Friday, March 20, 2009


Gotta give the Globe & Mail's uneven opinion maker, Jeff Simpson, his due. Today he is on to something. We can only "hope", he says, that our economic "Canadian plutocracy" (you know, the one "removed from the preoccupations of ordinary people") will see the "justified humbling of Wall Street and its shameful greed" as a reason to pause and reconsider its modus operandi. After all, its repeated justification for "large salaries, bonuses, stock options and the like" to keep Canada's homegrown talent from leaving for the US may no longer carry any weight. Maybe we should just let them go?

Need proof? See this story in the very same paper.

"Lawyers for Nortel Networks Corp. [NT-T] are to appear in court on Friday to ask for approval of a controversial $23-million (U.S.) bonus plan for its top executives that the company says is needed to boost falling morale at the company..... The bonus plan for executives would reward them for achieving cost reduction goals and tightening the organization's focus, based on their annual base salaries."

Executive Rewards? Hmmm? If you go to Pink Sheets to see a real time stock quote on just how well these executives have been performing their duties you will be greeted with this banner warning.

Bankruptcy Warning

Bonus indeed! Reward for what? Driving the shareholders stock value to the 0.78 pennies mark?

The rampant hypocrisy that seems to govern the mindset of North America's economic elite should not be allowed to stand. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann nailed it last night: "ENOUGH!"

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Socialism Now? Hardly.

"Obama wants to establish a very powerful socialist, authoritarian government... what Obama is doing is cruel. What the Democrat Party has done is cruel, cruelty in the guise of compassion." -Rush Limbaugh

Contrary to what sweaty, verbose, twisted, bombastic Neo-con windbags such as Rush Limbaugh sputter - "socialism" in America is dead. The bogeyman Limbaugh and company keep trying to inflate to frighten Joe & Jane America is an illusion of Potemkin proportions. Only true idiot villagers see it as a "threat." In fact, the only air in the sails of "socialism" today actually comes from the gaseous emissions the far-right is constantly trying to blow up its long dead ass. And no matter how hard they try to resurrect "Socialism" as a whipping-boy of convenience, it will not float.

Long ago, during the nadir of the Great Depression, America's socialists traded their dogma in for the pragmatic promise of progress. At the periphery of the political process ever since, today's socialists pose no threat to American capitalism: capitalists do. As the Washington Post's Harold Meyerson has aptly observed, US socialists were lured by FDR into trading in their fundamental guiding principles for a chance at partaking in the promise of the New Deal. According to Meyerson, the shift conformed perfectly to the theories of German socialist Eduard Bernstien "who argued that the immediate struggle to humanize capitalism through the instruments of democratic government was everything, and that the goal of supplanting capitalism altogether was meaningless".

Meyerson pegs the US Socialist Party's 1936 decision to endorse FDR's New Deal as the moment when American Socialism abandoned its core beliefs. Since then, in the perverse dance known as US politics, socialists have become little more than the acne riddled policy geeks who can't get the elitist Belle of the Ball to dance with them. Out of tune and out of step with the electorate, they operate solely on the political fringe. The GOP's fear mongering notwithstanding: Today's US Democrats are to socialism, as George W. Bush was to deep thought: both unfamiliar and unacquainted.

In Canada, our 'socialists' long ago found themselves morphing into watered down 'new democrats'. Content to rest on their ancestral laurels and the myths associated with the fight for Medicare; today's NDP is lost. More interested in high profile shenanigans than in presenting voters with a truly alternative political vision; the NDP vainly continues to try and make deals with a status-quo devil their ideological forefathers would have rejected out-of-hand. Opportunists in the true Bernstien-ian sense, Canada's NDP Party perfectly exemplifies Meyerson's point - in North America, socialism is dead.

Socialism is sooo yesterday because its proponents are afraid to speak plainly and take the steps necessary to advocate for the ideology's true principles: nationalization of major industries; and the abolition of the usury speculative fiscal marketplace that props up an economic elite that preys on the poor. In Canada, this has led to the NDP becoming a weirdly-wired and sadly predictable political party destined to remain inconsequential to the debate over true reform. Here, as in the US, voices in support of true socialist ideals are rare, muted and marginalized. Fated to remain largely absent from the coming debate over how we restructure capitalism in the wake of the present crisis. That is a pity.

Better Canada's NDP admit now that they will never win federal power. Better, instead, that it commit itself to a radical new take-no-prisoners political action plan. One designed to exert as much pressure as possible on the sitting government to bring forth real and meaningful social and economic reform. One that pushes the boundaries of acceptable political discourse in this country. One that fervently lobbies for the kind of economic reforms needed to protect us from the very same political status-quo the NDP are constantly trying to appease. Otherwise, nothing will change. Usury capitalism will secure new concessions from the state that see it re-emerge unrepentant and unbowed; and at the end of the day... still in control.