Posts from our progressive community

NATO - You're Not the Master of the Universe. Now, Stand Down.

The Disaffected Lib - 1 hour 52 min ago
NATO's outgoing CEO, er Secretary-General, Anders 'Foggy' Rasmussen, should really send caviar and roses to Vladimir Putin.  NATO hasn't done all that well on Foggy's watch - the cock-up in Libya, the hapless adventure in Afghanistan everybody would rather forget, the absorption of new members from eastern Europe more eager to get under NATO's umbrella than to pull their own weight.

Until Putin made his move on the Crimea, NATO had the makings of an alliance without much purpose and a very spotty track record.  Desultory is a word that comes to mind.

NATO needed a real enemy, someone we could all perceive as a direct threat to us, the world. Libyans or Afghans didn't really count. Small potatoes.

Along came Vlad and the Crimea to make our dreams come true.  They're Back!!! Those awful Russians with their awful ways.  Let's mobilize.  Assemble the fleet, set sail.  Prowl the skies with those fighters.  Parade the Legion.  We've got barbarians at the gate - and just in time!

Except I don't know that the people of the "old NATO" nations are up for another nuclear superpower confrontation.   We've done that once.  It was a costly, unproductive, and sometimes worrisome pain in the ass.  One Cuban missile crisis is enough for one lifetime.  We know that there are too many people on our side, people like Foggy Rasmussen, who are just too keen to get a new cold war stoked up.

We've been pushing Russia's buttons ever since George H.W. Bush promised Gorbachev that, if only East Germany was allowed to come into NATO's fold, the alliance would never extend further eastward.  One provocation atop another - until NATO was parked on Moscow's doorstep.

Enough.  The world is going to be up to its alligators in existential threats this century.  We don't need an ersatz cold war added to it.  Let's focus on ways to try to get through this century with mankind more or less intact instead of engineering ways to see there is no next century.  Enough.

Stock Up on AK-47s. They're a Hot Commodity.

The Disaffected Lib - 2 hours 21 min ago


They're flying off the shelves of gunstores across the United States.  Russian AK-47 assault rifles have become a hot commodity literally overnight since they were added to Obama's import restrictions as part of America's sanctions.

Thirty-six hours after the Obama administration banned importation of the classic brand of AK-47 assault rifles as part of sanctions against Russia, a Maryland dealer specialising in the weapon took stock of its inventory.
There was nothing left.
Labouring almost nonstop, workers at Atlantic Firearms in Bishopville, a Worcester County community on the Eastern Shore, had shipped hundreds of Russian-made AK-47s — an assault rifle prized by both consumers and despots — as buyers wiped out gun dealers' inventories around the country. The frenzy was brought on, in part, by a suspicion among some gun owners that the Russia-Ukraine conflict was a backdoor excuse to ban guns many Democrats don't like. Some customers bought eight to 10 rifles for nearly $US1000 ($1071) each or more, stockpiling them as investments.
"The gun community moved very, very quickly," said Blaine Bunting, President of Atlantic Firearms. "I don't see this ban going away."
The AK-47 buying frenzy presents yet another example of a paradoxical consequence of trying to limit gun sales: booming demand. During the debate over the measure commonly called the ­Brady Bill in the 1990s, gun purchases skyrocketed. When the Democrats took control of Congress in 2006, sales soared again. When President Obama tried to pass sweeping gun control laws after the 2012 Sandy Hook School shooting, some dealers even sold out of ammunition.

It's Called "Virtual Water"

The Disaffected Lib - 2 hours 34 min ago


Water-stressed Israel realized this year ago when it recognized that its exports of Jaffa oranges were really exporting "virtual water."  It took scarce water to grow the orange and when it left the country for overseas markets it was full of water.

Fast forward to 2014 and drought-stricken California.  The BBC reports that California farmers are using billions of gallons of incredibly scarce water to grow alfalfa hay destined for China.

The southern Imperial Valley, which borders Mexico, draws its water from the Colorado River along the blue liquid lifeline of the All American Canal.

It brings the desert alive with hundreds of hectares of lush green fields - much of it alfalfa hay, a water-hungry but nutritious animal feed which once propped up the dairy industry here, and is now doing a similar job in China.

"A hundred billion gallons of water per year is being exported in the form of alfalfa from California," argues Professor Robert Glennon from Arizona College of Law.

"It's a huge amount.  It's enough for a year's supply for a million families - it's a lot of water, particularly when you're looking at the dreadful drought throughout the south-west." 

Why China?  It's because of China's one-way trade with the United States. Chinese goods reach the American mainland in ocean shipping containers that then have to go back empty.  The glut of empty containers makes alfalfa exports to China cheap, cheap, cheap.  It's cheaper to ship Imperial Valley alfalfa to China than to transport it to California's central valley ranchers.

Well, kids, welcome to globalization.

Pentagon Exploits Tensions Over Ukraine, Pushes for Multi-Purpose Sensor Chain Across Canada's Arctic

The Disaffected Lib - 2 hours 55 min ago
Arrest that Man, He's From Russia!

They sure know how to pick their opportunities.

At the very moment NATO leaders are in Wales fretting over what to do with Vlad Putin and the future of Ukraine, America's brass are floating the idea of establishing a "multi-purpose sensor chain" across the vast Canadian Arctic.

Exactly what they have in mind isn't immediately clear but would entail sensors that could detect and track aircraft, ships and even cruise missiles as well as a missile attack from North Korea.  It's not the same as stationing missile interceptor batteries on Canadian soil but it would certainly integrate with America's missile defence system.

NORAD commander, US general Charles Jacoby, put it this way:  "If Canada decided not to belong to missile defence, then I'm sure that they would continue to play all of their robust roles that they play in missile warning and in other NORAD missions.  And if they did decide (to join), I'm sure we'd take great advantage of the capabilities and commitment that Canada brings to every mission."


After that one, you just might want to take a wet-nap to your butt cheek.

NATO Leaders Huddle and Fume While Putin Chuckles

The Disaffected Lib - 3 hours 12 min ago
NATO's Drang Nach Osten

There'll be an absolute glut of righteous indignation when NATO leaders convene this week in Wales to decide whatever to do with that big bad bully, the Russian Bear, Vladimir Putin.  Meanwhile, as The Guardian's Simon Jenkins writes, Putin will be kicking back in Red Square laughing his ass off.

It is currently impossible to hear a speech or open a newspaper in which defence experts do not beat their breasts, bang their drums and demand "the west stand firm... show resolve... teach Russia a lesson... show Putin who is boss."  They call for more economic sanctions - which have never seemed more counterproductive.  They demand backing for Ukraine, aid for Kiev, support for other border states, more spearhead battalions and seemingly endless rapid reaction forces.  But they all end up asserting "we cannot mean war" and "a diplomatic solution is inevitable.

All intelligence out of Moscow says the same, that this bombast merely emboldens Putin.  He can do what he wants in eastern Ukraine, because he has an army there and it enjoys widespread support among the Russian-speaking population.  There is no question Putin has infringed the integrity of Ukrainian sovereignty. But so did America in its Latin American "sphere of influence" during the cold war.  Meanwhile, Britain kowtowed to China for economic gain and Olympic glory when Beijing was treating Tibet far worse.

Foreign policy always involves double standards.  The best policy is to avoid one's own weaknesses and instead test those of one's opponents.  Peace and trade were slowly eroding the juggernaut of Russian power across eastern Europe. Now Nato's pseudo-support for Kiev has played to Putin's one strength: his support among Russian peoples along his borders.  Kiev, the EU and Nato have played a dangerous game with Russia over Ukraine for years.  Putin has laid down a marker for an armistice, talks on autonomy, one that is bound to look like a victory for him.  It is for Kiev to pick it up.  Nato can go on swilling champagne in Wales.


Sometimes In Life, It's the Little Things That Matter

The Disaffected Lib - 3 hours 36 min ago


It's really a little thing.  A little worse.  A little more frequent.  A little longer lasting.  A little more severe.  A little more damaging.

That's the face of early onset climate change. It's the face of severe weather events of increasing frequency, intensity and duration.  It's weather made a little worse, a little more often, a little longer.  Yet it is, indeed, the little things that can really matter.

A little heavier rain, an extra day or two, once or twice more often per month. The thing is, all these little things add up and they multiply the overall impact and the long-term damage.  For example, metro Detroit got hit with more flash flooding yesterday.  That, by my count, is the fourth or fifth incident in the past two months.  That might even be something of a record.  That area is just full of records.  They experienced a record cold winter thanks to the Polar Vortex. Record snowfalls too.  Now record floods.  They can't seem to catch a break.

The little things count.  In many urban areas, infrastructure was designed and built for another climate from another time when population demands were a good deal less pressing.  With the passage of time and steady growth, infrastructure systems that were once ideal become old and increasingly inadequate to meet demand. Then you compound that with climate change impacts that were never foreseen by planners even twenty years ago and, quite suddenly, you can find yourself overwhelmed, your infrastructure overtaken by events.

Canada's premiers know we need a major infrastructure programme and it's needed urgently.  They're dealing with a prime minister for whom what the provinces and the Canadian people need doesn't matter much.  Why bother about pressing and costly needs at home when you can get all the press you need by howling at Vlad Putin to the delight of the media's trained seals?




Tuesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - 3 hours 56 min ago
This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Bill Maher offers some simple math and important observations about inequality:



- And Gary Engler proposes ten ways to build a better economic system.

- Vanessa Brcic points out that corporatized medicine is as unethical as it is inefficient. And Garry Patterson laments the premiers' weak response to the Harper Cons' attacks on health care.

- Dean Beeby reports that the CRA's investigation of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is focused squarely on the question of whether the CCPA is adequately complying with the Cons' definition of rightthink, while Dr. Dawg is duly appalled. And I'll also point out that the CCPA example surely answers Matt Gurney's rhetorical questions about CRA bias: surely it can't be anything but a gross abuse of power if Canada's tax authority is conducting investigations which respond solely to the concerns of Stephen Harper's former staffers (who may themselves have had inside knowledge that such complaints would be met with new money).

- Meanwhile, Shelina Ali discusses how anti-SLAPP legislation can help to ensure a genuine exchange of ideas despite corporate attempts to silence criticism.

- Finally, the Star writes about Barack Obama's push for global action against climate change - and how that focus may finally drag Canada along for the ride despite Stephen Harper's determination to value oil profits ahead of human welfare.

Feed'Em or Weep

The Disaffected Lib - 4 hours 30 min ago

They're finally figuring it out.  An editorial from The Dallas Morning News warns that unless the US launches a major food relief effort to Central America, the country faces a tsunami of refugees fleeing to the US to escape famine.

The swarm of immigrants who came across the border this year, including more than 60,000 unaccompanied minors, could wind up paling in comparison to an immigration crisis looming on the horizon. Famine is a growing concern across Central America because of persistent drought. ...The next wave ...could be driven by a much more formidable force: abject hunger. Central America is in the middle of a serious two-year drought. USAID’s Famine Early Warning System stated in early August that Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua are on the verge of a food crisis because of growing, widespread crop failures from scant rainfall. In some areas, rainfall is 50 percent to 75 percent below average.The drought also is affecting Costa Rica and Panama. Panama Canal operations are on the verge of being curtailed because of declining levels on the freshwater lake that comprises the bulk of the canal route.Elsewhere, farm output is expected to drop as much as 70 percent. Prices for staple foods like maize and beans are escalating. A coffee bean blight is adding to economic woes. Thousands of Central Americans who rely on subsistence farming no longer know where their meals will come from. The famine report warns that the need for food could cause residents to pack up and leave.“This situation is particularly critical in northern Nicaragua, where the drought has had the greatest impact,” the famine report says. “These factors will force households in the areas of concern to implement atypical response strategies including atypical migration and sale of household assets.”The editorial argues for the use of food aid to relieve famine and as an incentive for Central Americans to stay put.

The Well Heeled Terrorist

Northern Reflections - 5 hours 29 min ago
                                                                 http://abcnews.go.com/

The conventional wisdom holds that violence and terrorism are the inevitable consequences of poverty and ignorance. Cass Sunstein, who teaches law at Harvard, writes that the evidence suggests something entirely different:

Most extremists, including those who commit violence, are not poor and do not lack education.

Suicide bombers are likely to have more income and more education than most people in their home nation, research shows. A few years after the attacks of Sept. 11, people in Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan and Turkey with higher than average incomes were no less likely to say that suicide attacks against Westerners were justified. People with more education were actually more likely to reach that conclusion.
What matters is the way they think and what they think:

Princeton economist Alan Krueger says: “To under­stand who joins terrorist organizations, instead of asking who has a low salary and few opportunities, we should ask: Who holds strong political views and is confident enough to try to impose an extrem­ist vision by violent means?” That’s the right question. And at least part of the answer comes from social dynamics, as illuminated by some old, and seemingly far afield, experiments in group psychology.
Birds of an intellectual feather tend to flock together -- and the more extreme the feather, the stronger the bond:

Writing in 1998, Russell Hardin, a political scientist at New York University, drew attention to the “crippled epistemology of extremism,” by which he meant to emphasize how little extremists know. Focused on Islamic fundamentalists, Hardin was concerned about what happens “when the fanatic is in a group of like-minded people, and especially when the group isolates itself from others.”
The same could be said of governments with extreme agendas. Enough said.

A New Season Beckons, But Nothing Changes

Politics and its Discontents - 5 hours 45 min ago


Many people think of September as the real beginning of the new year: kids go off to school, summer transitions to fall, fall fashions appear in the stores, and new careers are embarked upon. Sadly, our political culture seems resistant to change. True, this year there are municipal elections pending in October in Ontario, but on the federal level, the status quo continues, and the abuses of power persist. In so many ways it is like the peculiar time-loop situation Bill Murray found himself in in Groundhog Day.

Yesterday provided a stark reminder of the ruthless vindictiveness of the Harper regime as Dean Beeby of The Canadian Press reported:

A left-leaning think-tank was targeted by the Canada Revenue Agency for a political-activities audit last fall partly because the research and education material on its website appears to be "biased" and "one-sided."

That partial rationale for launching the controversial audit appears on a newly released document that the think-tank, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, obtained under the Access to Information Act.


Significantly, none of the right-wing 'think-tanks' have been thus targeted:

Among right-leaning or pro-business think-tanks in Canada, two — the C.D. Howe Institute in Toronto and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute in Ottawa — have confirmed to The Canadian Press they are not currently under audit for political activities. Two others — the Fraser Institute in Vancouver and the Montreal Economic Institute — have declined to comment on the matter.

In his inimitable style, Dr. Dawg offers a trenchant commentary on this farce, so I offer no further observations here.

And what better way to start a 'new' year than to be reminded of the ever-present and always intrusive past? Star readers come through once again:

Re: Take the muzzle off government scientists, Opinion Aug. 26

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has something to hide from Canadians if he continues to muzzle scientists. He must be afraid of scientific evidence about carbon emissions, sea ice, and climate change, for it would challenge the conservative “free market” view of Canada’s economy in relationship to oil companies and corporations for whom profit is more important than environmental protection, animal habitat and the truth about Canada’s future.

One need only to look at the effects of the free market philosophy in Asia where cities are clogged by coal-fired air pollution and the populace wears face masks in an attempt to breathe. In the United States many have complained of health problems due to fracking. The purity of water is under threat globally, and the Alberta oil sands uses huge quantities of clean drinking water to create its end product. Recent industrial spills in rivers in B.C. threaten drinking water, fish and other wildlife. Is this the Canada people want?

Canadians citizens have a right to know the scientific truth about our country, before it is further degraded by rampant free market initiatives and the devious subterfuge perpetrated by the Harper Conservatives.


Diane Sullivan, Toronto

While claiming to be the most honest, transparent, accountable government Canada has ever had, the Harper government lies to us and consistently distorts and withholds the truth to which we are entitled.

They’ve gutted the long form census to dispense with the troublesome information it provided, apparently preferring to use Kijiji as an informational source — or better yet spending millions on self-serving polls, which are regularly followed up with millions more spent on self-serving propaganda.

Additional efforts, funds and even government agencies are directed against us with blatant attempts by the government to discredit or silence well-meaning charities, the media, our nation’s courts, aboriginals, environmentalists, scientists and even the Canadian public.

And while all this effort and devotion benefits the Conservative party and its supporters (big business, big oil, big banks), guess who’s paying for it. The “bigs” are the ones getting the tax breaks, not us.


Randy Gostlin, Oshawa
Recommend this Post

Happy Temporary Foreign Workers Labour Day!

Creekside - 6 hours 7 min ago
Bloomberg, Dec 2010 : Europe’s largest oil-field service provider, Saipem, wins $1 Billion onshore contract from Husky for the Sunrise Energy Project in Canada.

Nine months ago, Fort McMurray Today reported that 270 unionized welders and pipefitters contracted to that Husky Sunrise tarsands project were laid off and replaced by cheaper temporary foreign workers from Mexico, Ireland, Portugal and Italy.

commenter under another FMT article explained:
"We had to conduct a handover to Saipem (a mostly Italian workforce), detailing to them where we had stopped work so that they may continue. In the final week, Saipem foreign workers were actually in the facility working side by side with us; a very uncomfortable situation for those of us about to be laid off."Yesterday CBC's Kathy Tomlinson revisited that story : Canadians expose foreign worker 'mess' in oilsands"
"Canadian tradesmen from a huge oilsands construction project are waving a red flag about safety hazards and near misses, which they blame on the use of foreign workers who aren't qualified and can't speak English.Stand-outs from that story include :
  • a foreign worker taking a blowtorch to a propane tank to defrost it
  • Canadians with better qualifications passed over for jobs while foreign workers from Europe continued to show up 
  • foreigner workers arrived without Canadian-standard trade certification but "under government rules, they have a year before they must take their test." after which they can take it again later if they fail,  and 
  • "Probably 75 per cent of [foreign] ironworkers on site were only at the level of a labourer."

But back up a bit. The company that brought in those workers - Italian oil and gas services contractor, Saipem.  Haven't we heard about them before?

Dec. 2012 : Saipem CEO resigns after Algeria corruption probe

July 2013 :Milan court rules Saipem guilty of corruption in Nigeria ...July 2013 : Jul. 2 - Saipem drilling rig sinks off Angola One person missing"The Italian oilfield services provider said that one of the jack-up rig’s three legs collapsed, causing the rig to suddenly tilt and start taking water. The incident, according to Saipem, occurred during the rig positioning on location between the coasts of Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, in approximately 40 meters of water. 6 crew members have sustained minor injuries. At approximately 10:30 am CET, the rig, with no personnel on board, capsized and sank. "Sept. 2013 : Milan prosecutors investigate Saipem for alleged market manipulation and insider trading
July 2014 : Australian unions fury at Coalition`s gas job sell-out
"Saipem's enormous pipelay vessel Castorone will start work soon off the Australia coast.  The Government issued a regulation eliminating the need for any worker on a craft not tethered to the Australian mainland to have a work visa. That would free foreign companies with the contracts to lay pipework and other vital infrastructure on huge projects such as the Browse Basin gas field to hire thousands of foreign workers instead of Australians."Gosh, just like here.
But no, not any of those stories ... 
Ah I remember - it was Arthur Porter, SNC-Lavalin, and Saipem!

In 2005, SNC-Lavalin "and its joint venture partner, Saipem ", were awarded a lump sum contract by Canadian Natural Resources Limited (Canadian Natural) to provide engineering, procurement and construction management services for the Horizon Oil Sands Project.

Four years later, SNC-Lavalin had signed a deal to award former CSIS watchdog Dr. Arthur Porter of Sierra Leone (currently on the lam from Canadian law in Panama) and his company Sierra Assets Management, 3 payments totaling $10-million for consultancy fees regarding a gas project in Algeria.  The $1.2 billion Rhourde Nouss gas project deal was awarded to SNC-L the same year by Sonatrach, Algeria’s national oil company.

In 2013,  Algerian police raided SNC offices in Algiers regarding "allegations of bribery and kickbacks involving Sonatrach and public officials and agents hired by SNC-Lavalin to procure a number of large infrastructure projects."
G&M February 2013 : SNC-Lavalin bribery probe widens to Algeria :
The investigation focuses on one of the company’s agents in Algeria, Farid Bedjaoui, a jet-setting money manager hired to help secure at least $1-billion in contracts with the country’s state-run oil company, Sonatrach. Mr. Bedjaoui was educated in Montreal and occasionally resides thereSources close to the investigations in Europe and Canada believe that SNC and the Italian oil services firm Saipem SpA relied on Mr. Bedjaoui, the nephew of former Algerian foreign affairs minister Mohammed Bedjaoui, to obtain contracts from Sonatrach.Mr. Bedjaoui is one of several foreign agents hired by SNC who have fallen under suspicion for allegedly paying bribes.Several Saipem executives are under investigation, including the construction unit’s recently suspended chief operating officer, Pietro Varone, who was so close with Mr. Bedjaoui that the two men launched a wine-making company together outside Naples.
Well, I'm sure when we sign off on those investor-state rights trade deals with Europe, CETA and TTIP, all this will go much more smoothly, right?
.

what i do, what i miss, and what are they thinking: answers to the question, "what do you do?"

we move to canada - 6 hours 46 min ago
When we moved to Canada (nine years plus a few days ago), I wondered what, if anything, I would miss about the US. Who would have guessed it would be watching "Baseball Tonight"? Yup, the only thing I miss about living in that crazy country is watching a baseball-highlights show on ESPN. Not bad!

In a similar vein, what do I miss about being a writer? A strange sound that I can't quite decipher.

When people would ask that inevitable question, "What do you do?", and I would answer, "I'm a writer," invariably, I would get this reaction: "Ooooo..." Their eyes would go wide, their lips would form an O, and out would come a sing-song sound of amazement. I don't know why this was. I don't know what it meant. But it would always happen!

Except in New York. No one "Oooos" over anyone's work in New York, and certainly not over writers. Writers in New York are more common than tourists in Times Square, or rats on the subway tracks.

But everywhere else, when I said I was a writer, I would get this "Oooo..." response.

Who would have known I would miss it?

I do miss writing professionally. I miss the writing life. When Allan and I talk about his next book project, about his research and his process, I miss it. A lot.

At the same time, I'm very aware that what I'm missing had become quite rare in my life. I'm missing when it was going well: when I was working on absorbing assignments that paid decently and would be published and distributed. And if that had been a more common occurrence, I would have stayed with my original intent for library school: a job as a part-time librarian, to replace my day-job, while I continued my (part-time) writing life.

But that wasn't the case. Good writing jobs had become far too scarce, and I got excited about librarianship, and so it goes.

But who would have guessed how I would miss the sound of that "Ooooo..."! It's the silliest thing, especially since I don't even know what they were Ooooing about, what romantic misconception about writing was at work there. But it was fun. I'd say I was a writer, the other person would Oooo, and it gave me a little buzz.

So how do people react when I say I'm a librarian?

They either reply with a tight little, "Oh, that's interesting," kind of like you would say, "What's that smell?" Or else they say one of these seven things, collected (with GIFs) by Ellyssa Kroski, the iLibrarian blogger (and Director of IT at the New York Law Institute).
1) “Do people still even go to the library now that there’s Google?”

It’s amazing how many people respond this way when I tell them I’m a librarian. I assure them however, that we are somehow soldiering on in the library field, along with all of the doctors who are still attempting to stay relevant in spite of WebMD.

2) “So, are you like, a volunteer?” Usually followed up with “What? You need to have a Master’s degree to be a librarian?!!”

Nearly everyone I’ve ever met has been astounded that librarians hold advanced degrees.

3) “But isn’t print dead at this point?”

Yes, this is still a thing people are saying.Click through to read the other four. I've been working as a librarian for only 14 months and I've heard all of these multiple times.

A Canadian Veteran Prepares to Go After Peter MacKay

Montreal Simon - 9 hours 2 min ago


A few weeks ago I told you how veterans are preparing to declare war on the Harper regime, that has treated them so shabbily.

And how they are planning to make their presence felt in the next election campaign.

A network of veterans across Canada is planning a co-ordinated campaign against the Conservative government during next year’s election.

“When the election is called, you’re going to see some large fallout, believe me,” said Sydney veteran Ron Clarke. “As soon as the writ is dropped, we are in action.”


Now one of them has announced plans to go after the ghastly Con buffoon Peter MacKay.
Read more »

The Harperland Summer and the Country Where Hope Lives

Montreal Simon - 11 hours 11 min ago


It's Labour Day. The Snowbirds are roaring over my house for the last time, heading for the CNE air show on the other side of the island. It feels like summer is over.

And the roar of the jets only reminds me of what a cataclysmic summer it has been. The summer of Gaza, ISIS, Ukraine, Ferguson and Ebola. A summer of death and destruction, hatred and despair.

And of course just another grim summer in the horror of Harperland, where hope goes to die.

So I'm really glad I spent much of July in a very different country...



Where hope is very much alive, and something incredibly beautiful is happening. 
Read more »

Mt Polley. Where is the Government?

Sister Sages Musings - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 19:31

Oh, that fickle news cycle! Bestie of Christy Clark, Bill Bennett, Mary Polak.

Where the fuck is the Federal Government, namely, Gail Shea, Minister Responsible for Fisheries and Oceans? Yes, Ms Shea, wild salmon spend a considerable portion of their time in our lakes and rivers. Why are you not out here, getting . . . → Read More: Mt Polley. Where is the Government?

The Canada Revenue Agency doubles down

Dawg's Blawg - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 17:11
According to a document newly obtained through an Access to Information request, the august Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is under audit scrutiny because, according to CRA officials, its research and educational materials are “one-sided.” I must admit I’m tickled... Dr.Dawg http://drdawgsblawg.ca/

A Timely Reminder

Politics and its Discontents - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 16:29
What Have The Unions Ever Done For Us? was produced in Australia after John Howard's conservative government went after collective bargaining rights.



H/t Press ProgressRecommend this Post

Stephen Harper the Chicken Hawk Gets his Feathers Plucked

Montreal Simon - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 16:00


Well as you know, no world leader has screamed as loudly about the crisis in Ukraine as has Stephen Harper.

If words were weapons the Russians would have surrendered by now.

But now NATO is demanding that he put his money where his mouth or his snout is.

And the chicken hawk has been plucked.

Canada's modest military might has always made it hard for its prime ministers to strut convincingly on the world stage. Stephen Harper is only the latest to offer stirring rhetorical contributions to the Western alliance, without having much firepower to back them up. 

Faced with a pressing need to offer more than ringing denunciations of Russian aggression, NATO's 28 members are being challenged to increase their defence budgets. Harper intends to do no such thing. As long as that's true, Harper will be speaking loudly, but carrying a small stick.


Because when it comes to choosing between defending Ukraine, and defending the deficit so he can bribe Canadians with tax cuts in the next election campaign. 

He'd rather bomb our defence budget. 



Stephen Harper has been one of the toughest-talking leaders throughout the Ukraine crisis, yet newly released figures show National Defence is expected to face an even deeper budget hole in the coming year than previously anticipated.

Annual spending on the military, when compared with 2011, is slated to shrink by a total of $2.7-billion in 2015, according to a briefing note prepared for the deputy defence minister.


And here's the best part eh?

What does Great Chicken Hawk Leader believe his most outstanding contribution to NATO should be?

More HOT AIR. 

According to the account of the Prime Minister's Office, Harper's goal at the NATO summit is to emphasize what Canada has already done, especially with its fine rhetoric: "Canada's main objectives for the Summit include highlighting its contributions to the Alliance, notably the role it has played since the onset of the Russia-Ukraine crisis by stressing the need for a strong international response to Russia's aggression against Ukraine..." 

So: our "main objective" is to "highlight" our role in "stressing the need" for a "strong response."

Because that should teach Putin a lesson he'll NEVER forget...



Oh boy. You know if I was a Ukrainian-Canadian I'd be looking for another champion.

If I was the Con clown Stephen Harper.

I'd be looking for another job...

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