Tories Preparing to Go Negative

Ooooo… Scary! Not.

Yawn. How completely unshocking that a pathetic band of socially maladjusted trolls, wankers and hacks (no, not the Bloggin’ Tories — a “Conservative research group”) is busily digging up dirt on Michael Ignatieff.

Hey guys, I’ve got a suggestion that will undoubtedly save you a whole pile of time “scouring hundreds of hours of videotape” and “combing through a lifetime’s worth of musings from his career as a public intellectual” — just perform a few simple searches on many Liberal blogs and you’ll find all the dirt you need…and then some! Withering scorn, contempt, disparaging commentary, and epithets a plenty! It’s all there for the dead easy datamining.

The key themes identified by “researchers” thusfar (i.e., “that Mr. Ignatieff is an out-of-touch elitist; that he flip-flops… and that he’s a fair-weather Canadian”) are painfully old news to Liberals. And still they elected him leader! Oh wait… Never mind that.

Pawns of the Oligarchs

Is the “Tea Party” Movement a Fraudulent Scam?

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It would be more than a little delicious if this was actually proven to be true:

What we discovered is that Santelli’s “rant” was not at all spontaneous as his alleged fans claim, but rather it was a carefully-planned trigger for the anti-Obama campaign. In PR terms, his February 19th call for a “Chicago Tea Party” was the launch event of a carefully organized and sophisticated PR campaign, one in which Santelli served as a frontman, using the CNBC airwaves for publicity, for the some of the craziest and sleaziest rightwing oligarch clans this country has ever produced. Namely, the Koch family, the multibilllionaire owners of the largest private corporation in America, and funders of scores of rightwing thinktanks and advocacy groups, from the Cato Institute and Reason Magazine to FreedomWorks. The scion of the Koch family, Fred Koch, was a co-founder of the notorious extremist-rightwing John Birch Society.

As you read this, Big Business is pouring tens of millions of dollars into their media machines in order to destroy just about every economic campaign promise Obama has made, as reported recently in the Wall Street Journal. At stake isn’t the little guy’s fight against big government, as Santelli and his bot-supporters claim, but rather the “upper 2 percent”’s war to protect their wealth from the Obama Adminstration’s economic plans. When this Santelli “grassroots” campaign is peeled open, what’s revealed is a glimpse of what is ahead and what is bound to be a hallmark of his presidency.

A quick flashback to last week:

Coincidentally, on “The Oracle” this week, Prof. Michael Hudson asserted something quite similar in passing. “The banks have a very well-orchestrated campaign to try to blame the victim,” he said. “Since 90 percent of Americans oppose the bailout [for homeowners in possible danger of foreclosure], all they can do is try to get the solvent Americans angry at somebody getting something more than them.”

A Modest ($3 billion) Proposal

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Okay, so Stephen Harper is “frustrated” by the Opposition grumbling and carping about possible lack of transparency and accountability when it comes to handling of the $3 billion in “emergency” stimulus money… Well, that’s understandable enough, I suppose.

So here’s a straightforward idea to get that money quickly pumped into the economy in an expedient way that will make each of our elected representatives fully accountable for it — simply divide it up equally between all 308 ridings in the country. Under this arrangement, each MP would receive a fund of approximately $10 million to disperse within their own riding as they see fit to aid local development, employment, etc.

In terms of transparency and accountability, just as some congressmen and senators do in the U.S. with regards to so-called earmarks for their districts or states (as the case may be), each MP would be responsible for reporting on the projects in which they’ve invested the taxpayers’ money, both in their mailings to constituents and on their individual websites.

The min-Stim has been described by some pundits as “chump change” in the overall scheme of the stimulus envisioned by the Harper government, so it shouldn’t be a concern that this fractional approach is taking away from larger expenditures on projects with a more significant regional or national scope. Heck, in some cases, MPs might even get together to “pool” their individual allocations where appropriate.

So what do you think? Seems like and equitable distribution of money in addition to being “democratic” and “accountable.”

The “War on Drugs”

Seems that the Mexican government is taking that expression literally these days. From the AP, here’s raw footage of troops being deployed in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, the country’s most dangerous city where drug cartel-related violence left 250 people dead this past month.

And this… a drug related kidnapping ended in the deaths of 21 people, after executions and gun battles. The police chief of Cancun has also been detained for a possible drug-related killing. It’s estimated that more than 6,000 people in Mexico died last year from drug-related violence.

Never mind the threat posed by “Islamofascist” extremists and other so-called terrorists, the Mexican drug crisis will probably be a far more worrisome concern for the new Obama administration in the coming months and years…

Melting Down or Blowing Up?

Another eccentric take on global economic issues from Max Keisers’ BBC program “The Oracle.” In this segment, the eastern European meltdown and its potential consequences is discussed.

To put things in perspective, almost all East bloc debts are owed to West Europe, especially Austrian, Swedish, Greek, Italian, and Belgian banks. Europeans account for three quarters of the entire $5 trillion portfolio of loans to emerging markets. According to Stephen Jen, currency chief at Morgan Stanley, Eastern Europe has borrowed $1.7 trillion abroad, much on short-term maturities. It must repay – or roll over – $400 billion this year, equal to a third of the region’s GDP. Good luck with that.

The Queen of Mean

The other “star” of CPAC 2009, author and comedian Ann Coulter, spent her time savaging President Obama and liberals. Groundbreaking stuff! The first two video clips are her speech; the third is a Q&A with the audience — including one guy who first intimated that he wanted to propose to it her and then wanted to know “How can us Canadian Conservatives earn the love we have for you?” She answered by saying: “That’s the thing about you Canadians, you’re either really, really good, or really, really awful. At the beginning of the Iraq War it was becoming perilously close to being awful.”

If you manfully suffered all the way through to the end, you may have made a double-take at this remark:

So for politically correct reasons, we’re moving the focus of the war on terrorism to a very bad place for us. The Russians couldn’t win there. Peter the Great couldn’t win there. Oh, but maybe the messiah can win there, ok.

People with even a passing knowledge of history will, of course, know that Peter the Great never went anywhere near Afghanistan (the closest he came was an abortive invasion of Moldavia — over 2,000 miles away — during his brief struggle with the Ottoman Empire). Ah, but since when did Ann Coulter ever let pesky little “facts” get in the way of her vitriolic bullshit?