Tuesday, May 31, 2011
The political awareness in this country is a joke. Except for the fact that the NDP, under the radar, appears to be gaining strength. The desperate economic climate, the naked amount of class warfare in this country (instigated by those at the top) must be having some sort of impact on the attitudes of Canadians, far from the editorial boards of the mainstream media, where whole departments are dedicated to providing "Lifestyle" news to the most affluent 30% of the population, besides blathering yet again for Canadians to be "patient" as the "progress" continues in Afghanistan.
Of course, the NDP, being what it is, will probably reinvent itself into some version of the Liberal Party. (Indeed, some people are arguing that this "pragmatism" is just what the NDP needs, and that those fools who made it a "religion" are going to be disappointed as the party leadership "matures." The possibility that we might have to thank those "fools" and their struggling to keep the NDP as true to their principles as it remains, for attracting voters away from the unprincipled Liberals doesn't even occur to them.)
I'm simply at a loss. In the 3-d world, I have, over the past month or so, tried to reach out to other groups to come together and discuss possibilities for resistance, only to be met with silence. (Or derision, as "left-wing" political groups turn out to be anti-union, anti-protester, pro-business, middle class dweebs.) I haven't bothered with my local NDP riding association since two e-mails asking for a group meeting or online discussion in order to send a message to the party leadership have been met with silence. I'm not surprised that I'm expected to be a source of funds for the party and not so much a source of ideas. I am surprised at the depths of irrelevance of party membership though.
The reason I spend time in politics is because our present path is the path to species suicide, with social-economic meltdown as the appetizer. I have no illusions that had I dedicated my life to earning money (within the limits of my patience) that I would have amassed enough to insulate me from the uncertainty of late capitalism. If things are going to be made stable and whole for ordinary people, it is going to have to come from politics, not the capitalist marketplace.
Right now though, politics seems as barren a field as the job market.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
The Right’s priorities hit home at a town hall meeting held by Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Georgia, when he chastised one of his constituents who worried that Ryan’s plan would leave Americans like her, whose employer doesn’t extend health benefits to retirees, out of luck.
“Hear yourself, ma’am. Hear yourself,” Woodall lectured the woman. “You want the government to take care of you, because your employer decided not to take care of you. My question is, ‘When do I decide I’m going to take care of me?’”
However, another constituent noted that Woodall accepted government-paid-for health insurance for himself.
“You are not obligated to take that if you don’t want to,” the woman said. “Why aren’t you going out on the free market in the state where you’re a resident and buy your own health care? Be an example. …
“Go and get it in a single-subscriber plan, like you want everybody else to have, because you want to end employer-sponsored health plans and government-sponsored health plans. … Decline the government health plan and go to Blue Cross/Blue Shield or whoever, and get one for yourself and see how tough it is.”
Woodall answered that he was taking his government health insurance “because it’s free. It’s because it’s free.”
Self-reliance, it seems, is easier to preach to others than to practice yourself.
Woodall’s explanation recalled the hypocrisy of free-market heroine Ayn Rand, whom Rep. Ryan has cited as his political inspiration. In her influential writings, Rand ranted against social programs that enabled the “parasites” among the middle-class and the poor to sap the strength from the admirable rich, but she secretly accepted the benefits of Medicare after she was diagnosed with lung cancer.
A two-pack-a-day smoker, Rand had denied the medical science about the dangers of cigarettes, much as her acolytes today reject the science of global warming. However, when she developed lung cancer, she connived to have Evva Pryor, an employee of Rand’s law firm, arrange Social Security and Medicare benefits for Ann O’Connor, Ayn Rand using her husband’s last name.
In 100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand, Scott McConnell, founder of the Ayn Rand Institute’s media department, quoted Pryor as saying: “Doctors cost a lot more money than books earn and she could be totally wiped out.”
So, when push came to shove, even Ayn Rand wasn’t above getting help from the “despised government.” However, her followers, including Rep. Ryan, now want to strip those guaranteed benefits from other Americans of more modest means than Ayn Rand.
It seems it’s okay for average Americans to be wiped out.
Just when you think that you can't be surprised!
ETA: Ayn Rand accepting medicare is disputed. That she received social security payments isn't disputed by anyone, and I don't find that to have been hypocritical, as she could say she was reclaiming what had been taken from her against her will earlier.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
But here and here, Toews and his fellow harpercon scum are seen justifying removing Canadian Forces from helping with the clean-up after a Quebec flood, NOT apparently as punishment for Quebec voters having rejected harpercon villainy, but because they're worried that they'll displace private sector service providers inspired by the idea of profiting from their misfortune.
Furthermore, the services you're asking for -- if they were authorized -- would place the Canadian Forces in competition with the private sector, at the local or provincial level, which could perform this type of repair work.Ah! But Vic! Doesn't the same logic justify having all our work in Afghanistan carried out by mercenaries and private prison contractors? Why should we deprive mercenaries of a chance to make a buck out of some misplaced devotion to archaic ideas about who should fight wars on the taxpayers' dime?
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Kids don't walk down the hallway in highschool and get hissed at: "HETERO!!!" and then have to run for their lives.
A celebration of human rights shouldn't have to rely on corporate funding like the frikken' Santa Claus parade.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Because I have a soft spot in my heart for sluts. For me it's a term of endearment. Sure, sluts might be carrying something, ... sometimes they catch these things from people who really aren't sluts, because STDs are the luck of the draw and not divine punishment for having a strong sexual appetite.
And besides, if you don't want to catch something from a slut (not that all sluts are carrying STDs anyway), then don't fuck a slut.
But all that is neither here nor there. We're also talking about "dressing like a slut." As in, ... that'll get you raped.
I'll tell you all something. No means "NO." And I'll tell you something else: One time I was walking home from a party (a drunken early-20's) and I was begging this jeune-fille to let me fuck her when we got to her place and she kept saying "no" and when we got to her place and I dutifully took my place on the couch I gave her a kiss on the forehead and she looked at me with this surprised look on her face, that that was really the end of it. But she'd told me "no" at least half a dozen times so it was "no."
Another gal, ... same story, but she seemed sober (I don't know, I was quite drunk and I'd met her and some friends at an all-nite coffee shop and she seemed sober enough to drive) so she drove me home and I still wanted to talk, so even though she'd told me "no" I asked her in for a night-cap (this is the 1980s when "none for the road" was a revolutionary concept) and we talked and drank for about an hour until i was too tired and drunk for anything and i said "Well, i'm about ready to collapse and I guess you'll want to get going" and she looked at me mystified.
Thing is, "No" means no.
Because listen guys. What if I only drunkenly imagined those looks of confusion? What if the sober reality is that neither of those young women wanted to have sex after all? The weaker party, in a just world, should always be free to change their minds. And those in a position to force their wills should, in a just world, always defer to their opposites as equals. Because that's what the stronger would want for themselves should they find themselves in a position where they are the weaker party.
I'm glad that I erred on the side of caution in those instances. I'm glad that I didn't allow some stupid drunken delusion lead me to committing a crime I would forever regret.
Because if your step-daughter is sitting on your couch watching tv and she looks really attractive in her youth and femininity, ... she's not asking you, her step-father, to rape her.
If you brow-beat some drunken female into submitting to you and she lies there crying and coming in and out of consciousness, ... you're not having sex with her, ... you're raping her.
And, it's like this: If some woman happens to have a nice set of curves and she likes some attention now and then, or if she wants to attract a guy at a dance-club and then PICK one of the guys she's attracted, ... or shit, even if she wants to drive guys crazy and go home, ... none of that is any reason to assault her.
Personally, as I've said, I like sluts. They make me feel kindly. I would rue the day if all the stupid rapists in the world convinced all the women who wanted to dress like sluts to not dress like sluts.
But hey. Isn't reality the way it is whether we like it or not? Aren't there sexist creeps out there who will take some mini-dress and high-heels as a sign saying "Rape Me"?
Well, yes. But here's the thing: If a guy goes out jogging at 10pm. is he asking to be held down and fucked up the ass and then get his throat slit so he won't be able to tell anybody about what just happened?
So, why should women have to live their lives according to the whims of scumbag losers?
Because, when people talk about women reducing their chances of being raped, ... they often just leave it at that, ... as if there's no further work to be done. As if telling women to accommodate sexism is enough.
Because that's what it is, ... sexism. The idea that the female gender is inferior to you, ... that you can impose yourself upon it, ... , that it doesn't matter, ... that they're all "sluts" or whatever, ... that they deserve it, ... that YOU deserve them, ... etc., etc., ... it's SEXISM that makes guys rape women. (I disagree with feminists who say it's about power, not sex, ... I think it's the male desire for sex, and wishing to have the power to be able to take it regardless of the other person's feelings, ... although i'm no expert on the mindsets of rapists, so I'll leave it at that.)
So, ordinary folks who say, "Don't dress like a slut, because ..." might not be validating rape, but they're enabling it, because they leave it at that. They leave it to innocent women to accommodate rapists.
But when cops do it ... it's worse. In the same way that somebody at a restaurant can make a racist slur, but if the waiter does it, ... that's discrimination. Cops don't get to say to wealthy people who've been burgled, ... "What did you expect? Ostentatious home. Three car garage. Ferrari in the driveway. You're asking for it!"
The law says: "Don't break into people's homes and steal their shit." END OF STORY.
The law says: "Don't hold somebody down and physically assault them." ALSO END OF STORY.
So, when cops say "Don't dress like a slut," ... they're totally giving out the wrong signal.
Women have their own individual sexualities. End of story. Whatever they do with it, ... it's NEVER an invitation for you, or any other creep who gets the idea into his stupid head, ... to impose yourself into their life and scar them with memories of your sick, stupid, violent, twisted, loserdom forever.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
We're "Stalinists." Which is to say that we advocate locking-up our political enemies and then executing them, with or without the benefit of a show trial. This is because ... I don't know really, I'll need someone to explain it to me.
We're also "fascists" because fascism and Stalinism are two sides of the same leftist, authoritarian coin. This is because fascism is a movement of the left. This is because ALL leftists believe in worshipping the collective over the individual.
It stands to reason, then, that all rightists are champions of the individual. Unless, and until, all individuals are free from any obligations to any society anywhere, ... unless every individual is free to do anything but break a business contract (and the only power the state must have is to be able to enforce contracts between consenting individuals), we are not truly free.
The right-wing is about individual freedom.
Except that the roots of "conservatism" are in the protection of ancient cultural traditions, which are not to be lightly discarded.This is the conservatism of Edmund Burke, who, besides recognizing the powerful importance of tradition in maintaining the peaceful social order, regarded the masses as "the swinish multitude." The traditions that Burke and others upheld were based on the feudal past, of rigid hierarchy and religion.
So, there's a disconnect between present-day conservatives (who are now some variant of 19th Century liberals) and the roots of their own political organizations.
But anyway, the Conservative Party of Canada is the best guarantor of individual freedom for Canadians, and the Liberal Party of Canada is really a close second, given the impotence of its "progressive" left-wing.
Both parties would also be the champions of democracy against the inherent "Stalinism" of the NDP and its supporters, with the Conservatives, once again, being the best defenders of democracy (within the limits of a democracy that is restrained by a respect for individual rights a-la 19th Century liberalism as enshrined by the 20th Century Liberal liberal Pierre Trudeau's Charter of Rights and Freedoms).
Furthermore, it is the Conservative Party that should naturally be the best defender of our Westminster system of parliamentary government.
Have I got that right?
Because it's all a little confusing. What with the fact that it's the mainstream, respectable, Conservatives, Liberals, Republicans, and Democrats who believe in locking people up without charges, indefinitely.
It's the Conservatives who have recently trampled all over the basics of Westminster-style parliamentary democracy; shutting down Parliament to avoid a vote of non-confidence, and again, to avoid handing over evidence to establish whether the government is complicit in the war crime of torture.
It's the Conservatives whose last outrage is to refuse to divulge the cost estimates of their policy proposals, prepared by state bureaucrats paid by the taxpayers.
It's the Conservatives and the Republicans who want to impose their perverted religious values on all of us, and who seek the freedom to start wars without any oversight. (Actually, given Obama's blatantly illegal aggression in Libya, and the Liberals conniving with the Conservatives to avoid any debate when extending our occupation of Afghanistan, it appears that neither mainstream party has a monopoly on lawless, arbitrary war-making.)
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Seriously, I don't care what the policies are. I'm so fucking ignorant of the details of Canadian politics that I honestly believe that all the parties are the same.
A bunch of fucking crooks who don't keep their promises!
The above is what passes for "thought" amongst a large number of our fellow citizens.
Besides their lazy, sloppy, thinking about what democracy means, ... try to work through their central belief (fostered, of course, by capitalist public relations campaigns to infect these people with apathy which they themselves believe is a worldy-wise cynicism) that all the politicians are crooks who never keep their promises.
If they are, indeed, all "crooks" ... well, shouldn't we do something about that?
Think about it: To the nit-wits I'm channeling, elections in Canada are supposedly contests between the Sopranos, the Gottis, and the Coreleones. But none of these crime families will ever do anything seriously criminal if we give them executive and legislative power for four years, well, just because, ... um, ... well, truth be told, the empty-headed, lazy-assed chumps haven't really thought it through to its conclusions yet.
Something about the criminal-coddling courts not letting them, or something else that doesn't make a lick of sense.
Guess what people? The corporate elites have been testing our society's tolerance for criminality and authoritarian thuggishness for a few decades now. stephen harper's being rewarded with a majority in spite of his shitting on Canadian democracy is proof enough that, as a people, we'll put up with pretty much anything.
We're all going to go down the shitter, and the elites will be laughing as we bicker amongst ourselves while we spin around the bowl.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Jack Layton says he’s not interested in discussing the prospect of a merger between the NDP and the Liberals, contending the election result shows his party is now the "true alternative" to the Conservatives.How can he be so blind?
Then again, there's five years to go and a lot can happen, one way or the other. First of all, the Liberal Party of Canada could go bankrupt, shrivel-up and die. That would be sweet. And no vote-splitting! As well, immediately entering into talks with the party of John Manley is inviting all sorts of mental and moral corruption. Layton's got a lot on his plate nowadays and the last thing the NDP needs is to be negotiating with shit-heads stammering and drooling:
"Uh, dahhhh! We got's to commit to 'the mission' in Afghanistan!"
"Duhhh, ... public health care is EX-burp!-PENSIVE!!"
"Centrism." "Centrism." "Centrism!" "Don't forget the centre!" "Duh, ... what does 'centrism' mean?"
"You don't want to penalize success by taxing the banksters!"
"The 'Tar Sands' are awesome!!!!"
And etc., etc., et-fucking-cetera. I honestly don't know what the best course of action is. But having recently been on the receiving end of the crazy bullshit at "Eugene Forsey Liberal"* I'm pretty certain that there's all sorts of good reasons to maybe wait and see if the Liberals implode into complete irrelevance before tainting oneself with their stupid beliefs.
*(Supposedly the NDP has the blood of Canadian Forces' soldiers on its hands. Why? How? Well, you see, in 2007, the Liberals [who put the CF there in the first place] proposed a non-binding resolution that the Canada leave Afghanistan in 2009. The NDP refused and insisted on immediate withdrawal. 2009 came and went and harper kept us there until 2011. Every soldier who died after 2009 died because of the NDP, and not the Liberals, who, even though they put them there, aren't responsible for anything because of their non-binding resolution. Of course, if "Eugene Forsey Liberal" didn't have shit for brains, he'd figure out that if the Liberals had joined with the NDP to propose an immediate withdrawal, there'd be even less blood on anyone's hands. Except for the fact that non-binding resolutions wouldn't have accomplished anything. And the fact that the now Liberal Bob Rae acted like such a "statesman" and made sure that harper's extension of "the mission" would go even beyond 2011 without even a debate in Parliament should have prevented the psychotic hack from even mentioning the blood on the Liberals' hands.)**
**(Stupid, self-righteous, hateful drivel really gets my dander up.)
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I am singularly unimpressed with the Chretien-Martin Liberal record. Slash spending, raise taxes on the many (EI premiums) and cut them for the few (wealthy people and corporations), and allow poverty and inequality to skyrocket. Whoa! Brilliant! (Not.)
So, front-bench Liberal moves seamlessly to the anti-democratic Canadian Council of Chief Executives and is now blathering about re-visiting the five principles of Canada's public health care system.
Which can't mean anything good.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Chretien slashed federal program spending, as a share of GDP, from 16.8% in 1993-94 (when he took office) to 12.7% in 2003-04 (when he resigned).Oh, yeah. And in keeping with the blogging style of the psychotic hack at "Eugene Forsey Liberal", ... all Liberal voters are responsible for all the homeless deaths, First Nations peoples' suicides, and murdered Afghan and Haitian peasants. That goes double for you bloggers. You're all moral and intellectual cowards.
From peak to trough, it plummeted from 17.4% in 1992-93 to 12.1% in 1999-00 and 2000-01. Depending on which comparison one prefers, the Liberal majority slashed federal program spending by 4.1% or 5.3% of GDP.
The last Conservative budget (see Table 5.6), which Harper will now enact, projects cuts from 14.4% this fiscal year to 12.9% in 2015-16. The recent stimulus-boosted peak was 16.0% in 2009-10. The same two comparisons indicate that the Conservative majority is poised to cut federal program spending by 1.5% or 3.1% of GDP.
Of course, the Conservatives are free to cut more in future budgets. However, they would have to go much further to match the depth of Liberal cuts. Indeed, it is an open question whether Harper will even touch the minimum level of federal program spending reached by Chretien (12.1% of GDP).
You can thank Mr. "Eugene Forsey Liberal" for that excursion into the absolute gutter.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
If harper hasn't killed us all through nuclear meltdowns, poisoned deli-meats, tainted water, privatized healthcare, private prisons' brutality, and the reinstatement of the death penalty, and IF Quebec hasn't separated, the Liberals and the NDP must construct a mutually-agreed upon platform designed to last for two years (because Canadians don't like voting). The first thing the Lib-NDP coalition must do is implement some form of proportional representation or instant run-off, or whatever.
NDP MPs campaign in the ridings where they have seats.
Liberal riding associations that want to form a coalition and which have Liberal representation will get to run a Liberal unopposed.
Liberal riding associations with a Liberal MP who do not want the coalition will face an NDP challenger.
Ridings where there's a harpercon will face whichever opposition party scored highest.
Ridings where it's a toss-up can have their local associations meet and decide who to run as a candidate.
harper now sees that Quebec is a source of strength for the opposition. He knows he'll never win it. It's not beyond him to try to drive it out of Canada.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
When it turns out he didn't.
WTF? Is it beyond you stoops to grasp that imperialist politicians lie?
I guess it is, because your ex-leader thought invading Iraq was a good idea.
Oh wait! Here's the biggest joke! I was supposed to vote for one of you fucking morons!
An important difference: 60% of the people who bothered to vote here voted against the tyrannical fraudster harper, whereas it was something like 55% of US-Americans who bothered to vote voting against the tyrannical fraudster bush II.
Another important difference: bush II had to blatantly steal his elections, whereas harper only had to come up the middle in our archaic electoral system. (The USA also has a first-past-the-post electoral system, which functions ... to the extent that US-American elections can be said to function at all ... because their elites have institutionalized the two-party stranglehold on politics there.)
But some important similarities: bush II blatantly stole Florida. bush II's regime lied its way into a war. It was corrupt. It was racist. It was ... well, it basically ripped the veil off of the workings of the US political system, it paraded around its contempt for democracy, for the truth, for the people (“This is an impressive crowd -- the haves and the have mores. Some people call you the elite -- I call you my base.”) and a thousand other sins too numerous to mention, ... and instead of being hanged he was treated as a genuine political option and allowed to steal a second election.
With harper, we have a racist, hypocritical "Christian" nut-bar, another war monger, ... whose own crimes against Canadian democracy are well known, and it's pointless to list them.
It's pointless because despite the enormity of his crimes, he too was treated as a legitimate political choice by us as a country. 40% of those who bothered to vote, voted for him. The 39% who didn't bother to vote at all didn't see anything wrong with the idea of him governing. And the owners and managers of our mainstream media actually endorsed him! Why list again all of harper's sins? Why type words that only the converted will understand?
I am going to grow old under an authoritarian, war-loving, bigoted, anti-environmental, corrupt, incompetent, tyrannical government.
Going forward, ... so that PERHAPS, MAYBE, others will not suffer the same fate, what do we do?
The first thing, ... the opposition must be united. I've reconciled myself to the idea that the Liberal Party is not going to die. Fine. Whatever. It is obvious that our electoral system is flawed. It's also obvious that the Liberals cannot realistically claim to have broad national support anymore. They have not been the party of choice in Quebec for several electoral cycles. They represent a particular view of the world and if they want to enjoy having that view represented they are going to have to do it as part of a coalition.
[Will Quebec separate? There's talk of it. harper is, for all his empty prattle about how much he cares about this country, for all his droning about how "evil" separatists are, would not hesitate to sow regional discord and allow Quebec to leave the federation since it will never vote for him. Social-democratic Quebeckers do not want to be saddled with a Christo-fascist ruled English Canada. But I don't want us to get ahead of ourselves here.]
"Progressives" of whatever stripe; we have to get our act together. Let's stop it with these screeching, self-righteous tirades against each other. BOTH parties acted like donkeys, okay? Yes, Layton attacked Ignatieff instead of going after harper. Yes, the Liberals decided to divert resources from attacking the common enemy and deliberately targeted NDP incumbents like Olivia Chow.
Let's put aside our mutual hatreds though. (And it really is hatred.)
We have five years.
We have five years to form a temporary alliance based on a mutually agreed-upon platform which MUST include the reform of our electoral system for the following election. The NDP and the Liberals must agree on candidates and a temporary platform that can handle two or three years of cooperation. We must put aside our mutual loathing and work together.
With proportional representation, the harpercon style of politics will never govern this country again.
In the meantime, during those five years, we must transform the political culture of this country. The US and Canada are going to descend back into official recessions in the next few months. We must be there, explaining to Canadians, hammering away at the mass media, that the economic catastrophe is the direct result of the economic policies that the rulers propose and which harper and Flaherty implement. We must be at work forming our own media, forming neighbourhood democratic consciousness raising groups, so that people will appreciate what they've just lost on May 2nd so that they will fight to get it back.
In that spirit, I think this blog will slow down for the foreseeable future. I'll post when I feel like it. Probably little things. I'll reply to comments. There have been a few times over the past four years when I've typed something that somebody else told me they really needed to hear. I know that I appreciate knowing there's a whole online resource of sanity to help me remember that I'm not alone. But blogging alone isn't going to change anything. I'm going to spend more time thinking about how to really change things and less time indulging in rants.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
A very BAD night for Canada.
It is the government we deserve.
We deserve it for tolerating our first-past-the-post electoral system which has allowed a deluded and ignorant 40% of the population to give stephen harper dictatorial powers over the rest of us, ... the MAJORITY of us.
We deserve it for having two main English Canadian opposition parties who could not work together to defeat a man they both acknowledge has contempt for parliamentary democracy.
I shudder to think of the level of petulant, self-righteous whining that some of the Liberal bloggers on "Progressive Bloggers." ("There is a red door and a blue door" indeed!) Look people; BOTH parties were equally self-interested. They wanted the sun and the moon. Now they can have their starless sky.
What though, does it matter if we have the NDP as the official opposition in a harpercon majority? Look at how he treated Parliament when he had a minority! We're in for a terrible five years of brutality, of arrogance, of misery, or rising poverty, of ecological destruction.
What can we say going forward? First of all ...
THE LIBERAL PARTY OF CANADA MUST DIE!
Seriously. The era of easy answers is over. I said earlier that if we held harper to a minority, the an NDP-Liberal coalition should have used its power to indict him for war crimes charges, exposed his authoritarianism, enacted legislative protections to prevent any prime minister from doing what he did in the future, and educated the populace on the fragility of their democracy. We should have destroyed harper and allowed the Liberal Party to take its place as the right-wing party in Canada.
That did not happen. harper has a majority.
The only thing now is for the Liberal Party of Canada to die. If you want corporate free trade deals and imperialist wars, vote Conservative. If you want public health care, public broadcasting, Parliamentary oversight, civil and social rights for everyone, vote NDP.
The Liberal Party of Canada is an anachronism. It is now the spoiler party. If "progressives" delude themselves into believing that the NDP are socialist extremists, and that the party of NAFTA and the invasion of Afghanistan and the rape of Haiti is a progressive party, and they again take their rump of a party out in 2016, all they're going to do is split the vote again.
Let's make it clear: There is now only one party for progressives to rally around. Let's make it a clear choice. NDP or Conservative. Our first-past-the-post electoral system has just shown its horrible inefficiency last night. Nothing is going to change that.
It is over.
Only narrow, selfish, deluded partisanship can make someone believe that the Liberal Party of Canada still has a role to play in the 21st Century. BOTH parties are guilty of partisan blindness. OKAY? But the NDP has emerged from this contest on top. The Liberals have lost Quebec. They long ago lost the West. They are the second-choice of Ontario voters.
Let it be the Conservatives vs. the NDP.
We are in for a terrible five years. harper and his nest of morons and vermin are going to believe that their stupid bullshit has been vindicated. It has not been. The quality of Canada's political culture has been tried and tested and found wanting.
Conservative policies do not work. But harper and flaherty are obviously going to jump to the conclusion that tax-cuts for the wealthy and massive cuts to the welfare state and deregulation of finance are winning policies. They're going to jump on to the band-wagon of ridiculous austerity and destructive tax-cuts that the Democrat-Republican coalition is pursuing south of the border. US austerity, the interest rate rises of the European Central Bank, the stagnation in Japan, ... they're all going to produce another economic crises. It is going to be "Great Recession Part II." And the moronic harpercons are not up to the job. They are going to be exposed for the evil fools that they are.
But we are all going to suffer for it.
Those people who united to try to defeat harper must now abandon the partisan divides and ask themselves how dangerous do they find harper? And we have to pursue other avenues of resistance. Real resistance. Not the sort of left-wing protester "resistance" which involves sitting on a sidewalk allowing some riot-police to smash your bones, but real, effective resistance.
We have to expose the failure of neoliberalism and work to show at least 55% of the voters that harper's policies are diseased fantasies.
We have to come up with a genuine challenge to corporate power.
It is going to be a terrible five years.
Monday, May 2, 2011
The 'made-in-Canada' recession threw a million people out of work, decimated the manufacturing sector, and left the Rae government deep in the red. They were attacked viciously in the media for running deficits over which they had no control.That writer is more sympathetic to Rae than I am about his unilaterally re-opening labour contracts. I understand that Rae was trying to avoid lay-offs, an it was a noble concept, but not noble enough to justify taking a sledge-hammer to the entire point of labour unions, which is to negotiate as equals the conditions of their employment.
The deficit ballooned into the ten billions, and the Rae government tried some Keynesian counter-cyclical spending to soften the blow for families being thrown out of work, which of course made the deficit worse (but what else could they have done?).
After the worst of the recession was over, the NDP set about reducing the deficit, albeit without eliminating public sector jobs. Rae went to the unions and asked them to agree to renegotiate their contracts to save money. He called it a "social contract".
The unions flat-out refused to bargain, so the Rae government unilaterally implemented the changes they were hoping to make. No one lost their jobs, but the dreaded "Rae Days" came into effect, in which public sector workers were required to take occasional unpaid days off.
At the same time, the economy was recovering and the deficit was falling, but the damage was done. Vilified from all sides for their efforts to soften the recession and balance the books without laying anyone off, the NDP were almost universally hated.
In 1995, when the NDP lost to the Mike Harris Tories and their "Common Sense Revolution", the deficit was falling steadily. Harris, an economic conservative and therefore "fiscally responsible", immediately reversed the downward trend in Ontario's deficit by implementing a series of tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefited corporations and the rich.
The Harris Conservatives also laid off public sector workers, cut welfare payments by over 20 percent, reduced funding for education, health care, and the environment, and dumped cyclical expenditures onto cities with the notorious Omnibus bill.
Over the next eight years, a period of non-stop economic growth in Ontario, the Tories managed to balance the books only by selling off a chunk of Ontario Hydro and then selling off Hwy 407 ETR.
Now, any economist will tell you that if you have to sell off capital assets to balance your budget, you're not running a sustainable operation.
By the time the Tories handed power to the McGuinty Liberals, Ontario's deficit stood at $5.5 billion, comparing rather poorly with the deficit eight years earlier, when the NDP were trying to bring Ontario out of the worst recession since the Great Depression.
(The size of the deficit was not revealed until after the Liberals had taken over the government. Prior to the election, the Tories had claimed the deficit was in the $1-2 billion range.)
Even taking inflation and population growth into account, that's a heck of an accomplishment for a party that is supposed to stand for "conservative" - i.e. prudent - fiscal management.
But the long and the short of it is that event the NDP provincial government that is held up as an example of the "disastrous" consequences of electing a government of tree-hugging, faggot, lazy, welfare-cheat enabling, union-controlled left-wingers, is, when you remove the corporate media spin, not such an ominous example after all.
Yes, the Rae NDP government is criticized by the left-wing and the right-wing. But that's not really indicative of how completely terrible they were. The left-wing was angry because Rae betrayed left-wing principles, alienated a powerful sector of the NDP's base, and vindicated right-wing rhetoric with their idiotic welfare snitch-lines and useless austerity policies. Right-wingers trash the Rae government because they're all (Conservative and Liberal) hypocrites and morons.
I noticed that it was after two Tory majorities and two Liberal majorities, that Ontario became a have-not province with regards to equalization payments. One would think that allowing Canada's industrial heartland to fall into needing equalization payments would be a bigger indictment of the two mainstream parties that allowed it to happen (and the neoliberal philosophy that they were implementing) than Rae's having run deficits during a recession.
But that's the way it is in our political culture: obvious truths are lost if they're inconvenient to capitalism and its delusions, myths are created to obscure our perception of reality, and the elites laugh all the way to the bank.
It's a real nail-biter!
Sunday, May 1, 2011
I've been mocking the hell out of that bullshit so far as the NDP's economics have yet to prove themselves as completely disastrous as those of the mainstream Conservative and Liberal parties. The NDP's real problem is that they're attempting to swim against the current of the dominant ideology, which is, at present, a Frankenstein's monster of theories ("neo-liberalism," "free-markets," "monetarism") used to rationalize and entrench capitalist hegemony.
No matter how much damage people like Paul Martin or Jim Flaherty did, are doing, will do, they will always get a free ride from the corporate media because they are conforming to the dominant paradigm. Their ideas and policies, no matter how self-evidently failed, will always be the default position.
But, I thought that I'd add to that the reality that our hegemonic political culture is deeply deluded and deranged by pointing once again, to the atrocity that is our Afghanistan policy. Once again, we see the Conservatives and the Liberals acting in virtual lock-step to ensure that Canada play its role as a pee-wee league partner of US imperialism.
As we did in Haiti, in Afghanistan, we justify our presence with the bullshit "responsibility to protect" doctrine, which was apparently cooked-up by an Australian politician, Gareth Evans, who helped Indonesia's Suharto carve-up the oil resources of tiny East Timor which Indonesia had invaded. Seems that the former and current imperialist powers of Europe and North America, being "democracies" ("Cough! George W. Bush!" "Cough! 'Stephen "Prorogue' Harper!") are once again "the good guys" and various swarthy "Third-Worlders" are "the bad guys." (These "bad" Third-worlders tend to be leaders who don't assidously kiss the asses of the imperialists and who exhibit outbursts of independence. Corrupt, cruel dictators who toe the imperialists' line never seem to have to worry about our righteous fury. Funny that.) It's the job (once again) of the white knights of Europe and the USA to travel around the world, righting wrongs and defending the weak.
In Afghanistan, it went down like this: Neo-con US politicians, through Pakistan's ISI bankroll Islamic fundamentalists to battle the Soviets in Afghanistan. US ally Saudi Arabia fundamentalist schools in Pakistan which train fundamentalist fighters (the Taliban) to serve both their goals and Pakistan's ISI. The US-financed warlords defeat the Soviet-backed Afghan government and tear the country apart in a crazed battle for supremacy. (The US walks away.) The Pashtun Taliban eventually pours in and pushes out the warlords to their own non-Pashtun enclave where they unite to form the "Northern Alliance."
One fundamentalist strongman in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden, is allowed to settle in Afghanistan, on the run from the CIA. He is allowed to do so out of gratitude for his important contributions against the Soviets. While harbouring bin Laden, the Taliban is courted by US oil interests hoping to build a pipeline through their country and are also lauded for their assistance in clamping down on Afghanistan's heroin exports. On September 11th, 2001, the United States suffers a terrorist attack and Osama bin Laden claims responsibility for it. The bush II regime demands bin Laden be handed over. The Taliban offers to turn him over to a third country if the US can provide evidence of his guilt. The US refuses and attacks. Nobody has bothered to count how many people starved to death that first winter of war. Thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands. Nobody has bothered to count.
Since then, the country has been torn by warfare, corruption, and hopelessness. Jean Chretien and Paul Martin had the first brain-fart to go along with this. It was under their watch that the prisoners taken by our soldiers were handed over to the US at Bagram, which fell under a cloud because the US was found to be torturing people to death there. So, the only sensible, serious thing to do was to have the sensible, serious, experienced Rick Hillier sign a shitty deal with the torturers of the Afghan government, to hand our prisoners over to them. stephen harper then came to power and wanted to show he was "tough" by presiding over a policy of obstruction and indifference about our prisoners.
Arggh! Look, I've said all this before. Canada's involvement in Afghanistan is this: We've been there since late-2001. It is now 2011. Our soldiers have fought, killed, and died, to help prop-up a government of narco-traffickers, rapists, and thieves. We have, without a doubt, handed innocent farmers over to be tortured, which is a war crime. And BOTH the Liberals and the Conservatives have signed on for more of this:
These are the policies that the "serious" and "experienced" hacks of the Liberals and the harpercons have brought us. And they think their warnings about the NDP should be taken seriously?
KABUL, Afghanistan - A veteran Afghan military pilot said to be distressed over his personal finances opened fire at Kabul airport after an argument Wednesday, killing eight U.S. troops and an American civilian contractor.
Those killed were trainers and advisers for the nascent Afghan air force. (Emphases are pogge's.)
The NDP surge and the equally stunning collapse of the Liberals (this has been a slow process up til now) could actually produce a Harper majority by some accounts as the widespread nature of the shift to the NDP takes votes from Liberals everywhere. That means in seats where the Liberals were competitive (and even incumbent) with the Conservatives but the NDP is not.On top of that, I think i remember reading that somebody crunched the numbers and found out it was mostly harpercon voters who swelled the ranks of advance voters this year.