Friday, August 28, 2009

Enough on the polls already

It has been mind boggling seeing the number of posts and counter posts that one, probably rogue, poll has engendered.

The Liberals are about to collapse. Layton is shortlisting advisors for the OLO.

No the Liberals are back, baby. Yeah! Yadda. Yadda. Yadda.

Meanwhile the Putz who would be King is still running the country. And he isn't going anywhere until we act together. History is full of examples where the infighting of rival groups allowed the triumph of an unpopular tyrant. The example I have read the most on is the Scottish Wars of Independence (natch). Competition between the Bruce and Baliol camps allowed the ruthless maniac Edward I of England to conquer an independent nation. The tyrant could not be defeated until the infighting ended. Remind you of any contemporary situations?

Let us get rid of Harper and then we can get around to settling the NDP-Liberal fight.
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Warren Kinsella shows us Harper's dream and Canada's nighmare

His post on Reformer reaction here.Recommend this Post

Senators, spendthrifts and strategy

Why appoint the Senators yesterday? It came out of the "blue". (Get it? Out of the blue?). Why on the last Wednesday of the month? Canpolitico connects the dots by blogging on the most recent fundraising letter. (s/t: Penlan for pointing his post out).

I have been blogging on the fundraising patterns of the Conservatives for a while and this adds corroboration. The pattern is all there. An issue to mobilize the zombies. A misleading and inflammatory missive timed to the event and payday. So in other words, the Senate appointments are at least as tied to fundraising as they are to Conservative policy goals.

The other thing of note is that in other letters I have read, the amount begged for was in the $20 range. This one calls for $100-$200. I haven't seen that before. Maybe the burn rate is starting to have an effect.
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Some stains are harder to remove than others

The obvious harpocrisy of yesterday's Senate appointments has been well covered. There is one good addition. Jacque Demers has been a staunch proponent of literacy since he made public his illiteracy. This is a connection to the thread of quality public education that runs through Canadian history and this issue has been missing a strong advocate since Peter Gzwoski passed away. Whether or not this is a sincere appointment or an attempt to provide cover for the more odious ones is a cause for debate.

I was thinking last night that what distresses me most about the 27 Senate appointments isn't the hypocrisy. The prorogation crisis. The Trust reversal. These issues and more have demonstrated Harper's eagerness to abandon any sense of principle for his own advantage.

The big problem for Canada is that Harper has embedded his goons in the heart of our government. We can get rid of the evilness that is Harper in an election this Fall but the stench that follows him will linger for a long time. This quote highlights my point (MEIB):
"I just don't think people care, number one. And it's fair. We gave reform a go. We need Conservatives in the Senate who are loyal to the party, to the cause and to him (Harper.)"
It isn't being shrill to point out that one of the most dangerous aspects of Stephen Harper's deficient personality is a tendency to authoritarianism. We need appointments who are loyal to Canada not an elected official. Unless Harper is planning to turn Canada into a dictatorship. Enough with the personality cult nonsense.

Update: I got so incensed when I read the first part Impolitical's post that I wrote my post before I had finished hers and didn't realize that she had made the same point. A bit repetitive but oh well. It didn't cost you anything but time.
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Operation lipstick on a pig

Although several blogs and news outlets have commented on Operation Nanook as being little more than a taxpayer funded ad shoot for the expected Fall election campaign, I will leave it to those closest to the "action" to pass judgement.

The most expensive photo-op you’ll ever see

So let us take as given the actual motives for Harper's trip to the North. It was a multi-million dollar pre-writ photo op. What interests me is the effect the inevitable campaign ads of Harper the Hero will have on the public. Are we truly different than the Americans in that we are not impressed by jingoistic shows of military "might"? Is the sight of our supreme leader in flight garb going to register with our collective medullas and get people to vote for Super Steve? Or will the ridiculousness of the scene turn off key voters?

I would like to think it will be the latter. It will be interesting to find out.

Update - 10/4/2009: Title boo-boo fixed
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Running dogs of Harper Conservarism

A constant criticism of the Liberal Party by Dippers is that Liberals are too flexible on their principles. This is an odd criticism since the Liberal Party has always been proud to try and be pragmatic and reach the middle path suitable for most Canadians. The principled but marginal NDP of Ed Broadbent and Tommy Douglas is a distant memory. It now boasts of challenging the Liberals for the political centre. (MEIB)
Darrell Dexter is the latest poster boy for New Democrats across Canada.

Nova Scotia's first NDP premier is the quintessential middle-of-the-road politician. No screaming lefty here. He is the kind of pragmatist federal NDP Leader Jack Layton dreams of being.

In fact, the 51-year-old Dexter, who won a majority government on June 9, calls himself a conservative progressive.

Layton gets downright giddy whenever he's around Dexter, whose name he couldn't drop enough at the NDP's recent national convention in Halifax.


"It is not an exclusive group of people. It is a modern broad-based political party that needs to reach out to people and bring them in. I have in my cabinet, as well as in my caucus, people who were very active in other political parties."


"The party under Dexter has become fairly mainstream and even small-C conservative on fiscal matters. In a sense, he really inherited the mantle of (former Progressive Conservative premier) John Hamm," Bickerton says.

The conundrum for the NDP can be phrased thusly:

"For what will it profit a party if it gains a few seats and keeps a tyrant in power? Or what will a party give in exchange for his soul? (Vigilance: 8-25-2009)

By purposefully moving to the centre in an attempt to assuage Layton's ego, NDP supporters are doing more than being Harper's useful idiots, they are actively striving to keep Harper in power to no real gain for the principles the party used to stand for. Moving to the centre is a much more tangible support for Harper than any number of bogus confidence votes. For the ego of their leader and the love for the ghost of their party, the NDP supporters are bringing about that which they want the least.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Impolitical has helpfully suggested a new campaign slogan for the Conservatives:
"Stephen Harper: unchecked and unleashed."

Love that slogan. Please run on it.
Personally, I hope it leads to: Stephen Harper: Unplugged. Could be a hit album.

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Q: What do Iqaluit and the HMCS Toronto have in common with San Diego and the USS Lincoln?

A: They all served as back-drops for Hitlerite campaign photo-ops.

Just as the "Mission Accomplished" banner (paid for by the GOP) was expected to provide material for what was expected to be a Bush romp in 2004 based on an Iraq victory, the ridiculousness that was Operation Nanook was expected to provide footage of Harper The Hero (tm) for this fall's expected election.

The Rove ploy initially met with rave reviews but the mirage of Bush the hero was blown away by the winds of reality in the form of a steadily increasing casualty toll.

The dreams of Conservative campaign strategists were blown away by the winds of a superfluous and poorly placed u, some overdue attention to the realities of his arctic strategy, the fact that Canadians do not tend to be as impressed by militaristic posturing as Americans and the dorkishness of the material provided to the photographers. (Does anyone in the PMO really think they can build a personality cult based on this goober?)

In the end, the robotic manner in which the Harperites regurgitate the patterns of the Bush years never ceases to amaze me. They follow it by rote, never stopping to learn from the many mistakes of the unindicted war criminals to the south. They never seek to adapt it to Canada and Canadians. And they can always be counted on to mess it up.

And in that there is hope for Canada yet.
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"Harper suggested he became aware of the case only last week"

Sometimes Harper's lies are so egregious they demand we call out the Gritgirl signal.

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Proof that Harper is clueless

And here I thought that Harper was doing such a bad job as PM because of a severely misguided dogma. Turns out his staff are insulating him from the ol' liberal media. (My emphasis in bold - new abbreviation: MEIB)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he's happy Suaad Hagi Mohamud is back in Canada but admits he's waiting for answers about her nightmare at the hands of Canadian officials.

Harper suggested he became aware of the case only last week, even though her well-publicized plight of being stuck in Kenya had begun 11 weeks earlier.

"When we became aware of the case last week, we asked our officials in various departments to give us some information," Harper said at a news conference yesterday. "Obviously there (is) some troubling information here. It's a complex case. I have asked my officials for a thorough review of the matter ... (then) we'll decide what further inquiry we do have to do."

The case has become a major embarrassment for the Conservatives amid criticism that the government is slow to assist Canadians in trouble abroad.

Privately, officials say the Prime Minister is upset at how the case has been handled and that "heads could roll" once the internal review is finished.

Mohamud, 31, returned to Canada Saturday after being stuck in Nairobi for 86 days because authorities said her appearance did not match her four-year-old passport photo. When she appealed to Canada for help in May, consular officials doubted her citizenship, called her an imposter and voided her passport.

Ignorance is no excuse for Harper in this case, said Liberal MP Dan McTeague, who served as a parliamentary secretary looking out for Canadians in trouble abroad from 2003 to 2005.

"It's either that he did know about it – and he's saying he didn't – or he's incompetent. Either way, the buck stops with the Prime Minister," said McTeague (Pickering-Scarborough East). "If he's going to say he didn't know about it, that's his fault and he's going to have to wear this.

"Does he not read the papers?"

Good question. Or maybe a progressive blog or two. Perhaps someone might tell him about the isotope crisis. Or the economy. Or any number of other things he is screwing up. Can't hurt.

s/t to Dawg's Blawg. Not because he was first but because he seems to get scooped by the same lightning fast whippersnappers that I seem to.
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Compare and contrast

Which instance of a government representatives do you think made a stronger impression of their sincerity on the Inuit while they ate seal meat? (My emphasis in bold).

In a graphic gesture of solidarity with seal hunters, Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean swallowed a dripping chunk of seal heart as hundreds of Inuit looked on.


Jean, on a week-long trip to the Arctic, knelt above a pair of seal carcasses and carved out the meat using a traditional ulu blade.

After slashing through the flesh, the Governor General turned to the woman beside her and asked: "Could I try the heart?"

Shortly thereafter, Jean was given a bloody piece of seal heart and ate it whole. She then grabbed a tissue to wipe her blood-soaked fingers.

"It's like sushi," she said. "And it's very rich in protein."

Jean said it was "absolutely delicious."...

Earlier Monday, Jean had told a group of students at an assembly that she hoped there would be seal meat at the feast.


Waye said Jean had more than one piece of seal meat.

"She had seal blood up to her wrist so she was involved," he said.

Jean's participation went a long way build relations between locals and the government.

"To see someone, the head of state, come to Nunavut and participate in traditional activities it really strengthens ties and makes us feel a part of Canada again," Waye said.


This bunch of dorky southerners eating tiny bits off of toothpicks and some kind of dip so as to avoid actually tasting it. Reminds me of trying to get the kids to eat their peas. One at a time and a sip of milk to wash them down.
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Even if money grows on trees, eventually Fall always comes

This blog post by The KD:

So the Little Shop of Tories isn’t good enough for you anymore, huh?

could be put to any number of uses and I am sure thinking bloggers will point the silliness of it out. I would like to use it to refer to a subject that has long interested me. The Conservative Burn Rate. (My emphasis in bold).

...But what she’s really curious about is what this means for the denizens of the Little Shop of Tories — the sprawling, 17,000 square foot compound in Ottawa’s east end of which the party was so proud that, on two separate occasions, they flung open the doors to reporters to show off the vast array of state of the art multimedia wonders housed within.

Armed with every conceivable electoral amenity, from an in-house broadcast studio to a sea of flat-screened monitors set up for voter outreach and candidate support, it was supposed to be the future of political campaigning in Canada. Of course, as it turned out, even the promise of bearing witness to the dawn of a new generation of electioneering wasn’t enough to get those same reporters to show up at 6am every morning to watch Jason Kenney deliver whatever the message of the day happened to be, but still. It was darned impressive, and — let’s be honest, here — provided us all with considerable entertainment, some of which was even intentional, during the last election.

But now, we find out that the party is planning to outsource something that you’d think the masters of the pixelverse out on Lancaster Road would be able to do in their sleep? Unless spamming the inboxes of hapless party supporters with cunningly “personalized” video clips of Mike Duffy is trickier than it sounds, which is distinctly possible, of course.

I googled around some commercial real estate sites for the Ottawa area and it appears that $10/square foot is a reasonable number to apply to this. So the rent alone on this complex is $170,000 a month. Never mind the utilities, salaries, hardware and software costs. Look at it this way, if the average born every minute Conservative donor gives $25 per donation, they need ~6,800 donations a month for the rent alone.

As much as I regret every day Harper remains in office, it seems to me that a good strategy would be to find ways to hinder their fundraising and let the bleeding continue.

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Mission Bungled

If you ever wondered what it would look like to see a PMO so incompetent it would make the Bush White House team look on the ball, your questions have been answered.

In another of his not so subtle aping of the Bush era, Harper has been putting on his own Mission Accomplished routine in the North.

The Prime Minister's gray military Airbus touched down at this Baffin Island town shortly after 7 p.m. after flying over icy Arctic waters dotted with icebergs. ...

The discussion of economic development will only be a side show to the military exercise taking place in Frobisher Bay, where a Canadian navy frigate and submarine will conduct an anti-submarine drill.

Canadian Rangers, a reserve force of northerners, will also practise an amphibious assault near Iqaluit.

Harper will observe the exercise.

Don Martin: Stephen Harper's Arctic strategy is melting

On Wednesday, Harper will preside over another annual fixture of questionable value as the military conducts Operation Nanook with 700 soldiers, an icebreaker and one of our rarely-operational Victoria-class submarines engaged in a make-believe show of coastal defence.

Never mind that both the Bush exercise and Harper's pale copy are straight from Day 1 of the Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will,
what does it say about our would be Fuhrer that they flub it up?

PMO Iqaluit gaffe draws smiles, frowns

An unfortunate blunder by the Prime Minister's Office has residents of Nunavut alternately chuckling and cringing.A news release sent out Monday outlined Prime Minister Stephen Harper's itinerary as he began a five-day tour of the North.The release repeatedly spelled the capital of Nunavut as Iqualuit -- rather than Iqaluit.

The extra "u" makes a world of difference in the Inuktitut language.

Iqaluit, properly spelled, means "many fish."

Spelled with an extra "u," the Nunavut language commissioner's office says the word translates as a derogatory reference to "people with unwiped bums."

Bloggers from Iqaluit were quickly online ridiculing the gaffe -- some light-hearted, some angry.

Iqaluit was named capital of Nunavut when the territory was created in 1999.

A news release today from the PMO spells Iqaluit correctly.

At least Rove made sure the spelling on the banner was correct.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Flanagan's factual flatulence

The Eminence Grease has another op-ed in the Grope and Flail this morning. The Unctuous One provides his usual insight into the inner "thoughts" of the Conservative hierarchy. That he is given this pulpit is a continuing embarrassment to both the G&M and the University of Calgary.

The Globe by providing the pulpit destroys any claim to editorial impartiality and, as outlined below, editorial competence. The integrity of the U of C is undermined by the way Flanagan arguments are so easily refuted. Consider the following (my emphasis in bold):
The Conservative government nearly blew itself out of the water last November when it tried to cut off $27-million a year in federal allowances to political parties. Although polls showed the idea was popular with the public, the commentariat generally panned it as a low blow against competing parties, because they are more dependent on the subsidies than the Conservatives are.
Ahem. From the January 6, 2009 edition of the same paper:

Dr. MacDermid points to the 2006 Canadian Elections Study, funded in part by Elections Canada, which asked respondents whether political parties should get public funding. More than half of those surveyed had no opinion.

But, of those who did, 71 per cent said the public financing was a "good thing."

"This is the history of public finance for parties. Time and time again, in polls going back to the early '90s when the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing looked at this issue, Canadians have always said that they support public financing," Dr. MacDermid said.

S/T: Impolitical

You would think a competent editorial staff would have caught that one.

I always ask myself, how would the EG handle this sort of flub by a student in one of his classes? Does he not hold them to a high standard of accuracy? Or does he allow dogma to override reality? Perhaps it is the former. But then the U of C gave Harper an MA.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

I ignored this item at first

because I didn't see the reference to Banff when I scanned the title, so I thought it was about a Conservative. "Fame-seeking squirrel storms Internet" could be a reference to almost any member of Harper's Cabinet.

Once I read the whole thing I realized it was about a sentient creature.
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In Collapse; Jared Diamond outlined how the destruction of fish stocks is a key indicator of when a society is on the verge of disintegrating.

His book was brought to mind by this:
The Fraser River is experiencing one of the biggest salmon disasters in recent history with more than nine million sockeye vanishing.

Aboriginal fish racks are empty, commercial boats worth millions of dollars are tied to the docks and sport anglers are being told to release any sockeye they catch while fishing for still healthy runs of Chinook.

Between 10.6 million and 13 million sockeye were expected to return to the Fraser this summer. But the official count is now just 1.7 million, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Where the nine to 11 million missing fish went remains a mystery.

“It's beyond a crisis with these latest numbers,” said Ernie Crey, fisheries adviser to the Sto:lo tribes on the Fraser. “What it means is that a lot of impoverished natives are going to be without salmon. … We have families with little or no income that were depending on these fish. … It's a catastrophe,” he said.

Why any sport fishery is allowed when people (and marine life) are starving is a mystery to me but what do I know?
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dr. Strangepoll

Or how I learned to stop worrying and ignore the Nanos

The recent polls have the parties all flip flopping their relative positions based on a few percentage points in the opinion polls. Based on this bloggers and people of marginally less utility, such as pundits, have postulated all sorts of results if an election were held today, tomorrow or next week.

This causes me to think back to a post I read by some blogger (I forget exactly who. Impolitical perhaps? Memory fails) pointing out that the Conservatives rose in popularity when the House was not in session and no one was really paying attention. The popularity of the Harpoids promptly retreated when the House was in and people remembered what a bunch of poltroons the Conservatives are.

So if the Conservatives are essentially tied with the Liberals in the first weeks of August. I think I will go outside and finish my beer rather than worry about it.
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Thursday, August 6, 2009

I can't be bothered to blog about US Healthcare

...because ACR has been doing such a great job on the whole mess. Read this and pass it on.Recommend this Post

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lucky for Angry Steve

Enough survived to form his cabinet.

I'm here all week. Try the seal. The GG says it is great.
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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I'm making a list. No need to check it twice

When it comes to enumerating the absolute failure that is the Harper government, it can be challenging to remember all of the ways in which they have let Canada down. It is a long list. But which disaster is the worst?

It could well be Listeriosis if a relative died from tainted meat. If you are waiting for nuclear medical treatments, Chalk River would probably rank at the top. Those of a fiscal bent might place the GST cut at the nadir of the "Tory Time of Terror". I can definitely understand the feelings of people who place the embarrassment of facilitating the use of the honorific "Honorable" by Jason Kenney in first place in the hall of shame.

For me it is simple. It is and will always be the prorogation of Parliament and blithe manner in which the Conservatives wantonly misrepresented our system of government to preserve their sorry hides. This group, that has demonstrated it's incompetence in so many ways, quickly went about undermining our democracy in the most complete and thorough way imaginable. It was almost as if they had a contingency plan for just such an eventuality.

The dangers these goons represent must be kept front and centre. The message must evolve to keep it fresh so it can reach as many people as possible. "Parallels" demonstrates just this very technique.
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Hey, look!

A metaphor for our government!Recommend this Post