Life is Belief & Struggle - Ahmed Shawqi

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Revolt of the Conservatives

It is no secret that I have been in political coventry for a while now. I realize I stepped out of so-called mainstream conservative politics mainly because I was sensing such a disconnect between those who pretended to represent the interests of conservatives in society and those who really were 'conservative'. There was so little thought given to who and what the maddening political conservative crowd rallied around - or the dire implications for Western society and the concept of nation state. Conservative/progressive politics has been reduced to some kind of major league football game where every one picks teams/sides rather than choosing the side that uses their principles as a guide to create policy which would benefit every Canadian. American Conservative magazine has published one of the most dangerous and potentially game changing article by Mike Lofgren. This is the beginning of the next big change in conservative political thinking.
It was 1993, during congressional debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement. I was having lunch with a staffer for one of the rare Republican congressmen who opposed the policy of so-called free trade. To this day, I remember something my colleague said: “The rich elites of this country have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris, and Tokyo than with their fellow American citizens.” That was only the beginning of the period when the realities of outsourced manufacturing, financialization of the economy, and growing income disparity started to seep into the public consciousness, so at the time it seemed like a striking and novel statement.
There is just so much here that it is hard to link to a single paragraph - so onward with the linky goodness.
I do not mean secession by physical withdrawal from the territory of the state, although that happens from time to time—for example, Erik Prince, who was born into a fortune, is related to the even bigger Amway fortune, and made yet another fortune as CEO of the mercenary-for-hire firm Blackwater, moved his company (renamed Xe) to the United Arab Emirates in 2011. What I mean by secession is a withdrawal into enclaves, an internal immigration, whereby the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot. Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; if one owns a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension—and viable public transportation doesn’t even show up on the radar screen. With private doctors on call and a chartered plane to get to the Mayo Clinic, why worry about Medicare? Being in the country but not of it is what gives the contemporary American super-rich their quality of being abstracted and clueless.
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To some degree the rich have always secluded themselves from the gaze of the common herd; their habit for centuries has been to send their offspring to private schools. But now this habit is exacerbated by the plutocracy’s palpable animosity towards public education and public educators, as Michael Bloomberg has demonstrated. To the extent public education “reform” is popular among billionaires and their tax-exempt foundations, one suspects it is as a lever to divert the more than $500 billion dollars in annual federal, state, and local education funding into private hands—meaning themselves and their friends. What Halliburton did for U.S. Army logistics, school privatizers will do for public education. A century ago, at least we got some attractive public libraries out of Andrew Carnegie. Noblesse oblige like Carnegie’s is presently lacking among our seceding plutocracy. In both world wars, even a Harvard man or a New York socialite might know the weight of an army pack. Now the military is for suckers from the laboring classes whose subprime mortgages you just sliced into CDOs and sold to gullible investors in order to buy your second Bentley or rustle up the cash to get Rod Stewart to perform at your birthday party. The sentiment among the super-rich towards the rest of America is often one of contempt rather than noblesse.
While Lofgren's article focuses on the "American" the same process is actively at work in Canada. The Harperites are cut from the same bolt of fabric as the alleged 'republican/conservative' class that Lofgren is warning us of. This is corporate cronyism in action with nary a thought or care given to the lives of the citizenry.

Dear Liberal Party; this is why ordinary Canadians despise your party

Politically, I am homeless. There is not a political party in this country where I can hang my hat. Although, I am conservative by nature, I am not a Harperite and believe the current Conservative Party of Canada has lost all trace of its roots and has morphed into the party of small thinkers and two-bit political hacks, who all too frequently, think nothing of selling out the entire country to keep their corporate cronies well feed at the expense of ordinary Canadians. While I am not an ecological ideologue, I am conservative by nature; I prefer to conserve and practice good husbandry towards all resources – both fiscal and natural. The Green party, while being more fiscally conservative than one would imagine, the actual membership bares the distinct smell of fringe, which often leaves one gasping for air. The NDP (aka as the party of Jack_____)well….the problem is there are far too many members who are to the left of Jack_____ and while the Green party has ‘fringe’, the Dippers have more than their fair share of angry wing-nuts - certainly much more than any mainstream political party deserves. That being said, there have been a number of very bright, dedicated dippers who have worked long and hard to improve the quality of life for their fellow Canadians. All of which brings me to the Liberal Party. Currently, the Liberal party is facing political Armageddon in Canada. The Liberals were a party of talent, with big and bold visions (even if they had to poach some of those ideas from other parties, they at least made those big ideas workable). The Liberal party was once fiscally conservative and socially responsible - much like most of the citizenry. While not all the Liberal ideas were bright ones, at least they could lay claim to creative thinking and intellectual talent. Now, the best the party can hope for, is that there is a 1968 Trudeaumania redux, so the party can score points with the Canadian electorate for recycling the next generation of 'Trudeau' since outsourcing the leadership didn’t connect with Canadian voters. Once, I had a passing thought about joining the Liberals, with an eye to helping the party move to the right, but then, these things happen and I am reminded why the Liberal party had to go into political purgatory. The Toronto Star
OTTAWA—A Liberal senator was still at work — casting her vote along party lines a dozen times — four months after a geriatric psychiatrist declared her legally incompetent due to her worsening struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Liberal Senator Joyce Fairbairn, 72, has been receiving round-the-clock care for a year and a half due to her declining health from dementia and will not return to Ottawa for the time being, according to a letter her niece, Patricia McCullagh, sent to Senate officials earlier this month. The letter, dated Aug. 13, says that a geriatric psychiatrist signed a declaration of incompetence for Fairbairn sometime in February and that in April, McCullagh and Leonard Kuchar, chief of staff to Liberal Senate Leader James Cowan, co-signed a power of care that made them agents acting on her behalf. Senate attendance records show that Fairbairn regularly attended sittings in the Upper Chamber after being declared incompetent, missing seven sitting days between February and the end of session in June.
We can all make cheap quips about the so-called sanity of our political class but very few meet the bar by being legally declared mentally incompetent.Senator Fairbairn met and passed that bar, through no fault of her own. There was only one honourable course of action available to the Liberal Senate leadership once it learned the status of Senator Fairbairn’s mental health. Instead, the Liberal Senate leadership chose the most despicable and morally bankrupt course of action available by choosing to ignore and exploit the Senator's condition. Thereby, turning our system of governance into merely a game of partisan one-upmanship. These liberals sent a big 'fuck-you' to even single Canadian in the country.