Monday, January 26, 2015

Democracy? What Democracy?


Last week the Harper government awarded a ship building contract to the Irving family. Like the F-35 contract, it was awarded -- by a "bureaucrat" -- without a competition. Michael Harris writes:

Is there anyone in the country who believes the Harper government’s latest whopper that a $26 billion contract for new frigates was the work of a bureaucrat and that cabinet had nothing to do with it?

Is there anyone who believes that it was a wise move for the public to make this staggering purchase, the largest in Canadian history, as a sole source contract – i.e. an award with no competitive bidding process?

Is there anyone who doesn’t know from the catastrophic bungling of the F-35 stealth jet-fighter project, that sole source contracts add on average about 20 per cent to the overall acquisition costs – as procurement expert Alan Williams said repeatedly at the time? Williams now correctly says that no one really understands what the government is doing with the frigate program. That is, of course, Stephen Harper’s idea of political Nirvana.

The Harper government is following the model of other so called western "democracies:"

What is happening in Stephen Harper’s Canada — the hoarding, and choking off information, and outright lying — is going on in many of the aging, decrepit democracies in the West. The establishments of several countries have effectively decided that they are above the law and often argue national security issues to justify their anti-democratic, and in some cases, thoroughly illegal behaviours.
Former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, the energizer bunny of post-politics money-grubbing, misled the British people on that country’s participation in the Iraq War. There was no proof of weapons of mass destruction in Saddam Hussein’s hands, and without that evidence, the invasion likely violated international law.

In the wake of 9/11, President George W. Bush repeatedly told Americans than the country did not torture detainees captured in the war on terror, and that its detention and interrogation program was “humane and legal.” More than that, Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney insisted that intelligence gathered by the CIA was essential in thwarting terrorist plots.
Then just before Christmas last year, the Senate Intelligence Committee lowered the boom in a 6,000-page report based on thousands of classified CIA documents. The U.S. did indeed practise illegal and widespread torture during the Bush presidency, including medically unnecessary rectal feeding or hydration, a series of simulated drownings called water-boarding, and extreme sleep deprivation.

Finally in Australia last June, the courts declared an unprecedented censorship order concerning a corruption case that involved current and past heads of state, their relatives, and senior officials, and seven senior executives connected to the Reserve Bank of Australia. The court case deals with allegations of multi-million dollar bribes made by agents of the RBA to national leaders in Asia in order to secure contracts for the supply of Australian-made polymer bank notes.
The super-injunction argued “national security” concerns to justify the banning all reporting about the case, and even banning publication of the details of gag-order itself.

It's comforting to know that democracy is in such good hands.


mogs moglio said...

Why is it the rich and political dummies can do what they want including murdering innocents?

Truth is they are the real losers the rest of us do the heavy lifting.

Owen Gray said...

The rest of us have always done the heavy lifting, Mogs.

Hugh said...

$26 Thousand Million is a lot of money. They will have to raise taxes to pay for that, no?

Owen Gray said...

You'd think so, Hugh. But, remember, these folks believe you can cut your way to prosperity.