Friday, March 25, 2011

The Newt Rules - Bill Maher can't make sense of them.

Harper Government Takes a Dive

Stephen Harper, Canadian politicianImage via WikipediaAh, the joys of Parliamentary Democracy where the credo has allways been this; "He who fights and runs away will live to fight another day."

That is to say, nobody was surprised at the outcome of the non-confidence vote, least of all "The Harper Government." As I watched the kabuki dance that is the public portion of the sausage-making live-streamed by the CBC and annotated with twitter feeds, I marveled at how unsurprised all the commenters were, and indeed, how very polished the performances were, and how little the new media altered the message.

On my way to the House of Commons, where I will move non-confidence in the Harper regime. Enough is enough. #cdnpoli #lpc

I missed Harper's moment in the scrum, but he took no questions, I suspect he felt they were asked and answered, and while it would likely be truthful to say that yes, he does hold Parliament in contempt, it would be impolitic and impolite to say that out loud. I think the picture smirks for itself.

I'm not saying that he has any more contempt for Parliament than, say, Brian Mulroney or Pierre Elliot Trudeau. In this particular case, the consensus seems to be that he crafted a budget that was intended to force a non-confidence vote at this time. It's an interesting strategy, if true, and I suppose is rather in the tradition of Proroguing Parliament to adjust the legislative agenda and remind his colleagues who's gavel is the biggest.

An election call is never met with hosannas, and this way, all the annoyance will be directed at the Liberal leader, Mr. Ignatieff. Beware, Sir! Its a tra... oh dear.

I confess I doubt the wisdom of it, but Mr. Harper's approach to parliamentary politics is as unique as his collegial regard for the loyal members of the various oppositions is noted, particularly in the rather conspicuously contra-factual & American tone of the Anti-Ignatieff propaganda coming from the Harper people for some time now.  Red-drenched graphics appear any time it looks like Michael Ignatieff might assemble a coalition, trying to make him look like a cross between Karl Marx and Osama Bin Ladin. I'm sure this slight annoys and/or amuses Jack Layton, the NDP leader, who, in his speech after the non-confidence vote, emphasized that the NDP would have been quite willing to compromise, had Harper made that possible, and leaving the unmistakable impression that the NDP is Open for Business. Gilles Duceppe, leader of the Bloc Québécois, was entirely unembarrassed to state that the position of the Bloc is "What's in it for us?" 

So the Bloc is open for business too.

But for some reason, Coalition seems to be the C word of Liberal Politics. I suppose that I can understand the reluctance of the Liberals to settle for being the majority in a coalition of minorities, leading to what would be in effect yet another minority government, with no coherent governing philosophy. Though, this IS the Liberal Party of Canada we are speaking of, and such an objection has never been evident before.

Anyway, this seems to be the opening of the usual reality-show chess-match. Harper is hoping this to result in a non-confidence vote by the Canadian public against the Liberals, the Bloc, the NDP and the Greens, resulting in his first majority government.

Meanwhile, Ignatieff put on a credible show that he is seeking to win a majority Liberal mandate.  This point was not terribly well emphasized by his shadow cabinet which had the look of a herd of deer caught in the headlights of a two lane log-truck convoy. Well, you go to war with the party you have, not the party you might wish to have, and while you may have thought, if you weren't listening closely, that he'd ruled out a Coalition, many rather annoyed reporters noted that he'd done a Texas Sidestep on that point. Ah, the things you learn at Harvard. The academic politics there must be particularly challenging.
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

And Now A Brief Word From History

Context, you might ask?

It's not just old hippies who have acid flashbacks. Considering some of the reactions to the peaceful protests in the US against various authoritarian government agendas.

Discredit to the commentators from Freeperville (Welcome to Free Republic! America's exclusive site for God, Family, Country, Life & Liberty constitutional conservative activists! ) in a thread titled Wisconsin Teachers Lead Students in Anti-Walker Chants (thugs instruct children in the capitol)
To: Libloather
> Are they indoctrinating their pupils? You bet your @$$ that's exactly what they've been doing since the 1960s.
> Where are the decent people of Wisconsin?
Working to support these slugs.
Or cleaning and oiling their rifles.
8 posted on March-19-11 10:11:34 AM by Flatus I. Maximus (Everything you know about McCarthyism is wrong.)

To: bigbob
It’s that bad. Isn’t it?

9 posted on March-19-11 10:28:03 AM by GVnana

To: Libloather
It’s the way WI “repents” for having twice elected Joe McCarthy to the Senate.

10 posted on March-19-11 11:02:14 AM by Theodore R. (John Boehner just surrendered the only weapon with which he had to fight. What does OH see in him?)

To: sanjuanbob
"Where are the decent people of Wisconsin? Why no rallys?"Working and earning a living. It's long past time to go Galt.
So, basically, it's the old "Punch a Hippie for Jesus" crowd.

The relevance is underlined in midst of what we are told to be a deficit crisis that (obviousl) threatens world peace and thereby (somehow) justifies all kinds of "austerities" imposed upon those least able to afford them. But again, somehow, the same geopolitical forces that require choking off all arguably positive aid to people in need at the same time necessitates breathtakingly expensive and seemingly whimsical foreign adventures that will cost even more blood and treasure and will assuredly result in more dead, homeless, wounded and starving brown people far away.

You understand, it's not that I'm arguing for or against austerity or another war; I just find it hard to see how both arguments are compelling at the same time.

Reading the reactions against public protest of the naked abuse of authority really brings me back to the bad old days; growing up reading about the Kent State Massacre, the police riot during the Chicago Democratic Convention, the particularly vicious and mean-spirited fights about liberalizing divorce laws, carving out recognition that women have human rights, the offensive and idiotic opposition to and backlash against simple things like handicapped accessibly laws. And not so much the official lines - it's the watercooler aguments and letters to the editor that on occasion gave evidence of the sort of slack-jawed bigotry that empowered Nixon's "Southern Strategy."

But the problem with Billy-Bob ain't so much that he hates black folk. He hates fiercely and equitably, anyone who appears the slightest bit different, to the point where such folks routinely use the term "diversity" as a curse word, who are offended by the idea that they should be expected to tolerate differences in other people that do not affect them in the slightest. Government is expected to reflect his views; that it's wrong when it helps different people, and it's right when it punishes people for being different than him.

That's your modern social conservatism in a nutshell, save that it's not modern at all. I noted it as a child growing up in the late sixties and before then, H.L Mencken, C.S. Lewis and Mark Twain have all in their way shed light into the dark regions of the prudish and conventional soul. To cite H.L;

Mencken's Creed

     I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind - that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking.
     I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious.
     I believe that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty...
     I believe that the evidence for immortality is no better than the evidence of witches, and deserves no more respect.
     I believe in the complete freedom of thought and speech...
     I believe in the capacity of man to conquer his world, and to find out what it is made of, and how it is run.
     I believe in the reality of progress.
     I - But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant.

Of course, they were all freethinkers, even C.S. Lewis, in his way.

Who the hell could be against making it easier for people in wheelchairs going to church, holding a job or getting into public libraries? "Good Christians."

And every once in a while, you get an insight into what the people elected to office really think, when they believe they are in the company of  "Right Thinking People."

A New Hampshire lawmaker resigned Monday amid criticism for suggesting to a constituent that the state ship people with disabilities to Siberia.
Rep. Martin Harty, a 91-year-old first-term Republican in the state’s House of Representatives, drew fire after it became public that he told a constituent that “the world is too populated” with “too many defective people.”
“I wish we had a Siberia so we could ship them all off to freeze to death and die and clean up the population,” Harty continued, according to the constituent’s account. He specified that he was referring to “the mentally ill, the retarded, people with physical disabilities and drug addictions.”
When questioned about the comments last week, Harty was unapologetic and told the Concord Monitor that he was “just kidding.”
But on Monday Harty submitted his letter of resignation to state House Speaker William O’Brien.
“With all the slightly unfavorable publicity I’ve been getting the last few days, I’ll never be an effective lawmaker,” Harty wrote in the handwritten letter. “Sorry my big mouth caused this furor.”
Harty’s resignation will become official Tuesday when his letter of resignation is read on the House floor.

Yeah, I'm sure these actual Gulag victims would have laughed with him.

I think we can all be grateful that his legislative effectiveness has been impaired. But he's not resigning because he has shamefully realized the ideas expressed are immoral and odious - no, it's due to an impolitic indiscretion that might hamper "the good work."


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