Posts from our progressive community

Another outstanding Harper choice!

Cathie from Canada - 1 hour 33 min ago
Canada's newest Harper-picked Supreme Court Justice may well turn out to be another Mike Duffy or Pam Wallin in the making.
In this Toronto Star article, she sounds like an entitled and egotistical nut case:
...Madame Justice Suzanne Côté battled five years with Revenu Québec, the provincial tax agency, after she claimed annual expenses of $50,000 to buy work clothes for each of three years from 2004 to 2006. During that same period, the top-flight Montreal lawyer claimed more than $25,000 in expenses related to personal care, as well as other miscellaneous items.
Court documents show that Côté made claims for tax deductions totalling $204,685 over those three years and that those claims were rejected by the Quebec tax agency.
Revenu Québec noted in a statement of defence that it began auditing Côté’s expense claims in 2007 and that she refused on four separate occasions to provide receipts or other documents that would justify her claims.Fighting a five-year legal battle? To defend a $200,000 deduction? For clothing?
Apparently the usual black legal gowns that lawyers wear in court cost about $800.  How many did she buy?  Or does she think the Quebec bar also requires its high-powered lawyers to wear fur coats and Armani suits?
Of course, all the receipt documentation has now been withdrawn so we -- the public who will be paying her salary for the next four decades -- aren't going to be allowed to know exactly what items of clothing or grooming she thinks she should be entitled to deduct from her taxable income.
Oh well, if her bills get to be too high, we can always cut back on payments to veterans...

Canadian citizenship - now cheaper than ever!

Creekside - 3 hours 15 min ago
"We want Chinese investors in Canada and the door is open," ImpMin Chris Alexander told the South China Morning Post back in March. "We are making these changes for them."

"The Canadian government will give permanent residency to approximately 50 millionaire immigrant investors and their families under a pilot program set to begin in the new year.
Under the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital pilot program announced Tuesday, each investor will be required to make a non-guaranteed investment of $2 million over 15 years and have a net worth of $10 million."By comparison, New Zealand requires a C$9.15 million investment over three years while in 2012, the Australian government raised the price of admission for significant investor visas to C$5 million over four years as the price of a permanent visa.

Under the previous cash for citizenship scheme dating back to Mulroney in 1986, wealthy immigrants with a minimum net worth of C$1.6-million only had to loan the government $800,000 interest-free for five years but the loan was guaranteed and returned to them at the end of five years.
It was intended to encourage wealthy foreigners to set up businesses in Canada but according to the South China Morning Post earlier this year, the majority were wealthy mainland Chinese who never did move to Canada and only 16 per cent of them wound up operating businesses in Canada. 

SCMP, Feb 4 2014 :
A South China Morning Post investigation into Canada's immigration programme for millionaire investors has revealed the extraordinary extent to which it has become devoted to a single outcome: Helping rich mainland Chinese settle in Vancouver.Since 2007, 80.8 per cent of Chinese applicants to the scheme have sought to live in British Columbia ... about six times the combined annual applications from all nationalities to the investor migrant programmes run by the US, Britain and Australia.
And it was a bust to boot . As Pete McMartin wrote in the Vancouver Sun in Feb :
"The investor class immigrants have been laughing all the way to the bank. According to the feds’ own research, over a 20-year period an investor class immigrant will pay $200,000 less in taxes than a skilled worker immigrant and $100,000 less in taxes than a live-in nanny. The immigrant billionaire living on the west side pays less in Canadian taxes than his immigrant babysitter."
Right. So back to the new rules. Having determined what we are, as the old joke goes, we are now just haggling over the price.

MinImp Chris Alexander gave a decent Q&A interview to the South China Morning Post on the new rules back in March. Excerpted  : 
Alexander : “In return for permanent residence, in return for the opportunity to do business with status from Canada, we’re taking your money for a good long time to help create jobs, growth, opportunity in Canada and for global businesses, we hope, through venture capital-focused that will be managed in Canada, and privately managed, not managed by the government. ... And believe me, there are Hong Kong and Chinese students, entrepreneurs, investors who are part of those small ecosystems driving this forward."Will there be regional options for the scheme?Alexander : "No, these will be pooled funds initially, so they’re going to have to be managed by professional private-sector investment managers in financial centres where those people exist. And that is quite a few Canadian cities now. We’ll have a competition to select who the managers will be, but I don’t think we’ll be directing the investment beyond that." "We are pursuing a strong partnership with Hong Kong and with mainland China in all fields. Our economic relationship is already approaching CA$75 billion million.  We want, as of January 1 2015, to process economic immigrants in six months."Earlier this month, the Harper government quietly signed a customs-sharing agreement with China without announcing it to the public.

China Daily, yesterday, via the WSJ :
"Canada and China have agreed to a set of measures to support the increased use of the renminbi in trade, commerce and investment.
A reciprocal currency swap will allow a maximum amount of 200 billion yuan ($32.3 billion) and C$30 billion($26 billion).
Domenico Lombardi, an expert on the global economy from Canada's think tank Centre for International Governance Innovation, recently said, "We should prepare to see the renminbi be much more widely used, to become an international currency"..

Happy Birthday Chelsea Manning

Montreal Simon - 6 hours 31 min ago

It's been five years since the young American soldier now known as Chelsea Manning began downloading hundreds of thousands of Pentagon files.

And in the process not only revealed the horror, the brutality, and the hypocrisy of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the diplomatic world. But also the U.S. intelligence machine's most closely guarded secret.

That in order to spy on their enemies, they would now spy on us ALL.
Read more »

The Day Stephen Harper Collided With Crude Reality

Montreal Simon - 9 hours 26 min ago

You could can see the strain in his face, he can't hide it anymore, even under all that pancake makeup.

He's still trying to pretend that those tanking oil prices won't affect his plans to try to buy the next election, or balance the budget.

Even though he recklessly blew the surplus before he even had one.

But it's just not working, and with every passing day he's sounding more and more delusional.
Read more »

Isn't One Century of Muddled Thinking and Mass Mayhem Enough?

The Disaffected Lib - 10 hours 49 min ago
World War One, the "War to End All Wars" didn't.  Instead it begat World War Two which, in turn, begat the Cold War (that remained "cold" in large measure due to pure luck).  Now we discover that decisions taken in the wake of Cold War One, just like bad decisions taken in the aftermath of World War One and World War Two, has begat Cold War Two.

This is brilliantly analyzed by economist Jeffry Sachs who played an instrumental role in events that led to the undoing of the Soviet Union and watched as the West stupidly overplayed its hand, paving the way for inevitable conflict we're experiencing today.  In his view, "today's global problems are hangovers from bad, ungenous decisions at the end of previous conflicts."

Sachs recounts the heady days 30-years ago when he assisted Poland's transition from communism to democracy and a western economy.

As a newly minted economist some 30 years ago, I suddenly found myself charged with helping a small and largely forgotten country, Bolivia, to find a way out of its own unmitigated economic disaster. Keynes's writings helped me to understand that Bolivia's financial crisis should be viewed in social and political terms, and that Bolivia's creditor, the US, had a shared responsibility of resolving Bolivia's financial anguish.

My experience in Bolivia in 1985-86 soon brought me to Poland in the spring of 1989, at a dual invitation of Poland's final communist government and the Solidarity trade union movement that strongly opposed it. Poland, like Bolivia, was financially bankrupt. And Europe in 1989, like Europe in 1919, was at a great hinge-moment of history.

...These were heady days for me as an economic adviser. My wish, it seemed on some days, was the White House's command. One morning, in September 1989, I appealed to the US Government for $1bn for Poland's currency stabilisation. By evening, the White House confirmed the money. No kidding, an eight-hour turnaround time from request to result. Convincing the White House to support a sharp cancellation of Poland's debts took a bit longer, with high-level negotiations stretching out for about a year, but those too proved to be successful.

The rest, as they say, is history. Poland undertook very strong reform measures, based in part on recommendations that I had helped to design. The US and Europe supported those measures with timely and generous aid. Poland's economy began to restructure and grow, and 15 years later it became a full-fledged member of the European Union.

I wish that I could stop my reminiscing here, with this happy story. But alas, the story of the end of the Cold War is not only one of Western successes, as in Poland, but also one of great Western failure vis-a-vis Russia. While American and European generosity and the long view prevailed in Poland, American and European actions vis-a-vis post-Soviet Russia looks were much more like the horrendous blunders of Versailles. And we are paying the consequences to this day.

In 1990 and 1991, Gorbachev's government, seeing the emerging positive results in Poland, asked me to help advise it on economic reforms. Russia at the time was facing the same kind of financial calamity that had engulfed Bolivia in the mid-1980s and Poland by 1989.

In the spring of 1991, I worked with colleagues at Harvard and MIT to assist Gorbachev to obtain financial support from the West as part of his efforts at political reform and economic overhaul. Yet our efforts fell flat - indeed they failed entirely.

Gorbachev left the G7 summit that summer of 1991 and returned to Moscow empty-handed. When he returned to Moscow with no results, a conspiracy attempted to oust him in the notorious August Putsch, from which he never recovered politically. With Boris Yeltsin ascendant, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union now on the table, Yeltsin's economic team again asked me for assistance, both in the technical challenges of stabilisation, and in the quest to obtain vital financial assistance from the US and Europe.

I predicted to President Yeltsin and his team that help would soon be on the way. After all, emergency help for Poland was arranged in hours or weeks. Surely the same would happen for the newly independent and democratic Russia. Yet I watched in puzzlement and growing horror that the needed aid was not on the way.

Where Poland had been granted debt relief, Russia instead faced harsh demands by the US and Europe to keep paying its debts in full. Where Poland had been granted rapid and generous financial aid, Russia received study groups from the IMF but no money. I begged and beseeched the US to do more. I pleaded the lessons of Poland, but all to no avail. The US government would not budge.

In the end, Russia's malignant financial crisis overwhelmed the efforts at reform and normality. The reform government of Yegor Gaidar fell from grace and from power. I resigned after two hard years of trying to help, and of accomplishing very little indeed. A few years later, Vladimir Putin replaced Yeltsin at the helm.

Throughout this debacle, the US pundits blamed the reformers rather than the cruel neglect by the US and Europe. Victors write the history, as they say, and the US felt very much the victor of the Cold War. The US would therefore remain blameless in any accounts of Russia's mishaps after 1991, and that remains true today.

It took me 20 years to gain a proper understanding of what had happened after 1991. Why had the US, which had behaved with such wisdom and foresight in Poland, acted with such cruel neglect in the case of Russia? Step by step, and memoir by memoir, the true story came to light. The West had helped Poland financially and diplomatically because Poland would become the Eastern ramparts of an expanding Nato. Poland was the West, and was therefore worthy of help. Russia, by contrast, was viewed by US leaders roughly the same way that Lloyd George and Clemenceau had viewed Germany at Versailles - as a defeated enemy worthy to be crushed, not helped.

A recent book by a former Nato commander, General Wesley Clark, recounts a 1991 conversation he had with Paul Wolfowitz, who was then the Pentagon's policy director. Wolfowitz told Clark that the US had learned that it could now act with impunity in the Middle East, and ostensibly in other regions as well, without any threat of Russian interference.

In short, the US would behave like a victor and a bully, claiming the fruits of Cold War victory through wars of choice if necessary. The US would be on top, and Russia would be unable to stop it.

...The shadow of 1989 looms large. And Nato's continued desire, expressed again just recently, to add Ukraine to its membership, thereby putting Nato right up on the Russian border, must be regarded as profoundly unwise and provocative.

1914, 1989, 2014. We live in history. In Ukraine, we face a Russia embittered over the spread of Nato and by US bullying since 1991. In the Middle East, we face the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, destroyed by WW1, and replaced by the cynicism of European colonial rule and US imperial pretentions.

We face, most importantly, choices for our time. Will we use power cynically and to dominate, believing that territory, Nato's long reach, oil reserves, and other booty are the rewards of power? Or will we exercise power responsibly, knowing that generosity and beneficence builds trust, prosperity, and the groundwork for peace? In each generation, the choice must be made anew.

Sachs captures the cynicism of our age, the darkness that may propel us, even if unwittingly, back into war.  The bony finger of triumphalism still taps the cadence of conflict in Washington, London and Ottawa.  We somehow think that punishing Russia is worth the risk of destabilizing the great Bear and it's this warped thinking that refuses to recognize our duplicity and bullying of Russia, layer upon layer since 1991.  It's a story of hubris and death and mass suffering, again and again and again.

Wednesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - 13 hours 19 min ago
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Mariana Mazzucato comments on the role of the innovative state - and the unfortunate reality that we currently lack anything of the sort due to corporatist thinking:
(T)hanks in part to the conventional wisdom about its dynamism and the state’s sluggishness, the private sector has been able to successfully lobby governments to weaken regulations and cut capital gains taxes. From 1976 to 1981 alone, after heavy lobbying from the National Venture Capital Association, the capital gains tax rate in the United States fell from 40 percent to 20 percent. And in the name of bringing Silicon Valley’s dynamism to the United Kingdom, in 2002, the government of British Prime Minister Tony Blair reduced the time that private equity funds have to be invested to be eligible for tax reductions from ten years to two years. These policies increase inequality, not investment, and by rewarding short-term investments at the expense of long-term ones, they hurt innovation.

Getting governments to think big about innovation is not just about throwing more taxpayer money at more activities. It requires fundamentally reconsidering the traditional role of the state in the economy. Specifically, that means empowering governments to envision a direction for technological change and invest in that direction. It means abandoning the shortsighted way public spending is usually evaluated. It means ending the practice of insulating the private sector from the public sector. And it means figuring out ways for governments and taxpayers to reap some of the rewards of public investment, instead of just the risks. Only once policymakers move past the myths about the state’s role in innovation will they stop being, as John Maynard Keynes put it in another era, “the slaves of some defunct economist.”
- And Ross Gittins describes how an obsession with balanced budgets and tax tinkering is preventing Australia from even discussing meaningful social and economic goals.

- Of course, that will sound all too familiar based on the Harper Cons' treatment of Canada. And Carol Goar surveys some of the crazy policy choices which have led us to be grossly overreliant on unstable resource prices, while Trish Garner notes that poverty remained endemic even a supposedly strong economy prior to the resource bust.

- Murray Mandryk recognizes that the Wall government's determination to favour private consultants rather than building a strong public sector workforce is thoroughly counterproductive. And Paul Hanley laments the waste of $1.4 billion of public money on a carbon-capture scheme which is both dirtier and more expensive than renewable alternatives.

- And finally, the CLC rightly blasts the Senate for refusing to apply either second thought or any apparent sobriety in rubber-stamping an anti-labour bill which all parties agree contained serious errors.

Exciting Ottawa news!

Dawg's Blawg - 14 hours 25 min ago
(Ottawa, December 17) DawgNews has learned that Thomas Mulcair will be joining the Liberal caucus in the House of Commons—and bringing most of his MPs with him. “Wildrose showed us the way,” said NDP spokesperson Ann McWrath. “We’ve been in... Dr.Dawg

That Would Make No Sense At All

Northern Reflections - 16 hours 40 min ago

Scott Clark and Peter DeVries ask the question the majority of Canadians are asking:

Why do the Conservatives govern the way they do? Why do they treat so many Canadians with such … contempt? Aboriginals, immigrants, children, disabled and minorities — all have been pushed aside. Not-for-profit groups and associations have been deprived of the resources they need to contribute to the economic, social, scientific, environmental and cultural well-being of the country.
This government loves power but hates government. And it has a plan:

The plan is, actually, quite simple — when you remember that these Conservatives came to power not to praise government, but to bury it. This is an administration committed to reducing the size and relevance of the federal government (not counting advertising and PR staff, of course). Since 2006, federal programs and services have been cut dramatically — not to serve the short-term needs of budget austerity, but to fulfill a conservative quest for the smallest government possible … “down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub,” to borrow a phrase from American arch-libertarian Grover Norquist.
Government can actually be quite effective. And it wouldn't take much to make the federal government much more effective. Scott and DeVries offer a modest proposal:

Suppose the government increased the GST by one point. What would that do? Well, the cost of a $100 product or service would go up by … one dollar. Ten cents on a $10 dollar purchase. The cost of a pack of gum might go up by a penny (there aren’t any pennies any more, but you get the point). What would that do for the federal treasury? It would raise about $8 billion every year. That’s a lot of money for veterans services, for badly-needed infrastructure, for everything we’ve been neglecting. And it still amounts to just .04 per cent of GDP.
They won't do that, of course. Making government more effective would destroy their raison d'etre. That would make no sense at all.

Winston Smith - Alive And Well At The CBC?

Politics and its Discontents - 16 hours 43 min ago

You may recall the protagonist of Orwell's 1984, the records clerk named Winston Smith whose job it was to continually rewrite history so that it accorded with the constantly-changing imperatives of Big Brother's government. The novel's ending is ambiguous; Winston, a broken man, may or may not die.

I am here to report that Winston did, in fact, survive, and is currently in the employ of the CBC, going about the old job he had at the Ministry of Truth.

And the Corporation is keeping him busy.

Winston's first order from feckless management is to deftly excise a segment of Stuart McLean's classic about Dave and the Christmas turkey:
In the wake of an online campaign waged by animal activists, the CBC’s Vinyl Cafe radio program has decided to edit out portions of Stuart McLean’s beloved holiday story, “Dave Cooks the Turkey.” The campaigners alleged some listeners deemed parts of the fictional tale degrading to animals.What are the offending elements, exactly? Here's one of the "degrading" passages:
“As the turkey defrosted it became clear what Grade B meant,” a recorded version of the story goes. “The skin on the right drumstick was ripped. Dave’s turkey looked like it had made a break from the slaughterhouse and dragged itself a block or two before it was captured and beaten to death.”That is followed by this "insensitive outrage":
Unable to operate his oven, Dave eventually brings the bird to a hotel for cooking, where the chef says that it looks like the turkey had been “abused.”You can listen to the sequence starting at about the 18 minute mark here.

CBC has posted on Facebook the following exercise in political correctness:
“Clearly we don’t want any part in the abuse of animals, nor in promoting the abuse of animals,” the post read.

“The story will be on the show next weekend. But we have made a few small changes. We have edited out a couple of lines that, after reading some of the thoughtful letters that have come in over the past week, we no longer feel comfortable airing on our show.”
Won't hurt a bit, I'm sure.

But Winston has a far greater and more involved task before him, one that has been made only slightly easier by some preclearance work the CBC has done in its ongoing efforts to exorcise the troublesome visual spirit of Jian Ghomeshi:

Winston is now tasked with removing his haunting digital presence:
CBC management announced Monday they are pulling almost all interviews conducted by Jian Ghomeshi offline, sparking outrage from Q listeners on social media.But master of doublespeak, Chuck Thompson, the CBC's media relations chief, was quick to clarify:

“We aren’t erasing the archives, we’re just taking them offline for now”.

With language befitting a politician, Thompson went on to say,
“There is no obvious right or wrong approach here”. ... “We’ve been giving this a lot of careful consideration over the last few weeks and want to give the program every opportunity to be as unencumbered as possible while some very creative people reimagine Q’s future.”Listeners and viewers were not so accommodating:
“Jian did many wonderful interviews. It is part of CBC’s history. You must not erase it!” wrote one commentator. “Editing the past would be very disingenuous,” wrote another.But, of course, editing and rewriting the past has always been Winston Smith's forte, hasn't it?

Recommend this Post

Albertonia Report: The Wild Hog Party Goes Down Squealing

Montreal Simon - 19 hours 44 min ago

It could only happen in Alberta, the land of cowboy Steve and not so Big Oil, Canada's Banana Republic.

Where the leader of the opposition, after attacking the Con government for five years, and trailing them in the polls by only five points.

Has suddenly decided that if you can't beat them, you should join them.

And is apparently leading half her Wild Hog Party back to the trough. 
Read more »

Cozy little Conspiracy

Rusty Idols - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 20:46
It is unacceptable for the Alberta government's coalition partner* (in all but name) to also be the official opposition.

Wildrose's leader and house leader and at least five other current Wildrose MLAs are now members of the governing party and the pretense that the MLAs still keeping the Wildrose name are in any way an independent, separate party is just insulting horseshit.

Wildrose must surrender the status and perks of official opposition if they want to continue to pretend to have any integrity at all.

*remember kids, coalitions are only acceptable when they are made up of right wing parties.  Any left of center coalition is of course an affront to democracy and decencysdnxry5z7g

The Last Dalai Lama?

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 18:35
I don't get it.  The Dalai Lama thinks this might be a good time to abolish - the Dalai Lama.

In a wide-ranging interview, the 79-year-old Dalai Lama conceded that he may not have a successor.

"The Dalai Lama institution will cease one day. These man-made institutions will cease.

"There is no guarantee that some stupid Dalai Lama won't come next, who will disgrace himself or herself. That would be very sad. So, much better that a centuries old tradition should cease at the time of a quite popular Dalai Lama."

The Dalai Lama has previously indicated he plans to hand his political responsibilities to an elected representative, saying in 2011 that such a move was in the best interests of the Tibetan people.

Maybe the Dalai of all Lamas is losing it.  The way it's supposed to go is that he dies and then is reincarnated in another body of his choosing.  That sets the High Lamas on a search to discover where he's gone.To start the search, High Lamas may have a vision or a dream.  If  the previous Dalai Lama was cremated, they watch the direction of the smoke to indicate the direction of rebirth.They often meditate at Lhamo La-Tso, central Tibet's holy lake, and wait for a vision or indication of the direction in which to search.  This relates to a belief that the female guardian spirit of the lake promised the first Dalai Lama that she would protect the reincarnation lineage.When these visions have been followed up and a boy found, there are a series of tests to ensure that he is the rebirth.  There is a secret set of criteria against which the child is assessed.  In addition to this, the main test consists of presenting the boy with a number of items to see if he can select those which belonged to the previous Dalai Lama.
I'm not religious but I think the Dalai Lama is, like Pope Francis, a good guy and a force for good.  That said, is he admitting that this whole reincarnation business is a scam?  If he's the past, the current and the future Dalai Lama - all rolled into one - how can he see himself transforming into someone stupid or, gasp, a girl?This is all too much for me.  Maybe he's just messing with our heads.

On managerial lapses

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 18:15
Shorter Tony Clement:
I believe there's an art to managing public money. And that's why I see no problem whatsoever with budgets which are works of fiction.

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 18:03
Cats with mats.

The Further Insane Adventures of Peter Dumbo Mackay

Montreal Simon - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 17:58

Once upon a time I thought that Peter MacKay was a fairly harmless Con buffoon, of limited intelligence, masquerading as a minister.

The happy idiot who was easily conned into selling the once proud Progressive Conservative party, and his soul, to Stephen Harper and his Reform rednecks.

The hopeless loser who shamelessly used his neighbour's dog to try to guilt out his ex-girlfriend Belinda Stronach...

For having had the good sense to break-up with him.

But now I'm starting to think that Dumbo MacKay is morphing into something far more sinister. 
Read more »

Breaking News

Politics and its Discontents - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 17:54


Seven Wildrose MLAs are planning to cross to Alberta’s governing Progressive Conservative party, CBC news has learned.

Two party sources said the seven are: party leader Danielle Smith, House Leader Rob Anderson, and MLAs Jeff Wilson, Gary Bikman, Pat Stier, Blake Pederson and Jason Hale.

Members of the 14-person caucus met Tuesday afternoon to discuss an offer from the PCs, led by Premier Jim Prentice.

MLAs Shane Saskiw, Drew Barnes and Rick Strankman said on social media that they were planning to stick with the Wildrose, which is the official opposition.

Currently, the PCs have 63 seats, the Liberals hold five, the NDP have four. There is one independent MLA.

The executive of the party is holding a teleconference Tuesday night to discuss what’s next.

The PCs are holding a caucus meeting on Wednesday. Recommend this Post

A Merger In The Offing?

Politics and its Discontents - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 13:41
My son, who lives in Alberta, keeps me apprised of that province's politics. Will Wildrose join Jim Prentice's Progressive Conservatives? Speculation is rampant.

Recommend this Post

Public Funding of Fake Clinics in Alberta: The Wrap

Dammit Janet - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 12:41
We have some catching up to do.

We revealed that public funds from the Alberta Lottery Fund were being handed over to fake clinics and profiled the first lucky fake clinic, Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre Society (Red Deer), here.

Part 2 on Medicine Hat Pregnancy Support Society. And Part 3 on Hinton Crisis Pregnancy Association.

We published a letter by Celia Posnyiak asking Alberta Culture about that funding and another asking the mayor of Hinton about its creative additional funding of local fetus freaks through photo radar money.

We heard from the mayor of Hinton.

And now, after nearly a month, there's been a reply by Carl Royan, Director, Community Grants, Alberta Culture, to Celia's letter.

After some introductory blah-blah:

The Community Spirit Program aimed to partner with Individual Albertans who donated monies to eligible nonprofit organizations by providing those organizations wit proportional grants based on the donations received. [Names of three fake clinics queried] met the Community Spirit Program (SCP) eligibility criteria, received donations from individuals [sic] Albertans who supported their activities, and therefore qualified for funding under the program. As you may know, the SCP was discontinued as a result of a budget decrease the department faced in Budget 2013.
Followed by signing-off blah-blah.

Everyone agrees that this response is about what was expected.

Well, heck, when the mayor of Calgary points to the stereotype of Albertans as "hillbillies", who are we to disagree?

And we would never ever pull some central-Canada-superiority shit by highlighting the timely and responsible action of the Ontario Trillium Foundation when it found out it was funding Ontario hillbillies.

So. There's no joy in Hillbilly Land, but that doesn't mean we're going to stop.

In fact, our search of the handy Alberta Culture database that turned up the original three fake clinics was flawed. We used the key word "pregnancy". We should also have used "pro-life" because looky here.

Under the same Community Spirit Program, Edmonton Pro-life Society got just over $23K in 2008/2009.

I'm absolutely sure it fits the eligibility criteria too, which seems mainly to be that these outfits are duly accredited as charities by CRA, the same gang that allows the Fraser Institute to operate as a charity.

From its CRA filings, the Edmonton fake clinic's costs and revenues run about $70-80K a year. And it consistently reports "government funding" of between 10-15% of total income. Rather nice for them.

But in 2010, it reported a whopping 25% of revenue from government.

Now, lest we get carried away and believe the BS that Edmonton Prolife offers anything like accurate medical information about all options, have a look at this.
An abortion, intending to end the life of the child, never has to happen. It is never the only option. So why do people have abortions?

There are many reasons why women or couples decide to have an abortion. An internet search will yield various results, statistics, and percentages, citing socio-economic reasons, not wanting children or any more children, fear of health risks, and many others.Abortion takes an innocent human life, and the gravity of that fact cannot be mitigated, it is important remember that many factors can go into an abortion decision, such as fear, desperation, and ignorance (the person(s) have perhaps become convinced by others whom they trust that the preborn child is not a living human being).

For those people who wish to see Abortion, we provide the following information.This video is not pleasant, but it must be seen. Hundreds of innocent unborn children are torn to pieces every day in Canada because most people simply don't know what abortion actually does. With the exception of the final scene (a second-trimester fetus), all of the video you will see depicts children who were killed during first-trimester abortions.That's the intro to a link to 4-minute video with a warning that it's disturbing. They don't warn that its also full of manipulative bullshit.

If we had the time, we'd try to investigate where that consistent 10-15% of revenues labelled "government" actually comes from.

But we don't. And it looks like Alberta is fine with its unique "culture."

Next up, we have been informed that two fake clinics in BC also get lottery dough.

Maybe BC will prove a little more enlightened.

We Just Keep Getting it Wrong

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 10:44
It's a guessing game and we're not very good at it.  The "game" is trying to work out how quickly the planet's ice fields are melting.  In essence, we're guessing how much time we have before the meltwater hits our shores.

The latest guesstimate to fall is the Greenland ice sheet.  It's melting faster than we anticipated.  What is it this time?  It's these things:

See those dark spots on the surface of the ice sheet?  They're called "supraglacial lakes."  They're surface meltwater and, as the Arctic continues to warm, they're expected to grow both in numbers and in size.  They would be a lot bigger already except that many of them manage to drain down through the ice sheet where the rivers of meltwater lubricate the ice above and speed its flow to the sea.

As those lakes grow and spread they also absorb more solar energy than the ice, accelerating the melt.  Here are some images to show how the Greenland ice sheet is decomposing:

No one has an accurate estimate of what this will mean in terms of sea level rise. What is known is that the estimate of 8 inches of rise by 2100 caused by the Greenland ice sheet is way off the mark.

Let's Hope We Know What We're Doing.

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 10:16
It's hard to know what we really wanted.  When the West slammed Russia with sanction piled upon sanction were we seeking retribution over Moscow's aggression toward Ukraine or were we really trying to bring Russia to its knees?

Western leaders have developed a nasty habit of not thinking things through.  We seem too willing to act without regard for ultimate consequences.  That's how we steered ourselves into wars without end in Afghanistan and Iraq.  It was that sort of geopolitical retardation that allowed us to march NATO right to Russia's doorstep, a risky gambit that gained us - well, on balance nothing.

As Russia's economy staggers toward collapse we need to ask what that means to us.  Of course Russia's problems neither begin nor end with us, the West. Russia's woes can be laid at the feet of the West, Saudi Arabia and Moscow itself.

Western sanctions have hit Russia hard.  The Saudi oil war against Iran, Russia and the United States has hurt Russia badly.  And Moscow's decision to go on the petro-gravy train at the expense of revitalizing Russia's industrial and agricultural economy has greatly compounded its difficulties.  (Canadians might take that last one as a teaching moment)

How bad has it become in Russia?  Bad enough for the central bank to raise interest rates from 10.5% to 17% overnight.  That bad.

The head of Russia's central bank warned Russians on Tuesday morning that they should get used to a new way of life, as the country's embattled currency continued to plummet.  After a brief rally, the rouble hit new historic lows on Tuesday, just hours after an overnight rise in interest rates designed to halt its fall.

"We have to learn to live in a different zone, to orient ourselves more towards our own sources of financing, and to give a chance to import substitution," said Elvira Nabiullina, the chair of the central bank. 

Unfortunately what we have done and the havoc we have caused is the sort of thing that triggers Vlad Putin's nationalistic instincts.  Let's face it, he has to tell his people something.  Do you think he's going to write off the collapse of Russia's economy to mismanagement by Moscow? Hardly. Russians are already well conditioned to distrust the West.  They're steeped in the rich history of Russian resistance to invaders like Napoleon and Hitler. They've seen NATO creep up to their borders. How hard will it be to convince them their current troubles are just another assault by the West?

When Russians fall on hard times they take great pride in their military and the defence of the Rodina.  Right now, with chaos creeping across so many regions, that might not be an ideal place to steer Russia into.


Subscribe to aggregator - Posts from our progressive community