Tag Archives: democracy

A friendly note from Darren Hill

… to anyone who is thinking of running against him in 2016.

CAMPAIGN UPDATE

Many of you have offered to volunteer on the campaign. I am extremely grateful for the outpouring of support. I am very fortunate to have lots of the team from the last three elections returning, however, some friends and family have moved away and we would welcome the help.

Here is an update of where we are at and if any of the opportunities are of interest to you I would be happy to have you on the team.

Completed:
* Billboards / bus benches / portable Signs
* Senior Citizen policy team & events
* Fundraising committee work
* Policy committee work
* All 10 brochures designed – 2 printed and 8 ready to go
* GOTV Team coordinated
* Half the lawn signs will go out early next week and the remainder as soon as the opponent declares
* Posters going up Monday
* Vehicle wraps (x3) ready to go if required

In other words, if you run against me, I’ll crush you and take away your desire to ever hold public office again.   Also from the looks at the Senior Citizens policy work, he’ll win your grandparents support and have you disowned.    It’s going to be awkward when your parents are driving around in one of his Darren Hill wrapped vehicles.

Past best before date?

Has Harper been on the job for too long?

One of the costs of long-tenured prime ministers is that over time there accumulates a sense of hubris and a complacency that serves the pride and ego of the leader and his cadre, but few others. This mentality is captured well by Louis St. Laurent’s 1949 campaign slogan: “You’ve never had it so good.” While, at the time, St. Laurent had only been in power for a short time, his party had been in power for 13 years in a row.

Another example is Mulroney’s two kicks at the constitutional can. While the 1987 Meech Lake Accord showed fresh, albeit elitist, thinking on the constitution, the 1992 Charlottetown Accord seemed more like an act of great hubris and (and, incidentally, political suicide).

Perhaps my favourite instance of hubris and entitlement, though, is Chrétien’s decision to stay through the 2000 election cycle. It was rumoured that he made this decision, in part, to spite Paul Martin, heir apparent and rival in the style of an epic melodrama reminiscent of Isaac and Ishmael. The long-suffering country returned a Liberal majority, steeped in corruption and in-fighting, and was rewarded with front-row seats to see Chrétien and Martin run the Grits into the ground.

On top of hubris, entrenched prime ministerial tenures also erode the capacity of opposition parties to do their job. As Franks argued, weakened oppositions, who cannot rely on patronage, who do not enjoy the extensive resources enjoyed by the governing parties, and who must constantly deal with rookie MPs are less able to effectively hold the government to account.

Harper, prime minister since 2006, is deeply into the stage of leadership at which his elapsed time in office has become a problem. The extent of his hubris is well-known. Indeed, it has gone so far as to rouse former House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken, who told author Michael Harris, “Parliament can hardly be weakened any more than it already is. Harper can’t go much further without making the institution dysfunctional. He is trying to control every aspect of House business. In fact, it will have to be returned to its former state by someone if we are to have a democracy.”

So much for democracy

GOP voter suppression bills could keep more than 5 million Democratic voters away from the polls

Restrictive voting laws in states across the country could affect up to five million voters from traditionally Democratic demographics in 2012, according to a new report by the Brennan Center. That’s a number larger than the margin of victory in two of the last three presidential elections.

The new restrictions, the study found, "fall most heavily on young, minority, and low-income voters, as well as on voters with disabilities. This wave of changes may sharply tilt the political terrain for the 2012 election."

The study found that:

  • These new laws could make it significantly harder for more than five million eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012.
  • The states that have already cut back on voting rights will provide 171 electoral votes in 2012 – 63 percent of the 270 needed to win the presidency.
  • Of the 12 likely battleground states, as assessed by an August Los Angeles Times analysis of Gallup polling, five have already cut back on voting rights (and may pass additional restrictive legislation), and two more are currently considering new restrictions

You can read the full report here (PDF).  I know this going to upset some of you who see yourselves as Republican but this kind of stuff is just evil.  I am not overly impressed with Barack Obama’s record and if I was American, Gov. Chris Christie would be an intriguing choice for Republican nominee but there are things happening to the GOP that go beyond partisan politics and just cross a line that should never be crossed.  Voter suppression laws are one of them.  So are threatening the government with default or blocking a president’s nominees with silent holds for partisan purposes.  The GOP has taken the United States to a place where it never should have gone and even if they win in 2012, they will have to pay the consequences of doing some of these things.  Either way there are dark times ahead for the United States.

Update: As I was just reminded; The Sask Party had some voter suppression policies of it’s own until this morning.

The panic that is gripping Russia

Here is an interesting view of the economic crisis in Russia in the IHT

Who spent us into this crisis? That’s the secret question among Russia’s rulers. They don’t believe in chance, or predictability, or conscience. They do believe in plots. Against Russia. The Orange Revolution was a plot, and the Rose Revolution. And behind them stands America.

And for our Holy Russia, the financial crisis is a mortal threat, similar to AIDS. Why? Because it is developing against the backdrop of another crisis – a crisis of confidence in the state.

The state in recent years has become, as in Soviet times, impenetrable. The actions of the powers on high are unpredictable; they change or violate the rules of the game, and the only logic that can be surmised is that they do things to strengthen the state – or at least they think they  do.

This creates suspicion. The Kremlin says there is no financial crisis in Russia, and the population is supposed to accept this. The Kremlin partly believes itself because historical reality in Russia is usually constructed through words, not actions. To bolster its words, the Kremlin needs a foreign source for the crisis: Americans are to blame!

If words fail to cause the crisis to disappear, then it must be blown up to universal proportions to scare the population so the country can be turned into a military camp – again, for the good of the state. In this way, the issue is not the crisis but how to use it for the good of the state.

The target of these efforts – Russians – comes in three categories:

First are those who understand what the financial crisis is all about. These are the entrepreneurs, bankers, businessmen and oligarchs. They don’t trust the state; they know the state will sacrifice them the moment it needs to. Private business will do everything to defend its interests, making deals with the state only for tactical reasons. Its primary response is to send its capital abroad. For that matter, the state itself, in the face of its hugely wealthy elite, is doing the same thing.

Therein lies the weakness of the "vertical of power" that our liberals are always going on about: When petrodollars are plentiful and the stabilization fund is a treasure chest, the state talks from a position of strength. When finances are sick, the state loses its voice.