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Jim Jefferies "Gets" Donald Trump

The Disaffected Lib - lun, 07/25/2016 - 08:59

Brace yourself. Jim Jefferies has taken vulgarity to the level of an art form. This is NSFW, perhaps not safe for anywhere you don't want to be seen watching. Still... he does get Donald Trump.

Welcome to the Age of Chaos. No, Sorry, There's No Going Back.

The Disaffected Lib - lun, 07/25/2016 - 08:54


People mention it all the time even if they can't quite put their finger on it. Something's up. Definitely. Stuff is going wrong in every direction. Too much change. Too fast. Can't keep up. Why?

Donald Trump, Brexit, the Nice massacre, ISIS, Recep Erdogan, the steady decline of liberal democracy making way for the era of the oligarchs. Guess what - it's all connected. It is the face of the Age of Chaos and it is well and truly upon us.

I came to this realization from a number of online courses I took these past few years on subjects such as global food security, climate change and warfare in the 21st century. It wasn't quite Road Warrior-grade dystopia. Not quite. Then again.

Last week The Globe's Mark MacKinnon captured the essence of our new reality in an essay, "It's All Connected." It's an important piece and I urge you to read it. A brief sampling:


A “period of instability” is upon us, historian Margaret MacMillan told me this week, one that has parallels to the pre-war periods of the 20th century that she’s written acclaimed books about.

...Those cheering Brexit in the U.K., and welcoming a state of emergency in Turkey, were the ships that were supposed to be lifted by the rising tide of globalization, a promise that proved cruelly incorrect. They are now finding satisfaction in defeating their ruling classes, the people who believed those countries, and the world, were theirs to rule.

It’s the same live wire that connects an Islamic State-inspired attack in Europe to a racially motivated shooting rampage in the U.S. The perpetrators are – almost always – those who felt they have very little left to lose in their lives. The cause they choose is almost a footnote to their act of anarchy.


...Our societies are fracturing into tribes. In the U.K., it’s Leavers versus Remainers. In Turkey, the failed coup has cleaved society into Erdoganites and Gulenists (after the movement accused of supporting the failed putsch). Almost everywhere, lines are being drawn between immigrants and the native-born. Black and white. Us and them.

And the tribes are turning on one another.



...What was most shocking about the recent spate of headline-seizing events – and deeply unsettling when you consider them as a chain – was how no one seemed to have seen any of it coming.

The pollsters and pundits predicted Britain would vote, by a comfortable margin, to remain part of the EU. The attack in Nice succeeded in part because many French police were given the Bastille Day holiday off after being on high alert through the country’s month-long hosting of the European soccer championships. Turkey’s intelligence services only detected something might be amiss a few hours before tanks starting moving towards Istanbul’s bridges and airports.

And six months ago, nobody thought Donald Trump stood a chance of becoming president of the United States.



...Radicals thrive when governments can no longer meet the standard-of-living expectations of their citizens, Sinan Ulgen, chairman of the Istanbul-based Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies, told me.

“The world seems to have reached a critical point in terms of creating a large enough pool of ‘losers’ – those who lost out on globalization, who lost out on technology, who lost out on free trade – to create the undercurrents of this instability.”

Meanwhile, the U.S., which Mr. Ulgen said lost much of its global authority during the twin disasters of the Iraq invasion and the 2008 financial crisis, is no longer willing or able to play the role of global policeman. From afar – as street violence escalates and Mr. Trump is crowned the Republic Party’s candidate for the White House – American-style capitalism and democracy no longer looks like a model worth pursuing.

In other words, the old world order has come unglued. Globalization led and regulated by the U.S. is now considered a failure. People around the world are seeking the safety of their tribes.


Welcome to the Age of Chaos. It's your new "normal."

Monday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - lun, 07/25/2016 - 08:33
Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- David Blanchflower notes that there's virtually no dispute that the UK is headed into an economic downturn - meaning that there's also no excuse to hold off on fiscal relief for the public. And Brad DeLong points to a new study on the effectiveness of government spending in generating immediate economic growth well beyond the money actually spent.

- David Macdonald rightly recognizes a few important steps toward reducing poverty in Canada through broadly-available income supports.

- Jeff Guo highlights the connection between an increased workload and other job stressors, and overall health impacts on workers.

- Angella MacEwen and Laura Macdonald examine the Trans-Pacific Partnership's toxic effects on labour throughout the participating countries. And Greg Keenan reports on John Holmes and Jeffrey Carey's research showing how the TPP would harm Canada's auto sector.

- Finally, Joel French examines the massive amounts of public money being funneled into exclusionary private schools across Canada. And Morgan Modjeski reports that basic site elements including playgrounds have been left out of any design or funding for Saskatchewan schools - which both places the burden on individuals to fund-raise for community services, and effectively ensures disparity based on the wealth of a given neighbourhood.

The Party Of Lincoln

Politics and its Discontents - lun, 07/25/2016 - 06:27

H/t Toronto Star

A series of letters excoriating the deplorable state of American politics and society, epitomized by Donald Trump's presidential nomination, is well-worth the read. Here are but three of them:
The unthinkable has happened. The party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan has nominated Donald Trump for president.

A storm is coming for Republicans in November. They richly deserve the pounding they will get at the polls from the millions of Americans who are repulsed by this egocentric, racist, misogynistic bloviating bag of gas. They will lose the White House in a landslide, control of the Senate, possibly the House and countless governorships and state legislatures across the country.

The good news in all of this is that the Grand Old Party will be forced – finally -- to re-think everything it has done, condoned and stood for the in the last 20 years that allowed Trump to go from a joke to presidential nominee. And that is long overdue.

John Bruce, Niagara Falls

In 1967, H. Rap Brown said: “Violence is as American as cherry pie.” It’s still true.

In 1791, when the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was written, muzzle-loading muskets were high tech. At that time, there was an excuse for guns: wild meat was essential food, bears roamed streets, and the British menaced.

Second Amendment authors couldn’t have foreseen modern assault rifles. Since then, however, no government has had the courage to limit sales of these weapons. Rather than legislating to reduce mass murders of their constituents, or acting to limit corporate power now sucking all oxygen out of the world, politicians welcome gun-lobby donations to fund elections.

The United States was founded on a violent revolution. Their Civil War killed over a million people, more deaths than all other U.S. wars together. They have witnessed the assassination of four presidents and attempts on the lives of sixteen others. Mayhem in America is a daily occurrence, but is mostly unacknowledged in prosperous, white enclaves; few people make connections between tragic events. While some grieve and pray, many are filled with fear and anger, and divisive media fan the flames.

And now, the U.S. has an overtly racist and incompetent presidential candidate. It’s hard not to imagine more riots and more deaths,

regardless of who wins in November. Is the U.S. unraveling before our eyes? Who will, who can, step forward?

Douglas Buck, Toronto

Having just watched the roll call of states at the Republican National Convention, I am reminded of pre World War II Germany, when Hitler gained the support of the country by terrorizing them and uniting them to be the supreme nation and the supreme Aryan race. I see little difference (except that as yet he has not proposed “the final solution”); make the U.S. secure by barring immigrants, let white Americans keep and carry their guns, build walls, etc. He uses any tactic to frighten Americans into voting for him. The governor of New Mexico, of Mexican descent, has disavowed her own parents by supporting Trump!

I used to go to the U.S. for holidays – never again.

Cynthia Stark, Toronto
Recommend this Post

The Con Leadership Race Gets Even More Desperate

Montreal Simon - lun, 07/25/2016 - 05:29


As you know the Cons are having a desperate time trying to attract good candidates to join their leadership contest.

The only worse line-up than the one they have right now would be this one...



And I'm afraid the latest leadership candidate to join the race isn't going to help matters.

Read more »

It's Not Easy Being Hillary

Northern Reflections - lun, 07/25/2016 - 05:22

The action shifts to Philadelphia this week. And Hillary Clinton will be its epicenter. Doubts follow her there. Why? Tom Walkom writes:

The Clintons’ time in the White House was marked by a series of so-called scandals with names like Whitewater and Travelgate that, for most people, have long vanished into the mists of time.
An independent prosecutor later concluded that Hillary Clinton had done nothing wrong in any of these.Nonetheless, they damaged her. Critics were unable to pierce Bill Clinton’s glad-handing popularity. 
But Hillary was easier prey. By the time the Clintons left the White House, a notion — not entirely without merit — had taken root in the public mind that she sometimes skirted the truth.
And let's be frank. She's a woman. For Republicans, she fits into a "sub-catagory." And they claim that she's corrupt:
On the face of it, the email scandal should have appealed only to IT aficionados. Her stated and very plausible motive for using a private cellphone on government business was that she didn’t want to carry two mobile devices.
However, this was Hillary Clinton. Once again, an investigation was launched. Once again, she was cleared of criminal wrongdoing (although not of bad judgment) — this time by the FBI.
A House investigation into another soi-disant Clinton scandal — her role in the 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya that killed four Americans — found no evidence of negligence on her part.But both contretemps served to reawaken the old doubts. In May, one pollster interviewed Americans with a negative view of Clinton. It found, to no one’s surprise, that 50 per cent of Republicans polled found her untrustworthy.
More alarmingly for the Democratic presidential candidate, it found that 39 per cent of Democrats polled held the same view.
Donald Trump -- who operates on the assumption that small phrases entertain small minds -- has taken to calling her "crooked Hillary."  Meanwhile, he's doing his best to throw a cone of silence around his own business practices.
It's not easy being Hillary.
Image: ilovemyfreedom.org

Hillary Clinton and the Bernie Revolution

Montreal Simon - lun, 07/25/2016 - 04:20


It's opening night at the Democratic Convention. And what was supposed to be Hillary Clinton's sparkly coronation is turning into a bit of a nightmare.

For even as Clinton prepares to accept her party's nomination, what was supposed to be a show of unity, and a bright contrast to Donald Trump's dark and divisive rally, is threatening to become a noisy show of disunity.

With the fate of the convention, and maybe her own fate, in the hands of the man she defeated.
Read more »

Why party strategists are threatened by electoral reform

Creekside - lun, 07/25/2016 - 02:27
Tom Parkin on bastions and battlegrounds ..."There’s a reason traditional political strategists argue so fervently to keep the first-past-the-post system.

Yes, it can give them 100% of the power with only 39% of the vote. But that’s not the worst.

More worrisome is the thought the beloved political bastions and battlegrounds created by the first-past-the-post system might be destroyed – rendering useless all the manipulative political strategies they’ve successfully developed to exploit them."Strategies like ignoring voters in the 1/3 to 1/2 ridings where an election outcome is a foregone conclusion to concentrate their micro-targeting tech and pork-barrelling on just the close ridings. Strategies like dogwhistling voters into two-party strategic voting."Proportional representation wipes out bastions because it makes every vote count. Everyone – even in what was a bastion – has a reason to vote, and all parties now need to pay attention."Very good article. Go..



Polluted by crimes, but torn by no remorse

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


between the lines: how we got here

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

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

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

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

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

The roots of our strike: rebuilding our union

Labour-Management

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

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

Separation

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

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

Member engagement

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

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

Communication

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

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

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

And finally, the strike vote

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

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

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

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

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

What did we gain?

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

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

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

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



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




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



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It Hasn't

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

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

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

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

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

Image: theglobeandmail.com

Is Donald Trump Putin's Siberian Candidate?

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


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

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

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

But what if it was something more sinister?

Read more »

Donald Trump's America and the Values That Protect Canadians

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


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

As only he could.



The Washington Post editorial board has seen enough.

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

Read more »

Lessons From Weimar

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image: www.slideshare.net

The Continuing Adventures of the Annoying Oil Pimp Brad Wall

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


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

And they do have good reason to celebrate.

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

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

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

Read more »

Elizabeth May Calls Out Trudeau on Corexit

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Whenever. No time limits.

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

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

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

— Demolition Woman (@sieenns) July 22, 2016

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

— Demolition Woman (@sieenns) July 22, 2016

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

— Demolition Woman (@sieenns) July 22, 2016

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

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

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

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


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

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

Exploiting Grief to Attack Abortion Rights

Vengeance Drives "Unborn Victims" Law

It's Baaaack: Unborn Victims Bill C484 Redux

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

Smirking Toward Bethlehem

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

A TV Show Goes to Washington

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

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

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

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

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