Ahem. As I said earlier…

And if you don’t believe me, here ya go.

Jack Layton’s untimely death has triggered another orange wave across the country, a new poll suggests.

The Harris/Decima survey conducted for The Canadian Press pegs NDP support at 33 per cent – tied with the ruling Conservatives and well ahead of the Liberals at 21 per cent.

That’s almost a three-point gain for the New Democrats since the May 2 election, which vaulted the party into Official Opposition status for the first time in its 50-year history.

The Tories are down almost seven points while the Liberals are up two.

Harris/Decima chairman Allan Gregg said the NDP gain is most likely attributable to “the Jack effect.”

“The national outpouring of emotion we witnessed over Jack Layton’s untimely death appears to have translated directly into increased support for the party he leaves behind,” Mr. Gregg said.

Of particular note, considering that we have a provincial election coming later this fall, is this passage:

In Ontario, Mr. Gregg said the NDP is more competitive than at any time in its history. The Conservatives were at 34 per cent, followed closely by the NDP at 30 and the Liberals at 29. The Greens were at seven.

Something to capitalize on, no? Nothing would please me more than to see the floor mopped with Tim Hudak, and the ghost of Rae Days finally exorcised from Queen’s Park.

Meanwhile, Orange Phoenix has a nice sound.

Posted in Canadian Counterpunch. Comments Off »

Further rumblings

Francis Barlow’s illustration to “The Bat, The Birds and the Beasts”, by Aesop.

Yesterday I blogged about how there’s talk of a Liberal/NDP merger. Now someone else has weighed in on the same…with a smack-my-forehead silly suggestion as to who should lead this theoretical new party:

Curiously, the person best qualified to fill Jack Layton’s shoes is not a New Democrat.

Rather, he is Bob Rae, the interim leader of the federal Liberal Party.

These days, not all New Democrats are fond of Rae. He did warm their hearts when he formed the first-ever NDP government in Ontario 21 years ago. But in 2000, he publicly and somewhat testily broke with his party before, eventually, joining the enemy Liberals.

I think I’ll stop blockquoting there; it only gets more wretched.

Can we really take this seriously about how much Rae had in common with Layton? For instance: Bob Rae, “a gifted orator”? I can’t remember a single thing he said that was striking enough to be worth repeating; it all rang curiously colorless and hollow. In fact, I can’t remember anything he said offhand, at all. He uttered it all with so little true conviction that it made no impression on me. That never happened with Jack Layton!

And it lists all kinds of other very tenuous “links” between the two, including the wacky notion that both “pragmatically” tried to turn their respective parties to the right — a “pragmatic” move that backfired disastrously for both, if I recall correctly. Turning right and going “Oh-oh-oh, me too!” is not the way to win votes for a leftist party; it’s just another way of saying to your real constituency: “Don’t vote for me, either”. Who wants a lite version of what they’re supposedly voting against? Give us something to vote for, not less of something to vote against!

The Liberals’ electoral failure this past spring speaks for itself. They went for “me too”, and got “nope, not me”. Bob Rae had his chance when there was talk of a coalition. He could have built bridges back to his old party and sought common ground, but he reneged and stayed with the “new”, rightardly, not-so-liberal Liberals. He is yesterday’s (failed) leader precisely because of that right turn, and that is how voters will forever remember him.

Jack Layton’s worst moments came in similar fashion. The New Democratic rank and file recently refused to strike the words “democratic socialism” from the party charter, among other things, which is a direct slap in the face to the idea of a right turn being “pragmatic”!

And we uncarded voters also weren’t happy with Jack Layton’s failure to whip the vote over the preservation of the long-gun registry. I distinctly recall wank-listing him over that, with a heavy heart then and now. But I don’t regret speaking that piece of my mind. The Montréal Massacre still matters to me, and I was shocked that Jack Layton, who after all hails from Montréal AND spearheaded the White Ribbon campaign against violence, could be willing even for a nanosecond to sell out his real, progressive constituency for a few piddling votes he’d never get, from those who think the New Democrats are all fucking commies anyway!

Jack Layton is with us no more, and that’s a damn shame, but it won’t blind me to his mistakes, and it shouldn’t stop the rest of us from learning from them. When he turned right, he lost us. When he turned left again, he got us all back, with interest. Why won’t Tom Walkom acknowledge that?

Bob Rae is, like the Bat in the Aesop fable, neither bird nor beast. But since he has made his bed with the Libs (a better fit for him, IMO; less stigma to selling out over there), the thing for him to do is lie in it. That party has done itself in with right turns and corruption and a lack of democracy from within. And if it tries to take over the NDP, they’ll all lose my vote, and those of other disgruntled progressives, too. No sense going on enabling this failed “turn right, turn right” political machinery any longer.

Or, to quote a wonderful passage from Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird:

My Al-Anon friend told me about the frazzled, defeated wife of an alcoholic man who kept passing out on the front lawn in the middle of the night. The wife kept dragging him in before dawn so that the neighbors wouldn’t see him, until finally an old black woman from the South came up to her one day after a meeting and said, “Honey? Leave him lay where Jesus flang him.”

I gave up on this merger after the last election, when it became obvious that there was going to be no change in the usual arrogant drunk-husband pattern of the Liberals.

So, sorry, Mr. Walkom, but you crapped out an awfully lazy-minded column there. Bob Rae isn’t the next Jack Layton. Nor is he the potential savior of the theoretical Lib-Dem merger party (which will probably go nowhere, just like the half-assed attempt at a Lib-Dem-Bloc coalition). He’s the sad little man who, in real life, ended up selling out to corporatism…and giving us Ontarians ten dreary years of Mike Harris, Ernie Eves, and a whole slew of other grotty SupposiTories who, despite intense scandal, only fell up and are now sitting in Harpo’s cabinet. And after that, the déluge: weak-tea reformism à la Dalton McWimpy. (Who is a much more apt person to compare Bob Rae to, BTW.)

That is Bob Rae’s true legacy. An inspiring progressive leader he most certainly is not.

And I prefer to “leave him lay where Jesus flang him”.

Rumblings

Funny, the sky is clear. So why do I keep hearing the sound of distant thunder?

Oh. Wait. It’s coming from Ottawa:

Two days after Jack Layton’s state funeral turned into an ode to social democracy and inclusive politics, musings about a merger with the NDP by two former Liberal leaders led to growing calls among current MPs for unity among the opposition to Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.

The open discussions of a Liberal-NDP merger or coalition overshadowed the opening moves of the New Democratic leadership race and attempts by interim Liberal leader Bob Rae to galvanize his troops ahead of a politically charged fall sitting of Parliament.

“We have to hold a serious debate on the future of progressive forces in Canada,” Liberal MP Denis Coderre said.

On the weekend, former Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien said a merger would have helped defeat the Conservatives in the May election, and former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff highlighted the shared values of his party and the NDP.

Mr. Coderre, one of the best-known federal Liberals in Quebec, said negotiations could lead to a new party of Liberal Democrats or a coalition. “We are currently divided, and we have to look at all of the options,” he said.

Liberal MP Justin Trudeau said he is not convinced of the benefits of a merger, but added he could change his mind.

Rumble.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

The NDP’s Brad Lavigne, a senior adviser to interim leader Nycole Turmel, said the party is focusing on fulfilling its duties as the Official Opposition for the first time in its history.

“Right now, the focus is on strengthening the New Democratic Party through a renewal leadership process and by rallying the parliamentary caucus around a strong fall session to hold the Harper government to account,” Mr. Lavigne said.

Still, the idea has attracted the backing of former NDP leader Ed Broadbent as well as Mr. Chrétien, who, according to a Quebec columnist, boasted on a return flight from Mr. Layton’s funeral that his plans for a Liberal-NDP merger would have stopped the Conservatives from taking power this year.

Meanwhile, former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff said on his Facebook page that Liberals and New Democrats all care about generosity, justice and hope, adding it was a pleasure to “imagine what the future of our country might look like if we put those values first.”

Rrrrrrruuuuummmmble.

Now, why didn’t any of them say that BEFORE the election? Oh yeah: They thought they could win on the basis of name recognition and traditional consituencies; they took their regular voters for granted, in other words.

Were they really THAT stupidly overconfident? Anyone who was keeping a weather eye out would have seen that the Liberals were destined to lose and lose badly when they were relying on a combination of tried-and-not-so-true, plus the disastrous “new” tactic of trying to woo the mushy middle (of which there is less in Canada than you might think.) Or rather, what they perceived the mushy middle to be: namely, Right Lite. Which is not even the case in the States, much less up here. Canada has long leaned left (we know what’s good for us, duh). That’s probably why fewer than half of all eligible voters turned out, and fewer than half of those voted for the HarpoCons. When the slate looks as unpromising as a choice between Harpo and Harpo Lite, what did anyone expect?

The only ones, it seems, who were not fooled, were the ones who already had New Democrats sitting in the House, and the Québécois. They turned out in droves to pour Orange Crush all over Harpo’s hollow “majority”.

And now, it seems, Harpo’s latest attempt to blunt the impact of all that orange juice may be about to backfire on him. Let Linda McQuaig explain:

Allowing Layton a state funeral was probably Stephen Harper’s most generous prime ministerial act. But it led to a nationally televised scene that will likely haunt him and surely inspire progressives for years to come: Stephen Lewis, the iconic elder statesman of Canada’s social democratic movement, standing in front of Canada’s most right-wing prime minister ever, speaking truth to power.

Determined that the event be more than just a tribute to the goodness of one man, Lewis used the heft of the occasion, as Layton would have wanted, to drive home Layton’s social democratic vision for the country.

With the Conservatives’ new hammerlock on power — accomplished with a mere 40 per cent of the national vote — here at least was one joyous moment in which we could watch the country’s most powerful orator confront a prime minister who had no choice but to stand every time the rest of the room rose in rapturous pleasure at Lewis’s inspiring call for a more equal and generous Canada.

That message is exactly what those on the right have been trying to deny — that there is an alternative to the grim, slash-and-burn policies of austerity they want to foist on us, making this an ever more unequal society.

A funeral oration? A veritable “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” one, at that? A funeral oration can really do THAT?

Yes, it can. And if you don’t believe me, watch:

This is what’s gotten the Liberals so suddenly pensive, and willing to contemplate what they categorically dismissed back when it might have helped them. It was not a non-partisan speech, it was an openly, unapologetically NDP speech, by an open, unapologetic NDPer. And it gave a truer indication of the party’s power than any pollster or media report could do. Many of the listeners still have living memories of the great Tommy Douglas, after all.

And even those who don’t recall Tommy Douglas directly, remember very well what kind of man Jack Layton was. He is still fresh in everyone’s mind.

It doesn’t help Harpo any that he did not get invited to say a few words over the casket of his arch-foe, but then again, who wanted to help him? He is well known for his bland ruthlessness, and he thinks he has a mandate to do to us what is reaping daily riots over in Europe, in Latin America, in virtually any place where neoliberal austerity measures have been rammed through. Linda McQuaig again:

It’s not that we don’t have enough collective wealth — our cup overfloweth — it’s that we’ve accepted a rigid and illogical ideology, preached by conservatives, that teaches us we can no longer afford what we plainly managed to afford when we had less money.

The events of the past week remind us that the social democratic vision remains potent in the land.

Harper, who once dissed Canada as “second-tier socialistic country,” desperately wants to replace that vision with a different national vision — one based on military fighting power, loyalty to the British crown and an economic system where the strongest survive while the rest (even in nursery school) are on their own.

Anyone stupid enough to try that here deserves all the hard times he’s gonna get. And if all these merger rumblings continue (and turn into something besides thunder-boomers), he may get a very hard time before too long.

The People’s Procession

This is what all the right-wingers couldn’t wait even 24 hours to piss on, folks…

A state funeral like none before it, and one that we may never see the likes of again. Very little black, and the few long, defeated-looking faces we see in the seats are those of the other team. Like the results of the last election, this is not a victory for them. They know full well that what happened outside Roy Thomson Hall is the part that can’t and won’t be buried. The flashes of orange in the crowd, the signs reading “Love”, “Hope” and “Optimism”, the enormous and diverse flood of humanity. This is certainly NOT a depoliticized, sanitized funeral. The words “a manifesto for social democracy” in Stephen Lewis’s oration get a standing ovation, and that’s no coincidence.

Jack Layton may not look like Simón Bolívar at first glance, but he has one key thing in common with the South American liberator, and that is the fact that the oligarchy wants very much to bury him under a tumulus of empty formality, but the common people he dedicated his life to…well, they won’t let those oligarchs do any such thing.

El Buen Jack vive, la lucha sigue.

And so it begins…

What is “it”? The speculation, naturally. Olivia Chow is just newly widowed, and already there is talk of whether she’ll run for the top job in the NDP. The one incidentally vacated by her late (and much lamented and loved) husband, Jack Layton.

It’s not that I wouldn’t support her if she did run. On the contrary, I think she’d make an excellent leader. She has all the right stuff: strength, dignity, intelligence, warmth, determination. And a terrific sense of humor, too; one that I witnessed firsthand on an election night in Toronto many years ago, when I sat in at her campaign headquarters while she and Jack were handily re-elected to their city council seats. She’s a great lady, is Olivia. And one that I would heartily endorse at any other time.

But not at this time.

The reasons are, or ought to be, self-evident. Grief takes a long time to work through, and it takes a certain measure of privacy. There is no way around it, and no shortcut through it. You cannot grieve and serve the public at full capacity at the same time. Not even if you are as remarkably energetic a politician as Olivia Chow.

She’s had a bit of time to prepare for it, of course, since Jack would have let her in on the fact of his impending death and given her a chance to steel herself for the inevitable. There is no doubt that she was in on all the funeral plans. And I’m sure that behind closed doors, at home or with Rev. Brent Hawkes, who officiated at Saturday’s service, there were a lot of tearful, or nearly tearful, heart-to-hearts going on.

But preparing for grief is not the same thing as living through it. The grieving process does not end with the funeral; it begins there. I have heard that it can take as long as three years to work through fully, and to me, that sounds about right. It certainly tallies with my own grief experiences. The brain must rewire its circuitry; new energy sources must be found, new capacities for affection built and tapped. In the meantime, there is a lot of strangeness and a feeling of unreality, of detachment from the world. There will be unexpected fears, vulnerability, and dreams — not even necessarily nightmarish ones — that you wake up from with involuntary tears running down your face.

Under those circumstances, a super-pressurized leadership run would not go well. You cannot feel strangely detached from the world, as a grieving person, and still engage fully with it, as a politician. You would be pulled in two opposing directions, and the stronger — personal grief — would win.

So, if Olivia is mulling an eventual run for the NDP leadership, after she’s had time to sort her grief out, that’s great. And if she goes for it, she’s got my full support. But that’s probably not her priority right now. As Linda Diebel notes in today’s Toronto Star, even the indefatigable lady herself has admitted to needing some time away from it all: “I am looking to take a few days off to swim in a river — walk in the woods and sleep.”

Take as much time as you need, Olivia. And don’t worry about a thing. Rest, heal, get back to nature, and let the river bring back the good memories to you. Come back energized and refreshed whenever YOU decide. Let the speculators speculate all they like; it’s their prerogative. But yours is to do what YOU need to do. Your constituents will be well-served no matter what you decide. And they will surely understand if you decide not to seek the leadership of the party — this time.

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Music for a Sunday: They met in a hurricane…

Posted in Music for a Sunday. Comments Off »

Wankers of the Week: Disaster Week edition

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Crappy weekend, everyone! Well, how about the week that was? Full of natural disasters, from those storms in Southern Ontario, to Hurricane Irene, to that earthquake on the East Coast (which all the wags are now calling Obama’s Fault). And human tragedy, too, in the loss of the great Jack Layton up here. If you ever wanted proof of how very much of life is beyond our control, this week was rife with it. And if you ever want to know just how out-of-control basic human stupidity is, look no further than this collection of earth-shattering wankers, in no particular order…

1. Malusi Fucking Gigaba. Talk about missing the point! SlutWalk doesn’t actually mean that those walking really are, you know, sluts. What it means is that no woman is fair game for rape, no matter what she looks like or what she does for a living. But were we expecting him to grasp it? Hardly. We’re talking about South Africa, one of the worst places in the world to be a woman, where rape is so rampant that someone actually invented a nasty device to give women the next closest thing to a vagina dentata. (You may be forgiven for saying that it doesn’t actually prevent rape, since a creep still has to penetrate a woman in order to become the unfortunate victim of it. Desperate times, etc.) Anyhow: Yeah, dude, I hope you get lucky at the SlutWalk too. And by lucky, I mean kneed in the ‘nads.

2. Josef Fucking Ratzinger. Hey, yer popiness, ever get the feeling that God might be offended when you slander one of Her finest creations — gay people? No? Well, now you have.

3. Kyle Fucking Pearce. This one is, by definition, a wanker…and a joiner of the Mile-High Solo Flyers’ Club. I get the feeling he’s gonna be flying solo a lot more from now on. But, I hope, NOT on any commercial airline. The last thing a cooped-up air passenger needs to see is another one, drunk as a lord, whacking off right next to them. And messing the seats with the inevitable results of said activity.

4. Dave Fucking Naylor. Why?

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That’s why. The late Jack Layton is no longer here to defend himself against these lewd accusations, which surfaced during the last election, right when it looked as though the NDP was poised for a much bigger seat count than they ended up getting. Does anyone suppose his widow, the very classy Olivia Chow, has the stomach to relive it all right now? PS: Your subsequent conduct isn’t a whole lot better, Dave. PPS: Neither is this.

5. Christie Fucking Blatchford. See above, and add extra bile to your vomit. She calls the media’s very unbiased, levelheaded coverage of Jack Layton’s death “mawkish”, “vainglorious” and, oh yeah, “partisan”. But then again, who is she to talk? Atrocious, goopy writing is her stock in trade. And she certainly has no difficulty making a right-wing cause out of everything that isn’t and should never be. In short, she’s the pot calling the kettle mawkish, vainglorious and partisan. And people wonder why I despise right-wing “journalists” so much? It’s because they are fucking VULTURES, people. Crusty Christie never met a corpse she couldn’t feed on, rolling her eyes with sickly pleasure; the more gore that’s spattered around it, the merrier she gets. And when she has gorged her fill of carrion, she waddles off, cackling all the way to the bank.

6. David Fucking Cameron. So, the slaughter of Libya was a “necessary atrocity”? Oh yeah, that’s right…it’s so BP can have even more oil and never pay fair price to the country it’s sucking it out of. I know one so-called human being who is shaping up more and more to be an UNnecessary atrocity.

7. Donna Fucking Saber. Not only is it none of her business whom any of the brides she sells to is actually marrying, it isn’t her business to tell them that it’s wrong for there to be two brides. And especially not to lay the guilt trip on a nice Jewish girl, who after all didn’t choose to be gay. But then, bigotry IS a choice, so I can see how easy it was for this wanker to make just such a mistake.

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8. Bob Fucking Katter. No gay people in North Queensland, eh? Bob, your lovely, charming, gay brother Carl would like a word with you. And this straight woman from a land where same-sex marriage is fully legal is puzzled as to how allowing two men or two women to marry would be, as you call it, “meddling” with marriage. My own long-married parents haven’t suddenly gone kaputt as a result of the sudden supposed meaninglessness of THEIR legal union. But if yours has lost its meaning as a result of some minority’s demands for equal rights, I suggest you go see a counselor. And stop meddling in the love-lives of the gays, already.

9. David Fucking Axelrod. Leave it to Michael Moore to diagnose precisely what’s ailing the Democratic Party of the United States today…and leave it to one of their leading “bipartisan” hacks to absolutely NOT get it. The “professional left” is right, Dave — Barack Obama IS alienating Democratic voters by trying to woo a bunch of extremist Repugs who would never vote for a black man anyway. (And if you don’t believe me, try counting up the number of black Republicans in the US House and Senate. You won’t need many fingers.) It may be tempting to think you can afford to alienate the Democratic wing of the Democratic party, but it’s worth pointing out that the Repugs have regrouped…and they are even more repugnant now than they were under Dubya. The teabags have literally hijacked the Republican party. Anyone wanna woo that?

10. Jonathan Fucking Kay. See #5 and add heavy lesbianism. Yeah, he’s totally gay for the partisan, vainglorious goop-writer, Bleah-tchford. Perfectly par for the odious course at the National Pest — or, as it perhaps should be known from now on, the National Vultures’ Nest.

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11. John Fucking Podhoretz. When you don’t have dick, just call your opponents cocksuckers. Yeah, that’s class; that’s neoconservatism.

12. and 13. Jim Fucking Hoft and Matt Fucking Drudge. There are plenty of legitimate things to criticize Barack Obama about (such as, say, his shameless “bipartisan” catering to the right, or his overt corporatism, which essentially amounts to the same thing), but it figures that neither of these corporatist wingnut hacks cares about little things like that. No, for them it’s all about the fact that His Barackness didn’t have the power to stop a motherfucking earthquake. And they say the left considers Obama a messiah?

14. Rick Fucking Perry, AGAIN. Last week I noted that his God is a bunch of banksters, and this week he confirms it, hilariously. The bad economy is a “lesson from God! As one of my commenters last week says, “Goldman Sachs’ CEO said in testimony to the US Senate that he was doing God’s work. Goldman Sachs helped crash the economy in ’08. Therefore, God and His work crashed the economy. If God did crash the economy, but He passed over the Venezuelan economy, maybe He is sending us a message…” Yes, and it’s this: God is a socialist (see the preachings of Jesus himself for the evidence), and She loves Venezuela.

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15. Joe Fucking Warmington. I suppose that being an opportunistic slimeball is par for the course at the Toronto Sun (Wanker #5’s old stomping ground, and where she cut her fangs), but still, really…questioning Jack Layton’s state funeral as leader of the Opposition? It is simply disgusting and beneath contempt. When even the usual geek chorus of right-wing anti-tax squealers won’t touch this one, you ought to KNOW that your opinion is best kept to yourself, and not used as a cheap way to attract eyeballs and sell your shitty right-wing rag. Meanwhile, for those who seriously wonder if a state funeral is appropriate for a sitting leader of the Loyal Opposition, I say, why not? Former Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier got one, also having died as leader of the Opposition. If a member of Parliament with as controversial a past as Thomas D’Arcy McGee merited one, then the uncontroversial and enormously popular Jack Layton, also an MP (and a Prime Minister in waiting), should get one too — no questions asked.

16. Alan Fucking Dershowitz. Supporting a Glenn Fucking Beck rally in Israel? Glenn Fucking BECK???

17. Oh yeah, that reminds me: Glenn Fucking Beck, people. Glenn Fucking Beck.

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PS: Ha, ha. PPS: No, Hurricane Irene is NOT a blessing. Especially not to those who are gullible enough to spend a fortune on Biff’s expensive and totally fucking unnecessary food insurance. Socialism is by far the best disaster preparedness plan there is; just ask Cuba. No food insurance, but food enough for all, thanks to Fidel & Co.’s making sure that no one has too much…OR too little.

18. Alan Fucking Greenspan. Finally, FINALLY, he in effect admits the terrible truth: that he knows nothing about the US economy. And just think, this is a man to whom said economy was once entrusted. Its subsequent performance speaks for itself, no?

19. Barbara Fucking Kay. Yet another right-wing nutjob whom no one will mourn derides the state funeral for a man whom all decent people do. Never mind that the Prime Minister, despite partisan differences, offered it, as protocol permits him to do (and which, I must say, was damn decent of him). There appears to be some kind of obscene little bandwagon making the rounds of the Canadian “journalistic” far-right: Let’s all trash Jack Layton’s corpse under the guise of “media criticism”. Never mind that we ARE the media, and we ARE trash. From the heart of my bottom, Babs, to you and all of yours: Fuck you. Fuck you VERY much.

20. Dominique Fucking Strauss-Kahn. Getting away with an obvious rape is disgusting enough, but calling the past few months, a time you spent for the most part holed up in a very luxurious rented place in the toniest part of New York, a “nightmare”? This makes me wish he’d spent all that time and then some at Riker’s Island, where by rights he should have remained, nervously looking over his shoulder and careful not to drop the soap. But then again, the rich are not like the rest of us, as Fitzgerald said. One has only to look at what they get away with, and the style in which they get away with it, to know that.

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21. Jennifer Fucking Delany. Imagine having racial prejudices, a Republican politico for a husband, and the gall to tell Carl Lewis, track star, Olympic gold medalist and political hopeful, that he knows nothing about politics. Oh, and accusing him of spamming, and stealing her e-mail address. Sure must suck to be YOU, Jennifer!

22. Ron Fucking Paul. He can join Glenn Fucking Beck in the don’t-know-shit-about-disaster-preparedness category. What’s scary is that some people actually think he’s some kind of fucking messiah. To dinosaurs, maybe, but modern man? No. FEMA may have suffered under Dubya, but it now has a chance to learn from past mistakes and do the right thing. Something old conservatives NEVER do. Especially not those who want the world to be as it was in the days before there was a national weather service to forewarn people — and keep thousands from being killed by severe storms as they were in the “good” old days. Bet he forgot how many people were killed by a hurricane in his home district of Galveston in 1900, that golden age of disaster preparedness!

23. and 24. Ezra Fucking Levant and Michael Fucking Coren. Two more rightards whom no one will mourn are taking pot-shots at a man who can’t fight back, and at Canada for loving him. Envious much? PS: Oh noes, they’re victims! Oh, give us a fucking break! Picking on a dead man doesn’t make you a victim, much less a “potential martyr” — it makes you a cowardly fucking BULLY, dickweed!

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25. Mark Fucking Bonokoski. Mark Who? Yeah, my reaction too. Never heard of the mangy little fucker before, and never hope to hear of him again. He deserves to sink right back into the obscurity from whence his sorry opportunistic ass came. But hey, if so much of the right-wing is angry and jealous over Jack Layton, and resorting to stupid sniping to show it, it only means he’s having more of an impact dead than they are having while still undeservingly alive. So, Mark? Ha, fucking ha — at YOUR expense.

26. William Lawrence Fucking Cassidy. “Freedom of speech” does NOT mean “freedom to troll”, any more than it means “freedom to commit fraud”. And “Long limb, sharp saw, hard drop” is NOT a fucking haiku. If you want to know how to write a real one, read this — and leave your cowardly death threats the hell out of it.

27. Eugene Fucking Volokh, same link, for defending this asshat with a lame analogy. In what way is the public good served by letting a homicidal maniac with a lengthy prior criminal record harass and threaten an innocent woman on the tweeter? And exactly what is such bullshit supposed to do for freedom of speech in the abstract, never mind the concrete? If some shithead with a street-corner pulpit specifically harasses me, in public, I have the right to use MY free speech to denounce the fucker as a criminal. And if you tell me I don’t, then you are violating MY freedom of speech.

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And finally, to all those who are talking shit about Jack Layton, under the pretext of criticizing media coverage of his death, his funeral, his legacy, his family. A more graceless and inhuman band of necrophiliac vultures could not exist. But then again, these are the people whose lives haven’t amounted to shit so far, and never will. It stands to reason that they are all jealous of the good he did and the love he earned; why else snipe at a popular dead man? (If I missed any of them above, dear readers, let me know in the comments slot below, and consider them duly added to the list. Thanks.)

Good night, and get fucked!

Jack Layton on This Hour Has 22 Minutes

Jack gets Marg’d. And other choice moments.

Lots of Canadian politicians have been great sports about the merciless satire this CBC fake-news show dishes out on their (usually) all-too-deserving heads, but Jack seems to have had the most fun of all. Certainly he was the least awkward, and the most genuinely tickled.

If the true test of one’s character is whether one can laugh at oneself, he passed it with flying colors.

A musical tribute to Jack Layton

Payola: Not just for $ and P anymore!

A while back, I posted about how a certain ratings agency takes payola. Now, it looks like another one also does:

A former senior analyst at Moody’s has gone public with his story of how one of the country’s most important rating agencies is corrupted to the core.

The analyst, William J. Harrington, worked for Moody’s for 11 years, from 1999 until his resignation last year.

From 2006 to 2010, Harrington was a Senior Vice President in the derivative products group, which was responsible for producing many of the disastrous ratings Moody’s issued during the housing bubble.

Harrington has made his story public in the form of a 78-page “comment” to the SEC’s proposed rules about rating agency reform, which he submitted to the agency on August 8th. The comment is a scathing indictment of Moody’s processes, conflicts of interests, and management, and it will likely make Harrington a star witness at any future litigation or hearings on this topic.

The primary conflict of interest at Moody’s is well known: The company is paid by the same “issuers” (banks and companies) whose securities it is supposed to objectively rate. This conflict pervades every aspect of Moody’s operations, Harrington says. It incentivizes everyone at the company, including analysts, to give Moody’s clients the ratings they want, lest the clients fire Moody’s and take their business to other ratings agencies.

Moody’s analysts whose conclusions prevent Moody’s clients from getting what they want, Harrington says, are viewed as “impeding deals” and, thus, harming Moody’s business. These analysts are often transferred, disciplined, “harassed,” or fired.

In short, Harrington describes a culture of conflict that is so pervasive that it often renders Moody’s ratings useless at best and harmful at worst.

Useless at best and harmful at worst. Hmmmmmm, that sounds like a pretty good summation of crapitalism itself. The more we dig below the surface, the more it looks like a pay-to-play system all around. And the more dirt the Invisible Hand of the Market coats itself in, the more we see just how untrustworthy it is.