Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Neoliberalism As Water Balloon on Vimeo

At the request of one of my esteemed commenters (incidentally an avowed Liberal but of the rarest kind: intelligent and thoughtful), I am spending time on practical and prosaic considerations beckoning in these hard times. Thanks to the blog Relentlessly Progressive Political Economy for first drawing my attention to this brilliant video, in which even Liberals will be able to detect fundamental contradictions in the very system they hold so dear!

more about "Neoliberalism As Water Balloon on Vimeo", posted with vodpod

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Translating Kinsella #3 (Updated)

Once again, for the benefit of the spin impaired and the Kinsella challenged, a summary and translation of the week that was in Kinsella land.

Thanksgiving weekend marked the release of Narcissiev 2.0 (the imperious and arrogant Liberal leader gets a bit of a makeover to appear more modest, compassionate, a kind of newfound sympathy for the poor and working class folk). If I didn't know better (you know, Kennedy's open support for Bob Rae and all), I'd think he'd taken some lessons from Gerrard Kennedy on how to manipulate the public into thinking you actually care about poverty rather than votes.

The work week begins with a shot at the NDP, who apparently weren't quick enough to layout the possibility that Harper will attempt to engineer his own government's defeat with the HST. What Warren doesn't tell you, however, is that the only reason this is now a very real possibility is that the Liberals' ill-timed attempt to bring down the government, their failure to bring anything to the table, and their incessant internal squabbling have offered Harper an opportunity at forming a majority government the next time Canadians go to the polls. If Harper is secretly licking his lips to have an election, we have no one but the Liberals to thank!

Which brings me to the overspun phrase of the week in Kinsella land: "less unpopular". When Kinsella refers to the Conservatives having become "less unpopular" what he really means is Liberals are free falling and Conservatives are steadily edging toward a majority. I ask a similar question that I asked last week. If Harper is reviled, and the Conservatives are less unpopular, what does that make Ignatieff and the Liberals? Wouldn't that make Ignatieff the profoundly reviled leader of a grossly unpopular party???

Not to worry, Kinsella's week was only beginning, and he quickly found a bone to chew on for the remainder of the week: Conservative pork barreling and a politics of arrogance and entitlement. Now, all decent people should be indignant at the Conservatives' deployment of tax payer dollars, especially when Harper railed so strongly against the Liberals when they engaged in likewise cynical and disingenuous politics, while running on a platform of accountability and transparency).

However, here's my question. Does a man who brazenly puts on his website that he ran the war rooms of Jean Chretien and Dalton McGuinty not sound stupefyingly hypocritical when claiming to be aggrieved by Harper's Conservatives? Relegating the Sponsorship scandal aside and to the past (although let's face it, the not so distant nor the not so irrelevant past which today's Liberals want us to think it is), Kinsella has present ties with the McGuinty Liberals.

McGuinty Liberal governments have been arrogant and corrupt to the core and plagued by scandal after scandal. The recent eHealth boondoggle was only the most recent and largest (to date that is) of the reckless and grossly negligent use of public treasury by the McGuinty Liberals. McGuinty's governments have deployed "slush funds", and have been repeatedly scolded by the auditor general for lacking transparency and accountability in their accounting practices and their disbursement of public treasury. McGuinty governments are no less arrogant nor any less filled with overweening entitlement than Harper's Conservative government. McGuinty Liberals may appear a little more contrite when caught acting grievously negligent with our money, but don't let that fool you. From a Liberal point of view, it is not pork barreling that is wrong, it is getting caught; for that may cost them the only thing a Liberal values: YOUR VOTE!

As someone who very carefully observed and documented the negative attack by Kinsella et al on my now MPP, Cheri DiNovo, I have to say that perhaps even more dismaying than the kind of politics exhibited by Liberals, was the lesson drawn by Liberals. For this young brood of Liberals, which takes their cue from Kinsella (the Cherniaks, the Bowie's, Derek "Born with a Tail" Raymaker etc.), the chilling lesson was not that attempting to destroy a person's long earned reputation and good name is wrong, but that their error was the way in which they attempted to defame and dishonour this person in public. As they claimed at the time, they should have just released "the information" to media and let the media run with it and not they themselves.

Michael Narcissieff v2.0 codenamed TIN MAN FINDS HEART seems well under way. Seems that having not managed to dupe adults, "Miky" has opted for a longer term strategy (pretend you're Mr. Rogers, snow the kids with your false pretense and hope they vote for you when they're older). Problem is, in the couple of photos I've seen from this ridiculous photo-op, the children haven't appear the least bit impressed. As far as the announcement is concerned, Stageleft has the best riposte. What's next, a raise the minimum wage campaign, an outcry for affordable housing, for increasing welfare and disability benefits. Remember when Ignatieff sought "real" reform on employment insurance to protect workers. Well he quickly abandoned that when he thought he might have a shot at winning a forced election. Not even a child is fooled by Ignatieff's recent LEFT TURN.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Not quite the same as covering a Beatles song with Yo-Yo Ma backing up, but I believe

A little less Narcissieff Beta version 2.0 released .

Not wanting to bad mouth the Daily Bread Food Bank because I've volunteered and worked with them in the past and they do amazing work, but Daily Bread definitely knows which side of the toast is buttered. Being essentially a Liberal run organization (the last two executive directors were Liberal MP Gerrard Kennedy and Kennedy campaign booster Gail Nyberg), it is often out of step with other anti-poverty groups and often the first to lend some credibility to the Ontario Liberals' disingenuous attempts to deal with housing and poverty.

Note the political mileage that Gerrard Kennedy has extracted from sitting as ED of the Daily Bread Food Bank. Sitting on a board usually means very little, but for Kennedy it has enabled him to masquerade as an anti-poverty activist and extricate votes from "progressive" swing voters.

Still, hat's off to Daily Bread which despite being hijacked by Liberals keeps equality and justice alive. Pretty much my feelings about democracy. Despite neoliberals (Conservatives & Liberals) best efforts to either pervert or mitigate it, a democracy of the people will prevail.


"Michael" is such a compassionate man of the people; not an elitist bone in his body (unless you're Ukranian but that's a story for another day). For a more kindhearted advocate of the poor and downtrodden, perhaps only..... Gerrard Kennedy.

As well, for all you social conservatives don't fail to notice that Michael & Zsuzsanna are well suited to your nukelar (cf. Dubya) family values discourse. One "Hail Mary directed at "progressives"; one "Our Father" aimed at social conservatives (I mean, Ward, June, and Wally Cleaver- don't think "the Beav" can vote yet).

No counterspin needed, the recent spin attempts unwind themselves.

Translating Kinsella #2

For the benefit of the spin impaired and the Kinsella challenged, I thought I might provide another installment of translating Kinsella. The tortured and defiled word of the moment is "brilliant", a word used by Kinsella to describe Paul Martin's cheap shot at the Conservatives. You see, in Kinsellaland "brilliant" means predictably partisan, shallow analysis, and a word to be bandied about when trying desperately to survive an unthinkably abysmal couple of weeks. This isn't, however, about piling on; rather about counterspinning. So here we go in the week that was Kinsella's "musings" (remember back when the blog was named Kinsella's "musings" as if reflection not deflection were the impetus for the writing).

The week begins with textbook disavowal, under the guise of Kinsella's media rules: "When the National Post editorial board says you are making political mistakes, it means you aren't, at all. Keep doing what you are doing." Deny, deny, deny in the hope that it is a lie.

Then, having been outdone at manipulating the Canadian public by Stephen Harper, Kinsella must have been beside himself. That gratuitous photo-op could have been "Michael's", and the Liberals not the Conservatives could be flirting with a majority. In referring to Harper as "reviled Conservative Prime Minister", what is he saying about Ignatieff, whose approval ratings have steadily declined and are well below Harper's?

To be honest, what really made me take notice this past week was Kinsella's shameless deployment of a true working class hero of the Left, Pete Seeger, singing "Michael, row the boat ashore". While in keeping with contemporary Liberal ideology's penchant for saying, promising, and doing whatever it takes to win, it still seems a little hypocritical to reach that far Left for inspiration. Secondly, the song itself is a kind of "we shall overcome" anthem, referencing the archangel Michael, field commander of the Army of God. So Warren needed his batteries recharged, we can all appreciate that. I just hope he didn't identify with the role of the Liberal archangel in the service of the Liberal Cause. Or worse, that he didn't see "Michael", Ignatieff that is, as the archangel.

The rest of Kinsella's week is essentially consumed with flailing attacks on Harper, ending the week finally on a much less abrasive, almost conciliatory tone. One might think Ignatieff is about to set sail in an different direction. Seems as though Ignatieff is tired of being "framed" by the Conservatives. Apparently we're about to see a more cooperative and congenial Ignatieff. It's almost as though Ignatieff might have come around to the realization that the political pursuit of "the common good" is not necessarily equatable with repeating old cards about Conservatives, nor the self-evident entitlement of the Liberals to govern. Apparently, you have to bring some ideas to the table. Perhaps rather than a coronation in Vancouver, the federal Liberals could have discussed, I don't know, policy. Anyway, I suspect that since Ignatieff is seemingly about to adopt Jack Layton's position, we might see less bravado and fewer chickens up on Kinsella's site.

BTW, to appease Mr. Kinsella's newfound interest in economics, I would humbly send him over to The Progressive Economics Forum should he want to experience a real discussion on economics, and yes, sometimes punctuated with real brilliant insight.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Hearts & Minds Issue #3

Long overdue, but below is the third issue of Hearts & Minds. If there's a more engaged and intelligent riding association than the Parkdale High Park NDP Riding Association, I'd love to see it. While this newsletter results almost entirely from the heroic volunteer effort J. MacNeil, I contend it is as good as anything else out there.

It is such a shame that Peggy Nash was undone by strategic voting in the previous federal election (sadly many of them women who fell for Kennedy's "charm", I mean bullsh*t; there's more in the name than in the man to be sure).

Visit the Parkdale High Park NDP Riding Association website for more information or to subscribe for this excellent newsletter.

Hearts & Minds #3