Posts from our progressive community

Gaza Goes from Prison Camp to Death Camp

The Disaffected Lib - 3 hours 14 min ago
Gaza's imprisoned Palestinians have a problem - getting out. If they don't, they could die. Sorry, Tommy Angry Beard, that's the truth. From ViceNews:

Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020 due to war, its economic blockade, debilitated infrastructure, and environmental concerns, according to a new UN report on Palestine released this week.

The findings of the UN's Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) echoed an earlier assessment made by the UN in 2011, which determined that Gaza would not be livable by the start of next decade "without herculean efforts" to improve health, education, energy, water, and sanitation.

Remember when Israel attacked Gaza last summer?  Who and what did they attack first? Hamas or Islamist radicals and their headquarters and installations? No. The Israeli air force targeted the civilian population and first went after their water and sewage systems.  For days they pounded that essential infrastructure and brought it down.
That Tom, and all you little Dipper Tomasitas, is a war crime. That's not even debatable. Attacking civilians and attacking the civilian population's essential infrastructure are specifically prohibited. Doing it deliberately takes that war crime to a higher level yet.
Look, it's only got three syllables. It's not that hard to learn. It's "Dahiyeh."  Da-hi-yeh, da-hi-yeh, da-hi-yeh, da-hi-yeh.  See, you got it!  Okay, but what does it mean?
It's a word that describes Israel's new tactic of specifically targeting civilians and their infrastructure - their water systems, their sewage systems, their hospitals, their schools and then their homes with both high explosives and Willie Pete or white phosphorous weapons. It's a technique they perfected in a Beiruit neighbourhood, Dahiyeh. What a coincidence. This is what Dahiyeh looked like when the Israelis ran out of targets:

It looks like Berlin when the Russians were finished, only a lot dustier.  And it began with Israeli air strikes targeting Beiruit's water and sewage infrastructure before bombing down the target list. 
Israel has committed Dahiyeh twice on Gaza so far but, according to the UN report, they may never have to do it again. Their work may be finished.
"The most recent military operation, in 2014, impacted an already paralyzed economy at a time when socioeconomic conditions were at their lowest since 1967," wrote UNCTAD. The Israeli assault, called Protective Edge, coupled with others in 2008 and 2012, "shattered its productive base, left no time for meaningful reconstruction or economic recovery and impoverished the Palestinian population in Gaza, rendering their economic well-being worse than the level of two decades previous."

In July, the chief of the UN's Relief and Works Agency said none of the more than 12,000 houses totally destroyed during Protective Edge had been rebuilt.

There's more, so much more, but why go into that?
In today's thoroughly Blairified NDP just having in the past criticized Israel for these atrocities means you're not allowed to seek your party's nomination. That's why Nanaimo New Dem, Paul Manly, son of a highly respected NDP MP from before the party was laundered, is now running for the Green Party.
Besides, when votes are at stake, what's a little ethnic cleansing thousands of miles away?
Dippers typically respond to this by saying that their party is only trying to be "even handed." The NDP doesn't want to take sides. That's like saying you don't want to take sides between a rapist and the girl laying in the alley.

No Hope With This Pope…

Left Over - 3 hours 19 min ago
Pope Francis tells priests to pardon women who have abortions

The Guardian

Tuesday 1 September 2015 16.46 BST

How condescending can this ‘religious’ leader get?
Who cares about forgiveness when there is nothing to forgive? Will the Pope also issue orders to ‘forgive’ the man who didn’t wear a condom, or get it snipped, or whatever? Once again, the onus is on the woman, who, while only 50% of the equation must continue to suffer 100% of the consequences and the blame….
And, once again, the Catholic Church, along with every other form of organized religion, proves my point…organized religion sucks, it is the cause of most of the pain, guilt and war in this world, and the wars we seem to be eternally caught up in should be redirected at abolishing organized religion in all it’s forms.

Every  media outlet in the West is happily showering us with   photos of oppressed refugees (if it bleeds, it leads..)  fighting to live, literally, and  often failing.  The many drownings  and horrors of  displaced persons from war torn areas cannot help but remind me of a similar problem around  70 years ago, in Europe, when the war-displaced wandered, helpless, searching for  help from the  ugliness of  post war trauma…and Europe, and the West,  responded…

Now, it’s  above these petty concerns for the Vatican, which infamously back in the day made a deal with Hitler to  ignore the plight of Jewish refugees…  where was all the forgiveness then, Pope?

Instead of proselytizing  about  what women freely choose to, why  not concentrate your pontificating energy  on the refugees, the  children who still live, why not spend some of those  millions of  Vatican-hoarded  dollars to  aid and assist  in the  situation as it stands….or  are you above such petty concerns?

Stirring Images of Syrian Boy's Body Now Symbol of Europe's Crisis-NBC

LeDaro - 3 hours 32 min ago

Today, a photo from Turkey showing the body of a lifeless Syrian boy washed upon a beach became a symbolic image of the refugee plight.

Thursday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - 3 hours 38 min ago
This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Following up on this post, it was Terry Glavin who broke the story about refugee children dying after being refused admission into Canada. And the Guardian recognizes that the tragic image of Aylin Kurdi represents only a reminder of a a long-running human tragedy.

- Which is why Canada's treatment of newcomers was already emerging as a significant issue - with Harsha Walia rightly slamming the Cons' policy of jailing refugees and favouring temporary immigration. And Jason Kenney's response was to offer spin which was readily debunked by his government's own numbers.

- Zi-Ann Lum reports on another international embarrassment for Canada, as Barack Obama and John Kerry are calling out the Cons for refusing to take climate change seriously.

- Jeremy Nuttall examines how a recession and continued economic stagnation will affect different segments of Canadian society. And Trish Hennessy offers ten reasons why nobody should be taking Stephen Harper's economic advice, while Andrew Jackson makes the case for more investment as the best way to move us back toward real development.

- Finally, Frances Russell repurposes the Cons' "Stand Up for Canada" slogan as a compelling reason to vote Harper and company out of office.

New column day

accidentaldeliberations - 3 hours 56 min ago
Here, condensing this post about the lessons the federal NDP can and should learn from past provincial elections.

For further reading...
- Michelle Gagnon notes that one area where matters don't seem to be in doubt is Quebec, where the NDP looks set to hold or even build on its 2011 wave. And with the NDP's numbers looking strong in B.C. as well, that leaves Ontario as the largest piece of the puzzle which remains in substantial doubt.
- Susan Delacourt comments on the ghosts looming over each of the federal parties. 
- Finally, John Ivison writes about the contest between the NDP and the Liberals for the large number of voters who have had enough of the Harper Cons, while Robin Sears discusses the Libs' rebranding and how it affects all of the parties' strategies.

If You Care

Rusty Idols - 4 hours 49 min ago

If you care about the economy, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about healthcare, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about veterans, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about the lives of First Nations people and native children getting a fraction of the education funding that the rest of Canada's children get and thousands of women abducted and murdered,  you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about corruption, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about democracy and open responsive governance, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about Canada's standing in the world, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about the environment - at all - you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

You CANNOT vote for Stephen Harper.


After Election Speculations

kirbycairo - 4 hours 55 min ago
Andrew Coyne Wrote an interesting article, on which a number of people have commented, about the uncertainly that might prevail even after the election. Coyne, though he has sometimes been a rather mindless supporter of the Conservative government, has become enlightened enough to understand the depth of Harper's duplicity. He has finally realized that this mentally disturbed, power obsessed Prime Minister might do almost anything to hold on to power including trying to form government even after an election loss, refusing to recall parliament, or pressuring the GG into calling another election.

Let me just say that I take Coyne's musings to the next level and suggest that Harper could even attempt to actually nullify the election results themselves, or (more drastically) avoid an election loss by doing something many imagine is inconceivable such as orchestrating a fake "terrorist" attack or finding a way to pull the writ at the last moment. (No one should forget that there is evidence, for example, that the Republicans paid the Iranians to hold the hostages until after the election battle between Carter and Reagan) None of this might be an issue anyway because the depth of Conservative voter fraud might be so extreme that they know that they have the election in the bag anyway, and they are just going through the motions.

Let's assume, however, that by some miracle the Cons do lose the election. Then what? Well let me answer Coyne's last question first. I don't think that either of the other parties would prop up a Conservative government. It seems to me that Trudeau has nearly blown the whole election by supporting the Harper government on one issue (Bill C-51), any wholesale support for Harper would, I believe, destroy the Liberal Party of Canada once and for all. They have surely watched the example of the LibDems in the UK, who four years ago looked like they had a bright future and now look like a defunct political organization. Regardless of Mulcair's dubious political style and questionable past, I don't think he would prop up a Con government either, for the simple reason that such an act would also destroy the future for the NDP and probably bring the Liberals eventually back to power.

However, none of Coyne's other post-election notions seem far-fetched to me. I have certainly been laughably wrong in my political prognostications before. And maybe, just maybe, if Harper ended up with fewer seats than the Libs or the NDP, or both, he would gracefully bow out. It would be drastically out of character for him to do so. However, he may figure that he has done the necessary damage to the Canadian government and figures it will never recover anyway so it doesn't matter if he retires now. On the other hand, I don't actually think Harper is that clear and calculating at this point. I think, as is the case with so many such men, power has driven Harper crazy and he actually sees himself now as the lifetime Prime Minister. I thus suggest that he will do anything, and I really mean anything, to hold on to power.

However, at this point such speculation is little more than entertainment. No amount of anticipation really prepares you for the political chaos of a constitutional crisis. Though, I hope we can say, at the very least, that nothing will entirely surprise us.

A Shameful Indifference

Politics and its Discontents - 5 hours 19 min ago

By now we have all seen the terrible image of the drowned three-year-old Syrian refugee on the shores near a Turkish resort. The juxtaposition couldn't be any more telling of desperation confronting world indifference.

What perhaps isn't as widely known is the fact that the boy, Aylan, and his bother and mother, Galip and Rehan Kurdin who also drowned, were rejected for emigration to Canada:
Canadian legislator Fin Donnelly told The Canadian Press that he had submitted a request on behalf on the boys’ aunt, Teema Kurdi, who had wanted to bring the family to Canada, but her request was turned down by Canadian immigration officials. Teema Kurdi, based in the Vancouver area, is the sister of the drowned boys’ father Abdullah, who survived.Fin Donnelly, who is running for re-election in Port Moody-Coquitlam said he delivered a letter on behalf of Teema Kurdi, Abdullah’s sister, to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander in March but that the sponsorship request was not approved.Exactly what is our responsibility in an humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions?

In today's Star, Tony Burman ponders that very question, and asks why so little is being said about it during our current election campaign:
In recent weeks, the approach by Canada’s political class, led by its major political parties, seems to be based on a 21st-century notion about this country — that this worldwide refugee crisis really doesn’t involve Canada directly, and really doesn’t matter to Canadians.

With the crisis worsening by the day, it is time for this to end. We need to increase pressure on our politicians in this election campaign to push this issue aggressively to the fore.Burman reminds us that historically, indifference has not been the Canadian way:
In recent decades, Canada’s doors were wide open to thousands of refugees. Since the 1970s, 6,000 Ugandan Asians fleeing Idi Amin’s regime, 13,000 Chilean refugees escaping the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, 20,000 Jewish refugees from the former Soviet Union, as well as 18,000 Iraqis, 3,300 Haitians and many, many others were all welcomed to Canada.

There was also, of course, the dramatic response by Canadians in 1979-80 to the flood of refugees trying to escape communist Vietnam.

The government’s initial commitment was to settle 500 Vietnamese, but through the actions of private sponsors, community and civic groups, that number eventually grew to more than 60,000.Contrast that with our current regime:
In spite of promises to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next three years, the Canadian government has been criticized by refugee groups as being laggard in what it actually delivers. In the past three years, only 1,300 Syrian refugees have been admitted. According to the UN, Canada has dropped from the fifth-highest refugee recipient in 2000 to the ranking of 15th last year.Defending and spinning the indefensible has become the only remaining skill-set of the once promising Chris Alexander, our Citizenship and Immigration minister, who, during his appearance on Power and Politics yesterday, was effectively eviscerated by host Rosie Barton, especially near the end of the panel:

If you don't have time to watch the video, BuzzFeed has a summary of the dustup.

It is easy, and perhaps only human nature, to regard this crisis as something occurring 'over there.' Many of us may find it difficult to get emotionally involved in the plight of people we do not know or do not identify with. But that's ultimately beside the point. Whether we acknowledge in our hearts or only in our minds, there is but one conclusion to be drawn: each country, including ours, has a moral and ethical responsibility to help these unfortunate people who, by virtue of the birth lottery, were not born into the advantages that we enjoy but have in no way earned.Recommend this Post

Juxtaposition II: Humanitarian Boogaloo

accidentaldeliberations - 5 hours 26 min ago
From one stunt...
The news of McCain's suspension drew gales of derision from the press. No one was willing to give him the slightest benefit of the doubt...that his motivations were anything less than craven...

McCainworld had assumed that the suspension would be viewed as an authentic, characteristic act of putting country first. But...McCain was now seen as a typical, and faintly desperate politician - and his campaign a campaign of another:
Conservative candidate Chris Alexander has suspended his campaign for re-election in the riding of Ajax, Ont., in the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis.

Alexander cancelled a Thursday morning media appearance and is returning to Ottawa to focus on his ministerial responsibilities. They include looking into a case brought to the forefront Wednesday after disturbing images emerged showing a Syrian toddler's body washed up on a beach in Turkey.

In a statement, Alexander said "the tragic photo of young Aylan Kurdi and the news of the death of his brother and mother broke hearts around the world."Meanwhile, Tabatha Southey calls out Alexander for still caring only about optics:
“Photo,” “images,” image,” talking point. A sense of what Alexander sees as the problem & where he’s going with it.— Tabatha Southey (@TabathaSouthey) September 3, 2015 And Tonda MacCharles notes how the Cons' campaign-only mentality will prevent Alexander from running even a public relations exercise from his office:
According to Chris Alexander's Ottawa office, all media relations spox are on leave until Oct. 19 working on election.— Tonda MacCharles (@TondaMacC) September 3, 2015

What Happens After October 19th?

Northern Reflections - 6 hours 13 min ago


The outcome of this election is uncertain. But regardless of who wins, Andrew Coyne writes, what happens after October 19th is also uncertain:

So it’s an unusually unpredictable election. But that doesn’t begin to describe how uncertain the outcome is. Because it isn’t just the results on election night that are impossible to predict: it’s what happens after. Even if the polls as they now stand turn out to be an exact reflection of each party’s share of the vote on Oct. 19, that still doesn’t give us the first clue who will be governing us.

For one thing, it is always difficult to know how precisely the polls will translate into seats. But suppose the current projections are right: that the NDP wins about 125 seats, to the Conservatives’ 120 and the Liberals’ 95. What then?
In a properly functioning democracy, the Conservatives could try to form a government:

Among the imponderables: who does the governor general call upon to form a government? The answer is not, as popularly believed, the party with the most seats. Rather, by convention it is supposed to be the incumbent who gets first crack. Probably that is what would happen, and probably Stephen Harper would accept. But what if the gap in seats between the NDP and the Conservatives were larger? Would he try to form a government with, say, 110 seats? 105?
And, what if Harper -- like Joe Clark -- refused to call back the House for five months? Or what if the Governor General called on someone else to form a government and -- like Mackenzie King --  Harper refused to accept Donald Johnston's decision? This is a man who believes that all decisions rest with him and him alone.

My bet is that a prime minister who has kept two dozen orders in council secret would not go quietly or easily. However, if the Conservatives were reduced to third party status, much of the uncertainty would be cast in the dustbin.

Perhaps our Hearts Need breaking to remind us we are human. . .

kirbycairo - 6 hours 44 min ago
The refugee crisis in the Middle-East and Europe is a complex issue. International turmoil, political economy, deep-seated historical conflicts. You can't blame people for feeling bewildered by the events they see unfolding. As they used to say about the issue of Northern Ireland: if you're not confused, you don't know what is going on.

But this isn't a complex issue -

This couldn't be simpler - it's a dead child, a child who should be laughing and running around in joyful wonder, happy to be alive and revelling in boyhood pleasures. This little boy's death isn't complicated, it breaks our hearts in as straightforward a way that any event can. 
It speaks to our Western privilege and general callousness, that this has been going on for years in the Middle-East, yet it is only when it begins to affect Europe that we are collectively shocked and begin to really take notice. But let's put that aside for a moment and let this sink in. 
You don't have to be a expert on politics to understand. You don't need to know the history of Middle-East or the role that Europe has played in these conflicts to know this is bad. You simply have to be a human being with all the empathy and compassion that goes along with it. 

These are people. They are traumatized, hungry, vulnerable, worried, frightened, and in need of help. 

You can judge a people by how they treat the most vulnerable among them. And we will surely be harshly judged. 
Now, after you have looked into these faces, and perhaps wept for the fate of that poor drowned boy, return your mind to the politics of this and look into the face of this criminal. 
This is the man who rejected the refugee application of the boy and his family. This is the man who has spent years tirelessly trying to deny healthcare to refugees, and continually misrepresented those refugees to whom he wanted to deny benefits as "fake claimants," even when they weren't. This is the man who has aided Harper and his Government in ignoring thousands and thousands of those in need and take in only a paltry number of refugees from conflicts which are in part a result of Western greed and carelessness. 
And perhaps the most sickening part of all is that these politicians call themselves Christians, as many callous, mean-spirited rightwingers do. But Jesus didn't assume that beggars were shiftless and lazy. Jesus didn't stand above the lepers and condemn their personal hygiene and assume that they were responsible for their fate. The ethics of Christ don't allow us to look to assign blame or second guess people's motives. Rather, Christian ethics require only this - help people, reach out your hand and lift people up, you are your brother's and your sister's keeper and you can never do enough. 
Fate can be heartless. We don't have to be.  

This is why running to the left of the ruling class is important

Metaneos - 7 hours 3 min ago
Hillary Clinton Just Picked Sides With the Democrats’ Warren Wing Against the Rubin Wing
Now, I'm not saying Clinton is to be trusted, but she was forced to pick against her own interest here, in this one instance. It's a small ripple. Possibly, more will occur as the campaign continues, and she worries of losing more ground than she already has to the insurgent, Bernie Sanders.
Now, is he going to win the Democratic Primary? I don't know. I hope so, but I worry he will not.
I worry Sanders will act as sheepdog, sheparding Democratic fence sitters and undecided into the voting ranks, and convince them to vote for whoever's the Democratic choice, no matter how bad that choice may be.
But he is a choice, even if for only a short time. His presence has forced a change in Clinton's campaign, and forced her to make a promise she probably had no interest in making.
This is why it's important to continue putting pressure on the Democratic candidates, even if it's your own party. Especially if it's your own party. You can't give your own leaders a free pass. You have to make them make these sorts of choices, so that you know where they stand on issues that are important to to you. You have to make them earn their position.
And if they fail your litmus test, fight them. You don't have to follow those who would lead you where you're no interest in going.

Stephen Harper's War on Canada and Its Values

Montreal Simon - 7 hours 14 min ago

Many hours after I first saw it, I am still haunted by this photo of that poor little Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach. 

And by the knowledge that his refugee family begged the ghastly Chris Alexander to let them emigrate to Canada. But got absolutely nowhere.

But while I'm disgusted I'm not really surprised. For Alexander, like all the other Cons, are just cowardly stooges of their depraved master.

And Stephen Harper would rather talk about WAR. 

Stephen Harper stood in the middle of a too-small-for-the-crowd hotel meeting room in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and tapped the notes on the lectern in front of him in time with his words. 

"Canada is not immune to jihadist terrorism," he said. "Two [tap] brave soldiers [tap] dead [tap] on our own [tap] soil [tap]."

For crass political purposes.

"If you cannot even bring yourself to call jihadist terrorism what it is, then you cannot be trusted to confront it, and you cannot be trusted to keep Canadians safe from it." 

At this, Harper received his most enthusiastic response from the crowd, which erupted into an ovation and calls of "Four more years. Four more years."

To pleasure his rabid base, and his own monstrous instincts...

And try to scare Canadians into voting for him, because fear is all he has left. 

Even though he himself admits our puny for show war is faltering. Even though everybody knows that religious conflict will only be settled by the ground forces of those who live in that region.

And even though it was the insanity of war that caused this human catastrophe in the first place. The criminal invasion of Iraq, that he supported, is what led to the rise of ISIS.

And the bombing of Libya helped turn that country into a paradise for some of the world's most dangerous terrorist groups. And no safe haven for all those now seeking to escape to Europe.

But what horrifies me the most about the criminal Con regime is the way they mock those who would act like Canadians and seek to help those desperate refugees.

Like they do in this hideous attack ad aimed at Justin Trudeau...

But then again, why should we be surprised? When as Frances Russell points out this is a government that is really at war with Canada, its values and its democracy. 

They have trampled on virtually every tenet of British parliamentary democracy and hacked, slashed and abolished vital national programs, storied institutions and highly respected civil society organizations simply because they disagreed and disliked them. 

On the international stage they have sullied Canada’s reputation as a one of the world’s most esteemed democracies by ignoring science in their pursuit of re-making Canada into a freewheeling sole-source hinterland to serve the global oil and gas industry regardless of the costs to the environment; appropriated big portions of Canada’s identity and institutions for their own political and electoral purposes and grafted American governmental forms onto Canada’s parliamentary democracy determined to twist it out of shape – and – all without the slightest consultation or regard for the sensibilities of many Canadians.

This is a government that is philosophically and genuinely hostile to the nation and people it seeks to govern.

And Russell is right about this too.

As October 19 gets closer, Liberals and New Democrats should stop the petty blood feud they love to carry on over petty and marginal policy distinctions without genuine differences. Otherwise, Canadians will be subjected to another four years of a government determined to dismantle the Canada most Canadians know and cherish and hope to pass on to their children and grandchildren.

Now is not the time to fight each other, now is the time to stand up for Canada.

You know, I used to be so proud of this country, and its humble but noble role in the world.

But if I has been on that Turkish beach, and had gently picked up that poor little child who never knew anything but war in his short life...

And if I had known that the Cons might have been able to save him and his brother and mother, but didn't even try. I would have wept with sorrow AND shame.

I dream of a better Canada, and the day when we are free at last. 

But in the meantime, this is my army.

Those are my heroes who are standing up for my values.

And Stephen Harper can keep his war, and shove the fear factor where the sun don't shine.

Or keep it company in his closet...

Because he will never scare me.

Unite to defeat that monster.

And take back our Canada...

Please click here to recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers.

Conservative shaming of First Nations, continues

Metaneos - Wed, 09/02/2015 - 23:36
Dozens of B.C. First Nations failed to file financial statements by deadline 
Unabated. Unopposed.
Shameful. Hateful. Unjustifiable.
This shaming treatment of First Nations leaders must stop.
I hate Harper for this. I hate the Canadian government for this. I hate Canada for this.
The Harper government gives to First Nations communities all the pennies it had discontinued, and then demands absolute accountability upon each and every god damned cent. Every cent must be tracked, three times signed for.
First Nations bands are paralyzed with fear for any misstep invites in third party management, which is more often than not, utterly worse at managing First Nations communities than the supposed corrupt leaders it displaced. Third party management is the new age Indian Agent.
Cities are not subject to this humiliation. Provinces are not subject to this dishonor. Harper himself stonewalled his own Parliamentary Budget Officer when he was being asked difficult questions about his own spent monies.
Why are First Nations governments subject to this treatment?
Because we're vulnerable, obviously. We're not of Canada, but from an era when a Canada did not even exist. We're red. We're different.
We're easy targets to hit when the governments needs someone to snipe out for political points, as though they're playing a video game.
When it comes to First Nations, the worst of Canada comes out to express its hate and fear of us, and the liberals and social-democrats shut up.
The only political party who's ever consistently stood with First Nations, all this time, has been the god damn Communist Party. The NDP and the Liberals run for the hills in fear.
The only names I know of, men who've consistently stood with First Nations have been Charlie Angus, and Paul Martin. The former's been removed from the NDP front lines in favour of more headshots of Mulcair, and the latter's retired from politics, altogether.
At this point, I can only state the truth. We First Nations probably can't count upon the NDP or the Liberals. We probably shouldn't trust them, either. Don't vote for them if they promise nothing or very little for First Nations. Only vote for them if they promise the moon, and can deliver it to us, overnight.
What is needed for Canada and First Nations is a completely new system of cooperation. What is in place, now, simply does not work. AANDC is a joke of an organization, which is too vulnerable to the political machinations of government. It was purposely designed that way, too. It was designed with failure in mind, because it served the purposes of the Canadian government, to be able to manipulate First Nations governments with ease, and rob us of lands, titles, and rights, at their own leisure.
My First Nations people Do not be tricked by this coming election. Nothing will change for us, no matter who wins the election. We must continue to oppose the Canadian government on all fronts, until we win back our full rights as human beings.

The Day Rosemary Barton Destroyed the Con Clown Chris Alexander

Montreal Simon - Wed, 09/02/2015 - 20:22

As you may know, I absolutely despise Chris Alexander, the Con Minister of  Citizenship and Immigration.

The once promising young diplomat who sold his soul to Stephen Harper.

And morphed into something monstrous like the ghastly portrait in the Picture of Dorian Gray.

The kind of man who would deny health care to refugee claimants.

And would do ANYTHING please his depraved master.
Read more »

And Now For Election Time — A Completely “Scientific” Poll–Yes, Margaret Atwood’s Turnip is in the Running

Sister Sages Musings - Wed, 09/02/2015 - 18:11

I put a similar poll up during the 2011 election campaign here. I think I will do it again. Yes,  boys n girls, Margaret Atwood’s turnip is included again.


Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.


Accountable PM with . . . → Read More: And Now For Election Time — A Completely “Scientific” Poll–Yes, Margaret Atwood’s Turnip is in the Running

Shifty Steve's New Campaign Theme Song

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 09/02/2015 - 12:32
A guy just has to have those lonely cowboy blues what with the battering of the Duffy trial, former insider and fraudster/jailbird Bruce Carson about to face justice - again, and the likelihood that Harper galpal Pamela Wallin might get her indictment any day.

So here, to help while away those endless hours traveling on the campaign trail, is Shifty Steve's very own campaign theme song.  Tex Ritter, no less.

There was blood on the saddle
And blood all around
And a great big puddle
Of blood on the ground

A cowboy lay in it
All covered with gore
And he never will ride
Any broncos no more

Oh, pity the cowboy
All bloody and red
For the bronco fell on him
And bashed in his head

There was blood on the saddle
And blood all around
And a great big puddle
Of blood on the ground

We Need to Talk

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 09/02/2015 - 10:25
Dear Tommy, Junior and, you too, Shifty:

We need to talk. While you're busy competing to come out on top in the October 19th election, you're criss-crossing the country meeting the party faithful, feeding pronouncements to the media lapdogs and, generally, trying to reach out to Canadians to persuade them to vote for your party and not the other guy's.

You've been at this for weeks now and, so far, it's been "shopping list" campaigning.  One says he'll increase funding for this, another says he'll restore funding for that, and the third one hints at some major project or another he's just itching to launch without explaining why, since he's been in power over the past decade, he didn't launch it years ago.

The approach you've been taking is actually demeaning. It treats us, the Canadian people, as taxpayers, not citizens. I guess if you all do it, it doesn't seem so bad - except it does. It is bad. Taxes are how we pay to support our nation, how we build our society. They're essential, sure, but you're supposed to govern - for us, the electorate, for those who don't or for various reasons can't vote, and for our future generations.

Our kids and grandkids may not be relevant to you but they're sure as hell relevant to us. We want our grandkids to inherit the best possible Canada we can bequeath to them. That's where you come in. You are the most important instrument we have to achieve that goal. We vest in you the powers to do that on our behalf. We dutifully pour money into your treasury to do that on our behalf. Yet you don't seem to want to do what we need done. Why is that?

There's a story in today's TorStar about a summit underway in the Anchorage to discuss some very important and pressing Arctic issues. Eight countries are in attendance, represented by their foreign ministers.  Our Rob Nicholson is a no show, due to him being tied up campaigning or some other feeble excuse, which drew a subtle rebuke from John Kerry.

"I think anybody running for any high office in any nation in the world should come to Alaska or to any other place where it is happening and inform themselves about this. It is a seismic challenge that is affecting millions of people today.”
Okay, bad Rob, bad Rob, except the opposition can't bitch too much given how hard they've worked during their "shopping list" campaign to avoid really important issues such as climate change, inequality, corporatism, the corporate media cartel and so many other looming threats to Canada, our people, and our democracy. Louise Comeau thinks it comes down to cowardice:
I think the party leaders are afraid to really get into the nub of the matter, which is that we’ve got to confront our energy system and the approach we’ve been taking,” Louise Comeau of the Climate Action Network Canada said in an interview, calling it “a fundamental state of denial we are in as a country.”

“Canada’s silence on this issue is not new,” added Comeau, noting Canada was the chair of the Arctic Council for the past two years where it pushed a northern development agenda “and actually ensured climate change wasn’t discussed.”

I think she's right. You are goddamned cowards, all three of you.

How Harper Turned a Federal Blind Eye to Canada's Lakes, Rivers and Fish Habitat

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 09/02/2015 - 09:28
There was nothing accidental about it. This wasn't oversight or even negligence. In his decade in power, Shifty Steve Harper has gutted, bit by bit, Canada's fisheries protection  regulations - and he's not finished yet.  
"Over the last decade, what we've seen is a not-so-gradual abandonment of the fish habitat protection field," said University of Calgary law professor Martin Olszynski.

He has sifted through reams of data and dozens of development applications to conclude that federal protection for fisheries and waterways has been declining for more than a decade.

Olszynski found environmental oversight by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans dropped dramatically during the 2000s — a time when Canada saw huge spending in the resource industries.

And he concludes changes to environmental law in 2012 weren't intended to cut red tape, as the government suggested, but to lower the environmental bar.

"What my data suggests is that the narrative provided doesn't add up in terms of this unduly intrusive regulatory regime. It was never really about reducing red tape."
In 2004, the government decided to minimize oversight for projects deemed low-risk, which cut the number of projects it reviewed in half. The rest of the decrease came in 2012 after the government revamped environmental laws.

Over that same period, enforcement fell off a cliff.

Olszynski reports that environmental warnings and charges under the Fisheries Act fell to about 50 from about 300. Staff time allotted to enforcement dropped to 10,000 hours from 35,000.

The department's budget was cut by $80 million in 2012. Another $100 million in cuts are planned over three years beginning this year

A late tribute to Rita West (née Cymbalista)

Dawg's Blawg - Wed, 09/02/2015 - 08:36
It’s important to acknowledge the people who have changed our lives. Rita literally defined the course of mine. I was seventeen, enrolled in a programme of studies at McGill University that I hated. She was the same age. I was... Dr.Dawg


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