Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It's not only the cream that rises to the top

Exactly what do you have to do to lose your job if you hold an elevated position in government? Lying, interference with proper government functioning, not protecting or serving those whose money you take and use for your own ends, fighting useless wars started by others to the last drop of someone else's blood? Aren't these good enough reasons?

From rabble.ca, an article on governments and the crooks and liars who run them.

A Tale of Three Governments by Jerry West

...[B]esides their bungling of the Afghanistan issue, Harper's government has also had its true colours exposed when the National Post ran a story on a manual of dirty tricks that the government had distributed to its key members. The document reportedly instructs government members on how to create chaos in committees and prevent the opposition parties, which hold a majority of the seats, from advancing their legislative agendas.

...[S]tephen Harper, George Bush and Gordon Campbell are birds of a feather. They lead governments riddled with corruption and incompetency and pursue policies that are inimical to the welfare of the majority of the people that they govern. The good news is that they are all running out of time. The question arises, how can we do better in the future?

Monday, May 28, 2007

No energy plan except to sell to the U.S.

Gordon Laxer was a victim of the Conservative dirty tricks campaign when he was invited to give evidence, then was rudely cut off and the committee hearing ended by one of the lock-step, black shirt (neo)Conservative government lackeys.

From "Easterners could freeze in the dark"

Instead of guaranteeing U.S. energy security, how about a Secure Petroleum Plan for Canada?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

War is auto-cannibalism

General Rick Hillier, who, the last time I looked, was the Chief of Defense Staff, has now started putting his two cents in on economic policy.

Balancing trade with U.S. a challenge: Hillier

...[G]en. Rick Hillier spoke to the Economic Club of Toronto today on Canada's continuing mission in Afghanistan, and highlighted the important role the economy plays in supporting a war effort.

What a glorious future - working to support war. Take your profits and pour them into munitions, tanks, weapons of mass destruction. It's like auto-cannibalism. Your appetites will eventually kill you.

But some guys will get really, really rich. And you can bet whatever part of your body you like that none of these guys or their heirs will ever set foot in war zone. After all, they're dangerous. A guy could get killed!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Surprise! Did you miss me?

Stephen Harper made a surprise visit to Afghanistan yesterday amid tight security - probably to protect him from the press except for a hand-picked embedded bunch that traveled with him.

I imagine he was as welcome as the grim reaper at a wedding.

Why all the security, I wonder? Hardly anybody knows who the guy is, and certainly couldn't be bothered to attack him. But maybe it makes him feel important.

This report from Sun Media gives some details. I have a feeling that the following quotes are the real reason for the Afghanistan junket.

...[S]pokesmen for Harper described the unannounced trip as a ‘progress review’ of the NATO-led mission and rejected questions of the whirlwind trip being an attempt to bolster support for the mission or the Conservative party as both face stalled or flagging support in recent public opinion polls.

...[T]he visit comes at a time when Canadian support for the mission has flagged amidst doubt that progress is being made in beating the Taliban and reconstructing the country.

...[A] recent poll found 60% of Canadians surveyed want Canada out of the mission even before the end of its current commitment to 2009.

...[A]t the same time, public support for the Conservatives appears stalled at levels at or below last January’s election result that handed Harper a minority government.
But exactly how is this going to bolster support?

There was a visit to a school for street kids in Kabul that is supported by about $40,000 of Canadian money. How much did the Afghanistan junket cost, I wonder? Many multiples of $40,000, I bet.

But this comes at a time when some aboriginal people in Canada are living on toxic reserves without proper schools or safe drinking water. The Kelowna Accords, hammered out for years between the Liberal government and First Nations, which looked like they might finally get land claims settled in Canada, were scrapped by the incoming Harperites. Why? Because it wasn't their accord, and we all know that they are the only people capable of doing anything in Canada.

Now the Conservatives and the Indian Affairs minister say they are going to hand the whole thing over to an independent body to settle. Excuse me, guys, but that's what you're being paid for, not to make surprise visits to Afghanistan.

Mind you, with the poisonous atmosphere in Ottawa these last few months, when control-freakery was running wild, Afghanistan probably looked like a walk in the park for Stevie and the boys.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Questions? I don't have to answer any goddamn questions!

Harper's mortal fear (or contempt) of the press has gone so far as to keep the press locked up in a room until he has made a getaway. The RCMP deny they held the doors shut, effectively confining reporters to a room, until His Highness King Stephen the Stout has removed himself from the fray, although someone on the outside of the room clearly saw them.

RCMP closes Parliamentary Press Gallery president's complaint on PMO security

...[A]t both events, Mr. Brennan said reporters were prevented from leaving the halls until after the Prime Minister had left. At the Flag Day incident, for instance, he said two security personnel held the door shut to prevent reporters from leaving the school gymnasium.

...As he [Stephen Harper] zipped by, they just shut the door on us," he [Brennan] said. People pushed on the door, but security held it shut, he said. "Security for what? Then they let us out after he was gone. It was pretty stupid."

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Just when you think the Harpercrits can't get any worse...

Not only do they act like a bunch of scuzzballs, Harper's federal (neo)Conservative government members (one synonym for a rather cruder description) have a playbook describing how they should act.

Why doesn't that surprise me?

[T]he handbook, obtained by National Post columnist Don Martin, reportedly advises chairs on how to promote the government's agenda, select witnesses friendly to the Conservative party and coach them to give favourable testimony. It also reportedly instructs them on how to filibuster and otherwise disrupt committee proceedings and, if all else fails, how to shut committees down entirely.

...[G]oodale said the manual also demonstrates that the government is in the grip of an "obsessive, manipulative mania," run by a prime minister who has "a kind of control fetish" in which there can't be "one comma or one sentence or one word uttered without his personal approval."
I think another way of saying that is that Harper is an anal-retentive control freak. Mr. Goodale is much more polite that I would have been.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Absolutely nuthin' - part 2.

And from James Laxer and linked from rabble.ca:

Should it come time for the U.S. realists to make peace in Afghanistan, they will happily help cobble together a new regime, comprising elements of the Taliban, the old Northern Alliance and assorted drug dealers and war lords. And it will all be done without a thought for Stephen Harper, Christie Blatchford and the editorial writers of the National Post.

War...what is it good for? Absolutely nuthin'!

As Conservative government defense officials and the likes of Rick Hillier go on (and on) about the need to increase defense spending, they might want to take a look at this, a piece from Chalmers Johnson on the fate of empires and the self-defeating practice of manufacturing and buying armaments. Originally posted on TomDispatch and linked from AntiWar.com.

Sooner or later, higher military spending forces inflation and interest rates up, reducing demand in interest-sensitive sectors of the economy, notably in annual car and truck sales. Job losses follow. The nonmilitary construction and manufacturing sectors experience the largest share of these losses. The report concludes, "Most economic models show that military spending diverts resources from productive uses, such as consumption and investment, and ultimately slows economic growth and reduces employment."
With the Canadian economy already too closely linked to the U.S. and our energy security coming a distant second to that of the country to the south, we don't need to give it a further kick into the black hole that is the sphere of U.S. influence.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Best in Show

Now that Tony Blair has resigned and decided to spend his retirement traveling the world reconciling people of different religious faiths (God help us all!), Bush needs a new bestest friend. (Let's face it - he needs any friend he can get.)

From the latest Hill Times.

Harper's human wrongs

Murray Dobbin says it all.

No prime minister in the history of Canada has shown such contempt for the people he is supposed to be representing and protecting.