Monday, October 27, 2008

Looking at the CRISIS in "the financial crisis", or Alan Greenspan was not only asleep all these years but he never was wearing any clothes

I've heard a lot about the "financial" in the "financial crisis", but little regarding the "crisis" in the financial crisis. Perhaps we should stop and listen to an analyst of a persuasion other than the economic one, even if only briefly. Jacques-Alain Miller is one of the world's most renowned psychoanalysts.
The financial universe is an architecture made of fictions and its keystone is what Lacan called a “subject supposed to know”, to know why and how. Who plays this part? The concert of authorities, from where sometimes a voice is detached, Alan Greenspan, for example, in his time. The financial players base their behavior on this. The fictional and hyper-reflexive unit holds by the “belief” in the authorities, i.e. through the transference to the subject supposed to know. If this subject falters, there is a crisis, a falling apart of the foundations, which of course involves effects of panic. 

However, the financial subject supposed to know was already quite subdued because of deregulation. And this happened because the financial world believed, in its infatuated delusion, to be able to work things out without the function of the subject supposed to know. Firstly, the real state assets become waste. Secondly, gradually shit permeates everything. Thirdly, there is a gigantic negative transfer vis-à-vis the authorities; the electric shock of the Paulson/Bernanke plan angers the public: the crisis is one of trust; and it will last till the subject supposed to know is reconstructed. This will come in the long term by way of a new set of Bretton Woods accords, a council enjoined to speak the truth about the truth.

On the related matter of the baselessness of liberal economic theory see RPPE.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Message to "Strategic Voters" in Parkdale High Park: Vote Peggy Nash

You know that in principle I'm profoundly against strategic voting, which I see as the symptom not the cure for a deeply flawed electoral system. But I guess if there's one thing worse than "strategic voting" it's "non strategic strategic voting".  "Strategic voting" advocates say to vote for Peggy Nash in the riding of Parkdale High Park. 

Wouldn't want you to vote for the other guy thinking you were voting "strategically".

p.s. contrary to misinformation that's out there Elizabeth May is NOT telling Green supporters to vote Liberal.

p.s.s. Even, a site hopelessly skewed in favour of the Liberals, is recommending that voters of Parkdale High Park vote freely with their hearts. Both Peggy Nash and the other guy are "environmental stars".

Dr Dawg, one of Canada's best bloggers, officially endorses the NDP

I know it's not a shocker, but do link over there for some very compelling reasons to vote for Jack Layton and the NDP.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Jason Cherniak is Deliberately Misleading Voters, Or Cherniak a Liberal to the End

When Cherniak writes that "Elizabeth May has told her supporters to vote Liberal in ridings where Liberals can win," he is willfully lying. Cherniak needs either to quote a source that says otherwise, or retract his story. From the Green Party website Oct. 12, 2008, "Elizabeth May did not advise strategic voting":
Green Party leader Elizabeth May has not called on voters to abandon Green Party candidates. A news story that states otherwise is misleading.

Ms. May did say that, "Being honest with the voters, I acknowledge that there is concern over vote-splitting in a small number of ridings. But I am not going to say 'vote Liberal here, vote NDP there.'

"I do understand how difficult choices can be due to the perverse results of the first-past-the-post voting system. Canada needs an electoral system that accurately represents how Canadians vote.

"I repeated over and over that I would not advise voters to vote for anyone other than Greens. Attempts to misrepresent my position on this issue are tiring. I do not support strategic voting and I have not advised voters to choose any candidate other than Green."

A Message from Peggy Nash

Throughout this campaign I've written mainly with the "progressive" voter in mind, and have attempted to discredit the Liberal Party of Canada's claim to represent that label.  I've discussed things like disingenuous or cynical politics played by Liberals (here, here, here, here).  I've noted Dion's highly dubious costing of the Liberal platform and his "regressive" voodoo economics around the Liberal position on slashing corporate tax rates. Progressive voters really just need to keep in mind, that if the Liberal Party of Canada actually stood for "progress", they would run on electoral reform to address a failing, unfair electoral system which produces things like strategic voting and I believe is partly responsible for decreasing voter turnouts and citizen participation in our democracy.

Peggy Nash really needs no introduction. She is among the most respected MP's in the House of Commons by her peers and by parliamentarians. About the race in Parkdale High Park read here, here, here.  Election Prediction Project now predicts Peggy Nash the winner.


Peggy Nash brings years of real experience in negotiating with some of Canada’s largest businesses. Canada needs her judgement and skills in the House of Commons in this time of uncertainty and worry.”  
Jim Stanford, Economist and Contributing Columnist, Globe and Mail

“This exemplary woman is not a promise. Peggy Nash is a given.”
Cheri DiNovo, MPP Parkdale- High Park

“ You can vote with more than your heart, even your head, for … Peggy Nash in Parkdale-High Park…. and be confident that you will have made your mark beside the name of one of the best MPs that Canada will elect next week.”
NOW, October, 9, 2008

“One of the best local MPs in any party….”
Don Martin, The National Post, October 6, 2008

“…power chick NDP (MP) Peggy Nash… and MPP Cheri DiNovo, they have the riding all sewn up”
Christina Blizzard, Toronto Sun, Sept 24, 2008

“Kudos …to MP Peggy Nash for spurring opposition to the sale of Canadarm and Radarsat-2 satellite technology to a U.S. defence contractor...”
David Olive, Toronto Star, April 14, 2008

“Laurels to …MP Peggy Nash: For standing up for Ontario; too often our representatives in Ottawa forget their roots.”
Editorial Page, Toronto Star, March 1, 2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Dion thinks politics is a golf game: Takes a mulligan, then another, then yet another

This is an embarrassment. I would be ashamed to have this weasling opportunist as my Prime Minister, especially on an international stage. If Dion can only perform in a tightly controled and scripted situation (like the partisan confines of CBC giving him a free hour on Cross Country Check-Up), then Layton was right to punk his ass. If Dion can't perform the duties of the Official opposition what is he doing running for PM?

Until now, I've steered clear of criticizing Dion as a poor leader. I have previously called him the wrong leader (strategically a very poor choice to stop Harper) but eventually it's difficult to ignore that besides wrong policies, Dion is very awkward, plain and unimpressive.  Gerard Kennedy picked the runt of the litter of leaders; a determined, likable runt, but also kind of pathetic and incompetent. From The Star a while back:

 "I [said Dion] was elected to lead the people of this party to leave a better planet."

"No," said Bob Rae. "You were elected because you're not me and you're not Michael Ignatieff."

Apparently this latest bout of "lack of comprehensionitis", known more commonly as "What? You expect me to work without a tele prompter!" is contagious. Watch the Liberal candidate trying to defend Dion. What a nightmare!

Update II:
Cherniak tries to brush this off as a not uncommon request for clarification. Well at least he doesn't stupidly try to make hay out of this and compare it to the Con attack on Chretien. But he also doesn't ignore it, which means he knows this could really hurt Dion. 

Dion's response to a question he should have been well prepared for was simply NOT prime ministerial. I mean the last week or so, Dion has done little but personally attack the other leaders, and he has repeatedly attacked Harper for his insensitivity and his failure to respond to economic situation. When asked quite simply, "OK wise guy, what would you have done?", Dion doesn't ask for clarification (which I think is perfectly appropriate) he asks for a do over 3 TIMES.  So far, I think I've resisted attacking Dion unfairly.  But this man just seems to dissolve under pressure. I've seen that awkward, dazed, and confused expression in Dion all too often. Remember when Layton put him in his place at the English debate, Dion was motionless and speechless.

BTW, Kudos to Layton for not immediately jumping on this one. Dion said he and the Liberals wouldn't go negative and that they would run a dignified campaign, not a chance. Liberals practice gutter politics no less than Conservatives. Period!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Dion's Voodoo Economics, or taking the "progress" out of "progressive"

While the lazy and brazen shills for Dion over at the CBC and the Star prepare to cheerlead Dion's plan for the economy today, thought I'd post some information on Dion's economics that you'll never hear from them, but you nevertheless should know. It vexes me to think that Canadians are heading into polling stations for such an important vote so completely swindled and uninformed, owing in some measure to their own apathy and lack of interest, but in large measure to a negligent and partisan media. Actually, what "progressive" voters REALLY need to understand is that the LIBERALS ARE NOT "PROGRESSIVE."

I believe most would agree that the ballot issue in this election is fiscal responsibility and the economy.  Now I'm not especially trained in economics, thus I have to rely on people who know much more in this area than I do. 

re: Fiscal Responsibility
The old canard that NDP governments are not fiscally responsible is simply NOT TRUE. A government financial report tracking the performance of provincial and territorial governments for the past 21 years reveals that when it comes to balancing budgets NDP governments are the most fiscally responsible governments and that Liberal governments are the most fiscally irresponsible governments. NDP governments have posted surpluses 48% of the time, while Liberal governments have posted surpluses only 23% of the time.

re: corporate taxes

I've previously noted the study by economist Jim Stanford at Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives which argues that slashing corporate taxes in Canada has served only to widen the gap between oil producing provinces and the rest of Canada, not to mention that they've had NO measured beneficial impacts on business investment and R & D.

Erin Weir at The Progressive Economics Forum (which brings together over 125 progressive economists) challenges the Liberals' claim that not only have previous Liberal corporate tax cuts NOT contributed to the current economic crisis, but those cuts actually raised government revenues and helped balance our country’s budget.  The Liberal claim is simply "voodoo economics" not supported by theory ("the notion that lower corporate tax rates increased corporate tax revenue is reminiscent of Ronald Reagan") nor by the chronology of events.  Erin concludes:
corporate tax cuts have not achieved their stated goals of attracting more investment or reported profits to Canada. Certainly, they have not increased corporate tax revenues.
p.s. If you link to PEF article please note the comments section where we see what a healthy and intelligent debate might sound like.

re: costing of Liberal platform

According to Andrew Jackson of the PEF the costing of the Liberal platform "is dubious at best" (a nice way of saying cynical and disingenuous at worst):
I stand by my earlier argument that they [the Liberals] can’t balance the Budget, deeply cut corporate taxes, oppose new taxes (outside the internally consistent green shift package) AND make major new spending promises outside the green shift - all in the context of a slumping economy.

The costing here is dubious at best.

We get four year spending and tax reduction totals with little or no detail on timing. No adjustment is really made for slowing growth and rising unemployment.

Clearly a lot of the good new stuff outside the green shift is shunted off to the future. As a key case in point, last week the Liberals promised to bring in a $1.25 Billion per year national child care program. Today, that program is costed at $1.5 Billion over 4 years. That’s a slow phase in, to say the least. Another case in point is municipal infrastructure spending, which barely increases over the status quo for the next four years.

We get a modest dose of Reaganomics and supply-side tax cut magic. Cutting the tax rate on income trusts will supposedly raise $1 Billion in new revenues.

The Liberals actually raise the ante on balanced budgets, promising Martin era determination to run surpluses to pay down debt. They promise to restore the $3 Billion Contingency Reserve - to my mind implying spending cuts “come hell or high water” even if we go into recession.

That’s bad enough, What is worse is that their fiscal plan depends on unspecificed cuts of $12 Billion over 4 years - a not inconsiderable sum after continuing rounds of “program review.”

Last but not least, they say they will borrow $25 Billion to fund post secondary education, but this will somehow be done outside the Government of Canada spending envelope and promised debt reduction.
Dion is practicing voodoo "regressive" economics supported by a dubiously costed platform. And he has the gall to dismiss the NDP plan as "socialist" and a "job killer".  I wonder how the electorate become so misinformed when leaders like Dion resort to old canards, fear mongering, and Red baiting. Dion is the WRONG leader! Otherwise Liberals would be staring at a majority right now, instead of same old same old.

p.s. I welcome debate and rebuttals of these assertions, for otherwise I can only assume they are accurate.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Now we know why the Liberals aren't running on electoral reform!

While desperately groveling for the "progressive" vote, Liberal hack Jason Cherniak unwittingly tells the truth about why the Liberals refuse to run on electoral reform, and, incidentally, why McGuinty did everything possible to make sure MMP didn't come to pass in Ontario. Cherniak writes:
Progressive voters need to understand that the seat distribution in Canada favours the Liberals over any other party.
Oh really! Actually, what "progressive" voters need to understand is that the Liberals are NOT running on electoral reform, which, in my view, disqualifies them from any claims to the term "progressive." Strategic voting is a symptom of the flaw in the system, not a cure!  In fact, if we're going to play to a strength of the FPTP system (i.e. local representation) we should all simply vote for the candidate which best represents our interest and desires.

Actually, what "progressive" voters need to understand is that if the Liberals were at all interested in genuinely advocating "strategic voting", they would be urging voters to vote for the "progressive" option (be it NDP, Green or Liberal)  that best stands a chance at beating a Conservative candidate.  Cherniak is advocating all progressives vote Liberal everywhere except, and this is a howler, where Liberals have been at 10% in the past. Then, and only then, vote freely for a "progressive" option. Give me a break, this is an insult to "strategic voting", which is itself already an insult. 

Actually, what "progressive" voters need to understand is that the Liberals abdicated a fundamental responsibility in any democracy: that of the Official Opposition. Their arrogance and sense of entitlement to being the naturally governing party resulted in an Absent Opposition that is a breach of democracy itself. Gerard Kennedy has the audacity to publicly claim the Liberals sat idly by (while a mission in Afghanistan was being extended, while budgets slashing funding to literacy programs, women's programs, to social programs were passed, while freedom to information and the court challenges program was attacked) for the benefit of Canadians.

Actually, what "progressive" voters need to understand is that it was the Liberals that put us in this position in the first place. A vote for the Liberals is a vote to reward the party that best stood a chance at stopping Harper for making sure Harper returns to government virtually unchallenged.  A vote for the Liberals is a vote for a selfish choice of leader (one which couldn't have played better into Harper's hands), a vote for a "professorial" uncommunicative leader who was unable to rein in the huge resentful egos that stood to his left and right nor do anything to heal the old rifts in the party.  A vote for the Liberals is a vote for a caucus in disarray.

Actually, what "progressive" voters REALLY need to understand is that the LIBERALS ARE NOT "PROGRESSIVE."

Friday, October 03, 2008

Cherniak "Gives it to Dion"?

Hey Cherniak wakes up and doesn't go "wee look at me! Look ma, I made it I made it. The MSM noticed me!"  Instead today he rails against the press for not providing more coverage on D'Yawn's performance last night and, moreover, accuses the press of swiftboating Dion. 

Btw, did anyone buy the whole I'm not whining because Dion was NOT pronounced the winner thing? I think the truth is without that headline the Liberals are officially out of the running to form the next government. Duceppe was right when he said besides himself there were three other candidates also not in the running to become the next PM (a fair shot at Layton, but also a direct shot at Dion, who still pretends the Liberals can win).

I was also struck by the line in Cherniak's post "Even the Toronto Star doesn't allow readers to read what Dion said in response to Stephen Harper when they first print the attack." What could this mean other than an admission that the Star is indeed a Liberal rag and shill?

Anyways, prior to this post, Cherniak headlines a post "I GIVE IT TO DION". Hey I'm not judgmental, but others can draw their own inferences. Still, to Cherniak's claiming a victory for Dion in last night's debate, I have to say "No fuc*ing kidding. What else would you ever have done?" A better headline might have been Layton gives it to Dion:

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

When petty opportunism, intellectual dishonesty, and cynical politics come home to roost

I was prepared to write something about another day, same old same old. You know, Cherniak wakes up this morning and goes "wee look at me! Look ma, I made it I made it! I'm on TV! I'm a totally disingenuous windbag who long ago traded in integrity, principles, and critical thinking for good ole Liberal opportunism and entitlement."

Then something else caught my eye, and I thought, this could be the train wreck that people who read Cherniak have tuned in for. It could be nothing, or it could be the sound of Cherniak's McCarthyist politics coming home to roost. 

There were signs that Cherniak was a runaway train already two years ago.  Here and Here