ltmurnau: (CX)
Down our way, some Earl Cowan wannabe defaced some NDP signs on the street corner with a spray-painted hammer and sickle.
But he didn't stay to do a good job of filling in the the hammer shape, so it looked like a lollipop and sickle.
Unfortunately they replaced the signs before I could get a picture.

[ETA, 6 October: He did it again!]
ltmurnau: (CX)
I hate reading stuff like this.
It's so discouraging.

*****

CBC Asks: Many Canadians distrustful of federal politics, poll indicates
4 in 10 Canadians never talk politics, Samara Canada survey suggests
CBC News Posted: Mar 25, 2015 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 25, 2015 4:02 PM ET
A strong majority of Canadians don't take part in politics beyond voting and don't trust their federal parties or MPs, a new report suggests.
What's more, four in 10 Canadians said they hadn't had a single political conversation in the past 12 months, according to Samara Canada, a non-partisan charitable organization that works to improve Canadian democracy.
In Democracy 360, Samara's report card on the state of Canadian politics, a wide-ranging poll of Canadian residents shows strong levels of distrust and disengagement.
Among the highlights:

  • Only 40 per cent of Canadians say they trust their MPs to do what is right, and only 42 per cent place some trust in political parties.

  • Sixty-two per cent feel politicians only want their vote.

  • When asked to rate MPs across six areas of responsibility, Canadians gave failing grades in five categories, including helping people in their riding and explaining decisions made in Parliament. The only passing grade was for "representing their parties' views."

  • Thirty-one per cent of Canadians say they have contacted an elected official in the last year.

  • Thirty-nine per cent of Canadians say they haven't had a single political conversation in a year, online or off.

  • Many see politics as irrelevant

Samara says in its report that Canadians are withdrawing from the democratic system, because they see politics as irrelevant. Less than a third of Canadians (31 per cent) believe politics affects them daily, and slightly more than half (54 per cent) believe MPs can shape the direction of the country.
Despite the apparent negativity toward the country's democracy, 65 per cent of poll respondents said they are "very" or "fairly" satisfied with democracy.
Samara said in its report that there is some cause for hope: while only 37 per cent of Canadians give time or resources to political activities between elections, 83 per cent did participate in at least one civic engagement activity such as donating or volunteering.
"This is proof that many citizens do care about their communities and their country and are willing to give their time or resources accordingly. But this activity is often at a distance from politics." the report says.
Samara plans to use their report as a baseline and re-do the survey in 2017 in time for Canada's 150th birthday.
Samara Canada conducted its survey online, surveying what it called a nationally representative sample of 2,406 Canadians in English and French from Dec. 12 to Dec. 31.

*****

Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ, how can people see politics as irrelevant?
I guess they do, if they can't even see past the plate of nachos set in front of them.
Small-p or large-P, politics horns in on anything and everything in modern life.
You can try and live without, but it will come and get you, and bite you in the ass eventually.
But it will be too late by then.

I wouldn't be so upset by this if democracy would stay the same whether these butt-scratching schlubs were around in such numbers or not, but this is no longer the case - there's less and less of it to be had these days, and a certain fraction of people would seem to be just fine with that.
But the roof will fall in on all of us.
ltmurnau: (Default)
Tomorrow Belongs to Steve
(tune from Cabaret)

The spring of ’11 was summery warm
The scandals and lies they ran free
So Iggy and Jack thought to try and see
If tomorrow belonged to Steve

The contemptuous motion was duly drawn up
The writ was dropped quite promptly
But outside the House grew a sense of dread
Would tomorrow belong to Steve?

Tory candidates marched out from their lairs
The Dear Leader travelled widely
The voters heard yells, “Fear Red and Orange!
Der Morgen musst zu Schteve!”

First Past The Post has once more shown us
That vote-splitting makes us all bleed
Four more years will see Canada dead
‘Cos tomorrow belongs to Steve

TOMORROW BELONGS
TOMORROW BELONGS
TOMORROW BELONGS TO STEVE!
ltmurnau: (Default)
Let's begin with a quote from The Tyee today:

"Stephen Harper won the election, but make no mistake -- yesterday this was a country created and defined by Lester Pearson, Tommy Douglas and Pierre Trudeau; this morning Canada belongs to Preston Manning."

I have seen an estimate of the popular turnout at 61.4% of eligible voters - that's a tad higher than the 59% or so in the 2008 election, but still not an overwhelming mandate from Da Peep-hole.

Also, once again we come to the fatal mismatch between voter numbers and seats occupied (vs. the number "due" them in a simple rep-by-pop system (just for comparison, I know that is not how the game is played, nor how it will ever be played).

2008
Harperites: 38% and 143 seats (117)
Liberals: 26% and 76 seats (80)
BQ: 10% and 50 seats (31)
NDP: 18% and 37 seats (55)
Green: 7% and 0 seats (22)

2011
Harperites: 39.6% and 167 seats (122)
NDP: 30.6% and 102 seats (94)
Liberals: 18.9% and 34 seats (58)
BQ: 6% and 4 seats (18)
Green: 3.9% and 1 seat (12)

So 39.6% of the 61.4% of eligible voters who voted = 24.3% of all the people who could have voted, voted for Harper. So the one who has the support of fewer than 1 in 4 of us gets to tell everyone what to do. Well, that's politics - the world is run by those who show up, at the right time and place.

I was glad to see the BQ destroyed, and am hopeful it's dead-dead-dead forever, but I also hope the NDP, with over half its members now from Quebec, can avoid the appearance of having been absorbed by the BQ. The talent pool Jack Layton has to splash around in is also woefully shallow. I do not think they will be an effective Opposition (though it may hardly matter, Harper governed as if there were no opposition before the election, now he doesn't even have to be polite to them). And yes, the NDP will have to move even further to the right than they've moved in the last 10 years. Not a good thing.

Both Ignatieff and Duceppe have resigned, having failed to win even their own seats. I'm only mildly curious as to who might replace the Igster.

I was glad to see Gary Lunn unseated, but I do not think Elizabeth May will be a good MP for me and my riding - she will be too busy being the Green Party's national MP. And having two NDPs and a Green MP in the Victoria area probably means no Federal money coming into the region at all, except for whatever the Navy base might need.

And I am awed at what, in the end, has proven to be an amazingly effective and totally cynical piece of politicking on Harper's part. With the ethics scandals dangling out there (and I am sure he knew about them, never-a-sparrow-shall-fall) he all but goaded Iggy and Jack into this election, knowing that they had far more to lose than he did - at worst he would have come out with a reduced minority. He used the attack ads. He framed the discourse from the beginning. And, in the final weekend, he appealed to fear in Ontario and stampeded Liberals into the Harper fold, lest the Socialist boogeyman (who never really existed) get out from under the bed. It goes to show two things: that at crunch time, the Liberal party will tip centre-right rather than left; and that what happens west of the Lakehead still really doesn't matter that much - the issue was decided by the time the polls closed in Ontario and everything else was just gravy for that big chicken-fried majority.

Give the lizard-man his due, he knew what he wanted to get and now he's got it.
And from now on we're going to get it good and hard, to paraphrase Mencken.

So, until some time in October, 2015... that's all folks.
ltmurnau: (Default)
It could just be me -
I've been coughing and feeling exhausted all week, feels like a relapse of that cold/flu, coming back as bronchitis -
or it's the weird weather -
or just apathy -
but I don't feel like doing an electoral post-mortem as I did in 2005:

http://ltmurnau.livejournal.com/80294.html
http://ltmurnau.livejournal.com/80401.html.

But I probably will. Can't keep away from crunching those numbers, in my amateurish way. I see there are a few recounts, and in 16 districts there was less than 5% difference between elected and runner-up.

But no one particularly seems to care - voter turnout was under 50%, down from 58% in 2005, down from 70% in 1983. I just read a news story where it alleged that the Stanley Cup playoffs interfered with the voter turnout, or maybe it was the election that interfered with the Canucks' chances (ha)....

This kind of stuff amazes me though! If people can't be arsed to go and vote, but will stay in line for two or three days to get tickets for something, then they shouldn't have the right to complain about the government they elected, or didn't elect, however you want to look at it. Voting is one of those acts of civic responsibility that seem minor but are actually quite important, it's an act of faith in the idea that people getting together and choosing others to run things on their behalf has merit. And if you don't turn out for that, well, I guess that's a choice too.

BAH! (shuffles off, coughing and hacking)

[EDIT: saw this in the comments to Rafe Mair's post-election column in the Tyee:

"... according to the wisdom of the BC electorate [we should have]:

Conservative - 0 [ ~ 2% counted voters]
Green - 3 seats [ ~ 8% counted voters]
New Dem -19 seats [ ~ 42% counted voters]
Liberals - 21 seats [ ~ 46% counted voters]
Empty seats - 42 [ ~ 50% / absent ]"]
ltmurnau: (Default)
Everyone said they wanted change, and so they got together and made some.

As of right now, the balance is:

Electoral College votes: 349 Obama, 162 McCain
Congress: 254 Democrat, 173 Republican
Senate: 54 Democrat, 40 Republican

So, we have a trifecta of a Democratic President and both chambers, with a clear hold on power (oh, will Al Franken get in as the junior Senator for Minnesota? If he and a couple of others do, then it's a filibuster-proof Sneate majority.).

But what will they do with that power? How could one even begin to address digging Uncle Sam out of the enormous manure pile Bush & Co. have piled up on top of him?

Bear in mind also that while the Democrats have a clear preponderance of elected representatives, the popular vote is still deeply divided:

Democrats: about 63.2 million votes (52%)
Republicans: about 55.8 million votes (46%)

That's not a great popular mandate, and it shows how the American system can get just as skewed between popular vote and representation as ours can, but in a different way. (http://ltmurnau.livejournal.com/191373.html) That's less than eight million votes' difference of the total 137 million votes cast - which was only 64% of all the 214 million votes that could have been cast by all registered voters, and an even smaller percentage of the who-knows-how-many-million Americans who could have voted but did not even bother to register. (Though in fairness, good on the Yanks for getting as historically good a turnout as 64%, apparently the best in the last 45 years.)

Any-hoo, that's 56 million people out there who will just as energetically declare that Obama is "not my President" as fervently as many left-wingers denied over the last eight years that George W. Bush spoke for them, or for America as a whole, on anything. That's not a judgement, it's just the way things are, and if the Ewe Assay can't get its act together on this, then the Democrats will have frittered away what, on this day, looks like a chance for some substantive change.

Or Not.

LIFE DURING WARTIME

Heard of a van that is loaded with weapons
packed up and ready to go
Heard of some gravesites, out by the highway
a place where nobody knows
The sound of gunfire, off in the distance
I'm getting used to it now
Lived in a brownstone, lived in the ghetto
I've lived all over this town

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco
this ain't no fooling around
No time for dancing, or lovey dovey
I ain't got time for that now

Transmit the message, to the receiver
hope for an answer some day
I got three passports, couple of visas
don't even know my real name
High on a hillside, trucks are loading
everything's ready to roll
I sleep in the daytime, I work in the nightime
I might not ever get home

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco
this ain't no fooling around
This ain't no mudd club, or C. B. G. B.
I ain't got time for that now

Heard about Houston? Heard about Detroit?
Heard about Pittsburgh, PA?
You oughta know not to stand by the window
somebody might see you up there
I got some groceries, some peanut butter
to last a couple of days
But I ain't got no speakers
ain't got no headphones
ain't got no records to play

Why stay in college? Why go to night school?
Gonna be different this time
Can't write a letter, can't send a postcard
I can't write nothing at all
This ain't no party, this ain't no disco
this ain't no fooling around
I'd love you hold you, I'd like to kiss you
I ain't got no time for that now

Trouble in transit, got through the roadblock
we blended in with the crowd
We got computers, we're tapping phone lines
I know that ain't allowed
We dress like students, we dress like housewives
or in a suit and a tie
I changed my hairstyle so many times now
don't know what I look like!
You make me shiver, I feel so tender
we make a pretty good team
Don't get exhausted, I'll do some driving
you ought to get you some sleep
Get you instructions, follow directions
then you should change your address
Maybe tomorrow, maybe the next day
whatever you think is best

Burned all my notebooks, what good are notebooks?
They won't help me survive
My chest is aching, burns like a furnace
the burning keeps me alive
Try to stay healthy, physical fitness
don't want to catch no disease
Try to be careful, don't take no chances
you better watch what you say
ltmurnau: (Default)
I'm posting this here mostly for future reference and present bitterness:

Read more... )
ltmurnau: (Default)
Here it is the 2nd of November already and there's been NOTHING to derail the elections!

The best Karl Rove could come up with was to engineer Saddam Hussein's guilty verdict the day before going to the polls, and the Iraqi government is not going to go along with anything so transparent: http://www.bobharris.com/content/view/1190/.

So, there will be:
- no mock assassinations,
- no "foiled" bombing attempt at a footbal stadium,
- no subway-gas-attack-that-wasn't,
- no airliner "almost" downed by a Stinger-wielding Arab,
- etc. and so forth?

???

Have the Evil Ones simply given up?

Now that they and their friends have filled their pockets, walked around in the trough with dirty shoes, and voided their bladders in the time stream, are they all just going to retire to their ranches in 2008 and await the Eschaton?

Maybe: http://www.grist.org/news/maindish/2004/10/27/scherer-christian/index.html (this was just the first article I found, there are lots of others).
ltmurnau: (Default)
Well, I posted yesterday's entry on the provincial election to the [livejournal.com profile] victoria_bc user community, and it was mere moments before people were screaming at each other (and at me). http://www.livejournal.com/community/victoria_bc/790528.html

In the middle of people saying, "I voted Green or I wouldn't have voted at all - I hate the NDP" and other people saying, "Guilt tripping people because they have different political leanings or priorities than you just sucks", no one seemed to notice that the way I phrased my post, it could as easily have been written by a gleeful Liberal as from a bitter NDPer.

The joke was lost. I got too "meta". I should just give up this whole humour thing, these days the satire writes itself. No wonder Jon Stewart is considered more of a responsible journalist than a comedian.

But I can't stop playing with these numbers, and a footnote to Paul Willcocks' last column in his political blog [http://willcocks.blogspot.com] said:
Footnote: It's clear that Green voters could have delivered victory to the NDP or Liberals in 10 close races if they had changed their votes. But it's not at all clear which of the other two parties those voters might have moved to if they had opted to vote strategically. Green voters increasingly come from both sides of the political spectrum.

So on adding up some more, I found 13 districts where the Liberal-plus-Green vote could have defeated the NDP winner:

Burnaby-Edmonds, Cariboo North, Cariboo South, Coquitlam-Maillardville, Delta North, Malahat-Juan de Fuca, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, North Island, Port Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, Powell River-Sunshine Coast, Saanich South, Skeena, Vancouver-Fairview.

So then, making that simple-minded assumption that the Liberals and Greens collude against the NDP, we would have 60 Liberal seats, 19 NDP.

What does this mean? I guess it really only means that the Green Party held the balance of power in 25 of 79 districts, but only if they had changed their votes. We'd have the existing 46-33 (or it might be 47-32, the recount is still on) situation if they had all stayed home to keep the Spotted Owl company.



[my new backup motto is going to be, "you said there would be rodents".]

I suppose, as many people posted, we should be grateful that there's a semi-credible third party at all in the province - though third parties, of usually right-wing ideological stripes, have held seats in the Legislative Assembly more often than not in the last 40 years, they were never power-brokers or deal-makers.

One more numerical diversion:
I thought I would try a simple test of "attachment". I went through the numbers and picked out all districts where there was a difference of 20% or more in the popular vote between the two parties. I found:

21 "strong Liberal": Abbotsford-Clayburn, Abbotsford-Mount Lehmann, Chilliwack-Kent, Chilliwack-Sumas, Fort Langley-Aldergrove, Kelowna-Lake Country, Kelowna-Mission, Langley, North Vancouver-Seymour, Okanagan-Westside, Peace River North, Peace River South, Richmond Centre, Richmond East, Richmond-Steveston, Surrey-Cloverdale, Surrey-White Rock, Vancouver-Langara, Vancouver-Quilchena, West Vancovuer-Capilano, West Vancouver-Garibaldi.

9 "strong NDP": Nelson-Creston, Surrey-Green Timbers, Surrey-Newton, Surrey-Whalley, Vancouver-Hastings, Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, Victoria-Beacon Hill, Victoria-Hillside, West Kootenay-Boundary.

Again, does this really mean anything? Perhaps none of it does. After 12 years in and around politics, it seems to me that 95% or more of the business of government is exactly the same no matter which party is in power. We're all squabbling about where to put the goal posts in a big game of Kick The Can played in a prison yard. [ugh, can't you tell it's raining outside?]
ltmurnau: (Default)
Well, the preliminary results are mostly in at Elections BC:

STV Referendum
Needed 60% YES votes, and needed to pass (50%) in 60% or 46 of 79 electoral districts

Percentage of YES votes: 57.38%
Percentage of NO votes: 42.62%

Electoral District majority support:
Pass: 77
Fail: 2

Obviously there is a great groundswell of support out there for an alternative to our present system, but the razor-thin difference (1,614,060 votes were cast, 60% of that is 968,436, so the4 YES side failed by only 42,326 votes) will be a ready-made excuse for the government to do nothing. Let's hope there will be another chance to try again one day.

Seats, and the Green Party
There is one district (Cariboo South, NDP leading but by only 27 votes)) that is way too close to call right now, so I have calculated 44 Liberal and 34 NDP seats.

However, I went through the list and quickly added up the votes between the three major parties. With the admittedly simple-minded assumption that all Green votes went to the NDP and leaving the Liberal vote count alone (as there are no influential right-wing parties other than this one), we see that the Green vote gave the seat to no fewer than 12 Liberals:

Burnaby North, Burquitlam, Comox Valley, East Kootenay, Kamloops, Maple Ridge-Mission, North Vancouver-Lonsdale, Oak Bay-Gordon Head, Prince George-Mount Robson, Saanich North and Islands, Vancouver-Fraserview, Vancouver-Point Grey (Gordon Campbell's own riding!). Going further, votes for Independent candidates denied the NDP seat in one place: Delta South.

Add it up yourself: http://www.elections.bc.ca/elections/ge2005/results/ALL_Results%20by%20Candidate.htm

Yes, it's awfully simple-minded to say this, but if there were no Green Party the government-elect would have consisted of 31-32 Liberal and 46-47 NDP seats.

There could have been a majority NDP government.

Thanks, comrades, for standing up for your Green principles.

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