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Your Morning Smile

Politics and its Discontents - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 06:03

Pinocchio, Snow White and Superman are out for a stroll in town one day.
As they walk, they came across a sign:
"Beauty contest for the most beautiful woman in the world."
"I am entering," said Snow White.
After half an hour she comes out and they ask her,
"Well, how did you do?"
" First Place ," said Snow White.
They continue walking and they see a sign:
"Contest for the strongest man in the world."
"I'm entering," says Superman.
After half an hour he returns and they ask him,
"How did you make out?"
" First Place ," answers Superman. "Did you ever doubt?"
They continue walking when they see a sign:
"Contest! Who is the greatest liar in the world?"
Pinocchio says "this is mine."
Half an hour later, he returns with tears in his eyes.
"What happened?" they asked.
"Who the hell is STEPHEN HARPER?" asked Pinocchio.Recommend this Post

A Tangled Web

Northern Reflections - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 05:28

That's what you get, Shakespeare wrote, when first you practice to deceive. One lie follows another. That's certainly what happened in the Prime Minister's Office. Michael Harris writes:

It is becoming increasingly obvious that NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair had it right: the CPC code of conduct is not taken from the Bible or some list of sacrosanct conservative principles. It’s taken from the Criminal Code. Canada has returned to the Mulroney era, when everything was okay unless it was illegal — notwithstanding Judge William Parker’s ruling in the Sinclair Stevens case. Even the appearance of conflict, the judge wrote, had to be avoided to maintain public trust in the system. Canadians now trust discount sushi more than they do Parliament under Harper.

And despite Wright’s vaunted reputation as an upright man, his defence of his actions in the Duffy affair displays the same ethical bankruptcy and dizzying sense of entitlement that emanated from the very heart of Stephen Harper’s office. This is David Dingwall’s chewing gum to the power of ten. When asked by Donald Bayne why he lied to the PM about his payout to Duffy, Wright said it wasn’t a “bad misrepresentation.” That euphemism could stop a charging rhino.
What it comes down to -- and Jack Layton warned us of this long ago -- is that you can't take Stephen Harper at his word:

Bottom line? Canadians can’t trust a single statement from a party that thinks perception is reality and actively promotes falsehoods when they are deemed to be in the government’s interest. And if you doubt that, consider the absurdity of the conflict between the testimony of Nigel Wright and the RCMP statement of former Harper PMO legal counsel Benjamin Perrin.
Mr. Harper keeps insisting that this election is about leadership. But a leader you can't trust is no leader. And a leader who insists that, when he does something it's legal, is merely the ghost of Richard Nixon. In the end, Nixon became entangled in his own web.

Stephen Harper and the Great Con Adoption Scam

Montreal Simon - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 01:09

It's Stephen Harper's latest desperate plan to try to soften his image, and make himself more popular.

By buying more votes with OUR money. 

But sadly for him there's something terribly wrong with that picture.

And it's just more Con fraud.
Read more »

The Soul of a Monster

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 23:32

The Vancouver National Observer's Warren Bell dissects the dark and rotten soul of the worst prime minister in Canadian history, a diabolically-inclined despot.

We all need to read this to grasp what we're up against in this election, the soul of a monster.

Duffygate: Benjamin Perrin Demolishes the Harperite Conspiracy

Montreal Simon - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 17:56

Benjamin Perrin had only been the PMO lawyer for a year before the Duffy scandal erupted so he wasn't part of the Con cult.

He never drank the Koolaid.

So today when his turn came to testify at the Duffy trial he let the truth fly. 

And managed to knock down Stephen Harper, Nigel Wright, and Ray Novak. 
Read more »

The human 'superpredator' is unique -- and unsustainable, study says

Metaneos - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 15:22
Los Angeles Times
I can't imagine the world in ten years time. Twenty years. It'll be different. As different as the world was even in my own childhood. As different as the world was from my parents' childhoods.
My elders speak of our role on this Earth as caretakers. However, we've abandoned this role in favor of materialistic pursuits. Of finite beliefs that will quickly degrade into ash when stressed, as heated glass touching cold water.
All cultures historically warn us away from over-indulgence, and yet our own modern society celebrates this behavior as exemplary. This self-interest is our fatal flaw.
We take what we want, and we give nothing. This cannot last.
There are limits on this Earth we cannot comprehend in full. It is simply too vast. However, what little we do know should terrify us into acting more responsibly, even if only marginally. However we do not even do that. Our leaders urge us on to continue on as we have done. This cannot last.
Eventually, soon, we will begin to suffer wholesale consequences of our selfishness. We may suffer not even from the direct impact of climate change, but from the externalities, as a patient suffering from an autoimmune disease dying from a common cold. Drought and famine are the obvious culprits we face in the coming years, but also from increased storms, and harsher weather patterns. Algae blooms are an impact we do not understand in full, but the little we do illustrate such blooms can devastate whole regions.
Over hunting as the article illustrates is a small yet dangerous impact on our ecosystem. We hunt, now, not for safety nor for food, but for sport. Such is indulgence. Such is our desire for immediate gratification, that we would upset entire delicate ecosystem balances for a mere trophy on a wall. The myriad of ways the disappearing of even one animal from a food chain cannot be overstated.
I do not know how the world will change, but I do know how we ourselves should change. We should full stop what we are doing, and walk ourselves back. Reevaluate what we are doing. What is modern is not necessarily always good. What is good may be warped, as a tree growing up and out from underneath another fallen tree. Can we reign in our self-destruction in time? Or will we be stopped in full by the Earth as we slam down hard from our fall when it comes? I would like to say we can grasp our future in our hands, but for now, it looks as though we will fail.

So Much for the Myth of the "Smartest Man in the Room"

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 14:45
NemesisPrime minister Shifty is infamous as seeing himself as the "smartest man in the room" in his dealings with others, especially his staff. Somehow this numbskull convinced himself and his followers of that (and, no, I didn't set out to draw comparisons between Harper and another despot from the other side of the Atlantic in the 30s and 40s even if Harper currently finds himself in a spot remarkably similar to the bunker that other guy found himself in during the early summer of 1945).

There's a word for this affliction of arrogance.  It's called Hubris. It's a term from ancient Greece that means extreme pride or self-confidence. Think of it as a precursor to madness. The old Greek gods found it offensive and so they invented something to punish it, Nemesis.

Does this sound familiar?  From Wiki:

Hubris is usually perceived as a characteristic of an individual rather than a group, although the group the offender belongs to may suffer consequences from the wrongful act. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence, accomplishments or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power.

I think that's pretty much got Shifty to a T.  That "loss of contact with reality" is on display every day when this prime minister fends off questions about the previous day's evidence in the Duffy trial that directly contradicts Harper's own narrative. He doesn't just "lose contact with reality" but rejects it outright when he dismisses the statements of his own inner circle given to police investigators and now, under oath, before a court of law.
According to the Special Counsel to this prime minister, Shifty overestimated his own competence and capabilities when he decided, despite his lawyer's advice to the contrary, that simply owning property in another province made the owner eligible for appointment to the Senate.  Who needs the restraints of informed decision making when you're Furious Leader, the Smartest Man in the Room?
It's his own, absolute arrogance that got Harper in this mess. He thought he was above the rules, above the law and from that wobbly perch he issued decrees that would destabilize his administration.
Oh yeah, about that other thing, the yin to the yang, Nemesis.  Put simply, nemesis is the divine retribution visited upon those who succumb to hubris. You might remember Nemesis as the Goddess who really screwed up Narcissus and that other fellow, Hitler (damn, I did it again. sorry). It seems she's now hovering over our very own Prince of Darkness.
As the trial grinds on it grinds down our prime minister, even in the eyes of his own supporters.  Nemesis has Shifty by both lapels and he can't get away, he's stuck just as Narcissus was stuck at the reflecting pool.

Harper and the Conservative Third Option

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 14:02
Even the National Post gets it.  The Duffy trial doesn't mean much to Stephen Harper in terms of New Democrat and Liberal supporters.  They weren't about to vote Conservative this October no matter what.

The Duffy trial matters enormously to Harper when it comes to Conservative supporters.

If you’re a core Conservative supporter, however, you are in one of three camps. In the first camp, you believe in the party. You will get out and vote blue no matter what “scandal” swirls around the prime minister, because the Conservatives are always better than the alternatives. You probably think the press makes this scandal stuff up: journalists are all bleeding hearts, or worse, based on some recent grassroots comments. And what politician doesn’t lie, anyway?

In the second camp, you believe in Harper. You like his agenda, his bearing; more than this, you think he is a man of his word. He delivered on his promises, and then some: the budget is balanced, you’ve cashed your extra family allowance cheques, and you’re topping up your TFSA. He looks like he belongs on the stage with other world leaders, and you can trust him for four more years of good government.

In the third camp, you believe in conservative principles. You’re a “small-c conservative” someone who has read Edmund Burke, or at least heard of him; you like your government minimal, your freedoms respected and your politicians honest. You have a hard time voting for a socialist and you can’t respect anyone who admires a communist dictatorship. You might not agree with everything the Tories stand for, but you still have faith that a small-c conservative light will shine through, however dimly.

It is the latter two camps that are proving problematic for the Conservatives in the wake of the Duffy trial. Small-c conservatives such as writer John Robson had already publicly declared that they cannot vote Tory this time around, based on the party’s lack of principle. Former Conservative representatives such as Randy White are questioning their loyalty as well. And now, Western conservatives are grappling with the Duffy testimony and what it means for the reputation of the prime minister and the values of honesty, integrity and transparency that they thought he represented.

If the Conservative base loses faith, it does not necessarily mean losing votes to the competition, but it could mean a third option: not voting at all. And in a three-way race, apathy is something the party cannot afford. Every vote matters, and while the prime minister can shore up the base with pronouncements like “life means life,” he cannot risk losing supporters based on his person and his principles. For the Conservatives, the only good news is that they have a long campaign to make amends. The bad news is that they have yet to seem interested in doing so.

Every sentient Canadian who has read any of the documents any of the evidence from the trial knows that every time Stephen Harper opens his mouth, declares he knew nothing about Wright-Duffy until he read it in the funny papers, and makes the preposterous claim that it was all a scandal involving just two miscreants - Nigel Wright and Mike Duffy - every time he repeats these things they know he's either lying through his teeth or he's become so unhinged that he can no longer discern reality from fantasy.
For the good cross-section of the Conservative base, the second and third camp, everytime he opens his mouth and repeats this idiotic mantra, it's like rubbing ever more salt in their wounds.  For the non-aligned voter, the group that holds no fealty for any party, the smell of this must be nauseating.
Then there's the core of Tories still pining for the good old days of Progressive Conservatism.  Sinclair Stevens of the Progressive Canadian Party says these old schoolers are on the warpath seeking to bleed away support from the Harper Cons to tip the scales in favour of the Liberals or New Democrats.
"Our feeling is that if we have a credible candidate, they may take enough votes so that the Conservative won't make it," Stevens said. "That may sound like we're supporting the Liberals, but our feeling is -- in this case -- the Liberals are better than Stephen Harper."

Stephen Harper's whereabouts

LeDaro - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 12:43
Duffy case is having impact on Harper.

Islam Meets Climate Change

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 12:42
Muslim clerics don't like what's unfolding before their eyes.  Then again, the Muslim world from North Africa to the Middle East, South Asia and out to Indonesia is in the crosshairs of climate change.  Even early onset climate change impacts are having a destabilizing effect in the Islamic world.

The brutal civil war that drags on in Syria, the conflict that spawned ISIS, was sparked by drought-related famine.  Soaring food prices and shortages in North Africa were a significant contributing force behind the Arab Spring that toppled governments in Tunisia and Egypt and threatened to undermine the authoritarian rule in the Persian Gulf.

Heat waves have pounded Muslim states in South Asia - Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq among them.  The most populous Muslim country, Indonesia is whipsawed by droughts and floods plus regular battering by severe storms.

It was hardly surprising that Islamic religious leaders convened the International Islamic Climate Change Symposium that resulted in a declaration, a fatwa, that sounded remarkably like the call to action of Pope Francis.  Here are a few excerpts:

We recognize the corruption (fasād) that humans have caused on the Earth due to our relentless pursuit of economic growth and consumption. Its consequences have been –

Global climate change, which is our present concern, in addition to:

Contamination and befoulment of the atmosphere, land, inland water systems, and seas;

Soil erosion, deforestation and desertification;

Damage to human health, including a host of modern-day diseases.

Corruption has appeared on land and sea

Because of what people’s own hands have wrought,

So that they may taste something of what they have done;

So that hopefully they will turn back.

Qur’an 30: 41

We recognize that we are but a miniscule part of the divine order, yet within that order, we are exceptionally powerful beings, and have the responsibility to establish good and avert evil in every way we can. We also recognize that –

We are but one of the multitude of living beings with whom we share the Earth;

We have no right to oppress the rest of creation or cause it harm;

Intelligence and conscience behoove us, as our faith commands, to treat all things with care and awe (taqwa) of their Creator, compassion (rahmah) and utmost good (ihsan).

We call upon the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Meeting of the Parties (MOP) to the Kyoto Protocol taking place in Paris this December, 2015 to bring their discussions to an equitable and binding conclusion, bearing in mind –

The scientific consensus on climate change, which is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate systems;

The need to set clear targets and monitoring systems;

The dire consequences to planet earth if we do not do so;

The enormous responsibility the COP shoulders on behalf of the rest of humanity, including leading the rest of us to a new way of relating to God’s Earth.

We particularly call on the well-off nations and oil-producing states to –

Lead the way in phasing out their greenhouse gas emissions as early as possible and no later than the middle of the century;

Provide generous financial and technical support to the less well-off to achieve a phase-out of greenhouse gases as early as possible;

Recognize the moral obligation to reduce consumption so that the poor may benefit from what is left of the earth’s non-renewable resources;

Stay within the ‘2 degree’ limit, or, preferably, within the ‘1.5 degree’ limit, bearing in mind that two-thirds of the earth’s proven fossil fuel reserves remain in the ground;

Re-focus their concerns from unethical profit from the environment, to that of preserving it and elevating the condition of the world’s poor.

Invest in the creation of a green economy.

Overall it's a pretty sophisticated statement that goes some way to dispel the Western propaganda that posits Islam as a backward faith fixed in the Dark Ages.
Now we have the Islamic world joining with the most powerful voice of Christendom to call for effective and immediate action to prevent catastrophic, runaway global warming.  That reduces Harper and all the petro-pols on both sides of the aisle in the House of Commons to rank heretics, apostates despite their claims to piety.

Is That Angry Old Con Also a Hideous Racist?

Montreal Simon - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 12:41

We've seen that angry old Con in action. We've seen the disgusting way he went after after two female reporters.

We've heard his foul language and the deranged way he smeared them.

Now the Toronto Star says it knows his name. 

And the question that remains to be determined is whether that ghastly Con is also a filthy racist. 
Read more »

Angry Harper while answering a question in the Parliament

LeDaro - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 12:12
Mound, this is the best I could do. I hope you like it.

Legal Advice, Schmegal Advice.

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 12:04
One out, second batter at the plate.  This time it's former Harper Special Counsel Benjamin Perrin facing the fastball of Donald Bayne.

The first gem to fall from Perrin's lips is that Harper knew better.  Perrin told him that it wasn't enough that Duffy owned a summer cottage in Prince Edward Island.  More was needed for the Cavendish Cottager to qualify for appointment to the Senate.

Prime minister "Divine Right means I am the law" Harper wasn't troubled by legal technicalities as he proceeded to appoint more senators in one year than any Canadian prime minister in history.  This went for the 3-raters, the reliable stooges, and doubly for the strategic hires - those appointed because of who they were and what they could deliver.  Among the strategic hires were Mike Duffy, of course, plus Pamela Wallin plus Carolyn-Stewart Olsen.

None of them had been resident for many, many years in the provinces they were appointed to represent. That didn't matter to Shifty.  He didn't care. Duffy's account is that he went to Harper at the outset asking how he could qualify to represent PEI to which Furious Leader said "don't worry about it, you're in." Duffy was in. Wallin was in. Stewart-Olsen was in.

The emails show that the PMO pressured Harper's "loyal unto death" senators to pass some declaration confirming that Duffy qualified to represent his birth province in the Senate.

Perrin testified he wouldn't consider himself a resident of Nunavut simply because he owned property there.

He said he communicated with the PMO as "diplomatically" as he could that the "view taken by the prime minister was not consistent with basic legal interpretation principles and that I didn't agree with it."

But he said the PMO stood firm on its definition.

At the time, there had been questions about whether some senators, including Duffy, met the constitutional residency requirements.

There won't be much in the way of fireworks today given that it's the Crown's turn to pitch slowballs to Perrin.  But, that pot of water in which Harper finds himself stuck, is slowly heading to the boiling point.

Hey MarineLand

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 09:26
This shit has to stop. People are starting to notice.

This is one of the exhibits featured at a new, dystopian theme park in England, named Dismaland. The orca leaping out of a toilet bowl captures perfectly what's wrong with Ontario's MarineLand and all those facilities just like it, mainly in the States.

Dismaland is said to be the handiwork of Banksy and a gang of guerrilla artists.

Are you looking for an alternative to the soulless sugar-coated banality of the average family day out? Or just somewhere cheaper. Then this is the place for you—a chaotic new world where you can escape from mindless escapism. Instead of a burger stall, we have a museum. In place of a gift shop we have a library, well, we have a gift shop as well.

Bring the whole family to come and enjoy the latest addition to our chronic leisure surplus—a bemusement park. A theme park who’s big theme is: theme parks should have bigger themes…

This event contains adult themes, distressing imagery, extended use of strobe lighting, smoke effects and swearing. The following items are strictly prohibited: knives, spraycans, illegal drugs, and lawyers from the Walt Disney corporation.

Realizing they have about zero chance of not being shut down, Dismaland is scheduled to be open for just five weeks.

Wingnut sickos carpet bomb Winnipeg with disgusting flyers

The Winnipeg RAG Review - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 08:00

Image Source: WonketteA group of Fetus Fetishists with an infamous history is at it again. The group, billing itself the "Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform", took to sending out flyers throughout Winnipeg with disgusting images of fetuses in early August.

10,000 of these flyers were sent to Winnipeg through Canada Post mail delivery. Deceptively labelled "important election information", at least one Winnipegger opened it up - expecting information on where to vote - only to be taken aback by the disgusting shock value of the flyer photos.

But mass mailings weren't the only way these sicko flyers were distributed throughout our great city.A local group strongly opposed to reproductive choice, Winnipeg Against Abortion, decided to hand deliver 6,000 flyers to homes across the Winnipeg South Centre riding. This riding was one where the Conservative candidate, Joyce Bateman, very narrowly won over her nearest competitor and the flyers were in response to Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau's new party line on reproductive choice.

Liberal Party of Canada's new stance on abortion, laid out
by Federal NDP Associate Media Director

Marc-Andre Viau.

Image Source: Twitter/Marc-Andre Viau

The Third Party Leader declaring that new Liberal MPs could not be forced birth advocates apparently drove these wingnuts more insane. The fact that this leaves many Liberal MPs, including Winnipeg North's Kevin Lamoureux, free to vote and advocate for anti-choice laws was a nuance that appears to be beyond the grasp of the mass mailers.

Cara Ginter, of the anti-choice group Winnipeg Against Abortion, had some comical rationales for the shock mail:

"We're just volunteers that, you know, we support the project," said Cara Ginter of Winnipeg Against Abortion.
"As long as people are getting the messages, as long as people are seeing the images and learning the truth, I really don't care who thinks put it on."

("Anti-abortion flyers mailed to Winnipeg homes shock some". CBC News. August 5, 2015)
The thinking here is that people will see these pictures, be shocked at how disgusting they are and thereby conclude the truth of the matter is that abortion is bad. Unfortunately for Ginter, most Canadians are smarter than that. Most Canadians believe that just because something looks shocking doesn't mean it should be illegal. A "bioethical reform" group sending out gross pictures of open heart surgery would fail to convince the public to ban it.

This is not the first time Cara Ginter has engaged in shock antics to push a forced birth agenda, however. Back in 2013 she was a University of Manitoba student with the U of M Students for a Culture of Life - a group that put up placards comparing abortion to the holocaust.

These signs were, of course, designed by the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR) mentioned at the start of this post. The CCBR is a group with a well known history of using shock antics against reproductive choice on Canadian campuses. These tactics frequently amount to implicitly comparing women getting abortions to Nazis. The CCBR has even stooped to having graphic displays outside of high schools.

Regardless of whether these sicko wingnut tactics work on teens for adults they're backfiring. Conservative voting Winnipegger Dorian Fontaine was disgusted by graphic images sent to him in an envelop that looked like it would have voter information in it. Furthermore, it failed to convince him that he has to right to dictate over women's bodies.

Winnipeggers are much wiser than this bullshit.

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Sympathy for the Devil.

A Creative Revolution - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 07:53

Coyne takes on sarcasm to demonstrate how implausible Harper's story really is..... Hell hath frozen over.

And yet, this good man, deceived, humiliated, betrayed on all sides, found it in his heart to forgive them. You or I, had we found ourselves in the same position, might have taken the most foul sort of revenge: fired the lot, paraded them in front of the media, forced them to answer for what they had done. But that is not, we can see now, Harper’s way: this supposedly ruthless autocrat, this cold, vindictive brute of caricature, responded to this monumental breach of trust with comprehensive mercy. No one was fired, though some were allowed to leave. Some are even travelling with him on his campaign. He was even going to forgive Wright, and would have, had it tested better.

Makes this whole deal sound as ludicrous as it is for sure.   

I go with option B. The current government of Canada thinks they are above the law, and they also think that Canadians are going to buy their story.  

Now, some conservative supporters will go to any length to accomodate their cognitive dissonance, but are there any who actually give a shit about this country, or are they all just willing to go along to save face? If they were good honest and smart, they would toss these bums out.

But smart isnt a Conservative trait. In Harper-supporter-land, intelligence is reviled and the earth is flat. 

As for much of the media?


Crank it.


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