Saturday, December 21, 2013

Corporate media conspiracy against voting reform

Jeffery Simpson laments that Harper is only going to focus on 10 percent of voters over the next 2 years until the next election. Harper is at 30% in the polls and he needs 40% for another “majority.” So he couldn’t care less what the 60% super-majority thinks, he just needs to fool the 10%.

Yet in the entire column Simpson doesn’t say one word about the real problem: our primitive voting system, First-Past-the-Post. This doles out absolute power to 40% minority parties excluding the vast majority from government — which is the literal opposite of democracy.

Fact is, 91% of developed countries have upgraded their voting systems to ensure an actual majority is represented in government. Yet the only time the corporate media talks about voting reform is to rant it will destroy the country.

Conspiracy theory

I’m not one big on conspiracy theories. I believe Oswald killed Kennedy. I believe the hijacked planes brought down the WTC buildings. But here it is painfully obvious the upper-class business community — which controls the major media — has an agenda to suppress the voting reform movement.

Take, for example, the senate scandal. It spawned countless columns from pundits who weren’t afraid to call for senate reform. Yet whenever pundits talk about the ill effects of vote splitting, they are forbidden to even mention the cause — First-Past-the-Post — or the solution: voting reform, which the rest of the developed world has adopted.


The motive is simple enough: it’s much easier for businessmen to lobby and influence a single-party dictatorship than a multi-party democratic government. FPP also creates a de facto two party system, which is easier for corporations to control.


In order to make Canada a real democracy it’s up to us in the social media. The corporate media — which endorsed a Harper majority in 2011 by 88% — has other designs on our country.

We have a small window of opportunity in 2015. The Liberals currently support ranked ballot voting. This is a good first step in voting reform that will be a giant leap forward for democracy in Canada. If we had it in 2011, Harper would already be gone.

Friday, December 20, 2013

2025: Déjà vu all over again

In the year 2025…

Activist #1: “We need to talk about voting reform. It’s the only way we can stop the Cons from destroying (what’s left of) the country.”

Activist #2: “Jason Kenney has a majority. He’s not going to legislate voting reform. Duh!”

Rewind back to 2013…

Activist #1: “We need to talk about voting reform. It’s the only way we can stop the Cons from destroying the country.”

Activist #2. “Harper has a majority. He’s not going to legislate voting reform. Duh!“

Activist #1: “Obviously. But now’s the time to raise awareness for voting reform to make it a top 2015 election issue.

“If we don’t enact voting reform after Harper is ousted in 2015, the Cons could be back in power for another decade as early as 2017. Then we’ll be having the same conversation in 2025…”

Moral of the story

Voting reform is the most important issue because it affects everything.

Our undemocratic voting system gives the united Conservative party a huge unearned advantage. Vote splitting lets Cons win dozens of center-left ridings. This allows a 30% minority of radical cons — who control the Conservative party — to rule the country despite the vast majority of Canadians being opposed to them.

If we fix the voting system — when we get the chance in 2015 — we will get government that represents the will of Canadians — forever. No more neo-con wrecking-ball dictatorships.


Ranked ballot voting is the safest reform. It’s a small change (and first step) that can be legislated without a referendum — which is what Justin Trudeau proposes. If we had it in 2011, Harper would already be gone.

Now's the perfect time to get to work on voting reform.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Are conservatives freaking crazy?

Something just ain’t right with the right.

Rob Ford hangs out with gangsters, indulges in drunken stupors and smokes crack, but the way some conservatives see it, it’s not his fault.

When Jason Kenny suggested the painfully obvious, that RoFo should resign, Jim Flaherty screamed at him: “Shut the f--k up!” The altercation — on the floor of the House of Commons, no less — almost came to blows. (Flaherty’s temper and relationship to Ford certainly puts his Enron-style book-keeping in a whole new light.)

Kooky punditry

Then there are the bizarre opinion pieces from conservative pundits coming to Ford’s defense.

Conrad Black states “Rob Ford’s critics refuse to give up their hate campaign.” Claims there’s a “prolonged effort to crucify” the mayor.

Rex Murphy writes in a column titled, “An early, bitter Christmas for the Ford-haters,” the real problem is that Ford is “an outsider to the elite-media game.”

Michael Coren, the most disgusting of the bunch, chalks it up to “Jew hating hippies.” This one has to be read to be believed:

Outside Toronto City Hall are the stoned hippies, the professional protesters who seem not to have to work for a living, the Marxist haters who have added Ford to their list of monsters that up to now consisted of Jews, conservatives, Harper, the U.S. and mommy and daddy.


What could possibly cause these people to behave in this way? I think the Ford fiasco exposes the underlying mechanism behind the con ideologue. That is, every word that comes out of their mouths is a lie: a line or wire whose entire purpose is to manipulate people.

What underlying motives or values do they have? They say, for example, liberals are only into politics for power. The ideologue, in this context, is “principled” with a higher ideological purpose.

Yet their ideology is founded on “principles” like unfettered selfishness and insatiable greed. Their angle is that the bad turns to good with the aid of an “invisible hand.” Yeah right. If anyone is in it for raw animal power, these guys fit the bill.

No blame, no shame

One also can’t help but notice the conservative doctrinaire is physiologically incapable of feeling shame. This often leads them to preposterous rationalizations like the ones above, not to mention blatant hypocrisies without batting an eye.

Are conservative true-believers sociopathic? There’s a joke that sociopaths who don’t become thugs, grifters or serial killers go on to become corporate executives. I think you can add neo-con activist to the list.

Of course, unlike Dexter who vented his anger on individuals, the conservative sociopath dreams of inflicting his rage upon on an entire nation — or even better, the whole wide world. From crusaders to conquistadors to Nazis to terrorists, history shows us the most dangerous kind of sociopath is one with a political agenda.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Latest con job: forget reversing corporate tax cuts, they won't pay

Remember when free-market ideologues were saying Harper’s corporate tax cuts would create jobs, boost productivity, raise economic growth and make Canada more competitive?

How did their economic “wisdom” mesh with the real world? Not surprisingly, it was a policy failure on all fronts.

Corporations ended up pocketing the “dead money.” They closed down plants. Killed hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs. Productivity growth fell to all time lows. Our trade surplus turned to a massive trade deficit.

Now these same neo-cons — utterly unfazed by their sheer economic incompetence — are saying forget reversing these tax cuts, because corporations simply won’t pay.


If you were to believe right-wing economists, you’d think corporations paid whatever level of tax they felt like. According to Kevin Milligan, corporations, “when faced with higher rates, sharpen their pencils and implement tax strategies to lower their burden.”

This excuse for not reversing failed tax cuts is belied by the fact that corporations are always in the business of finding ways to cut costs. It’s what drives up share value and corp exec bonuses. So corporations are always “sharpening their pencils” to lower their tax burden regardless of the tax rate — which in Canada is ultra-low.

Canada’s ultra-low corporate tax rate

Another fact that makes these lame excuses absurd is that Canada has the lowest effective corporate tax rate among all major economies — including China! According to KPMG’s international guide for businesses:

Corporate income taxes are lowest in Canada (7.3 per cent effective corporate income tax rate), France (14.7 per cent), and China (14.8 per cent).
At the other end of the scale, effective corporate income taxes exceed 30 per cent in Japan (31.5 per cent), Brazil (36.1 per cent), and Italy (37.6 per cent).

Laffer curve

These neo-cons are simply rehashing the same lame Reaganomics based on the “Laffer curve.” This suggests that if taxes are too high, people will find ways to stop paying them. Hence the ridiculous concept that tax cuts “pay for themselves” and raising taxes lowers tax revenues.

Given America has gone bankrupt waiting for tax cuts to pay for themselves, Canadians would do well to avoid these “voodoo economics.” Fact is, this flaky economic theory is nothing more than self-serving ideology cooked up by corrupt businessmen.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The damage Harper has done

The Toronto Star has created an interactive graphic detailing the myriad of reckless spending cuts the Harper Government has made over the past 8 years.

The article also delves into Harper’s Soviet-style government secrecy and the difficulties the Parliamentary Budget Office — Harper created — has had in gaining access to public budget documents.

“The idea for a parliamentary budget office came when the Conservatives were an opposition party,” Page said in an interview. It was a “noble idea” to set up an independent body to make government spending more accountable. “Obviously, everything changed when they took power.”
But Page says MPs are deliberately being denied information they need to fulfill their duty to scrutinize the use of taxpayers’ money. “The prime minister effectively rigs the game so the power of the purse rests with the cabinet and the PM, as opposed to the House of Commons where it belongs,” says Page.

Balanced budget bullshit

The Cons are boasting the mess they made of the budget with $44.4 billion a year in boutique tax cuts will be cleaned up in time for the 2015 election. Of course, they plan to return to massive deficits with promises of billions more in frivolous tax expenditures — part of their “starve the beast” agenda.

Real numbers

Clearly there’s no way to know what the real budget numbers will be until we oust the Cons and get a real look at the books. But when Flim Flam Flaherty was finance minister in Ontario in 2003, he claimed a $5.6 billion deficit was a balanced budget. I hate to think how deep the rabbit hole goes now.

Restructure, reverse, repair

Whoever forms the next government will have to restructure/reverse most of these tax cuts and put the resources to better use. Trudeau and Mulcair must forgo the lame “read my lips: no new taxes” bullshit.

The damage Harper has done

Monday, December 9, 2013

Quack-o-nomics: Mulcair will raise taxes by one zillion dollars!

A neo-con economist from Maclean’s shows why it’s almost impossible to have a serious policy discussion — these days. Taking a page from Harper’s playbook, Andrew Leach claims Mulcair will impose a $100 per-ton carbon cap that will raise the price of gas 25 cents a liter.

To put things in perspective, Mulcair proposes the same cap and trade program Europe uses. There the price on carbon is presently 4.40 euros per ton — or $6.50 CAD!

Math this bad certainly puts the 2008 global economic meltdown in perspective.

Trouble with economics is economists

As Paul Krugman points out, the real problem with economics is economists. They regularly pluck numbers out of thin air to support whatever agenda they have. They cherry pick and manipulate statistics like a neo-con spins propaganda. It’s not Aristotelian — it’s far worse.

A neo-con’s impression of Mulcair — or any NDP leader, for that matter.

Take the Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff paper, Growth in a Time of Debt. It said countries that have more than 90% debt/GDP experience a steep decline in economic growth. It was the foundation of failed austerity measures around the world.

It turned out they cooked the statistics. Who discovered this? A Nobel-prize winning economist? No a PhD student doing a homework assignment.

So not only are there no standards, it seems few economists care.

If Reinhart and Rogoff had been journalists, or scientists or academics in any other field, their careers would be toast. But they are back in the debate still promoting the same debunked junk-economics as if nothing happened.

Economics as science

Economics determines how humans behave en masse. This means the very survival of civilization depends on it. If we don’t make economics a science, civilization will collapse under the weight of its own corruption.

Economics is not dismal and fatalistic as nihilistic neo-cons would have you believe. Investing in human capital — people — makes a country wealthy and productive. Spending big on infrastructure greases the wheels of business. Green regulations create new industry, business opportunities and jobs.

Sound, balanced economic policy will solve the world’s problems. Flaky self-serving ideology will destroy us.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Happy birthday — not

It's been 10 years since the Reform Party swallowed up Canada's traditional conservative party. What's worse is that they've been ruling for 8 of those 10 years — and with someone as abrasive and unlikable as Stephen Harper at the helm.

This does not bode well for the future of Canada.

That's why voting reform is the ONLY issue.

Voting reform or bust

Stephen Lautens (‏@stephenlautens) “It's the Conservative Party's 10th birthday. Time for a piece of cake. #cdnpoli”

With voting reform, Canada will be ruled by Canadians. Without it, Canada will be controlled by a 30% minority of neo-con and social-con fanatics who have vowed to change our country beyond recognition.

Since proportional representation was rejected in provincial referendums, the safest move is to fix our existing system with ranked ballot voting first. This is the system all parties use to elect their leaders.

If we had PV ranked ballot in 2011, Harper would already be gone. Instead of a 40% minority overruling the will of the 60% super-majority, Canadians would've got what they voted for. (Crazy idea, huh?)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lawrence Martin just doesn’t get it

In a Globe and Mail column, Lawrence Martin blames the Green Party for the Liberals losing a recent by-election in Brandon–Souris (Manitoba) by 400 votes. He goes so far as to say the party should pack it in. Not only is this suggestion pointless, it’s absurd and offensive.

In a democracy, people have the right to form parties and vote for whatever party they want. The Green Party is not the problem. The problem is our primitive, 19th-century voting system most developed countries got rid of a century ago.

The media is the message

Martin’s ridiculous column is indicative of what the real problem is: the corporate media. They favor FPP single-party dictatorships over multi-party democratic governments because they are much easier to lobby and influence.

Only in Canada (and perhaps the UK,) do people offer bizarre solutions to fix distorted election results instead of fixing the distorted voting system that produces them.

PR not in the cards

Although proportional representation voting reform would be the ideal solution, there’s just too much opposition to it. The corporate media despises the system and would ensure a federal PR referendum went down in flames, just like they did with PR referendums among the provinces.

Ranked ballot safe first step

The best bet is to first fix our existing system with ranked ballot voting — which is what Justin Trudeau proposes. Since it’s only a minor change (from single-choice ballot to ranked) it’s much easier to bring about. Not only does it stop vote splitting, it ensures reliable strategic voting and automatic electoral cooperation.

If we had the ranked ballot in place last week, the Liberals would’ve won Brandon-Souris with a majority of votes. If we had it in place in 2011, Harper would’ve been ousted by a NDPLiberal government commanding 50% of the vote and 53% of the seats.


In 2015, we have a narrow window of unprecedented opportunity to bring real democracy to Canada. If we don’t take advantage of it, be prepared to watch the Cons destroy the country despite the vast majority of Canadians being opposed to them.