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Not sure how you can have “live” blogging with comment moderation.


Our “Strong” Economy

The “economic fundamentals are strong” says Stephen Harper. Well, maybe. I’ve said as much myself here previously. In terms of its foundations being more stable than others by virtue of our banking system having been prevented by regulatory constraints from venturing too wildly in speculative financial instruments and the vast majority of our exports being rooted in commodities, that’s true, but it overlooks the most obvious fact the matter.

To borrow a quote from Pierre Trudeau: “When the elephant sneezes, everyone catches a cold.”

With the inordinately high proportion of our trade flowing to the USA, one cannot simply ignore this most basic, fundamental reality. To date, we may have been able to easily navigate our way around the relatively minor fluctuations in the US economy that’s been progressively inclined towards a recession (the dread “r-word” that dare not speak its name) over the past two years. Many have taken some gleeful, nationalistic satisfaction in our dollar rising in comparison to the US currency over the past year or so, chalking it up to a variety of mysterious, faith-based factors: the Harper government’s mastery of things economical, for example. Sadly, nothing could be more distant from the truth.

Since taking office, Harper has continued federal government spending programs largely unchanged. Yes, there have been a few minor cuts here and there for entirely political reasons (axing the One-Tonne Challenge” for example), but generally speaking, nothing has changed. In fact, spending is up by almost 10% — a highly disturbing number that never seems to get addressed. Over the past several months the Harper government doled out almost $20 billion in bogus, pork-laden pre-campaign promises — something else that also never seems to be tackled. In addition to that, the Stephen Harper government also wrote off an accumulation of “notional” EI assets valued at $51 billion while you were snoozing…

But never mind that. Let’s clown around following the debate tonight and concentrate on important things like body-language, perceived attitudes and imagined slights.

It’s Not An IQ Test

Indeed. Truer words were never spoken.

Somewhat ironically perhaps, George W. Bush said it best in the expression one of his artful speechwriters lifted from somewhere: “The soft bigotry of low expectations.”

Update: Heh. Check this out…

Ready, Willing & Able

Is it possible that Katie Couric is “saving the United States and perhaps the world” from Sarah Palin?

“She’s smart, she’s tough, she’s been in debates before,” McCain carefully said on Fox & Friends this morning. “The American people … the more they see of her, the more they love her, and I’m confident of that at the end.” I guess we’ll see tonight.

Meanwhile, on the Shouting News:

Trade Missions to Nowhere

A quick and thoroughly hilarious look at the some of the campaign buzz on the eve of the debate between the major American political parties’ vice presidential candidates.

Who could possibly have imagined that those “trade missions” Palin and McCain trotted out to substantiate her ludicrous claim of having foreign policy expertise were nothing but a bare-faced LIE? Shocking, I know.

Update: Presented for your viewing entertainment…


Originally made by the Drug Policy Alliance, an organization working to end the hopelessly misguided “War on Drugs” in the USA, this customized version of the election ad parody was underwritten by Marc Emery.

It’s unlikely to be an issue in the election, given more pressing matters, but it should be something that’s discussed in connection with the “tough on crime” legislation that the Conservatives are endlessly promoting (and for that matter, with respect to the positions of the Liberals and NDP who are seeking to mimic them in this regard).