Thursday, June 5, 2008

fidel is a dictator

i heard barbara walters say that last night, to jon stewart -- everyone knows fidel is a dictator. she was speaking about her many interviews. fidel caught her attention, i forget the words she used to describe his charm, but aside from all that, let's not forget, fidel's a dictator.

it's so easy to say that. i've heard it many times throughout my little life. i'm sure there are many other readily available pre-conceived notions we all carry about cuba. i don't know, i haven't been there. and i can bet barbara walters hasn't either - she's american, she's not allowed.

if barbara were to think, just a little bit, about what dictatorship really is, she might find that she's surrounded by one. so am i. mine's called the bc liberal government. when they were first 'elected' (who knows what kind of election fraud goes on these days) back at the turn of the century, they began their slash and burn campaign. i remember i had an eye appointment booked. in the good old days people living in poverty were entitled to one free eye exam a year. i've been blind as a bat since i was six, and i have glaucoma (a genetic disease) in the family, so this is (or should i say 'was') a most welcome necessity for me. no sooner than these liberal goons been elected, they cut our free eye exams. even though mine had been booked prior to their taking power, their legislation was rammed through and i had to cough up nearly $100. i noticed, on the 'who supported the bc liberals' information that quickly circulated, that my optometrists had sent them some money and i quickly changed doctors.

in our last election we were able to install a few voices of opposition. unfortunately, voicing their opposition is about all the power they have. the bc liberals have an agenda, their ideology is lifted from the american individualist belief in free market capitalism. and why not - it works for them. they can quite consistently look down their noses at the masses who have become increasingly poor and homeless, many in fact dead, and pat themselves on the back for their ability to 'rise above.' their money is made off the backs of the poor, from the rape and exploitation of the earth ... they have increased the divide between rich and poor and can live their sheltered existences out of sight and mind for what they've created.

barbara walters, and the wealthy cuban mafia she surreptitiously (perhaps unknowingly) endorses, doesn't call them dictators. she's living under the misconception that we of the great western capitalist states live in a democracy unlike cuba where, i've heard, there is little crime - likely because there is no huge divide between rich and poor, there's nothing to steal! the people voted for raul castro. how bad a 'dictator' could fidel have been?

and, even if he is a dictator, at least they only have one to contend with. here's a report of what our bc liberal dictatorship did this past week, lifted from the corporate media who rarely report, with much insight, such atrocities:

Debated or not, bills are rammed through with Liberal closure

Vaughn Palmer
Vancouver Sun - Saturday, May 31, 2008

VICTORIA - The B.C. Liberals wrapped up the spring session of the legislature with a show of force, using their majority to terminate debate and expedite passage of an unprecedented number of bills.

Here's how it went Thursday, minute by minute.

5:00 p.m. Speaker of the legislature Bill Barisoff activates the closure motion adopted by the government majority three weeks earlier. "All questions associated with Bills 20, 21, 24, 37, 42 and 43 will now be put."

From this point on, the rules permit no debate and limited procedural manoeuvres. The house has been transformed into a machine for rubber-stamping government legislation.

5:01 p.m. Bill 20, the Oil and Gas Activities Act, runs to more than 200 sections, which could mean several days of scrutiny in the normal course of events. But with the government wielding the ramrod, clause-by-clause debate ("committee stage") takes just one minute. Final approval ("third reading") takes a little longer because the New Democrats, invoking one of the few procedural moves available to them, call for a recorded vote ("division") -- won by the Liberals of course.

5:09 p.m. Next up, Bill 21, the Medicare Protection Amendment Act. This one did undergo some debate in the house as New Democrats and Liberals squabbled over the significance of expanding the principles of medicare to include financial "sustainability." After a mere six minutes, the new wording is now on the books.

5:15 p.m. Passage of Bill 24, E-Health or Personal Health and Information Access and Protection of Privacy Act, takes a little longer. The Liberals responded to concerns about the information and privacy provisions by bringing in a series of amendments.

The mechanics of incorporating those amendments, then passing the revised text, takes 15 minutes, which in these procedural circumstances, almost seems like sober second thought.

5:30 p.m. Bill 37, the Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Amendment Act, is another ideological football. Liberals say it promotes the benefits of interprovincial free trade with Alberta. New Democrats fear it might turn us into Albertans. In another 10 minutes, it, too, will be law.

5:32 p.m. Though blocked from making speeches, the New Democrats have found a way to voice their discontent. When each vote is called, instead of the traditional "nay" they've been shouting "shame." This prompts an intervention from the chair: "The correct response, members, is 'nay.' " Most Opposition members ignore the admonition.

5:48 p.m. Bill 37, The Carbon Tax Act, is now law as well. Committee stage -- all 60 pages and 157 sections -- took just two minutes. Public awareness of this new form of taxation would have been helped by detailed scrutiny. But neither side seemed all that interested in setting aside the necessary three or four days during the session.

5:50 p.m. As the house takes up Bill 42, the Election Amendment Act -- "the gag law" -- NDP house leader Mike Farnworth raises a point of order.

"Government has been reluctant in the past to invoke closure on bills that deal with the electoral process," he correctly observes. "Therefore I would ask that we reopen debate on Bill 42."

But the rules permit no distinction between this bill and any other -- all are equally subject to the will of the government. "Your motion is out of order," says the Speaker.

5:53 p.m. A much-subdued Attorney-General Wally Oppal steers through a series of last-minute changes to the election legislation. Perhaps he's remembering that a week earlier, he'd promised "a full opportunity for debate on the bill" and scoffed at suggestions ("I haven't signalled anything of the sort") that it would be subject to closure.

5:59 p.m. The Speaker delivers another admonition: "Members, please don't use your computers during votes." NDP MLA David Cubberley was whiling away the frustrations of being reduced to a cipher by catching up on his e-mail.

6:01 p.m. The gag law is now law, thanks to the government motion gagging the Opposition.

6:05 p.m. The Liberals called for the business of closure to be completed by 6 p.m. but they could not make the trains run precisely on time.

Now, however it is over, as the last of the bills, a grab-bag Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act No. 2, is bulldozed through the legislature.

6:07 p.m. As the house moves on to the routine business associated with adjournment of the session, NDP MLA Doug Routley has had more than enough. "Goons!" he shouts across the floor to the Liberals. The Speaker is on him instantly, demanding a withdrawal and an apology and Routley instantly obliges.

Gratuitous insults notwithstanding, the Liberals are surely guilty of reckless disregard for due process.

They set a precedent Thursday that could readily be abused by future governments of any political stripe.
© The Vancouver Sun 2008