turns out to have borne fruit and destroyed the Liberal Party. One of the things that depressed me about this election was how the sheer abomination that is stephen harper made so many sincerely progressive people think that for this election at least, it was crucial to hold their nose and vote for a Liberal rather than the party that more clearly represents a genuine vote to defend Canadian Medicare, unemployment insurance, and other aspects of Canada's welfare state. This is as soul-destroying an exercise as voting for the US Democratic Party merely to prevent the crazy, extremist, piss-in-your-face Repugnicans from getting power.

It was, and is, a dangerous game however. harper has imported the extreme contempt for democracy and the rule of law attitude of the US Repugnicans to Canada, and if I was the one calling the shots I would have taken more care to have an understanding in place with my fellow opposition parties to direct our fire at the harpercons rather than at each other.

Another Conservative Minority

I think if the Liberals and the NDP had gotten their act together, there could have been a serious drubbing of the harpercons' fortunes in this election. (I say that with apologies to the Evil Scientist who discounts the impact of vote-splitting.)

That ain't going to happen, but at the end of the day I think we're looking at another harpercon minority.

When that happens, the NDP must join hands with the detestable Liberals and put the kibosh on any further assaults on democracy and any further expansions of the power of the executive branch.

And then it's up to Canadians of good will and honesty, to hold them to account and change the overall culture in this country, from one where it's considered self-evident that teenage boys should be tortured for their fathers' sins, and where if you go to the wrong place at the wrong time you DESERVE to have the police club you with your prosthetic limbs, and where stephen harper and Jim "fuck-head" Flaherty are sound economic managers, and where the proper response to First Nations people rising up to claim what is theirs, is, supposedly, to shoot them; and all that other rot and drivel, to one more centred on intelligence and compassion.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Apologies to Steve V

I left a comment to this post from Steve V of "Far and Wide." I guess it rubbed him the wrong way because this was his reply to me:
What an asinine comment. Seriously.
In all honesty Steve V. I meant for that comment to be provocative. You see, I've been reading a LOT of Liberal bloggers lately, who are not only doing the usual "Strategic voting = voting Liberal" thing, and calling for the NDP to curl up and die on their behalf, but, what's worse, being so self-righteously indignant that the NDP isn't committing suicide. To be fair, the NDP is also campaigning hard against the Liberals and acting like spoilers in other ridings. But I haven't seen the same level of self-righteous, self-entitled, self-pitying whining on NDP-supporters' blogs. So, when I saw Steve V.'s post, which was itself a response to surging NDP polling numbers in Quebec, and the gist of which was to belittle the significance of the information and to see how the Liberals could bring the NDP's numbers back down, I decided to reply with my version of the "vote for my party or you hate Canada and love harper" routine that I tend to hear mostly from Liberal bloggers and commentators.

This is all most unedifying. For the most part, I agree with the sentiments at dawg's and Rusty Idols. I stand by what I said at Cliff's blog.
In this election, with the paper-thin enthusiasm for democracy in this country, I believe it's symoblically important to allow Liberals to defeat harpercons.

Whatever the arrogance an corruption of previous Liberal governments, they never strayed as far into the gutter or as far into the methods of dictatorship as harper has.

As progressives and as democrats, we should struggle together to say to harper and his pay-masters: "That's as far as you're going."

But yeah, ... the difference between the Liberals and the Conservatives is the difference between APEC Vancouver and the G20 Toronto.
At the same time, I can't help but agree with PSA's comment at the Galloping Beaver site:
harper is a bad man. he should be fired from his job. barring a wandering troll, i think that's a given here. beyond that, demanding that everyone hold their nose and vote against their better judgement doesn't seem a healthy response to the bad man.

fuck the school of foregone conclusions that says the ndp will never or that the lpc must. the mad clamour for strategic voting strikes me asa good way to reduce turnout. a low turnout is a harper government. it won' be people voting ndp against the liberals that will lose this vote to the wretched frickin' cons. it will be the unappealing chore of voting against your instincts, voting against rather than for something.

what will lose this election for the liberals will be their own failure to attract more voters to the polls. they will lose because they've spent half a decade sucking fumes and failing to serve this country. they will lose on their own merits, not because someone voted green or ndp instead of we hate harper. fuck.

strategic voting is a losing plan.

and for the record, i won't trust parties that play the voter for patsies. i want the parties to go out and hit the hustings with every gram of energy and passion they can muster. i want liberals to grow some fucking spinal columns, generate the best platform the middle managers and focus groups can assemble for them and campaign to win in every riding. i want layton and the ndp to stand up for what they believe and fight tooth and nail to become the government, not to be hand maids or select enablers. and i want the cpc to drive off a cliff into the sea. i have no fucking time or patience for anybody whining that one of the opposition parties was mean to the other one and whah harper will win 'cos of meanies. that holds as much water as the evil monsters stripping civil liberties and crying that if we don't let them lock people up forever without charge or trial then the terrorists win. those motherfuckers are the terrorists. if you have to hold your nose to vote you. are. doing. it. wrong.
At the end of the day though, I believe the symbolism of stopping the extremist harper is more important than the problem of voting against something rather than for something. It's gotten that bad.

And I think that I've been consistent about this. I think my posts can withstand scrutiny to see whether or not I've practised what I preach. (Yes, I know, it's all only blogging.)

Speaking of which ... a shout-out to Scotian! Scotian, you left a comment on my blog and I paid you the respect of a lengthy reply. From the comments section of the "Far and Wide" post, I noted that you are aware of its existence. You denigrated my sincere reply to your comment as something written in a fit of pique. Very well then. Don't bother typing anything for me anymore. You appear to put a lot of energy into what you say, and I thought you'd welcome a serious response. I don't know why you type those things now though. Since there's to be no give and take, I see no point in reading your lengthy screeds.

My take on the polls showing the NDP neck-and-neck with the Liberals? Here's what I'm hoping: I'm hoping that it's a sign that as late-capitalism become more and more unable to deliver the goods, more and more voters are getting polarized. Shit-head Liberal politicians like Dalton McGuinty or George Smitherman, who campaign on vaguely progressive promises but govern merely as un0bnoxious (in comparison with Harris, Klein, harper, Ford, Hudak "Conservatives") are going to find themselves increasingly rejected by voters looking for a modicum of social justice in their societies. The mushy middle cannot hold. That's what I hope. I hope the hypocritical Liberal Party of Canada dies. On the one side, the guys who teamed up with the Conservatives to sign the free trade deal with Colombia can slither over to that party, and the ones who thought that maybe they could get something good accomplished with what was once Canada's natural governing party can join the party that at least acknowledges that capitalism has some serious problems. Then, perhaps, more and more people in the wider society can be educated about the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of modern-day "Conservatism" and that movement too will expire as the hideous aberration it is disgusts and revolts 80% of the people who vote.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

MAKE the Women's political strength equal to their size of the population

They see the world in a different and better way than we men do. (They ain't perfect. we're still necessary, but the species is diminished enormously by the way we limit their power.)

Another reminder: We're winning in Afghanistan

In case you've forgotten, we're winning in Afghanistan and have been since 2007 at least.
Canada is winning the war in Afghanistan and is making significant progress in rebuilding that South Asian country, says the general who commands the Canadian Forces mission in Kandahar.

But Lt.-Gen. Michel Gauthier, who heads the Canadian Expeditionary Force Command in Ottawa, warns that because Afghan insurgents are losing ground, they likely will resort to increasing the number of roadside bombs and suicide attacks in an attempt to inflict more casualties on troops.

“From a military perspective in the south of Afghanistan, in Kandahar specifically, we are winning,” Lt.-Gen. Gauthier said in an interview with CanWest News Service. “We are winning where it matters most, where the people live. Where 90 per cent of the population is, we have a strong security influence in concert with our Afghan partners.”
That was over three years ago people, so you can only imagine how much we're winning now! We've been winning since we got there in 2001 and we're still winning now in 2011:

Violence in Afghanistan will rise this year from the record levels seen in 2010, the top U.S. military officer said on Wednesday.

The prediction by Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, signals an escalation in the nearly decade-old conflict even as the United States prepares to start withdrawing troops in July.

"We expect the violence coming in 2011 to be greater than last year," Mullen said in a statement submitted to the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, without saying whether this implied a rise in U.S. military casualties.

"The fighting will be tough and often costly, but it is necessary to sustain and even increase the pressure we have been placing on the insurgent groups."

Win, WIN, WIN! You know when you repeat a word so often it becomes meaningless and funny-sounding? This is one of those times.

Support the troops!

Campbell believes the new lump-sum payments and income replacement pale in comparison to the practice after the Second World War of granting lifetime pensions.

He said the changes announced last fall are akin to putting patches on a leaky tire. The $250,000 he received wouldn't be enough to pay for one day in his shoes, he suggested.

"Why are we saying people who sacrificed limbs in the service of their country should be subjected to a 25 per cent reduction in their families' means of living? It's ridiculous," he said.

"I didn't end up this way just so I could earn 25 per cent less than I did before I lost my legs."

When I was reading up about how the harpercons were trying to use the psychiatric records of Veterans Ombudsman Pat Strogan and wounded veteran activist Sean Bruyea (who have both suffered from PTSD as a result of their service overseas), in a sleazy attempt to discredit them, I read an article which I can't find now, where a Veterans Affairs spokesperson said that the new compensation plan was an attempt to reduce costs which had exploded in recent years.

I could only think to myself; "No shit Sherlock! When you willingly subject thousands of Canadian soldiers to combat for almost a decade, some of them are going to get killed or wounded."

What sort of a culture do we have where all the militarists, the "support the troops" braying donkeys, vote for a government that tries to cheap-out on providing for assistance for the soldiers wounded in their doomed, disgusting imperialist exercises?

I don't want to be able to get inside the heads of people who process reality so shittily. I'm afraid of the irreparable damage that might occur.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fantino - Connect the dots? (La-la-la-la-lah!) [?]

Okay, ... i ain't mee-self rite-now.

Can anyone tell me if there's anything connecting this and (drum-roll please) .... this?

[?]

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why Did the harpercons Disrupt the Guelph University Special Poll?

Canada has a pretty good thing with Elections Canada. We have a first-past-the-post electoral system and some regions and rural ridings enjoy far more proportional strength than they should, but within the confines of that system, thanks to Elections Canada and paper ballots, we have free and fair elections in Canada.

So I'd be pretty surprised if there were, in fact, anything illegal about the special poll for students at Guelph University today. I'd be pretty surprised to hear that there actually were partisan materials littering the polling site.

Knowing how "conservatives" operate, it's one of two things going on here: 1) Michael Sona is a total moron and jumped to conclusions because no advanced polls were announced by Elections Canada, or 2) [and this is more likely] the harpercons are a pretty shallow, thuggish group of people. For them, campaigns are a sport and the goal is to win by hook or by crook. They've imported the Rovian tactics of electoral shenanigans (to the extent that our voting system allows this, which isn't very far) and their goal wasn't so much to actually disrupt the poll as to create openings from which to sow doubt upon the integrity of the results.

Then, like whining, snivelling, lying brats, they can say "We were robbed! The Coalition cheated!!!"

And one more nail is hammered into Canadian democracy's coffin.

It HAS Happened Here

Glenn Greenwald has a devastating survey of the fraudulent nature of the US justice system today: "The two-tiered justice system: an illustration"

From massive financial fraud, corporate malfeasance, to Soviet or fascist-level contempt for democratic oversight (torture, spying, illegal wars), it doesn't matter if you vote Repug or Delude-o-crat, both parties are elite-driven institutions that are immune to the same "law and order" brutality they impose upon anyone else.

And it's happened here. Last night's post on Chris Alexander's lies about torture in Afghanistan, Brian Mulroney being allowed to walk after lamely saying he "forgot" about the $300,000 he got in a brown-bag while still our prime minister, ... and on and on. Torture, corporate law-breakers, the whole G20 police brutality orgy, ... "accountability" is a dirty word amongst our elites.

But accountability is the watchword of the day. Read that Greenwald article and just think of the monstrous results from these criminal policies. We have to hold them to account. We have to imprison those who flout the laws that they themselves have written for us, expecting we're bound to obey.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

harpercon Candidate in Ajax-Pickering

He's Chris Alexander, and he was once Canada's Ambassador to Afghanistan. And he says that the detainee controversy was overblown. Why does he think that? Check out this logic:
Canadian soldiers never knowingly handed detainees over to a high risk of torture though he admitted the Afghan system was rife with abuse.
Um, ... right. We know "the system is rife with abuse" but when we gave that system prisoners, we didn't do it in the knowledge that they'd be abused. See, is it just me, or does that sentence not make sense? I mean, do those sentence not make sense? I mean, is Chris Alexander talking crazy here?
“I don’t think any Canadian ever handed over a detainee knowing there was a high risk (of torture) because anyone handed over by Canada — as the record shows — was going to be tracked through the system, was going to be monitored more than other detainees would. As a UN official, I was much more worried about people who were being detained by the Afghans or other countries that weren’t as careful as we were.”
Well, see Chris, not only are your sentences self-contradicting, your facts are wrong. In 2007 it turned out that we'd lost track of 50 out of the 200 prisoners we'd taken. It was apparently standard operating procedure to get rid of Afghan detainees as soon as possible so as to be able to avoid any responsibility for them:

The one guaranteed way you could make a hard-bitten Canadian duty officer blanch was to tell him that an Afghan had been taken into Canadian custody, as opposed to Afghan custody, with all the extra work THAT entailed.
In practice, the situation was avoided whenever humanly possible. Instead in late 2008 and early 2009, most detainee responsibilities were invariably handed off by Canadians to the closest thing to an Afghan authority figure that they could find nearby: police, Afghan army, a passing civilian district leader... -- who was encouraged to take over that responsibility right at the point and time of capture. Any remedy to avoid the appearance of taking them into our national custody for even a minute was pursued. Only working "jointly" with Afghans in this way would have allowed the pro-Government forces as a whole to collect detainees when they had to without triggering those national reporting and followup requirements. (It had other potential advantages from an Afghan capacity-building and national sovereignty point of view, too, obviously.)*
Intelligence value or circumstances of capture could not serve as a consideration in which country took possession; there was no time, really. If Canadians took people into our custody long enough to figure out who they were authoritatively on our own, well, we'd have just made them Canadian detainees by default, regardless of how that inquiry then turned out.

And, finally, it turned out that Canada's harpercon Minister of Defence was either clueless or lying when he said that he thought the Red Cross was keeping track of those few detainees we weren't able to fob off on the first Afghan official to come along:
At the center of the Afghan Detainee Abuse Scandal was former Defense Minister, Gordon O'Connor. In statements before the House of Commons in February 2007, O'Connor claimed that the International Red Cross was responsible for the monitoring of prisoners held in Afghanistan, and that "if there is something wrong with their treatment, the Red Cross or Red Crescent would inform us and we would take action."
Soon after, the Red Cross responded that it was not party to the agreement between Canada and Afghanistan, and that it would not inform any foreign government of its discoveries.
There were all sorts of complaints about Canada's cavalier attitude about monitoring prisoners:

September 26, 2006: Ministers O’Connor, MacKay and Day meet with the head of the ICRC, Jakob Kellenberger. Red Cross sources in Geneva have said that the meeting was called so the ICRC could directly inform senior Canadian officials of its growing frustration about delays surrounding the notification of detainee transfers.
But do go on Mr. Chris Alexander, harpercon candidate for Ajax-Pickering:
“Of course Afghan institutions are weak still. Of course there have been mistakes and abuses, if not injustice across the board. Read any human rights report on Afghanistan,” Alexander said. “I’m just sad that we, in Canada, allowed this issue — which was really fuelled by partisanship on both sides — to dominate, almost to the exclusion of everything else, our debate over Afghanistan for the better part of a year.”
Well, see Chris, it's like this; as Richard Colvin said, "You know the NDS tortures people. That's what they do," Colvin told the officials in attendance. "And if we don't want our detainees tortured we shouldn't give them to the NDS." Now, what that means, ... hmm. Better start at the beginning.
When Canada first stupidly got involved in this nightmare, we were handing our prisoners over to the USA. Anyone who said that the USA tortured people was an anti-American commie, terrorist sympathizer and fuck 'em! Then, it turned out that the USA was torturing innocent people to death at Bagram airbase. Oops. So, we turned our prisoners over to the bloodthirsty warlords under a shitty agreement signed by Rick "shit-head" Hillier in 2005. Then, the harpercons took power in 2006, the torture continued, everybody was lying and covering their asses and committing war crimes and that's where we are today. A couple other countries offered to go in on a NATO-controlled prison system, but we pointedly turned them down.
And, the sad thing, for a stupid monster like stephen harper that is, he really didn't process it at the time. harper, if you didn't want to go to jail as a war criminal, you should have done whatever was necessary to comply with international law. But you're going to go to jail because you didn't. Because whether some Afghan peasants' lives were destroyed by being tortured and raped wasn't all that important to you and you have a debased view of the world, you allowed this to happen and left yourself open to war crimes charges.
Mein gott! I've just re-read Alexander's last words again!
Of course Afghan institutions are weak still. Of course there have been mistakes and abuses, if not injustice across the board. Read any human rights report on Afghanistan,” Alexander said.
Of course there is no oversight over individual criminals in Afghanistan's institutions! Of course there's no rule of law there! Of course there are mistakes and ABUSES ACROSS THE BOARD! But you can't expect that anything BAD happened because of that, right? Right?
It's enough to make a sane man weep!!
He said when he returned to Canada in 2009, he was more concerned with “bigger issues” such as the U.S. military surge, the “lack of international support, Afghani performance on governance issues in Afghanistan, corruption issues, and the whole overriding issue of … Pakistan army’s role in this conflict.
Hah! I like how they put that in quotation marks: "bigger issues." Look dipshit; it's a BIG ISSUE whether or not innocent people were turned over to be tortured and raped. It doesn't get any bigger than that. "Look! I'm sorry that I sent a child-molester to babysit your kids! Whatever. If you've been hurt by any of the events subsequent to that, I apologize. But I've got a lot of IMPORTANT stuff on my plate these days, and I've learned not to sweat the small stuff."

Do these pieces of shit even listen to themselves??
“And I arrive back in Canada which is talking about a couple of detainee issues in Kandahar. We’ve lost our sense of proportion …. To the extent this is still a headline, I think we still have,”
A couple of things? Well, that's all that's been able to leak out, what with harper's abuses of "national security" and all. But if you read the honest, non-whistle-blower, believes in the rule-of-law kinda guy, Richard Colvin, EVERY SINGLE PERSON WE TOOK TEMPORARY RESPONSIBILITY FOR AND TURNED OVER TO THE NDS HAS BEEN TORTURED.

EVERY SINGLE ONE.

So damn you Christopher Alexander, you piece of shit.

(Oh, and, by the way, Chrissy-wissy, ... I'll take the word of Richard Colvin over that of a piece of shit like you any day.)

You know people, writing this post has saddened me, what with how low our country has sunk. A lot of the scuzzy stuff we've done, we lied about it. We said that we didn't do it. But this torture in Afghanistan, ... everyone knows that we did it. Half of us think that torture is just what you do in "war." The other 45% don't give a shit one way or the other. Fuck this country.

What? Is a piece of shit like John Ibbitson going to call me "un-Canadian" for that one?

But then, I hear something that I like ....
Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae and the NDP’s Jack Harris slammed Alexander’s late entry into the debate.
Harris said if Alexander has grounds to contradict Colvin, he “had an obligation to come forward” before now. “They want to bury it with opinion and innuendo; they don’t want the facts to come to light. The fact was Canada had no ability to track” the Afghan detainees, said Harris.
Fuckin'-A. I left out Bob Rae's twaddle, because it was the sort of Liberal mewling that made him a disaster as an Ontario premier. The Liberals stupidly dragged us into Afghanistan and gave harper all the help he needed to get his war on, even going so far as to construct a villain's agreement to get harper's extension of our "training mission" (training the Afghan military to be more effective rapists and murderers) through Parliament without a hitch.
Colvin put his career on the line as an act of principle. If Alexander has something besides self-contradiction and bullshit, let's subject it to some scrutiny. When the question is whether or not Canada is an accessory to torture, you don't get to hide in the shadows and then make some self-serving, bullshit, "look at me, I'm an asshole" statement and expect to get it accepted at face-value.

Typing all this shit is a trip down memory lane for me. Looking over all my old posts, all the old articles, blog entries, ... I think I'll let Alison have the last word:
It's funny the things that stick with you.
What I remember when Canada's treatment of Afghan prisoners comes up is not Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin's 2007 report on allegations of electrocution and beatings, or the entire households detained because someone got the address wrong. What I remember is this simple request for desert camel boots made by Stockwell Day's newly arrived leader of the Correctional Service Canada inspections team in February 2007 :
"They afford the appropriate ankle support when getting in and out of the LAV/Coyote/Nyala vehicles. Additionally the colour is more appropriate in the summer heat. On a Health and Safety level we will be walking through blood and fecal matter when either on patrol or in the prison and should not be wearing our personal footwear as it will track into our personal quarters."
As Skdadl said at the time :
"I think we call this the banality of evil. I have to walk through blood and fecal material, so I need better boots. This is the road to Nuremberg, folks. And this is being done in our name. Everyone happy to sit here quietly and be a "Good Canadian"? "
Richard Colvin wasn't. As political director at the Canadian-run provincial reconstruction base in 2006 when troops began handing over prisoners to Afghanistan's notorious intelligence agency, the National Security Directorate, he is one of the only government witnesses who wants to testify at the Military Police Complaints Commission inquiry into whether military police officers had a duty to investigate the transfer of detainees when there were allegations of torture in Afghan prisons.
.
A week ago federal lawyers invoked a national security clause in Canada's Anti-terrorism Act that effectively prevents him from doing so.
They argue that on the one hand Colvin's testimony is not relevant, and on the other that his testimony would breach "national security considerations".
As we have seen previously with Arar, Abdelrazik, Almalki, Suaad Mohammud, Charkaoui, and Harkat, this is a government that flagrantly makes use of "national security considerations" to cover its own complicity in wrongdoing.
.
Last Wednesday National Defence said some witnesses might be able to give some information, as long as the commission proves the testimony is relevant. This is impossible for the commission to do as Michel Gauthier, the retired lieutenant-general who was in charge of the country's overseas command until last spring, as well as three former ground commanders in Kandahar and members of Corrections Canada have all refused their subpoenas to meet with commission investigators.
.
A week ago Canada's former top military police officer, retired navy captain Steve Moore, advised he had documents that he wanted to turn over to the inquiry, however Mr. Moore and his lawyer had to sign a pledge preventing them from passing the documents to the inquiry.
The documents first have to be reviewed to remove sensitive information– such as logs showing that Canadian military police opened investigations into whether detainees risked torture – but won't be declassified in time for the hearings.
.
As if this wasn't sufficient obstruction, the chair of the inquiry, Peter Tinsley, has been let go on Dec 11, before his investigation can be completed and despite his request to be allowed to continue. Then on Monday public proceedings were postponed :
"after federal lawyers bombarded the agency with a series of motions demanding further delay and questioning, among other things, the jurisdiction of the commission".
MacKay told the House of Commons on Monday that "a search for a new chair is underway".
.
Isn't this exactly what was done at Guantanamo? If the government didn't like the way a military investigation into the detainment of an individual prisoner was going, they just fired the presiding judge or lawyer and appointed another.
.
Last word goes to Richard Colvin's lawyer on the use of Canada's Anti-terrorism Act to muzzle her client :
"The legislation was addressed at combatting terrorism-related activities. It was not intended to be used tactically to intimidate witnesses from giving evidence in administrative proceedings carried out by government-created bodies," the letter said.
"The interests of justice are not served when an ordinary witness such as Mr. Colvin is threatened by the Department of Justice with severe penalty for abiding by the terms of a subpoena served on him.".
Update : Good short history of a year's worth of sidelining the investigation : Dr. Dawg.

On Some of harper's Points ...

He's tired of the personal attacks ...

I couldn't believe that he'd actually said that. Of all the monumental hypocrisies!

He's managed to govern for five years in a minority situation ...

Hey fat fuck; did you remember when you had to prorogue Parliament to avoid being defeated back in 2008? Do you think we've forgotten how you bullied and humiliated the Liberals, daring them to defeat you and how the only thing that kept you in power was their hiding from confidence votes again and again and again?

He wants to focus on the economy.

God help us all. I don't know why none of his rivals pounced on that for all they were worth. harper has been goddamned useless on the economy. he and Flaherty are the biggest fucking morons in all the world when it comes to economics. They wanted to destroy the economy but didn't have the time. They didn't acknowledge the recession until it was already washing over us. They had to be coerced into their "Action Plan" by the less-dogmatically blinded opposition.

The contempt motion was just partisan bickering, ... political games.

Complete bullshit, as usual. harper is so full of shit that it leaks out of his ears, nose, mouth, and eyeballs. There've been lots of minority parliaments in Canada, federal and provincial, and harper's is the first government in Canadian history to have been found in contempt.

By the way, any paid commentator on Canadian federal politics who couldn't immediately discern whether it's the opposition (Jack "make Parliament work" Layton, Stephane & Michael's "please, we'll do whatever you say" Liberal Party, and Gilles "here's my price" Duceppe) or the Rovian scum-bag, all-personal-attacks-all-the-time, serial abuser of parliamentary conventions, stephen harper who is more responsible for his government being found in contempt, must resign immediately as being too ignorant, stupid, or partisan, to be listened to.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Did I Break Dr. Dawg's Blawg?

No I didn't. The morning after the events in question I was able to access it. Strangely enough, the comment that I tried to post and which I thought might be responsible for breaking his blog is still in the comment window, un-posted.

What happened is that I was having a discussion with one of the more loathsome trolls who defile Dawg's site, kygntath-sdfl (or something similar), and Dawg's site now has this comment software called "Disqus" which is one of those systems that collate separate discussions into separate, increasingly narrow columns. Me, kygagn-tsa, and one "Niven," were having a "disqussion" that was starting to get unreadable, with such narrow columns requiring considerable scrolling down to read not very much. I decided to make one more reply to kygag-sfdas, as he/she/it, had left hisself/herself/itself glaringly exposed as a stupid incompetent, that I couldn't resist. However, once I clicked on "post" the little icon symbolizing work in progress started spinning and wouldn't stop. I clicked on "cancel" but nothing happened. I exited the site. I tried to return to Dawg's blog later but couldn't. I used ephemeral's computer and still couldn't access it. I was worried that I'd somehow, someway, mysteriously broken his site.

Turns out that everything's fine, but I'm not going to try submitting that reply again. Instead, I think I'll make my discussion with kgyag-sdfj the topic of today's post!

On most days, I think kdfaj-fjdfaj is a complete waste of skin. I'd have banned him from here long ago because the person doesn't debate, but instead, types bizarre right-wing drivel and provides links to shit-heads like Mark Steyn, Michelle Malkin, or something equally odious as if they validated his garbage (and as if we'd even bother to read them to find out). kyafaf-vafjl evidently has some mental ability however. The individual apparently types coherently in more than a couple of languages other than English. (At least that appears to be the opinion of other commentators who know one of the languages and who reply in kind. Personally, I prefer kygago-aasdf's non-English posts, because while I'm sure that they're substantively just as stupid and nonsensical as his English ones, I'm blissfully ignorant of just how stupid they are, being only barely capable of communicating in English. It's like when a friend of mine had some friends from Germany over and they began discussing something among themselves. They sounded really smart and cultured, but it turned out they were just talking about where they wanted to go for dinner.) But yesterday, I decided to draw kygagn-dfa out and challenge him/her/it on the non sequiturs it was babbling. The exercise was somewhat valuable in that I exposed, to my satisfaction, the intellectual barrenness of the "conservative" argument against the contempt of Parliament ruling, the cowardice of right-wing blowhards when they're called on their bullshit, and, finally, I got an insight into the latest example of colossal right-wing stupidity on another important subject.

Let's begin:

Dawg's post referred to the numerous atrocities of the harpercon government followed by the distressing news that they'd received a bump in the polls:
Sometimes all you can do is laugh. I know I’m laughing as I write this, but it’s nervous laughter, perhaps even mildly hysterical.

Has anyone ever seen a kampaign like this?

The Prime Minister, mistaking the Kanadian people for the Konservative Kaukus, has imposed iron discipline on the hustings.

The press will be allowed only five questions per day.

Background checks on all who wish to attend his rallies will be conducted by the RCMP. Anyone found to have opinions or connections other than true-blue Konservative will be barred or ejected.

The RCMP is currently headed by William Elliott, a Harper appointee. He personally gave convicted felon Bruce Carson the top-level security clearance required to work in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Now (h/t reader Sir Francis, in the comments) he’s been asked by the man who appointed him to investigate the man he cleared.

The CBC report to which I just linked initially included reference to Elliott’s “anger management” issues. This reference has been pulled.

The media are doing a lot of pulling these days. Kanaries? Koal mine?

The number of staff available to throw under the Big Blue Bus as gaffe follows gaffe is reportedly dwindling. But they don’t appear to be needed at this point. Harper is enjoying a surge in popular support. He may obtain his coveted majority.

Funny. I’ve stopped laughing.

kygaj-adslfj replied to the effect that he was enjoying everything:

I see I started something with this "koalition" stuff.

"Funny. I’ve stopped laughing."

But I just started.
Robert McClelland tried to demonstrate to keyrarf-asdf that extensions of executive power might come back to bite the "conservatives" on the ass by pointing to the Democrat Obama's appropriation of bush II's overreaching:
Republicans were repeatedly warned that Bush's abuses of power would come back to haunt them when the next Democrat came to power. They laughed and blindly justified every abuse. Your laughter won't last long either.
kyrearp-dafs then blurted out this ahistorical nugget:
OK, but here it's the other way round. The Liberals laid the groundwork for losses of freedoms in so many ways, and this government is not as fast at undoing their damage as (maybe a majority) of us would like.
I decided to take kayfgaf-aff to task for that nonsense:
kyngath-asljf,

The harpercons are "undoing their [the Liberals'] damage"? What planet are you from? You are so dangerously ignorant.

Do you have any grasp of the ramifications of allowing the government to alter documents and lie to Parliament about it? Do you have any clue what sort of precedent is set by allowing governments to ram bills through Parliament without anyone knowing anything about the likely costs and impacts of the legislation?

I must confess kyranf-afd, when you mentioned your having a grandchild a few days ago I was literally staggered. I couldn't believe you were anything other than some right-wing high school student, what with your consistent cluelessness and childish sense of humour.
kgagu-fasdf decided to expand upon our personal dislike for each other, before returning to his/her/its incoherent rambling about harper's abuses of democracy:
"I must confess kyranf-afd, when you mentioned your having a grandchild a few days ago I was literally staggered."

Not as staggered as I was when I read on your blog that you're an OK guy in person, considering all the vindictive rubbish you come up with there.

"Do you have any clue what sort of precedent is set by allowing governments to ram bills through Parliament without anyone knowing anything about the likely costs and impacts of the legislation?"

You mean the Harper gov't HAS JUST SET THE PRECEDENT?

Why don't you do some ... er ... background reading?

"Do you have any grasp of the ramifications of allowing the government to alter documents and lie to Parliament about it?"

Bev Oda should have read her departmental staff the Riot Act and fired a couple of them at the start, I agree she didn't handle that one well.

And a Harper majority could announce a reopening of the Somalia Inquiry ....
kygagnt-ista's reference is to the Somalia Inquiry into the torture and murder of Shidane Arone. It was abruptly shutdown by Chretien when it appeared to be making too sweeping an investigation of the moral rot at the higher levels of the military and government. This compelled Inquiry Commissioner, Peter Desbarats to write his book Somalia Cover-Up (which I own a copy of).

Now, let's pause here and talk about the Liberals' shutting-down of the Somalia Inquiry for a bit. This is an important topic and kygnag-atdf's use of it is telling. It's demonstrative of how petty partisan self-interest, intellectual and moral dishonesty, and etc., befoul's the political climate in Canada. The cover-up of the roots of the abominations in Somalia obviously strikes to the heart of who we are as a nation and what sorts of people occupy the highest levels of power in this country. Now, whereas I am as appalled at Chretien's abuse of power to shut-down an independent inquiry in order to cover-up the matter, while being equally, if not more appalled at harper's abuse of power and abuse of the concept "national security" to prevent inquiries into whether we handed over people to torture in Afghanistan, kygagtn-adf sees these abuses as rhetorical sticks to beat political opponents with. To whit:

"Your party is hypocritical for attacking my party's violations of human rights and international law, because your party did the same thing when in power."

Wouldn't it be a complete gas if kygnagot-afa were able to realize that if his party is attacking human rights and violating international laws, that maybe he should not support his party? Maybe it should be "A pox on both your houses!" Of course, kgyago-afa probably has all sorts of stupid reasons for believing that sometimes it's necessary to have to torture and murder, with propping-up a corrupt government of rapists and thieves in Afghanistan being one such vital instance. But then we're reduced to two sets of scum-bags shouting back and forth at each other:

"I'm going to tell everybody that you have regular sex with your mom while she's in a coma!"

"Oh yeah? Well what about you pimping out your kids to feed your crack habit? What about that huh?"

What both the vermin in that conversation fail to realize is that the exposing of their mutual crimes only fills normal people with disgust. If one or the other of those morons turned to bystanders and shouted "Am I right or what?" they'd be met with looks of disgust. kgyagf-daf would, if he were one of those sleazy scumbags, be completely bewildered by the looks of disgust.

Niven took up the cudgels next, trying to talk sense to kysaggn-asdff. Let's read:
k_z "You mean the Harper gov't HAS JUST SET THE PRECEDENT?"

So you are okay with the Liberals NDP or Bloc ramming through legislation if they get a minority government? With failing to provide proper cost estimates and with holding from Parliament and Parliamentary Commissions document and information that is vital to their ability to represent us? Screaming that the Cons are able to do it because the Liberals did it before, ignores the fact that none of them should be able to do it. They are my employees and serve at the pleasure of Canadians like myself, they do not serve one man at the head of the party, but millions across Canada.

k_z "Bev Oda should have read her departmental staff the Riot Act and fired a couple of them at the start, I agree she didn't handle that one well"

So as far as you are concerned the crime here was not Bev Oda applying the word "not" to the document after it was passed by department heads, and applied in such a manner that it would appear the department heads were supportive of cutting off funds, the crime was that underlings did not fall on the sword to protect her and the Party.
When she took that job she was not conversant enough with actual criteria to make a decision on policy. Now, the assertion that she should have read the riot act to her staff can only mean, to me, that you do not base your opinions on facts and figures that departments and organizations will have at hand in order to formulate effective policies, but instead you would prefer policies be formulated simply through ideology, with the figures created after the fact to support this ideology. Otherwise your belief that firing a few would serve any useful purpose beyond pure partisanship is not reasonable.

"And a Harper majority could announce a reopening of the Somalia Inquiry ..."

To what end? Was there not a Commission that already looked into the affair, and charges and punishments rendered? Pointing out past sins of other governments to justify sins of present or future governments is very childlike.
Aside from his rose-coloured memories of the Somalia Inquiry, Niven makes quite good sense. How did the twit kygag-affad respond?
"So you are okay with the Liberals NDP or Bloc ramming through legislation if they get a minority government? With failing to provide proper cost estimates and with holding from Parliament and Parliamentary Commissions document and information that is vital to their ability to represent us? "

Not really, but it's just what governments do, have done, and will always do.
That's a lie, right there. kygagn-adfa imagines that everyone does this but it's only "conservatives" who debase the procedures so blatantly. Because they're incompetents and sleaze-balls.
"... none of them should be able to do it."

And how do you propose to change that?
Notice again, how kygag-dsfadf is perfectly happy with his debased model of democracy. If you truly believed that "everybody" behaved so corruptly, wouldn't you do something other than pick one team and cheer them on, right or wrong? (These are important issues, and in case anyone has forgotten, the team that kygagn-asdf is cheering on, which holds the same debased version of parliamentary democracy as he does, has actually formed the government in this country.)
"When she took that job she was not conversant enough with actual criteria to make a decision on policy. Now, the assertion that she should have read the riot act to her staff can only mean, to me, that you do not base your opinions on facts and figures that departments and organizations will have at hand in order to formulate effective policies, but instead you would prefer policies be formulated simply through ideology, with the figures created after the fact to support this ideology. "

The public service is supposed to implement the policy as decided by the government (as even Sir Humphrey would acknowledge). Years of Liberal one-party rule in this country led to massive Liberal inbreeding in the public service (which the Conservatives should make an issue), with all sorts of ongoing major and minor subversions (the best example thereof being the development of the NEP by public servants even under the Joke Lark interregnum). There's been a change in government, and funding organisations like KAIROS is one of the things that have ended. Deal with it.

"And a Harper majority could announce a reopening of the Somalia Inquiry ..."

"To what end?" Why DID Doug Young shut it down? And there's always Adscam, and Gagliano, etc.
This prompted my reply to the dunce:
knygat-aaf,

I shouldn't be surprised that your attempt at rational, fact-based debate has turned out badly for you.

No other government has attempted to argue that cabinet secrecy permits the withholding of such things as routine cost-estimates. That's why Milliken's rulings have been called "historic" and why harper's behaviour has been called ""unprecedented."

Canadian politics has not always been this authoritarian or contemptuous of the law and of democracy. I believe what harper and you are doing is called "projection" wherein you imagine that the world is as debased and thuggish as yourselves.

Your babbling about Bev Oda shows your continued talent for missing the point. The harpercons had every right to defund KAIROS if that was what they wanted to do. What they are NOT allowed to do is to alter public documents after the fact to justify their decision. They are NOT allowed to lie to the committee about how that happened.

The rest of your "B-but the LIBRULLS!" twaddle I'll leave to just sit up there like the pathetic, miserable, hypocritical garbage it is.

Apparently you're reading my blog. You must already know that I've established that harper's contemptuous treatment of Parliament while only enjoying a minority government shows that he was either daring the opposition to defeat him or that he's utterly incompetent as a Parliamentarian. Who else did he think was going to rule on his behaviour if not Parliament itself, the majority of whose members OPPOSE him?
This is a government incapable of rising to the occasion. Incompetent, anti-democratic, and loathsome.
Now, the thing about my response is that it's true. No other government has presumed that Parliament can't have cost-estimates, just as no other prime minister in any other Westminster style parliamentary system has ever abused the power of prorogation the way harper did. All of kygagaot-asdff's bluster of "Oh, everybody does it!" is complete bullshit. Furthermore, no matter which team you back, you simply have to challenge the notion that ministers can alter documents and lie to Parliament about it with absolutely no consequences. But remember again, that the person holding these noxious views is one of many supporters of a party which evidently believes this, and there are enough people, either ignorant or sleazy enough, that supports that party that it actually formed our government from 2006-2011! It's deadly serious to know how these people think and how they defend themselves and how they respond when people call them on their lies. So, how did kgyag-asdfj respond?
"You must already know that I've established..."

well, no. You haven't really established anything at all, except provided strong circumstantial evidence for a narcotic that might be drunk, smoked, or snorted, which we will provisionally call "thwap".
Well, obviously, I couldn't let that stand:
kdfai-asdfk,

Typical of your ilk. Unable to argue your idiotic views honestly, you resort to meaningless snark.

Go on home boy. These are serious issues we're discussing here. You're simply not up to the job.

However, if you don't want to go home, if you want to prove to us that you're intelligent enough to argue here, put some brain-power behind your next reply:

1. Given that harper's denial of cost-estimates was unprecedented...
2. Given that it was a no-brainer that the Speaker would decide this was behaviour contemptuous of Parliament ...
3. Given that harper knew that it would be Parliament which would rule as to whether he was in contempt or not ...
4.Given that harper only had a minority government and that therefore the majority of the MPs would rule against him ...

How is it at all possible that harper was either trying to force an election OR he believed he'd get away with his unprecedentedly contemptuous treatment of Parliament unless he's an incompetent?

Either way, how can you support such a blatantly contemptuous attitude towards legislative oversight?
Niven tried again to reason with the idiot. All good stuff, but I shan't post it here. This is already quite long. But Niven's comment produced (among other things) this response:
Bev Oda was basically blameless here. She succumbed to the "soldier ants of political correctness" (thank you, George Jonas!) too easily. I actually watched an example today of a lady seeing a document she had signed (written in her own writing) among a pile of others and panicking because she couldn't remember signing it.
I tried again to get kygagnto-asdfa to confront the significance of his own putrid beliefs in reply to this:
karu-fasdf,

"Bev Oda was basically blameless here. She succumbed to the 'soldier ants of political correctness' (thank you, George Jonas!) too easily. "

Missed the point again moron.

It's not about whether the "Liberal" bureaucracy wants to fund the "Jew-haters." It's that Bev Oda signed a document recommending KAIROS be funded, the government deciding after the fact that KARIOS be de-funded, and altering the document with the inserted "NOT" after the fact, after which, Oda lied about the whole thing.

I guess reading people like George Jonas and etc., has turned your brains to garbage so that you can't process even the simplest concepts. It's probably far beyond you to even have an inkling of what tolerating that sort of behaviour can lead to.
Now, begging your indulgence ladies and gentlemen, but here's where I introduced a new topic which produced another avalanche of stupidity from kygaojf-asdfaf on another highly important subject:
Off-topic, but before i go; It really tickled me to read how you doubt that I can be a nice guy in 3-d life given all the "vindictive rubbish" I type here. Coming as it does from monster who sided with the Mubarak dictatorship you must know that such criticisms are meaningless to me.
kgagy-asdfa never replied to my comments on Bev Oda or my set of questions about harper's contempt. He did see fit to attempt to rationalize his support for the Mubarak dictatorship by arguing that he was right to support torture and oppression and theft because he knew from the start that the Egyptians are unfit to govern themselves:
"Coming as it does from monster who sided with the Mubarak dictatorship you must know that such criticisms are meaningless to me."

Er ... no. What I actually said that was that Mubarak might be replaced with something worse, and therefore may be the best of several bad options.

This happens over and over again, cf. Scotland 1637, England 1645-1648, France 1789, Russia 1917, Cuba 1959, Iran 1979,

and looks like it's happening in Egypt


http://www.miamiherald.com/201...
The link goes to a story about fundamentalist violence across Egypt. Suffice to say, kygag-asdf's selective concern for the happiness of Egyptians didn't extend to the people in Mubarak's prisons, torture chambers, or the people afraid to walk the streets at night because of Mubarak's thugs. I pointed this out:
ksdaf-asdf,

brilliant dude. now go find a story about one of Mubarak's torture chambers. i'm sure you could find some doozies!

"whing!" ... everything just goes right over your head, doesn't it boy?

(I see you've abandoned any attempts to pontificate on Canadian politics. Wise move.)


kygagt-asdf then, for some mysterious reason, thought he could be clever, pointing to a story about the "new" abuses of women being reported in post-Mubarak Egypt:
http://www.care2.com/causes/wo...

according to your reasoning, you support the above.
He then made one last comment to me about the situation in Canada, which, as you can see, has nothing to do with the very clear questions that I asked of him, but is instead, a bunch of stupid whining about media bias followed by empty-headed blustering of his team's likely electoral success. With that, kygagn-asf surrendered any right to ask to be taken seriously. His party has abused the democratic process. kygagot-adf is alright with that because kgagaog-asdfa loathes democracy. Which makes it all the more sickening that the scum presumes to withhold democracy from the Egyptians because they're supposedly incapable of it.
"(I see you've abandoned any attempts to pontificate on Canadian politics. Wise move.)"

I'm laughing at all the boilingly nuclear media bias, the passes given to Mrs. Iggy Winkle's campaign (even maybe sideswiping Jack Layton), and anticipation of the exploding heads when it's over.

Your blog the morning after the majority is announced will be funnier than anything "This hour" comes up with.
What follows is the comment that I tried to submit and which made me think I broke dawg's blawg:
Boy are you ever stupid. Are you suggesting that the Egyptian military has been taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood?

Boy! That was fast!

Those are Mubarak's torturers you dim-wit! Those are the same guys who women were afraid to encounter on the street during Mubarak's day!

On the subject of Canadian politics, ... now you're whining about media bias. It's so pathetic. You're completely incapable of defending your hero's undemocratic contempt for Canadian democracy so now you're reduced to whining that the big, bad media is being unfair to him.

Contemptible.

kdaf-adfj, it might very well be the case that harper gets a majority, but it will have nothing to do with strength of political argument. He and all his supporters are all like you: unable to argue your way out of a paper bag!

I asked you some very simple questions about harper's contempt and you're unable to honestly face them. Because you're a useless hack.
So, that's that. Knowing right-wing "conservatives" kygagkj-sdf will no doubt refuse to engage with me on the substantive issues where I've demonstrated him to be an idiotic ignoramus. No, kygag-asdf, if he's read this far, is no doubt formulating some variant of the "gee! i must be so important for you to blah, blah, blah." But, as I've tried to make clear, ... kygagnt-asdf is not alone in his ignorance and stupidity. The reason I even bother acknowledging this idiot's existence is because he (she/it) is part of a large number of numbskulls who support a party that has become our government. kgagag-dkg's views on Egypt are shared by enough people that the scuzzy Obama administration gets to frame the debate as whether Obama is dangerously naive in helping the struggle for democracy or whether he is far-seeing and heroic in that support. The real story of course is that Obama is trying to contain the revolution by eliminating the puppet-dictator who outlived his usefulness and getting a new tier of high-level military torturers and lickspittles to betray their people and carry out the USA's wishes.

About those "virginity tests" being imposed upon women protesters in Egypt. It's apparently the new right-wing meme about how Arabs and/or Muslims are unfit for self-government. Shit-heads like kygagt-afaf reveal their titanic ignorance by blaming this on some pervasive misogynist sentiment among Arab men, rather than using their goddamned brains and realizing that the Egyptian military and police are still full of the same people who worked for Mubarak. These rapes are being done by the servants of US imperialism, trying to demonstrate to everyone in Egypt, male, female, young, old, that they've had their moment, but now it's back to business as usual.

kygaga-sdfa is representative of the complete moral and intellectual vacuum at the heart of modern-day "conservatism." He/she/it is contemptuous of democracy at home and abroad, for reasons having to do with ignorance and insanity. They cannot be expected to profit from debate. They're incapable of normal thinking. Debating with them is, as in this instance, merely a format for exposing their failings.