Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Evils Of Massage Therapy or How To Keep A Non-Story Alive

Layton confident voters will dismiss massage parlour 'smear campaign' - The Globe and Mail

What the hell? This massage story is the most stupid, pathetic smear that I've ever seen in my life. Guy goes to a massage clinic to get a massage and is told by the police that there may be dirty things happening there (were any charges ever laid against ANYONE?). Nobody ever suggested that Layton did anything wrong, no charges were laid, there was no follow-up interview. And I say this as someone who - along with my wife - goes to a storefront massage "parlour" around the corner from my house.
It's a complete non-story. The only story here is who (cough, cough) illegally and unethically leaked this story. The media, had they any scruples or sense would be raising the hue and cry about the scandal of such a last minute attempt to undermine a candidate. But no, it's all about Jack making a denial after Olivia made a denial. It's all very leading, as in the famous question: "so, when did you stop beating your wife?" Of course, one hopes that the absolute filthiness of the tactic will blow up in the faces of those who "leaked" this absurdity. And I'll make no bones that I think it was the Tories, who got their fingers burned trying to do the same kind of thing to Ignatieff a few days earlier with a fabricated leak. That the SUN media chose to "expose" one smear, where the price was low since Ignatieff was already sunk, and to publish the one related to Layton, whose momentum seemed unstoppable coming into the weekend, is also hardly coincidental.
This whole pathetic non-story stinks to high heaven. Too bad the mainstream media doesn't have a functional nose to be found.

Friday, April 29, 2011

My Bank of Canada Includes Democracy

Layton steps back from Bank of Canada comments - Canada Votes 2011 - CBC News
What a tempest in a right wing teapot. Jack Layton suggests that Bank of Canada policy ought to be controlled by the democratically elected government in order to meet the economic needs of ordinary Canadians, and the business parties go bonkers.
No surprise, I suppose; the whole thrust of Liberal and Conservative policy has been to remove as much of economic and cultural life from democratic control as possible. They've cut our social programs, putting them in the hands of unaccountable corporations and insurance companies. They put the user-funded unemployment insurance fund out of reach of most unemployed workers and (illegally) sent the surpluses off to the banks. When the auto companies were going belly-up they gave them boatloads of cash and no popular control over their priorities. In fact, they did nothing to discourage those corporations from demanding wage and benefit concessions from their workforce. The list goes on.
So, Layton's mild suggestion that now is not the time to raise interest rates (the economy shrank in February) and that our publicly funded, national bank ought to be subject to democratic control ought not to stir a whit of controversy. That it does merely demonstrates how far the right wing shits who have governed us for so long have been able to roll back the very principals of democratic control and the idea that public institutions ought to serve the public good and not just the good of the nation's most powerful and greedy.

Is Layton Turning Everyone Else Into Toast?

Layton’s gains in Ontario and B.C. narrow Harper’s lead to five points - The Globe and Mail
I can hardly believe my eyes, watching the NDPs climb nationally. If his surge continues he could easily end up as Prime Minister. But, even if he doesn't, the NDP has changed the political landscape already in three big ways:
1) By focusing attention on the opposition to Harper, the NDP has reminded those of us depressed by five years of sneaky and not-so-sneaky right wing governance that two-thirds of the population is opposed to Harper's agenda.
2) The NDP may well have put a stake in the heart of the long-suffering "Natural Governing Party" of the Liberals and exposed the ugly truth that the conditions that gave rise to the Liberals as an unstoppable Tammany Hall-esque force have passed their best buy date.
3) Let's be honest - the NDP has historically been shit on Quebec's right to self-determination because of their fetishism of the federal state as the agent for progressive social change. The Quebecoises rightly see the federal state as the agent of their forced incorporation in Canada. Nonetheless, the NDP may have just managed to connect with a longing for a working class-based party that can be a step towards creating a pan-Canadian unity that is founded upon working class solidarity. The infusion of Quebec's militant working class traditions into the English Canadian workers' movement can only be a good thing.
4) This is just a bonus one - the NDP is going to make the bourgeoisie lose their minds, at least for a little while. They are completely unprepared to accept the idea that working class people should have a real say in the running of the country. That can't help but give confidence to our side in the battle against austerity and neo-liberalism. And it can't help but make everyone who's sick of tax cuts for the rich and service (and wage) cuts for the rest of us happy as hell.
For those reasons alone I say: "Go Jack Go!"
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