The Week perfectly summarizes the GOP’s rationale behind the great Chuck Hagel freakout:
Hagel, a former GOP senator, won by the narrowest margin of any defense secretary since the job was created in 1947, raising concerns even among his supporters that he would emerge as a wounded leader as he takes over a Pentagon facing deep budget cuts scheduled to take effect on Friday. “He has had to renounce every contrarian view that endeared him to the president in the first place,” one Republican senate aide said.
Related: Speaking of damaged goods, Dave Weigel looks at how Rand Paul’s point position on the Chuck Hagel filibuster has soured Paul’s standing with daddy’s influential paleo-libertarian constituency (who kinda sorta like Hagel).
Bad Brains live at CBGB 1982:
I think we’re kidding ourselves if we say that the debate about abortion is now over and shouldn’t be reopened. It may have been closed in the courts since 1988. It may be closed in the Parliament insofar as there is not (currently) any debate proceeding on legislation to regulate abortion. But it is obviously not closed and done with in the public sphere. It’s silly to pretend otherwise.
Twenty-five years after the country’s abortion law was struck down, Canadians are still divided on how – and whether – the procedure should be regulated.
But there is one area where there is widespread agreement across the political spectrum: This is not the time to re-open that debate.
That is what emerges from the results of a new [Angus Reid] poll…released [Jan. 28].
The one question in the poll that produced the most agreement was whether there was any point reopening the debate, with a solid majority, 59 per cent, saying No, compared to 30 per cent who want the discussion reopened and 11 per cent who are undecided.
Angus Reid also examined the issue based on voting preference and found that 55 per cent of Conservatives, 65 per cent of NDP backers and 66 per cent of Liberals do not want to reopen the debate.
Histrionic faith-based groups that are pathologically obsessed with clumps of cells != “the public sphere,” anymore than dead-end 9/11 Truthers or ‘Young Earth’-addled Creationists do. Besides, how exactly does one ‘debate’ those who don’t even traffic in rational argumentation to begin with?
DNFTT — especially the ones toting fetus-pr0n placards.
Apparently Ann Romney forgot to mention to Willard that moms who don’t work outside the home do THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN THE WORLD!!!1 and already have ample dignity, thankyouverymuchyousupersexistsoand…
oh, wait — Mittens meant those moms — y’know, the ones who can’t afford dignity.
Related: Pay no attention to the ongoing war on women voting.
HUNT: Let me ask you this. The Democrats of course say you are waging, the GOP is waging a war on women. I know you don’t agree with that, but looking at the polls, you have a gender gap problem. Recent polls show a huge, huge margin for Democrats among women voters. How big a problem is it? How do you close it?
PRIEBUS: Well, for one thing, if the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars, and mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we have problems with caterpillars. The fact of the matter is it’s a fiction and this started a war against the Vatican that this president pursued. He still hasn’t answered Archbishop Dolan’s issues with Obama world and Obamacare, so I think that’s the first issue.
Don’t worry, ladies (Or should I say larvae?). I’m sure Ann Romney will be happy to take some of your concerns down for the boys to look at later, once they’ve finished girding their loins for the latest pre-fab Culture War skirmish.
I hear she’s an absolute wiz at shorthand.
Image: Flickr, used via Creative Commons
While many the US were celebrating seemingly positive job numbers yesterday, for London, Ontario residents such news was caustic, rock salt poured into a gaping wound.
Caterpillar subsidiary Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) has announced that it is transforming the lockout at its London, Ontario diesel-locomotive manufacturing facility into a plant closure.
Six weeks ago, Caterpillar locked out the 465 production workers at its London plant after they overwhelmingly rejected the company’s demands for a 55 percent wage cut, the elimination of their pension plan, and other sweeping concessions.
EMD announced the closure Friday morning in a terse press release that blamed uncompetitive labor costs and worker intransigence for its decision. “The cost structure of the operation was not sustainable,” said the release, “and efforts to negotiate a new, competitive collective agreement were not successful.”
Just last week Caterpillar boasted that the 2011 fiscal year was the most profitable in its history, with profits rising by 83 percent to US $4.9 billion.
Take a moment to absorb the jarring ironic contrast between those last two paragraphs, then listen to London Mayor Joe Fontana give Caterpillar the business for letting naked greed determine the bottom line — at the expense of local workers whose lives have now been callously thrown into total flux.
And wither the Harpercons? Alas, Canada’s market fundamentalist government always respects the sanctity of the Invisible Hand (except when it doesn’t).
Prime Minister Stephen Harper used Electro-Motive as a backdrop in 2008 to promote big tax breaks for industrial capital investments, but the federal government declined to get involved in the labour dispute.
“This matter falls under provincial jurisdiction, and we are also disappointed that the Ontario Government was unable to mediate a solution to the dispute between the company and its employees,” read a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.
The statement also promised that the federal government will continue to work on a plan that will generate new jobs and opportunities for those affected by the closure.
Thanks for providing a great campaign backdrop, but, um, we have our majority now, and besides, we can’t help it if the crummy Ontario Liberal Government is teh suck. So, uh, anyway, don’t call us — we’ll call you.
Of course, the matter of government responsibility — yes, at all levels — goes beyond mere inaction.
It is not so much its inaction that looks bad on the Harper government, but that the lockout undermines its argument that corporate tax cuts produce jobs. Electro-Motive Canada, under a previous owner, was given $5 million in tax cuts by Harper personally. The Harper government recently lowered Canada’s corporate tax rate by an additional 1.5%, voluntarily cutting almost $3 billion from government revenue. This at a time when it is planning massive budget cuts to reduce its deficit.
The lockout is equally damning to the Conservative claim that free trade will attract job-creating foreign investment. The federal Conservatives are finishing up a new free-trade deal with Europe and have plans for a deal with India next. Given the fact that the government will not discuss the details of these free-trade negotiations, there is no way of knowing whether they would leave Canada more vulnerable to actions like those of Caterpillar’s.
Premier Dalton McGuinty has largely escaped the anger directed toward Harper. That may be in part because Harper is seen as more of a poster boy for the free-market policies.
But McGuinty is equally committed to corporate tax cuts and free trade. He is planning to cut another $2 billion in corporate taxes in the 2012 budget, and is an enthusiastic supporter of free trade, even if a deal with Europe risks overturning local content rules in the Green Energy Act, his chief response to Ontario’s manufacturing losses.
Given Harper’s preference for an Alberta-style resource economy, his indifference to Ontario’s manufacturing losses can be understood. For McGuinty, the Caterpillar lockout hits closer to home.
Partisan/jurisdictional slap-fighting aside, 465 workers have been pink-slipped and now find themselves stuck in financial limbo as severance negotiations delay the already-tedious Employment Insurance application process.
Federal MPs stressed that the workers couldn’t get EI because they hadn’t officially lost their jobs. Well now they have – sacked in fact – and that’s a game changer. Terminated by their employer, they now qualify for EI. The problem is that they are fighting for severance at the same time and EI can’t kick in until that is solved. So here’s something you can finally do without any jurisdictional excuses. Seek to streamline the access to EI in this unique situation. Given Caterpillar’s modus operandi, the severance issue might not be settled for months. Get these workers EI now and help them to survive. The maximum a veteran worker gets is two-thirds of their salary for 42 weeks. They’re about to lose their homes, so maybe a little intervention would be nice – it’s now in your jurisdiction. If severance is an issue, then arrange it so that it can be clawed back out of EI once the negotiations are concluded. But please, do something. This isn’t about your party’s detached position but about human justice, ostensibly offered to every worker who has paid into the system.
In an age when austerity rules, justice for workers is a rare commodity — especially in London, Ontario, where the willfully indifferent, cruelly banal machinations of the 1% have become all too apparent as a community reels in shock from the latest top-down missive of an ongoing, all-too-asymmetrical class war.
Entirely coincidental, I’m sure.
Newt teh Perfessor outdoes himself on the future of gender in an excerpt from a mid-90s lecture:
Traditionally, he said, “if combat means living in a ditch, females have biological problems staying in a ditch for thirty days, because they get infections and they don’t have upper body strength.” On the other hand, in the space age, “if combat means being on an Aegis class cruiser managing the computer controls for twelve ships and their rockets,” a female may be better equipped than a restless male, who is “biologically driven to go out and hunt giraffes.”
One wonders if Newt is biologically driven to blithely amplify the sound of one hand clapping to a deafeningly irrelevant crescendo. Every time teh Perfesser speaks my brain short-circuits and replaces the fatuous, pseudo-intellectual taint-fiddling with an infinite tape-loop of ‘Baby Elephant Walk’. Which, as far as coping mechanisms go, is certainly better than repeatedly slamming one’s head in the passenger door of a rusty Datsun hatchback.
But not by much.