Monday, October 28, 2013


Liberty, as we all know, cannot flourish in a country that is permanently on a war footing, or even a near war footing. Permanent crisis justifies permanent control of everybody and everything by the agencies of central government.
Aldous Huxley

My Pix

Chrystia Freeland at her Toronto Center election headquarters, Oct 27, 2013


Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again. 
André Gide

My Pix

Window abstracts at 6 King Street East.

All my photos are on Flickr

Thursday, October 24, 2013


As everyone in this room knows, it has become a right of passage for aspiring leaders and prime ministers to promise Senate reform - on their way to the top.  

The promises are usually made in Western Canada.  

And these statements of intent are usually warmly received by party activists, editorial writers and ordinary people.

But once they are elected, Senate reform quickly falls to the bottom of the Government's agenda.

Stephen Harper, September 2006, from his own website.


the issue is not a matter of perception … you can not claim an expense you did not incur. That is not right, that is not proper, and that will not be tolerated in this party.
Prime Minister Harper's complete non denial.

Harper's Bad Week

Unbelievably, Mike Duffy is a hero.  Two days ago, he looked like the archetypical insider crook.  Today he is the only known case of someone publicly defying Stephen Harper and living to tell the tail.  That's bad for business.  Queue the counter-attack.  Not that anything besides monumentally stupid incompetence by the PMO could have restored Duffy's reputation to the point where a counter-attack is necessary or viable.

The worst possible outcome of this scandal is that it could get attached to the Prime Minister personally.  His party is known for enthusiastic betrayal when the leader shows some blood.  Like The Man Who Would Be King.  And the suspension might have passed last week, but its gone now.  Total defeat for the PMO and tar all over the PM.

The most fascinating thing is that the only story having a ring of truth is Duffy's. That he's a self-serving crook makes his story even more credible.  He knows what he's talking about.  It looks like the $90,000 was a straightforward bribe, the Prime Minister knew about it, and probably approved it.  And who created this Duffy monster?  Stephen Harper, in one of his more transparently cynical moves as PM.  His cunning, paranoia and vindictiveness have finally come back to stab him deeper than any enemy could have.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
Mark Twain

There is no distinctly American criminal class, except Congress.
Mark Twain

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Rebellion In The House

    Dan Tague

I finally figured out what the Republicans are up to with the debt showdown.  Republican Senator Tom Coburn said last week: “I would dispel the rumor that is going around that you hear on every newscast, that if we don’t raise the debt ceiling, we will default on our debt. We won’t. We’ll continue to pay our interest.”  The Government will be able to do that with their tax revenues, so the story goes.

By refusing to let the US Government borrow any more money, the Tea Party faction can force Obama to shut down everything except the military, social security, and interest payments on the debt.  No money for things they don't like, especially Obamacare.  When everyone wakes up on Friday to realize the world didn't end, Obama will have to negotiate, and the GOP can raise the debt ceiling for 90 days on Monday morning.  Crisis over.  The Tea Party faction will have pulled off a political masterstroke and finished the Reagan revolution.

Or so I am guessing.  Its taking brinksmanship into previously unknown territory, but its brinkmanship all the same.

If my guess is right, then the tea party types will do their damnedest to prevent any vote at all until they get what they want.  If they don't allow a vote, then Boehner can't fold and compromise with the Democrats.  With party discipline, nobody, not Obama, not the Senate, not the Courts, can stop them.  The House GOP will effectively run the country until at least January 2015.

For their ploy to work, Obama has to be able to pay for at least Social Security the military and interest on the national debt out of taxes and not be able to use any executive tricks to keep borrowing.  If the Tea Party faction are wrong about this, there will be an economic meltdown and a political showdown.  Nobody can say what would happen, but it wouldn't be good.

Friday, October 11, 2013

My Pix

6 King Street East, Toronto

All my photos are on Flickr