Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"They're being mean to me!"

Too used to the obsequious stenographers of the Alberta Sun and Postmedia papers who can be reliably counted on to wipe the drool off his chin and not reveal just how crazy he is.

When they encounter a real journalist who isn't there to protect them they perceive it as an attack because they are used to a comfortable cozy ride from the friendly Alberta press.

Afraid to make the argument

"The inference was that there was no fat to be found in the system and that every penny was being wisely spent. In Tuesday’s budget, every department gets a boost in expenditures." 

The Herald raises a straw man argument here, a claim that of course the government isn't even making but of course the writers don't follow through with their unstated thesis, that the healthcare, education and infrastructure Albertans depend on are bloated, coddled and wasteful rather than falling apart and straining at every seam.

This is not an argument that can survive an encounter with the facts on the ground that their readership knows quite well.

Whenever the usual suspects bleat about how Alberta's social spending is so much higher than other provinces they are always playing the same sleazy little accounting trick of pegging the date range they are making that comparison to AFTER the departure of Klein. Factor the lost decade in and suddenly we are at the bottom of the spending pack.

Cleaning up after an irresponsible vandal is usually expensive.

Monday, October 26, 2015

What to expect

To the rest of Canada, sometime Tuesday afternoon you will hear a ruptured steam-whistle wail with upper register notes of castrated steer coming from the vicinity of Alberta.

Do not be alarmed.

This will merely be the inevitable, carefully rehearsed reaction of the Wildrose, Ezra Levant and the Sun News chain and the owners of the Post Media editorial board to the contents of Alberta's first NDP provincial budget.

Those contents will be uncontroversial, commonsense changes to the tax code, many very similar to the stated plans of the former Progressive Conservative government but with a greater emphasis on shared responsibility and contribution. There will be nods to the stimulant effects of deficit spending on much needed infrastructure projects, a central place for environmental stewardship and support for front line services rather than neglect as they are needed most.

It won't be the communist manifesto. Rachel Notley will not be calling for nationalization, confiscation or declare a worker's paradise. CEOs and oil company executives will not be brought in for public show trials.

Simply a pragmatic progressive budget with pro-growth policies and common sense solutions.

And of course, that's what the shriekers are more afraid of than anything else.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Of course we hated him

Defenders of Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are describing the virulent hatred for their leader and their party that drove them from power as irrational.  On the contrary it was and is utterly rational when somebody clearly hates you to hate them back.

I'm a trade unionist and proud of it so Stephen Harper hates me.  I'm an environmentalist so Stephen Harper hates me.  I have leveled strong criticisms against the behavior of the state of Israel so Stephen Harper hates me.  I'm a leftist who believes in a strong social safety net so Stephen Harper hates me.

And he couldn't even pretend to hide that hatred.  In small ways and large day after day for YEARS he and his government demonstrated scornful, contemptuous hatred in word and deed for me and millions of other Canadians.  He rammed through legislation, violating long standing parliamentary custom in the process, to try to deliver a death blow to the union movement, he used revenue Canada as a personal goon squad to attack civil society groups that criticized him or his government going so far as to label environmentalists as terrorists and foreign funded saboteurs,  on an almost daily basis he and his government made statements expressing utter contempt for any group or individual who stood in the way of the Stephen Harper agenda.

The core Conservative base is maybe 20% to 30% of Canadians, at one point or another Harper or one of the trained attack weasels of his cabinet expressed hatred and contempt through statements or legislative assaults against practically everyone else.  He and his government made it quite clear on multiple occasions that Canadians were divided into two groups; Conservative supporters and enemies, and no one can doubt that Stephen Harper hated his enemies.

So we hated him back, what could possibly be more rational?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Re-writing History only weeks later

Tom Mulcair says he's staying on as NDP leader but it may not be up to him.

There's a concerted attempt to peg the beginning of the NDPs decline in fortunes to the eruption of the Niqab controversy because that's an honorable and incontestable reason for losing, but our numbers started dropping before it erupted and the Liberals held the same position and manifestly did not suffer because of it.

The real turning point began with the absurd 'No deficits' promise when it became clear the NDP was running to the economic right of the Liberals and allowing them to become the real change alternative. I absolutely REFUSE to let that history be elided as the attempt to do so is clearly intended to short-circuit the necessary debate about the NDPs baffling, economically and politically suicidal lurch to the right.

We arrived at the moment where Canadians finally came to us - and didn't find us where they were looking for us.

Learning from Failed Strategies

Newscaster: And we'll be saying a big hello to all intelligent life forms everywhere. And to everyone else out there, the secret is to bang the rocks together, guys. - The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Conservatives engaged in a despicable, pandering campaign of dog-whistle xenophobia specifically against Muslims.  This despite the PQ campaign that tried to do the same thing last year resulting in electoral annihilation.

The NDP decided to run a safe, nonthreatening, centrist campaign where the party completely accepted the neoliberal consensus of austerity and deficit hysteria - this despite the fact Canadian voters were aching for change and that a similar campaign to the right of the liberals by the NDP in Ontario last year was a disaster costing the party multiple seats.

The NDP campaign of 2015 was brilliant... when Tony Blair ran it in 1997.

The NDP ran a campaign on the assumption that voters have completely internalized the conservative framing on spending, austerity, deficits and the whole downward trajectory in public spending of the last several decades and will punish anyone who deviates from it.

But the NDP promised balance budgets and lost more than half their seats, the Liberals promised multiple deficits to finance reinvestment in Canada's infrastructure and won a landslide.

Times have changed.

But political strategists like generals are always fighting the last war.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Ghost of an Empty Suit

Joe Oliver was kept tied and gagged in a gimp suit in the basement at Conservative Party headquarters for the whole election, which was doubly strange since the Conservatives were running on their economic record and he was the Finance Minister.

He was beaten by his Liberal challenger tonight.

He disappeared from the Canadian political scene months ago.

The Politics of Hate are the Politics of Losers

Canada has now seen two major political campaigns that made pandering to xenophobia and racism cornerstones of their strategy.

The shameful PQ campaign last year that saw them utterly annihilated and now the Conservative campaign of 2015 a hateful, despicable campaign of incitement and willful shredding of the social fabric - which as I type this is seeing them swept from power.

By now even the most cynical of political psychopath must now calculate that pandering to Canadians worst instincts is a failing political strategy.

Also shameful, disgraceful and unforgivable.

Friday, October 09, 2015

How dare the NDP trick Albertans by delivering on their promises!

Claiming the NDP lied to Albertans via the cunning trick of telling them the truth.  Its the kind of pretzel logic and cognitive dissonance you could only get from the Wildrose.
Derek Fildebrandt, a Wildrose Party member of the legislature and finance critic, on Friday said he expected the NDP to be a “centre-left” government when it was elected, but that Premier Rachel Notley has turned away from embracing moderation. He cited the government’s decision to increase the minimum wage as an example. The NDP campaigned on a pledge to raise minimum wage. The MLA, however, argued the NDP never planned to follow through on its promises.

“The NDP platform was never intended to ever be implemented. The NDP platform was a hard-core ideological document” that was meant to pull the then-ruling Progressive Conservative Party “in a particular direction,” Mr. Fildebrandt told reporters after Ms. Notley delivered a speech to 1,600 members of Calgary’s business community.

“It was never actually meant to be implemented as real policy.”
Mister Fildebrandt perhaps this is how your party conducts business, making promises and commitments you never intend to keep purely for electoral gain - recent history would certainly back up this view of Wildrose ethics - but don't judge others by your own party's low standards.

Albertans are getting precisely what they voted for no matter how loudly you shriek and stamp your feet, have the class to at least respect the choice of Albertans even if you don't agree with it.

UPDATE:  Yeah, this is the same Derek Fildebrandt who in the aftermath of Southern Alberta's devastating floods argued that flood relief should be privatized.  He called for mandatory, strictly market determined flood insurance for anyone living in a potential flood zone and if the market determines the cost will be too high for some Albertans, too bad, so sad, they just have to lose their homes and land, leaving them to be snapped up by some individual or corporation who CAN pay huge flood insurance rates - basically a massive wealth transfer of land and property UP from the working and middle class to the wealthy and powerful.
"The first step in the creation of any market is to have demand for a product. To start, at-risk property owners should be required to purchase flood insurance. The best way to safeguard against U.S.-style gerrymandering in who must have insurance is to only require insurance for properties that have made claims under the Disaster Recovery Program (DRP). If you’ve made a claim for assistance, you need insurance.

Like automobile insurance, making a product mandatory creates a market where one would otherwise not exist.

Premiums should be determined strictly by actuarial calculations that reflect risk, not political considerations. For some homeowners, premiums that reflect the full risk will be too great to bear."

Thursday, October 08, 2015

If you vote Conservative you are condoning and supporting THIS

Insiders say PMO actively discouraged the department from accepting applications from Shia and Sunni Muslims.

This is from CTV News, hardly known for a traditional hostility to conservatism or this government.
Sources tell CTV News that a temporary halt to the processing of some Syrian refugees was ordered earlier this year to make sure the types favoured by the Prime Minister’s Office were being prioritized.
Department of Citizenship and Immigration insiders told CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife that PMO staff went through the files to ensure that persecuted religious minorities with established communities already in Canada -- ones that Conservative Leader Stephen Harper could court for votes -- were being accepted. Insiders say PMO actively discouraged the department from accepting applications from Shia and Sunni Muslims.
 Roll that around in your mind a little.  Really let that sink in that the Prime Minister of Canada in 2015 actively, deliberately sabotaged the rescue of desperate people of a different faith in order to favour his own coreligionists and to benefit politically.

This is monstrous. And if you can still vote for the government responsible for this and for unforgivable pandering incitement against Muslims that has resulted in multiple vicious assaults across Canada as the hateful take their cue from official bigotry you are a monster too.

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