Plagiarism vs Playbooks

Here in Canada (where we are currently running an election for Vice-President of the U.S.) [um, check that, would you? –ed.], there’s a minor kerfuffle over the fact that in 2003, when the current Prime Minister was leader of the Opposition, he gave a speech calling on Canada to send its forces into battle alongside those of the U.S. in Iraq. The speech, as widely reported in the News and Car Advertisers today, was plagiarized word-for-word from a speech given two days earlier by the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard.

A minor strategist, Owen Lippert, fell on his sword as the news became public. It wasn’t Stephen Harper, apparently, who was to blame–although it was Steve who happily took credit back then, when the speech was reportedly “noted as one of the best of his career” [consider the source –ed.].

Plagiarism is one thing. It doesn’t surprise us that Steve would copy John Howard, but what we’d like to know is who was Howard copying? We rather suspect there was more at play than some speechwriter in a hurry, handing his boss a shopping list to read. The fact is, as reader David Welwood points out to the Toronto Star and Car Advertiser today, Steve is the product of the same education system that gave rise to the most rabid among the U.S. rabid set–i.e. them as what hold the reins of power down there at present.

With the turmoil on Wall Street thanks to years of fun with laissez-faire, hands-off economics, and 19 people dead from a disease outbreak in the context of an inspection system that has been forfeited to the food industry itself due to purely ideological, experimental grounds, and a faith that somehow the “market” can solve our climate crisis, it is truly remarkable that poll numbers in both the United States and Canada show that over 40 per cent of the electorate (enough to form a majority government in Canada) in both countries supports more of the same.

News flash: free-market economics does not work, there is no way to run an economy without the hand of government, it is self defeating. Each time it has been attempted, the stock markets face one crisis after the next.

When this policy was exported through Washington ideologues and right-wing think tanks associated with the University of Chicago’s economics department in the 1970s, to countries in other continents, disaster became the word of the day. In stable countries such as Chile and Argentina, democratic governments that were working for the vast majority of their citizens, were overthrown by right-wing dictators funded by the CIA for a variety of reasons, including sometimes raising taxes on American companies doing business in those countries.

Gone were their democracies, in place were new “free” countries where industrialists could do whatever the hell they wanted at the expense of the democratic rights of the people on the ground. This was all sold and coated in the language of freedom and liberty, despite the fact that anyone who voiced their disagreement to such policies were in many cases shot, killed, or “disappeared.”

In Canada, we have a government whose leader studied at the University of Calgary school of economics, taught by professors who had studied at Chicago, under the likes of Milton Friedman, the professor whose idea it was to export “freedom” to Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and elsewhere. The results of failed attempts to rid the economy of government interference in Canada can be seen in the deaths of the 19 people from listeriosis


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