Posts from our progressive community

Polluted by crimes, but torn by no remorse

accidentaldeliberations - Sun, 07/24/2016 - 18:19
Shorter Brad Wall on what's truly important as an oil spill pollutes drinking water along the North Saskatchewan River:
I only hope this monster running amok doesn't make it harder to sell new reanimation technologies.Or in graphic form...


between the lines: how we got here

we move to canada - Sun, 07/24/2016 - 07:00
We've stopped picketing and demonstrating, and are waiting for our ratification meeting and vote tomorrow night, Monday, July 25.

As local president, my life has been consumed by bargaining and the strike for so long, it feels a bit surreal. Is it really over? That may take a while to sink in! I'm sure others feel this way, too.

Thank yous to the bargaining team from our members continue to pour in, along with congratulations from other union sisters and brothers. Donations continue to arrive from other locals, retired members, and even customers. Those are very welcome, as we begin to pay our bills and rebuild our funds.

The details of our new contract can't be made public until we ratify. But I can say this: we regard it as a very significant win.

For our leadership teams, this is gratifying beyond measure. We have spent the last two years rebuilding our union from the ground up, and this was the outcome.

The roots of our strike: rebuilding our union

Labour-Management

The first step in rebuilding our union was strengthening our position at our monthly labour-management meetings -- coming in more prepared, hitting harder, not being reluctant to file grievances. For more on this, see this article on RankandFile.ca, and its source, CharleyRichardson.org: "Kicking Ass for the Working Class". It's an honour and a privilege to try to walk in Charley Richardson's huge footprints. Shoulders of giants, and all that.

The most important element of our labour-management strategy was preparation. This required a willingness to meet regularly, on our own time, to plan and strategize in advance of meetings with management.

Separation

The next step in rebuilding was our separation from a large, composite local structure that didn't serve our needs, and returning to an independent local, as existed before the merger. This was an enormous undertaking, and required the time and commitment of many members. We held a series of informational meetings so members could make an informed decision -- and 98% of our membership voted to separate. This process itself was an incredibly powerful tool for building member engagement.

Becoming an independent local again gave us decision-making power over grievances, including when to go to arbitration, and we adopted a new willingness to use these tools.

Member engagement

Union activists -- including our rank-and-file executive, but certainly not only those -- made building member engagement our number one priority. We did this in ways large and small; see this post on my personal website: 10 ways you can increase member engagement in your union.

Our new or renewed strength at labour-management, and our new willingness to grieve, worked hand-in-hand with member engagement. We reported the highlights of labour-management meetings to our membership, so they knew we were fighting for them.

Communication

The next factor was clear communication and lots of it. One of the problems with the composite local structure had been a lack of transparency. We vowed to keep members constantly informed, and to strive for total transparency. That is probably the single most important piece of this picture. How can members feel engaged if they don't know what's going on?

Our attitude towards member communications extended to bargaining. Past negotiating committees had been very quiet about negotiations until the very end. That is very common, and many union members believe it is actually required, and that keeping members informed constitutes bad-faith bargaining. Not so.

We adopted a different approach. While we didn't share every roller-coaster twist and turn of the bargaining process -- which would be completely counter-productive -- we kept our membership in the loop throughout. I regularly emailed "Bargaining Bulletins" (thanks to Maureen O'Reilly for the name!) summarizing how the process was going, what we were fighting for, how the employer was reacting. We also gave updates about bargaining at our monthly general membership meetings.

And finally, the strike vote

This process went on for a long time, all of it working synergistically, building something larger than the sum of its parts.

When it was time to ask for a strike vote, our members were primed and ready. The bargaining team wasn't swooping in out of nowhere, asking people to gamble, to make this sacrifice. By the time we received the employer's (supposedly) best offer, and declared that we would not recommend ratification, our members came pouring into the auditorium ready to vote yes.

The night before the strike vote, I experienced a dark night of doubt and fear. So many of our members said they were willing to strike... but what if that was just talk? When push came to shove, would they vote yes? I've just faced our employer across the table and said, "We are rejecting this offer. We are not recommending ratification." What if our members didn't back us up?? If that happened, we were done. Finished. Our power at the table would be completely negated. We had said as much to members many times -- and members were saying it to each other, which was a great sign -- but still. There was no way to be sure.

All that night and into the morning, my stomach was in knots. We were holding three vote meetings, to give our members (as we are shift workers) maximum opportunity to participate. As soon as the first meeting began, I saw our members' faces -- a huge turnout, the room crackling with energy, everyone smiling and excited -- and I knew we had it.

And we did. We had the highest turnout of the last two years, and 96% of our membership voted to strike.

What did we gain?

I will write more about the gains we've made from striking -- both very real, practical gains in our collective agreement, and myriad intangible gains as a union and as individuals -- after we ratify. Stay tuned.

Scenes From Hell, And A Small Effort At Climate-Change Adaptation

Politics and its Discontents - Sun, 07/24/2016 - 06:17
It may seem rather pararochial that whenever I post video showing the current effects of climate change, I almost always post scenes from North America, despite the fact that floods, fires, heatwaves and other such apocalyptic signs are present throughout much of the world. Part of the reason is that compelling video of such disasters is readily available, thanks to the good coverage given by NBC, whose main concern is the United States. The other reason is a more basic one: while it is hard to relate to scenes of flooding, for example, from faraway places such as China, when it is in our backyard, i.e., North America, the perils and the threats seem far more immediate, urgent and relatable.

With that in mind, take a look at the following clip, which deals with the conflagrations so regularly engulfing California. For me, the scene that is most moving involves the efforts to evacuate both the horses and the inhabitants of a wildlife sanctuary. I'll introduce the second clip afterwards.



In response to my previous post, The Mound of Sound wrote this:
At some point, Lorne, the question becomes how we and our governments at all levels, especially provincial and local, will act on adaptation. If, over the next five or ten years, these "heat domes" you're currently experience worsen and become the norm adaptive measures will be essential especially in "heat islands" such as Toronto and the GTA. If summer droughts are recurrent it may be necessary for the agricultural sector to begin switching into heat and drought resistant crops. These things aren't long term answers. They don't solve the problems. They merely buy time. Perhaps we'll manage to get Trudeau or his successor to switch their focus from bitumen and pipelines into the survival of our civilization or is that too much to ask?The issue of adaptation does come up in the following clip, a story about how rising sea levels are threatening the wild horses of Assateague Island, off the Maryland coast. Yet, as I think you will agree, the efforts thus far seem puny compared to the magnitude of the threat. Kind of like closing the proverbial barn door after the horses have escaped, perhaps?




Kate Snow, in introducing the above story, describes how the horses are under threat by "Mother Nature herself." Surely that is a mischaracterization. Humanity's collective willfulness, selfishness and mulish refusal to confront the threats we ourselves have wrought are surely to blame. And sadly, our natures seem to lack any real capacity for attitude or lifestyle adaptation to what is destroying us.



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It Hasn't

Northern Reflections - Sun, 07/24/2016 - 03:10

Conrad Black lives on another planet than the rest of us. He is untroubled by the anxieties of those of us who are mere mortals. That's why he believes that we've misunderstood Donald Trump. In Friday's National Post he opined:

Even in the week that he is nominated by the Republican party for the presidency of the United States, intelligent people fail in droves to understand what Donald Trump has accomplished. It was disappointing to read the editorial in this newspaper on Tuesday that “a Trump presidency would be a descent into the uncertainties of anger, bitterness, and division … a recipe for disaster.” This is a widespread view, but it is bunk. 
Lord Black believes that Trump has been grievously maligned:

These parrots of gloom should be celebrating the fact that one of the only moderates among the Republican candidates won. Senator Ted Cruz pitched his campaign to the Bible-thumping corn-cobbers with M16 rifles in the rear windows of their pickup trucks and announced that God had told him to run. Trump and Sanders are the only candidates who favour universal health care, and Trump, contrary to a great deal of unfounded over-reactive comment about him, never said anything remotely antagonistic about women, gays, African-Americans or Latinos who came to the U.S. legally.
And, he predicts, Trump will move to the centre and radiate peace, order and good government:

Now that Trump is the nominee, having come from the political wilderness and paid for his own campaign, he will drastically scale back the stylistic infelicities (which are as disagreeable to me as to most serious people, but are just part of his shtick). He is not ideological and will make the system work — he is, as he never tires of telling us, a deal-maker. In foreign policy, he will be neither trigger-happy like George W., nor an other-worldly pacifist like Obama. He will spend a billion dollars of the Republican party’s money reminding the country that legally and ethically, Hillary is carrying more dead weight cargo than the Queen Mary. He and Hillary will now both campaign toward the centre, but whoever wins, this is the last stand of moderation. One more debacle like the past four or five presidential terms, and the animals will be released. The paint-ball parks, the shooting ranges, and the teeming ghettos (scores of millions of Americans unnoticed by Norman Rockwell, Grandma Moses and Walt Disney) will not be gulled again by a limousine liberal in a neon pantsuit or a pseudo-blue-collar billionaire.
The animals have already been released. And they're furious at people like Lord Black. One would have hoped that his stay in a Florida prison would have acquainted  Black with the earthly existence of mere mortals. Obviously, it hasn't.

Image: theglobeandmail.com

Is Donald Trump Putin's Siberian Candidate?

Montreal Simon - Sat, 07/23/2016 - 23:54


We know that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have an unusually warm relationship.

We know that Trump greatly admires the Russian strongman, and that Putin feels the same way about him.

And although they do make an odd couple, I have always assumed it was just one power hungry narcissist, admiring the other.

But what if it was something more sinister?

Read more »

Donald Trump's America and the Values That Protect Canadians

Montreal Simon - Sat, 07/23/2016 - 05:14


It speaks to the horror of the Republican convention that although Donald Trump did declare it an enormous success.

As only he could.



The Washington Post editorial board has seen enough.

And has decided to endorse Hillary Clinton about three months earlier than it normally would.

Read more »

Lessons From Weimar

Northern Reflections - Sat, 07/23/2016 - 05:06


In the wake of the Republican Convention, Charles Dermer writes that there are three lessons progressives should remember about the failure of Weimar Germany:

First, the German Left splintered and failed to create strong coalitions. The Social Democrats and the German Communist Party -- both large parties of Labor -- made little efforts to work together or to organize and coordinate closely with many of the remarkably progressive Weimar urban feminist, gay and civil rights movements. Much of the blame falls on the Communists, who decided to take their marching orders from Stalin, believing that the collapse of the German economy would lead to a Communist revolution. But the Social Democrats were also responsible, aligning themselves with conservative parties and aristocratic landed elites -- and supporting repression of Far Left movements while failing to reach out to and make concessions to either the Communists or the movements.

Had the Social Democrats and Communists formed a common bloc, working in a strong coalition with progressive urban cultural movements, they would have controlled the majority of Parliament and might have kept power. The lesson here is that we must wrestle with the potential ways in which the Democratic Party, the Sanders supporters and our major social justice movements might work together, building a coalitional front that can push back against the dangers posed by Trump, promote the aims of the Sanders "revolution," and help unite or "universalize" Left grassroots movements in a long-term effort to create a systemic transformation of militarized, racialized, patriarchal capitalism.

Second, to build a united front, all types of progressives must grapple with the real threat of a Trump victory and of a broader right-wing populist ascendancy, with or without a Trump victory. The German Left -- as well as the German corporate and landed gentry Establishment -- never took Hitler seriously, dismissing Far Right movements and believing Hitler had no large popular base. Likewise, many US progressives cannot imagine that Americans would embrace Far Right populism and elect an overtly racist demagogue such as Trump.

The Weimar Left and the German Establishment wildly underestimated the Far Right and Hitler's resonance during a massive economic crisis with a public with authoritarian tendencies. They lost touch with the working and lower middle class, especially the rural or small town population, who felt they were losing not just their jobs but their country and culture. They also never believed Hitler could gain so much support in his pursuit of genocide.

This leads to a third lesson: the need for a massive shift in the Democratic Party and a resurgence of progressive movements to solve the economic crisis and address the sense of national decline perpetrated by the Establishment itself. The Weimar Left, especially the Social Democratic Party, largely disconnected from grassroots urban progressive cultural movements, had no transformative vision or energy. It was an exhausted, reformist party offering no economic or social solutions. The Communists didn't even try, as they promoted collapse.
The inconvenient truth is that the Democrats have bought into neo-liberalism with almost the same fervor as the Republicans:

The Democratic Party in the age of Clintons, disconnected from social movements, has aligned with the corporate and military establishment. While Bernie Sanders resonated far and wide because of his urgent message of "political revolution" and democratic socialism, Hillary Clinton has only begun to -- at least in rhetoric -- embrace the importance of structural change. But to win, she has to take Sanders more seriously and respond not only to his demands but also to the demands of the civil rights, Black liberation, peace and environmental movements.

Germans made the mistake of believing that Hitler was simply a cook who would self destruct. That's what he eventually did. But what he left in his wake was utter devastation.

Image: www.slideshare.net

The Continuing Adventures of the Annoying Oil Pimp Brad Wall

Montreal Simon - Sat, 07/23/2016 - 01:15


Canada's premiers have made more progress in the last few months than they made in the almost ten years Stephen Harper ruled this country.

And they do have good reason to celebrate.

But there is always one party pooper, and it would have to be Brad Wall. 

The grubby little oil pimp from Saskatchewan, who spent much of that meeting complaining that Justin Trudeau wasn't there.

So he could tell him how much he hates the idea of a carbon tax.

Read more »

Elizabeth May Calls Out Trudeau on Corexit

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 07/22/2016 - 15:53


Maybe Trudeau and McKenna thought no one would notice. They thought wrong. Almost as soon as Environment Canada quietly announced it had approved Corexit for use as an oil dispersant word began to get around.


You see, there are people who know the name. They also know the history of this horrific chemical. There's a massive wealth of experience that goes from the Exxon Valdez disaster in Prince William Sound to the Deepwater Horizon fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico. It's literally the equivalent of thalidomide for any marine ecosystem and the people whose livelihoods depend on it. You can watch the videos here - if you've got a strong stomach.


Now Green Party leader Elizabeth May is taking Trudeau - and his laughable promise that his government will follow the science - to task.

"I am deeply disappointed that our current government is continuing the trend of making decisions based on industry recommendations rather than the evidence-based decision making process we so dearly need," said Dr. Lynne Quarmby, Green Party Science Critic, and Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Biochemistry at Simon Fraser University.

Last month, Environment Canada quietly released regulations that included a list of approved "treating agents" for oil spills. Corexit EC 9500A, which actually sinks oil, was on that list.

"We know from the disastrous cleanup attempts during BP's Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010 that solubilizing oil with Corexit allows the toxins in oil to permeate into bodies of humans and marine animals," Dr. Quarmby said. "In one controlled study, toxicity to planktonic organisms was more than 50 times higher when Corexit was added. As we saw in the BP Gulf spill, Corexit causes oil to sink - out of sight, out of mind seems to be the environmentally disastrous plan."

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, added: "Corexit is a highly controversial chemical that doesn't actually disperse ocean oil spills so much as it makes oil sink to the ocean floor, where it is consumed by ocean life," Ms. May said.

"Environment Canada concluded there would be no expected important environmental effects, either positive or negative, by using this toxic chemical, despite growing scientific evidence that Corexit intensifies the toxicity of oil. This government promised to do better by relying on science and evidence-based decision making. This decision falls short and must be reversed," Ms. May said.

There was plenty of reason to suspect that EnviroCan was seriously compromised during the Harper era. Anything affecting pipelines and bitumen export seemed to be whether it was Fisheries & Oceans, the shuttered Coast Guard, Transport Canada and, most of all, the National Energy Board. Harper's National Energy Board was packed with oil industry shills who reached predictable conclusions through a blatantly rigged process. Today, however, it's Trudeau's National Energy Board and it's the same stacked deck only under a Liberal government. That's as inexcusable as it is telling of this prime minister.


Fatally Flawed Survey on C225, "Cassie and Molly's Law"

Dammit Janet - Fri, 07/22/2016 - 12:34
It's a truism because it's true: You get what you pay for.

Cathay Wagantall, sponsor of the latest sneak attack on abortion rights, C225, glurgily nicknamed "Cassie and Molly's Law," bought six questions on a Nanos omnibus poll.

Here's her media release trumpeting the results.
According to the Nanos poll, a majority of Canadians are in favour of Cassie and Molly’s Law, with nearly 70% of respondents saying that they support a law that would make it a separate crime to harm or cause the death of a preborn child while harming a pregnant woman.The release contains no links, no details, no methodology.

So I asked on Twitter and Nik Nanos supplied a link to the power point presentation of the survey (PDF).

Here are the excerpted highlights (numbers added).
1. Half of Canadians say causing harm to a pregnant woman should carry a more severe punishment

2. Canadians support charging those who harm unborn children with a separate crime - Seven in ten Canadians either support (47%) or somewhat support (22%) creating a law that would make it a separate crime to cause harm or the death of an unborn child....

3. Canadians more likely to support the legislation if it has no impact on current abortion laws

4. Majority of Canadians feel it is possible to create the new law and keep abortion legal

5. Canadians feel it is important that offenders be charged separately for harming a fetus

6. Half of Canadians support rights to abortion within a time limit
Number 1: More severe punishment. Dumb question. Offenders in Canada already face stiffer sentencing in cases like this through "aggravating factors" which judges are required to consider.

Number 2: Support for a separate criminal charge. Compare here with Ms Wagantall's media release. She is playing a little loose with the numbers. Her "nearly 70%" is actually made up of 47% who support plus 22% who somewhat support.

But that's nuancy, beyond the typical cognitive powers of fetus freaks.

Number 3: More likely to support law if no impact on abortion laws. Another dumb question. There are NO abortion laws in Canada.

Leaving that aside, while Ms Wagantall stomps her feet and shrieks insists that her bill was verrrry carefully written to exclude any impact on abortion rights, others disagree. See links to posts below for many examples, but here's a recent one, from Indiana.

Indiana, home to Governor Mike Pence, now Donald Trump's pick for Vice President of Homophobia and Misogyny, has a "personhood" law that criminalizes any harm to fetuses. So far, it has imprisoned at least one woman, Purvi Patel, for using abortion drugs bought online to end an unwanted pregnancy. Ms Patel was sentenced to 20 years in prison for "feticide." But her conviction was overturned today.

The Indiana Legislature did not intend for the state’s feticide statute to apply to pregnant women or illegal abortions, including the one a northern Indiana woman executed by taking drugs ordered from Hong Kong, the Court of Appeals held Friday.The legislation was NOT intended to criminalize pregnant women, but it fucking well did, in the hands of overzealous cops and prosecutors.

And this is precisely why Ms Wagantall's bill is incredibly dangerous.

Number 4: Too stupid to comment on. What is the point of asking ordinary people what they "feel" about possible implications of a new law?

Number 5: Importance of such a law. Again, why ask this? If they support it, they support it.

But Number 6 is where the alarm bells really go off. "Half of Canadians support rights to abortion within a time limit."

From the PDF
Question: Which of the following most closely represents your personal view about the legal status of abortion?


This is so glaringly opposed to what all other recent polls report on Canadian attitudes to abortion that the whole survey should be kicked down a long flight of stairs.

In February this year, Global News commissioned an exclusive poll from Ipsos.
Canadian attitudes toward abortion appear to be shifting, according to a new Ipsos poll, as six in ten say abortion should be permitted whenever a woman decides she wants."Whenever a woman decides she wants."

Whenever. No time limits.

Similarly, the National Post reported in 2012 that 60% of Canadians say that abortion should be legal "always". (Original emphasis.)

On Twitter last night @Demolition Woman, who is an opinion pollster, offered some thoughts on the survey's methodology.

@fernhilldammit I wouldn't publish if I spotted that kind of discrepancy in a commonly-asked question. Tells me the respondent base is off.

— Demolition Woman (@sieenns) July 22, 2016

@fernhilldammit Also this mixed mode where they get old ppl by RDD and the rest online is garbage & they should not report a margin of error

— Demolition Woman (@sieenns) July 22, 2016

@fernhilldammit Only 28% support abortion under any circumstances? That's at least 20ppt below other rcnt polls that ask almost the same Q.

— Demolition Woman (@sieenns) July 22, 2016

So, what did Ms Wagantall, or her enthusiastic fetus freak colleagues like Dominionist Mike Schouten, pay for this piece of dreck?

Nanos charges $1000 per closed question -- these are all closed questions -- on a Canadian omnibus survey, so $6000.

Supporters of C225, or the Wolf in Sheep's Clothing Anti-Abortion Bill, got the results they wanted, at a price they found acceptable.

Too bad the survey itself doesn't stand up to even casual scrutiny.


REMINDER: If you haven't already, please sign the e-petition opposing this backdoor attack on abortion rights. The petition needs 500 signatures to be presented to Parliament. It's got just over 350 now.

Previous DJ! posts on the Wolf in Sheep's Clothing bill:
Dead as a Door Nail

Exploiting Grief to Attack Abortion Rights

Vengeance Drives "Unborn Victims" Law

It's Baaaack: Unborn Victims Bill C484 Redux

Nope, This "Pre-born Victims Bill Won't Pass Either

Smirking Toward Bethlehem

Dawg's Blawg - Fri, 07/22/2016 - 12:22
“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate... Balbulican http://stageleft.info

A TV Show Goes to Washington

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 07/22/2016 - 10:00

According to a report in The New York Times, Donald Trump plans to abdicate his role as president just as soon as he redecorates the Oval Office to pimp it out.

Trump envisions a new presidency, one in which the duties typically performed by a president are delegated to his vice president. This includes formulating policy, domestic and foreign. While Mike Pence assumes the responsibilities of governing, Trump will focus on "making America great again" whatever that means.

It sounds eerily like Trump's TV show. He figures out what he wants to make America great again and leaves everything else, including the day to day running of the country, to Pence. Perhaps Mike Pence will just be the first in a lengthy line of Trump vice presidents, each dreading the morning they'll be called into Trump's office to be told, "you're fired."

To State The Obvious

Politics and its Discontents - Fri, 07/22/2016 - 08:01


... the world is getting hotter. And now that Southern Ontario, already plagued by drought, is in the midst of yet another heatwave, it seems like the right time to look at some hard numbers.

The Guardian reports that
June 2016 marks the 14th consecutive month of record-breaking heat.

According to two US agencies – Nasa and Noaa – June 2016 was 0.9C hotter than the average for the 20th century, and the hottest June in the record which goes back to 1880. It broke the previous record, set in 2015, by 0.02C.

The 14-month streak of record-breaking temperatures was the longest in the 137-year record. And it has been 40 years since the world saw a June that was below the 20th century average.To cool the ardour of those climate-change deniers who would like to blame it all on El Niño, Nasa’s Gavin Schmidt has this to say:
“While the El Niño event in the tropical Pacific this winter gave a boost to global temperatures from October onwards, it is the underlying trend which is producing these record numbers,” he said.

Nasa’s Walt Meir said the global temperatures have been exacerbated by extreme temperatures over the Arctic. Warm temperatures there are pushing up the global average, as well a causing record-low amounts of sea ice.

“It has been a record year so far for global temperatures, but the record high temperatures in the Arctic over the past six months have been even more extreme,” Meier said. “This warmth as well as unusual weather patterns have led to the record-low sea ice extents so far this year.”As another indication of how dire our situation is becoming, consider Alaska:
Alaska has seen a years-long streak of astonishing warmth, with the warmest year-to-date and warmest June capping it off so far this year.

The heat this week in interior parts of Alaska has been particularly extreme, with one noteworthy all-time high temperature record falling. That record was set in Deadhorse, Alaska, located on the Arctic coast, which rose to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, or 30 degrees Celsius.

Closer to home, there is a heat dome enveloping much of North America that has absolutely nothing to do with the noxious emissions emanating from the Republican Convention:



And so it goes, and so we go, along our merry way, lurching from one climatic crisis to another, sadly and willfully oblivious to the larger picture there for all to see.

Special Note: Special thanks to The Mound, our blogosphere's expert on climate change, for alerting me to some of the links used in this post.








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Donald Trump and the Nightmare in America

Montreal Simon - Fri, 07/22/2016 - 05:05


I think I've mentioned this before. I once had a lot of trouble calling Donald Trump a fascist.

I didn't want to diminish the word. Or the suffering of its many victims.

I also knew that he was planning to use Richard Nixon's 1968 law and order speech to the Republican convention as a template for his own.

But the deranged rant he delivered last night, wasn't even warmed up Nixon, it was far worse.

Read more »

Leadership and Ideals

Northern Reflections - Fri, 07/22/2016 - 04:22


Rick Salutin speculates this morning that we may be living in a non-leadership moment. Consider what has happened in the United States:

It’s tempting to say Donald Trump is all leader and no ship: no party inclinations in any recognizable forms, nor typical policies, organization, strategy or scripts. It centres on him alone. Except for a literal ship, labelled Trump, that he flies in on and speaks in front of. He likes it so much, he flies it home to New York each night to sleep in his bed — which is kind of touching — then drops in again next day.
In the UK, Jeremy Corbin is Trump's polar opposite:

There’s now a full-blown leadership challenge to him, before he’s fought a single election — after being elected with unprecedented member backing. Why? After one of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, Hilary Benn, was sacked (as they say) for plotting against his leader — being the UK, foes are called regicides — Benn explained, “Jeremy is not a leader.” That’s what they all repeat. He won’t work ferociously, doesn’t build bridges or concoct complex strategies to ally with others and achieve power, utterly lacks charisma, seems uninterested in doing anything he hasn’t done for years. Yet somehow he hoovers up manic support. 
His opposition claimed that Justin Trudeau was not a leader -- but he has surprised a lot of people:

Justin Trudeau did it with all the basics of the old formula, though in his own rendition — which is worth keeping in mind. But something else is also going on, especially in the aftermath of the quashed hopes that attended Obama’s coming. Would you rather have a victory for plausible principles or one for leadership itself without believable ideals? Because in the UK at the moment it seems impossible to have both elements.
And that's the real question: Can leadership and ideals coexist?

Image: obrussa.com

from the front lines, day 18 (we have a deal!)

we move to canada - Thu, 07/21/2016 - 19:30
The Strike Is Over - We Have A Deal!

The Bargaining Team is very pleased to announce that we have reached a settlement!

This is a "tentative settlement," pending ratification by our members, then the Library Board, and Council. The Bargaining Team is very happy. We are proud of the contract we are bringing home, and we know it never could have been achieved without a strike.

Our members had the courage to use labour's most powerful tool and I believe they will feel it was worth it, both for the gains we've made on this contract, and for our future.

The ratification vote is scheduled for Monday, July 25.

Roger Ailes the Head of Fox News Is Forced To Resign

Montreal Simon - Thu, 07/21/2016 - 15:44


For twenty years as the head of Fox News, Roger Ailes helped shaped the current form of the Republican Party.

And turn politics in that country into a sewer.

But today it was his turn to be flushed into that same sewer.

Read more »

New column day

accidentaldeliberations - Thu, 07/21/2016 - 12:53
Here, on how the City of Regina's actual treatment of key information runs contrary to its stated commitment to open government.

For further reading...
- Natascia Lypny's report on the City's delays and denials of access to information about Regina's new stadium and wastewater treatment plant is here
- I previously wrote about the City's initial open data policy announcement here, featuring this warning which seems particularly on point:
(E)ven the most cynical governments are often eager to use selective “open government” (in the form of limited operational data) as a distraction from opaque political decision-making – with a one-way flow of politically-convenient information substituted for any particular effort to interact with citizens or respond to their concerns. So while we should look forward to what can be done with the information that is included in the city’s data portal, we should keep an especially close eye on what’s left out and how information is handled going in the opposite direction. - And the new policy discussed in the column is found here (PDF).

Ah, Jesus - Not Corexit!!

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 07/21/2016 - 11:56

When it comes to the pipeline giants, prime minister Slick is their boy. His government had no problem giving the sack to a couple of dozen ambassadors appointed by Harper but Slick has taken a "hands off" approach to the industry shills who have effected and continue the political capture of the National Energy Board.

And now word has come out that Trudeau's EnviroCan has approved Corexit as a dispersant for oil spills. What's wrong with that? Think of Corexit as thalidomide for the marine habitat, including the humans in coastal areas.

I'm now going to post two clips about Corexit. The first is a short teaser in which Vice TV founder, Shane Smith, discusses this vile product.  I hope that will whet your appetite for the full report that follows.



Full report:




Howard's Farewell to Elayne

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 07/21/2016 - 11:12


Howard Shapray is widely known as a great guy, a fine lawyer and a devoted father and husband. After a lengthy struggle with incurable disease, Howard's wife, Elayne, ended her life with the assistance of a physician. Elayne Shapray was a witness in the Carter case where, in a 9-0 per curiam decision, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the right to physician assisted death.

Howard penned a tribute to Elayne, her good works, her lengthy battles and her death, on her own terms, in her own time. Those who don't understand the Carter decision or who, like the government of the day, can't muster the courage to follow the clear law of our land, need to learn about Elayne and what she and her family went through.

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