Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The magic number is 40%

 Any single party that can get 40% of the electorate behind them wins. Federally or provincially. And the test isn't just that they can, its that no other party can. 

This is why, sad and horrifying as the prospect is, that the Conservatives have an excellent chance of winning the next federal election.  It's also why the Alberta NDP have an excellent chance of being reelected in four years and starting a new Alberta dynasty.

A three way tie means the Conservatives probably win federally.  Of the two progressive parties the NDP have a better chance of solidifying the progressive vote than the Liberals but very probably neither has the time to do it before October, The progressive split will probably continue and if it does, Harper wins.  I will be delighted to be proven wrong but I'm afraid I'm probably right.

In Alberta, frustrated right wingers like to harp on the fact that 60% of Albertans didn't vote for the NDP.  But of course the point is that no other single party could come close to that 40% the NDP won.  

'Ah ha!' They say, but its only because the right wing is divided between the Wild Rose and the PCs.'  Of course this is based on the highly questionable conclusion that Wild Rose and PC voters are generic right wingers who could end up following one party and this is of course nonsense.  The real vitriol and bile in the recent Alberta election was that between PCs and Wild Rose.  They are NOT interchangeable voters.  The many reluctant progressives who supported the PCs to keep out the Wild Rose will throw their support to the NDP or the Liberals or the Alberta Party.  That's assuming the PCs don't keep staggering on, and if they do they certainly won't win back the Wild Rose voters.

The electoral math favours the NDP, and so does the cyclical nature of petroleum prices.  The NDP will probably be going into the next election on the heels of a boom, and voters reward governments lucky enough to match the boom bust cycle to the electoral cycle. That's at least part of why Prentice called the early election that was his downfall.

The Alberta right wing split and renewed boom should be enough to get the ANDP another 40% at least next time, and that's all any government needs barring bringing in proportional representation.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The MRA movement is the primal whimper of a bunch of pathetic inadequates

The psychology of anti-feminist men is absurdly simple and straight forward: they hate strong, confident, intelligent women because there is no way in hell they would ever meet the standards of such women and they wouldn't know what to do with such a woman if they 'had' her.

That's really all there is to it.  They view the feminist goal of raising the consciousness and confidence of all women as an existential threat.  The less insecure, submissive women with low standards out there the less women even conceivably sexually available to them. 

That's why the one big idea of the so-called 'pick up artists' is 'negging', attacking the confidence of women with putdowns and self esteem crushing remarks - its very revealing; they are flat out admitting with this tactic that no woman with any self esteem will have anything to do with them so they need to crush it.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Crime of Opposing a Crime

The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (Yes, it's still an occupation when you pull your settlers out but retain full control of a territory.) is illegal under the fourth Geneva convention and constitutes an ongoing war crime.

Even Israel's own courts have ruled that its a belligerent occupation.  The tough on crime Harper government is trying to make protesting and resisting an ongoing crime illegal. 
The Harper government is signalling its intention to use hate crime laws against Canadian advocacy groups that encourage boycotts of Israel.   

Such a move could target a range of civil society organizations, from the United Church of Canada and the Canadian Quakers to campus protest groups and labour unions.

It is absolutely unacceptable to treat the peaceful advocacy of boycotts as hate speech. 

The Harper government knows this could not survive a charter challenge and hope just the expense and stress of a group or individual having to defend themselves till the point it was overturned will be threat enough.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

A clear contrast

Straight up; I am glad the Wildrose is the opposition.  I disagree with them about practically everything but they are clean compared to the PCs. 

Also I quite like the stark ideological contrast.  There will be two clearly defined, diametrically opposed viewpoints in governance and opposition.  Far more illuminating then the mushy but nasty neo-liberal corporatism of the PCs.

I predict a honeymoon as the NDP government and the Wildrose opposition cordially agree on campaign finance reform and a brisk sweep out of entrenched cronyism.  Then we can get down to articulating clearly defined opposing positions. 

I welcome Brian Jean, leader of the official opposition.

The Road Ahead

I've had this blog for, holy shit, nine years.

In its earliest days it was mostly ranting about PC Premier Ralph Klein's unrelenting war on the public sector in general and healthcare in the specific.  He went from being a nominal liberal to a hard right partisan against anything that smacked of cooperation or the public good.  In the end his all out assault on medicare ended up contributing to his tumble from power as rural conservatives thought about how Klein's proposed two tier healthcare system would drain small town doctors to the more lucrative practices in the city - and turned on him.

This was significant, in a way the seeds of tonight were laid when the doctrinaire movement conservative market ideology of right wing economists, Shotgun blog commentators and Fraser Institute leadership cadets like Ezra Levant and Danielle Smith ran aground on pragmatic Albertan fondness for decent public healthcare.

After Klein the open assault on healthcare in Alberta became the slow motion death of a thousand cuts, delistings, organizations and reorganizations.  If you were trying to manufacture consent to slowly chip away at public healthcare by degrading it to the point people let you privatize it - you would run it pretty much the way the Tories have.  Fixing healthcare and rebuilding the relationship with healthcare workers will be high on everybody's list. 

Alberta has the most anti-worker labour laws in Canada - a lot of current Alberta labour law is ultimately not even enforceable when looked at through the lens of recent Supreme Court decisions.  Expect major changes, including the removal on the absolute ban on farm workers even being able to join a union.

Education.  Students are an important part of the NDP coalition, I think we can expect education funding and tuition to be on this government's radar.  Higher education is becoming a luxury accessible only to the rich and that contradicts NDP egalitarianism directly.

The environment.  The NDP wouldn't have to pass one new law to change this file dramatically.  Just enforcing existing environmental regulations  and  laws would drastically challenge the free ride elite polluters have enjoyed.  Look for incentives to encourage projects like ENMAX's Shepard Energy Centre gas powered power plant.  Coal is cheap but dirty and breaking our reliance on it would go a long way towards rehabilitating Alberta's environmental image.  The only wrinkle maybe the fracking and ground water threat shale gas poses.

The number one issue, the one the NDP can probably find a lot of common ground with the Wildrose on, is the democratic deficit.  As Rachel said in her victory speech, for too long the agenda and conversation of this province was a red rope affair, the elites decided and the rest of us were used to our concerns being ignored.  Entrenched, unethical partnerships like the one the Stettler PC establishment had with local government are repeated all over this province, right down to one party's control over the levers of the democratic process itself and there is a crying need to have years of cronyism, and close party/state fusions  swept away.  The Progressive Conservatives have a secretive slush fund of a kind that is illegal for every party in Alberta, except them.  That's emblematic of an attitude of entitlement and authority PCs believed was there's by right. 

Hercules had an easier job cleaning the Augean Stables.

And make no mistake, the sabotage starts tomorrow if not sooner.

Entrenched forces in industry, labour and media will be attacking from every angle, political and economic success will be steadily redefined to exclude anything the NDP accomplish.  Red scare rhetoric will, if anything, get worse.

Keep your powder dry.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

The Flowering of Progressive Alberta


Canada's Texas.   The prairie bible belt.  The queer hating, union busting, healthcare privatizing redneck with a copy of Atlas Shrugged home of the Canadian Conservative movement.

Stereotypes that have never represented anything more than the most superficial understanding of this province.

North America's most successful socialist movement was founded in Calgary in 1932 when the CCF, later to be known as the NDP held their founding convention here.  Over the years Alberta has frequently flirted with socialism, both directly through the NDP and the early days of the United Farmers of Alberta's dozen years in power and through the mirror crack'd version of Social Credit.  Today's NDP has morphed into a center left good government party and the Alberta version in particular is a very pragmatic and centrist party, but socialism wasn't always a bad word in Alberta.

Social Credit was on its last legs in 1971 and people forget the Progressive Conservative insurgency of Peter Lougheed really was a somewhat progressive alternative.  They swept away embarrassing Social Credit weirdness like the forced sterilization of 'defectives' that was still going on in 1971 and DOUBLED oil royalties.

Lougheed's pragmatic mix of conservatism and progressiveness and flashy battles with the federal government and oil corporations made him a superstar and the Tories have coasted on his reign ever since while abandoning all his best ideas.

The NDP have been the official opposition multiple times in Alberta and many still believe only the untimely death of popular NDP leader Grant Notley kept them from becoming the government in 1986.

His daughter is now poised to become Premier according to poll after poll, but even if she doesn't Progressive Alberta is out of the bottle now and showing off our magic.

Alberta will never be the same

Friday, May 01, 2015



 Alberta Progressives, 

The right wingers, the dedicated small 'c' conservatives, the people who think going on strike should be grounds for firing, the people who know better than to say out loud certain things, but who still hate gays and immigrants and public workers and YOU and know the dog whistles to look for, the people who make you sad and mad and ashamed when you think of them running our province or being catered to....

They are going to vote. They are intensely, incandescently motivated to vote now that it really does look like Canada's conservative heartland is about to be delivered up to the socialist hordes, they will be more likely to vote than in any election in YEARS in this province. They desperately want to cancel out YOUR vote.

And they still might. Riding a wave election must be like surfing a tidal wave and wiping out at the last minute is more than possible.

If you think your vote doesn't matter IT DOES, in 2004 the election of MLA Thomas Lukaszuk came down to a half dozen appeals and THREE votes. That kind of knife's edge could be repeated in any riding in this province right now.


And donate to the NDP, the Conservatives are reaping  last minute panic donations from Corporate Alberta. Don't let the PCs saturation ad buy their way out of their hole without the NDP being able to fight back.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Wave of Mutilation

And now we will get a solid week of frantic red scare fear mongering.

Dark mutterings about socialism, fictional versions of the NDP governments of BC and Saskatchewan... Last night a well known right wing blogger implied on twitter that an NDP government would make it illegal to own a phone.

Yes, really.

Its all based on the assumption that Albertans are idiots.  That we can't see that NDP 'socialism' is more the subject of one of the CBC's historical heritage minutes than any element of modern NDP policy.

Rachel Notley is the sensible, cautious leader of a moderate left of center good government party.  There was enormous push back to early PC campaign efforts to portray her as extreme, enough so that they hurriedly dropped it.  Expect it to return because the stink of desperation from Tory central suggests that if anything, their internal polling is even worse for them than what the public is seeing.

Fear and loathing and lies are all this tired, corrupt decaying government has left.  Choose hope and truth instead.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Rachel Notley Owned the Night

The story at the #abvotes Leadership debate was of Jim Prentice making the biggest tactical error of a career full of them.

He spent the night building up Alberta's already popular NDP leader into an unquestioned legitimate contender to the highest office in the province.  At every opportunity, repeatedly and ostentatiously he turned his back on Liberal leader David Swann and Wild Rose leader Brian Jean.  The intent was to diminish them both with a priority on blunting the Wild Rose (Though both assisted mightily in promoting their irrelevance, Swan with his cadaverous, ghost at the wedding stage presence, a tired old man who knows what vote he had has fled to the NDP and Jean with his wide vacant eyes and child's haircut, for all the world Opie from the Andy Griffith Show as played by William H. Macey, mindlessly droning his single message anti-tax right wing orthodoxy.) and that it most certainly did, but if Prentice thought it was safe to promote Rachel Notley based on the assumption she can't win in the country he may have miscalculated badly, we will know in a little more than a week.

The spectacularly condescending and pompous "I know the math is difficult" gaffe is going to do more damage than people think - possibly fatal damage.

I think the credibility he afforded Rachel Notley, combined with his own unlikable, insufferable prick demeanour and her sunny but no nonsense professional presentation sent a lot of on the fence voters Notley's way.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The economy is the most important consideration. Except when it isn't.

It's interesting, how all conservatives, such as Alberta's governing PCs,  firmly oppose higher corporate taxes because of nebulous, highly debatable and entirely theoretical negative economic impacts. 

But anti-gay laws with real, unambiguous, no doubt about it, BIG MONEY negative economic consequences? Well hey, who cares if Salesforce, a company that invested 2 and a half BILLION dollars in Indiana last year says they are now firmly cutting ties with the state over its anti-gay legislation? Who cares if GenCon, the largest gaming convention in North America is making plans to move their annual convention out of Indiana to the tune over 50 million dollars being pulled out of the state's economy EVERY YEAR? So what if the NCAA is seriously re-evaluating any plans to host future events in the state which could add up to hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact.

Add in potential losses in the millions from the tourist industry, jobs from the tech industry and the huge economic loss caused by an exodus of Gay Indianans and the only question remaining is just how many billions of dollars this new law will cost the state of Indiana's economy.

The entirely theoretical risk to jobs and economic growth cited as a reason to never even consider making corporations pay a fairer share of the tax burden is turned on its head with the argument that treating gays like shit is more important than the devastating effect it will have on the state's economy. 

It's almost as if it was never a good faith argument and Republican Governor Pence is happily abandoning it until the next time someone suggests 'Hey maybe our budget problems could be helped by making corporations pay a higher share?' at which point it will be swiftly resurrected.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

New Rule

I propose a new rule: if a government passes a law that is overturned by the courts for blatantly violating the constitution the costs of promulgating and defending that law should be paid out of the governing party's coffers. Why should the rest of us be on the hook for millions of dollars in partisan political theater?
Today, the House of Commons passed Bill C-2, the Respect for Communities Act. Pretty title, but like so much Conservative legislation, the meaning of the title, like the bill, is cruelly ironic.
What the Respect for Communities Act does is effectively block the establishment of new supervised injection facilities like Insite. The bill could make it much harder for Insite to stay open, and it effectively prevents a similar health service from opening in any other Canadian city.
Insite arose as a community response to epidemic-levels of HIV and Hepatitis C infections and overdose deaths in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. A decade of research shows that Insite saves lives, and those of us close to the ground understand the central role Insite plays in the tapestry of specialized healthcare the most vulnerable Canadians need.
Despite the evidence, the site has not operated without controversy. When the last federal Conservative government refused to grant an exemption to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) that would allow Insite to keep its doors open, our community took the fight to protect Insite all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. It was only through the judicial branch that this life-saving site was able to stay open.  
This new legislation will face the same fate so much of the government's attempts at legislation of being overturned by the courts - at great expense to the rest of us.  They KNOW this.  They are already preparing their judicial activism rants.

How much of our money is this government wasting on political theater and legislation they know will be overturned?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The art of exclusion

Public 'art' at the Convention Center C-Train station in Calgary.  Not art designed to communicate or foster understanding, its only goal is exclusion. 

It's an anti-homeless measure like pretty decorative doorstop spikes designed to keep away the shivering souls who would sleep on top of the grates for the warmth.

Sometimes I fucking despise this city.

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