Friday, October 28, 2011

Wildrose Push Poll?

I got an automated polling call last night and out of curiosity listened to it all the way through.

It very quickly became clear I was probably listening to a Wildrose Party push poll with lots of questions like "If you knew that PC leader Allison Redford supported the Liberal daycare plan of Paul Martin and opposed Stephen Harper's parental credit alternative and hired a campaign managr who didn't pay his debts would you be more or less likely to support her?"

They are going to harp on inneuendo and the vaguely moderate to liberal positions Redford has or had on a small number of issues and try to ride them into the legislature, but as I've said before, I think they over-estimate just how right wing Albertans really are.

Keep harping that she's basically a moderate conservative with some slightly progressive positions on childcare, healthcare and education and they may just cede the whole race to her.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

First lets shoot all the ...nurses?

There are thoughtful and important pieces to be said and written about the state of long term care in this country and the funding decisions by governments hostile to the public service that has brought it to the state it is.  Christie Blatchford's moronic and vicious rant that ignores funding decisions she agrees with while trying to blame everything on health professionals working night and day trying to keep the system working isn't one of them.
By the time I and most of my Boomer cohorts are in need, publicity will have lost its shine entirely, and nothing will work. There will be no get-out-of-jail-card free, period.
I accept that completely. It’s why, where I used to think that before I got really old I’d get me a gun so I could shoot myself, I now wonder if I won’t instead turn the weapon on some officious hospital executive, wanker bureaucrat or brute of a nurse.
That's right, nurses.  The men and mostly women who keep this strained system together, a profession that struggles with one of the highest rates of physical assault on its members of any in the medical field or out of it.  The people who clean bedsores and human waste and perform essential medical care on everyone who needs it.  Blatchford thinks the thanks nurses deserve is warmed over Nurse Ratched stereotypes and threats of physical violence.

Of course she's long established that she despises any public servant other than those in police uniforms, especially when pointy headed politicians are keeping them from administering the beatings some dark skinned scallywag really needs, but threatening violence against nurses?

Hope you don't need to use the healthcare system anytime soon Christie.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Huffington Post came to Canada (But they left the progressive politics at home.)

Like a lot of Canadian progressives I had read and enjoyed Huffington Post as an alternative to the traditional American news sources.  Sure they printed far too many credulous pieces about health fads, dubious diets and the appalling advocacy of certain idiot celebrities for the dangerous and discredited vaccine/autism link but like most of us I still cheered the news of a Canadian version.

Unfortuantely the new Canadian post AOL takeover version of Huffington Post is a very different creature.  Featured bloggers include far right former media overlord and convicted felon Conrad Black, who is given regular pride of place positioning for his self interested rants about being mis-treated by the American Justice system and venomous attacks on his enemies list including Rupert Murdoch.  He's also vigourously protected against any comments critical of his publishing and legal history as I can personally attest after watching my comments critical of Black get spiked after  originally being posted read and 'liked; by multiple readers.

Cranky long time eminince of the Canadian right wing media Peter Worthington gets a column and David Frum gets a column too, a former Bush speech writer and avowed Republican who by American standards is actually a moderate, but cerainly not by Canadian ones.  Lots of articles dismissing the fact that the NDP is Canada's official opposition and continuing the Canadian media's policy of pretending the only two parties that matter are the Tories and the Liberals.

Lots of articles and columns defending the Harper governent in general (certainly also critical ones) and for example a straightforward pr puff piece from an industry shill today promoting the latest PR rhetorical absurdity from the Oil Sands industry 'ethical oil'.

Canadian progressives can be forgiven for being disappointed in the mutant conservative leaning disappointment that Huffington Post Canada turned out to be.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Occupied Agenda

Ok MSM, you sneer that you can't get a coherant specific answer as to what the Occupy Wall Street crowds are protesting.  Here you go guys:

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Upset in Alberta

The party elite was behind Mar.  The other candidates, reluctantly, had decided the wind was blowing his direction and thrown their support to him - though not all their campaign managers could stomach it.

And then Alison Redford was announced winner on the second ballot.

Alberta Liberals want to kill themselves.  Redford will mow whatever of their progressive grass the NDP aren't already.  With both the Tory and Liberal party leaders coming out of the same Tory cabinet, if anything the Alberta Progressive Conservatives are now to the left of the Alberta Liberal Party.

The Wildrose folks are ecstatic and yeah, they might make a few pickups in the ex-urban borderland as a result of this leadership contest, but they over-estimate how conservative Alberta is.  Give voters a fiscally rightish socially moderate option they will flock to it - and may even be getting a little jaundiced about the fiscal side of conservatism too.

What put the stake in Mar, riding a big wave of presumed inevitability?  He was very obviously part of the same long standing old boy's network that has been running Alberta for years while the same urge leading to a surging Wildrose was to 'throw the bums out'.  Redford's mother died with days to go in the campaign which she held up under with visible grace and class.

And Mar in mid-campaign, for reasons best known to himself, re-opened the simmering healthcare privatization debate coming out firmly in favour of further private sector intrusion and the rich being able to buy their way to the front of the healthcare line.

Its like political Tourette's for these people.  Even when the public has consistently, year after year made it crystal clear that we want healthcare to stay publicly run and universal, even though by large margins we do not trust PCs with the healthcare file and will be suspicious of any meddling in it by them, even though Klein's dogged pursuit of the libertarian right holy goal of selling out Alberta's health to the insurance industry had more to do with his ouster than Tories admitted then or will admit now, Mar still decided to signal that he wanted to re-open the whole mess again.

Even far right candidate Ted Morton, unconvincingly trying to re-invent himself as a cuddly social moderate, condemned Mar's remarks and swore to keep his own grubby paws of healthcare given the chance to do so.

Redford did too, but quite a bit more convincingly.

The resurgence of the progressive strain in the Progressive Conservatives is actually a return to glory days under Lougheed, when the PCs were the progressive alternative to the far right and calcified Social Credit government.  The Socreds had been ruling about as long as the PCs have now.

Alberta's PC's feel the rumblings that build up under any long standing government.  In most provinces that discontent lets parties rule for just a few terms though the trend has been lengthening.  In Alberta due to careful gerrymandering the rural ridings have an engineered electoral dominance over the majority of the population and governments usually last four or five decades.

We basically have one party rule like China or North Korea.  Elections of the leader of the PC Party are far more important than provincial elections here. Politburo democracy.

Historically, the time is almost up for the Progressive Conservatives, if they had gone to the right they might have neutralized or at least minimized the damage of the Wild Rose Party, but the year long hell of the emergency room crisis culminating in a former Tory cabinet member becoming leader of the Liberal Party spooked them badly about the much larger if less noisy fiscal conservative/social moderate vote.

Redford was probably their best, most realistic chance at party renewal.  Her comforting soft progressivism will prove much more illusory than it sounds and Alberta will continue sleepwalking though the years in its strange blue dream.

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