Democracy Deficit, Chapter 62
Go read Paul Well's transcript of the House Finance Committee.
This is what happens when a political party decides it is above the conventions of Parliament and, frankly, above the law....
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One Damn Thing After Another
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Go read Paul Well's transcript of the House Finance Committee.
This is what happens when a political party decides it is above the conventions of Parliament and, frankly, above the law....
Of course Buckets' is not without its own little secrets...
Recently, Rempelia Prime drew attention to a story which revealed how "scary" Christians are taking over Liberal nominations, not just Conservative ones. He challenged Buckets of Astroturf to update his/her "Running list of so-con nominees" to include the Liberal candidates, not just the Conservatives.Normally I don't quote a whole post or put the links in but The Invisible Hand's catching Buckets with its hand in the hypocritical cookie jar needs to be spread across the Canadian blogosphere.
Shortly thereafter, Buckets' list disappeared.
Just a coincidence, I'm sure.
Fortunately, I know that good Liberals everywhere will be relieved to find out that the post is still available via Google's cache. (I've saved the page to my hard drive as well. The comments thread is also available... at the moment.) After all, they believe in making sure Canadians have all of the facts, right?
Update: I posted the following comment in Buckets' (comfy and furry) Welcome thread.Buckets, would you be able to comment on why this post was deleted?My comment was deleted within fifteen minutes.
(It's still available via Google's cache and the comment page.)
the invisible hand
There is a good deal of speculation about the identity of Buckets' Grewal given the press attention he (or they) have been receiving. I could care less about the identity but thought it worthwhile to note the sheer professionalism and understatement which characterizes the site and its commentary.
By not overstating its position Buckets has quickly gained a lot of credibility on the Grewal tapes. "Just the facts." is not quite the motto, there is a bit of spin, but the spin is minimal.
Can one person, or a few people, get together to tackle one issue in a non-partisan manner? Yes, although the blog entries in this site have been very one-sided. Could one person, or a few people, really be that motivated to look that deeply into one issue? Again, I think it's possible, although I don't know what the motivating factors could be.Good questions. But the answers lie fairly deep in the ethos of the blogosphere - the time honoured tradition of "fisking" - names after the delightful and virtually never accurate Robert Fisk - is the process of a detailed annotation of a particular piece with which one disagrees or which one knows to be wrong on the facts. It is an art and one best practiced with restraint and only the occassional sarcastic blast. Then there was the Rather case where bloggers pretty much proved that memos purporting to bring President Bush's service record into disrepute and which CBS aired only a few days before the Presidential election, were forgeries. Buckets' is using many of the same skills to cast doubt on the Grewal tapes with a fair degree of success.
While it is fun to discuss the implications of the SCC health insurance decision, a real problem is looming:
The regional director for the World Health Organization, Dr. Shigeru Omi, told reporters in Beijing yesterday that the two recent outbreaks in remote areas in which hundreds of birds died were worrisome because they involved migratory waterfowl and domestic geese, birds that until now had been fairly resistant to the disease.There is some chance that avian flu will remain locked into the bird population. But, and critically, it has spread to humans in Cambodia, Viet Nam and Thailand. With fatal results.
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan this week added to a chorus of worry about the growth of home loans seen as far riskier than the 30-year mortgage that has been U.S. housing's bedrock for decades.It is a leverage which could work dramatically in reverse. Dead people don't make payments nor do they buy houses that other dead people's families are desperately trying to sell. A correction can easily become a crash and that crash can ripple out into the non-housing economy.
Those alternatives, called "exotic" by the Fed chief on Thursday, have played a big role in sustaining the four-year housing boom by making homes more affordable, which in turn stoked demand and drove prices higher and higher.
Besides, lighten up! Mass forced starvations aren't just a catastrophe, they're an important neo-Marxist tradition! The poor guy is just trying to be part of the club with his comrades in Russia, North Korea, North Vietnam, China, Ethiopia, and Cambodia. Really, it's all just a differently-relevant culture with its own distinct narratives to cherish as it joins the global rainbow struggle for social justice and equality against the global patriarchical capitalist henegmony. Anyway, don't you know the evil U.S. regime is killing Iraqi babies and serving them at White House banquets with hoisin sauce?Joe, along with many of the rest of us, wonders when the left is going to wake up to the black on black genocide by starvation currently occuring in Zimbabwe.
In fairness, some of the liberal commeners here over the last year or so appear to be happy to put a bullet or three in Mugabe. They just haven't thought through the implications of their European idols' inaction for the entire premise of their foreign policy approach. If not the USA, who will bell the cat? Overthrow and/or partition is actually an operation that could be executed with just a few thousand troops, as long air and naval support was there.
The infringement of the rights protected by s. 1 is not justified under s. 9.1 of the Quebec Charter. The general objective of the HOIA and the HEIA is to promote health care of the highest possible quality for all Quebeckers regardless of their ability to pay. The purpose of the prohibition on private insurance in s. 11 HOIA and s. 15 HEIA is to preserve the integrity of the public health care system. Preservation of the public plan is a pressing and substantial objective, but there is no proportionality between the measure adopted to attain the objective and the objective itself. While an absolute prohibition on private insurance does have a rational connection with the objective of preserving the public plan, the Attorney General of Quebec has not demonstrated that this measure meets the minimal impairment test. It cannot be concluded from the evidence concerning the Quebec plan or the plans of the other provinces of Canada, or from the evolution of the systems of various OECD countries that an absolute prohibition on private insurance is necessary to protect the integrity of the public plan. There are a wide range of measures that are less drastic and also less intrusive in relation to the protected rights.Rather cleverly the SCC declined to ground its ruling in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as the impugned law already contravened Quebec's own Charter.
This is not a case in which the Court must show deference to the government’s choice of measure. The courts have a duty to rise above political debate. When, as in the case at bar, the courts are given the tools they need to make a decision, they should not hesitate to assume their responsibilities. Deference cannot lead the judicial branch to abdicate its role in favour of the legislative branch or the executive branch. While the government has the power to decide what measures to adopt, it cannot choose to do nothing in the face of a violation of Quebeckers’ right to security. Inertia cannot be used as an argument to justify deference.
Chaoulli v. Quebec
It cannot be concluded from the evidence concerning the Quebec plan or the plans of the other provinces of Canada, or from the evolution of the systems of various OECD countries that an absolute prohibition on private insurance is necessary to protect the integrity of the public plan.If ever there was a broad hint this is it.
While the decision about the type of health care system Quebec should adopt falls to the legislature of that province, the resulting legislation, like all laws, must comply with the Canadian Charter. Here, it is common ground that the effect of the prohibition on private health insurance set out in s. 11 HOIA and s. 15 HEIA is to allow only the very rich, who can afford private health care without need of insurance, to secure private care in order to avoid any delays in the public system. Given the prohibition, most Quebeckers have no choice but to accept any delays in the public health regime and the consequences this entails....
Where lack of timely health care can result in death, the s. 7 protection of life is engaged; where it can result in serious psychological and physical suffering, the s. 7 protection of security of the person is triggered. In this case, the government has prohibited private health insurance that would permit ordinary Quebeckers to access private health care while failing to deliver health care in a reasonable manner, thereby increasing the risk of complications and death. In so doing, it has interfered with the interests protected by s. 7 of the Canadian Charter.
Two thousand leaflets attacking gays and lesbians have put a Christian activist in western Canada under investigation by Edmonton police for hate crimes.Whichever form of Chrisitanity Whatcott subscribes to I cannot imagine that it includes stuffing nasty little pamphlets into people's mailboxes.
The flyers by Bill Whatcott of Regina refer to gay marriage as "sodomite marriage" and use graphic language to describe the alleged sex practices of homosexuals.
The handouts also used derogatory terms to describe federal Defence Minister Bill Graham.
"The material is offensive and it's an affront on the basic tenets of our society, which is about multiculturalism, tolerance and peaceful co-existence," Const. Steve Camp, of the Edmonton police hate crimes unit, said.This is wrong in oh so many ways. First, since when is it the job of a policeman to comment on the political implications of evidence seized in a criminal investigation? Second, since when have "multiculturalism, tolerance and peaceful co-existence" become "the basic tenets of our society"? I would have thought that "free speech/freedom of assembly/freedom of religion" would have occupied that high ground.
buckets' Grewal serves up a tasty slideshow demonstrating that a) what was cut from the originally released tapes was substantive, b)that there is no question that there was a deal being discussed, c) that the tapes could have been released unedited.
This last point is worth bearing in mind. Whoever edited the tapes was not terribly clever. The material which was cut and is now restored is mainly more of the same, tawdry, exhibit of venial men making corrrupt promises to subvert democracy in Canada.
Why bother? What Grewal says in the excised bits does not alter the essence of the dealing and neither side of the transaction looks any the less sleazy.
The unfortunate truth is that the CPC had a smoking gun and then, for reasons unknowable, decided to look down the barrel and pull the trigger, just to see if all the bullets were spent.
Chalk up another "x" in the dumb column for the Tories....Sigh.
Liberal MP Pat O'Brien announced Monday he would be leaving the Liberal caucus to sit as an independent, saying Prime Minister Paul Martin had gone back on his promise to give adequate public consultation on same-sex marriage legislation.O'Brien had been long rumoured to be ready to quit the Liberal caucus over SSM. But this remark is interesting,
globe and mail
Mr. O'Brien said Monday that he feels that the Prime Minister went back on his word and that the process to legislate same-sex marriage was "unfolding to be a farce."Calling the Prime Minister a liar, in the nicest possible way, is pretty strong language from a sitting MP. I suspect we are in for more fun in the House.
Instead of 1,000 teenaged girls with diaries, the blogosphere is more like 1,000 grumpy dads watching the 6 p.m. news and complaining that the world is going to hell. Remember that the next time someone tells you that blogs are the future.Ivor Tossell has discovered,
globe and mail
But the amount of original material on weblogs is surprisingly low. The Internet is always turning up new writing talent, but most weblogs fill up space by pointing to items on other weblogs and adding their own two cents. It amounts to an awful lot of commentary, and as it happens, the seed is usually an item from the hated mainstream media.Now, Ivor, if you take a look at the Globe and Mail how much of the material is original? Do Margaret Wente and Jeffery Simpson, much less full on geniuses like Heather Mallick and Leah McLaren, do original reporting? No, they comment on material which tends to be generated by a few Globe and Mail reporters and wire services.
globe and mail
Making the cover of Time magazine is pretty much a sign that a story has passed it climax...A bubble may be bursting somewhere near you.
Don't believe me? Here is the Time cover for September 27, 1999 when the NASDQ Composite index was at 154.00, two years later that index stood at 67. Of course, Time was not wrong, by March 2000, six months later, the Nasdaq index was at 282. Largely because magazines like Time were hyping the boom and bringing loads of people who had no business in the volatile, over valued, hi-tech market into that market afraid that they were missing the next big thing.
Update: Calculated Risk exerpts Yale economist Robert Schiller. You'll remember Schiller on "Irrational Exuberance" the last time there was a little bubble...
"Although home prices have gone up a lot in the recent years, they are just the same houses, right? There is no change in the services they provide, its just the value we put on them. And so houses' value can just evaporate overnight too. If people suddenly get vary wary of investing houses, because they don't think the prices are going to go up, or if they think they are going to fall that will cause home prices to fall."
The Telegraph is running a series of policy papers from a ginger group in the British Tory Party,
What is peculiar to Britain, however, is the inability of the right-of-centre party to capitalise on the anti-government mood. On the Continent, Right-wing parties have traditionally positioned themselves as defenders of local traditions against the bureaucracy of the state - champions, so to speak, of the little man against the government inspector. But in Britain, uniquely, the right-of-centre party is seen as more centralist than its rivals.Not just Britain...
Conservatives need to adopt a Self-Denying Ordinance. They must dispel the notion that they are interested simply in office and convince the country that, rather than grasping at the levers of control, they would push powers outwards and downwards. They should be guided in all things by three principles.Were the lamers in the CPC to take on this sort of commitment and actually run with it they would leave the Liberals without a reply. Dither's can talk about the "democracy deficit" until he is even redder in the face; but he is to much a part of the machine to do a thing about it. Harper, if he would forget about SSM and keeping the fundies on board, could bang around at this individual rights, decentralist message until he had actually managed to establish a real difference between the tired, corrup, old gang of the Liberal Party and a new vision for Canada. (And, as a bonus, radical decentralization is almost certainly the only option which has even a forelorn hope of keeping Quebec engaged with Caanda.)
# Decisions should be taken as closely as possible to the people they affect;
# Law-makers should be directly accountable;
# The citizen should be as free as possible from state coercion.
Yet the crisis widened beyond the document alone, with a media offensive being mounted to bolster the euro after German officials and an Italian minister openly discussed its possible demise. In the first rumblings of a call for the franc to be reinstated, Nicolas Dupont-Aignant, a member of Mr Chirac's ruling UMP party, said: "France, Italy and Germany would be in a better state without the euro. However, I don't believe we should ditch it now.Remember rule one of currency trading which I alluded to on June 1st,
"But either it is reformed, and the central European Bank kick-starts growth by lowering interest rates and pursuing a more American-style monetary policy, or the euro will explode in mid-air."
The governor of France's central bank, however, rushed to the euro's defence. Christian Noyer said that the currency was "in no way under threat" following its fall in value since the No votes of the past seven days. He dismissed as "absurd" the idea of a temporary withdrawal from the euro by individual states.
A good rule in international banking is that when central bankers are going public to deny that a currency is in trouble, the currency is in trouble.That makes two central bankers in three days who have called one element or another of the Euro's collapse "absurd".
moi, scroll down
The fragility of the structure of the West's economic system is easy to exagerate. After all, the American economy is still huge, Britain has become highly productive, Canada has a lot of oil and, perhaps as importantly, water. Japan, notionally a Western nation and card carrying member of the G-7 has lots of American Treasury bills.
Yet, for all of that, the consumer debt, the housing madness, the coming oil shocks, the brittleness of the EU and the coming end of Canada's hundred and twenty years as a bi-cultural nation, all suggest a degree of wariness is in order.
After the last American election it became popular on the American left to spend a good deal of time suggesting that the entire economic structure of America - and, often by extension, the West in general - was profoundly suspect. Adverse economic statisitics were seized with glee in order to demonstrate that the "Bush regime" might be able to win ("steal") elections but, so what, the American Empire had jumped the shark. From peak oil to the balance of trade, Uncle Sam was on the wrong end of economic history.
This was, and remains a profoundly conservative, view of the world; but then again the American (and Canadian and non-Blairite British) left is a profoundly conservative bunch of folks. It is a view which is profoundly suspicious of technilogical solutions, sceptical about the motives of politicians and businessmen, hostile to the idea of captialism and free markets and, at a profound level, in reaction to the entire idea of wealth creation.
Which does not make its critique any the less cogent no matter how much one might dispise the motivations of that critique.
Peak oil is a reality - the only open questions are price and how quickly hydro carbons will actually run out. The American balance of trade and budget deficit are more than a little troubling. But the issue which I am inclined to thing the left conservatives have too heavily discounted is the brittleness of the West's economies.
Brittleness is about the capacity of a structure to survive an shock. The obvious and best example of a shock would be 9/11. America shut down. Billions of dollars were simply lost in the charred heaps of the World Trade Center. The loss of life was horrendous; but the anticipated loss of confidence didn't happen. While much ink was spilled on the rather useless question "Why us?" Most of America absorbed the blow and got on with business and life.
In a way, the very pointedness of the 9/11 shock, the fact that it was so concentrated and without follow up from al-Qaeda, meant that its effect was to boost rather than destroy American morale. (An outcome which anyone who knew America was unsurprised by.)
I suspect that a similar attack would create much the same reaction; but I also suspect that, not withstanding the gloomier warbloggers, it is unlikely that such an attack will be mounted.
Instead, the resilience of the American and Western resolve are going to be tested in quite different ways over the next decade.
I am frankly a bit bored with the pleasures of watching Dithers and the CPC race to the bottom. So a few thoughts on what I suspect will be the real issues of the next decade on a global and national scale will follow.
The state's booming housing market has generated $1 trillion in increased home equity since 2000, triggering billions of dollars in consumer spending, the California Building Industry Association reported yesterday.While currency pricing may be an abstraction, the ability to borrow really large chunks of money agianst the paper profits locked up in your house is very real and very worrying. Pace builder economist Nevin, where people have leveraged their borrowing against the appreciation of their home during the good times, they can, in the event of an economic downturn, become mega-paupers in an instant. What Nevin seems intent on ignoring is that in a downturn people will a) have already borrowed against the equity in their homes, b) be watching that equity evaporate as housing prices fall...
In addition to strengthening the economy, the gain in home values makes it highly unlikely that widespread mortgage defaults will occur in the event of a sharp economic downturn, said Alan Nevin, the association's chief economist.
"People have the ability to borrow against their homes," Nevin said. "If times get tougher, they could borrow a sufficient amount to pay their mortgages."
Refinancing has enabled homeowners to buy goods and services "they wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise," he said.
sign on san diego