Posts from our progressive community

Democracy Needs YOU!

Dammit Janet - sam, 08/01/2015 - 04:58
Watch this trailer (3 minutes of your life).

Voting rights are the essential fuel of democracy. If we can't trust that our electoral system is fair and properly overseen, we're screwed.

This is a non-partisan issue. And should concern everyone who gives a damn about the power of the people to scare this hell out of the elites.

Sensible people from across the political spectrum understand that bad laws and corrupted institutions can and will be exploited by ANY party.

The makers of this documentary have been busting their butts to get this done and distributed in time to inform Canadians what's at stake in the upcoming election.

Here's the blurb from the gofundme site.

Help us get this doc on the road before the election!

In a few weeks Canadians will head back to the polls without any clear assurance the last federal election delivered the results they voted for.

Documentary filmmaker Peter Smoczynski has just completed a 42 day road trip across Canada from Guelph to Whitehorse interviewing and filming recipients of the harassment, live and robo calls which took place in 234 out of 308 ridings in the 2011 federal election.

MPs, journalists, scholars, court challenge litigants, and experts on the Fair Elections Act, voter micro-targetting and professional voter suppression techniques imported from the U.S. also lend their voices and expertise to the film.

When the writ drops, Peter plans to have an abbreviated version of the full length film ready to tour across the country from church basements and libraries to movie houses.

This is where you come in.

The film is running on fumes here. 

We urgently need your help with post-production and editing expenses to get this doc out into the public eye before the upcoming election.

Please check back for details of our progress and information on future tour dates. 

Producer's overview of the film can be viewed here .

Thank you for your time.

The Script & Film Co.
Documentary Filmmaker
Peter's profile.
People give dough to the damnedest things. But this project seems not to have the "right" kind of appeal.

Beats the shit out of me why not.

Please consider contributing. And/or pass the info around your networks.


At the moment, $855 of the goal of $10,000 has been raised by 16 people in 15 hours.

Question, an Exercise in Nation Building, Part Three

Sister Sages Musings - ven, 07/31/2015 - 22:00

What is more important, your political ideology or your country?



Musical interlude

accidentaldeliberations - ven, 07/31/2015 - 18:03
Foals - What Went Down

The CPC, liars since 2006…

Trashy's World - ven, 07/31/2015 - 17:56
Yeah, forget about the Parliamentary Budget Office saying that we are already in deficit. Like, what do they know? The Harper Reform Party – lying comes so naturally to them.    (3) Trashy, Ottawa, Ontario

If Canadians Have Any Self-Respect

Politics and its Discontents - ven, 07/31/2015 - 15:59
.... this will outrage them.

It turns out Stephen Harper is not going to interact with anyone during the election campaign that wasn’t cleared in advance by his staffers. Even “public” rallies with hundreds or thousands of people will be made up entirely people who are pre-screened.

Conservative spokesman Kory Teneycke said Friday that only invited guests will be allowed at each and every event over the expected 11-week campaign.

“You need to have been invited and if you don’t have a ticket you’re not getting in,” Teneycke said.

Like the cowards he and his master are, Teneycke broke the news late Friday afternoon before a summer long weekend, so statistically you’re not reading this.

Recommend this Post

Share. Inform. Engage.

Politics and its Discontents - ven, 07/31/2015 - 14:48
It sounds like it will be a long campaign. Each of us has a role to play.

Recommend this Post

Anti-Choice Robots

Dammit Janet - ven, 07/31/2015 - 14:17
If you haven't seen this, take 2 1/2 minutes and watch.

Press Progress put together 13 Conservative MPs all delivering identical speeches. It's hilarious.

As a reproductive rights blogger, of course I immediately recognized several of them as fetus freaks: Woodworth, Warawa, Anderson, Lizon. Then I looked further and found that 11 of the 13 are rabid zygote zealots. The only exceptions being Robert Sopuck and John Carmichael both of whom voted against Woodworth's Wank which earned them the ire of Campaign Lie.

OK, there are a lot of anti-choice CON MPs, but 11 of 13 of the robots are double-plus-good fetus freaks?

What are the odds?

This is kind of beside the point. I was looking at -- and laughing my guts out at (see below) -- anti-choice reaction to Health Canada's long overdue approval of RU486/mifepristone.

Bottom line: despite having years, decades even, to coordinate their reaction to this inevitable announcement, they do not have their shit together.

Here is the one that cracked me up. Mrozek at Focus on the Family's Astroturf Blog offered some quick thoughts. One such thought: "women will be traumatized by watching this in their toilets." SHRIEEEEK!

Who knew that anti-choice women don't bleed? Or never bleed heavily? Or never look in the toilet? Or deal with pads and tampons discreetly in the dark? Or something?

But traumatizing the poor frail women. OK.

Now over at CTV, they mashed five reports from local affiliates together, all with de rigeur statements from fetus fetishists.

One hand-wringer: “The bottom line is, you’re not taking the pill to get rid of a cold or a stuffy nose,” said Christina Alaimo of the Campaign Life Coalition. “This is a very serious procedure that’s being done and I think it may psychologically make it easier for women.”
Easier on the sluts. Well, we don't want that.

Another, this one from CON MP David Anderson who issued a press release:
"It is a dangerous combination of drugs that destroys a woman's tissues in the womb in order to kill her pre-born child," David Anderson, the member for Cypress Hills-Grasslands, said in a release.
This is a head-scratcher because antis always insist that the "pre-born" thingy is a totally separate and nearly-ready-for-kindergarten entity. Absolutely nothing to do with the woman's "tissues" or, hevvin forbid, her body.

On Twitter, despite being stone-cold sober, I got into an exchange with creepy Dominionist Mike Schouten of We Need a Law Like a Hole in the Head.

I offered facts and links. Got back idiotic non-sequiturs. Then I thought to ask the Big Question.

.@mike_schouten I was asking why you have a particular bug up your ass about #RU486. Abortion is abortion, right? #BogusArgument

— Fern Hill (@fernhilldammit) July 31, 2015

And that's when he went silent.

Because here's the thing. Antis cannot go public with why they have a particular bug up their asses about RU486 because that bug is drenched in pure misogyny. They hate hate hate the fact that women now have another venue in which to express their autonomy, control, and privacy.

Oddly, the only one to tell the truth is SUZY ALLCAPS.

The problem with this [medical abortion] model, from the pro-life perspective, is that it's a little harder to protest the GP who does abortions, when he treats the community's ear infections, sore throats, STD's and so on.

If you make life hard on this person, it won't just be abortion clients who'll be unhappy. It will be all the patients this doctor sees.
But the CON robot MPs did so splendidly in the PMO-scripted videos. Maybe Canadian fetus freaks need some Kids in Short Pants to write for them.

Or someone like Herr Harper to put the fear of Lucifer in them.

Because they are screwing this up. Royally.

Worth, uh, framing

Dawg's Blawg - ven, 07/31/2015 - 14:04
We’ve come a long way from MPs who actually represent their constituencies. What a gang of mindless…well, robots.... Dr.Dawg

Greek philosopher Plato's view of God

LeDaro - ven, 07/31/2015 - 13:25

"When speaking of divine perfection, we signify that God is just and true and loving, the author of order, not disorder, of good, not evil. We signify that he is justice, that he is truth, that he is love, that he is order, that he is the very progress of.." Plato

“In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the body, but for the two together. With these means, man can attain perfection.” Plato

Interesting! He lived in 5th century B.C.

I'm Writing Three Cheques

The Disaffected Lib - ven, 07/31/2015 - 12:22
It's pretty obvious that Harper intends to use his party's fundraising advantage to skew the election in his favour.  I don't like it but, fair enough. He's not breaking any rules. Plenty of Canadian governments before his have done similar things.

That said, I don't like it. I've been thinking about it and realized I could sit and fume - and sit and fume a little more - or maybe I could do something about it, just a little bit.

So I've written three cheques for $200 in total.  There's a $50 cheque for the New Democrats and a $50-cheque for the Liberals. Then I'm sending a cheque for $100 to the Green Party, my party of choice.

What if we all did that?  Every non-Conservative. Every supporter of any opposition party. If you're a Liberal send a hundo to the LPC, and a Mackenzie King to the NDP and the Greens.  And, so you Dippers don't get confused, that would be a Borden to the NDP, and a Mackenzie King to each of the Libs and Greens.

Anyone else up for this or has our partisanship become so toxic that even opposition supporters can't help other opposition supporters and our country?

Shut up, Jake, its election-time!

Cathie from Canada - ven, 07/31/2015 - 12:19
Everybody is talking about the Harper Cons fiscal advantage if he calls a mid-October election this weekend.

I have another question about such an early election call: what information will Canadians NOT be hearing about during the next eleven weeks?
Does Stats Canada still get to release or update unemployment rates during an election campaign? What about government economic forecasts and updates? Both would, I think, prove that Canada is in a recession. And what about other types of information -- in 2008, DND restricted interviews with the military during the election campaign.
Not forgetting, of course, the League of Extraordinary Canadians has already been silenced, along with federal scientists and any other reality-based federal employees.

Exhibit "A", Your Honour

The Disaffected Lib - ven, 07/31/2015 - 12:06

That's the annual Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem.  The man in black (sorry Johnny, no offence) is Yishai Schlissel. That thing in his upraised fist is a knife. Among those terrified people are six into whom Schlissel will plunge his knife before he's wrestled to the ground by the crowd and subsequently arrested by Israeli cops.

Here's the deal. This is the 2015 Gay Pride parade. Schlissel did something similar at the 2005 Gay Pride parade when he stabbed three marchers. He didn't put in an appearance at any of the marches during the intervening decade because he was in prison. Yishai only got out three weeks ago, just in time to do some knife shopping.

Schlissel has the same mental affliction common to many of those who believe in scriptural inerrancy. He takes the batshit crazy stuff in the holy book at face value, as gospel. Like every fundamentalist Jew, every fundamentalist Christian, every fundamentalist Muslim - this stuff is God's word, ever last syllable. Schlissel told the cops that he came to the Gay Pride parade "to kill in the name of God."

Now you might have thought that, with a wack job like Schlissel, Israeli authorities might have postponed his prison release at least until after the Gay Pride business was over for the year. You also might have thought the Israeli police would have kept him under surveillance. If you know the guy has a profound belief that he's obliged to kill gay people for his God, then why do you help him do it by letting him run free?

A Hunted Man

The Disaffected Lib - ven, 07/31/2015 - 11:46
Will America extradite Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer to face trial in Zimbabwe on poaching charges for the senseless killing of beloved Cecil the lion?

He readily admits he did it.  He must have seen how his "guides" used a dead animal tied to their truck as bait to lure the magnificent male lion out of the nature preserve, presumably to some ideal clearing where he could poke it in the side with an arrow, leaving it wounded until his guides ran it down and killed it with a gunshot 40-hours later.

I wonder what Dr. Palmer and his companions talked about while they were on that truck watching Cecil follow behind them? I'm sure they had plenty of time to discuss the situation during the 40-hours it took to find and dispatch the wounded creature? I'd even bet they had a chat or two about the lion's tracking collar they tried to destroy as part of their getaway.

What about the obligatory, for Palmer, photo-op? He loves taking pictures with the creatures he slaughters.  And even after the tracking collar left no doubt that it was an illegal kill, they still proceeded to skin and behead the animal, taking their prizes with them.

No, this isn't a crime Dr. Palmer is going to be able to lay off on his guides. Not a chance. Any halfway decent prosecutor will have no problem getting a conviction and asking for the maximum prescribed punishment.

Still it is Zimbabwe, a nation not known for always playing by the rules. It's the whole Mugabe thing. Will the White House deliver Palmer into their hands for trial? Not so sure. Although there's a virtual mob in the United States that would happily see Dr. Palmer fed an arrow, skinned and then tossed to a pride of needy lions in retribution. One way or the other, Washington's decision is going to be enormously controversial.

There's Nothing "Technical" About Five Consecutive Months of Economic Contraction

The Disaffected Lib - ven, 07/31/2015 - 11:27
After seven consecutive deficit budgets, Sideshow Steve Harper can go to the polls adding a recession to his economic achievements.

The Canadian economy has contracted for five consecutive months and even the Harper-friendly Globe & Mail reports that suggests we've slipped into a recession.  Really, ya think?

Don't sweat it. This sort of thing happens to minor petro-states all the time. Sure Steve could blame it all on OPEC's oil price war but that would mean blaming Riyadh, the House of Saud, and they just inked a $15-billion order for Canadian armoured, democracy-suppression/Shiite extermination vehicles so he won't want to ruffle their keffiyehs.

And, as for that balanced budget Furious Leader wanted to contrive before Canadians go to the polls, that's pretty much over.  Oh, I know, let's just dissolve Parliament in time to make that whole budget business go away.

Here's an idea. Let's make the election a referendum on Mulcair's secret plans to drag Canada back to the 19th century.  Hell we've only had two prime ministers with beards - Alexander Mackenzie and Mackenzie Bowell, a stone mason and a printer respectively.

Look how long Canada has struggled to remain prime ministerially beard-free. Why should we betray our ancestors' sacrifice and throw out a century of progress now?

The Madness of Mandarins

The Disaffected Lib - ven, 07/31/2015 - 10:41
Yeah! Beijing has won the 2020 Winter Olympics.  Yeah. The Olympic committee awarded the games to a city of 22-million with a water supply capable of supporting 12-million.  Yeah.  By the time the games open (if they can find/make snow), Beijing should be transformed into a new supercity of 130-million renamed as Jing-Jin-Ji.

The Jing is for Beijing, the part shown in the center. The Jin is for the city of Tianjin which will be amalgamated.  The Ji is the popular name for the region of Habei.  It's a great name, really easy to remember.  You start with Jing and then just keep dropping off the last letter.  You'll notice from the map that it's larger than South Korea with its paltry population of a midge under 50-million.

This was all done, why?  So Beijing won't be eclipsed by the even more prosperous cities to the south, Shanghai and Nanjing.  If this all sounds a little crazy, the New York Times columnist and economist, Paul Krugman, writes that it's a madness that begins at the very top.

Politicians who preside over economic booms often develop delusions of competence. You can see this domestically: Jeb Bush imagines that he knows the secrets of economic growth because he happened to be governor when Florida was experiencing a giant housing bubble, and he had the good luck to leave office just before it burst. We’ve seen it in many countries: I still remember the omniscience and omnipotence ascribed to Japanese bureaucrats in the 1980s, before the long stagnation set in.

This is the context in which you need to understand the strange goings-on in China’s stock market. In and of itself, the price of Chinese equities shouldn’t matter all that much. But the authorities have chosen to put their credibility on the line by trying to control that market — and are in the process of demonstrating that, China’s remarkable success over the past 25 years notwithstanding, the nation’s rulers have no idea what they’re doing.

China’s leaders appear to be terrified — probably for political reasons — by the prospect of even a brief recession. So they’ve been pumping up demand by, in effect, force-feeding the system with credit, including fostering a stock market boom. Such measures can work for a while, and all might have been well if the big reforms were moving fast enough. But they aren’t, and the result is a bubble that wants to burst.

China’s response has been an all-out effort to prop up stock prices. Large shareholders have been blocked from selling; state-run institutions have been told to buy shares; many companies with falling prices have been allowed to suspend trading. These are things you might do for a couple of days to contain an obviously unjustified panic, but they’re being applied on a sustained basis to a market that is still far above its level not long ago.

What do Chinese authorities think they’re doing?

...the Chinese government, having encouraged citizens to buy stocks, now feels that it must defend stock prices to preserve its reputation. And what it’s ending up doing, of course, is shredding that reputation at record speed.

Indeed, every time you think the authorities have done everything possible to destroy their credibility, they top themselves. Lately state-run media have been assigning blame for the stock plunge to, you guessed it, a foreign conspiracy against China, which is even less plausible than you may think: China has long maintained controls that effectively shut foreigners out of its stock market, and it’s hard to sell off assets you were never allowed to own in the first place.

So what have we just learned? China’s incredible growth wasn’t a mirage, and its economy remains a productive powerhouse. The problems of transition to lower growth are obviously major, but we’ve known that for a while. The big news here isn’t about the Chinese economy; it’s about China’s leaders. Forget everything you’ve heard about their brilliance and foresightedness. Judging by their current flailing, they have no clue what they’re doing.

So, to recap, while China's leaders are walking a stock market slack rope with the grenade in one hand and the pin in their teeth, they're going to amalgamate Beijing into a supercity of 130-million and host a winter olympics even as their nation descends into a desperate water crisis while sea level rise begins to imperil their coastal mega-cities.  What could possibly go wrong?  Oh yeah, everything. Stay tuned. 
Wait a second. I know what the Chinese need in this hour of desperation.  Donald Trump.

Something To Think About

Northern Reflections - ven, 07/31/2015 - 06:35

For the next seventy-seven days, we're going to hear the message that Stephen Harper is the best person to guide the Canadian economy. Jim Stanford has been crunching the numbers; and it turns out that -- like so much of what Mr. Harper says -- there is a cavernous gap between his rhetoric and reality. Stanford writes:

However, this gap between triumphalist rhetoric and grim reality did not suddenly appear. In fact, the evidence has been piling up for years -- long before the current slowdown -- that Canada's economic performance under the Harper Conservatives has been uniquely poor.

I have worked with my Unifor colleague Jordan Brennan to compile an exhaustive empirical comparison of Canada's economic record under the Harper government, and compared that record to previous post-war prime ministers. The full 64-page study was released today, and is available here.

Here's what we did: The performance of the economy under each prime minister was described on the basis of 16 conventional and commonly used indicators of economic progress and well-being. These 16 indicators fall into three broad categories, summarized as follows:

  • Work: Job creation, employment rate, unemployment rate, labour force participation, youth employment, and job quality.
  • Production: Real GDP growth (absolute and per capita), business investment, exports and productivity growth.
  • Distribution and Debt: Real personal incomes, inequality, federal public services, personal debt, and government debt.

Taken all together, the picture that emerges is grim:

Considering the overall average ranking of each prime minister (across all 16 indicators), the Harper government receives an average ranking of 8.05 out of a worst-possible 9.0. That is dead last among the nine post-war governments, and by a wide margin -- falling well behind the second-worst government, which was the Mulroney Conservative regime of 1984-93.

The very poor economic record of the Harper government cannot be blamed on the fact that Canada experienced a recession in 2008-09. In fact, Canada experienced a total of 10 recessions during the 1946-2014 period. Most governments had to grapple with recession at some point during their tenures -- and some prime ministers had to deal with more than one. Instead, statistical evidence shows that the recovery from the 2008-09 recession has been the weakest (by far) of any Canadian recovery since the Depression. A uniquely weak recovery, not the fact that Canada experienced a recession at all, helps explains the Harper government's poor economic rating.

This statistical review confirms that it is far-fetched to suggest that Canada's economy has been well-managed during the Harper government's time in office. To the contrary, there is no other time in Canada's post-war economic history in which Canada's economy has performed worse than it did under the Harper government.
The man who claims to be an economist -- but who has never earned his living as an economist -- is a dismal failure when it comes to the dismal science.

Something to think about each time you're told that Stephen Harper knows what he's doing.

Putting A Stake Through The Heart Of Harper's Lies

Politics and its Discontents - ven, 07/31/2015 - 06:15

As a youngster, there were few things I enjoyed more than vampire films starring Christopher Lee, in my view the best cinematic vampire there ever was. Usually, at the end, either a stake through the heart or exposure to the rays of the sun ended his evil hold on people. It was a satisfying form of exorcism.

In this impending (or is it never ending?) election campaign, the only thing that will release Canadians from the foul grip of the Harper regime's lies, deceptions, attacks and secrecy is the metaphorical light that only facts and truth can provide.

And there are so many untruths and that we need to be armed against, including the one about how a low-tax regime spurs the economy and proves Harper's economic 'mastery'. Star reader Russell Pangborn of Keswick, Ontario begs to differ:
Re: Budget watchdog predicts $1B deficit, July 23

The Conservatives told us their plan to reduce taxes was good for the country. Reminds me of the disastrous low-fat diet craze. While we were obsessing about lowering the quantity of fat in a serving, we overlooked the corresponding sugar increase that was introduced to make the food palatable.

Instead of improving our health, the low-fat mania actually ended up increasing our weight and our chance of getting health-unfriendly diseases like diabetes and heart problems. The new message, just starting to get through to the public, is that some fat is actually good for us.

There have been negative repercussions related to our acceptance of the promise of prosperity with the reduction of taxes. The truth is that we are in a recession. Health care, affordable higher education, proper infrastructure all sound like reasonable endeavors funded by taxes.

Attacking the amount of fat we eat and the amount of taxes we pay has not worked. I don’t want a huge tax increase, but I do want to stop hearing that “all taxes are bad” ad campaign that is thrown out to discredit some political parties.

My overall health improved when I stopped buying only low-fat products. Let’s hope that our country’s general health also will improve when we stop following the “lower taxes are always better” refrain.Excerpts from a missive written by David C. Searle of Toronto offer some pungent reminders of Harper's failures on the economic front:
Stephen Harper’s attack on Justin Trudeau’s “budgets balance themselves” may soon ignite an implosion of fortunes for the “omnipotent Conservative Grand Poobah,” who impetuously ditched the wise and prudent Red Tory Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s sound $3 billion contingency fund, steering Canada back into deficit with “a barrage of tax cuts,” well aware that oil commodity storm clouds were gathering.

The highly reputable Flaherty warned against the billions that income splitting for 15 per cent of households loyal to the Harper base would cost and actually had a conscience to resolutely stand against it.

The unveiled Harper legacy is one forsaking of our military personnel with rusted, trouble-plagued submarines, obsolete air and ground assets, a born-again-like sense of purpose at the last minute for veteran’s affairs that many deem as nothing but a charade, our aged suffering from deteriorating health care infrustructure, sewage and water repair backlogs in Toronto and Montreal are direly highlighting the need for federal help, meanwhile investments are disproportionately going to Conservative ridings in less trouble-prone areas.

We can thank Finance Critics Liberal Scott Brison and NDP Nathan Cullen for requesting a Parliamentary Budget Office Update exposes Harper’s fallacy of a balanced budget in 2015 and we should be awakened by this forecast from the PBO that warns, “Doubling Tax-Free Savings Accounts and indexing them to inflation could harm Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplements for the poorest of the poor the majority of which are women, yes our mothers.”

We shouldn’t buy into Harper’s fear-mongering-hysterics about terrorism, as he is merely deflecting our attention from the reality of a crumbling currency and economy.Continuing with economic matters, J. Richard Wright of Niagara-on-the-Lake assesses Mr. Harper as a "smug corporate pawn':
Stephen Harper has never met a free trade deal he didn’t like and seems ready to sign anything placed in front of him as he turns Canada from a benevolent and caring country into a corporate fiefdom. But, in doing so, he is playing a dangerous game.

Many of the agreements have little protections for Canadian rights but he doesn’t seem to care. For the almighty dollar, he is happy to give away out country and our resources to business interests despite the damage Canada may suffer. Of course, after the damage is done, the foreign investors will just move on, leaving us with the mess.

For instance, since many of these free trade agreements have investor protection clauses in them, he has exposed every Canadian citizen, through their tax contributions, to legal action if a foreign investor doesn’t realize a return on its investment because we won’t allow them to destroy or pollute our land.

Even now there is a $250 million lawsuit against the Canadian government by Lone Pine Resources Inc. (registered in Delaware), because the province of Quebec has banned fracking for natural gas in its province. Lone Pine wants to frack under the St. Lawrence River where it says there are massive deposits of natural gas.

Farmers and others near fracking operations in Pennsylvania regularly show that their drinking water can be lit on fire. So, imagine the St. Lawrence River on fire.

Experts say that even if the suit doesn’t succeed, it creates a libel chill for governments, discouraging them from passing environmental laws for health and safety for fear it will upset foreign investors. In addition, Harper’s latest free trade agreement with the European Union is expected to generate even more lawsuits against our government.

Also, Harper is saying he will sue the provinces if they pass laws, environmental or otherwise, that interfere with a foreign investor’s profits and leads to an action against the federal government. Is there no end to this smug, corporate pawn’s lunacy?Those who fought Dracula's evil reign were armed with garlic, crucifixes and stakes. Going into the October election, the best things we can arm ourselves with are facts, facts and more facts. Recommend this Post

Friday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - ven, 07/31/2015 - 05:40
Assorted content to end your week.

- Shannon Gormley points out how the Cons' actions to strip voting rights from Canadians abroad sticks out like a sore thumb compared to an international trend of recognizing that citizenship doesn't end merely because a person crosses a border. And Peter Russell and Semra Sevi lament that it's too late to reverse the damage before this fall's federal election, while the Star makes the broader point that we should be encouraging rather than limiting voter participation.

- Andrew Nikiforuk exposes how the U.S.'s green light to fracking has led to far more dangerous "shallow fracking" than anticipated - though it shouldn't come as much surprise that a poorly-regulated industry would engage in more risky practices than it would if public safety was properly taken into account.

- Ben Makuch reports that Stephen Harper is spending hundreds of millions of dollars for its own Star Wars program even as he denounces any suggestion of using public money to actually help people.

- Meanwhile, Jo Snyder makes the case for pharmacare as a means of reducing inequality. And Don Cayo notes that it's equally viable as a matter of economic policy.

- Finally, the Star argues that the Cons' economic spin consists of nothing but smoke and mirrors, while L. Ian McDonald sees it as more of a matter of theatre. And the CP reports on yet another month of economic decline on Stephen Harper's watch.

On institutional improvements

accidentaldeliberations - ven, 07/31/2015 - 05:35
Shorter Carol Goar:
When it comes to Canada Post, the only options are cuts, sell-offs or more cuts. Because who could possibly want better service which also increases public revenue?

RU486: Game. Set. Match.

Dammit Janet - ven, 07/31/2015 - 05:04
Further to the long overdue approval by Health Canada of RU486 or mifepristone, the 'gold standard' of medical abortion: an explanation and a clarification. (And some gloating.)

Medical -- non-surgical -- abortion is not new to Canada. But the protocol doctors have been forced to follow up to now is outmoded, unreliable, and subject to screw-ups.

Here, an expert explains:
"We're absolutely thrilled," Jill Arkles, from the Sexual Health Centre in Saskatoon, told CBC News Thursday.

According to Arkles, some doctors in the province were already providing an alternative to surgical abortion, using a combination of an injection and medication to induce a miscarriage.

She called RU-486 a welcome advancement. The injection-and-tablet method can take up to five weeks to complete, and involve up to five medical appointments, while RU-486 is two pills taken a day or two apart.

"It's more cost-effective than other current medications that we're using, as well it requires less time overall," she said.So, quicker, easier, more cost-effective. Not to mention less time and stress for patients.

Thus: gold standard.

The news story I based my blogpost yesterday was less than clear on how widely available the new protocol will be.
[Vicki] Saporta [president and CEO of National Abortion Federation] said initially the drug will probably only be available through health-care professionals who already provide abortion services.It seems that Saporta's judgement was not based on any Health Canada requirement, but on training issues and individual doctors' inclinations.

Here's part of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada's statement.
The SOGC is working with the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), using the expertise of our members to develop clinical practice guidelines on the use of mifegymiso [Canadian brand name] and to provide educational opportunities to physicians to ensure that they are well-prepared to counsel and care for women requesting medical abortion.
More on the inclinations of doctors:

Canadian doctors who were wary of the makeshift cocktail [injection and tablets] will likely be more willing to prescribe an abortion drug that’s approved by Health Canada for that purpose, said Jennifer Blake, the CEO of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. She expects the society to provide formal training around the drug and its side effects to doctors who want to offer it, and said family doctors and obstetricians will both be able to qualify. Doctors’ approaches to abortion “depends on the community,” Dr. Blake said.

“I think if you look at physicians in general as coming from the fabric of Canadians society, Canadian society on the whole feels this is a decision that is best made by a woman herself, and I would expect that to be the same among health-care providers.”We'll have to wait and see how many doctors -- and as critically, where they are located -- will decide to offer this solution.

Now for the gloating. CBC notes that as we head into a protracted election campaign, this might not be the best timing for CONservatives wanting to placate the fetus freaks among their base.

Indeed, the initial reaction among cabinet ministers was to run like hell.
[Health Minister Rona] Ambrose told reporters in St. Albert, Alta., that the decision did not rest with her.

“It’s out of my hands and the decision is final,” she said.

“Any of those details you would have to speak to the officials at Health Canada and the scientists that actually manage the regulatory approval process. I’m not involved in it.”

Ambrose cancelled two events scheduled for Thursday afternoon and Friday in Edmonton and area. No reason was given.Except for one CON MP (so far), David Anderson, who issued a foot-stomper of a press release demanding Ambrose roll back the clock to the 1950s.

To sum up, yes, medical abortion has been available in Canada but not very widely offered or actually undertaken, precisely because it was arduous for all involved.

The fetus freaks are particularly pissed over RU486, precisely because it is easier and more effective.

And they have good reason to be pissed. As SUZY ALLCAPS herself admits.

The problem with this [medical abortion] model, from the pro-life perspective, is that it's a little harder to protest the GP who does abortions, when he treats the community's ear infections, sore throats, STD's and so on.

If you make life hard on this person, it won't just be abortion clients who'll be unhappy. It will be all the patients this doctor sees.When GPs, nurse practitioners, midwives, and hopefully, eventually pharmacists are able and willing to help end an early pregnancy, it's not just a game-changer. It's a game-ender.

Game. Set. And soon, the whole fucking shooting match.


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