Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Stephen Harper is a toom tabard

This is a family rated blog. Toom tabard is not a dirty phrase. It is a very Scots description of Stephen Harper.

The first time I heard reports that one piece of evidence that Stephen Harper is an ordinary Canadian, is that he is writing a book on the history on hockey it didn't ring true.

Now that I have started a blog, I added this to my list of topics when I read a troll commenting that' Harper is a real Canadian because he is writing a book on hockey.'

I would like to quote from what is probably the best book ever written on hockey by someone who knows of what he speaks:
"And though some things take longer, other less central do not. Want to be known as an antique collector? Collect an antique. A theatre goer? Go. Once is enough. Tell a journalist, sound enthusiastic....... Then stand back and watch what happens. Clipped and filed around the league, it spreads like a chain letter, to other journalists without time to check it out and presto, it is part of your (authorized) bio. And your image."
The Game, Page 162, paragraph 2.

When the news broke, about the Howard/Harper speech I grabbed the book off my shelf and started typing.

Nothing about Harper is real. His speeches, his interests, his entire persona is an artifice designed to allow him his majority. That passage may have referred to a pretentious hockey player but it was very prescient about his current foe.

Perhaps he is better described as the Manchurian Prime Minister. That would explain why all the Conbots keep referring to him as "the best, most perfect Prime Minister ever etc. etc. etc."

Update: Label added

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Back to school election and plagarism dynamics

As a parent I know that it has been difficult to focus on the election due to the back to school madness that rules the house every September. Every family with school aged children is in the same boat. This has made it hard to focus on the election even for die-hard political observers. Perhaps this was part of Grand Master Harper's election strategy. Have most of the campaign happen when the voters are just trying to survive and unable to focus on the issues. This is probably the case even for Harper, him being such a family guy and all. Having the election the day after Thanksgiving is probably part of the lay low strategy as well.

It makes me wonder if some of the support given for the Conservatives is just people saying " Um sure, I'll vote for sweater guy and now can I leave to get Suzy off to her dance lessons" to get through the pollsters questions quicker and meanwhile are saying to themselves "I'll figure out my real vote closer to election day".

Maybe the Liberals realized this and this is part of the reason for the slow start and attempt to peak in October.

Perhaps the plan behind pointing out the similarities between the Harper/Howard speech is to bring this up at a time when the Conservative war room can't reply because Harper is more or less incommunicado while in debate prep and to get Harper riled before the debates. Even a little bit of a Harper meltdown will help crystallize the votes for a lot of the vote parkers.

If the Liberals pull out a win this will be seen as a turning point and everyone will be talking about how smart their stratagy was.

All this and Couillard's book is due out next week.Recommend this Post

Monday, September 29, 2008

I wish I had said this

If only I was this eloquent. What I Believe by The Viscount LaCarte. This deserves to be resurrected during times of darkness.Recommend this Post

Your best way to vote for a progressive Canada.

As so often happens, I get a great idea when riding my bike into work.

If Dion can pull off a win the Conservatives will turn on Harper. Then the Conservatives can purge themselves of the neo-cons in the party. Even a minority will work.

This would move the centre to the left and then the other 4 parties can go back to fighting it out.

If you are undecided or have an antipathy to the Liberals or Dion, just this once vote liberal.Recommend this Post

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Collapse - Jared Diamond

It is difficult enough for a rational discussion on reducing GHGs to take place during an election campaign. The aggravating thing is that this is only a small part of the problem we are facing. As Dr. Diamond points out in Collapse, How Societies Choose to Fail Or Succeed, there are any number of factors that can lead to a systemic collapse of a society. In the past these disasters have tended to be localized. In our interconnected world of the 20th Century the failure of human society will be global.

Geological history illustrates how there have been massive extinction events in the past. An example would be the Permian-Triassic extinction where > 95% of marine species and >70% of terrestrial species disappeared.

There has been a lot of speculation that a meteorite in the Yucatan peninsula caused the Cretaceous extinction. The evidence indicates that this and other extinctions were not just related to a single problem facing the world. There were several ongoing strains on the ecosystems prior to the meteorite impact that lessened the dinosaurs ability to survive. The meteorite was not a silver bullet but rather the coup de grace.

How we can tackle this problem when we can't even discuss the Green Shift on its merits?Recommend this Post

Arts elitist blogging

Well now that Harper has used arts funding as one of his wedge issues, it is time to start drawing attention to some of the champagne drinking tuxedo wearing arts snobs that are imposing Canadian culture on people at home and abroad. Exposing them for what they really are.

For the first one how about Tanglefoot? I have seen these guys several times and they sing about Canadian history. And they are more popular outside Canada than in.

IMHO "Roll on Jamaica" is a new North West Passage.

Update: Label addedRecommend this Post

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A possible parallel - wishful thinking

The polls are scary right now. Polls showing the Conservatives close to majority territory? How can people anywhere in Canada, especially in Ontario, be thinking of voting for these jerks? To be sure media cheerleading has to be part of the equation. Incumbency is always a boost.

But the Charlottetown Referendum
comes to mind. There was an overwhelming media drive to ensure a Yes vote. The party in power was totally invested in the result. And the night of the vote the No side won. Canada was going to evaporate! How dare the people ignore their elites? The result was a shock to all of the commentators and politicians. No one saw this coming! People didn't vote the way they were told to!

Well we are still here. Sovereignty is dormant.

I have a theory as to what happened. The voter turn-out was over 70%. I noticed that friends and co-workers that had never voted before were reading up on the Accord. They aren't normally charged by politics. But they knew this vote was different. This one mattered and by Referendum night they had done their homework and voted. Regardless of the result they were going to make their opinions heard. For this reason the vote gave me great faith in Canadain democracy and the people to get involved at critical times.

As October 14th approaches they will come to grips with the decision, confound the pollsters and send Harper packing.

I hope I am right that this happens again. Just to cover my bases, I am going to listen to CBC as much as possible. If I am wrong it will be one of the things I will miss the most. Except perhaps Healthcare but you can't listen to that.Recommend this Post

Friday, September 26, 2008

Arts elitist blogging Part 2

Or should that be elite artists blogging? Anyway, here is another rich champagne drinkin' tuxedo wearin' fat cat artist.

Kent McAlister. I have seen him 3 times and each time the show is better. Lots of ordinary Canadians there too.

Stephen Harper wouldn't know an ordinary Canadian if he stepped on him/her on his way to destroy our food safety.

As an aside, during a break at a Kent McAlister show at the Ironwood, I saw a poster for another musician (I can't remember who) that had this quote at the top of their poster: More proof that Canada is producing the best musicians in the world" or something like that. Good value for the grants for performers to travel international and represent us.
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Thursday, September 25, 2008

From there to here

I believe it is important for readers to know the background from which I draw my opinions. So here goes.

I have lived in the heart of Conservative country my entire life. By this I mean that I have lived in what are now either the federal ridings of Calgary Centre or Calgary Southwest. (Yes, Stephen Harper is my MP. At one point I was represented my Harper/Manning and Ralph Klein. Lucky me.). My parents are both live long Conservatives and I took up the torch once I turned 18. One aspect that should not be understated is that the PC leaders at the time, Robert Stanfield and Joe Clark, were proud Canadians who would in the end put Canada ahead of party. Being a PC was not always synonymous with evil.

I voted for Mulroney twice. The second time because I believed in the FTA and I believed that replacing the Manufacturers Sales Tax was important for the economy.

Come 1993 and Kim Campbell was our first female Prime Minister. I thought she deserved a shot. And I still had some unresolved antipathy towards the Liberal Party due to the NEP. In addition, Preston Manning was running in Calgary Southwest (and would be elected). I was aware of Mr. Manning and I went to school with members of his extended family. I respect his integrity. I do not agree with his politics. So he was out. It came down to Bobby Sparrow with the PCs and the Liberal.

The deciding factor was a door knocking visit. Bobby made one. And that was the last time I voted PC.

The next election I could not vote for the PC candidate due to several controversial aspects to her background. Since Manning was still out, that left the Liberal.

I went and I voted and the Liberal lost. But the sun came up the next morning. After that I was able to listen to what the parties were saying and look past the labels. And interesting things ,to me at least, happened.

I went on a trip to Scotland, the country my parents emigrated from. I realized that although I had a wonderful time and my relatives were great I was a Canadian. The love, pride and respect that my parents had instilled in my Scottish heritage was important but I am not a Scottish Canadian. I am a Canadian. Canada is where I will live. I have a vested reason in seeing that this remains the best country in the world.

I found that the Liberals represented more of my world view. I had fallen in love and married a wonderful woman from T.O. Through visits to her relatives in Cape Breton I traveled throughout the Maritimes. I had read a wider range of the history of Canada. There is much to be proud of in our history and it is not boring. The history of a people who have found a way to live together peacefully and reach out to the world is anything but boring.

And I have been finding that as I get older I become more liberal. I read as much as life allows. Reading on a wide range of topics leads people with an open mind to realize that current conservative philosophies are ridiculous rationalizations of the rich get richer and the strong get stronger.

Why is this important? Why did you read through this? I believe that a lot of Albertans vote Conservative reflexively. I hear Albertans say how uncomfortable they are with Conservative positions. I refuse to believe that so many of the good people I know that vote for Rob Anders and Steven Harper believe that they reflect there views. There has to be a way to get them to travel a similar journey to the one I have. We need to get them moving in that direction.Recommend this Post

Why I started this blog

I have been following a number of "progressive" blogs since about 2003. It was reassuring for me to find that other people have similar concerns as to the direction of the world in general and Canada in particular.

Whether anyone finds this interesting or not, it will provide me with an outlet that I need to use. I expect that I will fill the blog with posts about my thoughts on subjects such as social justice, Canadian politics, books and music and science stuff.

I hope you will enjoy it.

Time to do the dishes. I believe an appropriate second post will be the personal journey I have taken from a supporter of the Progressive Conservatives to my, at present, support for the Liberals and Stephan Dion.Recommend this Post