We won!

The wars are over:

Washington Post:

Source: Al-Qaida head bin Laden dead, US in possession of body; Obama to speak Sunday night

Al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden is dead and the United States has his body, a person familiar with the developments says.

President Barack Obama is expected to make that announcement from the White House late Sunday night.

Seriously bring everyone home.

UPDATE:  Apparently this news makes us far more vulnerable to terrorists.  So, maybe it means more war.  Not less.

UPDATE 2: Elvis bin Laden

Sunday: Follow the North Star

Jack Layton of the New Democratic Party in Canada

Ian Welsh has a good post today about the emergence of the New Democratic Party as a serious player in Canadian politics.  It seems that the Canadians have been paying attention to what’s happening to their neighbors to the south and realize that their way of life may be in jeopardy if they keep electing Conservative and Liberal party politicians.  Sounds like the Conservatives and Liberal parties are akin to our Republicans and Democrats.

From Ian’s post On The NDP Surge in Canada:

If the Conservatives get a minority government, odds are the NDP will be the official opposition party.  Layton will be a far more effective opposition leader than Ignatieff.  And Ignatieff’s days as Liberal leader will soon be over, the Liberals will turf him, as being third party is a complete and absolute disaster for them.  The Liberals and Conservatives have traded being the government of Canada back and forth for as long as Canada has existed.

If Layton does do a good job, he might be able to cement the NDP as the second party in Canada, and if he does that, eventually the NDP will be the government.  That’s a big deal, because the Liberals are essentially centrists.  They campaign slightly left, rule slightly right, and are certainly neo-liberal friendly.  I say this as someone who actually has a lot of respect for the government of Chretien and Paul Martin.  They did a good job overall and managed a period when Canada had to kiss America’s ass very well.  Chretien, in particular, is due a lot of credit for telling Bush to fuck off when Bush tried to coerce Canada into joining the Iraq war, as that took a lot of guts from a Canadian PM, and was clearly the right thing to do.

What does this mean for the rest of the world? Canada was one of the first nations to go to a right wing government.  Through the 2000′s there has been a wave of right wing governments in the West.  The NDP doing this well might be a sign that things are beginning to turn.  Again, the NDP aren’t the wimpy left, they are actually socialists, not a party like Labor in Britain, which is clearly right wing, just not as right wing as the nutbar Conservatives.

How good a government Layton would run I don’t know. I don’t have a good feel for the wonks behind him, or for how strong a leader he’d be.  Nonetheless I am confident that of the possibilities, he’s the best man for the job.  Ignatieff is a weasel, and no one who has apologized for torture should be in charge of anything, anywhere, while Harper is a conservative ideologue who thinks that Canada should be more like the US, as well as being an autocrat who spits over Canada’s democratic and parliamentary traditions.  The sooner he retires, the better.

The outcome is still uncertain.  Heck, it’s even possible the Liberals could come back into second place, or that the Conservatives could surge.  The polls are all over the place, as noted, and this has been a very volatile election.  Someone could put their foot in it.  But still, for the first time in a long time, I am actually seeing some hope for the future.  Canada, amongst countries in the world, is uniquely positioned to ride out the next couple decades.  We have everything we need to do really well, to be one of the most prosperous and free nations in the world.  But doing so requires a course change that will never happen under the Conservatives and is unlikely to happen under the Liberals.  The NDP are the best chance, not a sure thing, but a decent chance.  So here’s praying they keep surging.

So, I don’t know all the layers of Canadian politics but I gather that even God doesn’t have as much power in Canada as the Canadian Prime Minister.  Currently, the Prime Minister is Steven Harper, analogous to George Bush in the kind of energy rich, rural, low taxes support he is getting.  The current government is a minority coalition(?) but it looks like the NDP party, which runs towards the socialist end of the spectrum, is picking up a lot of support in the upcoming elections, bi-passing the Liberals.  It sounds like Canadians are getting wise to the utter fecklessness of their Democratic Liberal party.  Too much compromising with the Conservatives, perhaps?  An excess of “everything on the table” negotiating?  The Bloc Quebecois is getting savvy to the Conservative’s desired monopoly on energy resources?

I dunno.  I’m not Canadian but they sound like they have woken up and smelled the coffee and don’t much like where it’s coming from. Maybe it’s because Canadians were late to the Fox News empire.  Canada only got the lying channel for the rich in 2004. (and wouldn’t you know it, Harper became Prime Minister in 2006.  Hmmm…)  But if the NDP is surging, Canadians must not be as saturated in the movement conservative propaganda yet.  We could learn a lot from them.

And if Canadians will take it from some burned Americans we recommend that you stop watching cable news programs, particularly Fox and turn off talk radio. That is, unless you *like* the idea of losing your social safety net bit by bit.

If Americans ever want to get their mojo back, it’s going to take a party much more to the left than we have now to win some elections.  Yep, we need a New Democratic Party to carve out some support from the Democrats and drag them back over the center line just like the Tea Party is carving out support from the Republicans and dragging them over to the extreme right.  Even with an American version of the NDP, we are never going to go as left as France.  But Canada?  I could sign on to a Canadian style political left with substantial social safety net features and a working health care system.  Now, if we could only get Bernie Sanders to start a New Democratic Party here in the US…

Here’s the platform for the New Democratic Party of Canada.

{{sob!}}  I wish *I* were Canadian.

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