Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Stop me if you've heard this one

So this guy walks into a bar, and it's like Day 1 of an election campaign, and maybe he'll win and maybe he won't.

And the bartender says "what'll it be, mate?"

And the guy says "who gives a shit about the economy and taxes and defense and foreign policy and softwood lumber and separatism and hope and jobs. I think I'd like to have a BIG FUCKING VOTE ON GAY MARRIAGE, doncha know."

Get it?

Neither do I. I heard it today, and I didn't get it. Maybe someone can explain it to me.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Maybe we could whiteboard this

Colby Cosh bitchslaps the new Canada.com redesign, noting the typically clanging attempt at pithiness in its new slogan: Where Perspectives Connect.

While I agree with Cosh, if he's surprised by this inarticulate conceptual abscess then he's just not paying attention. The consulting world--and with it, the universe of modern business and government communication--is completely consumed by polysyllabic illiteracy. Where Perpectives Connect reeks of the kind of trying-to-justify-my-consulting-per-diem faux intellectualism that gives us "whiteboard", "dialogue", and "impact" as verbs, not to mention the concepts of the fishbowl, the parking lot, and change management (ed. note: please insert inchoate sound of rage here).

I guarantee you that Canada.com hired some thesaurus whores with a fancy acronym to "re-image" their "public interface" as they "move forward" through a time of "enriching change".

Personally I didn't even notice the slogan until Cosh pointed it out. I was more impressed by the scintillating colour scheme, cascading all the way from bluish-grey to greyish-blue... which leaves one with the pleasing sensation that one is going blind, starting with the cones and proceeding painlessly and inevitably towards the rods.

Thanks Canada.com! Any way of simulating chest pain or dysuria for your next re-imagining? I've even got a slogan for you: it's a secret for now, but look forward to a magical combination of the words "information", "super", and "highway". Can you guess?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

What the hell do I know, anyway

I think I must have terrible political instincts. I suspect that Paul Wells, in contrast, has good political instincts.

Case in point: in the 2004 election, Harper's Harpies accused Martin of supporting--not doing little to prevent, but actually supporting--child porn. I thought it wasn't so bad, maybe a minor slip-up... and Paul Wells thought it was a huge mistake that would cost Harper at the polls. Even now, when people look back to explain Harper's collapse in support in the last couple of weeks of the 2004 campaign, they still bring up the porn accusation. Score: N 0, Wells 1.

Case in point deux: in spring 2005, Martin goes on national t.v. to beg for his political life, throwing the "wait for Gomery" hail Mary pass. I thought it was transparently ridiculous and a waste of breath. Wells thought it was a complete success, and would save Martin until 2006. Score: N 0, Wells 2.

Now: Harper accuses the Libs of links to organized crime. My take: probably true in the broadest sense of organized crime (i.e. a group of people systematically planning to break the law), probably untrue in the sense most people have of organized crime (i.e. my cousin Vinnie "One Thumb" is going to visit your apartment later to remind you of the importance of paying your bookie). He repeats his allegations in the house more than once, as Andrew Coyne points out today (subscription) in the Post. This is clearly an intentional strategy. The Libs take the bait, such as it is, and spend the next two days (at least) talking about how they are NOT associated with organized crime.

My initial take was: stupid stupid Libs, repeating the allegation in order to deny it. Most people think "where there's smoke, there's fire," and given most voters' minimal engagement right now with politics, all they're going to hear is "blah blah blah Liberals blah blah organized crime". That can't be good for the Grits. (I note that Tarantino shares my perspective somewhat.) Paul Wells' take: Harper's comments are appalling, and the next few days will be excruciating for the Tories.

The way my strategic predictions have gone, I think I should hang up my prognosticator's hat. As I pointed out in my very first N=1 post, I do not understand how most people think. I feel like Oliver Sacks' anthropologist on Mars: other people's (political) decisions do not make sense to me, so maybe I should stop trying to anticipate them.

I think Wells' analysis might be off base--after all, I think some media people do have a tendency to jump on Harper quickly, seeing as he usually deserves it. I'm not saying Wells is on the antiHarper bandwagon, I'm just saying we should take the "ooo-stupid-Tories-and-their-stupid-angry-mouths" bits with a grain of salt. Except that Wells has a track record of being right. And (more importantly, as my wife would say) I have a track record of being wrong.

If Wells thinks Harper is going to wear this accusation, he's probably right. It won't affect my vote. As long as Harper does not promise to repeal gay marriage, I'm voting Tory. If he does, or if my local candidate does, then I'm voting for someone else in the NotLiberal Party. But it might affect other people's votes. It's verrrrry early days yet, and ultimately I doubt this specific "gaffe" (or truth-telling, take your pick) will move a single vote. But it might just demonstrate typically crappy Tory message management.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I happen to think Paul Wells is wrong--but that's just a guess

Yesterday Paul Wells suggested that it had been a "good day for federalism" because Andre Boisclair had fled from Jean Charest's invitation to an unchallenged seat in the Quebec "national" assembly.

I hesitate to contradict Mr. Wells, because my own understanding of Quebec politics is weak at best. However, I think he's wrong in this instance.

If I were Boisclair, I would have done exactly the same thing. Why would I go and sit across from Charest for a couple of years, allowing him to make fun of my cocaine use every day? It's a bad idea for Boisclair to get himself into the Assembly any time soon. Much better, from a strategic point of view, to remain on the outside looking in... at least for now. In my opinion, that allows him to avoid dwelling on his coke habit for a few more months, until the public is utterly bored of it, while simultaneously allowing him to embody the politically valuable "outsider" persona.

Here is where my lack of feeling for Quebec politics may be a problem, because for all I know being the outsider-running-against-the-establishment may not be a great thing in Quebec. But if Quebec's political culture is anything like the USA or indeed the ROC, that outsider mantle can be a valuable thing. It's hard for a former cabinet minister to achieve, but being outside the legislature for a few more months makes it more credible.

As an aside, has Harper said anything publicly about Boisclair? Anything like "while I congratulate Mr Boisclair on this particular event, the Conservative team is working hard to convince Quebecers that the Pequistes and the Bloc offer Quebec only another dead end. Quebec's aspirations can be realized within a new Canada, far more easily than they could be achieved from the outside. Quebecers should not make the mistake of assuming that the Liberal Party is what Canada is all about. The Liberals may be a tired, corrupt stew of tired ideas and hopeless cliches, but Canada is still a great and free country. I invite Quebecers to join with the Conservative Party to make their province and our nation something we can all be proud of again."

He didn't?

Why the fuck not?

Congratulations

...are owing to Sinister Greg, for earning the First Annual Carbuncle.

And it's funny how gradeschool insults are still the best. I can call the UN "a shitbasket of dictators and thieving whoremongers," and Greg can call Paul Martin "a coward and a dink".

And Greg's is funnier than mine.

You know it's true.

People want to be deceived

It's the only explanation I can think of.

Sinister Greg pleads "don't let the Liberals fool you." He knows, as I do, and as many people do, that the Liberals are a professional talking shop. They are better than anyone at sounding a good game. But when it comes to action, they fail. Jean Chretien understood this implicitly. He always talked big (against private health care, against the Americans, in favour of Kyoto), but he was careful to promise only the unmeasurable. He never promised something which it could be proven he had failed to deliver--at least, he didn't after he promised to repeal the GST. Chretien deceived Liberal voters into thinking they were getting something (sustainable medicare, a made-in-Canada foreign policy, etc), when in fact they were not.

Liberal voters aren't any stupider than Tory or Dipper voters. I think they're just more eager to deceive themselves. As long as they talk about "helping Canada's Native communities have clean water" or some such bullshit, they can fool themselves into thinking that they are doing something worthwhile.

As an aside, this is never more true than when a Liberal's heart turns to thoughts of the UN. A more pathetic corrupt disgusting toilet of an organization it is hard to imagine, but Liberals think it's the goddamn holy grail. It is, in fact, a shitbasket of dictators and thieving whoremongers, lying to one another about peace. But it looks good! As long as you don't look too closely, that is. The Liberals and their supporters fit right in. Whether you're talking about clean water on a reserve in northern Ontario, or disarming a nuclear Iran, Liberals appear to think that talking about it is good enough. Talking is, of course, not their means to an end, but the end itself.

The Liberals are so good at this, it is to weep. And Greg shouldn't be surprised when a plurality of Canadian voters once again leans in close to let the Liberal Party pour its poison into their ear.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I want the Liberals to lose

I want the Liberals to lose.

I want Paul Martin to make poor strategic decisions... like choosing to have an election in January, for example, when he could have had one in February.

I want a Liberal civil war... like the one the Chretienites are set to bring down upon the Martinoids. Leak, baby, leak!

I want the NDP to do well... for example, I like it when Jack! looks like Mr Parliamentary Wisdom, because I think that moves the granola vote his way.

I want Harper to learn the following words:
(1) "more in sorrow than in anger"
(2) "our platform has been public since November"
(3) "Has Paul Martin lived up to your expectations?"


Please, oh please, I want this election to be different.

Friday, November 11, 2005

My Plan, which won't ever happen, but so what

I am Stephen Harper.

I move a non-confidence motion on November 15. All three opposition parties vote non-confidence in Martin's Liberals. The government is defeated.

Martin goes to the GG to ask that the House be dissolved and an election be called.

I too go to the GG, along with Jack and Gilles (heh heh... "Jack and Gilles go up the hill" etc etc.). We have a signed agreement stating our formal coalition as a Government of Democratic Accountability. We will work alongside one another for 4 months. There will be a cabinet formed in equal parts of members of the CPC, NDP, and Bloc. Layton can be Finance, Duceppe can be Foreign Affairs. This agreement stipulates that we will act only in one area: to investigate and reform the democratic system in Canada, so tattered and worn after a dozen years of Liberal scandal. We will specifically not address changes to health care, taxes, privatisation, foreign policy, etc. We will commit our group to call an election for March, 2006, the same date that Martin had promised previously.

Presented with an agreement confirming the existence of a coalition government with the confidence of the House, the GG will have no choice but to recognize this Government of Democratic Accountability. Martin's request for an election is refused.

I become PM for 4 months. Working with Layton and Duceppe, we have 4 months to open the books and shine a light into Martin's dark corners.

There is a federal election in March.

The Senate of the University of N=1

Is pleased to announce the appointment of Angry White Males to the rank of Associate Professor. Angry will be teaching in the Department of You Eastern Bastards Can Freeze In The Dark.

Welcome aboard, Angry!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Occam thinks I am a malingering bastard

And he's right.

In other news, no-one seems to have pointed out that the recent poll numbers frankly show no significant Tory bounce overall. They show the Libs down, or slightly down, but the Tories are flippin' stuck. I think they're stuck because they're playing Mr Sneaky Boots with their platform.

It should come out NOW.

I have also come to a decision about my own personal vote in the (maybe) looming campaign. I finally figured out why I hate the Liberals so much. It's not really their policies, which as anyone will tell you are pretty much indistinguishable from the Tories'. It's not the corruption, because (a) I hated the Liberals long before Martin pulled Gomery out of his trousers, and (b) I know the Tories would be just as corrupt if they had the chance.

It's the attitude.

My whole life I've hated the "I know better than you" people. The sneeringly superior socialist meddlers. The condescending left-lib assholes. Sure the Tories have their own version (although they generally only condescend about gay sex and drug use... which pisses me off but only at a theoretical level because I'm not gay and don't do drugs), but nobody can top a Liberal when it comes to condescension. The last 40 years of Liberal Party history has been devoted to the precept that They are Better than You. This makes me so mad I could puke. I could not vote Liberal. Could not. I frankly couldn't look myself in the mirror afterwards.

The Liberals need to lose. They need the humility. Oh, man, do they need it. Reminds me of the old joke about Texas law. Why is it that stealin' a horse gets a worse sentence than killin' a man? Because I ain't never met a horse that needed stealin'.

The Liberals need losin', baby.

I happen to live in a Tory riding. The best chance to keep the Libs out is to re-elect the Tory in my riding. So I'm voting Tory. If I lived in a Dipper riding, I'd be marking my X next to Jack!'s chosen minion. Hell, given that they're a bunch of useless tits, I'd even vote for the Bloc.

In other other news, I'm revamping my blogroll, given my all new reason for blogging. Old reason: share my trenchant insight with millions of adoring fans. New reason: intermittent venting to a half dozen maladjusted cranks like myself. Therefore: ixnay with the reciprocal links and the links to Blogs I Used To Read But Just Don't Have Time For Any More. Cut cut cut. Plus see-you-later to the Ecosystem tracker. I now officially do not give a crap how many incoming links I have.

I'm only leaving up the sites I read almost every day.

We now return you to regularly scheduled apathy.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?