Friday, October 31, 2008

C.D. Howe Canada's Grand Poobah

There is great irony in the fact that one of Canada's foremost establishment right of centre think tanks the C.D. Howe Institute which often promotes a neo-con agenda is named after one of Canada's foremost Pooh-Bahs of State Capitalism.
Grand Poobah is a term derived from the name of the haughty character Pooh-Bah
Gilbert and
's The Mikado. In
comic opera,
Pooh-Bah holds numerous exalted offices, including Lord Chief Justice,
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Master of the Buckhounds, Lord High Auditor, Groom
of the Back Stairs, and Lord High Everything Else. The name has come to be used
as a mocking title for someone self-important or high-ranking and who either
exhibits an inflated self-regard, who acts in several capacities at once, or who
has limited authority while taking impressive titles.

NANK. Ko-Ko, the cheap tailor, Lord High Executioner ofTitipu! Why, that's the highest rank a citizen can attain!
POOH. It is. Our logical Mikado, seeing no moraldifference between the dignified judge who condemns a criminal todie, and the industrious mechanic who carries out the sentence,has rolled the two offices into one, and every judge is now hisown executioner.
NANK. But how good of you (for I see that you are anobleman of the highest rank) to condescend to tell all this tome, a mere strolling minstrel!
POOH. Don't mention it. I am, in point of fact, aparticularly haughty and exclusive person, of pre-Adamiteancestral descent. You will understand this when I tell you thatI can trace my ancestry back to a protoplasmal primordial atomicglobule. Consequently, my family pride is somethinginconceivable. I can't help it. I was born sneering. But Istruggle hard to overcome this defect. I mortify my pridecontinually. When all the great officers of State resigned in abody because they were too proud to serve under an ex-tailor, didI not unhesitatingly accept all their posts at once?
PISH. And the salaries attached to them? You did.
POOH. It is consequently my degrading duty to serve thisupstart as First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chief Justice,Commander-in-Chief, Lord High Admiral, Master of the Buckhounds,Groom of the Back Stairs, Archbishop of Titipu, and Lord Mayor,both acting and elect, all rolled into one. And at a salary! APooh-Bah paid for his services! I a salaried minion! But I doit! It revolts me, but I do it!
NANK. And it does you credit.
POOH. But I don't stop at that. I go and dine withmiddle-class people on reasonable terms. I dance at cheapsuburban parties for a moderate fee. I accept refreshment at anyhands, however lowly. I also retail State secrets at a very lowfigure. For instance, any further information about Yum-Yumwould come under the head of a State secret. (Nanki-Poo takes hishint, and gives him money.) (Aside.) Another insult and, Ithink, a light one!

The C.D.Howe Institute flies in the face of the endeavours of Howe, who as Minister of Everything, oversaw the development of public and crown corporations in Canada. Federally funded, not joint private public partnerships, which of course would have demanded private capital to develop. With the victory of neo con agenda in the ninties promoting privatization of public and government infrastructure the C.D. Howe institute gave establishment legitimacy to the efforts of other right wing lobbyists and thnk tanks like the Fraser Institute and its east coast doppleganger; the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies , and the newly minted Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

The C.D. Howe Institute
(formerly the Howe Research Institute), is a nonprofit policy research
organization established in 1973 by a merger of the Private Planning Association
of Canada, formed in 1958, and the C.D. Howe Memorial Foundation. It is located
in Toronto. Its principal source of funding is the fees contributed by a
membership that includes corporations as well as individuals with a background
in business, the professions or academia. The institute's staff is responsible
for the preparation of the annual Policy Review and Outlook and various other
publications on topical issues. The institute also commissions leading
researchers (academics for the most part) to write papers and monographs on a
wide range of topics such as fiscal and monetary policy, trade policy, social
policy, the environment, federal-provincial relations and constitutional reform.
Although the main focus of the institute's research program is the economy, the
range of topics it has covered over the years is very wide and occasionally
extends to non-economic issues such as culture and ethnicity.

The right wing agenda saw public policy as moving from the State capitalizing public services and infrastructure and moving towards selling off those assets to deal with its debt and deficit crisis. Public good was now replaced with state funding for private profit. Howevere now that we face the economic melt down that this ideology resulted in we will see if this think tank of Canada's establishment changes it's tune. Why do I find that unlikely.

C.D. Howe Institute
Benefactors Lecture, 1997

D.G. McFetridge
Professor and Chair,
Department of Economics,
Carleton University
Toronto, October 22, 1997
Sponsored by Dofasco Inc.

The formation of public policy can be viewed from a number of perspectives.
Some see it largely as the outcome of tradeoffs between contending
interest groups; policy changes reflect nothing more than the ascendancy
of one interest group over another. To others, including the
C.D. Howe Institute, ideas matter. A good idea, well explained, can
overcome the power of even an entrenched interest group.
If ideas do matter, there is certainly merit in bringing the evidence
on the economic benefits of privatization to public attention. Privatization
is about more, much more, than selling off the bus company. It is
about institutional design, and in some countries (New Zealand, for
example) it has involved considerable reflection on just what should be
expected of government.
What we have come to call privatization is part of a larger process
of institutional change involving commercialization, contracting out,
and regulatory reform as well as the sale of state-owned enterprises to
the private sector. The literature on this process is vast but of uneven
The evidence on conventional contracting out, especially by municipal
governments, is unambiguously positive: it reduces the cost of
providing the services involved. There is more skepticism and less
evidence on the consequences of contracting for social services and for
the joint supply of infrastructure and services (public/private partnerships).
These instruments are likely to present serious—but not necessarily
insoluble — contract design problems. They may require the
government to be an active and strategic purchaser in ways not envisaged
by privatization zealots. Nevertheless, the potential economies,
especially in the accumulation and use of knowledge, make continued
experimentation worthwhile.
With respect to the entire process of commercialization, regulatory
reform, and the sale of state-owned enterprises to the private sector, the
weight of the evidence to date is that it has been beneficial. The precise
contribution of the change in ownership to the gains that have resulted
from the process as a whole is difficult to identify. One can argue,
however, that privatization is an essential part of the process in that it
provides the impetus for commercialization and makes regulatory reform,
especially regulatory forbearance, possible.
Whether or not privatization is a necessary part of the process, once
commercial objectives have been adopted and regulatory reform has
allowed competition or potential competition to exert its disciplining
force, there is little, if anything, to be gained from continued state
ownership — provided that the government sells its interest at a price
equal to the present value of the income it might expect to derive from
continued ownership.
Although the international experience with process ofcommercialization,
regulatory reform, and privatization has been favorable and
there are good conceptual arguments for privatization itself, the case for
individual privatizations must still be made on the merits. The body of
existing evidence is not so strong or so detailed that it can be taken to
imply that, say, the province of Saskatchewan would necessarily realize
significant economic benefits from privatizing its electric power or
telecommunications utilities.
The theoretical and empirical literature on privatization reminds
us to remain open to the potential benefits of employing decentralized
market or market-style incentives in place of hierarchy and command
and control. The ongoing international experimentation in institutional
design has been worthwhile and is clearly worth pursuing further.
The literature also teaches that privatization is frequently not about
pushing a button and getting less government. Unless the political
forces that brought about government intervention disappear (and they
may in some cases), privatization will be about getting different government,
rather than less government. It may involve catering to a different
set of interest groups or catering to the same interest groups in a
different way. It may involve the same or similar political activity
in different forums. It is often not simply a matter of opting for the
invisible hand.

C.D. Howe was a cabinet minister for 22 years, first in the government of Mackenzie King, and then in the government of Louis St. Laurent. Nicknamed the "Minister of Everything," C.D. Howe was forthright and forceful, and more interested in getting things done than in policy. He mobilized Canada for World War II, turning the Canadian economy from one based primarily on agriculture to one based on industry, and after the war turned it into a consumer economy spurred by veterans.

Career Highlights of C.D. Howe:
created a national air service, Trans-Canada Airlines (later Air Canada)
created the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) as a
Crown corporation
created the National Harbours Board
restructured the debt-ridden Canadian National Railway (CNR)
established the St. Lawrence Seaway
established Canada's nuclear industry
initiated the Trans-Canada Pipeline
Professional Career of CD Howe:
Taught at Dalhousie University in Halifax
Businessman - designed and built grain elevators
Political Affiliation:
Liberal Party of Canada
Riding (Electoral District):
Port Arthur (Ontario)
Political Career of CD Howe:
C.D. Howe was first elected to the House of Commons in 1935.
He was appointed Minister of Railways and Canals and also Minister of Marine. The two departments were soon combined into the Ministry of Transport. C.D. Howe oversaw the reorganization of Canadian National Railways, and the creation of the National Harbours Board and Trans-Canada Airlines, the forerunner of Air Canada.
In 1940, C.D. Howe was appointed Minister of Munitions and Supply in charge of war production for Canada. As head of the War Supply Board, and with the authority of the War Measures Act, C.D. Howe created a huge rearmament program using "dollar-a-year men," business executives called to Ottawa to reorganize the economy. The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, which created more than 100 aerodromes and landing fields and trained over 130,000 airmen, was one of the results.
In 1944, C.D. Howe was appointed Minister of Reconstruction, and then Minister of Reconstruction and Supply, and began turning the economy toward consumer needs.
C.D. Howe became Minister of Trade and Commerce in 1948.
In 1951, with the growth of the Cold War, C.D. Howe became Minister of Defence Production as well as Trade and Commerce and oversaw the growth of the Canadian aircraft industry.
In 1956, C.D. Howe forced the plan for the Trans-Canada Pipeline, a gas pipeline from Alberta to central Canada, through Parliament but paid heavily when the Liberal government lost the next election and he lost his seat.
C.D. Howe retired from politics in 1957 at the age of 70.

C. D. Howe
C. D. Howe was known for getting things done.
That made him exactly the type of leader Canadians needed to channel their domestic energies into military might during the Second World War.
Clarence Decatur Howe is best remembered as Prime Minister Mackenzie King's right-hand man. When King decided to meld responsibility for railways, marine transport and civil aviation into one powerful Ministry of Transport in 1936, the prime minister put Howe in charge.
Not only did Howe's achievements in transport help ready Canada's transportation systems for the massive load they would have to carry during the war, but the transportation policy expertise he acquired left him well-prepared to direct the all-important Ministry of Munitions and Supply during the war.
Howe was, as he put it, a "Canadian by choice." A carpenter's son, he was born in Waltham, Mass., in 1886, moving to Canada in 1908 to teach civil engineering at Dalhousie University in Halifax. He later established a consulting engineering firm that specialized in grain elevators.
King brought Howe into politics in 1935 and he immediately began to cut a swath through bureaucracy, refusing to be bound by tradition and red tape, seeing himself much more as an implementer than a policymaker.
Howe was particularly interested in establishing a strong Canadian presence in the growing field of civil aviation.
He was instrumental, before and after the war, in establishing or expanding Trans-Canada Air Lines, the National Harbours Board, Canadian National Railways, the St. Lawrence Seaway, the TransCanada Pipeline and even the CBC.
Canada's first Minister of Transport took over a Canadian transportation system that was fragmented and outdated.
He centralized the administration of ports and reformed the debt-laden CNR, increasing efficiency and accountability that would be so important during the war.
Unemployed workers of the "Dirty '30s" were mobilized to build airstrips across the country and Trans-Canada Air Lines, Air Canada's predecessor, was established as a Crown corporation.
All these measures helped to pull the country's transportation network out of the Depression, preparing it for the incredible challenge that it would face in 1939-45.
When Canada entered the war in September 1939, Howe retained the Transport portfolio but was also asked to take on Munitions and Supply.
One of Britain's first requests was that Canada play host to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, which would train nearly 50,000 pilots and groundcrew by war's end.
Howe left Transport to concentrate on Munitions and Supply in July 1940, but continued to prod the transportation sector for the extraordinary performances he was demanding of other Canadian industries.
Before the end of the war in 1945, railway traffic had tripled in Canada as food, munitions and other war supplies were rushed to Atlantic ports.
Howe was criticized for forging ahead with little regard for costs, but the results he engendered soon silenced his critics. Costs wouldn't matter if the war was lost, he told colleagues, and in victory, costs would be forgotten.
The war, of course, was won and the relentless energy of Canada's first Minister of Transport played a major role in the victory.
Canada's other wartime ministers were P. J. A. Cardin, 1940-42; J.-E. Michaud, 1942 - April 1945, and Lionel Chevrier, April 1945 - June 1954.
Find blog posts, photos, events and more off-site about:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Arts Vote Cost Jaffer His Job

Alberta and Quebec have long been allies in their opposition to the powers of Ottawa. This past election that commonality was shown in the reaction to Harpers Arts and Culture cuts. While pundits focused on Quebec's reaction they overlooked its impact in Alberta. In particular in Festival City; Redmonton.

The defeat of Edmonton Strathcona MP Rahim Jaffer was a direct result of Harpers attack on Arts and Cultural workers. After all Redmonton has a booming arts and culture community, we have the Winspear and the Citadel, the Jubilee, we have arts groups and theatre groups, a major Symphony, Jazz City, the Fringe Festival, an International Childrens Arts Festival, a Buskers Ball, the Edmonton Folk Festival and an International Street Preformers festival, etc, etc.

Edmonton Strathcona itself is one of the cities Arts hub. Known to all as Old Strathcona with its infamous Whyte Avenue at its core, it is the centre of the Theatre community hosting the second largest Fringe Festival in the world. Not only do Edmontonians produce and preform the plays, they are mass of volunteers needed to run the Fringe and the mass of visitors to the Fringe.

Did Harper miss this fact? You bet. When the uproar over his political purging of arts funding mobilized the Arts and Cultural community, it was a nation wide response. Of course the greatest coverage was its impact in Quebec where polls showed Harper's policy led to loss of support for the Conservatives.

But overlooked was its impact here in Redmonton. Harper backpedaled and announced that he had increased Heritage Canada funding, but that of course is tied to politically correct Conservative values, then he annouced increased funding for arts and culture for wait for it....children to take piano and dance lessons. He overlooked the fact that dance classes were already eligable for his childrens athletics tax credit that the government introduced last election. And how does funding piano lessons equate with funding for Symphony orcehstra's, Opera, etc. It doesn't. And so it cost Rahim his job.

Arts voters in Edmonton Strathcona voted strategically. And not only NDP and Liberals but Conservatives as well. When it comes to Edmonton Strathcona which is the Reddest part of Redmonton, we have elected NDP MLA's here. When the provincial Tories run candidates here they have been Red Tories,

Rahim was in a tough fight and he knew it. From the start he did something he has not done in previous elections, put up lawn signs. There were Jaffer signs on my street and my moms street where they had never been before. But like the Liberal signs many were on rental or commercial properties, put their in many cases not by the renters but the landlord.

Linda Duncan ran an excellent campaign, and it was based on building a base through three elections. The NDP made a break through federally in the riding when they ran Malcolm Azania, and broke through the usual two way race between Conservatives and Liberals which had left the party trailing a distant third over the years.

The Azania campaign team stayed on and recruited Linda to run last election. She further consolidated the NDP's second place standing loosing to Jaffer by only 5000 votes, votes that had gone to the non-existant Liberal candidate. In that election it was the Liberals who were the vote spliters.

But this election it was clearly a two way race, and despite his sign campaign Jaffers laziness and arrogance cost him. He did not address the Arts cuts, nor did he distance himself from the Harper arts attacks when Harper insulted all cultural workers and masses of volunteers who support them by calling them elitists. In fact he insulted some of the leading citizens of this city who are proud of the efforts they have put into fund raising for Arts and Culture, including wealth bourgoise like the Winspears who donated to have the Winspear Centre for the Arts built. Opps.

Jafers arrogance was on public display election night when at ten o'clock he got up to announce his imminent victory, which the media mistakenly announced not noticing that their were still 14 polls not counted, polls which included mine which are all strong NDP polls.

He was pulled down from the podium by an aide who told him it wasn't in the bag yet.

When he lost he was at a loss for words for several days, again Jaffer's arrogance was publicly displayed with his refusal to concide the election. He only announced his final defeat the same day he eloped with fellow MP Helen Guergis.

The delicious irony of this is that he appears to be off to Ottawa to live with Helen as her live in Assistant and Helen will have lots of time to spend with Rahim since it is speculated that she is destined for the back bench in the upcoming cabinet shuffle.

Yes Linda Duncan and her team ran a great campaign. But in the end we have to thank Stephen Harper for attacking the Arts and Culture community, it pushed her over the top. And put a bright orange spot in the middle of Blue Alberta.

And this is no minor break through. It shows that the Harpocrites policy of taking Alberta for granted cost them big time in Edmonton Strathcona. Next election that vulnerability could lead to more defeats for the Harpocrites.

Find blog posts, photos, events and more off-site about:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pallin's Pipeline

Sarah Pallin's American nativist politics ends when it comes to oil. The Alaskan Govenor is in the pocket of one of Canada's oldest and leading Pipeline companies; TransCanada Pipelines. But shhhh don't tell anyone. Her Drill Baby Drill rhetoric belies the fact that you can drill all you want in Alaska but the point is to get the oil and gas to a refinery. And Alaska for all its ground assets does not have refinering capacity, so that oil and gas has to get shipped south. And who will do the shipping? TransCanada Pipelines, tying Alaska into its Keystone pipeline project.

The controversial pipeline will ship bitumen from the Tarsands south to the Gulf Coast for refining. In Alberta, and in fact across Canada, the pipeline is controversial for several reasons, one is it runs through disputed Lubicon Cree land, and secondly it shows that we remain hewers of coal and drawers of oil, rather than having true energy independence by doing secondary and tertiary production; refining here. Unlike Alaska, Alberta has refineries, and refining capacity.But thanks to TransCanada's cozy relationship to the Stelmach regime, like its cozy relationship with Pallin, we and the Alaskans get screwed.

During the election Harper announced that if elected he would restrict exports of bitumen, the Stelmach regime remained uncharacteristically silent over the issue. Usually Ottawa intrusion into Alberta's energy patch would elicit a hue and cry of outrage with the usual rantings about the NEP. However Harpers move was to assure Americans that Canada has continues to view them as the primary preferred customer for our oil.
With the current fiscal meltdown most of the refining expansion planned for Upgrader Alley in Alberta are now on hold which gives carte blanche to TransCanada to ship our oil and jobs south . As Ross Perot once said; can you hear that giant sucking sound as Alberta and Alaska oil jobs go south?
As Ms. Palin takes to the road to campaign with Mr. McCain, invoking the pipeline as a major victory, some Alaska lawmakers who initially endorsed her plan now believe it was a mistake. State Senator Bert Stedman, a Republican who is co-chairman of the finance committee, said that in its contract with the chosen developer, TransCanada, the state bargained away too much leverage with little guarantee of success.

Of the five companies that eventually bid, Ms. Palin’s administration chose TransCanada Pipelines, which operates 36,500 miles of pipeline across North America. TransCanada had previously tried to negotiate a pipeline deal with the Murkowski administration, but was sidelined by the governor in favor of the big oil companies, some officials who were involved in the talks said. That contributed to the rift that led to the departures of Mr. Irwin, Ms. Rutherford and five others from the state Department of Natural Resources.
The proposal that TransCanada negotiated with the Murkowski administration was structured differently from the current one and had no provision for a $500 million state subsidy, said two people who reviewed it and who spoke on condition of anonymity because the proposal remains confidential.
Of the Palin aides familiar with TransCanada from those earlier negotiations, Ms. Rutherford had an unusually close connection. For 10 months in 2003, she was a partner in a consulting and lobbying firm whose clients included Foothills Pipe Lines Ltd., a subsidiary of TransCanada.
Ms. Rutherford said in an interview that after TransCanada submitted its pipeline proposal to the Palin administration, she and the governor never discussed whether her role on the team might be viewed as improper or give the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Ms. Rutherford, who said she had not lobbied for Foothills but had done research and analysis, stated that she was not one of the pipeline team members who recommended a developer to Ms. Palin. That was done by Mr. Irwin and Patrick S. Galvin, the commissioner of the Department of Revenue, she said.

TransCanada is already building the $5.2-billion Keystone pipeline, which will carry 590,000 barrels a day from Hardisty, Alta., to refinery hubs in Illinois and Oklahoma from 2009. The expansion will take an extra 500,000 barrels a day to refineries in Houston and Port Arthur, Tex.
As well as the confirmed supplies and the possible construction delay, TransCanada said it has increased its stake in Keystone and the expansion as its partner, ConocoPhillips Corp. of Houston, has reduced its share from 50 per cent to 20.1 per cent. TransCanada now has 79.9 per cent of the pipeline, although shippers will have an option to take a 15-per-cent stake.
ConocoPhillips spokesman Bill Graham said the company is still committed to Keystone, and will be a major shipper on the pipeline, but he wouldn't comment on why the company had reduced its interest.
Currently, Alberta exports 500,000 barrels of bitumen daily to the U.S., about 40 per cent of total production of the tar-like substance from the oilsands. That will rise to one million barrels a day by 2010 when two new pipelines, the Alberta Clipper and Keystone pipelines, take bitumen to Texas and Illinois respectively.
Bitumen must be upgraded into heavy oil before it can be sent to refineries to be made into gasoline and other fuels.
Stringham disputed the suggestion that oil companies are sending bitumen south for upgrading to avoid Canada's greenhouse gas emission standards, which come into effect in 2010.
Everyone expects the U.S will have some similar standards soon, he says.
Besides, the decision on where to build an upgrader for bitumen is based on economics, not the environment, says Stringham. In some ways, Alberta is a preferred place to build an upgrader, given the low taxes and stable political environment, though high labour costs are a problem these days.
But building bitumen upgraders isn't easy in the Edmonton region's upgrader alley.
Last month, the BA Heartland upgrader, partly completed near Fort Saskatchewan, was suddenly mothballed. The credit crisis in the U.S. was the major reason cited by the company for closing down the project at this time.
The very same day, however, ConocoPhillips and Calgary-based Encana began work in the U.S. on a $3.6-billion refinery retrofit to handle Alberta bitumen flowing to Illinois.
No wonder, then, that Harper's policy to keep the bitumen here was hailed as good news in the Fort Saskatchewan area where there are plans for a dozen upgraders. "Our group feels it's a very progressive move," said Neil Shelly, executive director of Alberta's Heartland Industrial area.
"It levels the playing field for us because we will be capturing carbon dioxide at the plants in this area, and the U.S. does not have those requirements that entail an additional cost." Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, agrees those upgrading jobs should stay in Canada.
But he doesn't hold out much hope that Harper's bitumen policy will actually reduce the flow of jobs or bitumen down the pipeline.
In fact, McGowan suggests that Harper is sending a reassuring message across the border that energy hungry America will remain Canada's preferred customer and that China, with its lower environmental standards, will be on the prohibited list.
Even if the Democrats win the U.S. election, they too will want a continental energy policy, as that's the only way to reduce U.S. dependence on Venezuelan and Middle East oil.
"He's sending a signal to Washington and Houston that if he is prime minister, Canada will continue the continental energy system," says McGowan "It's the worst kind of election promise. ... He's able to give the impression he was doing something to protect jobs, without taking concrete action.
"What this really does is tie the hands of Alberta producers from looking for other customers." Pipeline builder Enbridge Inc. is one of the few companies going after those new customers in China and Southeast Asia. It's the biggest shipper of bitumen to the U.S and is currently building a $4.2-billion pipeline to the Pacific Coast, dubbed the Northern Gateway, initially to serve China.

Find blog posts, photos, events and more off-site about:, , , , , , , , , ,, , ,,, , , , ,

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


If I was generous I would say that poor George W. spent the last year as the American economy tanked, viewing the pending crash through rose coloured blinders. As you have read here for the past two years I have predicted the pending crash that brought the market tumbling down last month. It was simple to read in the tea leaves of market excess, or market 'exuberance' as Greenspan called it. But for George W. it was all about denial. The market fundamentals were strong he asserted right up to a few weeks ago. America he had claimed for months is NOT in a recession, denying the obvious. In January oil began its upward spiral, and America was in its third month of downaward spiral. America was in a recession everyone knew it, only George continued to deny it.

Like WMD, which he beleived existed in Iraq, he also believed there was no recsssion, and hence no problem with the market, despite the year of declining housing prices and the ensuing subprime crash.

So it should come as no surprise that the guy who lied to the American people about WMD, could easily lie to himself, and hence the American people, about there being no recession.

Unlike the first U.S. President named George who created the myth of the Honest Presidency, with the allegorical fiction about the cherry tree, this President George has put to bed that myth. While the first George confessed to chooping down the tree this George denies there was a tree.

And so he should not be surprised that over the past three weeks every time he has assured Americans that they need not panic about a market crash, the market responds by crashing further.

It's poetic justice.

Everyone now accepts that W is either a compulsive liar, or a self-deluded fool. What a condemnation the market makes everytime W opens his mouth.

Someone should tell the lame duck to sit down and shut up.

President Bush Speaks on Ailing Economy
Friday Address Marks 10th Time Bush Has Recently Spoken About Volatile Markets
Oct. 10, 2008

President Bush tried to reassure the nation today that the economy is strong enough to weather the current crisis, but by the time Bush stopped speaking nine minutes later, the market had dropped another 107 points.

Following the previous nine times the president specifically addressed the economic crisis, the market ended the day on an upturn on five occasions and closed down the other four.

What the G-7 Should Be Doing To Fix the Financial Crisis

TIME - 10 Oct 2008

Global stock markets were sending an unmistakable signal too: panic. The Dow Jones industrial average finished its worst week ever, off about 22%. On Friday, the market swung wildly, dropping 500 points on three occasions, then vaulting into positive territory before coughing up its gains in the last half-hour of trading to finish the day down 128 at 8,451. The NASDAQ managed a small gain. But European and Asian markets were pummeled again.

DOW PLUNGES 733 POINTS ; Worst Decline Since 1987
Thursday, October 16, 2008
When President Bush speaks, many listen - but apparently investors haven't been reassured by his many speaches about the market meltdown this month.


No Austrians In Foxholes


Black Gold

The Return Of Hawley—Smoot

What Goes Up...

Wall Street Mantra

Bank Run

U.S. Economy Entering Twilight Zone


,, , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , ,

White Power

Is race an issue in the upcoming American Presidential election? You bet. It was clear to anyone who watched the two America's which appeared this summer at the Democratic and Republican conventions. While the media and pundits have focused on VP Pallin's success in appealing to the Republican base, that base is white. The sea of white faces during the republican convention was overwhelming. And it sends a message; Republican America is old rich white people. The amount of Afro-America, Latino, or Asian American faces in the crowds can be counted on one hand. Indeed during a recent McCain rally, the only African Americans present were his Secret Service detail.

A sea of white faces grey and blue rinse hair stared out at us from the floor of the Convention. Since then the sea of white faces that surrounds McCain and Pallin at rallies, may not be the core of the rich upper class white Republican party, but it is white none the less.

The messaging that Obama does not understand small town America, those who love their guns and bibles is aimed at this white base.

The result is that McCain and Pallin are addressing themselves to the issue of race, they speak for White America.

The Democratic convention by contrast was the real America, multiracial, young and old, women, men, gays and lesbians, latinos, blacks, asians, and yes even the forgotten Americans; those of the First Nations. Blue collar workers, students, professionals, and yes rich lawyers. But the overwhelming nature of the crowds that gather at Obama rallies, whether vote for him or not, is by contrast with the McCain crowd, the real America, a demographic diverse crowd.

In order to make himself appear popular amoung youth McCain and his handlers have been lining up young people behind him on the stage, many who are clearly not of voting age.

McCain and Pallins campaign to appeal to White America has resulted in the predicatable; White supremacist 'plot' to kill Barack Obama: A history of hatred

By claiming by inference that Obama is not American, not white, a terrorist sympathizer, a socialist and a Marxist, all the key words used by StormFront and other radical right wing conspiracy types to justify their hatred of America's diversity. McCain and Pallin launched their Nativist attack on Obama at the Republican Convention and the result has been to shore up their racist base and to appeal to those on the fringe of America who brought us Ruby Ridge and the Oklahoma Bombing.

I note that not one media pundit has pointed out that the Republican convention and the McCain rallies are overwhelimngly white. They are in fact White Power rallies.

While discussing supposeded white working class anathema to Obama, and the issue of race, these same pundits both liberal and conservative refer obliquely to 'ethnic' America. Now we in Canada would use that term differently, it would refer to our multicultural heritage. In American Speak it refers to white Americans an in particular those whose politics are reflective of American Nativism.

Will white Americans vote for Obama, of course, overwhelmingly. That is not the real question the pundits are asking, rather will white Nativist/racist Americans vote for Obama? And the anwser is they have their own party and candidate; the Republican Party and John McCain.

And with the recent attacks on Obama and the this latest assassination plot, Black America's very real fear is that once again a Black leader will be assasinated before he gains power, or in the immediate aftermath of his election. American history of the long march for Civil Rights proves this fear is valid.

The Republican campaign which has focused on the politics of fear makes this a very real possibility. While the apologists will say that the Neo-Nazi's are a fringe element, they are very much part of the base of the Republican Party that Pallin in particular appeals to.

McCain has spent weeks overtly linking Obama to "terrorists" and "Palestinian donors" and posing the sinister question: "Who is the real Barack Obama"? Right this very minute, the McCain/Palin campaign is running massive robocalls in numerous battleground states, including North Carolina, alleging that Obama "has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge's home, and killed Americans" and, if elected, "will enact an extreme leftist agenda." Last night on national television, McCain vehemently defended Sarah Palin's repellent and patently false accusation that Obama "is pallin' around with terrorists."

But the McCain brand in recent weeks has taken a beating. In reaching out to that still-restive conservative base, McCain, a gambler partial to craps, in late August put his own history on the line. A survivor of several bouts of dangerous skin cancer, he picked an untested and, critics say, largely unqualified running mate in Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whom he barely knew. And he launched a negative campaign against Democratic Sen. Barack Obama that has unleashed outbursts of nativism and racism at his rallies that have appeared at times to even startle the nominee. The Palin gambit initially worked in hard-fought states like Florida. "When he named her and settled on the theme that they would be the ticket for change, he really altered the campaign's dynamic and momentum here," says Aubrey Jewett, a University of Central Florida political science professor. "But days later, the economic crisis overshadowed everything."
Even some of McCain's most ardent supporters say they have been stunned by the campaign's singular, provocative focus on painting Obama as "dangerous" and a "pal" of terrorists because he served on an education reform board in the 1990s with 1960s-era antiwar extremist William Ayers, now an education professor in Chicago. "The campaign is heavy into character assassination," says a longtime McCain admirer who, like many, believed that McCain, with his maverick flashes and his appeal to independents, was the only Republican who could win this year after two terms of an unpopular GOP president. "I don't know what the hell is going on."

Sarah Palin has stopped being a joke and is becoming a danger in this troubled democracy of ours. Her job has been to excite the hard-core right-wing base (which McCain could never do) and she is doing it with a strident, demagogic amalgam of nativism and McCarthyism.
She is generating us-against-them warfare, pitting small-town America against the cities. Seems odd at first blush, since there are more votes in the cities—until you recognize that the big difference between her kind of small town and the wicked cities has everything to do with diversity of population.
The cities are filled with others. The cities are filled with “them.” The cities are filled with people like “that one.”
In Palin’s small-town universe—limited to only certain parts of the country—people are pro-America. The others…well, that’s where people pal around with terrorists, don’tcha know. That’s why her audiences are inspired to call for Obama’s execution. Hey—how about “lynch”? We haven’t heard that in a while.
She is the worst demagogue I have ever seen on a major party ticket—including Richard Nixon at his lowest.
Palin is not alone in this drive. Last week we saw U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota update Joe McCarthy, proclaiming that “leftists” such as Sen. Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi—to say nothing of Obama himself—were not really pro-America. Fact is she wants the media to investigate and expose all Democrats because they are likely against America.
It takes a lot to make my jaw drop, but this return to Red Scare days sure unhinged my mandible.
It is interesting to see that two women are in the vanguard of this new-found America-First-ism. But then, John McCain’s own brother pointed out that northern Virginia—the D.C. suburbs—is communist territory. Not like the real Virginia, where the founding fathers kept slaves on their plantations. Hey—only kidding folks.
These are not just retro weirdos on a soapbox in Bughouse Square. This is the vice presidential candidate of the Republican Party and governor of one of our 50 states. This is a sitting congresswoman from the upper Midwest.
Their words come as we stand at the brink of a major recession—the kind of economic environment that produced native fascists such as Father Coughlin and Huey Long. These are dangerous times for dangerous words—and win or lose we have not heard the end of them from Sarah Palin and her cohort.


, , , ,

Monday, October 27, 2008

McCain Senile?

During interviews in the past week McCain's talking point on Powells endorsement of Obama is that he is backed by five former Republican Secretaries of State. On Meet the Press on Sunday he couldn't remember them all.......

SEN. McCAIN: No. I'm disappointed in General Powell, but I'm very, very happy to know that five former secretaries of state who I admire enormously--Henry Kissinger, Jim Baker, Larry Eagleburger, Al Hague--Jim Baker, Henry Kissinger, Al Hague, Larry Eagleburger and one other, and over 200 retired flag general--generals and admirals are supporting my campaign. I'm very proud of their support.
MR. BROKAW: Senator, we opened today with a--how you're doing in Iowa. The Des Moines Register has endorsed...
SEN. McCAIN: George Shultz. George Shultz is the other one.
MR. BROKAW: George Shultz, right.
SEN. McCAIN: George, I'm sorry I left you out to start with. George Shultz, the great--one of the great secretaries of state in history. Anyway, go ahead. I'm sorry.

And this is not the first time poor McCain has been confused...........

Did John McCain confuse autism with Down syndrome?

Is McCain Senile? He Confuses FEC with SEC, Sunnis with Shiites ...

A mind is a terrible thing to see go to waste......

We know from a May review of some of John McCain's medical records and from previous reports that the Arizona senator has battled the most deadly form of skin cancer melanoma. His physician says McCain, who at 72 would be the oldest man ever sworn into a first term as president, has not displayed any memory problems, but she has not said whether her patient has undergone cognitive tests.

After this week perhaps its time for that cognitive test.....since he never has been given any psychological testing even after his years as a prisoner of war and his failed suicide attempt.

McCain has released more details about his health than the other three nominees, though he has done so in a phased way and has apparently not agreed to any extensive interviews about his health. A handful of reporters were allowed to view his records during his bid for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination. Another group of reporters were permitted to see newer records last May. By not allowing reporters to interview him or his doctors extensively about his entire medical history, he has made it impossible to get a complete picture of his diagnoses and treatment.In 1999, early in his first run for the presidency, McCain allowed a small number of reporters, including me, to review an estimated 1,500 pages of his medical records without photocopying or recording the information.In doing so, McCain gave the public its broadest look at the psychological profile of a presidential candidate. He released psychological records about him that were amassed as part of a Navy project to gauge the health of former prisoners of war. Assessments were based on standard psychological tests and what McCain told his doctors after his release. The records mentioned that in 1968, about eight months after his capture and after some particularly brutal beatings from his North Vietnamese captors, McCain attempted suicide, trying to hang himself with his shirt.The records and his doctors, whom I interviewed with the senator’s permission in 1999, said he had never been given a diagnosis of a mental health disorder or treated at the project’s center for a mental health disorder.

McCains mental health is the Republican 800 lb Gorrilla in the room...

The other gorilla in the room
John McCain has his own gorilla.
The Republican gorilla (Shush, he’s old. Is he senile?)
Is John McCain senile, forgetting long held principles, becoming a caricature? With all due respect to this elderly man of integrity and honor, he may not be clinically senile, suffering actual dementia, but he may be past his best years.
Senator McCain acquitted himself well at the first debate; he recalled names, places and events with sufficient clarity so as to deny any clinical disease. However, his interviews with the press have become increasingly angry and hostile. More and more observers have posited that his erratic behavior, adopting contradictory and mutually exclusive positions may be caused by the stress of the campaign and his 72 year old body not being able to get the rest that it requires to function properly. That isn't ageism—that is a simple fact of life.
There have been public comments suggesting that Senator McCain may not have the mental strength and capacity to handle the job of President. Again, just as with the “concerns” about Senator Obama’s race or faith are not well founded and are framed as worries about his “inexperience”, the shifts in John McCain’s positions, sometimes within hours, are raided as issues of senility rather than simple political opportunism. For example, on one day at 9:00 A.M., he declared that the United States economy was basically strong; later that day he called for a massive bailout that would cost our children and grandchildren close to $1 Trillion!

And let us not forget that the mere fact that Democratic VP Thomas Eagleton had been treated for clincal depression led to his resignation when the Republicans exposed it is there any wonder that McCain has not had a cognitive psych test.....

Of course depression and mental illness has not been a limitation for U.S. Presidents in the past.....49% of US Presidents suffered mental illness in Duke study

, , , ,

McCain A Socialist

Call this a case of the pot calling the kettle black, McCain calls Obama's economic policies socialist Yesterday on Meet the Press McCain admited his own home mortgage buy back plan originated in the 1930's under FDR, and was originally proposed by Hillary Clinton. Now who is a socialist?

MR. BROKAW: But there, there is this continuing use...
SEN. McCAIN: ...I feel that...
MR. BROKAW: ...of the phrase "socialism." How would you describe the $700 billion bailout that has the United States government buying shares in American banks, in effect nationalizing those banks to a degree, and even your own mortgage plan of spending $300 billion to buy bad mortgages from banks, having taxpayers who have done the responsible thing, in effect, subsidize people who've done the dumb or wrong thing?
SEN. McCAIN: Because we are in a financial crisis of monumental proportions. The role of government is to intervene when a nation is in crisis. A homeowner's loan corporation was instituted in the Great Depression. They went out and they bought people's mortgages, and, over time, people were able, then, to pay back those mortgages. And the Treasury actually made some money.
This Treasury in this administration is spending its time bailing out the banks. The cause of the crisis was the housing crisis, as we know. And how--home values, as long as they continue to decline, then we're not going to see a turnaround in this economy. A lot of other things have to happen, have to happen, but at least let's understand that we ought to keep people in their homes. That's the American dream. And they say now that maybe they're going to address that problem. Let's address it first. And so when a, when a nation is in crisis, that's when a government has to intervene.
Now, a lot of the times you were talking about, 2004, other times, times were pretty good overall. You had different--you have to have different roles of government in different times. I'm a fundamentally--obviously, a strong conservative. But when we're in a crisis of this nature, that's when government has to help. That's, that's what, that's what our fundamental belief--the reason why we have governments. In times of crisis, we go in and we try and help the people, especially in this situation where they're the, the victim of a drive-by shooting by excess, greed and corruption in Washington and Wall Street. And again, I and others said we have to have legislation to rein it in. Senator Obama didn't lift a finger.
MR. BROKAW: Well, you did--you made your comments about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at the time of the accounting issue, when that was first raised. Can you cite a time...
SEN. McCAIN: In, in reality, we, we proposed legislation and made a statement that said, "Look, it's not just the accounting, this whole process is going to lead to disaster." I'd be glad to provide you with the letter.
MR. BROKAW: Let me ask you quickly about your $300 billion bailout of, of mortgages.
MR. BROKAW: Some people have said, look, if there's a homeowner out there who's done the irresponsible thing...
SEN. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.
MR. BROKAW: ...and a bank is looking at that foreclosure and saying, "Hey, I don't have to work this out. I can just get the government to pick it up," why should a taxpayer in Waterloo, Iowa, or in Akron, Ohio, have to subsidize somebody who has done the dumb, wrong thing?
SEN. McCAIN: Well, in simplest terms, if their neighbor next door throws the keys in the living room floor and leaves, then the value of their home is going to dramatically decrease as well. And again, this has been done before. As I said, during the Great Depression and...
MR. BROKAW: And that's when Republicans called it socialism under FDR.
SEN. McCAIN: Well, look, in the Great Depression, there were some things that worked and some things that didn't work. But for the government to do nothing in the face of a massive crisis of proportions that we have not seen, I mean, it's hard for us to imagine how, in, in retrospect, how serious the Great Depression was, but the fact is that Senator Obama, by the way, opposes that, that; and I want to use some of the $750 billion to go and buy those mortgages and that, I think, will stabilize the market. It's not the only thing that needs to be done, but I think it's a vital first step so Americans can realize the American dream.

No Austrians In Foxholes

, , , , , ,

Pinocchio Conservatives

Remember last election when the Harpocrites said they wouldn't tax Income Trusts? Well this election they said they wouldn't run a deficit. Yep their noses are growing again.....Canada finance minister won't rule out budget deficit

Deja Vu

,, , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Did Big Bang Create Crash???

Since the economists and advocates for the free market seem to be at a loss as to why the current international financial system collapsed, perhaps they should look at the coincidence between the start of the Big Bang experiment in Europe and the fact that perhaps this is a quantum economic meltdown, the result of the firing of the Hadron Collider in France.

After all the marketplace that manipulates capital in the money markets and theshadow economy; hedge funds, dirivitives, etc. is the result of the use of computer technology and in particular the access that the internet allows computers. The internet which was created by CERN in order to facilitate the international scientific coordination of the Hadron Collider project.

And remember those folks who worried that the start up of the collider would create a black hole? They were laughed at. Yet within days of the collider start up and failure, the international financial market blew up in a big bang not seen since the Great Depression.

Coincidence? In a quantum universe I think not. After all what is a bigger black hole than the collapse of international capitalism?

Cern CIO talks about the credit crunch and black holes

CERN's Large Hadron Collider, the biggest and most complex machine ever built, will study the smallest building blocks of matter, sub-atomic
CERN scientists launched the experiment on September 10, firing
beams of proton particles around the 27-km (17-mile) tunnel outside Geneva 100
meters (330 feet) underground.
But nine days later they had to shut it down
because of a helium leak caused by a faulty electrical connection between two of
the accelerator's huge magnets
When it works again, the collider will recreate conditions just after the
Big Bang believed by most cosmologists to be at the origin of our expanding
universe 13.7 billion years ago.
It will send beams of sub-atomic particles
around the tunnel to smash into each other at close to the speed of
These collisions will explode in a burst of intensely hot energy and
of new and previously unseen particles.
CERN, which invented the Worldwide
Web nearly 20 years ago, has set up a high-power computer network linking 7,000
scientists in 33 countries to crunch the data flow, enough to create a tower of
CDs more than twice as high as Mount Everest.

CERN Unveils Global Grid For Particle Physics Research
The network can pull in the IT power of more than 140 computer centers in 33 countries to
crunch an expected 15 million GB of data every year.
By Antone Gonsalves
InformationWeek October 3, 2008 04:57 PM

CERN, the world's largest particle physics lab and creator of the World Wide Web, on Friday launched a
global computer network that links the IT power of data centers in 33 countries
to provide the data-crunching muscle needed in conducting experiments on the
nature of matter.

The Cern nuclear-physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland, is helping
the technology industry refine the multicore processors and fat gigabit networks
destined for the datacentres of tomorrow through the Openlab

Through the project, the IT department at the lab behind the
Large Hadron Collider pushes cutting-edge kit to breaking point to perfect it
for its own use, and the consumer and business markets.
The lab has
partnerships with companies including HP ProCurve, Intel and Oracle, who provide
the backbone of its IT infrastructure, its 8,000-server computer centre and its
links to the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid, consisting of more than 100,000
processors spread over 33 countries.
Cern's chief information officer,
Wolfgang von Rueden, told sister site "We wait for
industry to develop the technology, then we take it and see how far we can push
it and feed back to them."

CERN Orchestrates Thousands of Business Services with ActiveVOS
Visual Orchestration System Integrates Diverse Systems
for More Effective Mobile Workforce
Last update: 9:00 a.m. EDT Oct. 21,
WALTHAM, Mass., Oct 21, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Active Endpoints, Inc. (, the inventor of visual orchestration
systems (VOS), today announced that CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear
Research, of Geneva, Switzerland, has successfully deployed ActiveVOS(TM) to
orchestrate and manage its core technical and administrative business services.
As one of the world's largest and most respected centers for scientific
research, CERN is the nucleus of an extensive community that includes over 2,500
on-site staff, and nearly 9,000 visiting scientists. These scientists
principally work at their universities and laboratories in over 80 countries
around the world. Using ActiveVOS, CERN has now integrated and automated all its
core processes as well as integrated those processes with the many external
systems required by this dispersed workforce.
"Automating all of the
essential business processes such as arranging travel, ordering materials,
authorizing access to controlled areas for our 11,500 users from all over the
world was a complex challenge," said Derek Mathieson, section leader, CERN.
"Using ActiveVOS's capabilities including process versioning, retry policies,
error and exception handling, integrated debugging and support for open
standards, we now have completed over 1,200,000 process instances. We add, on
average, approximately 12,000 new BPEL processes every day. ActiveVOS has also
automated internal administrative processes, such as annual performance reviews
and safety alarm activation. We are now able to support our large community of
scientists and our staff, ensuring they spend their time on research and not
administrative tasks."

No Austrians In Foxholes
Black Gold
The Return Of Hawley—Smoot
Canadian Banks and The Great Depression
Bank Run
U.S. Economy Entering Twilight Zone

,, , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,