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 their'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.

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