Posts from our progressive community

And Speaking of Our Post-Truth World

Politics and its Discontents - ven, 12/02/2016 - 06:20
Yesterday's post dealt with the challenges real journalism faces in this era of presidential prevarications and attacks on the media.

The following video, via Mother Jones, shows what critical thinkers everywhere have to contend with.

Considering the above, we, as a species, clearly have little to be arrogant about.Recommend this Post

The new yokels

Dawg's Blawg - ven, 12/02/2016 - 05:56
“Evidence-based policy” is a cant phrase that has been around for a while. I first heard it used—repeatedly—at Justin Trudeau’s coronation in Montreal in 2012. It was clearly a term that was intended to set the Liberals off from the... Dr.Dawg

Californians Know A Con Job When They See One

Northern Reflections - ven, 12/02/2016 - 05:06

Around the world, Neo-liberalism is triumphant -- but not everywhere. Robert Reich writes that, in the recent American election, California -- which used to be a pilot project for Milton Friedman's economic prescriptions -- overwhelming rejected Donald Trump:

In sharp contrast to much of the rest of the nation, Californians preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a 2-to-1 margin. They also voted to extend a state tax surcharge on the wealthy, and adopt local housing and transportation measures along with a slew of local tax increases and bond proposals.
Perhaps that's because Californians know something that the people in Trump's Heartland don't understand. Consider:

For years, conservatives have been saying that a healthy economy depends on low taxes, few regulations, and low wages.

Are conservatives right? At the one end of the scale are Kansas and Texas, with among the nation’s lowest taxes, least regulations, and lowest wages.

At the other end is California, with among the nation’s highest taxes, especially on the wealthy; toughest regulations, particularly when it comes to the environment; most ambitious healthcare system, that insures more than 12 million poor Californians, in partnership with Medicaid; and high wages.

So according to conservative doctrine, Kansas and Texas ought to be booming, and California ought to be in the pits.

Actually, it’s just the opposite.

For several years, Kansas’s rate of economic growth has been the worst in the nation. Last year its economy actually shrank. 

Texas hasn’t been doing all that much better. Its rate of job growth has been below the national average. Retail sales are way down. The value of Texas exports has been dropping.
California has rejected neo-liberal orthodoxy. And that rejection has made all the difference:

California leads the nation in the rate of economic growth — more than twice the national average. If it were a separate nation it would now be the sixth largest economy in the world. Its population has surged to 39 million (up 5 percent since 2010).

California is home to the nation’s fastest-growing and most innovative industries – entertainment and high tech. It incubates more startups than anywhere else in the world. 
Californians have their problems. When it comes to climate change, they are enduring the brunt of Nature's assault. But the state -- whose population is larger than Canada's -- knows that Neoliberalism is a con job.

Image: 8

Are Russian Hackers Going After Donald Trump's Enemies?

Montreal Simon - ven, 12/02/2016 - 04:46

As you know Russian hackers are widely believed to have interfered in the U.S. election, by getting their hands on Democratic Party e-mails.

And helping to spread fake stories like this one.

Now the Germans are worried those hackers could disrupt their election.

And to make matters even worse, Keith Olbermann is now accusing them of targeting him, and others who dare to criticize Donald Trump.
Read more »

An Impassioned Plea to Tear Down the Walls of Inequality from Stephen Hawking.

The Disaffected Lib - jeu, 12/01/2016 - 23:05

The neoliberals who have driven the western world into the ditch over the past three decades need to decide whether to rehabilitate liberal democracy or allow themselves to be erased from memory by generations of strongman rule.

Yeah, Justin - you too.

First up, theoretical physicist extraordinaire, Stephen Hawking. In an opinion piece in The Guardian, "This Is the Most Dangerous Time for our planet," Hawking warns, "We can’t go on ignoring inequality, because we have the means to destroy our world but not to escape it."

Referring to Brexit and the Trump victory, he writes it was, "the moment when the forgotten spoke, finding their voices to reject the advice and guidance of experts and the elite everywhere."

The concerns underlying these votes about the economic consequences of globalisation and accelerating technological change are absolutely understandable. The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.

...We need to put this alongside the financial crash, which brought home to people that a very few individuals working in the financial sector can accrue huge rewards and that the rest of us underwrite that success and pick up the bill when their greed leads us astray. So taken together we are living in a world of widening, not diminishing, financial inequality, in which many people can see not just their standard of living, but their ability to earn a living at all, disappearing. It is no wonder then that they are searching for a new deal, which Trump and Brexit might have appeared to represent.

...It is also the case that another unintended consequence of the global spread of the internet and social media is that the stark nature of these inequalities is far more apparent than it has been in the past. For me, the ability to use technology to communicate has been a liberating and positive experience. Without it, I would not have been able to continue working these many years past.

But it also means that the lives of the richest people in the most prosperous parts of the world are agonisingly visible to anyone, however poor, who has access to a phone. And since there are now more people with a telephone than access to clean water in sub-Saharan Africa, this will shortly mean nearly everyone on our increasingly crowded planet will not be able to escape the inequality.

...For me, the really concerning aspect of this is that now, more than at any time in our history, our species needs to work together. We face awesome environmental challenges: climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans.

Together, they are a reminder that we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity. We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it. Perhaps in a few hundred years, we will have established human colonies amid the stars, but right now we only have one planet, and we need to work together to protect it.

Be honest. Does it sound to you as though your government was on this course, resolved to save liberal democracy, humanity and the environment, or on another course fretting about spreading as much bitumen as conceivably possible to every Third World-grade power generation technology that demonstrates how completely oblivious they are to the reality setting in today, now. 

To the BC KM17, Your Next Career

Creekside - jeu, 12/01/2016 - 18:09
... from Kim , who used to blog at sistersagesmusings ....BC 17, Your Next Career
Dear BC(LIB) MPs;Your photogenic leader has just tanked your career as a politician in BC. I hope you feel ashamed and embarrassed. If that is the case, I would suggest that you strongly consider crossing the floor or resigning your post, because, clearly, you have no mandate in your constituencies. You all know how we feel about our coast. You all know how important this ocean is to our economy. You all swept into office on promises of a new Nation to Nation relationship, how you basked in the glow of "Governments give approval, but only communities give permission". How you embraced UNDRIP and the Paris Accord. Unless you part ways with your Party leadership on this, you are liars and cheats and not fit for representing your constituents in Ottawa. You all know that there is no world class oil spill response, ask the Heiltsuk Nation in Bella Bella. How the Oil cleanup company is owned by the Oil Titans. How the coast guard comms system has failed many times since Harper closed the network. I would suggest that you people start reflecting deeply on these issues, and the fact that you have just allowed massive protests to endanger our people.I just sent this to the 17 Liberal MPs in; 604-717-1144, 613-992-1416; 604-775-5323, 613-995-7052; 604-575-6595 , 613-992-0884; 604-718-8870, 613-992-0802; 604-598-2200, 613-992-0666; 604-666-0135,; 250-470-5075, 613-992-7006; 604-913-2660, 613-947-4617; 604-501-5900, 613-996-2205; 604-927-1080, 613-992-9650; 604-664-9220, 613-992-2430; 604-257-2900, 613-992-1385; 778-593-4007, 613-992-2957; 604-466-2761, 613-947-4613; 604-589-2441, 613-992-2922; 604-814-5710, 613-992-1248; 604-775-6333, 613-995-1225 .

Nikiforuk - "Kinder Morgan Approval Insults Democracy, Science and Economic Logic"

The Disaffected Lib - jeu, 12/01/2016 - 14:23
 If there's anyone able to give prime minister Slick a boot in his petro-ass, it's The Tyee's columnist, Andrew Nikiforuk.

Alberta-born Nikiforuk is Canada's hands down best writer on the Tar Sands and the bitumen initiative. He's been delving into it for years.

Excerpting his analysis would only detract from it so follow this link to read it for yourself.

When you're done ask yourself what kind of a man we have in this prime minister who would do this to Canada, our young people and generations of Canadians to come.

In defending his decision to push bitumen to tidewater, Trudeau remarked that there's "not a country on Earth" that wouldn't exploit such a bitumen bounty. If he's right, he's just admitted there's not a hope in hell we'll arrest catastrophic, runaway climate change even though we've been warned, repeatedly warned, that's an extinction event.

Trudeau will go through the motions of revenue-neutral carbon pricing which, at this point, is simply pushing food around on a plate and then he'll say he's done something meaningful to fight climate change.

Harper saw to it that the pipeline process would be a stacked deck. He did that by allowing the fossil energy giants to capture the regulator, the National Energy Board. Trudeau promised voters he would clean house but the Harper National Energy Board remains industry captured as the Trudeau National Energy Board. Trudeau is as corrupt as Harper.

Surviving In A Post-Truth World

Politics and its Discontents - jeu, 12/01/2016 - 09:24
Reading my morning paper, the Toronto Star, I came across a notice to subscribers that rates are once again increasing. As part of what is frequently referred to as their 'legacy readers," I am not happy about this, but I will continue with my subscription, despite the fact that I have full access to a complete digital version of it and hundreds of other papers through my local library via its Press Display service.

Why? First of all, I much prefer the print version of anything I read, but secondly, and more importantly, it is only through a steady income stream that newspapers can fulfill their traditional roles as safeguards of our democracy.

And lord knows that we need those safeguards, especially given the explosion of fake news sites, some of which may have influenced the U.S. election, not to mention the attacks on traditional media much in evidence these days, instigated, aided and abetted by demagogues like Donald Trump. Consider this:

The above campaign rally brought out this observation from the New York Times:
...even reporters long accustomed to the toxic fervor of Trump rallies were startled — and even frightened — at the vitriol of a Cincinnati crowd on Thursday evening as more than 15,000 supporters flashed homemade signs, flipped middle fingers and lashed out in tirades often laced with profanity as journalists made their way to a crammed, fenced-in island in the center of the floor.Or how about this scene from another rally?

Last week, veteran journalist Christiane Amanpour was given an award honouring her for her extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom. Her acceptance speech, which you can see here, expressed her concerns over this kind of pillorying, a concern that the CBC's Diana Swain discussed with her:

It would not be wrong to conclude that the mainstream media, through a combination of laziness, obedience to corporate imperatives and frequent abandonment of their sacred responsibilities, deserve criticism. But it would be wrong to conclude that they no longer have a place in informing the public through deep research, factual renditions of stories and fearless resistance to the pressures from unhinged members of the public, opportunistic, manipulative politicos and feckless employers.

I shall continue to do my part in trying to realize the above ideal by paying for the paper I most trust. I leave you with the reflections of a Star letter-writer, who recognizes the challenges facing traditional media today:
Journalist Christiane Amanpour’s address last week to the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York is extremely relevant. The need for the mainstream media to re-commit to an unwavering role in delivering pure facts is more important now than ever.

Some news outlets may have been more committed to delivering facts than others. So it’s up to readers, viewers and listeners to decide where they get their information.

But too many, it seems, have relied over the past year or more on social media. Donald Trump aside, this has been a very dangerous trend. And dwindling ratings/circulation and news coverage budgets have not helped.

The media have always been under attack from one source or other, but never to the degree that we’re seeing now. And it’s not only from Trump. While re-dedicating themselves to ever-higher standards, media will now have to reinvent themselves to deal with what social media is pumping out in the form of fake news (to which Trump has been just one major contributor).

Some social media may also have learned some lessons from this and may have accepted responsibility, as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recently acknowledged.

Amanpour asked a very good question off the top. What would Ed Murrow do? Fifty-one years after his death, the iconic CBS newsman is still regarded by a (admittedly-dwindling) number of reporters as a leading light in truthful, gutsy, advocacy journalism. He took on an earlier narcissist sociopath in the 1950s by the name of McCarthy – and won. Joe McCarthy self-destructed within months.

Nobody – doubtless including himself – knows what will happen with a Trump presidency. As we know, he’s already reversed himself on several issues, probably thanks to prevailing wisdom that has eked its way through to the Trump Tower. He may, in fact, moderate his attitude about mainstream media, as well. Who knows?

But the same media are going to have to figure out how to deal with this guy in, one hopes, some constructive way. And Trump will be forever totally unpredictable.

Amanpour’s warnings are critically important at this worrisome time. She has articulated the urgency of the message better than we’ve heard from anyone else to date.

Ian Sutton, Kingston
Recommend this Post

Free Trade, Okay. In What?

The Disaffected Lib - jeu, 12/01/2016 - 08:31

Ever since the FTA, the Free Trade Act between Canada and the United States, Canada has inked a succession of trade deals - NAFTA, separate deals with countries such as Panama (that worked out well, eh?), and most recently CETA, our trade deal with the European Union or what may remain of it in a few years.

We were sold on the idea by Mulroney who assured us that free trade meant more jobs and better wages all around. There would be prosperity for everyone, more than we could dare imagine.

So, where are all these wonderful, high-paid jobs today? It seems they haven't materialized. Yet, according to the Dauphin, the answer to that is more free trade, as much as we can sign on to.

Canada's multi-billion dollar monthly trade deficit suggests that we're importing a lot more than we're exporting. That can't be a good thing, can it? Buying more than you're selling is like spending more than you're earning. How does that end up?

However if you're a devout neoliberal, like prime minister Slick, globalism is sacrosanct even if it isn't working, even if it's blowing up in your face,  even if more open minds have proclaimed it a giant, failed experiment that damages economies and fuels inequality. If you're our prime minister, you'll keep driving the national bus into that ditch, again and again and again. Sort of like how they pitched the Trans Pacific Partnership by telling us we would be worse off if we didn't sign on. Now globalism has become a matter not of more jobs and better wages and ever greater prosperity. It's now about being slightly less worse off with it than without it.

Look, let's face it. He's not an intellectual. He's not his dad. The Greater Scheme of Things is more than a few notches above his pay grade. Think of him as Trudeau-Lite.

Now we've got to worry about the governor of the Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz. It seems Steve has done undergone some sort of mental tide change about Canada's economy.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz’s story of the Canadian economy has been sent to rewrite. There are no sleeping beauties in the revised tale: if the factory in your community closed during the Great Recession, it is likely staying closed. (Although if it has exposed brick, some hipsters might come along and turn it into shared workspace.) If there was a Prince Charming who thought he could make money doing whatever that facility used to do, he probably would have shown up by now. It is time to move on.

...When he was appointed three years ago, Poloz assumed non-energy exports and business investment would take over from household spending and housing as drivers of economic growth. That hasn’t happened to the extent the central bank thought it would. Officials have spent a lot of time this year trying to understand why their assumptions were off. It appears Canada suffered from a lack of champions; companies and entrepreneurs with the combination of guts and capital to make it in a tougher global economy. But if Poloz is right, the wait may be over. Canada’s heroes have arrived.

Poloz said ...that if anyone is using a “sleeping-beauty model” to think about exports, then they are misguided. Many of Canada’s exporters already were struggling to keep up and the financial crisis finished them off. That event wiped out billions of dollars worth of manufacturing potential. (in his speech,Poloz put the figure at $30 billion.) Think of it this way: if Canada’s manufacturing industry was once a full-sized pickup, it now is a a compact SUV.
[Poloz said]  ...the central bank has identified a new Prince Charming. Poloz’s narrative now stars the services industry, and in particular information technology (IT) and tourism. The central bank surveyed a group of IT companies and found they were more confident than the average Canadian company, probably because most of them were reporting sales growth in the double digits. Tourism spending has been rising steadily for more than two years.)
The central bank governor reckons Canada has a comparative advantage in services. “We have the necessary ingredients: a highly educated labour force supported by strong universities and colleges; entrepreneurs with access to business incubators; a beautiful and interesting country that many would like to visit; a multicultural workforce that helps us to serve domestic and international markets,” he said in his speech. That advantage is enhanced by a depressed currency. The weaker dollar isn’t an unambiguous gain for a Canadian company that wants to make things. Modern manufacturing requires buying robots and other expensive equipment and building facilities overseas, so Canada’s exchange rate makes expansion harder for some companies. But for IT firms, consultancies, and tour guides, the exchange rate is a windfall. Said Poloz: “That comparative advantage has been strengthened by the decline in the Canadian dollar in the past couple of years—a symptom of falling resource prices, and a facilitator of the rotation of growth from resource production to other sectors.”

So the future lies with the IT guys, tour guides, chambermaids and the folks who man the counters in fast food joints (sorry, I forgot that last one has already gone to guest workers). To Poloz' credit, his outlook does sound like a pretty good prognosis of a smaller economy nation state in the grip of neoliberal globalism.
And, by the way Steve, how does Canada's weak dollar compare to that other country that provides bargain basement IT services - India? If you're going to grab a big chunk of the global IT market, it's India and countries like it you'll be bidding against. Oh well, there will still be a demand for tour guides and chambermaids. 

New column day

accidentaldeliberations - jeu, 12/01/2016 - 06:03
Here, on the Libs' pleasantly surprising hints toward enforcing the Canada Health Act - and the Saskatchewan Party's response that it would rather fight for profit-motivated medicine than work on building a sustainable universal system.

For further reading...
- By way of background on the enforcement of the Canada Health Act at the federal level, see here and here as to the Libs' refusal to act which helped to precipitate the fall of the Martin government, and here, here and here as to how matters further deteriorated under the Harper Cons.
- Stefani Langenegger reported on how pay-for-play MRIs in Saskatchewan (along with other similar schemes elsewhere) are at least attracting some scrutiny from Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott.
- And Scott Stelmaschuk points out how the Saskatchewan Party's corporate medicine is predictably endangering sorely-needed funding.

Thursday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - jeu, 12/01/2016 - 06:01
This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Owen Jones argues that UK Labour needs to make far more effort to connect with working-class citizens in order to hold off the populist right, while Jamelle Bouie examines Jesse Jackson's presidential campaigns as a worthwhile model for uniting groups of disaffected voters. And Wolfgang Munchau comments on the failure of neoliberal politicians to acknowledge and reverse how financial elites have twisted the global economy for their own benefit.

- Meanwhile, Miles Corak points out that a cycle of poverty is particularly acute for boys born into lower-income families.

- Jason Beattie discusses how UK attacks on recipients of social benefits are costing more money than the clawed-back benefit amounts, while creating desperate needs for people wrongly targeted.

- Gloria Galloway reports on the Auditor-General's findings that Canada's federal government is routinely failing to set or meet appropriate standards in assessing program effectiveness.

- Finally, Ed Broadbent discusses how a proportional electoral system would prevent the likes of Donald Trump from taking absolute power with a minority of support:
Consider that under our current first-past-the-post system, successive Harper and Trudeau governments have rolled to majorities with the support of fewer than four in 10 voters.
Consider that a leading Conservative leadership candidate, Kellie Leitch, has hailed the Trump victory as an exciting message that must be delivered here, as she continues to peddle her “Canadian values” mantra to the party faithful.
And consider that Van Jones, a leading CNN analyst and former Barack Obama adviser, warned at a Broadbent Institute gala this past week that a Trump-like victory could happen here. Mr. Jones urged progressives to push back with an “army of love.”
That army should be carrying PR as its weapon of choice. ...
We’ll leave our American friends to sort out their electoral-college concerns, but the question for Canadians is whether a PR system could block a Trump here.

The answer is yes, because PR rewards voters with a fair outcome. A party that wins 40 per cent of the vote will win only about 40 per cent of the seats, not a majority. A party winning 30 per cent will be rewarded with 30 per cent of the seats, and so on....If Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is serious about having voters vote their values and have that reflected in the composition of the House of Commons – and delivering on a key and oft-repeated campaign promise – the most important thing he can do is support proportional representation.
Or we could wait until an unfair system allows a Trump-style government to gain a toehold in our backyard.

Fidel Castro, Stephen Harper, and the Con Scumbags

Montreal Simon - jeu, 12/01/2016 - 05:19

I wasn't planning to write another post about the death of Fidel Castro, and the ugly way the Cons and the Con media went after Justin Trudeau for daring to eulogize him.

I thought I had said everything I wanted to say here. 

But then I saw that even though it's been six days since Trudeau delivered that eulogy, and even though he has announced that he won't be attending Castro's funeral.

The depraved Con propaganda machine is still going after him.
Read more »

We May Be Cooked

Northern Reflections - jeu, 12/01/2016 - 05:04

Surveying what has been happening in Europe and the United States, Jonathan Manthorpe asks, "Is Liberalism dying out?" He writes:

Only in Canada (and Portugal) does the seemingly archaic and decidedly retro 20th-century notion of small-L liberalism — or, if you prefer, social democratic centralism — survive unchallenged.

Everywhere else among Canada’s cultural kith and kin, what has become known as ‘populism’ has taken power, or is poised to take power, or is busy fermenting in the streets and on the opposition benches.
Consider the evidence:

It was populism that propelled to victory the campaign to take Britain out of the European Union in June’s referendum. Donald Trump applauded the Brexit victory as a trailblazer for his own populist route to the White House.

It is populism that got Viktor Orban elected Hungary’s prime minister in 2010 and has kept him in power since. Populist parties have the most parliamentary seats in Greece, Slovakia, Poland, Switzerland and Italy. In Norway, Finland and Lithuania, populist parties are in governing coalitions. Populist parties are represented in the parliaments of all other European countries — including Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel remains an increasingly lonely champion of social democracy.

In France, Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front, sees the Trump and Brexit victories as beacons lighting the way for her own push for the Élysée Palace in the presidential elections in April and May. The selection at the weekend by France’s centre-right Republicans of former prime minister (and conservative Catholic) Francois Fillon as their candidate ensures the election will be fought on Le Pen’s ground. The socialists — whose current leader Francois Hollande is the most unpopular president since the founding of the Fifth Republic in 1958 — are not in the game.

In Austria on Sunday, Norbert Hofer of the populist Freedom Party is odds-on to win the presidency. In Holland, current polls indicate that Geert Wilders and his radical anti-Islamist Party for Freedom will win power in the elections scheduled for March. In next September’s elections for the Bundestag, odds are good that the populist party Alternative for Germany, whose support has grown with the influx of about one million Syrian refugees, will win seats in the federal parliament for the first time.
There is a dark tide rising which not only threatens democracy but also the planet. We may be -- figuratively and literally -- cooked.

Image: Tastefully Simple

If This Is So Goddamned Important

The Disaffected Lib - jeu, 12/01/2016 - 01:43

If this "pipeline to tidewater" is so goddamned important, why do the beneficiaries have so little skin in the game?

Why isn't Alberta defusing the dilbit bomb by refining the toxins and the heavy metals and the carcinogens and the petcoke out of their crud on-site, in Alberta? It's one thing to subject the BC coast to a conventional oil catastrophe, a la the Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound (that's still not cleaned up) but it's an order of magnitude worse to create the conditions of a dilbit disaster. Alberta can refine their vile shit at home but they would rather "externalize" that cost by massively increasing the risk to coastal British Columbia. And that petro-pimp Trudeau, in the most despicable betrayal of the province and people of British Columbia, is going along with it.

I don't know but if we're going to gamble with the marine ecology of coastal British Columbia for generations to come, shouldn't the players be putting some money on the table? Big money.

How about this? In the event of a spill, both Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ottawa will immediately transmit every and all royalties they receive from fossil energy to British Columbia until all contaminants are cleared, including from the seabed. Every last dime. Think of it as "polluter pays." We're all into that, surely.

And, to make sure they'll be serious about cleaning up their mess, why not have Alberta agree to cede to British Columbia all that area stretching from the foothills of the Rockies to the BC border including Jasper and Banff? If the spill isn't cleaned up within ten years that territory is permanently forfeit by Alberta.

Right now, Ottawa and Alberta and Saskatchewan have no skin in the game when it comes to the catastrophic risk they want British Columbia to endure. That's bullshit.

I Got Myself a Date

The Disaffected Lib - jeu, 12/01/2016 - 01:21

I'm almost giddy to announce that I've finally got myself a date. It wouldn't be gentlemanly to tell you who she is, not yet at least.

Where would you go for a first date? How about jail?

My friend and I have decided that our first date should be spent in the Greybar Hotel along with as many friends as we can muster to join in. It's all for a good cause - doing what we can to stop Trudeau's perfidious betrayal of our province in his quest to pimp bitumen to Asia.

A lot of people, especially those I know from back east, think this is about an "oil" pipeline. They've been fed that line for so long they believe it. Maybe they just don't want to know.

I've been a lifelong law-abiding citizen, more than 60-years. No charges, no convictions. Only now I have to contemplate being convicted for my convictions to do what's right for my community, my society and generations to come of British Columbians of the coast.

I thought long and hard about this during the Harper years. Who wants to run afoul of the law, especially if you're not looking to "get away with it"? Not me, certainly. That said, I know it's the right thing to do and it's the necessary thing to do. Besides, we've already got our song.

before the flood: good information but ultimately a weak message

we move to canada - mer, 11/30/2016 - 19:00
Tonight we watched "Before the Flood", Leonardo DiCaprio's film about climate change, which I had heard such good things about.

It's well done, and is chock full of appropriately terrifying and depressing information. But in the end, the film delivers yet another "it's up to each of us" message, focusing on individual actions, rather than systemic solutions.

Early in the film, we hear that discussions of climate change used to focus on individual solutions -- change your light bulbs, bring your own coffee mug -- but now we know that's not enough. Yet in the end, the film concludes: "Consume differently: what you buy, what you eat, how you get your power." Vote for people who promise to do something.

After seeing miles of gray, dead coral reef, rainforest devastation in Indonesia, and the monstrosity of the tar sands, "consume differently" is an empty platitude. And how you get your power? Most of us have no choice about that.

Sure, eat less meat, carry your own coffee mug, take public transit, if the option exists in your area. You'll create less landfill, you'll make more conscious choices, and you might inspire others to do the same. Just don't think that you're making a dent in climate change. A dent? Not even a scratch.

"Before the Flood" might actually produce the opposite of its intended effect. Upon seeing this film, I think many or most viewers would feel that climate change is so huge, so widespread, and so advanced, that there is nothing we can do, so we should just live our lives, and try not to think about it. The optimistic NASA scientist interviewed towards the end of the film says that if we all stopped using fossil fuel, the earth will be able to heal. So if the impossible happens, we'll be OK? Not a lot of hope there.

Tar sands, fracking, palm oil production, deepwater drilling -- all of this is driven by profit and an economic system that demands so-called growth. In other words, the root cause is capitalism. It will never be more profitable to conserve and protect than it is to extract and destroy. So until our world is motivated by something other than profit, the destruction will not end.

The one thing that may achieve our goal is barely mentioned: massive, sustained protest. The kind of protest we are seeing right now in North Dakota, on a much largers scale. Because, as Mario Savio said, there is a time.
There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!

I thought of Mario Savio tonight. Although my heart and soul are against the gears, and always have been, I cannot say that I put my body upon the gears. I can only say I support the people who do, and I am ready to do so when the time comes.

Just When We Thought Harper Was Gone

The Disaffected Lib - mer, 11/30/2016 - 14:07
I guess we somehow knew all along -

Preserving the legacy of Stephen Harper and Joe Oliver - bringing bitumen to tidewater. Makes me feel a lot more British Columbian and, strangely enough, a lot less Canadian.

A Pipeline Plebiscite in 2017?

The Disaffected Lib - mer, 11/30/2016 - 12:27

BC premier, Christy Clark, wasted no time in coming aboard. One day after Trudeau announced his government's approval of the Kinder Morgan megapipeline project into the Lower Mainland, Clark has said that Trudeau is close to fulfilling her conditions for approval.

Clark is no friend of coastal British Columbia or the Lower Mainland since she got thrown out of her posh Vancouver riding and was forced to seek refuge in Kelowna.

Until now the opposition NDP has been languishing, unable to connect with BC voters. Clark may be about to fix that problem, giving the NDP traction. Same, same for the British Columbia Greens if Andrew Weaver can get his head out of his backside on the BDS issue.

My New Year resolution this year will be to work to make BC a Liberal-free zone in 2019.

In today's Tyee, the headlines read, "Trudeau Just Sacrificed BC for Big Oil," and "Climate Change, Not Spills, the Real Kinder Morgan Disaster: Trudeau's Orwellian pipeline approval ignores looming threat to our grandchildren," are the stuff to get the blood to boil.

Trudeau also has the National Observer snapping at his greasy heels. "British Columbia Prepping for Battle After Major Pipeline Approvals," and, "Trudeau Pipeline Approval Could Harm Relations for 'Generations' Says Chief Thomas."

Trudeau has declared war on British Columbia. Trudeau, like Trump, is waging war on mankind.

This is only going to intensify as the media revisits the old stories of just what bitumen is, the associated dangers, and the peril coastal BC is exposed to so that Alberta won't have to refine their toxic crap on-site, in Alberta.

The fight is on.

Day 4: Patience

Feminist Christian - mer, 11/30/2016 - 12:12
It's Day 4, and it's just barely past noon, and I'm done my challenge for the day. And that's good, because my in-laws arrive tonight, so I'm probably out from here until Day 13. And what's the theme of the day? Patience. LOL. Too timely.

Here's my entry:

Patience! Other than my niece's name, this word doesn't mean much to me. What's patience? Waiting calmly and happily for something? Waiting without complaining? Hell if I know. It's easier to recognise it when it's lacking, I think.

This is my piano/keyboard. My 7 year old son is taking piano lessons, and I've always wanted to learn too, so I'm taking lessons with him (midlife crisis? Maybe.) And what I do know is that patience is something I don't have with it. I want to be good now. I want to be great now. I want to sit down and accompany the family on a Christmas singalong (ha! Like I'd *ever* get them to do that.) I want to be able to sit at it and reproduce the beautiful music I hear on the radio. And I can't. I mean, I have a good ear, so I can pluck it out on one finger, no matter what the song, but chords and rhythm tend to help. :) So I'm learning to be patient with myself in learning something new at 40somethingmumble.
I think patience and love go together hand in hand. Remember "Love is patient, love is kind" (1 Corinthians 13:4-8), right? I think patience is love. Being patient with a crying child is just loving that child. Being patient with myself as I learn how to play Bach or a random Christmas carol is loving myself. And God loves us perfectly. God is patient with us as we screw up over and over again. Patience isn't getting angry and yelling or throwing thing. Patience is remembering to love the person. And maybe sometimes it's just acceptance of things one cannot change - like the long line of cars ahead of me or the racist attitudes of that in-law who never shuts up.
All I know is that patience is a virtue because it's grounded in love.


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