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Why There Aren't Enough Bombs to Stop ISIS

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 02/12/2016 - 07:11

Well there are but they're nuclear and they would pretty much wipe us all out.

The problem with ISIS, ISIL, Da'esh - whatever you call them - is that those guys are not quite everywhere but just about and they're expanding. This report from the UN Security Council has all the details.

Despite the efforts of the international community to counter ISIL through military, financial and border-security measures (which have recently inflicted substantial losses), ISIL continues to maintain its presence in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic. It is also expanding the scope of its operations to other regions. The terrorist attacks carried out in the final months of 2015 demonstrate that it is capable of committing attacks on civilian targets outside the territories under its control. The extent of its reach was notably demonstrated by the suicide bombings in Beirut on 12 November 2015, the coordinated attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015 and the attacks in Jakarta by an ISIL affiliate on 14 January 2016, which closely resembled the Paris attacks.
The recent expansion of the ISIL sphere of influence across West and North Africa, the Middle East and South and South-East Asia demonstrates the speed and scale at which the gravity of the threat has evolved in just 18 months. The complexity of the recent attacks and the level of planning, coordination and sophistication involved raise concerns about its future evolution. Moreover, other terrorist groups, including the Islamic Youth Shura Council and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Libya Province (Derna) in Libya, the Mujahideen of Kairouan and Jund al-Khilafah in Tunisia, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Tehreek-e-Khilafat in Pakistan and Ansar al-Khilafah in the Philippines, are sufficiently attracted by its underlying ideology to pledge allegiance to its so-called caliphate and self-proclaimed caliph. ISIL has also benefited from the arrival of a steady stream of foreign terrorist fighters, who continue to leave their communities to replenish its ranks. The return of these fighters from the battlefields of Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic and other conflict zones is a further major concern, as returnees can extend the presence of ISIL to their States of origin and use their skills and combat experience to recruit additional sympathizers, establish terrorist networks and commit terrorist acts. 
Read the report. That will certainly help you understand how boneheaded the West has been with its aerial bombing campaign, obliterating random pickup trucks in the sands of Iraq and Syria while ISIS busies itself opening new franchises across the Muslim world. If anything the bombing campaign may be a dangerous distraction, leading us to believe we're achieving something while ISIS does an end run around us first throughout the Muslim nations and then in our cities.
They're smarter than we are and by a big margin. They're out to reach a critical mass organizationally, territorially and in sheer numbers while we respond with a war of empty gestures.

That Word He Used To Trumpet

Northern Reflections - Fri, 02/12/2016 - 06:25


Stephen Harper has disappeared. He has not been showing up for work in the House of Commons. Perhaps, Michael Harris suggests, he believes he is the member for Las Vegas/Fort Myers. His party doesn't seem to mind. But they still have not come to terms with their defeat. And their cheerleaders, people like the peanut gallery at the National Post, keep shilling for more of the same. But Harris reviews the record:

Under Harper the economist, 400,000 manufacturing jobs were lost. Worse than that, he presided over a one-third drop in Canada’s value-added exports — the better to concentrate on rapid, unsustainable and environmentally harmful resource development.

While the rest of the industrialized world was investing in alternative energy sources to save the planet, Harper’s master plan was to subsidize pipelines and pollution and damn the torpedoes. That’s why he dropkicked Kyoto into oblivion and replaced it with the environment-killing omnibus bill C-38. And Rona now talks about how much the Cons love nature.

Harper spent tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars promoting so-called government programs. Much of this material amounted to thinly-disguised promotional bumf for the Conservative Party of Canada.

So great was this prime minister’s disrespect for Parliament that he shuttered the seat of government for an incredible 181 days for purely political reasons. He unleashed the Canada Revenue Agency on NGOs and environmental groups, using audits as a weapon against his perceived political enemies.

Harper’s attack on civil liberties was deep and disturbing. Bill C-51 gave police-state powers to agencies like the RCMP, CSIS and SEC. Some of you may remember that these same agencies were already spying on environmental groups and then meeting every year with representatives of the oil industry to brief them on the alleged threats facing their projects.

Harper the diplomat turned Canada into what former Conservative PM Joe Clark called a “denier and an outlier”. For the first time in fifty years, Canada couldn’t get elected to a seat on the Security Council at the UN, losing the spot to Portugal. He turned the world into a comic book narrative of good and evil, preferring bombing to talking whenever he had the choice.The NDP has reviewed the reasons for their loss -- even though the review was painful. Tom Mulcair has acknowledge the campaign shortcomings and has taken responsibility for them. We'll see if he survives.

Perhaps Steve believes that, as long as he hides, he can escape that word that he used to trumpet -- accountability.

The Con Media and Justin Trudeau's First 100 Days

Montreal Simon - Fri, 02/12/2016 - 04:40

Well yesterday was the day the MSM decided to devote a lot of their coverage to Justin Trudeau's first 100 days in office.

And I must say I found it a rather depressing spectacle.

For there they were toting up his promises, made, kept, or in their opinion broken. Already.

Like a bunch of grubby bank clerks, writing up some small company's balance sheet.

And in my opinion completely missing the big picture.
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Bernie Sanders and the New American Revolution

Montreal Simon - Fri, 02/12/2016 - 01:17

Three days after Bernie Sanders' victory in New Hampshire I'm still floating on a cloud, and dreaming up a storm.

I still can't quite believe my eyes. How could an old leftie calling for a revolution in the United States of America manage to win so convincingly?

But I suppose it's only fitting that it happened in a state with the motto "Live Free or Die."

For it is a new American revolution, and at its core is a simple but radical idea.
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Those Who Dare to Go Big Actually Go Big

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 17:22
So, what's our excuse? Oh, that's right, we're a petro-state.  Europe is different. So different that they're making huge strides in introducing renewable energy. So huge that some of them, notably the most ambitious, have already exceeded their clean energy goals for 2020.

Turning a Fail into a Win…

Left Over - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 11:42
Mulcair takes responsibility for failed election campaign in letter to NDP supporters Mulcair wants to remain NDP leader promising not to repeat mistakes of 2015 election

By Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press Posted: Feb 10, 2016 3:51 PM ET Last Updated: Feb 11, 2016 12:44 PM ET



As an NDP supporter, I say this with all due respect…Canada  has dumbed down to the point where a simple cheery message with lots of toothy smiles, preferably accompanied by cleavage (like our on Premier Clark) and celeb/pretty  pie in the sky is the only thing that seems to work here in our country…
Had Mulcair  been  intolerably bland and banal in his presentation, had the ‘message’ been simplified to the point of idiocy, there might have been a prayer for the Fed NDP.
One of the biggest problems is the absolute control wielded by the backroom boys on whatever is put froward..want to see what sincerity and experience and honesty can do for the electorate?   Look no further than Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, and Bernie Sanders in the USA. There’s a reason they are popular and supported by those who usually don’t vote at all..learn it and we will have success next is not just about ‘working families,’ that same old-same old message that annoys the rest of us to distraction..not to mention the fact that it is a meaningless cliche at this point…simple truths, expressed sincerely will win elections.

Depending on Quebec has ruined many an election for  many a party..and  this last one was no different..Quebec helped tremendously to win the  Federal election for the there is no explaining it, why they  would  have voted for  Trudeau must have been some sort of nostalgic brain freeze..but there it is.

Between the fear of many that if they didn’t vote  Liberal that the  Cons would return and the fact that  Mulcair’s delivery wasn’t  shiny -happy there wasn’t much chance for the  NDP.  The fact that the Cons wound up in  Official Opposition isn’t much of a surprise but  I’ll always be  surprised that  the Libs did so well..

It  isn’t about  Mulcair leaving..he’s killer in Parliament and should be encouraged to stay – but that  the backroom boys should  become unemployed. Give us the truth and  you will be elected.

The death of a newspaper

Trashy's World - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 09:34
I have never been the biggest fan of the Ottawa Citizen. Ever. Preaching, self-righteous columnists like David Warren turned me off the paper years ago. Their coverage is usually biased, overtly partisan and sometimes poorly written. However. And it is a big “however”. Those are my opinions, and I am entitled to them. Others think […]

Hillary as Groucho

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 08:25

Grist has a report of how Hillary Clinton now opposes oil drilling in the Atlantic,  a bid to siphon some of the environmental vote away from Bernie Sanders.

It brought me back to that line of Groucho's - "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others."

The Royal Canadian Navy to Begin Refugee Patrols in the Aegean.

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 07:47
South of the Rio Grande they're called La Migra, the U.S. Border Patrol agents who intercept illegal immigrants heading for the States.

Europe will soon have its own La Migra only it's an outfit we already know as NATO. Naval vessels will patrol to stop smugglers moving migrants from Turkey to Greece. Other NATO units will step up surveillance of the Syrian-Turkish border.

NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg insisted "this is not about stopping or pushing back refugee boats." Yeah, right, Jens.

Guess whose ships have been ordered to start refugee boat patrols? You got it, Canada. We'll be joining vessels from Germany, Greece and Turkey in the Aegean. Odd that, isn't it? One of those countries is not like the others.

An Idea Gaining Traction

Politics and its Discontents - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 07:25

The concept of a guaranteed annual income, a subject I have written about previously on this blog, seems to be gaining traction. A relatively simple way of uplifting countless people from poverty and in the process ultimately saving money through a streamlining of our fragmented systems of social programs, it is now finding interest within the halls of power.

Recently, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Jean-Yves Duclos, told the Globe and Mail
the concept has merit as a policy to consider after the government implements more immediate reforms promised during the election campaign.

The general concept is that a guaranteed income would cover basic needs and reduce demand on existing social programs. However, proposals vary widely on whether it should be paired with a drastic reduction in social programs such as welfare and unemployment insurance or complement them.

This means versions of the idea have appeal across the political spectrum, as it could lead to a larger or smaller role for government depending on the model.
Support for the idea seems to cross party lines.
Conservative MP and finance critic Lisa Raitt said she would like the House of Commons finance committee to study the idea. She also said she raised the issue with Finance Minister Bill Morneau recently during a private pre-budget meeting.

“He seemed favourable,” she said. “I have an open mind on it. I know that there’s been progress made on it around the world in terms of how people are viewing it. I don’t know if it will work in Canada but the work of the committee will help us figure out whether or not it is something that is good or not good.”
And across Canada, momentum is building. François Blais, Quebec minister of employment and social solidarity, has been asked by Premier Philippe Couillard to look into how that provinces social supports can move in the direction of a guaranteed annual income. But that's not all:
The political cast includes Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Edmonton’s Mayor Don Iveson and Halifax’s Mike Savage. In fact, no less than nine provincial and territorial capital leaders support basic income or at least pilot projects, with innumerable smaller city and town mayors across the nation declaring their support as well. They know — as government leaders who are closest to the people — that a guaranteed income would reduce inequities in their communities, reduce crime, improve health outcomes, and strengthen social cohesion. Are we reaching critical mass? Long observation of politics suggests that is not yet the case, but clearly we seem to be moving in the right direction.Recommend this Post

New column day

accidentaldeliberations - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 06:50
Here, expanding on this post as to Nathan Cullen's proposal to make sure the outcomes of all plausible electoral systems are taken into account in designing a new one.

For further reading...
- Again, Cullen's proposal was reported on here, and discussed by Aaron Wherry here.
- Meanwhile, the Libs have presented a wide range of possibilities as to both the process and possible outcomes of electoral reform without indicating one way or the other whether they'll work with a proportional committee.
- And for those who haven't yet reviewed the Broadbent Institute's report (PDF) on both public opinion and electoral results under different systems, it's well worth a read.

Thursday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 06:43
This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Sally Goemer writes that extreme inequality is a cause of economic instability for everybody. And Tom Powdrill discusses the importance of organized labour in ensuring the fair sharing of income, while Steven Hill points out the harmful effects of precarious work.

- Sheila Regehr and Roderick Benns are hopeful that we're headed toward a basic income in Canada, while Molly McCracken notes that a secure income is the best defence against hunger.

- Tom Parkin observes that the Trudeau Libs have predictably started to ignore the principles and policies they trumpeted to win over progressive voters. And Duncan Cameron points out that the NDP can take on the cause of challenging corporate power as a matter of both egalitarian principle and political opportunity.

- Michael Geist discusses how the Trans-Pacific Partnership will interfere with Canadian cultural policies. And Jim Stanford finds that Canada's bilateral trade deal with South Korea has fallen far short of what was promised - leading to increased imports but decreased exports.

- Finally, Emily Peck comments on the connection between improved paternal leave and greater upward mobility for women in the workplace.

Mocking the Predators, Day 1

Dammit Janet - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 06:41
From Calgary. Countering #40DaysOfPreying, aka #40DaysOfHarassment, #40DaysOfBullying.

Apparently only three people are allowed on the sidewalk at any time and these two shit-disturbers snuck in during shift change for the fetus freaks.

If you can't read the signs, they say: "We love you and support your choice," and "Belieber."

Only In America

Northern Reflections - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 06:04

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman calls Bernie Sanders a socialist "whose ideas died in 1989." That's a strange conclusion, Gerry Caplan writes. In Canada, Sanders would be a member of the New Democratic Party:

If he calls himself a democratic socialist rather than a social democrat, it’s probably because not a dozen Americans have a clue what social democracy might mean. In the U.K., he’d likely be in the moderate anti-Jeremy Corbyn wing of the Labour party. In Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Spain, all the Nordic countries, he’d be a middle-of-the-road member of existing social democratic parties. He’d be enthusiastically embraced by tens of millions of people.

Across the rich world, only in the United States is Bernie Sanders seen as some kind of extremist of the left. It shows just how dangerously far to the radical right America’s political culture has moved.
Eighty-five years ago, Sanders would have been one of Roosevelt's New Dealers. But the crackpots in the Republican Party have managed -- since Ronald Reagan -- to move the political conversation increasingly to the right. Now they are on the verge of tipping over into lunacy:
After all, the remaining GOP candidates, most of them crackpots, are now considered mainstream, even moderates.
And, when they engage in dirty tricks, as Ted Cruz did in Iowa -- by suggesting that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race -- Donald Trump claimed to know the source of Cruz' malady: "Because he was born in Canada," shouted Trump. 
The source of evil for Republicans these days seems to be Canada:
“I don’t believe government should take over the grocery store down the street or own the means of production,” he told students at Georgetown University. “But I do believe that the middle class and the working families who produce the wealth of America deserve a decent standard of living and that their incomes should go up, not down.” Throw in a couple of “hard-workings” here and there, and Comrade Bernie could jump right into the middle of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party.
Nowhere are the absurd limits of American politics better exposed than when Sanders is bitterly pummelled for supporting something really far-out, even near-Bolshevik – a Canadian-style public health system.
God help Canada and Canadians if Donald Trump becomes president.

Stephen Harper and the House of Pork

Montreal Simon - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 04:39

If there is an enduring image of Stephen Harper's grotesque regime I suppose it will be something like that one.

A lot of Con hogs heading for the trough, or trying to buy an election.

And sticking the rest of us with the bill.
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Rona Ambrose's Horrible Day of Triple Embarrassment

Montreal Simon - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 18:54

Well let's put it this way, it wasn't one of Rona Ambrose's better days.

It's not that she's had many good ones. She hasn't.

But this was a day of triple embarrassment.

First Kevin O'Leary took aim at Rona's bombing fixation.

Then the American military made her look foolish.
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Kevin O'Leary Blows His Chances of Becoming Con Leader

Montreal Simon - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 15:26

Well it's looks as if Kevin O'Leary has blown his last chance for a new career in politics.

He's too late to run for the Tea Party in the United States, even though he lives in Boston.

And now he's just destroyed any hope he had of becoming the new leader of the Harper Party.
Read more »

BC Throne Speech - Be Vigilant Lest We Become Another Alberta

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 14:03

The burn. Christy Clark's message to British Columbians is to be vigilant so we don't become another Alberta. Madam premier then went on to add that Alberta has "lost its focus."

Ms. Clark repeatedly made Alberta the poster boy for how not to run a province.

"Consider our neighbours in Alberta – a province of similar size, and also blessed with natural resources," Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon said, in delivering the B.C. Liberal government's vision for the new legislative session.

"Over the decades, Alberta lost its focus. They expected their resource boom never to end, failed to diversify their economy and lost control of government spending."

The speech goes on to urge British Columbians to "stay vigilant" in the face of low oil prices, global market uncertainty and a falling Canadian dollar, "and resist the temptation to spend our way into trouble."

Take that, ya Wild Rose "losers".

Sorry to Piss on Your Parade, But...

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 12:34

We've had a gutfull of wonderful, inspiring words from the new Liberal prime minister but sometimes reality gets in the way to shred that tissue of comfort.

There's this, for starters.  Under the new management, Canada won't even be making Harper's emissions target.

Canada’s Second Biannual Report on Climate Change projects greenhouse gas emissions reaching 768 megatonnes in 2020 and 815 megatonnes in 2030. These estimates mean Canada would fail to meet previous goals set by the Harper government in Copenhagen in 2009 — 622 megatonnes by and 524 megatonnes for 2030.

“Without additional measures, continued strong emissions growth” in the oil and gas sector will push the emissions to the above limits, the report stated.

Within the fossil fuel sector, the oil sands are seen as the leading cause of the increase in emissions.

Meanwhile, prime minister All Things to All Men is assuring Big Fossil that he'll work to get pipelines through to carry their high-carbon sludge to vulnerable coastlines and on to world markets. This is, of course, the same bitumen that climate scientists have bluntly told us must be left in the ground (i.e. stranded) if the world is to have any remote chance of limiting global warming to somewhat less than 2 degrees Celsius (as if).
And, of course, this is the same prime minister who thinks Canada should go ahead and sell $15-billion worth of high-tech death wagons to that bastion of democracy and human rights, Saudi Arabia.


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