Wednesday, May 16, 2007

As Molly said before the Silly Season seems to have come early this year. Here in Manitoba we are having a provincial election (voting next Tuesday, May 22nd). Now almost every election is an example of a silly season so perhaps this isn't so anomalous out here on the lone prairie. This time around the various parties, NDP, Conservative and Liberal are truly falling over each other promising goodies with the money stolen via taxes. It seems that the overflowing cornucopia is even more magnificent in this round than Molly can remember it in previous elections. Pride of place, however, has to be awarded to the provincial Progressive Conservative Party. The flavour of the campaign can be gauged by a running tally that the Winnipeg Free Press prints every few days. As of May 12th the total cost of the NDP's promises ran to about $400 million. The Liberals tipped in with a similar amount. The clear "winners', however, were the Conservatives with a total estimated give away of $888 million.
Now Molly has to interject a certain observation here. Anybody who votes for social democrats such as the NDP with the hope that they will deliver greater social equality is sorely deluded. Government money that supposedly will go to "help the poor" is inevitably filtered through the "great sponge" of the new class that staffs the bureaucracies that produce nothing but social control. If you want to "prevent poverty" amongst the graduates of social work faculties this is fine, but if you want to alleviate existing poverty it is not exactly the way to do things. Whether you vote for social democrats with equality in mind really depends upon whether you believe that it is better to head shrink the poor and gradually chip away at their allowances- or sometimes not so gradually if circumstances require the cuts- or whether you believe in dramatic "revenge gestures" ala the conservatives. Neither solves much of anything, but the social democratic option leaves you with a "slightly" better taste in your mouth.
That's fine, but the other side of this coin is that anybody who votes for a conservative party with the expectation that they will practice fiscal probity, spend less than the social democrats and thereby reduce the debt that demands higher taxes to service is even more deluded than those who vote for social democrats expected social justice out of them. Sometimes the social democrats do indeed let a few crumbs fall to the lower levels, even if this is only occasional as the long list of social democratic "betrayals" testifies (their proponents would call them "adjustments to reality"). Often it takes dicing apart the minutiae of departmental spending to see just how tiny the crumbs are. Conservative governments, however, ever since the "neo-con revolution" have been in your face about the contradiction between what they say and what they do. Without oil money to prop them up they inevitably outspend their opponents and increase the government debt because of their high rolling habits. They are also even more visibly corrupt than their opponents- something that is sometimes hard to do but they do it nonetheless. Their" favourite charities" may be different, but the result has hardly varied across the world in the past few decades. Drop welfare rates but spend twice as much in building new prisons, the construction contracts for which, by the way, go to "favoured sons" who attend the same schools, churches, and parties as the politicians. If this is not lucrative enough for the hangers-on then privatize the prisons and create a whole new money making field for your friends.
The drunken sailor promises of the provincial Conservatives have to be seen in this light of how they fit in to what their brethren have been doing across the world for the past few decades. Not that you should expect them to actually carry out too many of their promises. Politicians are a rattite breed. But if you subtract the various promises that social democrats are simply lieing about and you also subtract the same type of thing from the conservatives' "promises" then you are still likely to come out with a figure about double of what the NDP would spend. If you want to know "which" promises will be kept look carefully as to which one give an opportunity for "a friend of a friend" to make money from. These are the most likely ones to be fulfilled.
Which brings us to the grand finale. The estimate of the cost of the Conservative promises excludes one particularly expensive item- bringing back the Jets. The Conservative leader, Hugh McFadyen, made this "promise about a week ago, and he has been mocked for it ever since. The difficulty of luring back a NHL franchise to a city that proved it could not support one some years back has been pointed out over and over in the local media. Estimates of the cost range from a quarter of a billion to an half billion, and the logistics of ticket sales to make even these estimates assumes that every single game would be sold out, and that the ticket prices would be something like $70 per game. Not bloody likely !!!! The actual cost would be far higher than these estimates as the Province would probably end up opting for both a new arena and continued subsidization of what would be a privately owned team under both Conservative ideology and Conservative self interest. How many billions ? Who knows.
McFadyen compounded his mistake by saying that this tied in with "keeping young people in Manitoba". Too bizarre for words. Fort McMurray doesn't have a hockey team either. If you can make twice as much in Alberta as you can here in Manitoba then I would say that there may be one or two individuals thick enough to not opt for the great oil pool to our west because we have a hooookey teeeeam. No more than two. These two shouldn't be trusted to operate machinery anyways. Let them flip burgers in Winnipeg- oops I lie; they shouldn't be trusted with anything hot either.
McFadyen hasn't played up his silly promise much since it gained such mockery. I guess his advisers sobered up after their 12 martini lunch. Wheeee !!! The ancient Persian way was to make plans during a big booze-up but then to always re-examine them during the hangover. Seems like our little modern day followers of Darius have forgotten the latter injunction. Speaking of twelves this brings Molly to her award for silliness. The party of the rich, the Conservatives, have been caught in the act of pouring their Chivas Royale into empty bottles of Labatt's Blue with more than a little contempt for the intelligence of the "beer and hockey crowd". It bounced back on them. If there are "white wine socialists"-there are indeed- then there are also "mature whiskey conservatives". They really shouldn't try to put on "prole costumes" because they just look silly in them.
Molly awards this effort at silliness her "twelve pack award", with the bottles filled with faux beer.

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