(This post was submitted by Professor Robin Mathews)
The Harper neoliberals clutch onto power by a strategy of election fraud, perversion of parliamentary practice, misuse of prorogation (the closing down of parliament), violations of the office of the Governor General, wholesale lying to the population and to members of the House of Commons, destruction of conventional government sources of public information, coercion of groups critical of repressive State tactics, secretly negotiated international agreements that suck away individual and national rights, increased use of police forces to suppress traditional freedoms, legislation to mask corporate rape of the environment, and the wholesale appropriation of the Mainstream Press and Media.
Despite - in fact because of - employing those and other forms of deceit and dishonesty, the Harper forces may be moving inevitably to the collapse of their flashy House of Cards ... or to the establishment of a permanent, anti-democratic, semi-fascist state. The rupture of the Harper pattern of deception will be brought about by the fundamental nature of its truculent, psychopathic ideology and, especially, the antiquated and destructive Economic Religion of the Harperites.
That religion is manifested most visibly by the Harper approach to corporate rule, to management of the economy, and especially to its omnipresent real estate policy – a House of Cards if there ever was one. Look at it.
But first – consider the Harper group’s use of the Mainstream Press and Media as a weapon of deceit. Only the other day (June 27, 2012) – attached to the news that the Postmedia near-monopoly on newspapers is selling its Toronto head office because of debt – a former editor weighed in on the state of newspapers in Canada.
He outlined a number of truths. The former editor lists the dirty negatives of media concentration, bad financial policy, failure to invest in news, stupid management, rigid corporate ignorance of how to run news gathering and presentation. Etcetera.
He may have missed what is perhaps the central fact. Intended suicide. That is the purposeful misuse of media to misinform the public … inevitably alienating readers. As a (very successful) entrepreneur said to me decades ago, the bottom line for investment capital is a six per cent return. He said that angrily as he was withdrawing, wounded, from an unconventional venture. When the 6% base level of profit is not present to keep an enterprise going, then something else has to be the motivation.
Look at the neo-liberal (what I choose to think of as the neo-fascist) National Post (a Postmedia holding). Over its whole lifetime I don’t think it has ever made a profit, not even six per cent. When at ten years old it hadn’t made profit in a single year, the neon lights were blazing, the trumpets sounding, the billboards aglow with its real purpose in life.
The National Post is not being run as a conventional corporate enterprise but as a propaganda instrument, an ideological brainwasher, a major political force for indoctrination of the Canadian public. It passes from hand to hand. Its owners often seem to be greedy fools (as the former editor suggests). But it is kept afloat by the corporate community in Canada, I allege, to falsify Canadian reality, to deceive Canadians, to have them sanction and endorse inhuman and destructive government and corporate policy.
What appears to be an “intended suicide” – running a corporation that does nothing but lose money – is, in fact, a simple, overall, reactionary corporate Canadian policy. It is a present expense paid now in order to win bigger rewards down the road. Corporations and organizations of corporations (think of John Manley and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives) spend a lot of money on the propaganda of sell-out, as do most of the Mainstream Press and Media. There is no immediate reward – as in Manley’s recent call for the end of “supply management” that benefits Canadian farmers and the overall Canadian economy.
But when the private corporations kill off another democratic institution in the country, they are closer to unregulated, unsupervised, unchecked corporate rule of the country.
Stephen Harper just won a place at the Trans Pacific Partnership table. It will demand that Canada end its supply management marketing structure. Of course, it was a totally unrelated event when John Manley, spokesperson for the sell-out corporations of Canada, just happened – at almost the same moment – to begin beating the drums for destruction of supply management in Canada. Harper government and the corporations working hand-in-hand? Of course they will deny doing so.
Canadians will learn later – if they don’t learn sooner – that policy of the corporations and policies of the Harper government are one and the same.
Canadians believe the last major gaffe of a Governor General was the willingness of Michaelle Jean (under severe pressure) to grant Stephen Harper prorogation (the closing down) of parliament when she should not have done so. That decision by Ms. Jean can never be forgiven.
But an equal violation of the Governor General’s office has happened with Canadians hardly noticing. Wanting to cover for the Brian Mulroney involvement in the Airbus (bribery) affair, Stephen Harper sought someone to make terms for the last Inquiry (2009) that would shield Mulroney (and Harper himself).
He chose a university president, David Johnston, who tied the hands of the judge examining the relation between Brian Mulroney and Karlheinz Schreiber, lobbyist. The judge, Justice Jeffrey Oliphant, was prevented from gaining any of the information considered by many as most key to the Mulroney/Schreiber relation. The ex-judge was only able to say that none of Brian Mulroney’s testimony was credible. Criminal charges almost certainly would have arisen from a fair and real Inquiry.
Shortly after that, the university president David Johnston was made Governor General of Canada from which position he can work openly for Stephen Harper policy, as he did covertly, I believe, before his “elevation”. One might believe that for betraying the trust of the Canadian people David Johnston was rewarded with the position of Governor General. So much for “the Queen’s representative in Canada”.
Repeatedly, the Harperites claim that it is not government’s place to interfere in the economy and the workings of society. What they mean is that they will not interfere to assure security, harmony, and well-being for Canadians. But they interfere every day, almost every hour, on behalf of private corporations and the wealthy inside and outside Canada who are engaged in profiteering from the general wealth of the country.
One of their most obvious interventions on behalf of the profiteers is and has been in the Real Estate market. Since at least 2007 indications have pointed to the need for careful handling of Real Estate transactions in Canada – the need for ceilings on loans, assured down payment sizes, limited amortization periods for all mortgages, and strict regulation of loans guaranteed by government. None of those things has happened. Only pretence after pretence. That is because the Harper government generally and finance minister Jim Flaherty in particular work for the banks.
As the National Post (June 22, 2012 FP3) comments: “the banks’ consumer lending business has been their main profit engine basically for the last three years….” And Jim Flaherty works for the banks, not for Canadians. The Harperites have permitted the debt-to-income ratio of Canadian households to reach 152% … and rising. That is the measure of how much of overall income is needed to pay off debts. It now takes the average Canadian household 152% of overall income to pay off debts, meaning it can’t pay them and is permanently in debt – and at great risk.
But the 152% figure is the average. That means there are many Canadians households without debt at all. We don’t know how many since the Harperites have slashed Statistics Canada’s fact-gathering powers. But we do know that there are a large number of Canadian households far above the 152% debt-to-income ratio. If there are many Canadian households without debt, there have to many with a 200% and 250% debt-to-income ratio.
Since the Harper government only intervenes in the economy to assist Canadian and foreign corporations to make profit here, it has set up ordinary Canadians-in-debt to be roasted when the housing market tumbles – as it appears to have begun to do. To assure huge bank profits and obscene top-banker pay-outs, the Harper group is happy to gore ordinary Canadians. If the present slump deepens, thousands of Canadian households will be desperate, will be unable to keep their heads above water, will lose their homes, their jobs, and will go bankrupt as the job market shrinks and construction slows or comes to a standstill.
All that has been visible and predictable since the U.S. and European housing crashes began years ago. But the Economic Religion of the Harperites is to serve corporations and punish ordinary Canadians, and so nothing of substance has been done to protect the whole economy. A crash will send the Harper government rushing to assist … the banks.
As the truth about the Harper Economic Religion becomes clear to Canadians - and the crash in the housing market should tell all - the crash of the Stephen Harper government should be guaranteed. The only good thing about the coming crash in Canada will be the end of the vicious, undemocratic, vengeful rule of Stephen Harper and his toadies. You read it first, here
Texan Words of Wisdom
Down here in my state we know that a corporation is not a person because Texas has not executed one yet.
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