Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What The F@&#??? Cons Disparage Pillar Of Our Democracy

Who the hell do these dangerous nutjobs think they are? What the Conservatives did yesterday in Parliament was akin to what shady dictators do around the world to grab power... These arrogant fools have repeatedly attacked any institution that seems to contradict them or their views. This is reminiscent of some acts of "manufactured crisis" that have been witnessed around the world, prior to military coups, or dictatorial take-overs... Burning of houses of assembly, marginalizing of parts of the population, making light of dangerous national unity situations, etc., etc.

Certainly these idiots that attempt to govern don't intend to install a dictatorship, but their complete lack of respect for the institutions that make up this country is frightening. Their very skewed world-view leads them to believe that their way is the only way (right wing, no compromise), and that anyone that isn't completely with them is against them.

Many bloggers - including myself - have blogged about the Conservatives' ulterior motives. Until they took power it was just speculation, but they have time and time again proved us right. It is our job to convey this very frightening message to the Canadian public... Canada, as we know it, is under threat. It's not Al Quaida, or "terrorists", or China, or some other foreign power. No... Canada is under siege from within... From neoCon fifth-columnists who will stop at nothing to destroy the fabric of this great land. It is NEVER right to allow the left or right to contort democracy too greatly, but this is exactly what is beginning to happen here. Our democracy - which is rooted in public responsibility and accountability - is slowly being eroded so it can be sold off to corporate and foreign interests.

Time to wake up Canada!


Some bloggers today have put forth some interesting arguments regarding "to carbon tax, or not to carbon tax". I'm in favor of measures to help our environment, but I think we need to rethink the whole "oil deal". We tend to approach these discussions with the mindset that the oil belongs to the oil companies, and they are "making" the gasoline and giving it to us. I think we need to take the view that much of the world (Saudis, China, Russia, etc.) take with their oil - ie - that it is OUR OIL. Big oil simply comes in and refines it for us.

Now to put that into perspective. Imagine you have a garden. A landscaping company wants to come in and "prune your trees" and "mow your lawn". Now this is very well something you can do on your own, but you concede that you "don't have the time". So, you hire the company, thinking it will be a reasonable cost, and your yard will be beautiful. You come home and find, however, that your trees are gone, your veggies have all been dug up, your lawn is now a private golf course with "brought to you by XYZ Landscapers" billboards, and the lawn jockeys are sitting in your driveway selling you your vegetables at a nice mark-up. You are upset, but deep down inside you're kind of happy not to have to do the work yourself. Besides, all the neighbors are doing it. The landscaping company also happens to be a part of a conglomerate that indicated your giving them access to your yard means their "home security division" will provide you lo-cost security.

This is basically what has occurred to us vis-a-vis OUR OIL.

That oil belongs to you and me. It surprises me how many of the general public treat the oil as something the oil company provides.

These money-grubbing leeches (yeah, I love BIG oil) cajoled successive federal and provincial governments into rights to resources on vast tracts of land to make mega-trillion dollar profits over the years. Now when times are tough, and we have an economy that is seeing inflation and stagnation, and gasoline is a key contributing factor, expect BIG oil to sit back and do nothing. Actually - correction - they will do something - they will spend countless millions advertising to ensure that people like Albertans will think those companies look out for their best interests. You'll see citizens who may not even work for big oil agreeing to the blatant raping of Canadian consumers.

Yes, BIG oil will cry and say, "but we developed your industry. We found your oil". Oh really? I suppose they also created it. When the commodity itself is worth so much, you don't need a mega-rich FOREIGN (emphasis on foreign) conglomerate coming in to "assist" us in getting it out of the ground.

It's like having a garden, but letting ridiculously highly paid lawncare pros come into your back yard, harvest it, then resell your tomatoes to you, at a nice profit (to justify paying for the employees earning 100,000-plus, plus, plus, per year).

We need to be a LOT tougher as a government, and also institute price controls in the oil sector to ensure that a vital commodity is available to the very people who own it - the Canadian people. Yanks will still come here to find some of the safest oil in the world - no matter the price. We also need to have an "export price" and a "domestic price" to give Canadians some of the benefits of the oil. Keep the taxes where they are (yes the Cons will argue agains the taxes, but the taxes create our only legacy from the oil currently - the highways, bridges, etc.). A controlled and regulated "domestic price" will be fair. Heck, it won't hurt the companies at all, considering our population is less than California's (one state), and we own less cars.

We would regulate pollution as well, and need to ensure that the oil companies pay for the damage to the environment - more importantly, ensuring the damage doesn't happen in the first place.

Regulation is a tough one. We can't expect local or provincial governments to be responsible. Yes, resources are partially provincial, BUT, it's too easy for a provincial government to see itself as "owned" by the oil cos... just take a look at some semi-arid Western provinces... Regulation has to be a federal duty. The federal government HAS to look out for the best interests of ALL Canadians - not just the ones who happen to live in an oil-rich province. Environmental protection will be huge part of the regulation. We will have to be tough on the industry that for many years has treated our beautiful landscape as a dumping ground. We need to protect our water too, as so many hundreds of thousands of liters of fresh water are pumped through each oil well daily... and we watch while rivers like the Bow run dry... The oil industry will need to right these wrongs before they come for more. They will still come, however, as paying a little more is still better than paying a lot more AND getting shot at in the Middle East.

Our nation is a vast one, and we rely heavily on fossil fuels for heating and transport across our vast distances. We need to ensure the growth of our land - while we continue to take measures to protect the environment. Real government regulation is the key.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Why We Don't Care For People Like Harper...

Some nice work by fellow BC Bloggers (Mound of Sound, Woman At Mile 0, etc.) in beginning to assemble a "picture" of the Stephen Harper we all fear and hate.  I urge all bloggers to put down their thoughts on why people with Harper's neoCon mindset cannot be trusted, and are BAD for this country.

I've written a lot on what I think about Harper, but here's a comment I left for "Mound of Sound":

"Mound: This is fantastic stuff. You (and/or your partner) have basically outlined Stephen Harper, Bush-Cheney, and the entire neoCon movement. I'd say your comments should really be a part of speaking points for every Liberal MP - and every Liberal Party member.

I agree with you precisely. My greatest fear is Harpo's techniques - along with the complicit media (they would just discredit the CBC as being lefty-Liberal appointees) - would destroy Canada's "management infrastructure" to such a point that we would have no alternative than to join a stronger union with the US, or allow for corporate hegemony to get out of it.

We need to continue getting our message out - we are in more dire times than people know (even the "think-they're-neoCons" who vote Con, but don't even fit into the category of people who would benefit from conservative policy - ie - "the Heartland farmers")."

We're seeing a time in Canadian politics where a lot of people are not thinking about why they vote for a person or party.  The Conservatives and Stephen Harper BOTH need to be defined.  The continuing scams and scandals involving this government are a good framework, however, it is more important that these ideologues get put in their place based on their simplistic ideology - rather than a scandal.  Canadians did not reject Liberal values and principles when they gave the Cons a slight minority government in 2006 - they voted against a scandal that was blown way out of proportion by both media and opposition.  While it is important that people retain the right to punish their elected officials through the ballot, it needs to be done carefully - and after considering what they accept or reject along with the seeming impropriety.  

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

This Is How We Shovel The BS...

Okay guys... all together now...

Yup, Bush is showing the "wanna-be" cowboy how real cowboys shovel the $hit...

We must say, they've gotten pretty good at it too... even had the media fooled... until the cops show up with search warrants...

This would make a pretty good election ad, wouldn't it?

"Stephen Harper wants to keep feeding you something... But honest, hard-working Canadians just won't be fooled again..."

Talk about not having the foresight to limit photo-ops when they present you in a poor light!

"Con-fidence" Poster... A Little Fun With Photoshop...

(Follow the link in the image to source)

Everyone recalls the "Libranos" posters the Cons were flouting in 05/06... Well, I don't have the time to photoshop this beaut, but someone please take a moment or two, and get this done up... I can see Harper, Flaherty, Baird, and maybe Geiorgous (sp?) gracing this poster - with "Con-Fidence" along with the CPC logo emblazoned on it.

I have the resources to print these... Any takers? (Obviously giving credit to whomever has the copyrights)...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Party of Nationbuilding: Time To Build

With the recent revelations (well, not really revelations to those of us who knew all along), we have to fear there is going to be an increased public perception of dishonesty in politics. Scratch the NDP, Greens, and even more irrelevant Bloc, the fact is the public is going to lose faith even more after this Conservative scam... More so as more facts come to light.

Something is stinky in Ottawa, and it needs to be fixed. Grumpy Voter made some good points about us not "pointing fingers" and laughing... I mean, hey, the public has fairly long memories (everyone remember Mulroney?). One thing he does forget though, is that this current Conservative scandal (one of many) taints the entire party - including the leadership. And by taint, I mean that it appears they are all involved. On the Liberal side of things, we know that Adscam was basically some members of the Quebec wing playing stupid with the rules.

So what can we do - in a positive vein - to attract voters? We can sit back and let angry Canadians slide over to us. They will. There is, however, always a fear that there is slippage to the Greens... Maybe even the Bloc in Quebec. What can we do to really stand out? I say we introduce aggressive new accountability guidelines in Ottawa. Something the NDP and Bloc would support. Talk about these being "real" measures - unlikes Harper's "lip-service/anything-to-get-elected plan". Let the Tories vote against it - THEN - we topple the government and give Canadians a choice. A choice to vote FOR something, rather than against it.

Think we can do this? Give Canadians something to vote FOR??? To be really accepted with open arms, it may be the best thing we can do for ourselves. If we don't, we may suffer in the near future as well - as the odd Quebec operative gets trotted before the courts and reminds the public of old stuff that doesn't involve the whole party - but drags us through the mud...

Sound accountability measures - maybe giving the auditor general more staff - coupled with a strong Liberal/liberal, center-of-the-road platform with a solid economic, social, and environmental plan, WILL get us elected.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Van Loan (Con MP): "In & Out" = Adscam... Hmmm...

Hope all other bloggers pick up on this and repeat it ad nauseum:

Conservative MP Peter Van Loan on a TV interview:

"But it is the same issue in that money was spent off the books in election campaigns. ..." (comparing the Conservative "In & Out" Scam to "Adscam").

Thank you Mr. Van Loan. Thank you for the admission. Let's ensure the crooks on the Conservative side are fined/charged.

ps: This overspending apparently also included PM Harper's riding...

Crooked Conservative Election Scheme Swindles Taxpayer Dollars?

Well, today we learn what some members of the media (handpicked by Conservative Party officials to be "embedded spin-recipients") probably weren't told yesterday in the series of secret meetings held around Ottawa by frightened Conservatives running rodent-like from hotel room to hotel room...

Can't wait to see Fatboy Harper spin his way out of this one.  Enough of this pig at the trough already...

So much for their feigned attempt at "goodness", and reigning in of government corruption.  Like the saying goes, the only "good" Tory is a suppository.  My only fear is Canadians will stop having any faith in "goodness" existing in Ottawa.  


Friday, April 18, 2008

Adscam: Liberals Were Victims

Yup. Based on charges laid by the RCMP, it's turning out, more and more, that Adscam really just involved people who HAPPENED to be members of the Liberal Party of Canada (Quebec) ripping off BOTH the Liberal Party, and the government.

This is something akin to someone who happens to be a VP in some large company robbing the company along with some customers - to pad his own pockets. To color the whole organization is just plain wrong - and I think we ALL take offense to that (maybe we should sue the other parties for defamation? Class action suit anyone?) It's what happened to us in 2006. We were drive-by smeared by the Opposition because of appearances. Because the perp just happened to be a member of our party. I wonder how many crimes have been committed by members of other parties? When a Vancouver NDP MP stole a piece of jewelery from a store, did we call the entire NDP crooks? No. Not even when around the same time a senior Saskatchewan NDP MP was involved in an illegal action. What about the Cons? Obviously they're not "squeaky clean" either - based on what we're seeing recently (and have seen in the past). It's all public perception, and the timing of accusations which can bring down a government.

Senior Liberals probably knew that Gomery would find someone robbing from the Party, and from the government. This is probably why Mr. Martin was so earnestly pushing for investigation. He was as angry as any Liberal - and any Canadian - should be. We were wronged. It goes to show that a party needs to be careful of just whom they appoint to key positions. Someone's track record in business or private life needs to be looked at... not just what they've done for the party. Like every party we do unfortunately appoint/elect some flakes sometimes. We have to be careful to put forward more "selfless" individuals, and not people who are just party members for personal gain (notoriety, etc.). We should look more to life-long members for key positions (many of the "Adscam" perps were former Tories, or had also worked with the Tories - like Chuck Guite). During the "wake" of the old PC Party, many PC refugees swam over to the good ship Liberal. Many of them brought baggage. Remember, there were a lot of crooks in the old Mulroney government. When they had nowhere to go, they jumped on the Liberal Team - particularly the Martin bandwagon (many Alberta and Sask Tories worked for the Federal Liberals in the past 10 years, but are "back home" now).

So, why the "interesting" headline? Well we WERE indeed victims (the Liberal Party, that is). This is in CLEAR CONTRAST with what the Conservatives are (as it currently appears). In the recent cases of Conservative Scandal, people in the PMO were involved, and what appears to be the national party (Cadscam, "In & Out", etc.). So what does this amount to? Basically, the Liberals were blackballed over some things that never had anything to do with the Liberal Party (Income Trust Leak), or never happened ("Shawinigate"), or were gross distortions and misrepresentations ("Adscam"). However, with recent events (and some that occurred years ago - like "Cadscam"), Conservatives can never again play "holier than thou".

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

General Hillier's Plans

The last two governments have had a somewhat stormy relationship with General Hillier. Both the Cons and Liberals have had occasion to claim that the General's actions were partisan. Very often the differences were brought out publicly by the media.

As someone with a family past rooted in the military, I have to say that while the General was out of place many a time (and soldiers and police shouldn't be "public" figures), his intentions were always for the betterment of his army - our armed forces. Yes, he was outspoken. Yes, he got under everyone's skin sometimes - okay, a lot of times. But the good General was able to obtain for his troops the tools they needed to do their jobs. Even if it was to ensure his legacy isn't tainted, General Hillier has brought significant attention to the needs of the army in Afghanistan. As a commander of his forces, he has been a "good soldier".

What will the good General do now? Perhaps a career in politics? He was a fixture on the Hill. I recall meeting him in an elevator on the way up to the Parliamentary cafe' for lunch one day. He was all business-like. The day was the fall of the Paul Martin government, and the General must have been on his way to speak with senior government officials - to brief them - on goings-on in Afghanistan. Even on that day - a day where the future of the government was up in the air - the Liberal officials were meeting with the General, and showing concern over recent events overseas. Both Hillier, and the Liberal Government officials understood the importance of these global events... something it seems Conservatives just don't get... (considering their constant international faux pas'). It could be easy to imaging General Hillier running in the next election for one of the two major parties.

While some on these boards will criticize the General, we can most likely save that for the election. At this point it is important to respect his zeal for supporting his troops - our troops. A good soldier is one who carries out his duty faithfully, follows orders, and maintains the welfare of the troops. Expressing the will of the nation is critical too, and it would seem that General Hillier was faithfully expressing the will of this government - even when he was "hung out to dry" by Conservative denials/lies about what really happened.

RCMP Raid Conservative HeadQuarters...

Well, it seems like "Harper's Bunker" (the mega-million dollar command center the Cons built in Ottawa) couldn't hold back the forces of good... Elections Canada required RCMP assistance, BUT they did manage to get into the stronghold to obtain important information critical to proving the Cons broke Election Canada rules and Canadian Election Laws.

It remains to be seen what will come of this RCMP investigation, but it does certainly help to bring an important issue into the public spotlight.

Now wouldn't it have been good if we pulled the plug on these revisionist troglodytes a few weeks ago? Back when we had good public attention on the gay-bashing, and the regressive immigration policy these clowns brought in? Would have been great to see the RCMP march into Conservative HQ during week one of an election campaign - and talk about election "irregularities".

With all that has gone on in regards to the Conservative attacks on minorities, Cadscam, Mulroney-Schreiber-Gate, etc., and now this election "fraud" (perhaps?)... the time is ripe to "go" with a non-confidence motion. Parliament - the Canadian people - cannot continue to have confidence in a government which may not have even been legitimately elected. We know how much weight TV ads can bring to bear on campaigns.

Harper's bunker has been breached... Time for us to mass our troops and get ready for the campaign of Stephane Dion's life... The issues are: Conservative corruption and lack of integrity; Conservative attacks on minorities and the Canadian way of life; Conservative mis-management of the economy - in particular the attack on big cities and Ontario...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Jason Kenney, A Bigot? No! You're Kidding! Was He Trying To Hide NeoNazis?

As someone who lived in Calgary and Saskatchewan for many years, hearing things like this from the mouths of neo-Cons was all too common. That's why it doesn't surprise me that someone like Jason Kenney would be caught on tape bashing and stereotyping South Asians. His choice words for the Sikh community (stated pertaining to a handful of South Asians who happened to be on their board apparently) were angry, hateful, racist, and very condescending.

No matter how much the Conservatives try to curry favor with certain minority groups, and pretend they actually have a positive policy base for minorities and immigrants, their bigoted comments give away their true intentions all the time. They publicly state one thing, but then go behind closed doors and bash minorities, women, First Nations, Quebec, Ontario (well I guess that's pretty public now), the Atlantic, cities, etc. They also take part in "whisper campaigns" on the doorstep in every election.

What exactly did Kenney say? Specifically he said, "overheated Sikhs" would use "the race card" to win arguments. But it goes deeper. Much deeper. It appears that Kenney was looking to hide the fact that a candidate for the party may have been a member of the neo-Nazi Heritage Front. From Canada.com:

"Kenney and other participants on the conference call were told they must deal with a rumour that a member of the executive for the Canadian Alliance riding association in what was then known as Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale might be a member of the Heritage Front, a Canadian neo-Nazi white supremacist group. "The whole national campaign could go down on that alone," Kenney says, according to the transcript published by a magazine. Kenney then asks for more information: "Now, this notion that there's somebody tied to the Heritage Front on the executive. How do we know that and how do we know that this isn't overheated Sikhs using the race card, which they so often do when their credentials are being questioned?"

Now Kenney will claim - like all the good conservatives do - the typical bigot response - something like, "I got friends who are (insert minority here)", or "We have hundreds of (insert minority here) in our party". Well we know from his comments that the minorities are only in his party so they can be carted around to help win nominations and elections in ridings where the Conservatives otherwise wouldn't have a hope. They are manipulated with illusions of grandeur (although, for some - definitely for a few in my community - being a "big shot" is more important than the tactics or "anti-you" policies of some parties) and personal gain/notoriety, then see their members sit on the furthest back benches of power (yet often conveniently within camera shot of the Leader).

Yup, the Conservatives will trot out the "sellouts", just to try to "prove" that they're not all racists, or they're not anti-minority, etc. They'll also take a swipe at the odd Liberal or NDPer who may have made certain comments. Let them do that. If they want to go comment for comment, we could easily drag out about 95% of the anti-minority comments ever made by a politician in Canada - and attribute them all to people on the right of the political spectrum (Conservatives, Socreds, etc.).

There is a fundamental issue with the Conservative treatment of minorities. They do, however, do a pretty good job of convincing members of some minority groups that they're looking out for their best interests. They typically do this in a few ways: Assisting some key community leaders with immigration matters, then "taking back the favor" with the votes of all their kin and kith. Another common Conservative tactic is to take on "failed Liberals" (ie: members of a divided community who lost a bitter nomination battle, lost face, and now just MUST become an MP any way possible - meaning winning the Con nomination).

Regardless of how anti-minority, anti-immigrant, or anti-whatever the Cons' policies and ideology may be, they manage to get the "minority window-dressing" they need to legitimize their party. Sometimes they manage to appeal to a broader group of the minority - with focus on ideals dear to social conservatives - like draconian "law-and-order" measures, or same-sex marriage - where the Conservative take on the idea matches those of some ultra-orthodox (and extreme) members of some religious sects. While this may be one issue only - and other Conservative ideas could marginalize that community completely - they may still support the Cons to enough of an extent to win a riding.

Same old hateful Reform-Allia-Cons. So what should the Liberal response be? Well, sticking to our principles would be good, for one. If the party doesn't understand how much the immigration issue REALLY MATTERS to a core of supporters who are critical to win many urban and suburban ridings, then our "strategists" are a bunch of idiots. Here's to hoping that the "strategists" and "powers-that-be" grow some cajones and decide to vote down the ridiculous, and very frightening, Conservative changes to the immigration process.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

American Rot, Part II - Regulatory & Gov't Agencies, & Big Media

Listening to the news this morning was just one more reason to avoid any US airlines when traveling this summer (or ever)... It appears FAA inspectors were harassed, bribed, and threatened when inspecting airplanes from several airlines. These inspectors had found cracks in metal and metal fatigue, faulty landing gear, electrical problems, substandard windshields, and other problems ad nauseum. The airlines response, it seems was to bribe, threaten, and make side deals with the FAA. One such encounter had an inspector warned about "losing his comfortable life" that he and "his family" enjoy so much. Another situation involved an inspector actually being fired because he didn't back down. It was finally those that take the risks to fly the subpar aircraft who stood up and complained (pilots and flight crew).

The failure of American regulators to "regulate" is an ongoing concern - especially in the past 15 or 20 years - but, has existed since the regulatory bodies were set up. The biggest challenge seems to be the "pro-corporate-giant" setup of the bodies themselves. A typical appointee to the FAA is former industry worker - often a former employee of Boeing, Lougheed, General Electric (largest manufacturer of jet engines/components), or one of the major airlines. A typical FDA adviser usually hails from the big drug cos, or from the rest of the medical industry. The list goes on. These former employees typically will have relationships within their old industry - they're usually appointed or hired BASED ON REFERRALS FROM THEIR INDUSTRY/BUSINESSES. The bodies will typically outsource a lot of their tasks to businesses who are friendly to the government and/or the industry they are regulating (after all, that is their lifeblood).

The compromising of a government agency. One that is a watchdog for civilian safety. So, when else has this happened?

FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Anyone familiar with tainted beef on US store shelves? Does anyone seem to care about the amount of hormones, steroids, and antibiotics pumped into cows, pigs, and chickens? Since when were real drumsticks the size of your whole hand??? Remember the VIOXX scandal? They were in such a rush to approve a big drug company's product, that... well, you know what happened. People died. The "ketek" scandal (ketek was an antibiotic that was improperly approved - against advice of FDA scientists). Then there was this story from a major health advisory group in the US: "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, under sharp criticism for its drug safety behavior involving anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants, and the silencing of its own drug safety scientists, has been offered a new name today: the Fraud and Drug Administration. The winning name was chosen from among hundreds of entries submitted by health consumers fed up with the FDA's apparent mission to protect the profits of drug companies."

FEMA (Federal Emergency Measures). One can just say "Katrina" and leave it at that. The outsourcing in this government agency was so bad (and remember, it was run by one of Bush's arch-conservative buddies) that the following occurred (words alone can't describe this kind of crap): "The Federal Emergency Management Agency has hired Kenyon International to set up a mobile morgue for handling bodies in Baton Rouge, Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina. Kenyon is a subsidiary of Service Corporation International (SCI), a scandal-ridden Texas-based company operated by a friend of the Bush family. Recently, SCI subsidiaries have been implicated in illegally discarding and desecrating corpses. "(courtesy Miriam Rafferty - the Raw Story).

NSA/CIA/FBI (C'mon, like Sept. 11th and the Iraq invasion weren't unmitigated disasters) These agencies blew it in a big way on that day - and many days since then... They're also big "outsourcers" (to private American interests, not overseas).

What's the common thread here? Conservatives and Big Corporate greed unfettered. And why don't we hear about it? Well, first of all, all these major companies are owned by wealthy old men who seem to all be members of, or benefactors of the Conservative parties in our countries (Republicans, Conservatives elsewhere). How else do they avoid detection? NBC is owned by GE, one of the world's largest manufacturers of nuclear bombs, aircraft engines, and other large commercial and military hardware. CBS? ABC? Fox? Take a look at the paragraphs below... Several key Republicans sit on the boards of these companies. Why would they EVER bite the military-industrial-complex "hand" that feeds them??? The ROT is deeper than it first appears...

How do they influence voting and consumer opinion? How about by owning all the news?

(donated 1.1 million to GW Bush for his 2000 election campaign)
Television Holdings:
* NBC: includes 13 stations, 28% of US households.
* NBC Network News: The Today Show, Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, Meet the Press, Dateline NBC, NBC News at Sunrise.
* CNBC business television; MSNBC 24-hour cable and Internet news service (co-owned by NBC and Microsoft); Court TV (co-owned with Time Warner), Bravo (50%), A&E (25%), History Channel (25%).
The "MS" in MSNBC
means microsoft
The same Microsoft that donated 2.4 million to get GW bush elected.
Other Holdings:
* GE Consumer Electronics.
* GE Power Systems: produces turbines for nuclear reactors and power plants.
* GE Plastics: produces military hardware and nuclear power equipment.
* GE Transportation Systems: runs diesel and electric trains.

Westinghouse Electric Company, part of the Nuclear Utilities Business Group of British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL)
whos #1 on the Board of Directors? None other than:
Frank Carlucci (of the Carlyle Group)
Television Holdings:
* CBS: includes 14 stations and over 200 affiliates in the US.
* CBS Network News: 60 minutes, 48 hours, CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, CBS Morning News, Up to the Minute.
* Country Music Television, The Nashville Network, 2 regional sports networks.
* Group W Satellite Communications.
Other Holdings:
* Westinghouse Electric Company: provides services to the nuclear power industry.
* Westinghouse Government Environmental Services Company: disposes of nuclear and hazardous wastes. Also operates 4 government-owned nuclear power plants in the US.
* Energy Systems: provides nuclear power plant design and maintenance.

Television Holdings:
* Paramount Television, Spelling Television, MTV, VH-1, Showtime, The Movie Channel, UPN (joint owner), Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Sundance Channel (joint owner), Flix.
* 20 major market US stations.
Media Holdings:
* Paramount Pictures, Paramount Home Video, Blockbuster Video, Famous Players Theatres, Paramount Parks.
* Simon & Schuster Publishing.

(donated 640 thousand to GW's 2000 campaign)
Television Holdings:
* ABC: includes 10 stations, 24% of US households.
* ABC Network News: Prime Time Live, Nightline, 20/20, Good Morning America.
* ESPN, Lifetime Television (50%), as well as minority holdings in A&E, History Channel and E!
* Disney Channel/Disney Television, Touchtone Television.
Media Holdings:
* Miramax, Touchtone Pictures.
* Magazines: Jane, Los Angeles Magazine, W, Discover.
* 3 music labels, 11 major local newspapers.
* Hyperion book publishers.
* Infoseek Internet search engine (43%).
Other Holdings:
* Sid R. Bass (major shares) crude oil and gas.
* All Disney Theme Parks, Walt Disney Cruise Lines.

(donated 1.6 million to GW's 2000 campaign)
America Online (AOL) acquired Time Warner–the largest merger in corporate history.
Television Holdings:
* CNN, HBO, Cinemax, TBS Superstation, Turner Network Television, Turner Classic Movies, Warner Brothers Television, Cartoon Network, Sega Channel, TNT, Comedy Central (50%), E! (49%), Court TV (50%).
* Largest owner of cable systems in the US with an estimated 13 million subscribers.
Media Holdings:
* HBO Independent Productions, Warner Home Video, New Line Cinema, Castle Rock, Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera.
* Music: Atlantic, Elektra, Rhino, Sire, Warner Bros. Records, EMI, WEA, Sub Pop (distribution) = the world’s largest music company.
* 33 magazines including Time, Sports Illustrated, People, In Style, Fortune, Book of the Month Club, Entertainment Weekly, Life, DC Comics (50%), and MAD Magazine.
Other Holdings:
* Sports: The Atlanta Braves, The Atlanta Hawks, World Championship Wrestling.

6) NEWS CORPORATION LTD. / FOX NETWORKS (Rupert Murdoch) (donations see bottom note)
Television Holdings:
* Fox Television: includes 22 stations, 50% of US households.
* Fox International: extensive worldwide cable and satellite networks include British Sky Broadcasting (40%); VOX, Germany (49.9%); Canal Fox, Latin America; FOXTEL, Australia (50%); STAR TV, Asia; IskyB, India; Bahasa Programming Ltd., Indonesia (50%); and News Broadcasting, Japan (80%).
* The Golf Channel (33%).
* Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight.
* 132 newspapers (113 in Australia alone) including the New York Post, the London Times and The Australian.
* 25 magazines including TV Guide and The Weekly Standard.
* HarperCollins books.
* Sports: LA Dodgers, LA Kings, LA Lakers, National Rugby League.
* Ansett Australia airlines, Ansett New Zealand airlines.
* Rupert Murdoch: Board of Directors, Philip Morris (USA).
*(Phillip Morris donated 2.9 million to George W Bush in 2000)*

All of these big corporations have vested interests in America's Republican Party, its government, AND have former officers lodged in the "watchdog" agencies listed above. So, a consumer can clearly draw the links and parallels between the various industry watchdogs, the government, and how little ever gets done for the "little guy", "job public".

This military-industrial machine - headed towards becoming a vast monolith with "corporate incest" fast consolidating smaller companies - is slowly BECOMING the only higher authority in America. How else could drug companies and aircraft manufacturers shirk their responsibilities for public safety? How else could they - along with large insurance companies fail to respond when disasters like Katrina strike? How else could a government start a war to appease "big oil", (in the name of "energy security), then give all the private "war contracts" to its' own buddies (Halliburton, Blackwater, Carlyle Group, etc.)? How else could a government sell it's governmental duties to the private sector, then watch idly, while the for-profit sector pockets piles of public money and offers substandard, unregulated garbage for a "product"? Only in conservative America.

... And the media - the "unbiased media" - stands idly by, feeding the public trash like reality TV, celebrity gossip and scandal, and an endless stream of violence and gore to help complete the "dumbing down" of America. The media stands by, while planes fall out of the sky - not by terrorist bombs, but of their own accord. Patients in $5000/day US hospitals suffer from exploding hearts due to "experimental" drugs released too early by the FDA. How many Americans have been murdered in the past year alone, by negligence by large companies? How many of those companies have been "bombed back into the stone age" as a result - much less brought to justice?

Ahhh... the results of unchecked free enterprise... of unbridled, unfettered capitalism. The American decline continues, as the rot sets in deeper and deeper and deeper - to the point where consumers will accept anything that comes along, unquestioning.

We Canadians can stand back and say, "that's just the US", but we know darned well that Harper and his "America-annexation" fans in Parliament would like nothing better than to drag us down the US gutter along with the American rot. They'll do it by shrinking our government, attacking our institutions - including civilian bodies like the Senate, and selling out to big oil and private interest groups... We must be vigilant, and we MUST (as a party) ensure this does not happen in Canada...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Peter MacKay - Just Changin' The Truth A Little Bit Every Day...

Not sure why news organizations like the CBC don't apply some sort of "Stupidometer", or at least provide viewers with honest narrative?  Last night I had to endure an "ask the Minister" on "The National" with Peter MacKay and Peter Mansbridge, and watch as MacKay "distorted", or clearly lied about one fact or another in relation to the Afghan war...

Here are a couple of the best distortions:  When answering a voter's question about military success in Afghanistan - and the justification to be there, MacKay indicated that we were invited there by the Karzai government (that part is true, although we know Karzai had little choice if he wished to remain in power.  His Northern Alliance allies needed outside help.  MacKay did not stop here, though.  He went on to state that the Soviet Union was an unwelcome occupying force...  Hmmm... Actually Mr. Minister, the old People's Democratic Party regime in Afghanistan had also - similar to Karzai - invited a foreign power in to help them stay in control (in their battle against - guess who? - the Northern Alliance and Taliban, of course)...  

MacKay's second big "untruth", or distortion of the facts:  he stated that we are fighting a terrorist government (when we went to fight the Taliban).  Like the Taliban, or not, they took power in Afghanistan much the same way as power has always been achieved in that land - taking it in civil war and sectarian conflict.  The Taliban were no more legitimate rulers than any previous governments.  The Taliban did indeed support Bin Laden and Al Qaida, but were not terrorists.  Only terrorist sympathizers - in much the same way as Americans supported reactionaries in Angola, or the Mujahaddin in Afghanistan.  They mistreated their people in a fashion similar to religious regimes anywhere.  

It would be great if the CBC and other news agencies provided the public with some real background facts after interviewing political figures - to ensure that viewers got most of the facts straight.  

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Support Of Minorities IS OUR Issue - Time To Call An Election Mr. Dion

Good... Now that I have your attention...

It ain't the environment, and it "ain't the economy stupid"... It's not Afghanistan. What one issue appeals to our base, AND clearly delineates us from the Conservatives? It's support for minorities, multiculturalism, and basically tolerance. Some bloggers have been addressing this over the past few days. Far and Wide has made some solid points about "going now" vs. waiting for the Conservatives to wear the "economic downturn collar".

There is a lot to be said about going for an election right now... One does have to consider, however, that IF we win, we could also have to wear the collar of a global recession - that wouldn't make us look good. Perhaps Mr. Rae has vivid recollections of his own situation in Ontario. Maybe that is why some folks say he is behind the "wait on it" approach. Perhaps these guys are counting on voters' memories to be as short as people say they are. It may be true. The issue of the day will usually carry - and that issue changes "daily". Only thing is, if the public hears you're "weak" for a couple of years straight (sort of like "they're crooks" after Gomery), they start to believe it - even if untrue, and ESPECIALLY if we do nothing about it.

So how do we, as Liberals, manage to save face, get the timing right, and still get an election on OUR terms - when WE want it? We must stand for our principles. We have been made to look like we have abandoned them for months... There has to be a case where we TAKE A STAND. More importantly - strategically - we have to STOP BEING SO DAMNED PREDICTABLE. The other parties in Parliament have their election strategies predicated on the guarantee that the Liberals will spew rhetoric, but back down when the time comes to put our money where our mouths are. How do we get over that? How do we start to look, once again, like master tacticians? How do we start to scare our political adversaries and pundits again (electorally speaking, that is)?

We need to "trick" Harper on our voting intention. We tell Harper "yeah, we'll support you". Then we go into Parliament and watch as the Cons stand up and smugly vote for their bill. Next, when our turn comes up we vote against. Then we turn and watch Jack Layton pick his lower jaw up off the floor. And we watch, and we wait, while the Speaker repeats, "Mr. Layton. Mr. Layton... uh... Mr. Layton?" In his shock, Jack will be forced to sit down and abstain, or vote with the government. The same for the Bloc. Harper would have a heart attack realizing how close he came to defeat, but more importantly, would be afraid to ever again take the Liberal vote for-granted. It will be priceless to watch the disarray in the ranks of all 3 parties as we sit after voting "nay", with Cheshire grins on our faces.

I say it's time we "pull the trigger" and FORCE the NDP and Bloc to abstain or back the government. We know the Bloc doesn't want to go to election right now. Immigration has to be our issue - and it won't necessarily cause an election - as long as we hint that we will most likely support the government. Then SHOCK everyone. It will also be a move that makes us the darlings of the media for a while, AND gets Stephane the good press he so badly needs. Sure, there is a risk, but do we really think the NDP, or Bloc want an election any more than we do? I doubt it - especially the Bloc.

This is THE ISSUE. This is OUR ISSUE. The "secret agenda" Conservatives are back... The angry, xenophobes have "re-exposed" themselves...

Time to shock some folks, and throw off the "weak Liberals" yolk, once and for all. Time for a little "Russian Roulette".... Let the Dippers or Blocheads support the Cons. Let them wear it for a change...

Friday, April 04, 2008

Conservative Bigotry - This Thing Is Too Big...

Coming from a party that wants to court immigrants and minorities in the next election, recent goings-on (and not-so-recent ones) are really telling:

Hidden Immigration policy changes aimed at picking "people we like"; not accepting the UN Human Right's Commission's take on human rights; now, a Conservative MP is caught spouting off his true feelings on camera.

Does this tell anyone anything about what Conservatives feel about minorities?

They'll just spew some crap about how we're all "overly politically correct", and that they're "all grown up now", and "don't think that way anymore".  Like Church-lady used to say... "how conveeeeeeenient".

Why don't they just come out and tell us what they really believe?  Maybe then they can honestly pursue their "majority".  There's no integrity in lying about your adult ideals and political convictions.  C'mon Conservatives - be honest with Canadians.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Conservative MP And Conservative Premier On Tape Uttering Bigotted Slur - Hide Behind "I'm all grown up now" Argument

I guess we can call them "born again, non-racist, non-sexist, non-homophobes", with the sorry excuses for "apologies" these clowns threw out today (and they did hit the "trifecta" on this by bashing Ukrainians, women, AND gay people all in one shot). We knew it was only a matter of time before Harper's Neo-Con nutjobs finally managed to speak their minds - tight PMO reins, or not. The recorded comments - found in the Saskatchewan Legislature no less - with hateful speech uttered by (now) Sask Premier Brad Wall, and (now) Federal Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski - are ignorant, angry, and NOT a "one-off" comment by someone cracking a "joke", or "an accident".

It's incredible that grown adults can be so racist, sexist, or homophobic. A shame really. It's even more shameful when conservatives stick up for them and say, "oh, it was so long ago... people change"... The statements uttered were some pretty serious and hateful stuff - not the run of the mill "joke" or "misspeak". Deep-seeded political convictions that lead you to support one political party (of an extreme "wing" - left of right), don't just "go away". It's funny that the Cons like to trot out the same "tired" old argument every time - Harper said this... "oh, that was 2 years ago. He's all grown up now...". Stockwell Day said this... "oh that was when he was a provincial cabinet minister in Alberta. He's grown up now too..."

There are some important points regarding these comments:
- That there were multiple conservatives speaking them in what appears to be an official environment.
- They made laws and influenced elected officials while uttering the words...
- They were spoken in what appeared to be an official, or Conservative Party (Sask) function
- They were made by fully grown adults (not when they were teens, or children) who were cognizant of their convictions and chose a political party based on them
- Psychology delineates some clearly defined "stages of development". Adults reach a stage of development, from whence change is rare, and really is just an oddity if or when it happens. Minor traits or habits may change, but deep felt convictions, fears, and prejudices rarely do.

It is really disingenuous for people to hide behind the, "I'm all grown up now" argument. These were not just some random comments made by a teen or "young adult" in college. These were comments made by fully grown men, in positions of relative power. A simple apology won't do. These men should be sent to racial sensitivity courses, and should be taught not to hate - because most of us probably don't believe that they do not still feel the same way about certain minorities or sexual orientations...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Ralph Goodale's Weekly Email Commentary Very Informative - And Environmentally Friendly

With the weekly dumping of Conservative MP newsletters here in Greater Vancouver (My restaurant gets a mailer from Randy Camp almost every couple of days, while my house gets assaulted by Nina Grewal's tripe), it's nice to receive something informative, that doesn't fill my recycle bin, or worse (as I observed yesterday) float down the storm sewers into our salmon habitat...

Ralph Goodale has been focusing on "email circulars" with his "Weekly Commentary" in the past while. The commentary, like Garth Turner's wonderful blog, gives us a very good picture of the goings-on in Parliament - while giving us some hints on potential strategies, or ideas on what "our voice" may be in the days/weeks to come. I urge informed Liberals everywhere to ask to be put on Ralph's e-mailing list, for what WesternGrit feels are very sound ideas and commentary based on real Liberal principles and values presented in a very "straight-shooter", yet eloquent way.

Kudos to Mr. Goodale for sound commentary, and a real environmental conscience - at a time when Conservative MPs think nothing of clogging the nation's mailboxes and filling our garbage dumps with their tax-payer funded partisan junk mail (it remains to be investigated whether the Cons exceeding MP mailing quotas in ridings is legal or not)...

In the Mar 31st Commentary, Ralph talks about the Conservative government's complete lack of IDEAS. One great line from this: "Mr. Harper's original agenda from 2006 - as thin and superficial as it was - was exhausted a long time ago. He's been running on empty for nearly a year now". Ralph talks about how "the TD Bank predicted a sharp slowdown in overall Canadian growth and warned that a federal deficit is once again a real risk - because the Conservatives have been grossly over-spending, while eroding the tax-base at the same time". Ralph goes on to add, "Just over two years ago, Canada had the strongest economy and the best fiscal situation in the western world. There was nearly $100 billion of financial flexibility to work with. Now under Mr. Harper, it's all gone."

It's very interesting to hear the take on Parliamentary goings-on from a gentleman who's been a senior minister in two previous Liberal governments (Cretien and Martin from 1993 to 2005), a lone MLA and Provincial Party Leader in Sask., and (at the time) one of the youngest MPs elected to Parliament in the 1974 Trudeau government at the age of 24. Named Canada's Best MP in 2006 by McLean's Magazine, and still coming across as a "young buck", Ralph is able to "talk smack" with the Cons in a way that leave many a nimble Parliamentarian in awe. He continues to be at the forefront of the Liberal attack on this wretched Conservative government.

Meaningful Numbers For Liberals... Time To Start Appreciating Some Of Our Core Supporters More Than They Have Been...

New figures from Stats Canada show a changing face of Canada (don't tell that to any anal-retentive, cranky, angry conservative). The numbers are as visible as the minorities they represent:

Over 16% of Canadians are from a VISIBLE minority. Not just "minorities", but VISIBLE ones. This is a big stat. Even more interesting (but pretty obvious) is that The numbers are even bigger in the two largest centers (even more than I would have believed). In Greater Vancouver a full 42% of residents hail from a visible minority. In Toronto an even larger 43% of residents are from a more "visible" (or "non-white") minority group.

We've long known that the economic and social ideals of the Liberal Party have been great for not just moderate Canadians, but clearly these ideals have struck chords with visible minorities over and over. At the current time - with our power seeming to be centered around cities, and judging by the last leadership convention - I would also postulate that the numbers of "visible" minority Canadians supporting the party is even greater than it seems. We need to do what we can to ensure we shore up that support in the next election. It will be the main battleground between us and Harper - not the "environment", or inflation, or even the economy. Sure these issues will count, but it will be how they apply to visible minorities which may determine who wins in the "905 belt", or suburban Greater Vancouver, etc.

It is critical that the party maintain it's prominent role as the voice of moderate middle of the road Canadians, new Canadians, and visible minority Canadians. Our leadership needs to ensure this happens - before we start thinking of other "grandiose" strategies, or planning out new battlefields to engage Harper on. Immigration and minorities are Harper's Achilles heel. We need to make sure that Harper is cut down to size when Canadians see what his party's core really thinks about immigration, minorities, and other groups.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

"NO!" To Bill C-50 - Why This Anti-Immigrant Conservative Gov't MUST Be Defeated!

We always knew the "new" Conservatives were non-progressive xenophobes. Well, now we see it in Bill C-50. The Measures undertaken by the bill will help this "new" government select the immigrants they want. We already know the differential treatment immigrants from Asia (particularly South Asia) and Africa face in the immigration process - when compared to immigrants from more "Northern" areas... C-50 will hope to quash large numbers of new immigrants from South Asia. As a restaurant owner, I find it particularly disturbing that this government of economic rejects thinks we can "make do" with Canadian-born workers. Ever try to keep a Canadian-born restaurant worker - even with a solid salary? Not happening. We have relied on immigrant labor - in particular from South and East Asia - for a long time. South Asia graduates large numbers of "Hotel Management" and food services trainees... who become exception restaurant staff.

Let's keep this short and sweet. Where should Liberals stand on this? That's a "no-brainer". Immigrant Canadians and their Canadian-born children are a core part of Liberal support across this country. The new Conservative attack on immigration is an affront to every one of those Canadians.

The Liberal Party sorely needs to maintain ridings in major urban centers AND the 905 belt around Metro Toronto. The groups that are going to help us hold, or grow seats in those areas, are "ethnic" Canadians.

We can appeal to one of our core constituencies here, since the Conservative threat IS REAL, and is xenophobic legislation aimed at minorities. For our party to sit on it's hands now, is to be hypocrites. We've already lost one long-standing group of supporters (Federalist Quebecers), let's not lose another core group of supporters. Losing "traditional" votes like this may have a longer effect than the "next election". Brian Mulroney was able to successfully "curry favor" if you will, with several ethnic groups, and Team Chretien had to work hard to win that support back. Let's ensure Team Liberal today understands the breadth and scope of the potential fallout here. There are certain policy and ideological differences that help new Canadians and minorities distinguish between us and the Conservatives. We will hurt ourselves if we allow a blurring of that line...

I implore my Liberal MPs and friends. Time to vote "nay" to Bill C-50. For the sake of our party.