Tuesday, July 30, 2019

No Referendum on Electoral Reform!

Our first-past-the-post electoral system sucks. It only works properly with a two-party system. It routinely gives massive power to the most dangerously deluded, repulsive party of shit-heads and greed-monsters. It nullifies the votes of at least a quarter of the electorate. It has to go.

But people keep talking about putting the question to the people. But around about 40% of the population will oppose change because they're either die-hard Liberals or die-hard Conservatives who like things the way they are. They are not thinking of the national good but of their own partisan interest.

Another ten to twenty percent won't understand the question. These are the people who, if you stopped them on the street, wouldn't be able to name the prime minister or find Canada on a map.

The fact of the matter is that proportional representation will more effectively reflect the mood of the country, which is what Parliament is all about. It will not take anyone's vote away. It will give a vote (FINALLY!) to those whose votes have been wasted under FPTP.

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Mueller Hearings: Russiagate's Last Fart?

So it turned out that people weren't turned-on by the Mueller Report. Probably because a lot of US-Americans simply don't care and because Mueller couldn't find any evidence of collusion. As a matter of fact, Mueller found that the charges were baseless. Carter Page wasn't a Russian agent. He was a non-entity. Paul Manafort wasn't trading vital election information with the Russians. He was sharing polling data (much of publicly available) to a Ukrainian State Department asset. The Internet Research Agency really is just a troll farm and its spending on Facebuck ads during the 2016 election amounted to $50,000 (with some of those ads being anti-Trump). The Steele Dossier was based on hearsay from foreign sources. Manafort didn't visit Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

All of it, the whole fucking things, was crap. From start-to-finish. So of course, people worrying about their healthcare bills, their jobs, climate change, etc., etc., really can't be expected to care about such piffle.

But the Democratic Party establishment and the Military-Industrial Complex are too invested in "Russiagate" to give up easily. Both of them need to build up Russia as an enemy of the USA in order to justify spending on the military and the Democratic Party itself needs to direct conversation about Hillary Clinton's loss to Trump to anything else besides the widespread unpopularity of neoliberalism. And, sadly, a lot of people (generally the types who would vote enthusiastically for the Democrats or the Liberal Party of Canada) have bought-in to this ridiculousness.

And now the narrative is that Trump obstructed the Mueller Investigation and THAT is why Mueller couldn't find evidence of collusion. But that's absolute nonsense. Here is a list of the 10 instances where Mueller says Trump's behaviour could be characterized as "obstruction" and NONE OF THEM have anything to do with blocking Mueller from investigating things.

Apparently the Democrats in Congress wanted Mueller to testify and Mueller didn't want to. But the Democrats insisted and got their public Mueller testimony. And it was a disaster. Now, Robert Mueller is 74 years old. It's possible he's going senile. It's also possible that acting like a tired, doddering old man makes it easier to refuse to answer questions or feign ignorance on matters of substance. It's also possible that Mueller is well aware that he's part of a cynical political game of distraction and scapegoating and he has little enthusiasm for a live public performance.

Either way, he did not breath life into the Report. And so now, liberal pundits and every other "Russiagate" pusher are saying: "Mueller's job wasn't to ENTERTAIN you! He was talking about IMPORTANT FACTS and if you'd rather be staring at porn or monster trucks then you're the reason this country has turned to shit!" Except that Mueller didn't really provide any facts. He refused to answer 198 of the questions he was asked and often told his questioners to read the Report (which he appeared to have a hazy grasp of himself).

Perhaps with this pathetic little squeaking fart, the whole "Russiagate" obsession is well and truly over. Pelosi isn't going to impeach Trump over "obstruction" or anything else. This whole farce was a waste of time and with this dismal pair of hearings it might well and truly be dead.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

rite here/rite now: harper on Immigration

This is part of a series wherein I review stephen jerk-off harper's stupid book: Right Here, Right Now: Politics and Leadership in the Age of Disruption. As stated elsewhere, a friend of mine bought the book and didn't finish it and gave it to me. [Here's my first mentioning of it. Here's part I & part II.]

In my last post I didn't even finish summarizing the introduction. And I guess that I won't except to say that at some point harper says that he finds Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders far more of a threat to civilization than he does Donald Trump or Nigel Farage. Which just goes to show you how big a shithead harper is.

Obviously, harper continued to say stupid things between his introduction and chapter 5, but I'm going to focus on chapter 5 today. "Walls and Doors." Which is about immigration. he begins by bragging:

I feel considerable satisfaction about the immigration agenda that my government pursued. We had, in fact, the largest per capita immigration program in the world -- over a quarter-million entrants per year, close to 1 per cent of the Canadian population. This is not just a number. It represents individuals and families who came to Canada to make better lives for themselves and their children. In the overwhelming number of cases, they contributed to the economic needs of our country and brought dynamism to their communities.

he continues by stating that his "approach" was widely supported by Canadians, "including among New Canadians." I found this confusing. Shouldn't it go without saying that "New Canadians" would support the immigration process that brought them here? It appears though that harper just got confused. he'd started writing about immigration but finished by talking about his whole approach to government: "The Conservative Party of Canada is one of the world's few centre-right parties to consistently win a substantial share of the immigrant vote. More on that later."

Now, gawd nose that my mind has wandered as I've typed these silly blog posts. But harper was writing one of his only books. To establish himself as a thinker. If you can't focus on one thought for the length of a single sentence ... ! Anyhooo, harper's book came out in 2018. he was probably working on it in 2017. This is all before the latest hullaballo about immigration and "illegal immigration" and the Islamic Plot to Impose Sharia Law on All of Us. But there has been plenty of that crapola for well over a decade now. But it's gotten more interesting now with Maxine Bernier's "National Socialist Party of Canada" and the attention on Donald Jerk-Off Trump's child-killing concentration camps at the USA's southern border.

harper admits to having screwed the pooch with the administration of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. (I wrote about the fall-out here.) Using a variety of tactics, harper attempts to exonerate himself and blame everyone else for what was actually a typical example of his values and his policies. First he mentions that it was the previous Liberal government that had expanded the TFWP from only covering skilled workers to include unskilled workers. Then he says that he had his concerns about it from the outset, stating that he preferred workers who could aspire to citizenship. But, he says, he was very busy and took the advice of those who told him that Labour Market Opinions showed a need for TFW's in all the areas that his government was rubber-stamping approval for hundreds of thousands of workers. (WAY MORE than the Liberals had done.)

Supposedly, then Minister of Employment and Social Development, Jason Kenney was also too busy??? Or wasn't it his fucking job to be keeping an eye on such a major issue? harper blames Canadian businesses (and foreign-owned businesses) for lying about their needs. he then makes no observations about such obviously toxic behaviour. he says that his government started to investigate the issue after the outcry of workers across the country losing jobs or losing the chance to apply for jobs because of the program. Which is bullshit since the Labour Movement had launched several court challenges long before harper and Kenney were forced to announce "reforms" to the program.

In the rest of the chapter it appears that harper is trying to angle the Canadian conservative movement to take a stand against "excessive" immigration. He quotes a Politico article: "Yes, immigration hurts American workers" that argues "Wage trends over the past half-century suggest that a 10 per cent increase in the number of workers with a particular set of skills probably lowers the wage of that group by at least 3 per cent."

In all honesty, I'm not prepared to declare whether immigration is long-term good for workers or long-term bad. There are studies that point one way and other studies that point another way.

But what I do know now is that harper's treatment of this issue is shallow and probably cynical and corrupt. He's focusing on immigration as the source of workers' stagnant or falling wages rather than any of the myriad number of other policies that he continues to support. And he's doing this because it's better to have ordinary shlubs screaming about powerless immigrants rather than about the deliberate suppression of trade unions, because the first approach is called "divide and conquer" and the latter actually strengthens the working class and weakens the capitalist class.

harper spends the rest of the chapter going on and on about how US workers are right to be concerned about immigration and how Trump is getting their support for finally doing something about it. Traditional Republicans, harper says, had been wedded to a dogmatic view that all immigration is a net gain for everyone, whereas "liberals" (like the Democratic Party) simply rejected the complaints of ordinary US-Americans as "bigotry" because that's just how liberals roll.

A few things: How does harper argue that Canada had the highest per capita rate of immigration in the world and that this has produced no backlash [he's wrong; see the racist "Yellow Vest Canada" movement, the openly racist party of simpleton Maxine Bernier, and the rise of white supremacists all across Canada] but that the richest country in the world (the USA) is riven with dissension over this issue? It can't be because Canada is taking in skilled-workers that are in short supply here in Canada whereas the USA is taking in unskilled workers who drive down the wages of service-sector workers/warehouse and factory workers etc. Because Canada doesn't recognize the foreign credentials of skilled immigrants. They all end up driving taxis or "ubers" or working in factories and restaurants.

And, a lot of skilled, educated Canadians and US-Americans are incensed at the importation of skilled temps from India and elsewhere working in computer programming and other areas.

Also, harper makes no effort to find out the sources of "illegal" immigration to the United States (which to racist, right-wing fuckwads includes people applying for refugee status, even though simply not wanting your family to starve to death is as good a reason as any). harper (the coward) says nothing about the coup in Honduras (and the government of which his asshole government was the first to recognize) has created a crisis of landlessness, unemployment, crime and murder. (Remember this is the same stephen harper who thought it was a good idea to select as many Christian Syrian refugees as he could who were fleeing war and devastation ... caused primarily by the USA and Saudi Arabia ...  and leaving Syrian Muslims to their fates.) The sickening abuses currently going on at the USA's southern border is the manifestation of the dullard harper's mewling criticisms of immigration.

And, again, make no mistake about it: harper is attacking immigration because he has no intention of ever deviating from the real causes of worker immiseration in Canada and the rest of the G7 countries. He will continue to advocate for the shredding of social supports; "free trade" deals that export jobs; the suppression of trade unions [the statistics about the deleterious effects of this will never enter into a book by stephen jism-brain harper], and tax-cuts for the wealthy that lower public revenues, increase debts and "justify" austerity while failing to produce the promised "investment" and growth, decade-after-decade.

I'd call harper a "monster" except he's such a gutless fuck that if you shouted "Boo!" at him, he'd squeal and shriek and shit his pants. This was a vile chapter in a stupid book by a contemptible human being.

Monday, July 22, 2019

"Cueball" has passed on.

Back in the days that I was a participant on rabble.ca's discussion board: "Babble" there was a member of the participants who called himself "Cueball." I pictured him as a very intense, serious, Palestinian of slender build and medium height.  When we finally met up in person (with some other "babblers") he turned-out to be an extremely tall, broad-chested white guy who was often smiling and laughing.

He joined the exodus to "EnMasse" but dropped-out after the site descended into a useless sniping bitch-fest of dwindling membership. For all I know, he went back to "Babble." (I never did.)

After I moved to Toronto, "Cueball" helped to show me around. And our two kids entertained each other as we took them to parks and museums and what-not. We sort of drifted apart when the kids went to school and I started working again. But we kept in touch and I was at a party of his just a few months ago.

Anyway, if it means anything to anybody who still reads this blog, "Cueball" has passed-away. A heart-attack from completely out of the blue. He was only a few years older than I am. He was a very impressive individual. From what I'm hearing from his longer-term friends in the 3-d world, he was apparently a very productive organizer and agitator back in the day. I'm having difficulty comprehending how such a large man with an out-sized personality can really be gone.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Summer Reading

I've been going through these books. Some I finished. Some almost. Some nowhere near ...

Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming

A friend loaned me this one. I was hoping to write a review but I don't think I'll have the time. Suffice to say it is an exhaustive, comprehensive and devastating expos√© of the Doubt Industry which also includes a plausible explanation for the reasons why otherwise intelligent, respectable scientists would debase themselves the way that they did. (Basically it was a dogmatic adherence to the "freedom" of "free markets." Also, a lot were nuclear physicists who owed their careers to the US government and still saw their job as being to defend said government and the US-American way of life.)

Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo

This was quite interesting. Galileo was a pretty smart dude. Amazingly observant. The way he discovered the moons of Jupiter and the way he speculates on the surface of the Moon and the nature of sunspots .... incredible. There's also a summary of the actions of his critics that eventually ended up with his being placed under permanent house arrest. (He chose that over being tortured. And he was lucky that the Pope liked him because he could have just been sentenced to death.)

The Tides of Mind: Uncovering the Spectrum of Consciousness

This I got at the bargain table at "Coles" in Jackson Square. David Gelernter is a path-breaking computer programmer. (He was one of the unabomber's targets. He's also religious, a climate change denier and a Trump supporter! I found out all that a few minutes ago.) Maybe I'll finish it. But not on the subway on the way to or from work. Because I'm tired during those rides. And a lot of the first chapter is him describing the incoherence of the state of consciousness we're in as we're about to fall asleep. Some of the amazon.com reviews I just looked at say it's an amateurish, overly "artistic" look at the phenomenon of consciousness. That made me think that it's like a couple of other books I've read recently wherein the authors seem more concerned with showing off their breadth of culture than with sticking to the point.

The Pig That Wants To Be Eaten and 99 Other Thought Experiments

This book would make a good undergraduate's introduction into philosophical thinking. The writing is clear and concise and the summaries of the philosophical source material is fairly accurate. But three-quarters of the way through it's gotten repetitive. Then a chapter on whether the President of the USA should break the law (assassinate a genocidal dictator somewhere) to promote the greater good (preventing a massacre) rubbed me the wrong way. The premise that the USA is a force for good in the world is clearly nonsense. Then, not long afterwards there was an incoherent thought experiment based upon the supposed wisdom of serial fraudster Bjorn Lomborg. I'm not sure I'll finish it.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Elizabeth May & the Toxic Trudeau Hater

I always liked Elizabeth May. She always seemed like an honest, principled person who would be forever content to cheer-lead for the Liberal Party of Canada. However, in hiring Trudeau-hater/Scheer-supporter/fake-scandal mongerer Warren Kinsella, May is either showing her true colours, or, that she's lost her mind.

The Greens are saying that in today's hard-boiled, gloves-off political climate, they need an attack dog like Warren Kinsella to "defend" themselves from the smears and innuendos that will soon be coming their way. But Kinsella isn't a shield. He's a weapon. And he's got his own agenda. And it certainly isn't the health of the planet (which is what the Green Party claims is THEIR agenda).

I certainly hope that May regains her senses and turfs Kinsella. Because we're still suffering under a first-past-the-post electoral system and the Liberals need EVERY SINGLE NON-CONSERVATIVE VOTER'S VOTE in order to stave off the GHASTLY Cons. (And, BTW. the reason we still have FPTP elections is because Guy Caron said something in a committee or some such thing and that Justin Trudeau, despite his powerful MAJORITY GOVERNMENT was powerless to simply ram through his preferred electoral option. He simply couldn't do it. There was non consensus in the land. And the Liberal Party when in government has never done anything without a broad national consensus. (Unless you're talking about spending $4 billion on a pipeline or signing-on to an imperialist-led war somewhere.) So, if you're going to say that it's Justin Trudeau's and the Liberal Party of Canada's fault that we remain in a state whereby the anti-democratic, contempt-of-Parliament, homophobic, eco-cidal Conservative Party of stephen harper and Andrew Scheer and Jason Kenney and Doug Ford remain contenders for power (thanks to the prevalence of stupidity and racism and ignorance and laziness and stupidity amongst the population) I'll tell you to GO FUCK YOURSELF. Because it's all the fault of that NDP MP in that committee who said something that neither he together with the rest of the opposition MPs COMBINED could have forced the Liberal majority government to do. IT IS NOT JUSTIN TRUDEAU'S FAULT!!!!

Doesn't May, and the Green Party and those OLD toxic-Trudeau haters (who are AGED, and therefore OLD, and therefore GOING TO DIE SOON, and therefore unimportant and probably senile and who cares what OLD "shudder" people think???) realize that only JUSTIN TRUDEAU CAN SAVE THE WORLD???? Who else is going to pay lip-service to the Paris Climate Accord while FAILING to meet even stephen harper's emissions targets? Who else is going to continue to service the Koch brothers' agenda while mouthing platitudes and absurdities about using the money from the Tar Sands to invest in clean energy? Don't people realize that a carbon tax is THE ULTIMATE BEST THAT CANADA CAN DO to pretend to believe that civilization is going to fry in 10 years unless we show that we're pretending to do something????

Listen people: Justin Trudeau is VERY HANDSOME. In his own way he's BRAD PITT-LEVEL GOOD LOOKING!!! I might have forgiven Christy Clark for all her BAD SHIT that she did in British Columbia if she'd have let me TIT-FUCK her.

I can only imagine what I'd be like if I was sexually attracted to men!!! And he PROMISES nice things!!! So what if he often doesn't deliver? So what if his eco-warrior stance is FRAUDULENT??? He's socially liberal. He's all for welcoming everyone and a champion of LGBT rights (just like his father!!!) and he's a definite improvement on the creepy, Christo-fascist harpercons.

[So: In case you're wondering; there's a little bit of satire and a little bit of sincerity in this crazy, mixed-up post of mine.]

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Stupid stephen harper

stephen harper is lowlife degenerate scum who desecrated what little we have of democracy in this country, so I have no compunction against mocking and insulting him and his laughable attempt to write a fucking book. And if doing so has the practical effect of puncturing a balloon-headed moron who is supposedly the "mastermind" behind the political bowel movement of conservatism, so much the better.

So, now I'm going to deal with his prologue. Here he starts off talking about watching Donald Trump become the president of the United States and how, unlike how for many other people, this didn't take harper as a complete surprise. FWIW it didn't take me by surprise either. And I apparently got there earlier than harper did. Because Trump was demolishing his Republican rivals because they were offering more of the neo-liberal crap (called the "Washington Consensus" for a reason) that had gotten the country into the sorry state that it is. Trump, meanwhile (and however insincerely) was promising to renege on free trade deals and thereby bring manufacturing jobs back to the USA and to get the country out of the endless wars in the Middle East and elsewhere that (apparently) even right-wingers are heartily sick of. The policies of his rivals, that were so unpopular were, by the way, the same policies that harper had done his level-best to bring to Canada.

harper mentions how Trump wasn't really a "conservative" and that his "birtherism" made him appear a fool and a bigot. And if Trump is a fool and a bigot, then who voted for him? Here comes a quote typical of the hypocrisy and pomposity that gives harper's book its own peculiar smell:

For many liberals, wedded to the belief that those who disagree with them are fools and bigots by definition, that answer [that Trump's voters are also fools and bigots] may be good enough. For us conservatives, who fancy ourselves students of human nature and human experience, it should not. The ones with the foolish and preconceived notions were those who got it so wrong. It is time to re-examine our assumptions.

Awww! Now why would progressives think that conservatives are fools? Is it because they vote for shambling, hypocritical embarrassments like the Ford brothers? Is it because they "support the troops" by voting for political parties that do the most to abuse the troops when they are injured, maimed and useless? Is it because they often don't understand the first fucking thing about how the world works? And why would we call them "bigots"? Just because they hate all Muslims as terrorist death-cultists? Because Andrew Scheer stood at the same platform at the same event and spoke to the same crowd that had listened to a goddamned WHITE SUPREMACIST (Faith Goldy)? Is it because Trump denied Barack Obama was an American because his skin was dark? That Trump continued to call for the execution of the Black and Brown-skinned Central Park Five even after DNA evidence proved their innocence? Is it because of their monstrous hatred of the First Nations?

Shut the fuck-up you goddamned whining snowflake!

And "students of human nature"? Hi-fucking-larious! Morons, hypocrites and closet-cases. stephen harper himself is a pompous ass who insisted (against all protocols) that the CAF salute him, as their "commander-in-chief" even though that ceremonial role is held by the Crown. And then when he heard gunfire in the halls of Parliament outside the Conservative Party caucus room, this "warrior-chieftain" ran to a broom closet to wet himself.

These imbecilic scum will call for "hard time" and long prison sentences for people accused of drug crimes but when one of their own turns out to be a criminal addict they will weep piteously and say they pray their friend gets help to wrestle with his (infrequently her) demons.

No harper, you're not a student of human nature and experience. You're a plodding dullard and an emotional basket-case.

harper then concludes with the unoriginal (but strange given his own contributions) observation that public policy in the OECD over the last couple of decades hasn't benefited ordinary people and how we have to figure out why this happened and what to do about it. The fact that progressives have been saying this the entire time and have laid-out numerous policies to help ordinary people is either deliberately ignored by harper or he's so insanely deluded that he can't even process it. he can't even make the connection between his fighting with leftist opposition to his policies and the fact that leftists were criticizing the policies he himself is now saying haven't worked.

The prologue continues but my energy (and interest) flags for the day. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Elite Plans For Climate Change

Here's a good article by Richard Moser: "Doubling Down: The Military, Big Bankers and Big Oil are Not In Climate Denial, They are in Control and Plan to Keep it that Way." The United States Department of Defense, the financial insurance companies, ... heck, even the oil companies (!) do not deny that human-caused global warming is real. But the perpetrators have no plans to reduce their contributions to the problem if it will negatively impact their bottom-lines. No. They plan on adapting to the new reality and profiting from any proposals to ameliorate the crisis. (The insurance industry won't call for the abolition of capitalism. It will hike premiums and refuse to provide coverage for vulnerable sectors.)

So how is it that the bankrollers of climate chaos, investing  $1.9 trillion in fossil fuels just since the Paris Accords, also claim to “manage and mitigate these climate-related risks?”
According to the bankers, the problem with climate change is that it’s “posing significant risks to the prosperity and growth of the global economy.” What they will not say is that the global economy — which demands enormous fossil fuel production and consumption — is posing significant risks to the climate. The global shipping and aviation on which peak profit-making depends is, like the military, exempt from the Paris Accords. The bankers, generals, and politicians are protecting the sources of their power.
It's a decent summary of the situation that shows how the petro-dollar backs-up the military-industrial-complex which props-up the US-dominated world economic system which serves the capitalist class very well. They are NOT going to undercut the basis of their wealth and power.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

stephen harper and the Dunning-Kruger Effect

Now, Please understand that I would never pay money for a book by Canada's most nauseating prime minister, stephen harper. I wouldn't even take the trouble to sign it out of the library. However, a couple of months ago I was at a friend's house and I saw that under the coffee-table he had a copy of harper's attempt at remaining relevant and masquerading as a "thinker" of weighty matters: Right here, right now: politics and leadership in the age of disruption. My friend (only an occasional follower of politics) said that he saw it and thought he should try to see what "the other side" is saying about the world. (He's a pro-union, non-racist guy. Socially liberal who enjoys his middle-class lifestyle.) He said that he started to read it but soon grew bored and then irritated. harper (he says) divides Canadians into "good" ones who believe in the things stephen harper believes in, and "bad" Canadians, who do not. And the first third or so of what my friend read was (according to him) harper simply asserting this principle no matter what the topic. My friend said he had no interest in reading further and that I could have it if I wanted it.

Well, actually holding the book in my hand and knowing that I could read it at my leisure, with no due date to return it, and having wasted no money on it, I gave myself over to the sadistic, morbid compulsion to read it the way people slow down to look at a traffic accident beside the highway. I know that stephen harper is a moron and a fraud so I know the book will provide me with loads of unintentional mirth. Also, given the sad fact stephen j. harper (despite his demonstrated absence of brain power) remains a strong influence, an >√©minence grise of the intellectual vacuum that is the Canadian Conservative scene, perhaps it would be fun to expose him as the same dunderhead that he's always been. That by writing a book (or attempting to write a book) harper unwittingly validates the Dunning-Kruger Effect, to whit: He's a stupid man who doesn't know he's stupid and thereby stupidly imagines that the odours of his brain-farts are worthy enough to compile into a book that people are supposed to read and not laugh at.

For today's post I'm just going to deal with the quotes from the book that are featured (in the place of laudatory reviews from reputable critics that they obviously couldn't get) on the back cover.

ON THE AGE OF DISRUPTION: "This is an age of increasing disruption of all sorts --- one that is now having significant political impacts in even the most stable, advanced democracies."

Yawn. Vague. Useless.

ON PRESIDENT TRUMP: "I do not know whether Donald Trump's presidency will succeed or not. But what I do know is that the issues that gave rise to his candidacy are not going away."

Wow. What a brave stance to take!

ON PUBLIC POLICY: "The policy-maker has to understand why something is good public policy and continually calculate how it is playing out. And if it's not working out well for the public, in a democracy, you fix the policy; you do not denounce the public."

Holy fuck! Was Afghanistan good public policy? Especially since (as I pointed out here) you insulted the people for questioning that clusterfuck? Was austerity good policy? Was keeping nuclear reactors operating when they needed maintenance good policy? Was (as we'll focus on again) weakening railroad safety regulations good public policy? Was climate change denialism good public policy???Did stephen j. harper ever do anything that could be described as "good public policy" the entire time he presided over Canada? [Answer: NO.]

ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE: "Trade is complicated. It has winners and losers. Trade negotiations require clear-eyed knowledge and in-depth assessment. It is as possible to get a bad deal as a good deal. And political leaders have a responsibility to know the difference."

First of all, harper's commitment to free trade was based on ideological and not on "clear-eyed knowledge and in-depth assessment." Secondly, regardless of his own behaviour, I think we'd all have to agree that that statement is depressingly banal and useless.

ON IMMIGRATION: "The real key to a successful immigration system is convincing the  public that the system serves the national interest, that it is not injurious to working people, and that it is administered with integrity and consistency."

Remember; It's not to actually DO any of these things. It's to convince the public that you're doing these things. (Even when you're not.)

ON CONSERVATISM: "Conservatism is rooted not in abstract 'first principles' but in real-world experience applied to the needs of regular people."

More stupid bullshit. harper pursued a policy of ruinous tax-cuts, austerity and de-regulation based on nothing more than a crude ideology. Throughout the early chapters of his book harper will admit that recent policies (the neo-liberal consensus shared by both his party and the Liberals) have failed "regular people." So, he didn't follow his own advice. (From what I've read so far, harper will be trying to blame China for most of what went wrong.)

ON GLOBAL BUSINESS: "Get back to basics. Invest and hire. Contribute positively to the communities in which you operate and make sure the people you touch know about your enterprise and what you are doing for them. Distance your own firm from unnecessary controversy and bad business behaviour."

Ha-ha-ha! Don't forget to also eat food when you're hungry. And remember to distinguish between healthy food and rotten food. (Also stay away from eating vomit and shit.) Drink liquids when you're thirsty. (Make sure that they're not poisonous liquids before ingesting them.) Imagine the sort of person who would read that plodding drivel and find a revelation in it!!
So, I hope you enjoyed this post. I've only read a couple of chapters and they're so full of bullshit that felt that I should stop and deal with them (to the extent that I do anything anymore) before continuing with the book. I certainly don't want to waste anymore time than I have to on it.