Archive for August, 2006

SpongeBuzz PinkPants! Part 3 – Remaking Society in Buzz’s Image

August 31st, 2006

As I write about the CAW report Eye Of The Storm: The CAW and the Remaking of Canadian politics (pdf document), I can’t help but to play a little mental game with myself. If they ever attained their goal and replaced capitalism with socialism, what would the CAW call the new entity. Personally, I like the Social Unionist Republic of Buzzastan. It’s boring, and likely won’t look like much on a hockey shirt, but boring and uninteresting logo material is probably exactly what they’re planning on creating.

What is the CAW planning on creating anyway? They are, unfortunately, not much help. The paper spends a fair bit of space imagining a new world order, where working people are genuinely prosperous, secure and equal, where “tools of government…are used proactively to support workers interests, rather than business interests.” Buzzastan will be a “society in which corporations are held to account for their actions.”

It all sounds so wonderful, but platitudes aside, what will Buzzastan be like? Here, the prospective Buzzastanians are less helpful:

True, we don’t know exactly what that hopeful vision will look like, let alone how to get there. Those details will need to be worked out…

Well, I’ll wager a guess; Buzzastan will look like Soviet Russia with better cars. Let’s face it, doing away with capitalism means doing away with capital: your money, your house, any property, vehicle or item above the base needs. If buddy living under the Gardiner Expressway doesn’t have it, why should you? That’s what socialism is, equality of results, and since some people simply cannot be made rich, by any means, then poverty for all must be the case.

Consider what happens when the denizens of Buzzastan are done using the tools of government to look after workers interests. Will there be corporations and private businesses left? Not likely, not when most corporations in this country, especially the ones represented by the CAW, do the bulk of their selling to that market directly south of us. Will they chose to stay, or relocate and make goods for Americans in more friendly environs.

But that’s OK, the leaders of Buzzastan have that figured out (even if they don’t know what Buzzastan will look like):

We need to… expand public ownership and non-profit enterprise.

If, as they dream, however, capitalism is done away with, by what means would they expand public ownership? If there is no capital with which to purchase assets, then assets must be taken. Nationalized is the common term.

If they have no issues nationalizing businesses, how soon until they are nationalizing your home? Surely in an even handed system one person cannot live in a 2600 square foot home, as many do now, while others have 1000 square feet. Even if that is what the latter chose, it is clearly an inequity. What of cottagers, with scenic views over-looking pristine lakes (and they will be pristine; no capital means no boats with which to ruin the view). Is that OK, when I, living in modest suburbia, wish for such a view. Surely that too must be nationalized.

And make no mistake, this is what they are talking about. Taking your property and making it their property, to dispense as they see fit.

They talk often about democracy, improving it, a new kind of democracy they say, but what if you object to their taking your property? What if 50% of the population object, as they surely will? Will democracy be allowed to prevail?

Of course, it can’t. In the preamble to the CAW’s constitution they refer to themselves as a social union. If the union members all got together and voted that it would not be a social union, it would not change the fact. They build it into their constitution, and make it unchallengable. Some locals have written into their by-laws that officers of the union must be involved in the social struggle. The same would, presumably happen in Buzzastan. What then happens to those who challenge it? Historically, they find themselves in the gulag (or prison camp, or internment camp, re-education camp). Are the unionistas above imprisoning those that disagree with it? They certainly don’t say, and that can’t be considered hopeful. It is also noteworthy that the CAW is a very top down institution; this report itself is full of talk about educating members on their world view:

UPC’s (Union in Politics Committees) undertake the full range of political initiatives, including:

– Educating CAW members about key issues and about politics in general.

Note that they will educate their members, not take direction from. Their vision will be our vision. That is the kind of democracy you can expect when the Social Unionist Republic of Buzzastan is a national entity. Expect education camps, re-education camps, youth education camps for our children and, as always happens when you start limiting peoples prospects, imprisonment for dissent.

Welcome to Buzzastan, where turning back the clock 90 years is considered progressive.


More Union Madness

August 31st, 2006
Comments Off on More Union Madness

Since I have been composing my prelude to Labour day this week, today I offer the struggles of a different union:

When word came down in mid-August that Edmonton-based medic, Cpl. Andrew James Eykelenboom, had been killed in a fiery suicide attack south of Kandahar, Scugog Councillor Lynn Philip Hodgson, author of seven historical war books, including Inside Camp X, decided to do the right thing and lower the flag to half mast.

It was a Saturday.

The municipal office in Port Perry was closed and therefore no union employees were on site.

“It only takes two minutes to lower a flag,” says Hodgson.

And that, my friends, is a grievable offense. Even I, who work in a strong union environment; who sees this kind of stuff all the time; who knows don’t flip a light switch, don’t pick up somebody else’s trash; don’t ever – EVER – cross the line of demarcation, even I am surprised at the callousness of this one:

“The members of (our local) totally support and respect the lowering of the flags at the township offices to half mast to recognize fallen soldiers, and other losses that occur both outside and within our community,” says Drebit (local CUPE president Liz Drebit ) “This was never the issue behind this grievance.”

“When the collective agreement has been violated, the correct procedure is that a grievance be filed to resolve the issue at hand and hopefully to prevent any future oversights.”

And these people want to re-make our society in their own image? Pray they never succeed.


SpongeBuzz PinkPants! Part 2 – The CAW and the Liberals

August 30th, 2006
Comments Off on SpongeBuzz PinkPants! Part 2 – The CAW and the Liberals

On a Windsor stage in the middle of the last federal election, Paul Martin and Buzz Hargrove stood on a stage and hugged, while Buzz presented then PM Martin with a jacket, bought for by CAW members (I as a member don’t get a free leather jacket). That hug may have looked like the political equivalent of a cuddle and a peck on the cheek, but Buzz Hargrove and the CAW minions may have decided it was so much more.

Reading through the CAW report, Eye Of The Storm: The CAW and the Remaking of Canadian politics (pdf document), some of the more instructive details occur in the sidebars. One in particular, called “What Were They Thinking?” is an excerpt from James Laxer’s Fake Left, Go Right: An insider’s Take on Jack Layton’s Game of Chance (subscription needed to read past the first paragraph). It analysis the NDP’s part in the Conservative victory, making it clear the CAW thinks ethics is a right-wing value. However, instruction comes about half-way through the excerpt:

Since the founding of the CCF, social democrats have dreamt that one day their party would replace the Liberals as one of the nation’s two major political vehicles.

Under Layton, NDP strategists have resumed the search for the Holy Grail: the realignment of Canadian politics around the centre-left pillar of the NDP through the marginalization of the Liberals.

According to an insider, the NDP saw the Liberals as the enemy, and figured they could replace the Liberals. But what of the CAW?

In a section called “What Comes Next?” this paper offers a hint.

The Liberal leadership contest will be an important political event in coming months, and there are stark differences between the candidates on several important issues. It is important for all progressive movements that the next Liberal leader support more progressive positions on crucial issues… While the decision to elect the next leader is made by Liberal party members, and we do not engage in that process directly, the campaign still presents an opportunity for concerned Canadians to promote progressive issues, and encourage the various candidates to endorse those positions.

…the CAW’s interventions will continue to reflect our fundamental political principles

The CAW sees the Liberal leadership contest as an opportunity, and will push for their kind of candidate (who’s donating so much to Bob Rae anyway? Surely not Liberals, you would think). That aside, the CAW are planning to intervene in the Liberals leadership race, attempting to impose their will on the Liberal party.

That is a prospect that should worry Liberals. If the CAW becomes too big an influence inside the Liberal tent, they are inviting some of the most left-wing idealogues in Canada in. There was a time when the CAW had policy conventions and invited the NDP, fully expecting the NDP to be sympathetic to their party.

In his book, from protest to power, Bob Rae tells the following story:

I got a call from Bob White in January of 1993, saying that the CLC (Canadian Labour Congress) executive wanted to have a closed-door session with the three NDP premiers. Mike Harcourt of B.C., Roy Romanow of Saskatchewan, and I chatted on the phone. Romanow had some misgivings, but in the end we all agreed that a meeting might clear the air…

When it came to the deficit, White asked, “Why can’t Ontario just do like the Reichmanns and declare bankruptcy, maybe pay 50 or 60 cents on the dollar?”

And considering this same document calls for the abolition of capitalism, who knows what demand the next CAW leader might make of the next Liberal leader and, possibly, next Prime Minister. Being politically indebted to the CAW is a zero sum game, something the NDP seems to have figured out. Do the Liberals understand this?

If you are a Liberal visiting here, you need to think about this. What direction do you want your party to go? Because the CAW has a good idea what direction they think it should go, and the NDP also has a few ideas for you. The future of the Liberal party may well really be hanging in the balance, and it’s survival may prove very costly indeed. In the long run, it may be shown that the person who did the most harm to the Liberal party was not Jean Cretien with adscam, but Paul Martin when he accepted that CAW jacket.


SpongeBuzz PinkPants! Part 1 – The politics of the CAW

August 29th, 2006

I have been going over the CAW report Eye Of The Storm: The CAW and the Remaking of Canadian politics (pdf document), and have been busy drawing conclusions. The report is divided into two principle sections, the first part a diatribe against politics, and democracy, as it presently exists in Canada. The second, the part that I have mentioned before, and of Gerry Nicholls report in the Globe and Mail last week, is called CAW Statements of Principles on Working Class Politics.

I’m going to take a couple of days and break this report down into a few different sections. Tentatively, I will look at the political diatribe that is the first section and what this means to the Liberal and NDP party; the coming revolution, if the CAW gets it’s way; and the nature of democracy in a CAW run world.

The first thing about this report is it spells out the CAW’s break up with the NDP.

…the events of the election have also propelled a historic shift in the way that our union relates to electoral politics – in particular, as a result of the NDP’s offensive and anti-democratic decision expel CAW President Buzz Hargrove from the party…

Morever, the continuing rightward drift of the NDP’s own policies, and the party’s demonstrated willingness to sacrifice progressive priorities in the interests of short-run electoral positioning, makes it clear we must build a more independent and authentic ideological perspective…

…we have generated plenty of ink for the newspapers, and plenty of hot air at labour and NDP congresses.

The best dig, however, is about the last election:

Some NDP leaders and supporters (including Jack Layton in his election-night “victory speech”) dared to describe the 2006 election as a victory.

Actually, I remember hearing Buzz Hargrove on the CBC the day following the election declaring the results a victory.

However, the document, while offering lots of jabs at the NDP, who the CAW are clearly not fans of anymore, is more than anything meant to rally the troops for the upcoming election, and specifically against Stephen Harper. The document is littered with what the CAW sees as anti-Harper sentiment:

The Conservatives seemed ineffective, with an unpopular, extremist leader…

Today, in contrast, we have a Prime Minister who clearly ranks among the most right-wing national leaders in the world…

Canada’s hard-won reputation as an independent, more progressive force in the world is crumbling with each decision…

If Harper wins a majority mandate, we can expect that the “kinder, gentler” image he has tried to construct in recent months will quickly evaporate.

They are clearly scared of Harper:

Ominously, the Harper government is carefully assembling the elements for a broader right-wing” coalition”…

We will see a full application at the federal level, of the same offensive policies that marked the eight-year reign of Mike Harris….

…the dread which most progressive Canadians feel as they watch the Harper government…

And that takes us to the end of page 2 in a 24 page document. It’s not hard to see that these guys are determined to be an anti-Harper force in the next election. In fact the CAW sees itself as the leader in the movement to oust Harper.

But the real political surprise in this document is the tacit embracing of the Liberals throughout. If not direct praise of the Liberals, certainly indirect praise through faint damnation compared to the other two parties. The CAW seems to have decided their best interest lies in closer ties to the Liberals, although throughout the document they make a point of stating they are not going to hitch their wagons to any one party again. But the scorn they heap on the NDP and Conservatives leads us to believe the Liberals are the horse they are planning to bet on.

Considering they want to tear down our democracy and economic system, and build a new one in their own image, what a pity that they put no value in honesty and ethics, which they gloss over with a few dismissive remarks about the NDP complaining about Liberal ethics.

Tomorrow I’m going to look at this document from a Liberal standpoint, with fair warning to the Liberals: there is a battle raging for your party, with the NDP and CAW fighting for what they see as your carcass.


SpongeBuzz PinkPants!

August 29th, 2006
Comments Off on SpongeBuzz PinkPants!

I have been working on posts on the CAW report Eye Of The Storm: The CAW and the Remaking of Canadian politics (pdf document), particularly looking at some of the many possible issues that arise from it. In the next few days I will be posting on these issues one at a time, with the first one slated to run tonight. The issues that I will be looking at are:

– The politics of the report
– What this report means to the Liberals (and Liberals, you should be more worried about this than the rest of us).
– The CAW’s version of democracy
– Replacing capitalism and, ultimately, democracy.

Meanwhile, I penned a theme song for this series of reports based on the SpongeBob SqaurePants theme song.


Comrade: Are you ready Kids?

Kids: Da, Da Comrade.

Comrade: I can’t hear you.


Comrade: Whoooooooo – Lives in a dream world, nineteen-seventeen
Kids: SpongeBuzz PinkPants!

Comrade: A lefty; A pinko; A commie is he:
Kids: SpongeBuzz PinkPants!

Comrade: If communist nonsense be something you wish:
Kids: SpongeBuzz PinkPants!

Comrade: Then eat up your cabbage, you’ll be gettin’ no fish:
Kids: SpongeBuzz PinkPants!

Comrade: Ready?

Kids: SpongeBuzz PinkPants! SpongeBuzz PinkPants!
SpongeBuzz PinkPants! SpongeBuzz PinkPants!

Comrade: SpongeBuu—-zzz PinkPants!


Listen to the original, and sing along with SpongeBuzz PinkPants here.


$500 for Terry

August 28th, 2006
Comments Off on $500 for Terry


A great big thanks to Paul over at Blue Blogging Soapbox, who has not only linked to my Terry Fox fundraising efforts, but today badgered his readers to come over and donate some money.

He has raised the bar, suggesting $500 from the blog donations. We currently have $120 donated through the blog, leaving us $380 to go.

Hop on board and donate at Terry, I will never see a penny, and you get a tax receipt immediately. More importantly, the Terry Fox Foundation gets your donation to help them fight cancer.

And thank you to everybody who has donated so far, you’ll never know how much I appreciate it.


Aw Keef, How Could You?

August 27th, 2006
Comments Off on Aw Keef, How Could You?

Standing on a stage, in a giant arena, near nobody and with tons of ventilation. Yet still those who would live our lives for us find something:

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards may have flouted Scotland’s smoking ban when he played to thousands fans at Glasgow’s Hampden Park.

The city council confirmed it was investigating reports that he smoked on stage throughout the gig on Friday.

Really Keith, we expected so much better from you. What kind of role model are you, anyway?

That fifty-quid fine will no doubt hurt, but you’ll know better next time I’m sure.


I Run For Terry Fox

August 25th, 2006
Comments Off on I Run For Terry Fox

Note: This post will stay at the top for a few days – please scroll down for your regularly scheduled blog.

I turned seventeen in the summer of 1981. I was working at Food City at the Bramalea City Center, about a 100 yards from Queen St, Brampton’s Main thoroughfare.

When Terry Fox came jogging up Queen St. in July 1980, the store emptied. If you where a customer running in for a quick bag of milk, there may have been a cashier on duty to serve you, but you where out of luck if you needed a price check, a carry out, or any kind of service that grocery customers normally take for granted.

We were up on Queen St., watching with awe, knowing we were witnesses to history.

I don’t remembers what I felt, don’t really remember feeling anything although I must have done. But I was eighteen, still so terribly self absorbed that I know I didn’t cry, didn’t shed a tear as he hobbled past. Many of the adults, however, did. I worked with Sid, a 20 something single guy, who was of the cool class, and remember seeing a tear on him.

The most surprising thing, however, was the speed. We had all seen Terry Fox on TV, the news each night covering his progress, but the speed with which he moved simply never made it through the TV.

Six weeks later on August 29th, the newscast started with Terry. Lying on a stretcher, it was his turn to cry. A few months too late, I wept with him, as did so many other Canadians. He would die the next April, leaving his run unfinished, his dream of $1.00 raised for every Canadian wildly surpassed.

Getting myself out of bed at 4:15 this morning, to train myself to run 5K in time for the Marathon of Hope next month, I think of how hard it must have been for Terry Fox. How that artificial leg must have hurt with every step. Moving with that speed, on one leg, every day he ran 24 miles, and 5K suddenly doesn’t seem so ridiculous.

Five years ago when I decided to shape up, I upped my exercise regimen and enjoyed none of it. I do it, I don’t like it. The Terry Fox run is different. It’s not just exercise, not just running, it is a privilege to able to do it, an honour to carry on the Terry Fox tradition. Never mind that it’s about raising funds for cancer, never mind that so many people are running for loved ones who have battled cancer. On Sept 17th, I run for Terry Fox.

If you can’t run, and don’t know somebody who does run, please consider sponsoring me for the Terry Fox Run by making a donation to the Terry Fox Foundation. To do so in a secure, on-line manner click here. I assure you I will never see a penny, it will go straight to the fine folks at The Terry Fox Foundation.

I will be keeping a running track of the amount have raised on the upper left corner of this site. It is currently at $85.00, and I deeply appreciate every person who has donated thus far.

Here’s a few video links to remember Terry Fox:

July 12th – In Toronto
Aug 29th – It’s Over
A Video Archive


Blue Blogging Soapbox Blogging Tories Site of the Week

August 25th, 2006
Comments Off on Blue Blogging Soapbox Blogging Tories Site of the Week

It has been on my mind to restart posting the weekly site of the week, even before Paul linked to my post asking for Terry Fox donations.

I am not going to backtrack, but I’ll go right to the latest Site of the Week:

The Doggerel Party of Canada is one of those blogs that’s well written and funny. A deadly combination, and I loved reading it. Especially so, I loved this post:

Signs Of Our Times

As the second of the beer and pocorn cheques arrived last night, I was naturally thinking about beer. Although I was sipping a rather nice pinot noir at the time (Saturna Island 2002, from the Gulf Islands in BC; cherry and plum, with mushroom earthiness on the nose, black cherry fruit with good structured oak, and excellent acidity… but I digress). From beer my thoughts strayed to the pubs of my homeland, and I was thinking how pubs in England are named after the events of history; the Royal Oak, the White Rose, the George & Dragon, and so forth.

If we were to adopt this tradition, how might we name some taverns from, say, 13 years of our recent history? Some ideas:

The Billion & Boondoggle
The Poll & Dither (& Poll & Dither & Poll & Dither)
The Pepper & Plate
The Envelope & Kickback
The Soldier on our Street
The Stench & Corruption

(and naturally)

The Beer & Popcorn

Suggestions welcome…

Updates: from the comments

The Pig & Whistleblower
The Taxpayer’s Gum
The Entitled & Entitlement

To which I would add:

The Beheaded Infidel
The Pierre & Fidel
The Fuddle Duddle
The Boon & Doggle
The Flag of Convenience
The Whining Activist
The Maggie & Stone

Oh but I could go on. Anyway, nice work Clive. I’ll be back!


This Day in History

August 25th, 2006
Comments Off on This Day in History

1944 – Charles de Gaulle makes his triumphant entry into the newly liberated Paris.

Mass incidents of surrender are reported.


Bad Dog, Pluto!

August 24th, 2006
Comments Off on Bad Dog, Pluto!

Last week it was all hugs and boat rides in the park; scientists where going to be keeping Pluto and adding more planets, including “plutons” – Pluto-like objects. Oh Joy! Oh Bliss! Pluto, after all these maligned years, finally getting some respect:

Pluto aficionados, rejoice! Pluto is a planet. So are the giant asteroid Ceres, Pluto’s moon Charon, and a large outer-solar system object called 2003 UB313. (Pluto examing some of his moons – right) The solar system has 12 planets instead of the familiar 9, according to a proposal that the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) will vote on next week in Prague, Czech Republic.

Then today, a bomb was dropped on the nerd world (don’t send e-mails – I have a telescope too):

Pluto was stripped of its status as a planet on Thursday when astronomers from around the world redefined it as a “dwarf planet,” leaving just eight major planets in the solar system.

From respect to dwarf status in one day, talk about getting the big IAU-FU. With friends like these and &tc.

So what happened to poor Pluto in the space of one day? While this is a deep and abiding mystery, At Home in Hespeler has cracked the case, answering the enduring question of the last few hours or so.


This Day in History

August 24th, 2006
Comments Off on This Day in History

A.D. 79 – Mount Vesuvius erupts after a concert by Pink Floyd in Pompeii. Faulty special effects are suspected to be the cause.


Tearing Down Democracy: One Union Card at a Time

August 23rd, 2006

Gerry Nicholls of the National Citizens Coalition has an article in today’s Globe and Mail pointing out an interesting policy paper that the CAW has produced. The paper, entitled Eye Of The Storm: The CAW and the Remaking of Canadian politics (pdf document).

It’s a stunning paper, paid for by yours truly and his partners in car making, and represents a complete derailment of Buzz Hargrove’s reality train. In it, they call for a complete tearing down of our democracy, although that’s not what they say directly. The meat of this thing is at the bottom of page 23:

We want a society in which working people can have true hope, security and equality; a society with full economic and political democracy. To accomplish this, we need to be able to thoroughly regulate private business; manage employment, investment and trade; expand public ownership and non-profit enterprise; and run the economy in the interests of the working people. If we succeed, we will have fundamentally transformed our economy and society, replacing capitalism with socialism.

The document reads like a manifesto, and should be mandatory reading for any soft leftists, who thinks it’s about making things a bit fairer. It is about taking away your choices: The choice of where you work (“manage employment”); the choice of what you can do with your money (manage investment, replacing capitalism); the choice to start and run your own business (regulate private business, expand public ownership and non-profit enterprise, run the economy in the interests of the working people). And that’s only one paragraph in a 24 page document.

I am stewing over this incredible piece of work right now, but I will be coming back to this well in the next few days. For now, read the manifesto and see what these guys are really thinking.


How To Quit a Job

August 22nd, 2006
Comments Off on How To Quit a Job

My Dad always said never burn your bridges when your leaving a job. But the question I never had the guts to ask – why not, if it’s a $6.00/hour job that treats you poorly?

Anetta the Moodsetta agrees – click play to hear one of the funniest radio clips.


Love – Afghani Style

August 22nd, 2006
Comments Off on Love – Afghani Style

It is well known that one of the side effects of drug abuse is paranoia. Let it never be said, however, that just because your paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you.

Case in point: yes Bobby Brown, Osama Bin Laden is after you ho:

Al-Qaeda chief and the world’s most dreaded terrorist, Osama bin Laden had a crush on singer-cum-actress Whitney Houston and wanted to make her his wife after killing her husband Bobby Brown.

Osama Bin Laden, Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston. Why do I feel like I’m boxing the trifecta for the most fucked-up human contest.