Wednesday, October 15, 2008

थे gleaners

The Gleaners - by Millet

There is weird stuff happening with Blogger these days. I keep getting Sanskrit-like font, and I don't know why. I kind of dig it though.

So yeah, here we are - back in much the same position (politically) that we were 5 weeks ago. A record low participation rate, which is very sad. I put that down principally (and ironically) to a lack of civics education in schools, and a break-down of the family structure. I really sound like a Conservative in writing that, wot? But I think that it is at least partly true. I gained an interest in Canadian politics by spending a lot of quality time with my Grandmother. We were "ideologically" opposed, but had great, respectful discussions and debates about those differences. In the long run, we agreed on the same principles of fiscal conservatism, and social progressiveness.

Another problem is the lack of proportional representation. The Conservatives won the Government with 20% of the votes of eligible voters. Some 10 million people chose not to vote. Why? Is it because people don't believe that their voices count? (they do, and they don't, but...) To put that 20% into perspective, the Greens got ~20% of the votes that the Cons got.

It was an election about "leadership", and then, by default, became about leadership/economy. The Conservatives knew that this shit storm was coming, and that is why they triggered the election (well, plus the Cadman thing coming to a head, the In-and-Out scam coming to a head, the Couillard book coming out - what a flop - etc.), but they had no plan. Sadly, ironically, Harper's plan is Dion's plan - to call together the Premiers, heads of banks, have meetings with global leaders... - which Harper dismissed as "a plan to make a plan". Dion is a singularly decent man, in the words of Rex Murphy, and that is a rarity these days. He had a vision for something new, but was unable to articulate it to Canadians. It was not just the accent, but he had a battle against the impression that two years of Harper's negative advertising cemented into peoples minds, and he does not have the support of the Liberal old boys' club. That is too bad, in my view. He reminds me of Joe Clark in 1979 in some ways (decency, sincerity, etc.) - just before we ended up with Trudeau, who paved the way for Mulroney. That was a grim decade and a half.

Just a week ago, Harper was saying that everything was a-ok, and that there would be no "bail-outs" for banks. Then, we "found out" that everything is not a-ok, and that the guv was pumping $25 Billion into the economy (banks). That does not instill confidence into me.

I have read most saying that Dion is finished, and that the knives are out for him. He has done nothing to dispel that rumour. The thing is, who will replace him as leader? Ignatieff? He does not have the party, or Parliamentary experience. Plus, he is a goof. Rae? Too much baggage, too old, and he is creepy in the same way that Clinton is creepy. It seems to be a common trait amongst Rhodes Scholars. Manley, in a come-back? No thanks. Frank McKenna. Frank McKenna. Wherefore art thou, Frank McKenna? I'm not holding my breath.

I don't think that there can be a coalition betwixt the Libs and NDP. Jack wants to be PM, and would settle for nothing less. The ideologies are a fair bit different too. Further, it looks as if the Liberals are going to be in a mess for a while. Harper doesn't really need a majority, he will continue to stress the Liberals, and will continue with his incremental dismantling, and sale, of Canada. We will wake up some day 10 years from now, and wonder WTF happened while we were watching American Idol, American politics, and whinging about those damned Americans. We will be those damned Americans. (Disclosure; I have American uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends. They are all good people, just like us.) Harper said that we "won't recognize Canada when (he is) done with it", and it is true. I already don't recognize it.

I read someone - whom I have great trust in - that we will live in totalitarianism for the next 200 years, and I think that he was correct. "We" "have given" Harper a "new, stronger mandate" to "implement his agenda". Some 20% of eligible voters have, anyhow. His agenda is in the public domain, although not enunciated at any point during the campaign, and it is tragic. Codex Alimentarus (control of your food). North American Union. Supplantation of our sovereign dollar with the Amero (some day - I predict just months before the Olympics, we will have 60 days to trade in all of our dollars for Ameros.) We will have American military providing security in Vancouver and Whistler during the Olympics. Even though we have a decent copy right law, and a levy on all blank DVDs, CDs, cassette tapes, etc. that goes to the recording industry, it must be harmonized with the American laws. We will have more pesticides as we lower our standards to the US's, we will be de-regulated left, right and centre. Prisons will be privatized to meet the demand as our drug laws are harmonized, and we import the war on teen-agers, hippies, people with chronic diseases, etc. who smoke a little weed. We will have wistful memories of a publicly funded health care system.

They say that you get the government that you deserve, but I have to wonder - what did I, or my 19 month-old son do to deserve this?

I have much more ranting to do, but it is fruitless, and pointless. And, I am trying to keep my screeds to under 10,000 words.

There is a lot of ill wind coming. House prices are down ~6.5% nationally, and "the most expensive markets" (like Vancouver) are faring worse. The Infinity project sounds as if it is dead. The stock market rallies of the last couple of days were suckers' rallies - as I suspected. The global economy is totally flacked, no matter what we do. All of those billions - nay, trillions - that the governments are pumping in is just a huge theft from us all. Last week's bail-outs put every single Canadian some $3,600 further into debt. Your Social Insurance Number is a chit for that (and all) government debt. I heard today that the Finance Department is forecasting a $10 Billion deficit at year-end March 2009. That is 5 months from now, so are they going to be borrowing $2Bill/month, or have we been in deficit all along? (as I forecast last week) Inquiring minds (mine, at least) would like to know.

Did you get what you voted for?

25 comments:

myron said...

Gong show. A few scenes from my highlight reel:

- like you said, Harper ridiculed Dion's (hastily) made up economic plan and then adopted it after election

- a post-election surprise that Harper will now consider railroading the senate into accepting reform. why have elections for another 100 people when Canadians can't even be bothered to elect the lower house in meaningful numbers? and democratic reform for an institution that doesn't really do much other than committee work behind the scenes no one knows about?

there's a very loud call for proportional representation right now and I hear nothing for the senate. seems like someone's again out of touch.

- that $25B you mentioned? could quietly be going to $225B. see

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=877989

- and finally, like you've highlighted, the biggest gain in popular vote wasn't for a party at all, it was the 4% gain for the non-voters. well golly, 40%? that's the magic number for a majority in parliament! woohoo!

did anyone seriously consider this a win for any of us? be it politician, party, society--we all lost. and there's no sign of changing course from this road towards irrelevance.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed the ease with which reporters have been saying the following phrase, ..."an election that Stephen Harper broke his own fixed election date law to call"? Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

The only two sad things about the election were that garth turner lost, and that it wasn't a majority government. But Harper did make his minority more solid. I think he has done good considering how liberal and out of touch the average canadian is with what makes good governance.

Anonymous said...

>>
I put that down principally (and ironically) to a lack of civics education in schools, and a break-down of the family structure.
<<
Can't it be plain distrust, coupled with clear understanding that candidates are, in effect, Siamese twins?

Anonymous said...

No, that's the intellectually lazy way of excusing your inaction.

kabloona said...

Hey, solipsist...funny you should mention Joe Clark, my sister said the same thing right after the election - that she thought Dion was too decent and honest (like Clark) to win. I think there's an element of that in play, however...I think Rex Murphy was right last night when he said Dion was tone-deaf about how the green-shift would be received or targeted during a very short election campaign. Never load a weapon and then hand it to your opponent - in this case the weapon was "carbon taxes" and the results were inevitable.

My 18 year-old nephew and his buddy tried to vote in Central Saanich the other night (against Gary Lunn, I believe) and were initially turned away from the polls! In one case his buddy was told he would hafta produce a driver's licence to prove where he lived, but the kid doesn't even drive! At least my nephew eventually got to vote, but what a way to encourage young people to vote, eh? Wow, that is straight outta the Republican Party playbook...

In our riding, some proxy of Lunn's even had an auto-generated phone message delivered to people in the riding asking them to vote for the NDP candidate who was no longer running! So he picked up about 3600 votes and the NDP association said they never contacted anybody....naturally, the CON-loving cops are saying it's none of their business. Back to the donut shop, boys....nothin' to see here....

http://tinyurl.com/4f8zua

I'm not too disturbed by the election outcome. Now Harpo is going to hafta to take the heat while the economy slides into a ditch, natural resource revenues decline, the unemployment rate rises, and the budget tips over into a deficit. The Libs need to dump Dion asap, get Iggy in there and watch the Harpo one-man Band hit the iceberg....

Anonymous said...

kabloona nice conspiracy theory as if the election workers knew who your nephew was planning on voting for. So what you are telling me is anyone who asks for id to ensure someone is a reigistered voter to ensure there is no fraud is actually committing fraud? Give me a break. If your nephew and his friends are too dumb to get id then that is their problem. And nice reference to the republicans too bad it is the democrats in the US that got red handed with voter fraud. Try googling ACORN.


ted

Anonymous said...

kabloona nice conspiracy theory as if the election workers knew who your nephew was planning on voting for. So what you are telling me is anyone who asks for id to ensure someone is a reigistered voter to ensure there is no fraud is actually committing fraud? Give me a break. If your nephew and his friends are too dumb to get id then that is their problem. And nice reference to the republicans too bad it is the democrats in the US that got red handed with voter fraud. Try googling ACORN.


ted

kabloona said...

ted, sorry but you really gotta stop drinking the Repub koolaid. Acorn paid people to go out and register people to vote. Some of those hires then filled in the forms with Tony Romo and the starting Offensive line of the Dallas Cowboys...so they could get paid. No danger of Tony Romo actually showing up to vote as Acorn pointed out the phony information themselves to the authorities. By the way, the repubs have been actively supressing voting in non-repub districts for years, maybe you should try googling Katherine Harris (Florida 2000 Vote). Here, I'll be nice and save you the trouble of googling....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katherine_Harris

Harpo and his neo-Con advisors like Tom Flanagan know that low voter turnouts favour the incumbent, so he wanted low overall turnout ...also that young people don't in general favour his "let's burn some more oil, there's no such thing as global warming" philosophy. By the way, Tom Flanagan (Harpo's political guru from U of Calgary, maybe you've hear of him...if not, Google) said last night on a CBC news item that the way Harpo should have handled the Arts cut issue was to lie about it, then cut the Arts after he got a majority. Too bad Harpo slipped up in a moment of unintended candour, but I guess that's what happens when you're the only one allowed to speak for the CONs.

By the way, I've been voting for more than 20 years, first time EVER I've been required to produce ID when I had my voting card *and* I was on the voter's list. Go ahead and call 18 year-olds trying to vote "dumb" when they try to exercise their franchise and had their voting cards, but maybe you aren't so good at reading comprehension as my neophew managed to vote because he had a driver's licence. By the way, what kind of ID is a kid just out of high school supposed to have that proves his residence if he doesn't drive? And when did driving become a prerequisite for exercising your democratic rights?

Oh, and ted: I don't think this issue is going away, a whole bunch of people on the voters list in Nunavut were turned away from the polls because they couldn't prove their address. Oh yeah, yer hero Harpo is standing up for democracy in Afghanistan...just not in Canada.

:-)

solipsist said...

I had to vouch for my 82 years old neighbour, who has lived at the same address for 56 years, because she only has a passport, and a citizenship card. Neither show her address, so she took along a bill to prove her address. Problem is, the bills still come in her deceased husband's name (every bill sender demanded a death certificate to change the billing name). If I had not driven her to the polls, she would have been unable to vote - after living in Canada for 83 years (and born here). Funny that a veiled voter does not need to show their face in order to prove that they are the person on the picture ID.

I also see this as an attempt at disenfranchisement kabloona. It is sad that so many people have their heads stuck up their arses.

Electronic voting machines next?

Rob said...

As Solipsist points out, you can have someone else on the voter's list vouch for you. The idea that working the vote only happens on one side is crazy - when the hanging chad thing was going on in Florida I asked an American friend what he thought of it. His response? "I'm a Democrat from Chicago, and we've had dead people electing Democrats there for years". It goes both ways.

"Codex Alimentarus..North American Union...the Amero...American military providing security in Vancouver and Whistler during the Olympics...harmonized with the American laws...Prisons...
privatized ...drug laws are harmonized, and we import the war on ...people ...who smoke a little weed"

That vision makes me think of a couple of quotes. One is that a man's life isn't complete unless he's experienced love, poverty and war. The second made me smile years ago, and still does:


'One of these days,' he shouted, 'I'm going to arm my boys so we can get rid of these shitty gringos!' (In lighter moments replace "gringos" with "Bettman")

What are we going to do if Solipsist's vision comes true? (BTW, I have lots of American freinds too, and lived there several years. If we ever did taske to the hills some of them might join us!)

Anonymous said...

come on Solipsist kabloona used the phrase kool aid. I don't see you attacking him for that.
I just love how neo-con came up again. So harper is now a neo con. Kabloona here is one to watch now that Dion is toast Ignatieff a real neo con, not just someone who is slandered that way, might become the liberal party head.

You know how fascists, neo-cons and other scary people get elected. They get elected because people like you are calling everyone these names except for the people it applies to.

sutluc said...

Yes, we need proportional representation, unlikely to happen though.

I don't know how much difference the voter ID changes made to the percentage of votes cast, but certainly that rule change would tend to effect the young more than older voters. Coincidence or not, I won't speculate.

I had the 'vote no matter what' ethic drummed into me as a child. For whatever reason, even though I marked the "yes" box on my tax return, I did not receive a card, was not registered, and had to register at the polling station.
Fortunately I live in a podunk area and the polling station was not busy, so it only took twenty minutes or so. I could see it taking much longer at a busy urban poll, and I could see that discouraging people from voting.

I suspect that the main problem is that more and more thinking people are coming to the realization that politicians are untrustworthy, it's the nature of the beast. The knowledge that you're voting for someone that's lying to you and is going to screw you somewhere down the road is discouraging. When all your choices are varying shades of bad it doesn't really inspire one to choose, period.

I am glad that I'm not in the shoes of the opposition parties at this moment. In my view we are in for some very hard economic times, which are not something that any politician of any stripe can prevent. The opposition choices: play along with the cons, and have the voters hold them equally responsible for the ensuing recession/depression, or fight the cons and have them say, "we would have fixed it but the opposition wouldn't let us". A truly unenviable spot to be in.

One truth will hold in any case, the taxpayer will become poorer.

solipsist said...

rob - I've known great love, poverty, and have always been thankful to not know war, and hope that I never do. Even more important, I hope that my son never does.

anon - whom I presume to be the reliably truculent ted - that is between you, and kabloona, and it's best that you take it up with him/her elsewhere. You see, I don't care. kabloona went after you, not me. I'm not a referee.

Flanagan is a neo-Con. That is what kabloona wrote. Whether Harper is, or not, was not suggested. Again, you read what you want to see, and make crazy-ass assumptions from that. You don't think that Harper is the entire brain-trust do you? The NCC was established when he was a little boy in short pants.

Thanks for the thoughtful comment sutluc.

When all your choices are varying shades of bad it doesn't really inspire one to choose, period.

I too am compelled to participate in elections, and usually know how I will vote fairly quickly after the writ is dropped, but this time, was unsure until Monday, and even then, was not satisfied with the choice. I also briefly flirted with either not voting, or spoiling my ballot.

It wasn't just the youth who had problems with the ID, it was also the elderly, the homeless, people who have recently moved, and natives. All of those constituents would likely have voted other than Con (excepting 20% of the recently moved). The old timers remember the real Tories, and the youth and natives and homeless know their lots in life too well.

I was also surprised that I had to speak up and vouch for my neighbour, and that option was not offered by the attendants. kabloona's nephew should also have been informed of the option.

Anonymous said...

"anon - whom I presume to be the reliably truculent ted - that is between you, and kabloona, and it's best that you take it up with him/her elsewhere. You see, I don't care. kabloona went after you, not me. I'm not a referee.
"
actually i was not asking for you to referee anything just pointing out that you and your friends seem to be the only ones other than me once that use the phrase that you seem to have a problem with.(see previous posts) Anyways this was at one time a good blog too bad you let your ego get in the way.

ted

Art Vandelay said...

Excellent essay.

I didn't vote because a choice between Turd Sandwiches and Giant Douches is not worth my X.
In fact, I actively campaigned AGAINST voting. Voting legitimizes the legalized theft governments engage in under the guise of "democracy."

As for the people whining about the difficulties encountered in voting, the one guy's nephew did get to vote, as did the other commenter's elderly friend. So what's the problem? Do you want anybody to stroll up to the polls and be able to cast a ballot without offering ID? Maybe vote twice? At more than one poll? Then who'd be complaining?

I happen to have a very close relative who is a returning office. The effort Elections Canada workers go through to get people processed in order to vote is incredible. To suggest that people are turned away by those working the polls because of some conspiracy to prevent voting for a non-incumbent is a paranoid delusion.

We'll be better off when we stop falling for the REd Brand, Blue Brand, Orange Brand or now the Green Brand, and start admitting that politicians of all stripes are self-serving liars and thieves. The Bank of Canada has $25 billion in proof that supports my accusation.

We ought to stop hating each other for the brand we support and start working together toward changing the way our society works. Starting with eliminating as many levels of government as possible.

J.Son said...

I didn't vote. I don't like Harper, but I don't like any of his competition either. Bland, empty promises. Then again, if this were a provincial election, I'd be more than willing to vote for whoever has the best chance to knock Campbell out of office.

Anonymous said...

Gosh. Who didn't see this coming?

***Dion expected to resign on Monday***

Liberal insiders say Dion, who hasn't been seen in public since conceding the federal election on Tuesday night, has accepted that he can't survive a May leadership review vote and will announce his decision to step down, the Canadian Press reported Friday.


http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/10/17/volpe-dion.html?ref=rss

solipsist said...

Thanks for your comments art.

Voting legitimizes the legalized theft governments engage in under the guise of "democracy."

That may be, but I think it is better to at least let them know that they are being watched, and are subject to the vagaries of citizens' feelings. I think that not voting is more defeatist, and actually goes further to legitimising the tyranny. 'Here are the keys. Nobody cares what you do, so have at 'er' kind of thing.

...difficulties encountered in voting, the one guy's nephew did get to vote, as did the other commenter's elderly friend. So what's the problem?

The nephew got to vote, but his friend did not - even though he wanted to. My neighbour got to vote because I interceded. If I had not, she would not have voted.

My wife knows someone who worked as an RO, and she said that she saw at least 50 people show up to vote, but did not have proper ID. She said that only about half of them were able to come back with the "proper" ID. I think that is a big problem.

Do you want anybody to stroll up to the polls and be able to cast a ballot without offering ID? Maybe vote twice? At more than one poll?

Absolutely not, but I have never heard of voter fraud in our elections before (if you have, please provide a source). You get one voter card, and it is specific to not only what polling station is used, but to the actual station within that polling place. It would seem to me to be difficult to stroll into multiple polling stations to cast multiple ballots.

To suggest that people are turned away by those working the polls because of some conspiracy to prevent voting for a non-incumbent is a paranoid delusion.

I did not suggest such, and did not read anyone else suggesting such. First, the voter would have to disclose their voting intention to the poll worker, and further, it would take a large cabal to pull something like that off. But, what is the rationale behind the new rules - given that I have never heard of voter fraud being a problem? And why would a veiled voter be able to vote without showing their face to prove that they are the one in the photo ID picture? I would like to test that in the next election by getting my wife to go to the polls wearing the chador and veil that I bought for her in the Middle East. Or, maybe I could wear a goalie mask, or a Hallowe'en mask, and then challenge the law as un-Constitutional.

We ought to stop hating each other for the brand we support and start working together toward changing the way our society works.

Absolutely! I was deeply disturbed by the life-endangering vandalism that was inflicted on the vehicles of Liberal supporters. It was odd that no Conservative supporters were targeted. Another thing that irked me was the "sign wars". Childish, churlish, and (help me out here with my alliteration...)

Anonymous said...

I don't drive and I have a BC Identification card. You can get them at any driving licence office.
I just wanted to clear this part up.

solipsist said...

Dion...has accepted that he can't survive a May leadership review vote

That is absolute foolishness, and will set the party even further back.

What is amazing to me, is that Dion managed to survive the two years of attack ads by the Cons, and actually shone after the debates.

Plus, Volpe is a self-serving arsehole, in my not-so-humble opinion.

The only way for the Libs to drag themselves out of this mess is for Dion to stay, or for Frank McKenna to get involved. Else, they have quite a few years in the wilderness ahead of them.

I don't drive and I have a BC Identification card. You can get them at any driving licence office.

Does the BC card have your address and picture on it? (I've never seen one)

The problem that I see with that is that it is a fair bit of a hassle for an elderly (or disabled person, etc.) to get to a licensing office to do so, plus, an extra cost to them. And what of people who have recently moved, do not have their current address on their ID yet, no bills yet, and know no one in their voting area who will vouch for them?

DaMann said...

I couldn't disagree more. Dion HAS to go for them to have any chance what so ever. Sad as it may be but a leader must also have charisma and be able to connect with the people. Dion fails miserably on those fronts. He is a very smart man, but he is no leader. Everyone I know who usually votes Liberal all said the same thing. "I can't stand Dion" Thos are the people casting ballots. The guy has to go.

Sad commentary on todays politics? Probably, but Dion has as much charisma as a wet towel. I don't make the rules.

solipsist said...

damann - perhaps I did not articulate it very well (exhaustion has its toll), but part of the point that I was making is that I don't think that the loss was all about Dion. The Liberal party has some fundamental issues to clear up before they are good to go again. Ignatieff, or Rae, will not be addressing, nor are they they answer(s) to those issues, and the Libs will remain floundering with any of the clear and present choices.

I agree with you on the sad commentary part wholeheartedly. It is as much a sad commentary on the electorate as it is on the body politic.

solipsist said...

I don't drive and I have a BC Identification card. You can get them at any driving licence office.

Does the BC card have your address and picture on it? (I've never seen one)

The problem that I see with that is that it is a fair bit of a hassle for an elderly (or disabled person, etc.) to get to a licensing office to do so, plus, an extra cost to them.


I spoke to my elderly neighbour a few hours ago about this. She told me that she has a BC ID, but that it has no picture on it, no address, and is a piece of cardboard. She also told me that it would be a very big deal for her to get to a drivers' centre, and get a card.

I don't know if the newer BC ID cards have a picture and address on them, but I suspect that they would not have the address, and perhaps a photo.

The point is, why should any citizen, with a Voter Registration Card, and a piece of any ID, have to jump through hoops to vote? That sure sounds like disenfranchisement to me.

sutluc said...

That is exactly the way I read it. The more I think about it the more calculated it seems.