Wednesday, April 24, 2013

thwap's mail-sack and (maybe) etc.,

Back when blogs used to be a more hep, groovy and "with it" kinda scene, they used to attract more idiots. So I really filtered the old comments section. As a result, I've gotten a couple of emails from people not registered with google. Here they are - - -

"Kip" writes:
Good evening Thwap,
I read and enjoy your posts regularly. 
I'm not a Party supporter: democracy needs to work toward acceptance of the fact that one person/one vote means, well, one person/one vote, and we need to openly acknowledge that our current party based systems do not allow for that.
I was going to add a comment to a Purple Library Guy comment (comments) but I'm not Google Sanctioned . . .  fortunately you are one of those rare people who provides a way the non-Googlists to contact you (aka known as an e-mail address). My apologies if this sound like a pet peeve*
Isn't it time we started to refer to the source of Mr. Harper's "mandate" as what it is - a plurality, not a majority
* which it is, but sometimes the dog needs to be taken for a walk, eh?
Next up is "Mark":
Bang on!
You are the first person I have read to say what I have been thinking re: Trudeau being a Republican-Lite, Obama-esque corporate shill. (Or to the right of Reagan, if you are 50 yrs. or older you'll have noted the pronounced rightward shift of the political spectrum).

I answered a Probit survey the other day asking whether a sleazy potshot ad re: Trudeau was "fair" or not. I suspect it was HarperCorp taking the pulse of the plebs........anyway, in the comments section I mentioned that Trudeau's biggest liability wasn't his age per se, but that he has the stink of Clinton-Obama "triangulation" about him.......time will tell. Wall St., Bay Street.....they know how to protect their interests.
So, first of all, I'll reply to "Kip." Kip was replying to this post, wherein I asserted that Canada's first-past-the-post electoral system was going to mean that the divided votes for the anti-harper opposition was going to produce another harper majority. (Especially if we factor in the way the anti-democratic media endorses harper and his shit and/or greed-head support will probably hover around 30% and there's nothing in place to prevent another round of fraud, which will be more ruthless and brazen this time around.)

Kip might have also been replying to this post, wherein between the "smoldering hunk" and the "hot babe" [the relevant google image search terms] I said that I wasn't calling for a merger of the anti-harper coalition, but a temporary alignment to defeat him, followed [crucially] by the implementation of proportional representation (whereupon the opposition parties can go back to hating each other all they want).

And I agree that harper doesn't have a majority. Because he most certainly doesn't have majority support among the electorate. he has a stolen "majority of seats" because he stole a crucial number of seats to win his bullshit majority of seats to avoid the consequences for his numerous crimes and so that he could ram through his oil-industry-dictated, anti-democratic agenda.

Now to reply to "Mark." Mark, isn't it precious that one of the first things that Justin Trudeau did was to vote against killing an insane "free trade" bill with the usual bullshit that they want to amend the bill instead? Yes, the Liberals will force an amendment while the harpercons enjoy their stolen majority and are impervious to opposition demands. What nonsense! A 31 year piece of legislation, negotiated in secret. We are not a democratic nation.

Trudeau's US-American alter-ego, Barack Obama is going full-steam ahead with his "Grand Bargain" of austerity, despite the fact that the whole austerity thesis is based on bullshit. That's the danger of these "centrists" like Obama, Trudeau, Chretien, Clinton and Paul Martin (and Mulcair); they give legitimacy to Thatcher's idiotic TINA argument. Neo-liberalism is dangerous nonsense. Always has been, always will be.

No time to type anything else today.

Thanks to both of you for the kind words and the commentary.

1 comment:

Purple library guy said...

Since the first email was partly a response to me, I think reasonable I should say something.
I hope my previous comment didn't give the impression I'm against proportional representation. To the contrary, I do agree that Harper has a plurality not a true majority, and I'm very much for proportional representation (If you're going to rely on representation, that is. In the end I'm not a big fan of representation at all-I'd rather see as much direct democracy as possible and have some ideas on how it could be scaled. That's going a bit aside from the ol' art of the possible, though).

If I thought that the collaboration thing was both necessary and sufficient to get proportional representation, I'd certainly support it. I'm skeptical for tactical reasons. At a minimum, I'd like to see non-Conservative parties get together in a sort of joint policy development process and come up with an electoral system they all support, up front, and craft a bill that they all will commit to. Then maybe it might be worth talking about collaborating in the election to get in and pass that bill. Until you've got at least that, there are some serious problems both tactical and conceptual about how the collaboration is supposed to be done and sold, and what is supposed to happen if a majority Lib-NDP-collaborated government gets in.

I would disagree with Kip that the problem is the system being "party-based". I've heard this quite a bit, and I think it's wrongheaded. The real problem is money. But in terms of the voting system itself, the problem is that FPTP distorts results and creates weird incentives not to vote for the party you actually want. I think a party is a useful thing actually. Individuals come and go, and only a few of the most colourful characters give people enough idea about them to have much notion what they'll do in office. A party has a collective ideology, a general mindset and approach to government, that gives a voter something to base a decision on. And functionally, for any kind of proportional representation to work you need parties, otherwise there's nothing to have proportions of.

Now thwap, you're pretty sure the collaboration thing is necessary, because you figure Harper will win the next election with a majority, partly through cheating. Or possibly Trudeau if the big surge lasts. If I agreed I'd be with you. But while I do think Harper will cheat as much as he can, and I do think Elections Canada has become pretty goddamned useless, I don't think he can actually get much mileage from dirty tricks--enough to flip a couple of close ridings, but not enough to give him a majority with much less vote than he got last time. The process itself has too much participation; long as everyone sends plenty of scrutineers he ain't gonna be able to do much ballot box stuffing, and annoying phone calls can only do so much.

And I don't think Trudeau's honeymoon will last two years. Basically, I'm expecting a minority government, and since I doubt the Libs or NDP will give it to Harper again, that means an NDP or Lib minority. Whether that can lead to PR is another question. But I think it would be easier to get them to agree on PR if elected and even to agree on some specifics and commit to them, than to put together this collaboration gig.