Posts from our progressive community

On paid access

accidentaldeliberations - mar, 09/16/2014 - 16:13
Shorter Brad Wall:
As far as I'm concerned, paying large sums of money to cynical political operatives for insider access to decision-makers is just how business gets done with the U.S. government. Also, please don't draw any obvious inferences about how business gets done with my government.

Will Mike Duffy Call the Next Election?

The Disaffected Lib - mar, 09/16/2014 - 13:39


Sure, it sounds far fetched, but the opposition parties had better be prepared for Harper to call a snap election.

Word I'm getting from Ottawa is that the evidence in the Duffy trial will directly implicate the prime minister in the under-the-table payment/bribery scheme.  If that happens, Stephen Harper's political career is essentially over.

Duffy is pushing for an early trial date, the sooner the better.  Given his circumstances - the cost, two open-heart surgeries, stress - he's apt to get a receptive response from the court.

From Harper's perspective the Duffy trial is a matter of optics and, for SJH, none of the possibilities is good, not good at all.  Harper is already damaged goods and, even if he escapes efforts to compel him to testify, what remains of his reputation will become a political pinata in the course of the trial.

The question becomes how badly does Harper want another term as prime minister?  His odds aren't good in any event but he's still got a shot, perhaps a minority at best, if he can trigger an election before the trial gets underway.

My take on it is that Harper will do a Mulroney.  He'll see the writing on the wall and bail out, leaving his successor to go up in flames.

I am left wondering whether these side pressures played a role in Harper's decision to ink the FIPA deal with his kindred spirits, the politburo in Beijing. He's done his damage.  Why hang around to take the heat for the fallout?

No Surprise Here - Part Two

Politics and its Discontents - mar, 09/16/2014 - 11:35


Given Stephen Harper's most recent demonstrated indifference to climate change, I report the following with no surprise, only a degree of tired resignation:

Environment Canada appears to have quietly ended key discussions that were intended to tackle carbon pollution from the oil and gas industry.

A committee made up of representatives from Environment Canada, the Alberta government and oil and gas companies was created in the fall of 2011 to develop options to reduce industrial greenhouse gases from the oilsands sector, the country’s fastest growing source of carbon emissions.

But the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), which was part of the committee, says it stopped getting invitations to meetings in 2013.

“We have no knowledge of the group having met since March 2013,” said Alex Ferguson, the vice-president of policy and performance at the association, which represents Canadian oil and gas companies, in an email to the Star.
The most discouraging aspect of the report is this:
The Harper government has estimated it won’t achieve the prime minister’s international climate change commitment to reduce emissions by 2020, mainly because of rising pollution from the oil and gas sector.

While most Canadian industries have reduced their carbon footprints, the oilsands sector has moved in the opposite direction increasing its emissions by 307 per cent between 1990 and 2012, Environment Canada estimated in a report submitted to the United Nations earlier this year.
Once again, under this administration Canada is proving to be one of the West's most egregious climate-change outliers. It is not a distinction any of us should take pride in.Recommend this Post

Had It With the Fords?

Dammit Janet - mar, 09/16/2014 - 09:40
Do something.

Jude MacDonald (twitter) has been doing heroic work in trying to stop the fucking Fords' abuse of City Hall property and resources for political campaigning.

Such activity is verboten.

And it's pretty clear.

VII. ELECTION CAMPAIGN WORK

Members are required to follow the provisions of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996. No member shall use the facilities, equipment, supplies, services or other resources of the City (including Councillor newsletters and websites linked through the City’s website) for any election campaign or campaign-related activities. No member shall undertake campaign-related activities on City property during regular working hours unless permitted by City policy (e.g., all candidates meetings). No member shall use the services of persons for election-related purposes during hours in which those persons receive any compensation from the City.
According to Jude, the person responsible for maintaining proper conduct is the City Manager. Email: talktocitymanager@toronto.ca

I wrote to both my councillor and the City Manager.

You can too.

Find your councillor's contact information.

Here's what I wrote.


Dear City Manager/Councillor:

Mainly from Twitter -- the mainstream media does not seem to think this is worth reporting -- I have been watching for months the Fords misuse City Hall property and resources for political campaigning.

I realize that there is some leeway possible in interpreting what is campaigning and what is communicating but yesterday I believe there was an unequivocal case of blatantly illegal use of City resources.

Jeff Silverstein, former campaign staffer for Rob Ford and now apparently in the employ of Doug Ford, was seen entering the Mayor's office yesterday and spending some considerable time there with Doug and others. CP24 confirmed the sighting, along with many ordinary individuals.

The Mayor is in hospital and has withdrawn his candidacy for mayor.

Mr. Silverstein is not an employee of the City. There is zero possible justification for this action.

Doug Ford is continuing to abuse his position as brother of the mayor. Now that he is a candidate himself, it is time -- finally -- to take him to task and force him to stop.

City Hall staff must be instructed to follow protocol and inform the necessary officials when there are similar breaches of security.

I don't know what other measures can be taken, but they should bloody well be taken.

Thank you for your time.
And here's how a concerned citizen responded to my report on Twitter that I had done it.

.@TerryTowel1 At least I sent in a pissed-off dust-catcher. Not much we can do but I'm fucking well going to do it. #topoli

— Fern Hill (@fernhilldammit) September 16, 2014

The fucking Fords will continue to get away with egregious behaviour unless they're stopped.

And apparently, nobody but us citizens is willing to at least try.

Scotland Would Hardly Be the First to Go Its Own Way

The Disaffected Lib - mar, 09/16/2014 - 09:20
Back when Rule Brittania meant something, much, if not most, of the world's population was under British rule, part of the British Empire.  This handy map from TheCommonwealth.org shows how many countries have come to independence from the Empire.

If the Scottish people do vote this week to secede, they'll be in good company.


Duffy to Trial

The Disaffected Lib - mar, 09/16/2014 - 09:02
Mike Duffy will be heading straight to trial.  Counsel appeared briefly in court today and were told to come back on the 23rd to set a date for trial.
That ups the ante for Stephen Harper, increasing the chances that the trial might happen before the general elections scheduled for October, 2015.  The evidence will expose the dirty dealing of Harper's Prime Minister's Office and his top officials as well as the corruption of the Conservative leadership in the Senate. The greatest risk for Harper is the prospect of being directly tied to the Duffy deal, something the prime minister has struggled to deny.
I think Harper would have an extremely tough time if compelled to take the stand and give evidence under oath.  Duffy's account of the $90,000 "gift" from Nigel Wright is remarkably solid.  By contrast, Harper has played fast and loose with the facts as is his way.
Harper has a habit of taking forceful, cut and dried positions on situations that turn into scandals.  As facts emerge Harper has to fall back and make contradictory and inconsistent statements.  He invents new lies when his initial lies collapse.  
A perfect example is Harper's handling of the Bruce Carson/PMO debacle when people began asking how a controversial character with multiple fraud convictions who had done prison time managed to get into a sensitive position inside the Prime Minister's Office.  
At first, Harper claimed he'd been blindsided.  He knew nothing about Carson's shady past.  Harper blamed it on the failure of his staff to properly vet the guy before he was hired.  Harper said if he'd known anything about Carson's past he'd have booted him straight out of the PMO.
Then it came out that somebody had waived the otherwise mandatory RCMP security check.  Who might have the power to do that?  Remember, at that time, the commissioner was a veteran Conservative backroom operator and career civil servant, Bill Elliott.  
As attention was drawn to senior PMO and Privy Council staffers and the top brass in the RCMP, Harper changed his tune.  He implicitly admitted he'd been lying.  Now, he said, he had known about Carson's criminal past - but only part of it - and yet he wanted to give the guy a second chance to rehabilitate himself. Call it Christian charity.
When the scandal broke Harper claimed to have been duped, let down by his staff, blindsided.  He denied knowing anything about Carson's past.
When the scandal closed in, Harper suddenly said he had known about Carson's past but wanted to do the guy a favour.  And, with that admission, Harper also admitted he'd been straight out lying all along.  
There's been enough of this sort of thing that Harper would have trouble defending his credibility under cross-examination by someone like Mr. Bayne.
It remains to be seen whether Bayne can persuade a judge that Harper's evidence is essential to the conduct of the trial.  A chronic liar like our prime minister won't submit without a fight.  

Tuesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - mar, 09/16/2014 - 08:28
This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- In the context of Scotland's referendum on independence, Polly Toynbee reminds us why fragmentation can only serve to exacerbate inequality - a lesson worth keeping in mind as the Cons look to devolve responsibility for taxation and public services in Canada:
What’s to be done? The answer from all sides is “localism”. Westminster’s monstrous hegemony must be broken up with devolution. If Scotland goes, rump UK will be bereft and depleted. But if Scotland stays, monumental home-rule promises made in the last week’s panic will offer Scotland immense tax, spending and borrowing powers that, says the London School of Economics’ Tony Travers, England will rightly resent. Already the Barnett formula gives the Scots more per capita, but look what happens now: under Osborne austerity, whatever extra Scotland spends or borrows will come out of the Treasury’s UK total – and that means less for the rest. Good to break Osborne’s unnecessarily extreme cuts planned for after the election, but cities, regions, counties, all will want equal freedom from Treasury handcuffs biting into local leaders’ wrists.

At first sight, how attractive it looks for each locality to raise tax and spend its share of national income as best suits local circumstance. Localism sounds comforting. It is indeed high time to give back powers Margaret Thatcher stripped out and replace the millions of council homes she sold. Labour would give local health and wellbeing boards some NHS powers. Schools and further education should be returned too. Borrowing to build, councils should sell bonds.

But alarm bells ring when groupthink grips all parties. For social democrats there are as many dangers as opportunities. Unlike more equal federal countries, England is so grotesquely unequal in geography and class that London and the south-east make all the money, the rest take it. Redistribution from the south must limit the scope for local tax-raising.
...
I don’t know the answers to these conundrums, but dashing for devo is dangerous. The deepest recession of our lifetime was bound to rouse anti-politics wrath. The idea of Britain is hollowed out by 30 years of selling everything national (with even Royal Mail gone), trashing the public service ethos, sacking public staff, letting predatory capitalism rip while wages fall, pricing everything and valuing nothing. The logic of localism risks leading in the end to less national identity and less fair distribution of wealth. Good politics will revive if strong ideas hold the imagination, keeping enough people together with common goals. - Meanwhile, Elizabeth Lee Ford-Jones writes about the emergency of a million Canadian children living in low-income homes - signalling that there's an awful lot of work to be done to fight poverty on a national scale.

- Trish Hennessy looks at the positive spillover effects of a $15 federal minimum wage. And Angella MacEwen discusses how greater bargaining power for workers is ultimately a must if we want to build a more fair society:
Workers' bargaining power has been restricted in two ways. First, workers employed through the Temporary Foreign Worker program are tied to a single employer. Second, many are not allowed to unionize. If a worker is unhappy with the wages or working conditions of their job, they can neither band together to demand better, nor walk across the street to a better employer.

The result is that employers do not have to raise wages to attract and keep workers. If there is a sufficient supply of vulnerable labourers, then current non-TFWP workers may be easily disciplined with the treat of being replaced by a willing temporary worker.

Limiting the pool of workers whose bargaining power is restricted may improve the situation of non-TFWP workers somewhat, if it means that they are less likely to believe the threat of being replaced. But it does nothing to improve the situation for temporary workers.

If there is a need for more low-skilled workers in Alberta, then Alberta should open up temporary and permanent immigration for low-skilled workers. But all workers should be allowed to move between employers, and to bargain wages and working conditions through the union of their choice. The best way to enforce employment standards is by giving workers the power to stand up for themselves.- Nick Cohen observes that more and more of our political and social culture carries an entry fee which most families can't afford - turning the arts, journalism and politics into domains of privilege rather than public participation. And Paul Krugman laments that a top-down push for austerity is leading much of the developed world back toward stagnation or recession.

- Finally, Mike De Souza reports that the Cons have given up on even the facade of consulting about greenhouse gas emissions for the tar sands - signalling that a change in government is an absolute must if Canada is to become anything other than a climate scofflaw.

Last Month - Hottest August On Record

The Disaffected Lib - mar, 09/16/2014 - 07:55
NASA has run the numbers.  August, 2014 was the hottest August since records were kept of these things starting about 130-years back.


May, 2014 was also the hottest May on record.  March, 2014 was the third hottest since 1880.

The powerful El Nino everyone, especially Californians, were hoping for hasn't materialized which leaves the Golden State with no end in sight to its already severe drought.

Texas Brainwashing Youth

The Disaffected Lib - mar, 09/16/2014 - 07:37
Well I guess North Korea doesn't have a monopoly on this any more.

The great state of Texas wants to implant lies in the minds of its youngsters.

Texas has proposed re-writing school text books to incorporate passages denying the existence of climate change and promoting the discredited views of an ultra-conservative think tank.

The proposed text books ...were already attracting criticism when it emerged that the science section had been altered to reflect the doctrine of the Heartland Institute, which has been funded by the Koch oil billionaires.

In the proposed 6th grade texts, students were introduced to global warming amid false claims that there was scientific disagreement about its causes.

"Scientists agree that Earth's climate is changing.  They do not agree on what is causing the change," the passage reads.

In my view, this sort of thing - misleading young and trusting minds - is just another form of child abuse.  There's a perniciousness to this, a genuine malevolence.  It reeks of bad faith and an abuse of the trust parents must place in the authorities who educate their children.

Perhaps we need to revisit our notions of crime and punishment.  Those who would place society at risk and would imperil future generations must be held accountable in some way.  In societies as indoctrinated as ours have become by popular culture and the corporate mass media, relying on the ballot box is no longer an effective way to deter this sort of conduct.  That's why they're doing it whether by distorting text books or signing multi-decadal agreements surrendering sovereignty to totalitarian states abroad.  They do it, not because it's right, but because they can get away with it and they act without the slightest concern about retribution at the ballot box.

More Indifference From Health Canada's Towards Canadians' Health

Politics and its Discontents - mar, 09/16/2014 - 07:24
Health Minister Rona Ambrose really has no reason to smile.

Last week, based on a Star Investigation, I outlined the shocking incompetence, indifference and completely unacceptable secrecy within Health Canada that allows for tainted, ineffective, and dangerous drugs to be sold regularly to Canadians. It was only because of the transparency of the American Federal Drug Administration that The Star was able to uncover this wholly unacceptable and outrageous state of affairs.

Unfortunately, the story doesn't end there.

Continuing its investigation, The Star has uncovered, thanks to the FDA database and freedom of information requests that were answered fully and expeditiously by that body, more shocking failures on the part of Health Canada. This one involves clinical trials. Fraud, incompetence and corruption do not seem overly strong terms to describe what they have uncovered:

In 2012, a top Toronto cancer researcher failed to report a respiratory tract infection, severe vomiting and other adverse events.

A clinical trial run by an Alberta doctor reported that patients responded more favourably to the treatment than they actually did.

A Toronto hospital’s chief of medical staff ran a clinical trial of autistic children on a powerful antipsychotic, and he did not report side-effects suffered by four of the children.
The problems uncovered with clinical trial oversight seem to stem from the same factors that allow for tainted and ineffective formulations on the market: inadequate inspections by Health Canada (only a handful of the 4000 clinical trials running at any one time) and the latter's insistence on keeping the problems it covers secret, citing 'proprietary concerns.'

One cannot overestimate the importance of clinical trials: They
are experiments using volunteer subjects to determine whether a drug is safe and effective, as well as what side-effects it may cause. Participants may experience side-effects, which the doctors leading the trials must report.
Unfortunately, such protocols are being circumvented by Canadian doctors. Take the case of Dr. Sunil Verma, who chairs the breast medical oncology unit at Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre. An FDA inspection uncovered the fact that he failed to report to the sponsoring drug company adverse reactions suffered by five patients, including a respiratory tract infection and severe vomiting that lasted two weeks.

His explanation: “This was purely a clerical issue. This was clearly an oversight on the part of the nurse” .

Interestingly, Dr. Verma is on the drug company's advisory board, which pays him about $1500 each time he gives an “educational presentation” on breast cancer.

Overlapping, or what some might describe as incestuous, relationships between doctors and drug companies do not seem uncommon:

At the University of Calgary, Dr. Remo Panaccione’s has received money for consulting and lecturing from at least 26 different pharmaceutical companies.

Dr. Panaccione conducts research into inflammatory bowel disease. A clinical trial he led in 2007 into a drug designed to treat Crohn's disease was found deficient by an FDA inspection. He failed to report the hospitalization of three patients being treated to the university's ethics board. Like the aforementioned Dr. Verma, Panaccione blamed his staff for the “oversight.”

Then there is the case of Dr. Alexander Paterson, a renowned Alberta researcher, who has the dubious distinction
of being cited for violations in three FDA inspection reports — in 1988, 2002 and 2004 — more than any other Canadian doctor, according to a Star analysis of available FDA data.
During the first inspection, the FDA inspector uncovered a series of problems with the trial, including one the FDA said was “extremely” concerning: Patient information submitted by the pharmaceutical company to the FDA (to get the drug tamoxifen approved to treat cancer) did not match medical records found in Paterson’s possession.

In several cases, the copies given to the regulator suggested the treatment worked better than the doctor’s own progress notes indicated.

The inspection also found “possibly ineligible patients being enrolled in the study . . . and patients being incorrectly dosed.”

In one case, the inspector’s report says, the record submitted by the drug company said the patient’s response to the treatment involved “no change.” This was in direct conflict with the doctor’s record, which “lists the patient’s response as ‘worse.’ ”
Like the two previously mentioned doctors, Paterson had an explanation, blaming the findings on overzealous and out-of-their-depth FDA inspectors.

Errors, I am sure, happen all the time. After all, we are all human. But for me, the most important aspect of this story again is the fact that were it not for the openness and accessibility of FDA data, Canadians would be completely in the dark about these mistakes and coverups, all of which seem invariably to work to the benefit of the drug companies for which the researchers are doing their work. Health Canada seems completely unconcerned.

There is much more in the Star investigation, including a sole study by Hamilton doctors whose tainted data and failure to report serious side effects led to the approval of a drug thinner implicated in stroke, heart attacks and major hemorrhages. I hope you will read the entire report on the Star's website.

I will close with just one more excerpt from the Star investigation that speaks volumes about its indiifference to the health of Canadians:
Over the past 12 years, Health Canada found at least 33 clinical trials had critical problems and were “non-compliant.” In July, the Star asked for details of these and other inspections, and last week Health Canada refused, saying that providing records “would require an exhaustive manual paper file review.”

The regulator also said the release of these clinical trial inspection reports could only come after consultation with third parties, typically the doctors and drug companies.
In a country that prides itself on its medical system, this cannot be deemed acceptable by anyone.

Recommend this Post

Rally: Equal Access Now

Dammit Janet - mar, 09/16/2014 - 06:46
It's never over. But judging by the increasing desperation of the Fetus Freaks, we may be winning (a little).

This Saturday, prochoice activists and allies are rallying in support of the current struggle for reproductive justice (pdf) in PEI and New Brunswick.
Reproductive Justice Rallies Across the Country: Sep 20

National Day of Action in Solidarity with New Brunswick and PEI: Equal Access Now!

Reproductive justice activists across the country will be rallying this Saturday September 20 to stand in solidarity with the citizens of New Brunswick and PEI, who lack access to abortion. The former Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton was forced to close in July for financial reasons, because the provincial government had refused to fund it for 20 years in violation of federal law and Supreme Court precedent. The province continues to refuse to improve access, even though many women are now being forced to travel out of province.

In Prince Edward Island, Health PEI blocked the application of three doctors willing to provide abortions at the Charlottetown hospital, saying "it was not in line with current government policies." But the PEI government does not have a policy on abortion, or any other excuse. The proposal was cost-neutral, and lack of a provider has been the only barrier to providing services on-Island.

Across Canada, especially in northern, rural, conservative, and low-income areas, there is often a lack of access to basic sexual and reproductive health services (SRH) and information. The most vulnerable usually pay the highest price, including youth, LGBTQ people, Aboriginals, refugees, racialized communities, people with disabilities or health issues, and those of low income. To achieve equality and justice, women and marginalized communities in NB, PEI, and across Canada are demanding recognition of their rights, and Equal Access Now to services.
More information and local contacts at the link.

Facebook pages:

National
Halifax
New Brunswick (several cities)
Charlottetown
Montreal
Toronto
Vancouver

Please share widely and attend if you can.

Clean Is Cheap, Cheaper Than Dirty.

The Disaffected Lib - mar, 09/16/2014 - 06:37
Of all the Big Lies embedded in our collective consciousness by the fossil fuelers and their minions in government is the scary tale that going green, decarbonizing our economies and our societies, would be devastatingly expensive.  They keep drumming into our heads that shifting off fossil fuels would destroy our economies and plunge us into poverty and darkness.

That's bullshit.

A report to be released today contends that going green would essentially cost almost nothing.

A global commission will announce its finding on Tuesday that an ambitious series of measures to limit emissions would cost $4 trillion or so over the next 15 years, an increase of roughly 5 percent over the amount that would likely be spent anyway on new power plants, transit systems and other infrastructure.When the secondary benefits of greener policies — like lower fuel costs, fewer premature deaths from air pollution and reduced medical bills — are taken into account, the changes might wind up saving money, according to the findings of the group, the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.
The commission found that some $90 trillion is likely to be spent over the coming 15 years on new infrastructure around the world. The big challenge for governments is to adopt rules and send stronger market signals that redirect much of that investment toward low-emission options, the report found.
“This is a massive amount of investment firepower that could be geared toward building better cities, and better infrastructure for energy and agriculture,” said Jeremy Oppenheim, who led the research for the report.
While the commission found that the requisite steps may make economic sense, that does not mean they will be politically easy, the report says. For instance, the group will recommend that countries eliminate subsidies for fossil fuels, which cost about $600 billion a year but are vigorously defended by vested interests.
This isn't about making our lives better or whether we can maintain maximum affluence and ease.  It's about what sort of life we're going to bequeath to our children and theirs.  There are already a lot of climate change impacts in the pipe that we can't do much about.  That's not to say that we, today and in the coming years, can't make those impacts far worse than they need be.  If we don't have the courage to change our behaviour, the bill for our cowardice will be foisted off on those to come.



Voluntary blindness

Dawg's Blawg - mar, 09/16/2014 - 06:32
I don’t personally socialmedia because it is for puny mortals and unfit for the dignity of the Valar, but I sometimes trawl Dawg’s feed for reactions to things that might appear here, and on the matter of FIPA I... Mandos http://politblogo.typepad.com/

Post-Democratic Trend Lines in Etobicoke

JOE FANTAUZZI Thoughts about power - mar, 09/16/2014 - 06:13
Since news broke of the decision by Toronto mayor candidate Rob Ford to step away from the mayor’s race and be replaced by his brother Doug the term “feudal” has been thrown around a lot. The argument quite often associated with  the use of this term generally appears to be that the Ford family is treating Etobicoke […]

He Could Care Less

Northern Reflections - mar, 09/16/2014 - 05:30

                                                                 http://joyhog.com/

If yesterday served as any indication, Stephen Harper isn't going anywhere. I confess I've had my doubts he'd make it to the next election. But, as Chantal Hebert writes, it's getting harder and harder for him to exit gracefully:

As of now the odds of an orderly pre-election transition to a different Conservative leader will lengthen dramatically with every passing week.
In theory Harper could still decide to call it quits before the next campaign. Some of his predecessors left much later in the pre-writ period.
In his day Brian Mulroney did not grace successor Kim Campbell with more than a few months to make her mark before she had to face voters. Mulroney’s mandate was in its fifth year when he resigned.
Pierre Trudeau also allowed the fourth anniversary of his return to power to pass — albeit by only a few days — before he took his now famous walk in the snow in 1984.
Yesterday, in his speech to the converted, Harper focused on his record -- insisting that the country is better off because he's been prime minister:

Harper’s single-minded focus on the government’s record — including a lengthy but essentially par-for-the-course segment on foreign affairs — suggests that there has been a belated shift in the thinking of Conservative strategists.
Having spent months on attack mode only to enter a pre-election year behind the Liberal party, it seems they have come to the conclusion that they need to reintroduce Harper to voters more than they need to continue to try to pre-emptively destroy Trudeau’s public persona.
Obviously, he hasn't been reading sources of contrarian opinion or the polls:

In a recent Abacus poll Harper scored more poorly than his main rivals in virtually every leadership category, with his poorest marks earned for attitude.
As he told the last Conservative convention in Calgary -- the one that shut out the media -- he could "care less" what his opponents think. When the election comes, it will be interesting to see how much  his "care less" policy is worth.


Stephen Harper and the Start of the Next Election Campaign

Montreal Simon - mar, 09/16/2014 - 02:20


Well there he was yesterday, kicking off the new session of Parliament, not in the House of Commons, but at the Ottawa Convention Centre.

Strutting across a stage in front of a giant Canadian flag, and the Con seals in his caucus. 

Looking like a used car salesman, or an American televangelist.

Promising tax cuts for the faithful at an election-style rally. 
Read more »

David Cameron and Scotland's Butterfly Rebellion

Montreal Simon - lun, 09/15/2014 - 23:04


Well there he was today, David Cameron, the leader of Britain's savage Con regime.

The Prime Minister who has inflicted the most pain on the British people since the bestial Margaret Thatcher.

Trying to bully the Scottish people into voting NO by threatening them with a "painful divorce." 
Read more »

Paul Fromm's Exercise in Futility

Anti-Racist Canada - lun, 09/15/2014 - 21:50
We were actually planning on taking much of the month off. The lead writer has a hankering to learn the harpsichord and freed up much of her schedule to do so. Others were planning on other projects, but then Paulie decided to do this:

Paul Fromm, 65, threw his name in the race yesterday. He was fired from his job teaching English at Applewood Heights Secondary School in 1997 after he ignored warnings from administrators not to continue associating with known racists and white supremacists. The B'Nai Brith and other organizations had complained about his conduct at a series of right-wing political rallies.

That's right. Paulie is running for mayor on essentially the same platform as he did in 2010. Immigration causes traffic problems:


Paulie's boast to have finished in the middle of the pack during his previous mayoral run, while technically accurate, is yet another one of his finely polished turds. In fact his total vote count was under 1000 and he received only 0.65% of the vote:



Other than his abysmal showing he was practically a top tier candidate....

But the real reason for his run, we humbly suggest, can be found at the bottom of his announcement where he asks for donations. He makes a similar request here:

Read more »

Respectability vs RESPECT: Part One

Dammit Janet - lun, 09/15/2014 - 18:46
R•E•S•P•E•C•T  is of course:


Respectability is a different kettle of fish, however.  The very foundation of patriarchy is cemented with the premise that only some women are respectable - that is, worthy and deserving of respect - and others are NOT.

My co-blogger fern hill recently addressed the *stigma* of abortion. And we have many more blogposts at DJ! that challenge the notion that respectable women should grieve, do penance, and wear ashes on their head when a pregnancy - their OWN, in fact - is terminated. By choice.  Or when it's forcibly rejected by the body, an occurrence that happens regularly.

By way of an example, Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis' disclosure of how and why she had two abortions, illustrates the division between what is considered a 'respectable' abortion and what is not. 

"For a woman to reveal she has had an abortion because she wanted one, because she couldn't emotionally sacrifice for another child, because she was remiss in her use of contraception, and, further, to declare she has only felt happiness towards her decision is truly groundbreaking. Davis' abortion narrative has helped diminish the social stigma surrounding abortion. But until the “bad” abortion stories are just as acceptable, pro-choice advocates have a long way to go."

From must-read: _Wendy Davis and the 'Good Abortion' Myth_ found here.

Respectability is at issue with regard to abortion because when women have sex, consensually or not, that can produce a pregnancy - unwanted or planned.

Sex as procreative versus sex as a recreative activity.  Also, sex as gender bigotry.

Yesterday some hack writer, compensating for whatever pathetic sense of inadequacy seized him, dismissed Naomi Klein and her recent publication in calculated, malevolent, gendered, barnyard animal terms.  




Not even bothering to address or refute her arguments, he deems her stupid. 



There you have it. But wait, here is more to consider.



As observed: "...the word cow is a put down to women but the term bull is considered a compliment for men." 

Note also in the exchange cited above, the comparison used when vilifying mayoral candidate Olivia Chow.  Her competitor John Tory said that she had "more positions than Masters and Johnson".  

"Respectability" is a toxic judgement passed on women and the last remaining double standard for judging women's choices and behaviours as indecent.  Feminists of African, Indigenous and Asian ancestry have identified the use of "respectability" politics as a weapon specifically used to target women of colour (WoC) for social opprobrium.

An incident which unfolded in Los Angeles last week gained publicity when Danièle Watts, who was intimidated and humiliated when police profiled her as prostitute, spoke up.  

Her experience is not unusual. As evident from the insult slung at Ms Chow by her opponent, these assumptions of impropriety about racialized women are claimed by men who reduce them to female beings unworthy of respect, with little or no resources other than the unbridled hyper-sexuality that is projected upon their bodies.

Next: Part Two will examine how respectability politics reinforce whorephobia as a partisan neo-conservative tactic to divide women and destroy solidarity among feminists. Read the blogpost from @kwetoday that I've linked to, above.

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