Tag Archives: stephen harper

MayDay 2011: What DOES Stephen Harper Know?

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Apparently Stephen Harper, reputed to be a control freak when it comes to management of everything within his reach and who had to have everything hit the Prime Minister’s Office before it could become public, is not in charge.

Stephen Harper had no knowledge of how Bruce Carson, a known criminal, could have been hired as an assistant to the PMO.  It’s also nice to see that the CBC is finally on the story, whereas it was APTN that broke the story weeks ago.

Stephen Harper had no knowledge of how a young 19-year old girl – so threatening – could have been ousted from a campaign stop in London, Ontario.

Stephen Harper had no knowledge that his campaign manager had orchestrated an elaborate ‘In and Out’ scheme to benefit the national Conservatives at the cost of local candidates (although I’m sure he’s quite aware that at least 4 former campaign managers are now facing jail time).

Stephen Harper had no knowledge of how Bev Oda took matters into her own hands with the KAIROS defunding.

Stephen Harper had no knowledge of how Giulio Maturi – a Conservative fund raiser who was mired in a cloud of corruption allegations – could have become a volunteer for a candidate in Montreal (at which point it was declared that the Emperor would no longer take questions on local campaigns).

Stephen Harper had no knowledge that local MPs were using Ed McMahon-like billboard cheques as cheesy – and expensive – promotions of the Conservative Party of Canada using taxpayer dollars.

Stephen Harper had no knowledge that a group of Quebec City MPs had essentially approved a $400 million hockey arena potentially using Canadian taxpayer funds.

Stephen Harper apparently had no knowledge of how a Stephen Harper lead coalition of the Bloc and NDP toppled the Liberal government in 2006.

Stephen Harper had no knowledge of how more than 1,000 Canadian citizens were arrested without charge during the G20 summit.

Stephen Harper had no knowledge of human rights abuses and torture of Afghan detainees, an issue which has yet to be resolved (although it HAS been ignored).

Going way back, Stephen Harper had no knowledge that Chuck Cadman was being bribed to vote Conservative.

The list goes on.

It seems Stephen Harper really has no knowledge of anything at all, does he?

And you’d vote for this guy?

MayDay 2011: The Harper Government and the ‘F’ Word

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I came across this post reminding us about the 14 rules of Fascism.

Here they are again, with Stephen Harper’s record as a reminder of how in the case of Canada, the rules of fascism actually do apply:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism

Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

Stephen Harper usually starts his day campaigning in the bastion of Canadian nationalism, Tim Horton’s.  On many occasions, he’s been seen behind the counter serving coffee, but the real agenda should be obvious:  leverage institutions that inspire nationalist sentiments and you’ll curry the voting favour of the voting public.

The Harper Conservatives also embrace sports – especially hockey – because they appeal to all classes, but most importantly those people that will only think of themselves and their pocketbooks.

Finally, the half-billion spent on TV ads and other media over the last 5 years have leveraged all of the components of a nationalist campaign.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights

Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

Stephen Harper’s record on human rights has been shameful.  The ultimate responsibility for the most arrests in a single location at a single time were made during the G20 summit, an event organized to propel the image of Stephen Harper on the world stage but to also ‘test’ methodology related to cracking down against peaceful demonstrations in Canada or other G20 nations.

Stephen Harper is also in the process of converting Canada from a secure state to a security state.  Undisclosed billions will be spent on building prisons that we don’t need and planes that won’t be delivered for years.

To this day, people are still being held against there will and without having had fair trial.  Omar Khadr and other Canadians who have been ‘left behind’ by the Harper regime beg all Canadians to vote sensibly in the upcoming election so that they may one day enjoy their freedom again.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause

The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

Stephen Harper constantly repeats that our democratic right to a new government – even if it’s a coalition or minority of several non-Conservative parties – is evil and gives the sense that it should be outlawed in Canada.

Stephen Harper ‘threatens’ Canadians with the prospect of socialists or liberals running amok with taxpayer dollars, when the record shows that it’s quite the opposite:  Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have created the second largest Canadian deficit in history, after the Mulroney government of the 1980s.  The Liberals under Jean Chretien and Paul Martin actually generated a surplus.

4. Supremacy of the Military

Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

Stephen Harper and the Conservative government will be spending more on military in Canada than any government in the history of Canada.

The Harper government has committed to at least $50 billion per year on military spending over the next decade, although we’re seeing with the F-35 plane order that there are no upper limits on this amount.

That’s a lot of schools, hospitals and digital infrastructure that we as Canadians should be building for the next generation.

5. Rampant Sexism

The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

Is the Harper regime sexist?  Women play a role in cabinet and with members in the Harper government, but they’ve also become scape-goats with a number of scandals that have materialized over the last 5 years.  Of course, the number of scandals are so plentiful now that there actually is a balance between male and female with the Harper regime.

However, a Harper majority will quickly reveal the truth of this statement.  Abortion will be criminalized, the long gun registry will be scrapped and same-sex marriages will be eliminated.

6. Controlled Mass Media

Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

This video is telling evidence that Stephen Harper is manipulating the media in Canada by not allowing reporters in scene to ask questions, but it also reveals that the Harper regime is leveraging the services of Canada’s police force – the RCMP – to Harper’s absurd and paranoid policies.

The Harper regime has also spent nearly half a billion dollars of Canadian taxpayer dollars on a small handful of media companies, all of which are known Harper and Conservative supporters.  By buying out Canada’s media, they have shown maximum contempt for all Canadians because it’s unlikely that we’ll have an honest debate about Canada in the near future.

7. Obsession with National Security

Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

This is an image we got from another site recently (apologies, but I can’t recall the source):

be afraid

Of course, the Harper message is continuous with fear as the central message:

  • Fear ‘economic instability’
  • Fear the socialists
  • Fear the separatists
  • Fear the Russians
  • Fear ‘you people’
  • Fear for all those that oppose me

The truth is that we should be afraid:  afraid for the future of Canada and the world if we elect a Stephen Harper majority.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined

Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

The Harper Conservatives are driven by religion.  All of their messages are thinly veiled promises to keep women at home, elevate the dominance of men and to drive a wedge between those who deserve freedom from oppression and those that want to take it away.

9. Corporate Power is Protected

The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

The Harper regime will erode tax revenue from corporations to a pittance by the end of 2015.  As they do this, they continue to spend out of control.  This is an intentional plan of all conservatives:  spend like mad, get your wrists slapped by the corporate-controlled IMF and World Bank for having too much debt, and then cut and privatize public services so that the world’s corporations can come in and control our lives.

No Canadian wants tax cuts for corporations except for those few that own the large corporations.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed

Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

To understand what life under the thumb of a Harper majority, just look to Toronto’s office of the mayor or Wisconsin, where union rights are being smothered under the message of ‘waste’ and ‘largesse’.

While I’m not a union member or passionate advocate, what will be lost is the right to demonstrate, assemble and protest the right to organize labour for those that need these rights.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts

Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

One need not look further than the larcenous ‘accusations’ that Michael Ignatieff is an ‘elite’ and ‘intellectual’ that knows nothing of the Canadian experience.  Add some xenophobia to the mix (‘Ignatieff has been away from Canada for too long’) and the picture is complete.

Under a Harper majority, arts funding will be eliminated or directed to those institutions that generate propaganda as opposed to art.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment

Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

Stephen Harper is obsessed with crime and punishment.  In fact, so much so that he basically eliminated Statistic Canada’s crime reporting division and replaced it with a third-party privately held source.

Make no mistake:  Conservatives see crime as a business opportunity, not social policy.  Picture the cretin in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ and you’ll get a sense of what the future holds for first-time offenders or those who commit misdemeanors.

There are billions on the table and they want it all.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption

Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

Even though Stephen Harper ran on the platform of accountability and open government in the last election, he lied, didn’t he?

Since being elected in 2008, he has made more patronage appointments to the Senate, political and public institutions and other government organizations than any Canadian government has in the past.

The well has been poisoned folks even if we get smart and evict the Harper regime.  It will be decades before Canada’s public service can function without partisan politics ripping it apart.

14. Fraudulent Elections

Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Stephen Harper ran on a platform of fixed election dates in 2006, created this law once elected as minority leader and then broke his own law in 2008 when the opportunity suited him best.

Of course, he blames this election on Party Funding, but it was he who insisted on an election and not the opposition.

As a reminder, Stephen Harper blamed Party Funding on the 2006 election, but it was again he who lead a coalition of separatists and socialists to bring about the downfall of Paul Martin.

Summary

Is Canada’s government (now known as the Harper Government) a fascist regime?  Time will tell.

Canada:  our future relies on all of us to vote responsibly on May 2.  Please don’t vote Conservative and please don’t be fooled by the lies so that we all don’t find out the hard way.

Prison Kickbacks: The High Cost of Harper’s Security State

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I want a secure state, not a security state.

Stephen Harper is promising us a security state.  Billions wasted on prisons.  Tough on crime and criminalizing everything.  Fake crime stats.  Lots of military infrastructure.

This story tells us a lot about the future of Stephen Harper’s security state.  It tells us that anyone will be and can be bought.  When a judge can be bought in exchange for sending prisoners to private institutions, how do you protect yourself?

Story below.  Original link here.

Ex-judge who jailed kids for kickbacks convicted

Mark Ciavarella guilty of racketeering; He and another Pa. judge took $2M for funneling inmates to youth detention centers

(AP)

SCRANTON, Pa. – A former juvenile court judge was convicted Friday of racketeering in a case that accused him of sending youth offenders to for-profit detention centers in exchange for millions of dollars in illicit payments from the builder and owner of the lockups.

Luzerne County ex-Judge Mark Ciavarella, 61, left the bench in disgrace two years ago after prosecutors charged him with engineering one of the biggest courtroom frauds in U.S. history by using juvenile delinquents as pawns in a plot to get rich.

Federal prosecutors accused Ciavarella and a second judge, Michael Conahan, of taking more than $2 million in bribes from the builder of the PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care detention centers and extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the facilities’ co-owner. Ciavarella insisted the payments were legal and denied that he incarcerated youths for money.

A federal jury in Scranton returned a mixed verdict, convicting Ciavarella of 12 counts, including racketeering and conspiracy, and acquitting him of 27 counts, including extortion. The guilty verdicts related to nearly $1 million that the builder paid to the judges.

Ciavarella was expressionless as the verdicts were being read.

Prosecutors alleged Ciavarella and Conahan plotted to shut down the dilapidated county-run juvenile detention center in 2002 and arrange for the construction of the PA Child Care facility outside Wilkes-Barre.

Ciavarella, who presided over juvenile court, sent youths to PA Child Care and later to its sister facility in western Pennsylvania while he was taking payments from Robert Mericle, a prominent builder and close friend of Ciavarella, and Robert Powell, a high-powered attorney who co-owned the youth lockups.

The judge, known for his harsh and autocratic courtroom demeanor, filled the beds of the private lockups with children as young as 10. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed thousands of juvenile convictions issued by Ciavarella, saying he ran his courtroom with “complete disregard for the constitutional rights of the juveniles,” including the right to legal counsel and the right to intelligently enter a plea.

His rough treatment of youths — whom he often had handcuffed and shackled — did not figure into his corruption trial, which focused on the payments from Mericle and Powell. But prosecutor Gordon Zubrod told jurors in his closing argument that Luzerne County’s juveniles were indeed victimized by Ciavarella — that he had used them as “pawns in a scheme to enrich himself.”

Ciavarella had leverage over Powell because Powell needed the judge to send youths to his heavily mortgaged detention centers, Zubrod said.

Taking the stand in his own defense, the former judge acknowledged to jurors that he failed to report the payments on his tax returns and hid them from the public, but he denied any plot to take kickbacks or extort money.

Ciavarella told jurors that he thought he was legally entitled to Mericle’s money, calling it a “finder’s fee” for introducing Mericle to Powell. He insisted he took no further steps to make sure that Mericle got the contract to build the detention centers, saying that Mericle was hired by Powell because he was the low bidder.

The former judge pointed to a 2008 conversation — secretly recorded by Powell while he was wearing a wire for the FBI — in which he told Powell and Conahan: “I had nothing to do with it, other than Rob Mericle coming to me and saying, `I want to do this for you.’ He came to me. I didn’t go to him. … Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that it was illegal.”

Ciavarella also denied to the jury that he extorted Powell, who had testified for the prosecution that he was forced to pay the judges nearly $600,000 after they agreed to send juvenile delinquents to his new lockup. The payments were disguised as rent on a Florida condominium owned by the judges’ wives.

Ciavarella testified that it was Conahan who made the arrangements with Powell. He said Conahan told him that Powell had agreed to pay them $15,000 a month for 60 months to lease the waterfront Florida property. Prosecutors scoffed at that explanation, questioning why Powell — a successful trial lawyer and businessman — would be so foolish as to pay nearly $1 million in rent on a condo he could have purchased outright for less than $800,000.

The defense also said that Ciavarella had no idea that Powell separately was sending cash stuffed in boxes to Conahan. There was “a back-room deal going on between Mike Conahan and Bob Powell, and Mark Ciavarella had no idea what was occurring,” defense attorney Al Flora told the jury.

After the verdicts were announced, prosecutors sought forfeiture of $997,600 that Mericle paid Ciavarella, and the jury was considering whether to order it.

“A criminal should not be able to keep his ill-gotten gains,” Zubrod said. “If he has assets he has been hiding, we will find them.”

Luzerne County paid Powell’s company more than $30 million between 2003 and 2007 to house juveniles at PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care. The county could have built its own juvenile center for about $9 million.

Ciavarella and Conahan initially pleaded guilty in February 2009 to honest services fraud and tax evasion in a deal that called for a sentence of 87 months in prison. But their plea deals were rejected by Senior U.S. District Judge Edward M. Kosik, who ruled they had failed to accept responsibility for their actions.

A federal grand jury in Harrisburg subsequently indicted the judges on charges of racketeering, fraud, money laundering, bribery, extortion and tax offenses. Conahan pleaded guilty to a single racketeering charge last year and awaits sentencing.

Steve is Stuck in the 50s

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I figured it out.  Canada has its own version of a very uncool, very unpopular Austin Powers.  In fact, I need to correct myself:  we have a version of Dr. Evil (I wish I was good at doing image mockups, but I think you get where I’m going with this).

Stephen Harper has found a time machine and has dropped the entire nation of Canada in the 1950s.

You don’t believe me?

  • The Cold War is still going on.  The evil Ruskies are everywhere.  (Is our PM really trying to pick a fight with Russia?  Really?  Does he think we’re all that stupid?  Don’t answer … we are.)
  • Everyone is white and Canada belongs to ‘Europeans’.
  • McCarthyism is in full swing.  Fear and reprisal are everywhere.  No one can be trusted.  Arrests of ‘terrorists’ are constant, ongoing and ubiquitous.  We will fill jails with those that oppose us.
  • Roads and the auto industry are the only things worth saving in this country, but it’s too bad those damn unions are gumming things up.
  • There is no “Internet”.  It’s just print and TV and our friends in those media universes will help us ‘shape’ our messages to Canadians (just like our friend Goebbels did in the 30s and 40s!)
  • We fold the map of time and our political landscape follows Dief the Chief and no one else.  The Liberal domination from the 1960s onwards never happened.
  • Women are supposed to be bare-foot and pregnant in the kitchen (or publicly humiliated when they act up a bit).
  • GOD is the only religion, dammit.  Everything else is magic and witchcraft (and should be punishable by death, a la Sun editorials).

In the progressive world and for most others, we know this isn’t true, but Stevie and his 15-20% of Canada’s population as minions are stuck in the 50s.

What can we do to move forward?

How do we end Canada’s pain?

Harper Harpooned – by Tom Flanagan!!

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OMG!!  Hell HAS frozen over.

I’m watching this today and I’m stunned to hear Tom Flanagan, Stephen Harper’s mentor, is busy Harpooning his minion on Evan Solomon’s ‘Power Panel’.

In fact, I’m delighted to see that Stephen Harper’s bullshit factory is finally crashing and burning, with key personnel jumping ship, including Flanagan.  By describing the failure of democracy in Canada as ‘games’, and by being fixated on the economy and distracting Canadians from the criminal possibilities being posed by the Afghan detainee situation, Harper is finally the guy who blinked.

Joined by Tony Clement as describing Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament Facebook members as elitists (I’m glad to hear that I’m a member of the elite), we’ve definitely entered an age of ‘bizarro-world’ where the Cons are proving that every time they open their mouths they prove the adage that ‘better to remain silent than the open your mouth and remove all doubt’.  Yes, Tony Clement has proven that’s he’s incapable of holding office, along with his boss.

Meanwhile, Stooge Number 3 is busy announcing that he doesn’t care if Parliament’s out.  He’ll start slashing and burning anyways.

Talk about a massive SNAFU.

It’s time to throw them out!!

The only problem:  Iggy has already conceded and Layton is nowhere to be seen .

What the f**k is wrong with these people?