Posts from our progressive community

Southern Ontario Skins: A Cast of Stooges Part X

Anti-Racist Canada - sam, 09/06/2014 - 12:19
While the lead writer of the ARC Collective is planning on taking a hiatus for a month or so to recharge the batteries on a beach somewhere in Baja soon, it wouldn't seem right to leave when there are still a couple to loose ends to tie up.

Then again, we don't expect this particular loose end to remain tied for very long.

Our readers have been following a series that we lovingly refer to as the "cast of stooges" where we provide a running account of some of the misadventures of the Southern Ontario "Skinheads." One of those stooges, Jeremy Crawford, can't seem to help continuing to make a clown out of himself and a fool out of the rest of the SOS, particularly Max "Come at me bro!" Hynes who founded the gang.



In one rather epic and very well read piece on the blog, we posted the email exchanges between ourselves and Crawford who inexplicably believed that we were the SOS or, at the very least, would be willing to help him get in touch with Hynes and then member Brodie Walsh (who later had his own problems one can read herehere, and here). Eventually Crawford figured things out, but not before we were able to string him along for more than a month. Suffice it to say he was a little bit upset.

Now to get an understanding of why Crawford took so long to figure out who we really were, here is a recent example of Crawford thinking:



First, one would think that a prerequisite of running a prison gang like the Aryan Brotherhood would be the ability to spell Aryan. Second, we appreciate his simple logic, if one could refer to this line of thinking as logic: "Black are all criminals who sell drugs. You can trust me because I'm a former federal inmate jailed for selling drugs and possessing illegal weapons."

That being said, we didn't think we would hear from Crawford directly anymore. He's dumb as a brick, but even he knows when to quit, right?

Right?

ALL U GUYS GOT IS YOUR MOUTHS YOUR TELEPHONE TOUGH GUYS IF YOU WERE TO RUN INTO ONE OF US YOU'D BE BACK PEDDLING AND DOING ANYTHING TO SAVE YOUR OWN ASS.

Oh Jeremy Crawford. You are just a national treasure!

Read more »

In Case You Missed It, the Nuclear Option is Back

The Disaffected Lib - sam, 09/06/2014 - 11:37
Vlad Putin is going for his nukes and we need to grasp our role in getting him there.  Russia is re-arming with a new class of nuclear submarines, a new and possibly illegal inter-continental ballistic missile and a new strategic bomber. 

Our sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine are working.  They're hammering the Russian economy which, in turn, destabilizes the state.  In case you don't get it, a destabilized nation just brimming with nuclear weapons is never a good idea.

NATO has been ratcheting up the pressure on Russia by announcing plans to establish two new bases on Russia's doorstep and the formation of an all-arms (naval, air and land) rapid reaction force specifically targeted at Russia. 

Putin doesn't much trust the West nor have we given him any reason that he should.   NATO's blunt-minded (and fortunately outgoing) Secretary-General, Andy Rasmussen, is pushing for the establishment of two military bases on Russia's borders.  It's the sort of thing that Hadrian would have done to keep the Picts at bay.  He's also spinning the idea of a rapid reaction force just in case Moscow gets frisky.  Little does Foggy Rasmussen seem to understand that his own homeland, Denmark, would probably fare poorly in a shooting war with Russia and that, maybe destabilizing Russia with provocative military installations and threats of rapid reaction forces really isn't in Europe's best interests.  Winter is coming.

But surely a cool customer like Vlad Putin wouldn't do something insane like resort to nukes, would he?  Maybe, maybe not.  The folks at ForeignPolicy.com aren't convinced.

Ever the one to administer bracing doses of Geopolitics 101 to his opponents, especially those inclined to underestimate his nerve, President Vladimir Putin, at a youth forum north of Moscow last week, reminded the world that "Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations. This is a reality, not just words." (Indeed it is.)

Fifteen days earlier, on Aug. 14, at a conference in Yalta, the Russian president had told the assembled factions of the State Duma that he soon planned to "surprise the West with our new developments in offensive nuclear weapons about which we do not talk yet." This came as Russian strategic nuclear bombers and fighter jets have been accused of violating the airspace of the United States and Western European countries with mounting frequency, while under the surface of the world's seas Russian and U.S. nuclear submarines have been involved in confrontations recalling the worst days of the Cold War. As NATO leaders convene for their summit in Wales, Russia just announced that its strategic nuclear forces will hold exercises of unprecedented dimensions this month. And the Kremlin, for its part, just declared that it will amend its military doctrine to reflect Russia's growing tensions with NATO. What this means exactly remains unclear, but in view of the rising tensions with the Western alliance, it cannot be good.

...But Putin would never actually use nuclear weapons, would he? The scientist and longtime Putin critic Andrei Piontkovsky, a former executive director of the Strategic Studies Center in Moscow and a political commentator for the BBC World Service, believes he might. In August, Piontkovsky published a troubling account of what he believes Putin might do to win the current standoff with the West -- and, in one blow, destroy NATO as an organization and finish off what's left of America's credibility as the world's guardian of peace.
 
In view of the Russian leader's recent remarks and provocative actions, the scenario Piontkovsky lays out becomes terrifyingly relevant. Worse, if the trigger events described come to pass, it becomes logical, maybe even inevitable.

Here's the chilling scenario the experts envision.

Not a massive launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles at the United States or Western Europe, which would bring about a suicidal atomic holocaust, but a small, tactical strike or two against a NATO member that few in the West would be willing to die to protect. Piontkovsky surmises that, in such a conflict, the nuclear-armed country with the "superior political will" to alter the geopolitical "status quo" and -- most importantly -- with the "greater indifference to values concerning human lives" would prevail. Any guesses which country that would be?

But what would trigger a Russian attack? According to Piontkovsky's scenario, it could be something as simple as a plebiscite: the Estonian city of Narva, overwhelmingly ethnically Russian and adjacent to Russia, deciding to hold a referendum on joining the Motherland. To help them "freely express their will" at the polls, Russia could send in a brigade of "little green men armed to the teeth," much like it did in Crimea in March. Estonia would thereupon invoke Article 5 of the NATO charter -- "an armed attack against one or more [NATO members] … shall be considered an attack against them all" -- and demand that the alliance defend it. Speaking in the Estonian capital of Tallinn on the eve of NATO's summit in Wales, this is just what Obama promised. "The defense of Tallinn and Riga and Vilnius is just as important as the defense of Berlin and Paris and London," he said.

Suddenly, the most terrifying nightmare becomes reality: NATO faces war with Russia.
 
How would Putin then react? Piontkovsky believes that NATO would balk at attacking Moscow over a small country remote from NATO's heartland and the hearts of its citizens. Piontkovsky imagines the course of action open to Nobel Peace Prize laureate Obama as he contemplates unleashing a planetary holocaust over a "damned little city no one has even heard of" while the American public cries out, "We don't want to die for fucking Narva, Mr. President!" Piontkovsky also cites a German public opinion poll asking what Berlin should do if Estonia enters an armed conflict with Russia: 70 percent would want their country to remain neutral.

Piontkovsky then tries to envision the situation in which Putin would find himself if NATO intervened to drive his little green men from Narva. Would Putin commit suicide by letting his missiles fly against the United States? No. Rather, he would respond with a limited nuclear strike against a couple of European capitals -- not London or Paris, but smaller ones, presumably in Eastern European countries that have only recently joined NATO. Warsaw, against which Russia has already conducted a drill simulating a Russian nuclear attack, first comes to mind. Or, say, Vilnius, Lithuania's capital. The point is, Putin would bet on decision-makers in Washington, Berlin, London, and Paris not retaliating with nuclear weapons against Russia if it had "only" hit a city or two most Westerners have barely heard of -- and certainly do not want to die for.

...it's worth remembering that since 2000 Russian nuclear doctrine has foreseen the deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons to de-escalate a conflict with NATO, if Russian forces were about to suffer defeat in a conventional conflict -- which shows that the Kremlin has already been betting that neither Obama nor the leaders of other nuclear powers would push the button if they could avoid it.

The Kremlin is probably right.




Saturday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - sam, 09/06/2014 - 08:39
This and that for your weekend reading.

- Andrew Jackson writes that public investment is needed as part of a healthy economy, particularly when it's clear that the private sector isn't going to put massive accumulated savings to use. Bob McDonald notes that we'd be far better off using public money to fund basic research instead of funnelling it toward the business sector. And Ed Keenan looks to Ontario for examples of how far more money is flowing into questionable corporate handouts than toward basic human needs.

- Meanwhile, Lana Payne exposes the Cons' efforts to both downplay and reduce the federal funds available to improve both economic and social conditions if they had any interest in getting things done:
Martin serially underestimated the size of federal surpluses, surpluses the Conservatives quickly spent when they took power, mostly on reckless corporate tax cuts. The Conservatives then continued the trend started by Martin, who had reduced federal corporate taxes to historic lows. Apparently not low enough for the Conservatives, who lowered them again and again.

This has been the extent of Canada’s tax debate for a generation: tax cuts. Even the political left has bought into the mantra, to a certain extent. Political parties, for the most part, want to avoid having an adult conversation on what a fair tax system in Canada would look like.And, as a result, there is little to no fiscal room to build and deliver on the needs of the next generation of Canadians or to meet the demands of an aging population.

The Conservatives have continued the austerity agenda, slashing programs and services and laying off more than 20,000 employees.  They have overstated the size of the deficit. Indeed, for the first three months of fiscal year 2014-15, the federal government has been in official surplus.

The parliamentary budget officer (PBO) has been critical of the federal government’s continued austerity, noting that the measures have slowed economic growth and resulted in fewer jobs. The PBO has also predicted a $7-billion surplus for 2015.

These slash-and-burn austerity policies have served to keep the expectations of Canadians low, but they have also fundamentally changed and diminished the role the federal government has played in Canadian society.

This, of course, has been the point and some of the rationale behind the reckless tax cuts — empty the federal coffers, strangle the expectations of Canadians and then repeat.- Linda McQuaig writes about the costs of allowing corporations to engage in tax-evasion maneuvers like the Burger King/Tim Hortons takeover:
We’re always told we should try to lure corporations here with low taxes. But such a strategy — even if it did result in some benefit to Canada — is ultimately self-defeating.

The more we cut our tax rates, the more other countries feel obliged to cut theirs. Round and round it goes, with less and less revenue for vital public programs everywhere. It’s a race to the bottom only corporations can win.

Instead, we should be supporting the Obama administration in its efforts to stop international corporate tax dodging. The White House is now locked in a fierce battle with powerful corporations over tax inversion schemes and also over the U.S. corporate tax rate, which — at 35 per cent — is one of the highest in the world. Corporations want it slashed.

The outcome of this showdown will affect us all. If the multinationals succeed in coercing the mighty United States government to cut its corporate tax rate, it will be much harder for less powerful countries to resist the corporate tax-cutting juggernaut.

The race to the bottom will be on in earnest — with the corporate world happily handing out steroids.- Mike De Souza reports that the Cons refuse to let Health Canada or its scientists talk about the effects of oil-industry toxins on Alberta residents (other than to dismiss out of hand the research which actually shows harm to human health caused by the tar sands).

- Finally, Rick Salutin highlights the foreign policy that's actually threatening us at home at abroad:
Yes, there’s a threat of domestic 9/11-type attacks by ISIS: either in the name of global proselytization or to teach the West what it’s like to be bombarded at home. But it’s the predictable result of western policies since 9/11: invasions, occupations, brutalizations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. Western leaders and policy mavens knew these would elicit further 9/11s. That’s what I find despicable. They surely try to stop them but eventually some will probably get through — and they’re prepared to accept those, along with the terrorization of their own populations, as the price of their agenda.

In other words, they don’t invade or attack to stop future 9/11s. They accept future 9/11s as the cost for invasions and attacks with other purposes.

Such retaliations can arise in any society that’s been buffeted by outsiders, though they’re easier to mount in the globalized era. They already occurred in Ireland and Algeria. They often come from religion-based groups because those have deep roots and seem better able to survive repression than secular resistance movements. Occupiers like the U.S. are willing to risk the retaliation since, though terrifying and barbaric, it doesn’t menace them existentially: neither economically nor militarily. They’ll survive, and meanwhile have an excuse to tighten the screws on domestic dissent, further eroding personal security.

Tragedy In The Commons

Politics and its Discontents - sam, 09/06/2014 - 08:07
I know that I am hardly alone in sometimes thinking that the insights and observations of progressives have a Cassandra-like quality to them; we think we can see patterns auguring ill for our country and our democracy, but warnings are largely ignored by a quiescent or alienated proportion of the population, the latter so turned off by the cupidity and corruption that seems to abound in the political world that they have just disengaged and decided to pursue other aspects of life that seem more worthwhile.

One can argue that it has always been thus; others can, quite cogently, argue that the process of alienation has vastly accelerated under the Harper regime, the result of a cabal that has made an art out of vilification, dirty tricks and divisiveness as it relentlessly pursues its raison d'être, the retention of power for its own sake.

I have just started reading Tragedy in the Commons, written by Alison Loat and Michael MacMillan, who founded Samara, a non-profit devoted to strengthening democracy in Canada by improving political participation.

Here is a brief excerpt from it about the role of the MP as offered by a former Liberal:

The truth is: you're there to develop policy that is self-serving and beneficial to your party in order to keep you in power and get you re-elected...

That bald statement epitomizes the monumental task before those who seek a renewed democracy, one that offers both hope and the opportunity to feel a part of something larger than themselves, something truly worthwhile.

While I was intending this post as a lead-in to more commentary on how the Conservatives have so abjectly failed in the above regard, other duties summon me, so for now I will leave you with this brief video:


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How Many McJobs Go With That?

Northern Reflections - sam, 09/06/2014 - 06:08

                                                      http://www.frontpagemag.com/   

When Burger King gobbled up Tim  Hortons two weeks ago, Joe Oliver crowed about Canada's low corporate tax rates. But, Linda McQuaig writes, Oliver was telling whoppers, not selling them:

One might be left with the impression that the corporate creator of the Whopper plans to invest a whopping $11 billion in Canada. Now there’s a whopper for you — but it’s not inside a bun.

The truth is that the Burger King-Tim Hortons deal is just a paper transaction that, apart from enriching some stockholders, likely will provide zero benefit for Canada, in terms of job creation or additional revenue for the public purse.
Certainly, south of the border, Americans were unimpressed:

Burger King is clearly trying to take advantage of a popular U.S. tax scheme known as “tax inversion,” whereby a corporation takes over a foreign company to get around U.S. tax laws requiring corporations to pay tax on their worldwide incomes. Canada doesn’t have such a requirement, making it easier for companies headquartered here to avoid taxes through “transfer pricing” — that is, shifting profits to offshore tax havens.

The Obama administration has been trying hard to clamp down on this “unpatriotic” tax inversion scheme, whereby some of America’s wealthiest corporations have managed to dodge billions of dollars in taxes.
The American president understands that this is all about a race to the bottom. And he would appreciate a little help from Canada:

The more we cut our tax rates, the more other countries feel obliged to cut theirs. Round and round it goes, with less and less revenue for vital public programs everywhere. It’s a race to the bottom only corporations can win.

Instead, we should be supporting the Obama administration in its efforts to stop international corporate tax dodging. The White House is now locked in a fierce battle with powerful corporations over tax inversion schemes and also over the U.S. corporate tax rate, which — at 35 per cent — is one of the highest in the world. Corporations want it slashed.
But the Harperites have always been bottom feeders. No one appears to have asked, "How many McJobs go with that? And will they be filled with Temporary Foreign Workers?

The Real Reason Stephen Harper Wants to Cling to Power

Montreal Simon - sam, 09/06/2014 - 04:01


Well I'm not surprised that Stephen Harper was looking so beat up at the end of the NATO summit. I mean just look at him.

For a moment I though he was going burst into tears, or resign on the spot.

But then it must have been painful to have to tell the other leaders that despite screeching like a chicken hawk, he won't put his money where his mouth is, because he needs the cash to bribe voters in the next election.

So much for Great Warrior Leader.

And as fate would have it, on the very same day, so much for Great Economist Leader. 
Read more »

Stephen Harper and his Ghastly Flying Monkeys

Montreal Simon - sam, 09/06/2014 - 01:41


I've been warning for a while that the number of young right-wing fanatics in the PMO War Machine had reached dangerous levels.

And that with their master Stephen Harper so desperate, some of them would eventually take wing like the flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz.

And sure enough they have. 

And now they're out of control.
Read more »

We Had This Place

Sister Sages Musings - ven, 09/05/2014 - 21:21

There was this place in the world, where we were home.

For a decade, we occupied this place. We brought in topsoil. Slate. Beautiful flatrock. At the time, I worked at a nursery, and I brought in plants, shrubs, trees. Dave made art out of stumps and logs and burls. We stewarded that land . . . → Read More: We Had This Place

Musical interlude

accidentaldeliberations - ven, 09/05/2014 - 19:57
Orjan Nilsen feat. Kate Louise Smith - The Thunder

BC Parents dropping their Christy Clark $40 bribe checks right into the Teacher's strike fund kitty

Rusty Idols - ven, 09/05/2014 - 17:49
They were at $12,000 a few hours ago the last time I looked, they're about to hit $15,000 now. 

This is BC parents giving to the Teacher's Strike fund, in denominations of $40.

The Christy Clark Liberals are throwing a farcical $40 a day bribe paid for with public funds at BC parents in a desperate attempt to deflect the well deserved blame for the teacher's strike.  The parents, in huge numbers, are then turning around and giving that money to the Teacher's strike fund.

The Christy Clark government is helping to finance the Teacher's Strike.

Can there be a more symbolic and perfect demonstration how utterly the Christy Clark government has lost this public relations battle? 

The Teacher's arbitration offer is just a twist of the knife, the government knows it can't win a fair, unbiased arbitration, or even come out even, and they can't explain to the public that they are rejecting arbitration because they can't live with a fair settlement.

All that's left to this war is shooting the wounded.  sdnxry5z7g

Politics in the raw

Dawg's Blawg - ven, 09/05/2014 - 15:25
There is outrage in the land. Stephen Harper’s short-pants brigade “trapped” a couple of Liberals into straying off-message. One was “pro-lifer” MP John McKay, grousing about Justin Trudeau’s insistence that Liberal candidates be pro-choice. The other was Liberal hopeful General... Dr.Dawg http://drdawgsblawg.ca/

Murder, she wrote

Cathie from Canada - ven, 09/05/2014 - 12:30
The "root cause" for why Indigenous women are murdered and missing?
Men are killing them. Usually, white men.
Really, its as simple as that.
Sarah Hunt asks why are we so hesitant to name white male violence as the reason for missing and murdered Indigenous women:
I fear that no amount of increased awareness and political organizing will actually end the violence if we continue along this current trajectory because we are still not shining a spotlight on the real causes of violence. No, I'm not talking about the drug use and street involvement that some journalists have drawn attention to in their portrayal of Tina Fontaine's final days. I'm also not talking about widespread poverty on reserve, or even the myriad factors that systematically marginalize Indigenous girls and women.
What this latest round of media coverage has failed to address is simply this: white male violence.
Indeed, the erasure of that violence as a topic of social and political concern is arguably a form of violence itself, as it serves to remove white men from the equation. White men get away with being unmarked by the violence they perpetrate, not at fault for carrying out a form of violation that is as old as colonialism itself.She adds that the search for ways to blame First Nations for the problem, and the reluctance to ascribe responsibility for violence to its actual perpetrators, also serves to marginalize Indigenous women:
Maybe all those white male 'experts' who have weighed in on this issue during these past few weeks would make better use of their energy by turning their attention to the obvious: that serial killers like Legebokoff and Pickton are their peers. Where is the national action plan to address the violence that starts with them?

Friday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - ven, 09/05/2014 - 08:17
Assorted content to end your week.

- Jordan Brennan examines the close links between strong organized labour and improved wages for all types of workers:
U.S. scholars have found that higher rates of state-level unionization help reduce working poverty in unionized and non-unionized households and that the effects of unionization are larger than macro performance and social policies in those states. Research shows that the decline of U.S. unions between 1973 and 2007 explains one-fifth to one-third of the growth in U.S. wage inequality—a magnitude comparable to the growing stratification of wages by education. A 2010 study used data from 14,000 respondents in 14 countries and found that life satisfaction is directly related to the level of unionization and that union members report higher life satisfaction than non-union members.

Given the foregoing, ‘unionization’ provides an answer to two questions: ‘What drives income inequality?’ and ‘What can we do about it?’

Union renewal will be difficult in the current political climate, given the hostility governments currently express to the very idea of collective bargaining. The optimistic assessment is that governments are attacking unions despite the fact that unions play a progressive role in middle class formation. The more cynical assessment is that governments are attacking unions (cheered on by factions in the corporate sector) because they understand the role that unions play in building a shared prosperity.

In either case, if unions are going to continue their historic role as elevators of working conditions and lifters of living standards, governments must cease their attacks. But the absence of government hostility will not be enough for unions to flourish in the future. Instead, a supportive policy environment where union security is not only tolerated but nurtured is a crucial ingredient in union renewal. - Meanwhile, David Dayen notes that U.S. incomes are still increasing only at the very top - and that the result figures to be a burgeoning social movement reviving the concept of forcing change through collective action.

- The Alberta Federation of Labour points out how negligent enforcement of rules governing temporary foreign workers has been putting Alberta at risk. And Bill Tieleman's commentary on the B.C. Libs' school shutdown points out that the teacher's union is simply fighting for class size and composition standards which ultimately benefit students.

- William Marsden reports that Canada's growing list of international embarrassments includes the title of greatest destroyer of natural forests on the planet since 2000. Andrea Germanos discusses a U.S. court's decision on liability for BP's massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill - just in time for oil giants to start drilling in Canada's Arctic region with lax spill response standards. And PressProgress reveals that the oil sector is far from finished demanding that Canada's laws be rewritten to place its interests ahead of the environment (and all other considerations).

- Finally, Denise Balkissoon writes about the need to actively change politics as part of a functioning democratic system, rather than merely complaining about them as something inflicted from outside. And Don Braid's take on Alberta's PC leadership race looks to offer a truly sad example of what happens when all policies and ideals are purged from an electoral process.

A Voice From The Past

Politics and its Discontents - ven, 09/05/2014 - 07:28


The always mellifluous Brian Mulroney offers some less than sweet-sounding words for the Harper government. As reported in The Globe and Mail, in an interview with Don Martin on CTV's Power Play, the former prime minister is quite critical of aspects of of the current, and warns that the electoral appetite for change is real and needs to be respected.

About Harper's very public and disgraceful dispute with Canada's Chief Justice, he says:

“You don’t get into a slagging contest with the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, even if you thought that he or she was wrong ... You don’t do that.”

On Canada's current relationship with the United Natons:

“When Canada, for the first time in our history, loses a vote at the United Nations to become a member of the Security Council . . . to Portugal, which was on the verge of bankruptcy at the time, you should look in the mirror and say: ‘Houston, I think we have a problem.’”

Without explicitly criticizing the Harper record on the environment, Mulroney says that

a “pristine environment” is important to Canada’s middle class.

“There are very few things that the middle class value more than the environment . . . and that’s one thing we can deliver on,” he said.

“The prime minister alone has to make it a very strong priority of the government, has to make sure it has the funds and the clout.”


About Justin Trudeau:

“His program is that he’s not Stephen Harper ... When I ran in ‘84... I won because I wasn’t Pierre Trudeau and then Jean Chrétien 10 years later won because he wasn’t Brian Mulroney. So it’s part of a desire for change, which is normal, and so I think it’s going to make for a great election [in 2015].”

Like a priest inspecting the entrails of a sacrificed animal, Mulroney's words suggest impending darkness for the Harper crew. And like many imperial presences of the past, Emperor Harper is likely to ignore these auguries at his peril and our gain.

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Et Tu, Brian?

Northern Reflections - ven, 09/05/2014 - 06:53
                                                            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

When Brian Mulroney appeared before a parliamentary committee to explain his connections to Karl Heinz Schreiber, Stephen Harper let it be known that Mulroney was persona non grata. Yesterday, Mulroney got his revenge. Interviewed for CTV's Power Play, he took Harper apart.

On the prime minister's public spat with Beverley McLachlin, he said:

You don't get into a slagging contest with the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, even if you thought that he or she was wrong. You don't do that.
On  Harper's attitude toward the United Nations:

When Canada, for the first time in our history, loses a vote at the United Nations to become a member of the Security Council ... to Portugal, which was on the verge of bankruptcy at the time, you should look in the mirror and say: 'Houston, I think we have a problem.
On Harper's foreign policy:

[It]  has to be enveloped in a broader and more generous sweep that takes in Canadian traditions and Canadian history in a much more viable way. We're in the big leagues ... so we have to conduct ourselves in that way. We can't be out-riders.
On Harper's relationship with he United States:

He also chastised Harper for his relationship with U.S. President Barack Obama, suggesting the prime minister doesn't have the kind of close ties that allow him to call the Oval Office and ask for bilateral backup on a number of issues.

"If you can't do that, you don't have much clout internationally. The relationship with the United States is something the prime minister alone has to nurture the same way he would tend to the most delicate flowers in a garden. It's that important."
The interview appeared on the same day that Paul Martin and Joe Clark signed onto an initiative to improve the relationship between First Nations and the federal government.

With three former prime ministers -- two of them Conservatives -- standing in public opposition to him, Mr. Harper must be experiencing the same sinking feeling Caesar felt when he discovered all those senators gathering around him and Brutus wielding that dagger.


Stephen Harper and the Stench of Scandal

Montreal Simon - ven, 09/05/2014 - 05:20


Well as you know Stephen Harper is at the NATO summit in Wales and posing as a Great Statesman Leader.

Although you'd never know it from his position in this group photo eh?

Because any further back and you'd need binoculars to see him.

But then I'm sure he's just glad to be there, because it is his last foreign honeymoon before he's forced to return to Canada.

And it will be a hard landing...
Read more »

Scottish Independence, Canada, and the Power of a Movement

Montreal Simon - ven, 09/05/2014 - 02:17


I have always believed that while a political party can change a government, only a movement can truly change a country. Or the world.

I got a glimpse of the power of a movement during the Quebec student protests.

When for a while at least, young and old came together to challenge the very foundations of the increasingly savage capitalist society we're living in. And dream of something better.

And now I'm seeing it again in Scotland, where despite massive opposition from the Big Business and other forces of the establishment, it's one of the reasons the YES side may be heading for victory. 
Read more »

Peace

Sister Sages Musings - jeu, 09/04/2014 - 18:05

Instead of hating, let’s find common ground. What are you for? I am for peace. I feel that peace can easily be achieved by equality. Equality (for me) would be obtained by making a global constitution that included water, food and shelter as human rights. What are you for?

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