Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Free Association 2006

Ralph Reed campaigned extensively throughout Canada on behalf of Stephen Harper (newly elected Neo Con Prime Minister in Canada), yet his connection to Abramoff and the US mafia did not attract a single question from Canadian or foreign media.

False prophets Jesus warned about

A God called greed ...and Jack Abramoff to rip off the American Indians once again.

Is Bush going to return the money he received from Abramoff?

Canada's little Bush...all ready to step and fetch (as we declare martial law after Canada's first terrorist attack). Of course the lack of defense will be blamed on the Liberals, and the Patriot Act will be rammed down our throats ..while the the fear of another attack is whipped up.

I am still aghast that one of the longest election periods in the history of Canada did not seem to
allow the CBC enough time to question Mr. Harper in regard to funding received from the Christian Coalition in either the USA or Canada. Given this group is now connected to
Jack Abramoff who is indicted for murder, and money laundering - it is rather important.

It would be nice to know if we are replacing Liberal corruption with the US mafia.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Hang In, and Raise Hell

Molly Ivins has been raising hell and speaking truth to the corrupt Bush administration for some time.

Here is her latest GEM posted on the "Working for Change" site, another excellent source of information in this media deprived age of paid off propaganda.


Wed, 1.11.06

Molly Ivins Creators Syndicate 01.10.06

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Hang in, and raise hell. Corrupt politicians think we're morons -- time to strike back

AUSTIN, Texas -- The governor of Texas is despicable. Of all the crass pandering, of all the gross political kowtowing to ignorance, we haven't seen anything this rank from Gov. Goodhair since, gee, last fall.

Then, he was trying to draw attention away from his spectacular failure on public schools by convincing Texans that gay marriage was a horrible threat to us all. Now, he's trying to disguise the fact that the schools are in freefall by proposing we teach creationism in biology classes.
The funding of the whole school system is so unfair it has been declared unconstitutional by the Texas Supreme Court. All last year, Perry haplessly called special session after special session, trying to fix the problem, and couldn't get anywhere -- not an iota, not a scintilla of leadership.
Instead of facing the grave crisis that may yet result in the schools being closed down, Perry has blithely gone off on creationism -- teach the little perishers the Earth is 6,000 years old, that people lived at the same time as dinosaurs and who cares if the school building is falling apart?
Perry faced a potential primary challenge from State Comptroller Carol Keaton Strayhorn. The Texas Republican Party is now so completely dominated by the Christian right, however, that a relative moderate like Strayhorn has no chance against Perry, who has been assiduously kissing the feet, to say the least, of the most extreme elements of the party. So Strayhorn announced she would seek election as an independent, and Perry played the creationism card. Gee, let's all have a big discussion about gays, creationism and covenant marriage -- that'll solve the state's staggering problems with schools and health care.

In case you missed it, the court decision everyone has been waiting for on teaching creationism in the schools came out on Dec. 20, and it explains, quite clearly, why creationism cannot be taught as science in this country. Because it isn't science, it's religion.

The decision in the Dover, Pa., school board case by Judge John Jones III, a Republican and Bush appointee, is well worth reading. It annihilates the case for teaching creationism. Calling creationism "intelligent design" changes nothing and is disingenuous to the point of being painful. Perry emphasized the equally disingenuous notion that there is "controversy" about evolution, supposedly two sides equally worth considering, so we should "teach the controversy." His spokesperson, Kathy Walt, actually said teaching different theories is part of "developing students' critical thinking skills." That's pathetic.

One hears evolution dismissed as "just a theory," as though all of science weren't based on theory and eternally subject to new evidence to the contrary. In science, gravity is "just a theory" -- and if you ever drop something and it falls up, they'll reconsider the whole theory for you. That's just how "theoretical" evolution is -- constantly subject to evidence and proof. But creationism cannot be tested and proved against evidence using the scientific method -- that is why it is not science, it is faith.

Meanwhile, it's heartening to note that political nincompoopery is not limited to Texas. A couple of recent quotes out of Washington, D.C., cause the jaw to drop. Our very own Tom DeLay, upon announcing he would quit as majority leader, said: "During my time in Congress, I have always acted in an ethical manner, within the rules of our body and the law of our land. I am fully confident time will bear this out." Good grief, the man was sanctioned three times by the House ethics committee last year alone.

Equally stupefying is the attempted emergence of Newt Gingrich, of all people, as an arbiter of ethics. Gingrich has been going about the media, holding forth on the shortcomings of today's Republicans. Let's see, that would be the same Newt Gingrich who originally started using the lobby as an arm of the Republican Party, right? Same Gingrich had the distinction of being the only House speaker to be reprimanded by his colleagues for ethical wrongdoing? Same Gingrich who was accused of misusing nonprofit organizations for political purposes, personally benefiting from political contributions, cutting a sleazy book deal and giving false statements to ethics investigators? Same Gingrich who was fined $300,000 for said lying? I thought it was that Gingrich.

They must really think we're morons.

On the general subject of political corruption, do not fall into the fatal error of cynicism. You do your country a great disservice by saying things like: "Eh, they're all crooks. Nothing anyone can do about it. Money will always find a way."

The answer is perpetual reform. Fix it, and if corruption comes back again, you just whack back at it again. The system as it is encourages corruption and must be changed. Public campaign financing is the best answer in the long-term -- all this "lobby reform" talk is hopelessly inadequate. Hang in, and raise hell -- this is a heaven-sent opportunity to clean it up. Don't blow the chance with cheap cynicism.

Read more in the Molly Ivins archive .
Molly Ivins is the former editor of the liberal monthly The Texas Observer. She is the bestselling author of several books including Who Let the Dogs In?

(c) 2006 Creators Syndicate
Opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of Working Assets, nor is Working Assets responsible for objectionable material accessed via links from this site.
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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Canada's Neo Con - Stephen Harper

Stephen Harper and George Bush (planning the next Canadian election)?

Please forgive me if I do not get excited when Mr. Harper talks about ethics. A man who prior to even being elected is threatening the basic civil rights of a goodly segment of the population, including women's reproductive rights AND gay rights, while the CBC gives him a free ride on all the statements he has made prior to his recent Americanized spin machine.


Harper's Tough Sell for 'Change'

Sowing distrust oddly, he can't afford to really say what he'd change.

By Stan Persky
Published: December 16, 2005


Canadians can be forgiven for thinking that the forthcoming January 23, 2006 federal election is an unnecessary exercise in snow and slush, totally devoid of issues and featuring political leaders that no one really wants to vote for. That formulation is more or less true, with one small exception, namely, that the election, wanted or not, will actually happen and, therefore, will have consequences for the country. Alas, it matters.

Now that we've had more than a fortnight of the snoringly-long, two-part (pre and post-Xmas) campaign, naturally, you are already completely fuzzified and ready to drown yourself in fortified eggnog. You've come to the right site. Herewith, a complete explanation:

First, why are we having a winter election when a nice spring election was already promised? Two reasons: 1) Stephen Harper's neo-Conservatives would prefer electoral conditions in which diehard cranks will be more motivated to vote than laid-back citizens who think things are pretty much okay, and 2) sandbox politics, i.e., the leaders of the opposition parties (Harper, Duceppe of the Bloc Quebecois, and the NDP's Jack Layton) wanted to kick sand in the face of Prime Minister Paul Martin. By showing they could "bring down the government" rather than allowing the regime to call the election, said leaders believe that a teensy psychological advantage accrues to their side of the teeter-totter. Is this mainly macho posturing? Yes. Is a winter election in the public interest in any way? No. (Aren't short answers nice?)

Second, the Change Mantra. In his first speech out of the chute, Harper reached for the word "change" more than 20 times. The use of this term is meant to have a conventional meaning agreed upon by pollsters and punditti, and understood by the public: since the present government has been in office for a dozen years and a quartet of elections, therefore, the people allegedly/must/should (choose one) want a change.

Small change

What gets lost in the Change Mantra is that almost no one asks, "What, exactly, do we want to change?" It's worth asking. On the face of it, it doesn't look like we need a big change, apart from making sure that we don't have another Sponsorship Scandal (and that, supposedly, is being taken care of by the Martin-appointed Gomery Commission, even if the opposition parties were too impatient to wait for the judge's final report). The country is at peace; terrorism is minimal (it's mainly confined to ethnic gang members who shoot each other -- what one wag calls "niche terrorism"); we have the lowest unemployment in 30 years; there have been balanced budgets and big surpluses for about ten years in a row now; plus we have a raft of policies and lots of cash in the pipe for health care, environmental cleanup through the Kyoto Accord, urban infrastructure renewal, day care, equal rights, post-secondary education and all the rest. What, exactly, needs to be changed? Most citizens of thriving democracies elsewhere would say: not much.

In this election, it's considered impolite to "demonize" Conservative leader Harper or to suggest he has a "hidden agenda," as happened in the 2004 campaign. But the truth is, Harper isn't able to say aloud what he'd like to change in Canada, because if he did, he wouldn't even have a chance to achieve a minority government, one of the more possible outcomes in this contest. In fact, the only hint of what he (and/or a major segment of his party) would like to change came in his first policy announcement, a promise to hold a free vote in parliament to repeal the same-sex marriage law. The announcement was made early in the campaign, primarily to signal to his "social conservative" base that the leader is still onside in the movement's campaign to impose public morality. Harper, if not the party's more wingnut base, knows that this is not a vote-getter and so he got it out of the way early and incoherently (ban same-sex marriages, he said, but permit the 3,000 gay and lesbian marriages that have already been solemnized -- in logic, that's called a contradiction), and he has since stuck to more conventional policy ploys about taxes, health care and kids.

If there were any investigative reporting left in Canadian journalism, an enterprising reporter could survey the Conservative candidates and find out just how many of them are connected to the not-so-hidden agendas of various right-wing, Xtian fundamentalist organizations like Focus on the Family, Christian Fellowship and sundry others. That might tell us more about what Conservatives believe (and want to do) than anything the bland Mr. Harper is going to blandly not say. The agenda, hidden or not, of the Conservatives is to diminish the social democratic character of Canadian government and society, privatize as many decisions as possible (hence, for example, a Conservative toddler bonus for parents as opposed to the Liberals' funding of a national day care program), and, ironically, for people committed to "minimalist" government, to use government instruments to implement a particular and regressive notion of social morality in opposition to both the individual rights protected in the Canadian Constitution and the social policies developed over decades.

In sum: Do we need big change in Canada right now? Not really. Do we need Harper's version of change (either hidden or overt)? Not at all. Even if the Liberals have been in office too long, is Harper the change we ought to want? No, thanks.

In Gomery we trust

Third, the Trust Factor. This is a two-part issue: 1) is the Martin Liberal government especially corrupt?, and 2) are Canadians justified in not trusting politicians? No. And no.

The major claim of corruption, the Sponsorship Scandal, which occurred a decade ago in Quebec during the Chretien regime, and was slowly uncovered, investigated, and made too much of during the last two years, is, despite much hyperbole, a relatively small bit of corruption. Oh, of course, it's awful, shouldn't happen, should be stopped, etc. Judge Gomery, we await some wisdom. But is the scandal characteristic of Canadian politics, or even Liberal Party politics? Not really. Is it characteristic of the greased hand Liberal Party politics of Quebec in the last half century? Yes. Is it over now? Pretty much. Does Paul Martin have anything to do with any of this? Only marginally. Does the Sponsorship Scandal represent a present and continuing danger to life in Canada? Nope.

The distrust of public officials, of politicians, of "government" in general, is a far murkier issue. A public mood of government distrust has developed over the past decade or, I would be tempted to say, has been created. Created by whom? Media, right-wing thinktanks, partisans of parochial interests and a culture of resentment. That's too vague, I know, to stand up as an analysis of a social process that isn't a conspiracy. But every time a CanWest Global TV newscaster or National Post op-ed piece sneers at some harmless but fallible government program and offers an insinuating wink to give viewers and readers the idea that we all know that government is hypocrisy, hoax, and reckless waste of our of "hard-earned unfairly taxed-away dollars," it's one more drop in the distrust bucket.

Is the distrust justified? No, not really. Are there lots of criticisms to make about the shortcomings of government programs and performance? Sure. Does government work pretty well in this country? Yes, but why are we so reluctant to admit it? Do you have to bribe a public official, who's the brother-in-law of the local MP, to get a driver's license, a passport, a permit? No, and the public official isn't the brother-in-law of the local MP. If you don't believe me, go to any available Absurdistan and watch corrupt bureaucracy at work.

Truth about taxes

Finally, some mopping-up. Elections mean talk about taxes. Don't pay too much attention to the talk. Harper offers a GST tax cut, Martin offers a general tax cut. Even conservative economists deride Harper's offer as cheap politicking. Does anyone have anything interesting to say about taxes? Yes, the NDP's Jack Layton, who says, don't cut taxes, don't raise taxes. The present taxation level, which generates big surpluses, is a good thing. Use the surpluses to finance social programs. Perfectly sensible formula, even if it is unlikely to generate waves of popular enthusiasm. But you wanted the truth, right?

Last bit of mop-up. Who got it right so far? Buzz Hargrove, union leader of the United Autoworkers who, at the end of week one, went public to say, we ought to re-elect the Martin Liberal government, and provide enough additional NDP seats to form a majority coalition. At least one prominent NDP supporter recognizes that the only important thing about this election is to make sure that Harper and the Conservatives do not become the next government of Canada.

Okay, you are now, as they say in Scientology, "cleared," and are fully prepared to enter a voting booth at the end of January. Until then, feel free to hit the snooze button.

Stan Persky teaches philosophy at Capilano College in North Vancouver

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Devil We Do Not Know (in Canada)

In Their Own Words (Rabble News by Michael Nickerson December 22, 2005)


Stephen Harper quipped that the NDP is “proof that the Devil lives and interferes in the affairs of men.” It's hard to imagine a Devil promoting affordable housing, education, social conscience, women's rights, gay rights, minority rights, daycare or health care.

He calls us a welfare state, second tier, a land where unemployed people happily live on the public dole. We are “basically an English-speaking country,” with a French-speaking minority throwing dirt in the gears of government. We consider things like universal health care and women's rights fundamental, ideas that apparently would horrify his audience whom he calls “a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world.”

I would be very surprised if many in this country would ever consider the Council for National Policy an inspiration, save for a few evangelicals who might like to see church and state find their way back into the same room.

Referred to by some as a “think tank,” the CNP is a collection of diehard conservatives and religious fundamentalists who are already making many Americans fear for their First Amendment rights. Expressing and financially supporting views that have been at the heart of a resurgence of Republican power in the U.S., this group represents much that is right (forgive the pun), if you're Stephen Harper, but much that is very wrong if you have an ounce of social compassion.

Since Harper's speech in 1997, the United States has moved steadily towards a policy of tax cuts, and more tax cuts. The idea has always been an unproven one: that putting money in the hands of the middle class will lead to prosperity for all. The sad fact is, it has gone quite the other way in the U.S., with an increased stratification of rich and poor, spiraling debt, and a devalued dollar, along with social and foreign policies that few in Canada would ever consider “an inspiration.”

Stephen Harper quipped that the NDP is “proof that the Devil lives and interferes in the affairs of men.” It's hard to imagine a Devil promoting affordable housing, education, social conscience, women's rights, gay rights, minority rights, daycare or health care.

The Devil may be in the details, but not in the policies. It's an observation that I suspect is still lost on the new Harper, or at least the Republican behind the costume.

Michael Nickerson is a regular columnist and political commentator for Politics Canada and Esprit de Corps magazine. His work has also appeared in a range of publications, including The Globe & Mail, The Toronto Star, The Halifax Chronicle-Herald, and the e-zine Caffimage.com.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

2006 - the Year of Coming Home to Jesus

Telling the Truth (Coming Home to Jesus)

Watch Stephen Harper's campaign in Canada, for the rerun of the Bush scam.

Canada sits with a surplus in her coffers, just as the USA did before the Bush corporate criminal coup.

Hmm... when is the Supreme Court going to be nailed for allowing him to get away with gerrymandering Texas? The "Hammer" Tom DeLay, MOB BOSS for TEXAS and the GOP Congress INDICTED (fin-ally)

The criminal nature of the Bush family is hardly news to those of us on the internet. If you run a search of your own - you will find at least 15 MILLION links relating to past family ventures in the bilking of America.

How Rotten Are These Guys?

The Bush Political Machine and Organized Crime
by Robert Parry
October 6, 2005

The separation of the Bush political machine from organized crime is often like the thin layer of rock between a seemingly ordinary surface and volcanic activity rumbling below. Sometimes, the lava spews forth and the illusion of normalcy is shattered.

In the weeks ahead, a dangerous eruption is again threatening to shake the Bush family’s image of legitimacy, as the pressure from intersecting scandals builds.

So far, the mainstream news media has focused mostly on the white-collar abuses of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay for allegedly laundering corporate donations to help Republicans gain control of the Texas legislature, or on deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove for disclosing the identity of a covert CIA officer to undercut her husband’s criticism of George W. Bush’s case for war in Iraq.

Both offenses represent potential felonies, but they pale beside new allegations linking business associates of star GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff – an ally of both DeLay and Rove – to the gangland-style murder of casino owner Konstantinos “Gus” Boulis in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 2001.

These criminal cases also are reminders of George H.W. Bush’s long record of unsavory associations, including with a Nicaraguan contra network permeated by cocaine traffickers, Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s multi-million-dollar money-laundering operations, and anti-communist Cuban extremists tied to acts of international terrorism. [For details on these cases, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq .]
Now, George W. Bush is faced with his own challenge of containing a rupture of scandals – involving prominent conservatives Abramoff, DeLay and potentially Rove – that have bubbled to the surface and are beginning to flow toward the White House.
Mobbed Up ...continues at link below

Jack Abramoff (below left) has started to roll over, (since his business partner decided to turn witness), and now some twenty congressmen are suspected of being on the take. With murder being part of the scenario, it is easier to see why and how the media has been kept silent - in fear.

Mr. Perle's mug shot is included below because (lest we forget) - he was forced to resign due to the conflict of interest he had in regard to war profiteering on the Iraq war. Why he was forced to resign when Cheney blatently directs contracts to Halliburton and Bechtel - one can only speculate. But then conflict of interest has hardly been a concern of the most corrupt administration in the history of the United States.


White House Ties

Abramoff’s influence has reached into Bush’s White House, too, where chief procurement officer David H. Safavian resigned last month and then was arrested on charges of lying to authorities and obstructing a criminal investigation into Abramoff’s lobbying activities.

Rep. Ney and former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed were among influential Republicans who joined Safavian and Abramoff on an infamous golf trip to Scotland in 2002. Safavian is a former lobbying partner of anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, another pillar of right-wing politics in Washington and another longtime Abramoff friend. [Washington Post, Sept. 20, 2005]
Abramoff also has boasted of his influence with Bush’s top political adviser Karl Rove.