Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Amongst the people I have absolutely no sympathy for

are those who say things like this:
I am a Tory, but like many others who cast their ballot the same way I did not vote for the draconian and misguided measures in this regressive legislation.
It is not like the absolute power of the Prime Ministership has corrupted Harper.  His corruption is a part of his very being and he has always had it on display.  People who voted for him expecting him to behave better once he had a majority are fools.  So are media types who are shocked at the continuation of dirty tricks since the election.

And I also have no sympathy for those farmers who voted for the Conservatives because they promised to get rid of the gun registry and are disappointed at the gutting of the Wheat Board.  Listen up fools.  It isn't like their antipathy to the Wheat Board was part of a hidden agenda.

Oh yeah.  And those, Albertans in particular, who have voted Conservative federally and/or provincially and whine about education and health care funding.  You made that bed go lie in it.

This also goes for my fellow citizens who see Harper for the malignant jerk he is and nevertheless stay home on election day.  What makes them think that the same misanthrope who would spread lies about good and decent men, like Dion and Ignatieff, who have accomplished so much more than Harper, would listen to the desires of the majority of Canadians.

But they will repeat the pattern in the future.  And it isn't their fault.  Like the victim who hopes that by being nice, the bully will change his behaviour, these victims of Conservative bullying will vote Tory next time or stay home.  They will complain and reminisce about what Canada used to do.  But they won't recognize their part in it's destruction.Recommend this Post

Friday, December 16, 2011

Chantal Hebert plays the harridan today chastising the media for abrogating their responsibility by not truly reporting on the seriousness of Jack Layton's cancer.  But this last sentence makes me think that she is trying, on a subconscious level at least, to expiate her sins for mostly giving Harper a free pass for the past 5 years:
Some lessons are learned the hard way. One of the harder ones of the 2011 political year is that the media, when it looks the other way rather than pursue unpleasant, unpopular but yet relevant avenues are really not doing anyone a service, least of all the voters they have a duty to inform.
There are the irretrievably stupid columnists who will parrot every lie the Conservatives put out there.  Then there are the ones like Hebert.  Ready to take a shot at the Liberals because they had been in office so long.  These water carriers of convenience are well informed and had the measure of Harper prior to 2006.  But they turned a blind eye to these faults.  In Hebert's case the venom she directed at Dion might have a tinge of tribalism to it.  But she reveled in piling on Martin and Ignatieff as well.  All of this played into Harper's vote suppression strategy.

Now there seems to be an expectation that we will forget the previous cheerleading if Hebert and her ilk act surprised that the Conservatives are just as childishly undemocratic and full of right wing hate for Canada's institutions as they always have been.

But they have made their bed and history will make them lie in it.  As historians dissect how one of the world's leading nations was systematically pulled apart from within, the role of the media in enabling Harper will fill several volumes.Recommend this Post

Monday, November 7, 2011

A perfect example of Harper's antipathy towards Canada

This nonsense of replacing the beaver as a symbol of Canada with the polar bear shows just how much Harper hates the country he governs.  The beaver has been our symbol for over a hundred years but he wants to change it.  This is symptomatic of more than his usual Liberal Derangement Syndrome.  This is borne out of his disgust of Canada.

Anyone with any historical perspective understands that the beaver has historical roots to the coeur d'bois who laid the foundation for Canada through the fur trade.  Perhaps the beaver doesn't present as imposing a figure as the polar bear but it was a good enough symbol for the troops at Vimy and Normandy.

But then Harper doesn't have a grasp on the meaning of bravery does he?  What with the way he hides behind cowardly attack ads on his rivals.  Or telling some sap he appointed Senator to propose the symbol switcheroo.

Eaton, a former Montrealer who married into the Toronto-based retail dynasty once famous for its catalogues, had previously sung the praises of the beaver before her recent turn against the animal, which she now calls a "dentally defective rat."
In a speech in Parliament last year, Eaton expressed admiration for the beaver as a pivotal player in "the founding of our country."
She quoted fur-trade historian Harold Innis in saying that "the history of Canada has been profoundly influenced by the habits of an animal that fittingly occupies a prominent place on her coat of arms. The beaver . . . "
He could have floated this out using any number of back benchers or Senators but he chose Eaton.  Because it gave him a warm feeling in his special spot to order someone who was on record as supporting the beaver last year to come out against it.  Pretty sad actually.

This idiocy over symbols should be taken as fair warning that Harper intends to leave no rodent un-turned in his quest to remake Canada into a Milton Friedman inspired dystopia.  Since he probably even hates the name Canada, what will he want to call his new creation?  Harperland?  Harperstan?  Sounds crazy but who would have thought we would ever have a government proposing we get rid of the beaver?
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Friday, October 28, 2011

The implications of Harper's War on Labour.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me.
Martin Niemöller

Lawrence Martin outlines the reasons for the Conservative War on Labour.
When they had a minority government, the Conservatives soft-pedaled labour issues. Now that they have a majority and a labour-backed NDP in opposition, they have moved into attack mode. It’s war on big labour and it’s intended as Stephen Harper’s new winning strategy.  (My emphasis in bold)
If the implications of this strategy weren't so ominous I would enjoy the schadenfreude of seeing the NDP reap what it has sown.  (Was the NDP really so stupid that they thought their alliance to destroy the Liberals and give Harper a majority would buy them immunity from the attack machine? It looks like that was the case).

The economic foolishness of this strategy is apparent to anyone who cares to think it through.  There is no incentive for unions to concede on any single issue.  The less a union gives in, the further ahead they are when the arbitrator makes a ruling.

But that is not the main issue with the strike busting tactic.  Harper's contempt for Parliament shows how blithely he is willing to disregard centuries of democratic tradition.  The anti-union chest beating allows Pappa Steve to check off items 2 and 10 of the fourteen defining characterisitics of fascism in one swoop.  Union bashing might be politically popular but the actions our government is proposing violates Canada's obligations to provide Freedom of Assembly and Association.  Once again, the questions must be asked.  Is there a limit to what Harper will do to achieve and maintain power? 

So I put aside, temporarily, my disdain for the NDP and their collusion with the Harper Party and speak out.  This attack on Labour is wrong.  It is another sign of the authoritarian tendencies of Harper and his Party.Recommend this Post

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Conservative Party as a malignant organism

Check out the most prominent ads on National Newswatch this morning.  
They are actually the same ad.  Advertizing a petition on the official website of the government party to influence the legislative agenda of that government.  While I recognize that there is supposed to be an arms length relationship between the government and the party, this would be surreal if Harper hadn't already pulled us through the looking glass.

Why would they do this?  They have already announced their intention to scrap the registry.  With a majority there is nothing to stand in their way.  The best reason I can come up with is that they want to squeeze the last $20 they can from each of the anti-gun registry rubes.  Expect anti-Wheat Board ads for the Wheat Board rubes and so it will go.

The Conservative Party has demonstrated a phenomenal strength in its fund raising techniques.  But the means to an end have become an end in itself.  The Party fund raises, not as part of a means to effect a policy goal, but to fund the machine.  It will generate legislation design to ensure the richness of the party rather than the well-being of the nation.  It will wantonly destroy everything in its path without even knowing why.  All that matters is the size of the bank account and paying the Party bureaucracy.  The original purpose of the Party has been forgotten long ago.  The Doomsday Machine becomes an apt metaphor.

This is the most dangerous aspect of this government and it's apparatus.  Now if only we could envisage a way to explode some impulse engines in its gaping maw.Recommend this Post

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The revolution will be commercialized (In a good way)

What is the meaning of this?

It  means that a coherent purpose is coalescing from the inchoate rage.  And the emerging message is a good one.Recommend this Post

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What I would have written about Harper's putative love of hockey

If I could write like Kai Nagata.  Read this and be comforted that not every journalist is fooled.Recommend this Post

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Be careful not to damage your hearing Mr. Simpson.

Your cognitive dissonace is deafening.

I personally find it difficult to comprehend that there is a "base" of people that are still in the thrall of minimum sentences over pot but this seems to be the case.

Among many editorials slamming the omnibus bill to Harperize Canada, the one by Jeffery Simpson stands out. It is a good smackdown of the bill in particular. And Harperism in general with money quotes like this:
The Harper government has this weird contempt for solid evidence. It pops up from time to time when, in the face of expert evidence, the government just barrels ahead in another direction. Recall the government’s abolition of the long-form census, a move opposed by statisticians and groups that rely on the most accurate statistics possible. Recall the government’s insistence after the 2008 recession had begun that no recession was under way. Recall in the matter of criminal justice the parade of judicial spokesmen, lawyers, criminologists and prison experts urging, even imploring, the government to cease and desist.
Couldn't agree more.  But didn't your paper twice strongly endorse Mr. Harper well after this trait was made clear?

Even scarier is Mr. Nicholson’s assurance that “this is not the end; this is just the beginning of our efforts.” He promises that “we’ll introduce other legislation as well.”
Some day, many years and many failures from now, it will fall to some other government to undo these measures.

Mr. Simpson, along with Lawrence Martin et al., have often displayed their cognizance of this destiny under a Conservative government.  How will we get rid of a patently incompetent government if commentators with the gravitas of Messrs. Simpson and Martin have employers who emphatically support Harper?
Recommend this Post

Monday, September 5, 2011

It is a bad strategy to fight a two front war

It is axiomatic in warfare that you should never get involved in a war on two fronts.

A key feature of Harper's strategy since 2006 has been to frame the new Liberal leaders before they had a chance to frame themselves.  These relentless ad campaigns were unprecedented, repellent and, unfortunately, successful.  Only a fool would expect that a similar fate did not await the next Liberal leader.

The incipient NDP leadership campaign adds an additional facet to this.  Now that the Liberals and the NDP will have quasi-contemporaneous campaigns, which new leader will the Conservatives attack?  The Liberal or the NDP?  Or both?  While the latter may appear more likely, how effective will a two front campaign be?  Will spewing that much poison backfire?  How much will it cost?

I have no idea what the answers to these questions are.  And I expect the Conservatives don't either.  But there is a high probability that they won't be able to resist a second front.Recommend this Post

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Conventional Wisdom has it that...

It will be convenient to have a name for the ideas which are esteemed at any time for their acceptability, and it should be a term that emphasizes this predictability. I shall refer to these ideas henceforth as the conventional wisdom.

The Affluent Society

Canada is now at D-Day plus 22* and the CW has begun to congeal. The time has come Vigilance said to blog of many things and address a series of truth(s) universally acknowledged**. To wit: The Harper Regime is a colossus astride the entrance to Ottawa and will form the new Natural Governing Party". Centrism is dead as a political force and as a result so are the Liberals. And most ludicrous of all: "The NDP is the only true voice of progressiveism in Canada" or the equally risible: "The success of the NDP in #elxn41 means an immutable change in the Canadian political landscape".

But the point of this post is not to unnecessarily torture great lines from English literature. I intend to address these canards and by doing so illustrate how the Liberal Party can rise from the dead to lead Canada into it's next century.

*D-Day -= Defeat Day
**Even if you don't agree with the sentiments, it was a noble attempt to mash up some great lines from classic literature.
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

I think the Senate appointments are awesome

It will allow Layton to hold Harper to account. Why I expect it will
be so mercilessly effective that Harper will express regret for having
won the election.

The tearing of a new one for Steve begins in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1....

Recommend this Post

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Revenge is a dish best served cold

Revenge is more satisfying as a considered response enacted when unexpected

I have been somewhat silent for a while due to a busy work and personal life. I also had trouble rousing myself for an ongoing spate of blogging when the impact seemed so futile. The die was cast. If the G20, Census, F-35s and the litany of tawdry scandals couldn't get Canadians to put down the Timmies, get beyond the corporate media and think about the implications of a Harper Government then I might as well take a break and let it happen. This includes politically active progressive Canadians who would rather fight amongst themselves than focus on thereal opponent. Beyond the odd outrage that presages our medium term future I could only get roused to sign in to the blog by sad news regarding an online friend. (That and I got an iPad. I love it but they suck for blogging).

The lassitude and ennui evaporated on Monday night. I remain a passionate progressive centrist. Now that the deed is done, the time has come to resume the fight for the Canada I know and love. There is little point in enumerating the reasons I will fight against Harper's incipient misdeeds. The threat on her right flank bears harsher scrutiny now that the mask of purity has dropped from Layton's Lefties.

In the spirit of being a good loser I resolved to wait a week to let the NDP supporters revel in their success regardless of the means by which it was achieved. Something akin to allowing your child go on a bit of a bender on their 18th birthday and then waking them up when their hangover is at it''s worst and tell them that they are adults now. (This is not an indictment of Ruth Ellen Brosseau. Regardless of her shortcomings and nomination foibles, she was elected fair and square and the verdict of the people is always correct. Her legacy is up to her. I wish her well.)

Just as Harper has ridden the coat-tails of better men such as MacDonald, Stanfield and others to disguise his pettiness, Layton stands on the shoulders of Douglas, Broadbent and Lewis. Unlike Newton he didn't use this advantage to see further. He leveraged this heritage to be nothing more than a weak reflection of Harper. Dippers unwilling to accept this are more partisan than progressive. "Liberal Derangement Syndrome" is a sickness afflicting both sides of the spectrum.

As for the Liberals. Everyone recognizes that this is a historic defeat. But that is the point. For the first time, they are the third place party. The flip side is that they have either been in office or second for 144 years. That is akin to either hoisting the Cup or making the Finals every year. It is amazing that the collapse hasn't happened at least a couple of times before. It has to everyone else. The reason it hasn't is because, regardless of our faults and mistakes, we did the best job of representing the people.

Just after Dunkirk, when Hitler* seemed ascendant, the chinks in Germany's armour were becoming apparent. These too can be identified with the Harper Party. There are similar and more glaring weaknesses to exploit in Harper-Left. Both sides of the coin can lay claim to ~20% of true believers in the electorate. That leaves six tenths for the Liberals as their natural constituency.

A long period of rebuilding is ahead of us. It must be undertaken. The world has changed and the Liberal Party must too. Canada needs us whether they realize it or not. Our revenge will be to emerge from this chrysalis stage to get back to the job of building the Canada the people want.

*N. B.: For the hard of thinking, this is a reference to perceived strategic superiority. Not a comparison of anyone to Hitler so Godwin's Law does not apply.
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Monday, April 25, 2011

Attack ads and the law of unintended consequences

So the Conservatives have spent $36 million making Ignatieff toxic in the eyes of voters who are gullible enough to believe such dreck.  But what happens if the majority of Canadians who despise the Conservatives are motivated to vote against Harper?  They are innoculated against voting for the Liberals.  So they turn to the one Leader that Harper would like to see elected less than Ignatieff.  As the pundits say, politicians use attack ads because they work.   But not always they way the attacker intended. Recommend this Post

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The government we deserve

There should have been enough evidence of corruption, sleaze and
incompetence to drive the polling of the Conservatives down to single
digits by now. If news that the F-35s will be delivered without
engines doesn't 't do it nothing will.

At that point the possibility that it is not the Harper campaign that
is in a bubble must be considered. It is a large portion of the
electorate. They don't want to be bothered with their civic
responsibilities and that is exactly what Harper is offering with his
miasmatic campaign. "Vote for me and never have to worry about issues
again.". Or don't vote at all for that matter.

This is why "Rise Up!" is so important. If it gets traction, it will
change everything. I am under no misconceptions as to the reach of
this blog but the more people progressives of all stripes can GOTV the
better chance we have to save Canada.

Recommend this Post

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My sincere thanks to Michael Ignatieff

If the unthinkable does happen (which I don't think will happen - more on that in a later post) and Harper takes over our government with a majority, at least one person made an impassioned plea to try and get the people of Canada to wake up and stop it.

Recommend this Post

Friday, April 15, 2011

On Harper's treatment of Guergis

I feel a lot of sympathy for her. She has put a face on the anguish suffered by everyone who has crossed Harper's path. Whether her treatment (looked at in the context of Linda Keen and Belinda Stronach) is a sign of a particular misogyny on the part of Harper or a generally sociopathic personality is up in the air. I do wonder how any woman could consider voting for the Conservatives after this. But a lot will.

Ms. Guergis laid just about every emotion response out there for all to see. All that was missing was a recognition of the affect similar treatment of others must have had on them and remorse on her part for having take part as a member of his government. I feel for her. I will begin to respect her when she apologizes to Dion, Ignatieff and the rest of a very long list.
Recommend this Post

Monday, April 4, 2011

I was wrong about Harper

I long suspected that Harper was so adamant about purchasing the F-35 jets because there was some gravy in it for him. He is, outside of his political career, a man of startlingly few accomplishments. It would not be surprising if he felt the need for a nest egg to fall back on. He wouldn't have been the first conservative politician to use aircraft purchases to make a few extra bucks. But I now realize that I had totally misjudged the situation.

He doesn't want to buy the planes to feather his nest. I don't believe that he is the least bit surprised that the price of these jets is screaming to the stratosphere. He probably wants to see them go higher. He has long sought to defund the government so that social programs are unaffordable. After cutting the GST to create a structural deficit and running up the largest deficits in Canadian history, committing us to $100 billion+ on planes we don't need will be the capstone to this act of sabotage.

Holding him to a minority isn't enough. He must be defeated.
Recommend this Post

Friday, February 11, 2011

Godwin's Law doesn't apply

When the people you criticize use the tactics of fascists.

Meanwhile, we all enable this. Liberals will pine for the old days. Dippers will feel superior. Blocistes will enjoy poking the ROC in the eye and Green supporters will tell themsleves they are saving the planet.
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

There is a disturbance in the (progressive) Force

I don't even know if she was a Star Wars fan or not. I do know that Penny Lankshear (aka Penlan) was a nice person that I never met face to face. I was hoping to at some point. She was an early supporter of this blog and a regular correspondent. I couldn't believe it when I read the news tonight.

Current circumstances have crowded blogging time out over the past few months. But from the moment we started conversing, whenever I sat down to document the disaster that conservatism has inflicted upon us I did so with a sense of community with people like her.

All my best to her family and friends.
Recommend this Post

Monday, January 17, 2011

It takes a whole country to sew on a swastika

Dave at the Galloping Beaver had the post of 2011 so far. Maybe even all of last year too.

Why don't we just sew a swastika onto the flag now? Go ahead. Read it everyone else has. My only quibble is that the culprits aren't really the media. The fact that ~70% of the electorate remain implaccably opposed to Harper demonstrates that. We can't blame the brain dead Conservative supporters I live amongst here in C-Town.

It is the "Progressives" that oppose him. We are all divided against each other. Not united against Harper. The Liberals who resist fighting. The Dippers who think there is a chance Layton can make the break through and lead us to a socialst utopia. The Bloc supporters who vote for Duceppe to poke a stick in the ROC's eye. And no hope Greeners who think that by helping keep Harper in power they are working for a better environment.

The only way the banality of Harper's form of evil triumphs is if we let it. I could cite lots of examples from history but I think Brian does it best.

Recommend this Post

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dr. Harper and Mr. Crybaby

I often vacillate between the opinion that Harper is an evil genius bent on installing a neo-conservative dystopia on our home and native land and that he is an incompetent hyper-sensitive mommy's boy. Probably he is a mixed up amalgam of the two. With a little neurotic religiosity thrown in.

This morning, however, Haroon Siddiqui has me leaning more towards the petulant and vindictive example of the Peter Principle in action.
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Monday, January 10, 2011

Wherever could Palin and the Republicans have field tested the crosshairs map?

Sarah Palin is, rightfully, getting heaps of grief for the possible inspiration her crosshairs ad provided to the Arizona gunman.

If Palin's electability is finally shredded by this image:

Why did Harper's survive this?

Once againthe judgement of our media makes Colin Campbell look like King Solomon.
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