After much prodding by other bloggers, I set this up for my own writings. The name is in honour of the two women that mentored me throughout my life on politics and intelligence issues, as well as being wonderful family members, now alas deceased. I hope to live up to their standards at this site.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

We elect Parliaments in this country. not governments when we vote.

Kady O'Malley at the MacLeans blog has a very good article from Friday Jan 23 09 up with an interview with the representatives of a group of Constitutional experts regarding how our system of government ACTUALLY works as opposed to the fictions we have been hearing from the Harper government and its allies/defenders in the media and in the online world. The core basis of how we are governed by the House of Commons is that each riding in this country elects an MP (that belongs to a political party or is independent, granted the former is more common than the latter but the latter still occurs as Bill Casey exemplified in the last election showing it is always the people's choice to support and not the parties that defined who runs all by themselves) to sit in the House of Commons. Then in turn the MPs decide who is going to be the government by voting for that government once in the House. The fact that we generally have one party with either a minority or the largest minority automatically being assumed to be the government does not change the process by which it is officially granted the authority under our rules of government.

That phrase I just used, the rules of government, are what is key here. Too often I have seen defenders of Harper claim that the "technical details" (as one of KO's commentators called it) aren't what is important to understand when discussing how governments are elected and operate in our system, an attitude which is terrifying when one actually thinks about it. Those "technical details" are how any government is granted the legitimacy and the authority to govern in a democratic system of government, and therefore are ESSENTIAL to the operating of a smooth transition to and from power for ALL governments. This is axiomatic in a society that is run by the rule of law, which ours most certainly is supposed to be.

That anyone can cavalierly dismiss these "technical details" off so lightly shows not only an ignorance for how our system of government is supposed to operate but naked contempt for it as well, and given we have been seeing that attitude not just from supporters of the Harper government but from that government itself (the way it called the proposed coalition government a coup is but one example of that contempt, there are so many more out there) this shows we are currently governed by those that not only would misinform/lie to the Canadian public about differences of political policy but on the very foundations of the rules by which we govern ourselves all for political partisan benefit. That is something corrosive to any democracy let alone ours and underscores yet again why I maintain Harper is not a traditional Conservative but a dangerous radical or worse revolutionary who cares only for power and how he can use it to remold this nation into his own idea of it regardless of the actual rules of governance as set forth in our laws and Constitutional framework.

though has shown time and time again that for it the only concern is its own grasp on power at any costs, regardless of what the rules say, and this goes back to when they were In this we find the reason why I have come to see Harper as a greater threat to the nation than the Quebecois Separatists. At least the Separatists are open and aboveboard in what they want and how they would go about getting there, and they have shown a willingness to play by the rules (the two referendums being examples) and accepting when they lose. The Harper CPCfirst elected to power. Impolitical has a post up regarding the 2006 in and out election advertising scandal the CPC has managed to keep covered for the most part now entering its latest phase where the Elections Commissioner is forced to go to court to have 5 million CPC documents unsealed to be examined for the evidence that this fraud occurred at the order of the highest levels of the CPC. One of those people just happens to be one of the 18 new Senators the Harper government is appointing making it impossible to compel his testimony before a committee (and when they tried to serve him last summer he ducked it), a man by the name of Irving Gerstein who headed their fundraising arm as well as being the party's official agent in that election.

When a party/government shows such disrespect and contempt for the basic laws that govern how we elect our governments and how they are required to operate we have a very dangerous situation on our hands. The Harper government has shown Canadians to believe itself to be above the same rules/laws that bind all parties and Parliamentarians, indeed to the same rule of law principle that binds all Canadians period. If you act as if the rule of law no longer applies to you while it must apply to all else (especially your opposition/opponents) then you have shown naked contempt for the most fundamental aspect of our democracy, which when a government does so is about the most dangerous situation imaginable in a democracy given the central critical role the rule of law plays in keeping a democracy viable.

Worse, this government shows this disrespect not just on minor matters but in the most serious and fundamental aspects, in how we elect governments by way of our Parliamentary system and the laws which govern how we run our election process itself. When a leader and party refuses to play by the same rules/laws that govern all then they are placing themselves above those laws and showing their contempt for our system, our way of life, and every single Canadian citizen. THAT is what makes the Harper CPC so inherently toxic to our nation, to our way of life, and why I have always been as hardcore and dedicated an opponent to Harper from the outset, for this was apparent in his thinking long before he became a sitting PM.

This latest example of his contempt with misrepresenting how we elect Parliaments and not governments is but the latest in along line of deceits and acts of contempt for the nature of Canadian democracy and governance, and no PM has the unilateral authority to change how our system of government is designed to operate. At the minimum that requires a majority of a Parliament and in many cases (like the Senate) requires Constitutional change requiring either 7/10 Provinces with 50+% of the population or unanimity (which is why Harper blaming Senators and the Liberals for blocking his Senate reform is yet another such a lie to Canadians).

The GG has every right to ask the LOO to form a coalition in the event of a loss of confidence in the Harper government this soon after the last election, it is after all how our system of government with its "technical details" is actually set up to function. The GG is not an elected person and a non-partisan so that they stand apart from such considerations and only follow the rule of law and the requirements of the Constitution where her Office is concerned in the role that she is required to play. To start claiming that it is undemocratic for her to do so is to further use the old FUD method of propaganda by the Harper CPC, and to further misrepresent the fundamental operating structures of our system of government.

Her office is defined by the Constitution and that Constitution was passed democratically by the House of Commons and Parliament which makes the calling of her position and her authority undemocratic yet another attempt to misuse the term and to so misinformation for partisan purposes, the hallmark of the Harper CPC. What I find truly sad though is how easily Harper has managed to get away with it in the media and with many in the wider public, because it speaks to an ignorance of how our system of government actually works, which I find a sad thing indeed. Mind you those in the media should know better since it is a part of their job to understand what they are reporting on (how else can the be sure they are reporting facts and not fiction otherwise) which is one of the reasons I am so glad to see this article from Kady O'Malley that this post is inspired by.

I missed a lot of commenting abut this sort of thing with my hiatus through last year. I am sorry to have had that happen, but I was not totally unaware of what was going on either. Believe you me I will be doing my best to stay on top of things this year, especially as they pertain to the Harper CPC abusing power, misrepresenting our laws and system of governance and in general why they must be removed from power as soon as can be done. I do not trust them to manage this country through such uncertain times, and while I understand the political calculus of some to let Harper stay in power for a while longer to wear this recession and economic mess I consider that too high a price myself. I am more concerned for the health of this nation than I am for partisan considerations for any political party.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The end of the G. W. Bush era, if it was only that simple...

I have seen many people celebrating the inauguration of Obama and the departure of GWB from office as if this day marks the end of the damage Bushco does to America and the rest of the world. As much as I would love to share that sentiment, reality compels me to recognize that the damage the Bush/Cheney Administration have done to the global security, economic, and political environments will continue to carry on through the inertia already built up for months to years to in some respects decades to come, no matter what Obama says and does (with the limited exception of rooting out the criminality of the Bush years and having trials to expose all the rot that can be at this point, and even that will only go so far) now that he is President.

Considering the massive amount of fiscal corruption within the Bush executive branch there is much to be exposed, but it is the abuse of power corruption and the rewriting the Constitution to create a separate executive unaccountable to the other once seen as coequal branches of government that really requires such exposure and consequences IMHO. Otherwise not only do the people that did this get away with taking the US Constitution and legal structure and using it as vomit and excrement cleaner, it sets even worse precedents for further abuse down the road the next time the GOP comes back to power, just as it did post Nixon and the pardon, and again post Reagan and Bush the first with Iran Contra given that so many of the same players kept returning, with the future to worry about their understudies (aka the next generation of insane Straussians and other equally dangerous far right wing ideologues/"idealists" and religious zealots that got their training under this Administration) from this tenure under GWB.

Then there is the economic disaster that the Bushies created with not just their war spending and rampant allowing of profiteering by their cronies in the private sector but also with their moronic tax cut policies drying up revenues, finance free home ownership and talking up how many new homes were bought by people that could never afford them outside of the bubble in that market and the near nonexistent interest rates of the day, and causing massive borrowing (both domestic with the keep shopping admonitions and internationally to fuel their budgets) and their tendency to keep little minor things like war spending off book as much as possible which still has to be truly tallied up.

I mean Bushco doubled American debt in eight years and that from a surplus position when they came to power. That money had to come from somewhere, and when you are talking about the ballpark of 5 TRILLION DOLLARS of new debt (not including what dealing with this crisis is going to require Obama to spend through borrowing on top of that staggering amount) being absorbed by the global community that is money not available for spending elsewhere. The ripple effects here are just beginning to be felt, and while I am not convinced it is on a par with the Great Depression, it is most certainly the first economic crisis to come close enough to it for fair comparison and still has the possibility of getting to that level or worse depending on how the next year or two goes.

Politically, Bushco has done massive damage to the international reputation of America as a beacon of civil liberties (which granted was somewhat inflated prior to the Bush years but was still seen by many in the poorer parts of the world as a shining beacon of hope, not a small thing I would argue for helping people from reaching absolute desperation and the ills that come from such mindsets) , especially with its open endorsement of torture and extraordinary renditions to governments to torture for them a la Mahar Arar (which of course they took one last stab at via another travesty, Omar Khadr yesterday, as Dr Dawg and others took note of here). The damage done to the process of international relations and diplomacy is not inconsequential and I suspect that will also be a long time healing, both directly for America vis a vis the rest of the world and the impact on the global balance of power that inevitably brings along with it.

Then there is the damage to international security thanks to the Bush policies of torture, renditioning, preemptive war, and essentially blanket suspicion of Islamic peoples (despite all the mealymouthed comments about how it was only those that abused Islam). The impression the bulk of the planet was left with was a white Christian crusade against the dark infidel Muslim, especially after the rationale for invading Iraq collapsed beyond any resuscitation (except by ideological allies around the world of course, but then their capacity for self delusion is already well known) and ended up looking like nothing more than a crusade.

Then there is Afghanistan which WAS a legitimate target after 9/11/01 because of AQ being based there and the Taliban's reluctance to act swiftly enough against them and bin Laden. Yet that was never given anywhere near the American military resources to do the job, and much of what started there ended up being more prepositioning for Iraq in the end. Not to mention the total lack of serious infrastructure building there despite promises not to forget them again as happened after the USSR pulled out during the tail end of the Cold War. Nor for that matter America being the one attacked yet America then left her foreign allies to carry the bulk of that conflict and reconstruction costs to pursue the idiocy that was Iraq when it should have full well known they lacked the capacity in both military and civilian resources to manage that theater.

That not only strained the resources of the countries involved (including Canada's) but also did more than a little damage to the relationships between America and her traditional allies as a direct result on top of the damage done by the deceptions in claiming Iraq was a necessary war. The long term implications on security arrangements between traditional allies and alliances involved cannot be ignored nor understated as well. Not to mention also damaging the international reputation of many of those allies because of how Afghanistan was mismanaged and what the Americans made many of these other democracies a party to directly and indirectly while claiming to be the ones in charge, especially in the first few years.

I mean these are just a few major elements from the Bush years that will continue to have long lasting effects long after today has passed, and not even near a total list of such, just enough to make my point. GWB may now be no longer in a position to continue furthering the multiple disasters he and his minions have spawned both domestically and beyond, but their impacts will continue to ripple for a long time to come. Facing that I find it difficult to feel any real sense of hope and optimism with today's change, the most I can muster is a sense of relief that at least no further damage can be done by Bushco's abuses of American Presidential power.

While I would like to hope Obama is up to the task, he never impressed me all that much from the outset, and watching the way he won the primary really put me off on him overall. Too much symbolism and not enough substance. I would love to end up being proven wrong, but I can't shake the feeling he is the wrong person for this job at this time, all the symbolism of hope having an African American President symbolizes notwithstanding, and while he will clearly be a major step up from what we are losing today that does not mean he is truly up to the myriad of massive challenges facing America (and in all to many cases the rest of the world by extension) today left by the worst President in American history, let alone modern history.

Well, at least we all can have some basis for relief and hope that things will finally start to improve with the departure of Bush and the office of President not being retained by those with an active interest in covering things up and furthering many of these disastrous policies that would have occurred under a GOP victory by McCain. That in itself is worth no small thing, even if when compared to the overall situation it is still a small to almost minuscule value thanks to the unprecedented damages done by Bushco.


I know this sounds rather bleak and cynical of me, but it is what I see, and the one thing I try to do in everything I write about, be it here or commenting elsewhere is to call things as I see them, even when others disagree. I also would like to add that I hope this is not my last post for a while again, I am trying to be back on a regular basis, but I do have some medical issues still overhanging, and I have a procedure coming up at the beginning of the next month (nothing major, but given I have limited stamina and resources it may take a lot out of me nonetheless) so I can't promise anything.

My thanks to those that have wished me and my health well, and my gratitude to those that have let me know I was missed, to this day I find it hard to believe that my well known predilection for a long winded writing style is read and welcomed by as many people as I have seen it to be. In this day and age of short attention spans I sort of take it for granted that my style doesn't work well for the times I live in, but it is the only style I have. I write the way I think and speak for better or worse, and I will not change it to suit those that prefer short bites instead of the density that is my style. At least I am trying to limit my paragraph size to make reading me easier...:)