Thursday, September 03, 2015

The Attitude Behind It


If You Care

If you care about the economy, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about healthcare, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about privacy and civil rights, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about veterans, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about the lives of First Nations people and native children getting a fraction of the education funding that the rest of Canada's children get and thousands of women abducted and murdered,  you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about corruption, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about democracy and open, responsive governance, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about Canada's standing in the world, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about the environment - at all - you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

You CANNOT vote for Stephen Harper.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

What's so hard about that?

Believing Harper just means believing that a paranoid, micromanaging control freak with a history of taking an active heavy hand in even the slightest minutia of the PMOs office, was completely unaware of convoluted months of scheming from those closest to him  to deal with a brewing scandal involving a star Tory Senator and serious financial malfeasance.

And then that this PM, known for his vindictive take no prisoners approach to betrayal and failure and those he considers enemies kept most of these trusted advisors on, even to run his reelection campaign, despite months and months of them lying to him to cover up unethical activity resulting in a huge scandal that has damaged his electoral prospects.

What's so hard about that?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Astonishing, Infuriating and ultimately terrifying.

The Tyee's comprehensive document of indictment against the Conservative government is something every Canadian should read to be reminded in the aggregate of the many crimes and misdemenors of this corrupt and dangerous government.
Stephen Harper and his Conservatives have racked up dozens of serious abuses of power since forming government in 2006. From scams to smears, monkey-wrenching opponents to intimidating public servants like an Orwellian gorilla, some offences are criminal, others just offend human decency.
This is more Nixonian than Nixon, more Dick Cheney style malevolence than even the savage former Vice President would have ever dared to indulge himself in.  Stephen Harper makes Vladimer Putin look like a cuddly devotee to the rule of law.

Stephen Harper's government is an ongoing, organized criminal enterprise.


The Quintessential Conservative MP


Sunday, August 09, 2015

The Pendulum Swing

There seems to be a resurgence for the left in electoral politics.  Bernie Sanders is drawing huge crowds and worrying establishment Democrats and in the UK Jeremy Corbyn, originally a protest nomination for Labour party leadership and very much a UK equivalent of Sanders is causing alarm among Blairite Labour Party elites by giving every sign that he might be about to win.

And of course here in Canada the so called center left Liberals are a distant third while the left wing NDP is a credible contender for government itself.

The so called center left parties like Canada's Liberals internalized the message post Reagan that the only alternative was neoliberal economics and politics run for the benefit of the few and the wealthy with at best, some token nobelese oblige thrown to the poor as their policies swelled their ranks.  Emboldened, the political right charged ever further down the field to the kind of far right extremism that conservatives once purged from their ranks dragging the hapless moderate middle with them.

Now Canadian Liberals, Wall Street Democrats and Blairite Labour Party grandees all watch in shock and fury as the progressives they have repeatedly used, abused, lied to and disrespected abandon them in droves.  'Such people are unelectable!' they howl 'You are throwing power to the far right!' - who they share almost all the same policies with - but such alarmist rhetoric is based on outdated views of the electorate at large.

In the US the public at large elected a black man named Barack Hussein Obama as President in 2008 and re-elected him four years later and will elect any of the Democrats currently vying for the nomination Clinton, Sanders, ANYONE over any of the lunatics currently cage-battling to run the Republicans.

In Canada the NDP just elected a majority government in the most right wing province in the country and is polling in the lead federally.  In the UK the Labour Party just lost the most recent election largely because they became too right wing to keep the support of Scottish voters who turned to a left wing nationalist alternative and until they realize that if people want to vote Tory they will vote Tory not Tory lite they will be in permanent opposition. 

Far from being a disaster Corbyn is their only hope.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Acting with principle makes the difference

Desperate, poll driven policy designed to triangulate with ruthless electoral precision and avoid giving the government something to attack them with has driven the Liberal Party down to third party status.

Firmly and conscientiously opposing the Government's hop, skip and a jump from a police state overplay with C-51 was viewed as a catastrophic mistake by the NDP.  Commentators confidently predicted that Thomas Mulcair had misread the public mood after the attack on parliament and this would be where the Liberals, more in tune with the electorate would pull away into firm second place and Harper, most in tune of all, into the lead.

Instead, despite the great effort of the media to create that narrative, the Canadian public recoiled in disgust from the savage, ideological Conservatives and also the blatant, amoral schemers the Liberals openly pronounced themselves to be.

"“I do not want this government making political hay out of an issue … or trying to, out of an issue as important as security for Canadians,This conversation might be different if we weren’t months from an election campaign, but we are,” - Justin Trudeau

And so the rights and freedoms of Canadians are knowingly and openly sacrificed to protect the Liberal Party of Canada's standing in the polls.  This has always been the Liberal Party's MO, Trudeau's just the first leader stupid enough to admit it openly. 

Meanwhile the NDP stood on principle and staked out a position that was deeply unpopular in the polls, and benefit now from being there waiting when the Canadian public reached the same conclusion.

That's called leadership, its something voters remember in the polling booth.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The Fraser Institute's Incredible Shrinking Credibility

The American media notices just how much a joke the Fraser Institute is.

Soon it will just be the Calgary Herald left, breathlessly repeating the Fraser Institute's nonsense as if it had any credibility or usefulness.

Well the Calgary Herald is the staggering drooling joke of Canadian print journalism, which considering the embarrassing fish-wrapper competition is very strong in this country is  really saying something. 

It only makes sense that they would be joined at the hip to the most embarrassingly stupid right wing propaganda operation with pretenses to serious political and economic criticism in Canada. Again, a title with a lot of competition but one the Fraser Institute stoops to conquer.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Conflicted about Foothills

#andp
This is hard, I'm conflicted and not happy to be writing this.

Bob Hawkesworth has thrown his hat into the ring for the Foothills by-election to replace Jim Prentice who took his ball and slunk home on election night resigning his seat before the votes that won it for him were even counted.

Bob is a stellar candidate, experienced, skilled and a great potential addition to Alberta's NDP government.  He kept the NDP fires burning in Calgary during some dark years and I'd be glad to see him in government now that the party is in ascendency.

BUT....

He had the chance to run in the general.  He could have put himself out there, back in the startlingly recent days when running as a New Democrat in Calgary was quixotic at best.  He didn't.  Anne Wilson did. 

Anne Wilson is a criminal lawyer specializing in legal aid cases who put her life on hold to make a kamikaze run against the leader of the mighty PC dynasty in Calgary Foothills in order to bring attention to starved social services in Alberta.  While Bob sat the General out, she was campaigning hard against the leader of the PCs.  And ultimately came within a few thousand votes of beating him as the orange wave crushed the Progressive Conservative Party.

Lots of commentators recognize that between the wave, the government's honeymoon and lingering anger at Prentice's punk move on election night Calgary Foothills is an extremely likely pickup for the NDP in the coming by-election.

And now, Bob Hawkesworth has thrown his hat in the ring.

And as much as I like him, as much as I think he'd make a great candidate and a great MLA that offends my sense of justice.

Anne Wilson put herself out there, she knocked on doors and put up signs and committed months of her life to give the NDP a voice in a riding that was an all but guaranteed PC win.  Bob sat the General out, there no shame in that, he's put himself on the line in a lot of elections and won some and lost some, he was in fact the guy who beat Jim Prentice the first time he ever ran for office decades ago. He had every right in the world to take a break from campaigning, maybe he was saving himself for the federal race or had family considerations or just didn't want to expend the energy on an all but guaranteed loss.

But Anne Wilson did.

She put her life on hold she campaigned hard and she came within a few thousand votes of defeating the leader of the PCs in the party's stronghold.

And now Bob Hawkesworth wants to, forgive the hyperbole, swoop in and benefit from the orange wave that Anne Wilson along with all the other NDP candidates helped create in the general.

Once again, Bob is awesome, he's a great guy, he'd make a great candidate, a great MLA and probably with his long experience a great cabinet minister.

But pushing aside the woman who put the work in during the general now that the byelection is a much better bet for an NDP candidate leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A week of big wins for Progressive Americans (But a very bad week is coming for abortion rights)

This was an amazing week of wins for progressive Americans. 

Obamacare has defeated what was probably the last chance to strangle it in its cradle and there's not just no path to kill it now, there's no time left to kill it before it becomes a beloved and untouchable program the way Medicare did.  In a few years the Republicans will be denying they ever opposed it.  Much the same story as their once fierce opposition to Medicare which they will now scramble to promise to support at every opportunity.

A horrifying massacre proved to be the tipping point for one of the most divisive symbols of the culture war right wing media hustlers are trying as hard to stoke as the race war terrorist Dylan Roof was trying to inspire.  Instead he was the catalyst to turn white southerners away from a divisive symbol of the war he was trying to start.

And then the Supreme Court declared once and for all and everywhere in the United States that gay Americans are equal and their love is equal.  A ruling met with public joy and public mockery of those who didn't share that joy.  A massive social transformation in America has brought gay Americans unambiguously into the American family.

Next week the other shoe will drop.

Expect the Supreme Court to savagely restrict the medical choices of American women, possibly just by declining to hear a challenge to a Texas law poised to wipe out abortion access in the state, the trend the last few years of massive growing acceptance for gay Americans has been darkly mirrored by ever decreasing access to abortion for American women, particularly poor and minority women. 

A look at the cases the Supremes have left to rule on and their voting history on abortion restriction cases indicate the right to abortion is in severe and immediate danger.

A week of victories doesn't mean the battle to sustain and expand progressive policies in America is over.

It's never over.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Crazy Train


Words from CEO Hunter Harrison that residents of Wabamum Lake who remember what his tenure meant for safety at CN will be gritting their teeth at.

The culture he presided over was all about speed and cost cutting over safety, ever longer, heavier trains hitting  corners at ever faster speeds with predictably disastrous results.

Followed by arrogant and outrageously exploitive attempts to buy silence from victims with quick cheques and gag orders.

The government needs to accept that the ideological decision to let rail companies self regulate their safety standards was a disastrous mistake and reinstate a vigorous regulatory regime over the industry.

Absent that, all the kabuki shadow play of the hapless Lisa Raitt huffing and puffing is just smoke and mirrors.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Shock Doctrine doesn't work if you wait until the shock has worn off

The 33% who say terrorism is the most important issue facing Canada are the bottom floor hardcore Conservative base plus a handful of weird neo-con Liberals.

C51 preaches exclusively to the choir.  As the details become more widely known even soft Tory swing voters are coming to hate it.  The Conservatives made the classic error that always trips up right wingers, of assuming everyone else will see and respond to events the way they do through what they assume is universal but is in fact an exclusively conservative lens. 

They thought they had one of Naomi Klein's shock treatment moments after a mentally ill man attacked parliament.  He was a drug addled paranoid who just as easily could have been commiting mayhem in the name of fighting alien invaders as jihad.

The Conservatives assumed their visceral response to the event would be shared by all Canadians and maybe it was... For a month or so.  The frustratingly long time line of pushing legislation through parliament even for a majority came up against the rebounding natural skepticism of Canadians who watched aghast as George Bush engaged in similar legislative fuckery after 9/11.

We may be watching what political historians will someday call one of the greatest political miscalculations in Canadian history.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The magic number is 40%

#NDP #ABNDP
 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.

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