Showing posts from September, 2008

The Bush Doggsy Twins

This is then premier Howard the Australian Bush lapdog together with his Canadian soulmate Stephen Harper his Canadian twin. This is from the Sidney Morning Herald. We now know that a former Harper speech writer, fellow of the Fraser Institute, and fellow right wing campaigner who was working in the present election was the actual plagiarist. Harper would have come up with the same substance anyway even if he wrote his own speech.

Fraser Institute Fellow and Conservative Campaigner responsible for plagiarism.

Owen Lippert a senior fellow of the Fraser institute, a former member of the Globe and Mail editorial board, and also a person who taught at Carelton and UBC thinks it is OK to just copy out Howard's speech in big gobs and pass it over to Harper without telling him. Well I guess my earlier post about the Running Dogs of Bush software company was not quite right. The actual process was that the Running Dog software company first produced the speech for Howard. Harper was such an insignificant entity at that time as Leader of the Canadian Alliance that no speech was produced by the company for him. Harper's flunky Owen Lippert plagiarised the speech as delivered by Howard rather than receiving it from the Running Dogs of Bush company. Lippert did at least realise that the speech was a great speech for any running dog of Bush. Of course now Harper is a bona fide member of the Running Dogs of Bush group and so he will get any future speeches directly. Howard of course has lost his…

Seat Projections as of Sept. 28 (Democratic Space)

These are the seat projections and percentage of popular vote (in parentheses) from Democratic Space Sept. 28. The Conservatives are drifting away a bit from the majority of 155 seats.

Conservatives 140 (36.7)

Liberals 82 (24.5)

NDP 35 (19.6)

Bloc 49 (9.4)

Green 0 (8.9)

Other 2 (1.0)

The actual source of Harper's plagiarised speech

As many articles including this one in the Star note the speech of John Howard and Harper supporting the sending of troops to help out Bush in Iraq are quite similar and in some places word for word the same. However the real source of the speech was the Running Dogs of Bush software company that produced speeches of this sort on demand using terms and syntax that were vetted beforehand by the Bush administration. The company is still active. Probably much of the official pap on Afghanistan by Canadian officials is produced by the same company! Some of the most well known speeches of Tony Blair were produced by the company.

The importance of this plagiarism is not that it repeats what Howard said but that it is symptomatic of Harper's wish to become a running dog of US imperialism to use old Maoist phraseology. He admires the U.S. and hates welfare state Canada and has often said as much noting that he is inspired by the US conservative movement. Here are a couple of sample quotes…

Harper plays the piano and art lovers.

This is from the Globe and Mail.

While this is a progressive policy nevertheless it is also a transparent attempt to buy some art supporters votes and undo some of the damage his earlier remarks on the arts may have done.
'This is just one of many promises used to buy votes and get a majority so he won't have to be worried about what anyone thinks and can get on with his real agenda. Remember his income trust taxation promise, his promise not to manipulate election timing by passing the fixed election date law? I am sure you have your own favorite. And this guy is the most trusted of all the leaders. Of course, everyone knows he can be trusted to break his promises. Or a better explanaton is that we can trust him to successfully dupe a lot of people.

Harper offers tax credit for children's arts programs
With a report from The Canadian Press
September 30, 2008
OTTAWA -- Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is targeting families - and hoping to ass…

Spoof on US Presidential debate

This is from Dennis Perrin's blog. Maybe someone can do something the same for the Canadian English debate on Thursday. Perrin has written jokes for Bill Maher and others and has written several books as well, including Savage Mules about the Democrats and endless war. If Obama is elected he can write a sequel as Obama is planning to increase the size of the US military as well as increase the US presence in Afghanistan. Obama of course is the great agent of change in the US.

How Lucky We Are
JIM LEHRER: Good evening. I'm Jim Lehrer. LEHRER: You may remember me from an earlier age of TV journalism, when we transmitted official lies and propaganda to our educated audience in a very calm, reassuring way. When oil companies weren't afraid to openly finance our efforts. Well, those days are gone now, lost amid all the shouting, sound effects, visual wipes, incomplete sentences, and the general hullaballoo that makes my aging brain hurt. Dear God how it hurts. Some days I want to…

Ottawa offices of US Defence Dept. Agency ransacked and torched.

This is from the Ottawa Sun.
This happened back on Sept. 15 but it seems it is not very newsworthy. If the attack was meant to embarass the government for lax security it doesn't seem to have worked because there is also lax reporting! The aim may have been commercial espionage but it also could be some radical group doing research! Interesting that the Dept of Foreign Affairs finds real estate for this US military procurement agency. All part of our military-industrial complex tie in with the government no doubt.

September 27, 2008
Arson at U.S. agency
Police investigating after Bank St. offices of U.S. Defense Department agency ransacked and torched
Windows at this Bank St. building have been boarded up since last week, when an arsonist set fire to some offices leased by a U.S. military procurement agency. (Della Rollins/special to Sun Media)
The U.S. State Department is investigating whether national security was threatened after s…

New Ekos polls shows Conservative decline Liberals up.

This is from wikipedia. The poll was taken just yesterday Sep. 28.The site also contains other recent polls. Some recent polls show a considerable decline from the high of 40 in a few polls a while back for the Conservatives. In spite of my disdain for the Liberals I am heartened by the switch back into minority territory for the Conservatives but then it isn't over yet. Myself I couldn't stomach voting for the Liberals to stop Harper but then I can understand that those with stronger stomachs might do so. I would be happy enough to see Dion do relatively well and sabotage those saboteurs within his own party.

Conservatives 34

Liberals 26

NDP 20

Green 10

Bloc 10

Dion says Liberals are in the middle..

The Liberals are in the middle of a disastrous campaign that is for certain. I gather from what Dion says he is in favor of the Conservative tax cuts for business. He has a point that taxing businesses may marginally effect the creation of jobs but it depends upon the details of the situation. But unless the government socialises more productive enterprises raising taxes will tend to put Canada at a disadvantage to some extent in competition with countries that have lower tax rates. However, other countries are in great need of our energy and mineral resources. As these become scarcer investors will invest high taxes or not. We have other advantages as well such as political stability. But as long as government does not take over productive enterprises government must depend upon taxation to pay for services and the profits of enterprises will be distributed to shareholders. What a strange situation we have when a party is called socialist but never seems to bother campaigning on so…

Walkom: A Little Problem with Capitalism

A little problem with capitalism. This is from the Star. This is an interesting brief history of capitalism in developed capitalist countries in the west. However as Walkom notes the welfare state has been to a considerable extent dismantled although the degree to which this is true varies from country to country. Many welfare state reforms such as universal health care were never even developed in the U.S. The union movement as Walkom also notes has been very much weakened. It is not at all clear where the people power is going to come from that will be able to force a better bargain. For the short term at least the power seems to be all with capital.
Unless the people decide to take social ownership in some form of the means of production they will always be at the mercy of capital since the engine of a capitalist economy is capitalist profit. Yet the issue of ownership of the means of production does not even register as far as political discussion is concerned. Even the NDP says…

Alberta bitter about Harper's bitumen remarks.

Seems Albertans would like Harper to keep his sticky hands off bitumen that Alberta owns. Harper wanted to emphasize the importance of having more value added production in Alberta. Stelmach in an earlier Conservative campaign wanted to not export the bitumen period but to upgrade it in Alberta to produce more value added production within the province. But Harper cannot go that way because the U.S. is already a big importer of bitumen and planning to import more so that is why he comes out with the meaningless prohibition. The US emission standards are at least as good if not better than Canada's so there will be no problem. This is a good example of the careful sleazy nothingness manufactured in the Conservative strategy rooms.This is from the Edmonton Sun.

September 28, 2008
Bitumen talk stirs pot
Alberta Tories not sure where Harper's coming from
The last guy who occupied the big office on the third floor of the sandstone castle called a similar touc…

Flaherty: Manitoba is the second-last place to invest after Ontario

I am sure that when an investor decides to invest anywhere they look at more than the marginal effective tax rates. They will look at things such as labor costs, infrastructure required for their business and in the case of investing in certain areas such as mining or oil they will look at what natural resources are available. There is quite a bit of investment in oil in the southwest of the province at present and that is because there is likely more oil. The mines in the north were developed because of the minerals and happened in spite of the marginal tax rates. All you could say is if everything else were equal which is unlikely then an investor would be marginally better off investing in other provinces than Manitoba and Ontario.
Apparently it is OK for Flaherty to discourage investment in Ontario and Manitoba since neither has a Conservative government. It is wrong for Dion however to suggest Canada might have a recession under the Conservatives! This is from the National Post…

New Philippine National Police Chief

This editorial is rather an exception for this newspaper Malaya. Most of the time editorials concentrate on criticising the Arroyo government and sometimes the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) as well. Opinion polls show that PNP is not all that well regarded by many Filipinos nor are the AFP but this editorial seems to give the departing police chief some credit for doing a good job. As the article notes too the transition seems to have taken place without any plotting in the background!

Well done, Mr. Razon
‘Well done, Mr. Razon. And welcome Mr. Verzosa.’
PNP chief Avelino Razon is turning over the baton today to Jesus Verzosa without fuss. Just the usual turnover ceremonies to be presided by Gloria Arroyo immediately after her arrival from a week-long visit to the United States. No controversies. That’s how changes of command ought to be. Chiefs come and go; the institution carries on.
A similar thing happened when Alexander Yano became AFP chief of staff. No attempts by …

Conservatives close to a Majority.

This poll shows that the Conservatives are very close to if not at majority status although given that the Bloc seems to be approving in Quebec perhaps seat projections would show they are still not quite there. Unfortunately there are no projections made in this article. The most significant change is the rise in the NDP to tie with the Liberals on their way down. This article is from the Star.

The situation is a bit of a dilemma for those wanting to stop Harper by strategic voting. In prior elections the NDP vote tended to collapse and migrate to the Liberals. Perhaps this time the trend in many constituencies could be for the Liberal vote to migrate to the NDP. The Conservatives could very well win another minority with a much reduced Liberal contingent but a larger NDP group in opposition. The Bloc too seems to be recovering. This might not be a bad outcome but then if Harper keeps to his view that he will govern anyway as if he has a majority there could be another election aga…

Harper wants to be elected dictator..

Of course his words for this are that he wants a stronger mandate and that one should fear a weak government. What we need is a majority government--a word that Harper does not use in order not to make his agenda transparent. Even though Harper was successfull in bullying the Liberals to pass Tory legislation Harper would rather not have to bother having to face any sort of potentially effective opposition. In order to pass Tory legislation they might also need to compromise and spend more on social programs. With our economy soon to decline Harper will be able to cut social spending in the name of prudent fiscal policy. This is from the Globe and Mail.

Each day, almost, Mr. Harper is strengthening the language he uses in asking for a majority government to manage the economy – although he carefully avoids ever using the term.
Conservatives have in the past expressed fears that the public starts to turn away when they near majority-level support, and Mr. Harper appears to still feel m…

Lawyer: Cutting house arrest a costly proposition.

Harper does not worry about money if it will buy votes. The point is not that his scheme will be more expensive and no doubt ineffective but that it will garner some votes and please some of his core constituents that may bring in more money to the party. The general taxpayer has to foot the bill but if this helps Harper get elected he could care less.

Cutting house arrest a costly proposition: lawyer
Last Updated: Friday, September 26, 2008 11:11 AM CT
CBC News
The Conservatives' campaign promise to get rid of conditional house arrest sentences for about 30 crimes would be expensive, a group of Manitoba defence lawyers says.
If the Tories are re-elected Oct. 14, leader Stephen Harper says they will end the use of house arrest sentences for property crimes, weapons offences, serious vehicular crimes, as well as drug trafficking, kidnapping and trafficking in people.
But house arrest is for low risk offenders and it saves the government millions of dollars, said Mark Wasyliw, spokesman …

Tories would limit oilsand exports (bitumen) to green countries.

This is from Canadaès cllimate change plans are hardly tough. I imagine the U.S. need not worry about being not able to import bitumen! The article does not bother to mention which countries might be banned from buying the bitumen. Perhaps China, but then surely China would rather buy the oil. I wonder how many countries actually import the bitumen.
There is one good piece of news though and that is that the Conservatives reaffirm that Canada is not required to export bulk water under NAFTA. However, if the Conservatives allow any province to do so this would then require further exports of water or there would be a complaint laid against Canada under the NAFTA provisions.

Tories would limit oilsand exports to green countries

Andrew Mayeda
Canwest News Service
Friday, September 26, 2008
CALGARY - Countries without climate-change plans as tough as Canada's would not be allowed to reap the benefits of the oilsands under a Conservative government, Stephen Harper announced …

Maybe some Liberals are more interested in getting rid of Dion than Harper.

A recent article in the Globe notes that the Liberals are already musing about a new leader and are accepting a disastrous outcome of this election. So instead of rallying behind the leader and doing their level best they are already looking toward the future. This seems the height of stupidity and a betrayal both of Dion and the Liberal party. Dion may very well fool everyone especially if Harper makes some serious mistakes in his campaign. There is still a long way to go in this campaign. People have low expectations of Dion so if he improves even a little this might help him quite a bit.

UK commander: Afghan mission up to 15 years or so.

According an article in the Independent the commander of British forces in Afghanistan says that 4,000 troops will be needed and the mission will last up to 15 years or so! After that surely the occupiers will be so worn out and have so many troubles at home that they will withdraw as the Soviets did!

Harper supports ban on fees for some text messages.

According to Bloomberg:

Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he'll allow telecommunications regulators to ban fees for unsolicited text messages on mobile phones, saying the charges are unfair.
``We are obviously responding to a specific concern, which is the imposition of charges for unsolicited text messages,'' Harper told reporters today in Victoria, British Columbia. ``We think this is completely unfair to consumers; completely unwarranted.''

Of course clients would much prefer free text messaging whether solicited or not as apparently happens in some other countries. Harper is proposing the basic minimal restriction on fees for texting.

Latest Democratic Space Seat Projections Federal Election

This is from Sept. 23. More detailed projections for provinces and ridings are available at the Democratic Space site. The Conservatives need 155 for a majority so they are still short of that but the Liberals do not seem to be closing the gap at all.

Conservatives 144 (37.5)

Liberals 83 (24.7)

NDP 31 (18.1)

Green 0 (9.9)

Bloc 48 (8.8)

Other 2 (1.0)

US financial turmoil and Canadian election

This is from the Canadian Press. It remains to be seen whether the worries about the Canadian economy will hurt Harper. There is a tendency among opposition groups to blame a bad economy on the bad old Tory government. Some problems are no doubt caused by the Federal government but many problems are beyond government control, for example the financial crisis in the U.S. The Liberals might have done no better and perhaps the Conservative ads that emphasize that you cannot trust Dion programmes may gain some traction with the public. On the Green Shift Dion has modified it considerably to make it more palatable to some groups and the Conservatives unfairly portray as just a tax grab and ignore the offsetting tax cuts.

U.S. financial turmoil hits Canadian campaign trail
1 hour ago
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper faces growing worries about the economy as the financial crisis south of the border continues to unfold.
Opposition leaders were expected to use the economic unease to hammer…

Harper says he would respect provicincial jurisdiction

This is from the Star. Respecting provinces jurisdictions is one thing jettisoning agreements such as that the Liberals had negotiated with the provinces is another thing. We can expect further weakening of medicare under Harper and with the CMA pushing for more private involvement we can expect that more and more of our health care funding will come directly out of our own wallets. This is fine for the rich but sickening for those with empty wallets. Of course Harper is playing this tune because it resonates with Quebec nationalists as well as other provincial rights groups.
The get tough on polluters policy sounds sound enough.

Harper says he'd respect provinces' jurisdiction - Federal Election - Harper says he'd respect provinces' jurisdiction
Tories would raise fines and streamline laws to protect environment
September 25, 2008 Les WhittingtonOttawa Bureau
VANCOUVER–Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he has no intention if re-elected of taking bold steps…

The Conservative crime craze..

Being tough on crime is always an easy sell especially when it goes against all the evidence collected by those ivory tower criminal law soft on crime creeps that people love to hate. So even though the evidence is on the whole against harsher sentences for youth crimes deterring crime and even though the evidence may be that youth crime is not actually increasing this is not relevant. What is relevant is the votes to be snagged by being harder on crime. In fact the Conservatives will introduce more crime legislation and even make it a confidence matter if there should be a Conservative minority government. The Conservatives would love an election based upon who is hardest on criminals! Here is a Globe columnist who supports the suggested changes by the Conservatives but as denunciation rather than deterrence. At least this gets around the fact that the deterrence argument does not square with the evidence.
And to my mind, this proposed change and the others have nothing to do wit…

Harper in BC to beat back surging NDP

In spite of losing a couple of candidates for their association with pot, the NDP seems to be doing well in B.C. No doubt the unpopularity of the provincial Liberals is a factor. Even though Layton seems to be inconsistent in running as if he might be the prime minister and at the same time talking about a possible coalition with the Liberals. I guess the kinder term would be that Layton is hedging his bets. His being prime-minister is a very very long long shot. What are the odds? This is from the Canadian Press.

Harper in B.C. to beat back surging NDP
30 minutes ago
OTTAWA — Stephen Harper will likely have the New Democrats in his crosshairs as he tours British Columbia Wednesday, where polls suggest the NDP are running a close second to the Tories.
The Conservative prime minister says the prospect of an NDP-Liberal coalition government would be a violation of the will of Canadian voters. He says the next Parliament would be duty-bound to let the Tories form a government if they get a m…

Request for Urgent Confidential Business Relationship

This should earn some reward for spam of the day spoof!

REQUEST FOR URGENT CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPDear American:I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationshipwith a transfer of funds of great magnitude.I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. You may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transaction is 100% safe.This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We needthe funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer thesefunds in the names of our close friends because we are constantlyunder surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look fora reliable and tru…

Liberals warmed over Income Trust Stew

This is from the Financial Post. Sometimes I wonder if the Liberal campaign team is working to make sure Dion does not do well. It is hard to explain their gross incompetence otherwise. It might make some sense to bring up the income trust issue just to stress that Harper does not keep his promises. But the Liberal counter plan is as the article points out a funky stew that probably is not all that more palatable than the Conservative plan. Also, both the NDP and the Bloc support the Conservative legislation so it seems that the Liberals are trying to outflank the Conservatives on the right! Duh!

What's new from Liberals on income trusts? Not much
Posted: September 22, 2008, 1:11 PM by Vieira

There was much anticipation Monday on the release of the Liberal Party platform, in particular what it had in store for income trusts.There was speculation, based on published reports, that the Liberal Party would "scrap" the income trust tax. But once the dust settled…

Splitting the centre-left vote...

My own position is that the Liberals are almost as bad as the Conservatives. The marginal benefit of saving us from Harper is not worth it. Both parties are bankrupt and do not deserve our support. I do not think that Layton is any shining knight either but I will vote for the NDP because I approve many of their policies. The worst thing Canadians could do is to foster the Tweedle Dee Tweedle Dum farce that you have in the states. The one presidential candidate who predicted the present financial crisis in the U.S. Ralph Nader receives nary a mention hardly in all the babble on CNN Fox news etc. As long as we continue electing the two mainstream parties we will not really have much choice. Even electing considerable numbers of other parties pressures other parties to adopt programs similar to theirs to try and lure voters away and back to the two party Procrustean bed.

Splitting the centre-left vote

Globe and Mail Update
September 23, 2008 at 8:35 AM EDT
Today's question: How do the L…

The creative destruction of free market myths.

The 700 billion bailout of US financial institutions serves to expose several myths associated with free enterprise and free markets:

Remember when the former Soviet satellites and Russia were beginning their initiation into capitalism? There was this great theme of Shock Therapy. The socialised institutions were to be subject to market forces even though the result was considerable immediate economic and social disruption. This was all necessary to introduce the healthful regime of market forces at work. Apparently this does not apply to the US. You would think that in the US now is the time for shock therapy and letting market forces do their creative destruction...

But creative destruction is another key concept that is gone out the window. The markets must be saved from creative destruction rather than letting market forces play out as they are supposed to do according to standard doctrine. This seems a case of rewarding those who through greed and mismanagment of risk have caused …

Poll variations..

There are two recent polls that vary considerably but both ended on Saturday the 20th.

A Nanos poll taken on Sept. 20th has these results in terms of percentages of popular vote:

Conservatives 36

Liberals 31

NDP 20

Green 7

Bloc 7

However a Harris Decima poll as reported by CBC gives the following results from a four day poll ending on Sept. 20.

Conservatives 39

Liberals 23

NDP 17

Green 11

Bloc 8

There is a difference of 8 points in Liberal support between the two polls. Don't ask me why!

Dion flip-flopping like a dying fish..

After an obvious attempt to downplay the Green Shift in the last few days, Dion reversed direction in order to try to negate Harper's joke about the Liberals abandonment of the Green Shift being like Tim Horton's abandoning donuts. However, the new joke is Dion's obvious flip flop.
But there is another flip-flop. Dion seemed to be a cheerleader for the US policy in Pakistan the other day but today he does another flip-flop. Clearly the Liberals are just as much committed to the Afghan farce as the Conservatives if not moreso. The idea of non-combat roles for troops is a non-starter as long as the security situation is at is. Troops would come under enemy attack and would surely have to respond. The idea is pure crapola as military leaders have often pointed out quite correctly. The idea is totally a selling point to hoodwink the public.
This is from the CBC. Clarify is a politically correct word for flip-flops.

Dion clarifies Pakistan comments
Last Updated: Friday, January 18,…