Saturday, September 13, 2008

Harper: Canadians becoming Conservative

Stephen Harper has declared that you and I (Canadians in general) are becoming more conservative.

The first thing I wanted to see were examples. I wanted to see if he meant social conservative or financial conservative.

I know we aren't getting to be more socially conservative, what with our attitudes toward abortion, birth control, decreasing church attendance and everything else. Fortunately, this was not his thesis. He was arguing that Canadians are more amenable to financial conservatives ideas.

Such as?

"On Saturday, Harper said the fiscal prudence he advocated as a young member of the Reform Party in the late 1980s has now become conventional wisdom."

That's interesting. While I understand that the word "conservative" implies balanced budgets, all the Conservative, or Progressive Conservative, governing that I have seen involved deficits. Mike Harris, Ernie Eves, Brian Mulroney. I'm only in my 30s though, so maybe there were other Conservative governments which I don't remember.

In the G&M article, "free trade ... and spending restraint" are also mentioned. Is there really that much support for "free trade"? You have to remember that most Canadians did not support NAFTA. I don't think most of us like it even now. It was just the wealthy political types and the journalists and their media masters who loved it so much.

As for spending restraint, good luck with that Mr. Harper. You just barely restrained your government from going in to annual deficit, and that by cancelling that icebreaker and those "much needed" supply ships for the military. I believe that it was the month of May 2008 that showed the first deficit in years. How did your philosophy of "spending restraint" bring us down from surpluses so quickly?

No, I don't think Canadians are becoming more conservative, in the financial or social sense. It was the Liberal side of things that balanced the budget. The only reason you're ahead, Mr. Harper, is Stephane Dion's lack of charisma.

Recommend this PostProgressive Bloggers

Freedom of Speech and Religion

Freedom of speech is so important and so is freedom of religion.

I'm not just saying this because I want the freedom to not-believe in any religion. I'm also saying it for the Westboro Baptists and other fanatics of the world. Please, by all means, show us your hatred filled, dark, fanatical hearts and so we can see you for you are. Let us see the racists, the bigots, even the holocaust deniers, right out in the open where we can see them.

It's only the bright light of day that can scatter the cockroaches.

So I cling to that inalienable truth: let every person have freedom of speech. If the idea is putrid, then it will go to its death ever more quickly by its exposure.

On another note, if religious people didn't feel free to speak their minds, we wouldn't get to see things like the following either, and that would be sad. Because nothing makes religion silly like silly people following it.

"He's like a Mountie, he always gets his man."

Recommend this PostProgressive Bloggers

Friday, September 12, 2008

Serious Things Shouldn't Make Me Giggle

But this did:

Venezuela ejects U.S. Ambassador

It's really not a laughing matter, but it still made me smile. I wish my government had this kind of courage. For example, when Maher Arar was being held in Syria, being tortured, and the U.S. government was refusing to cooperate in returning him. That would have been a good time to send the U.S. Ambassador for a walk (I think it was Paul Celucci at the time).

My favourite part of the article:
Chavez accused the group of current and former military officers of trying to assassinate him and topple the government with support from the United States. He didn't offer evidence. U.S. officials have repeatedly denied Chavez's accusations that Washington has backed plots against him.

He doesn't need to provide evidence. The fact that the Bush Adminstration instantly supported the military coup, before it became news, is more than enough evidence that they don't support democracy in Venezuela.

The evidence is out there for everyone to see.

Still ... "Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has announced that the U.S. ambassador has 72 hours to leave Venezuela" ...

Recommend this PostProgressive Bloggers

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Who is David H. Wilkins?

Oh, he's the ambassador to Canada from the United States. That's explains this nonsense that only the National Post would print. (My blood pressure was a bit low and I needed something annoying to bring it back up).

Where else would you get the notion that freedom is on the march? No, I'm not kidding. He actually wrote that "freedom is on the march and Al Qaeda is badly diminished."

Who is this guy kidding? His entire article is nothing but lies and distortion.

In reference to Iraq
Even the most vociferous opponents of the surge are now forced to admit the success of the surge strategy.

Sorry. I can't believe that I'm the most vociferous opponent you have, but I don't admit to the success of the surge. The Anbar awakening that is often touted as evidence of success occurred before the surge. Has there been a sudden drop off in violence since the surge? No. Are American soldiers dying less? No.

Welcome to Canada. We may not like our media, but at least they aren't cheerleaders for the government. That means we hear things that Americans don't, like the fact that Al Qaeda is recruiting like crazy ever since the Afghan and Iraq wars started. I think that tidbit comes from "U.S. officials" who tell us, in the same article, that Al Qaeda is strong in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The same article tells us, "...nine American soldiers were killed at a remote base in Kunar province Sunday in the deadliest attack in several years."

Yeah. Sounds like the war on terror is an unparalleled success.

Look Mr. Wilkins. I realize you're not allowed to say anything contrary to the Bush Administration's desires. But you're in Canada now. If you
a) keep up with the "freedom is on march" nonsense while you hold one of our citizens in your torture jail.
b) try to tell us "al-Qaeda [is] badly diminished" when we see more and more death in Afghanistan.
c) tell us that America has a "commitment to freedom for the Afghan people" while we die on the route of a natural gas pipeline.

Then you should expect us to laugh at you and dismiss as one of George Bush's jingoistic liars.

Recommend this PostProgressive Bloggers

9/11 Truthers Again and Again

You've all heard about the 9/11 "Truth" movement by now. It's very sad that these people have hijacked the word "Truth". There are lots of things that could be learned from a proper investigation of the events of September 11. There are a lot of lies that the Bush Administration has told to cover up their own incompetence.

But if you use the term "truth" in reference to 9/11, you are automatically grouped in with these government conspiracy people.

The official story is believable enough. The heat from the fires, while not enough to melt steel cross-beams, was more than enough to weaken them and cause them to bend. Their mass pulled them away from the walls of the buildings and caused the towers to collapse, pancaking one floor at a time, accelerating due to gravity as they fell.

You don't need to plant explosives to bring down the towers.

I'm not going to argue that George Bush, Dick Cheney and the nefarious powers that wanted an excuse to get their Empire on wouldn't kill 3000 of "their own people" to make profit in power and money. They've killed more than 3000 of "their own people" in Iraq already (never mind hundreds of thousands of Iraqis). The same group of people killed tens of thousands of their own in Vietnam and millions of Vietnamese.

It's not that they wouldn't. It's that they aren't bright enough to pull it off. They're simply too incompetent to keep a secret like this. Do you remember when Bush told his officials that he was tired of anonymous sources leaking information to the press? That scolding was delivered to the press the next day by an anonymous source. Secrets these people do not keep well.

On top of that we have to consider the proposal that bombs were placed in the towers. If, somehow, the Bush administration actually had the skill to place those bombs - and retainers loyal enough to commit such a horrific deed - why bother with the airplanes? Of what possible benefit would that be? Terrorists had already tried to bomb the towers. Why wouldn't they just do that again, but with bigger bombs. The bombs, assuming they had existed, could have been set off without the inconvenience and (more imporantly, to a Bushie) economic damage of messing up the airline industry. It would have had nearly the same terrorizing effect without the airplanes, so why bother with the complexity?

There are two major reasons 9/11 happened. The first is religious fanaticism coupled with abhorrence of the foreign policy of the United States. The abrasiveness of the latter is too complicated to go in to here, but suffice it to say the United States has treated a lot of people very poorly in its quest for oil dominance and cheap labour. Iraq is only the latest example. The religious fundamentalists, this time of the Islamic variety, are taught that dying in service to their god is the greatest deed that they can accomplish. This naive belief, brought on by religious indoctrination, was the chief cause of 9/11.

However, they needed help. I don't mean that the government of the United States helped them intentionally. Far from it. The Bush Administration assisted the jihadis through sheer incompetence. Their policy of simply not-doing-what-Clinton-did led them to ignore all of the warnings of terrorist activity. Their policy of being concerned only with elections and not with governing allowed the terrorist plan to succeed.

The government wasn't "in on it". They just performed very, very poorly.

No conspiracy was needed.

Stupidity, in religious dogma and government incompetence, explains everything just fine.

Recommend this PostProgressive Bloggers

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Barber Wants the NDP to Go Away

John Barber's latest thoughts on the NDP

It's a long article, but there's no need to read the whole thing (not that I'm stopping you or anything). The crux of it is this.

NDP perversity revealed itself nakedly in the last election, which brought an enormous tranche of Tories to power as a result of ruinous left-wing vote splits.

Yep. Those damn third parties! Why don't they understand that the world needs a two-party system just like in the United States! All these extra parties are only distracting us from picking the lesser of two evils.

I don't care for Harper. I think a Harper majority would be a disaster for Canadians - and I don't even have any daughters. But I've looked at the Liberal history and you know what? I'm not proud of how they handled Arar. I'm not happy with the giant surpluses the federal government had while people wait six months for MRIs. I'm not happy with our lack of action in the Liberal years on the automobile mileage and pollution limits. I'm not happy with the minimum wage or the way we handled drug abuse, homelessness or the cost of education.

We can't permit the Liberal Party to hold us hostage simply because the Conservatives would be worse. The NDP should exist and should be there, hopping around on its left leg. If Dion and the rest of his bunch want to knock the NDP down, then look at the NDP platform. If the Liberals really give a damn about keeping the Conservatives out of power, then they should kick the left leg out from under Jack Layton and declare proper left-leaning planks in their platform.

But don't go blaming the NDP for existing and offering what the voters want. The voters know exactly what they're doing. They're voting their consciences. They're voting NDP even though they know that it might let a Conservative in. You know why? Because they don't believe that the Liberal Party will do them any better than the Conservatives. There is no guarantee that, denied a way to cast an NDP vote, an NDP voter will vote Liberal. It's just not that simple.

The voters are consistently teaching the Liberals a lesson. That lesson is: do what we want or we won't vote for you; we will vote for the candidate and the party that represents what we want; learn what we want and offer us that.

Until the Liberal party learns that lesson, they deserve everything they get - or don't get.

Recommend this PostProgressive Bloggers

Conservative Defecations

Was the puffin pooping on Dion really a surprise?

Do you have any right to be surprised?

When an organization, from the top down, is dedicated to a certain philosophy, there should be no surprise when that philosophy percolates all the way down to the front lines and back up again. When the Conservative leaders decided to go negative from the beginning of the campaign it became a race, a challenge, to see who could trash Dion the best.

Sure you could make gambling ads. Sure you could show that silly arms-wide-open photograph of Dion over and over again. You could even lie about Dion wanting to cancel the child benefit. The more it was done, the more adulation was heaped on the doers, the further it went.

Eventually, someone makes an ad of a bird defecating on your political opponent. Don't pretend you're surprised. That's exactly what you meant, exactly what you wanted. It just turns out that your black, black heart doesn't look nice in the light of day.

And yet ...

If I were to make an ad about the Conservatives ...

Minister Gordon O'Connor, former Minister of Defence, who gave orders to turn prisoners over to be tortured by others. If that's not taking a giant dump on our national honour, I don't know what is.

How about having a Prime Minister who sends the message to international conferences that tells everyone that we won't really be doing anything about global warming. That's gotta leave skid marks on the Maple Leaf and bars.

And there's always the way Harper scolded McKay for suggesting that we would continue talking diplomatically with the new democratically elected government of Palestine, working to find peace in the region. No, the right answer, Mr. McKay, is to tow the American line before the Americans even towed it. Isolate the democratically elected leaders because we didn't like what the people chose and support the corrupt Fatah party the people had rejected instead.

Yeah. It's a wonder you can see the red or white through the shit these people have spread on our flag.

It's going to take several years to rinse it clean. We had better get started now.

Recommend this PostProgressive Bloggers

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Burn, Baby, Burn!

There's no need to worry about the environment. There's no need to let the free market actually work or anything.


Conservative Leader Stephen Harper unveiled his first pledge -- to halve federal excises taxes on diesel and aviation fuel within four years

Bloomberg says that we're talking about something like $600M in tax revenues the federal government is giving in order to encourage the use of fossil fuels.

I know you're the party of Alberta but does it really make sense, right when people are finally realizing that fossil fuels are a limited and polluting resource, right when people are seriously considering efficiency, conservation and alternatives in their everyday lives, to offer legislation that will set us back and discourage all the positive outcomes of high oil prices?

There's also this thing called the free market. I know the Conservatives only pay it lip service, otherwise they wouldn't be pledging money to reopen a failed auto plant in a disputed riding of Windsor, but doesn't it make sense to leave taxes where there are and let the free market teach us which fuels to use.

If you want to spend money, try putting it in to trains. They're cheap, fast and safe. There's already a national network from which to build.

But there's no money in trains, is there? There are no train voters, are there? No. It would just be the right, sensible thing to do, and we can't have that.

Recommend this PostProgressive Bloggers

Harper and the Nothing

Did you ever read "The Neverending Story"? You could have watched the movie. It was almost 10% as good as the book.

The enemy in the book was "Nothing". It was eating up all of "Fantastica" (or "Fantasia", if you must) with its utter non-being.

Apparently, the same thing has happened to the Conservative campaign. They've already cut taxes and increased military spending so much that they are running in to deficit and had to curtail the purchase of a new arctic icebreaker and new supply ships for the military.

So what is there to campaign on now? They certainly don't want to talk about those abortion bills that they were slipping in to Parliament. The last thing they want is to let on that big social conservative changes are coming when they get a majority. Neither will they discuss how their self-inspection philosophy led to the deaths of 13 people.

So what can they do?

Well, they can make attack ads about Dion not knowing the English term "car pool". Or they could pretend that the green tax shift is actually a tax increase instead of a shift from income tax to pollution tax. They can make all kinds of attack ads.

But apparently the media aren't going for it ... even in the early morning grogginess of a 6a.m. news conference.
... Conservative MPs Jason Kenney and Lawrence Cannon faced a series of tough questions.
The pair made no substantive policy announcements, instead targeting Dion and his platform.

If I may be so bold as to make a prophecy.

We will continue to see no substantive policy announcements with a darkening cloud of listeria scandal coming in over the next few days. The listeria scandal will settle in to a low pressure zone directly over Conservative Campaign Headquarters. Expect continued caterwalling and negativity and other distracting trickery through the next few weeks as their poll numbers drop and Canadians realize how empty the Conservatives truly are.

The long rage forecast includes a foaming at the mouth tirade from John Baird and a degree of bitterness among social conservatives as they realize how they've been used.

(h/t to Steele on the quote)

Recommend this PostProgressive Bloggers

Monday, September 08, 2008

Listeria: the Deregulating Policy of Death

I don't see why anyone should pussyfoot around this issue.

The Conservative policy for food inspections is deregulation and self-inspection. The Conservative policy is to save tax dollars and trust the free market to correct cheaters.

Of course, when cheating kills people and takes 70-90 days to detect, the free market is only going to correct the situation only after a lot of people have died.

So far, 13 people have died because of a deregulated meat inspection regime.

Why should anyone pussyfoot around this issue? This is Conservative philosophy failing us. This is the exact reason that we oppose the Conservative party - because their policies of deregulation are mortally dangerous to actual human beings.

It is not manipulating a tragedy to point out where the blame lies and make sure the same people don't get more opportunities. If we don't stop the Conservatives, especially if they get a majority, you can look for more and more death and destruction of their mindless policy of deregulation, self-policing and privatization. You can look for more people taking profit at the expense of Canadian citizens.

And don't let them wiggle out of it, like that Ottawa Citizen article today that tried to blame the contamination of Canadian made products, sold to Canadians, on globalization.

There is no wiggle room. Call these people on their nonsense and keep them out of government.

Recommend this PostProgressive Bloggers

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Harper: Standing up for Nothing

Yet another of these election ads. Can I call them "election ads" now? Now that the Governor-General has violated the law to which she assented and allowed Mr. Harper to call an illegal election?

Yes, let's call them election ads now, especially this one about how "Canada has to stand for something".

Harper says:

"We're trying to do something a little different on the world stage. First of all, we're trying to have real capabilities. But not just military capabilities. But the ability to contribute meaningfully to global security and humanitarian development.

There has been a view in the past among some previous governments that Canada's role in the world has been to go along to get along.

We believe this country has to stand for something."

Nice. Meaningless, of course. It's amazing that his speech writers have managed to isolate rhetoric and completely free it of context or policy.

What are we supposed to get from this? Stephen Harper is different. Stephen Harper wants to contribute. Oh, global security, humanitarian development! Wow! He's not just going to "go along", he's going to stand for something.

And ...

And ...

Oh, and the ad ends there without telling us what he stands for.

The thing is, Canada already has real capabilities on the international stage. We've been recognized for decades as an honest, diplomatic broker. We invented peacekeeping. We already stand for a few things: international law; morality in foreign policy; opposition to torture (at least until Gordon O'Connor started handing over prisoners to be tortured).

What we don't have is the giant cluster-bombing, depleted uranium spreading, aircraft carrying, army of world domination that can be used to force other people in to doing things they don't want to do. And the Conservative party hates that. They want to be back in World War I or II, when Canada had a relatively large military presence - and enemies to go with it.

Is the viewer of this ad supposed to be stupid? Is the viewer supposed to honestly believe that line, "But not just military capabilities" that he threw in there? How can you not be talking about military capabilities when your first example of "capabilities" is "global security"? Believe it or not, we are all already aware that Harper's definition of "global security" is to fight alongside the Americans in whatever resource thieving war they're in this week while using "terrorism" as an excuse.

At last we have to throw in an insult against those pathetic, naive Canadians who still believe in peacekeeping. Yes, let us speak of the gullible majority that thinks peace should be tried relentlessly before acquiescing to war. The veiled accusation here is that peace loving Canadians, the ones who search for diplomatic ways to avoid war, only ever really avoid war by surrendering and appeasing with their habit of "go along to get along". In reality, "go along to get along" is the mantra of the Harper government: go along with the foreign policy of the United States in order to get along with the United States and grab a small piece of the pie. And you can forget morality while you're going along.

So what does Stephen Harper actually stand for? He doesn't stand for any of the things that Canadians stand for. He stands for having a former general and former lobbyist, Gordon O'Connor, as a Minister of Defence. He stands for greed and politics and the collection of personal power.

It turns out consequently that Harper stands for nothing at all. And if we let him have a majority government, we won't stand for anything either.

Recommend this PostProgressive Bloggers