Posts from our progressive community

Well That Wasn't Very Polite. Putin Outs ISIS Supporters.

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 11/18/2015 - 00:10

This is certainly awkward. The West's favourite Bad Boy, Vlad Putin, brought some interesting info to the G20 summit. He brought intelligence data naming what he claims are the 40-countries that are funding or aiding ISIS. Some of them, according to Vlad, are members of the G20. Oh, yes, I think I see one right over there.

Muslim, Jew, Doesn't Make Much Difference. We Don't Like Them When They Come Looking for Help.

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 23:59
A timely reminder from the Washington Post about how compassionate we are to refugees fleeing murderous persecution. It comes in the form of a flashback to
1938 when European Jews tried to escape Nazi controlled Europe. Some things, it seems, don't change.

Tough talk from the gallery

Dawg's Blawg - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 17:18
I for one have no illusions about ISIS. I think this article sets the matter out in the detail required. Jeremy Corbyn would have preferred that Osama bin Laden and now “Jihadi John” had been put on trial rather than... Dr.Dawg

He's Here!

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 13:59
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency has released their latest projections for el Nino.  At the bottom of this chart you'll see a band of dark red that stretches across the Pacific. That's el Nino and it could be a record breaker.

The dark patches west of Vancouver Island, off the Washington/Oregon border and from southern California to Cabo san Lucas - that's "the blob" that we've been dealing with since at least last spring. It looks like something similar is underway along America's eastern seaboard extending into the Maritimes.

The Least of my Brothers

Feminist Christian - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 13:56
I'm feeling a little dejected by the response of fellow Canadians to the terrorism in France. Instead of welcoming the refugees, we're burning down mosques, and beating Muslim women who are just going about their business. I'm seeing epic hate in my Facebook feed, from friends of friends, and worse, from my own family. My heart is breaking.

From a Christian standpoint, we have no choice but to bring in as many refugees as we can. Jesus was a refugee, and is a refugee today. Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me. Right?

To turn these people away is to defy God. Scripture is crystal clear on this one (for bloody once). From Leviticus, the city of Sodom to the epistles, and the words of Jesus himself, we are obligated to help. You don't get to call yourself Christian until it's no longer convenient. Yeah, you're scared. So? Did Jesus say "Follow me. Unless it gets scary." No. The whole message was to get out of the boat onto the crashing waves and trust that following love is the only way. Get out of the boat and bring in the refugees.

From a human standpoint, COME ON. These are human beings, fleeing from death and destruction. Suggesting that they are the problem is so fucking sickening, I can't even begin to even. GAH. The illogic. The irrational fear. It's mindblowing. There are 1.1 billion Muslims in the world. If they wanted you dead, you'd be dead. FFS.

I want to do something to let the Muslims who live here know that they are welcome and do not have to be afraid, at least of me. I smile as I pass by. I might start saying salaam. I'm tempted to start a movement in which white women wear a hijab to show solidarity, I'm so upset. There aren't many Muslims in my neighbourhood though, so I don't know what the point would be. (I live in the whitest city... it's almost embarrassing).

I'm angry. I'm really angry about this. Because I'm scared of what this country is becoming. The American-style hatred and bigotry is not something I want to live with. Closeted, passive-aggressive racism was bad enough. This is appalling.

Ya know, it hit me. The refugees aren't the least of my brothers. They're just people who need a new place to live. The racists, the bigots, the fearful Canadians who want to turn away people to die, those are the least of my brothers. (Literally, in one case.) I think I need to treat them with a little more patience and understanding. I will keep educating them, gently. But I will not allow them to hurt others in my space.

It's really easy to ignore the haters, or worse, dehumanize them. I've seen too many posts calling the assholes who hurt that Muslim woman in North York "animals". Dehumanizing angry people takes away their agency, and takes away any hope of educating them. It's literally giving up on their humanity. I'm not saying we can make the world perfect and that we can eliminate all bigotry by being nice. Not going to happen. I'm not that flaky. :) But I am saying that by dehumanizing, we actually contribute to the problem by not addressing it before it gets to that point. "Oh, those aren't men. Those are animals" abdicates our responsibility as a society to prevent crime, to prevent ignorance from becoming violent hate. Our previous government fanned the flames, made the problem far worse. We must not give up on bigots. We must show them the way back to civility. Even if it just means they stew quietly. That's far better than beating up people they're afraid of.

The Paris Massacre, the Children, and the Flowers

Montreal Simon - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 13:39

It's hard enough for an adult to understand the horror of the Paris massacre. Or how some people can be so cruel and vicious.

So imagine being a parent in that city, and having to try to explain that horror to children.

So I have to say I thought this dad did a really great job.
Read more »

They Shame Us All

Politics and its Discontents - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 10:38
Canadians like to regard themselves as fair-minded people. It is for precisely that reason that we need to denounce strongly those who attempt to subvert those values by hateful speech and acts:
An unprovoked attack on a Muslim woman near an elementary school in Toronto appeared to be “motivated by hate,” police said Tuesday as they investigated the incident that was swiftly denounced by local politicians.

The attack came two days after a mosque in Peterborough, Ont., was set ablaze in the aftermath of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris that left 129 people dead.

Peterborough police are investigating the fire as a hate crime and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau assured Muslim Canadians the federal government would work hard to find those responsible.

The Toronto assault took place around 3 p.m. on Monday near the mid-town Grenoble Public School while a woman was on her way to pick up her son.

Police said the woman, who was wearing a hijab, was approached by two men and attacked.

“It was a completely unprovoked attack,” said Const. Victor Kwong. “She was punched all over and kicked.”

The two men hurled slurs that were “bigoted in nature” at the woman and tried to rip off her hijab, Kwong said.

The woman fell to the ground and was robbed of her cellphone and some money before the two men fled the area, he said.

We can only hope the perpetrators are caught and punished appropriately.

Meanwhile, in the case of the mosque arson, people have taken matters into their own hands:
A crowdfunding campaign to raise money for repairs to mosque in Peterborough, Ont., that was damaged in a fire set deliberately on Saturday has hit its goal of $80,000.

The mosque was damaged in a fire late Saturday night. An entry on the fundraising website FundRazr set a goal of $80,000, the estimated cost to repair the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association's mosque. That total was reached just after noon today.

Association president Kenzu Abdella said members of the congregation had been inside 784 Parkhill Rd. to celebrate the birth of a new baby just an hour before the fire broke out. He said the fire was "clearly a hate crime."

Such cowardly hatred will never prevail as long as people of goodwill loudly and passionately make their voices heard.Recommend this Post

Tuesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 08:25
This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Martin Whittaker reminds us that the American public is eager for a far more fair distribution of income than the one provided for by the U.S.' current political and economic ground rules. But Christo Aivalis writes that there's a difference between a preference and a cause - and that we need to do far more to shift the fight for equality into the latter category.

- Ed Struzik discusses how climate change is affecting Alberta's cattle ranges facing unprecedented droughts. And Emily Chung reports on new research showing that our groundwater supplies are mostly non-renewable.

- Robin Sears argues that we shouldn't let terrorists succeed in their goal of undermining our shared humanity. Unfortunately, Brad Wall didn't get the memo - and is facing due outrage for his willingness to let refugees suffer for the crimes of others.

- But there's at least some good news when it comes to greater inclusion in Canada - in the form of both premiers looking to help settle refugees, and a federal government dropping some of the Cons' most egregious attempts to exclude minority groups.

On Keeping Perspective

Politics and its Discontents - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 06:06

With the cacophony of voices calling for Canada to continue to "Bomb, Baby, Bomb." and Canadian miscreants retaliating against Muslims by setting fires to mosques, it is crucial for voices of reason to be heard above the din of destructive rhetoric and behaviour that is emerging in the wake of the Paris massacre. Now is not the time for the default absolutist thinking so favoured by the fearful and the vengeful, who somehow believe that you cannot deplore and combat terrorism without uncritically endorsing military action that seems not to quell the threat of ISIS, but only embolden and strengthen it.

One such voice of reason is Trevor Amon of Victoria, B.C. In today's Toronto Star, he writes the following:
Paris has suffered a terrible tragedy. More than 100 people were killed, and many more were injured. How various countries should respond to this tragedy is the question to be answered going forward.

There are four of five permanent members in the UN Security Council involved militarily in Syria, and all four have long been nuclear weapon states. Any one of these five nations could make the choice of wiping Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Yemen off of the map within the next 24 hours, but none is willing to do so. None of these four nations is apparently willing to commit to making the much smaller choice of putting significant troops on the ground either.

And of course, China is doing absolutely nothing about this terrorist situation, and you do not seem to hear very much criticism from any source about China’s inaction and apathy.
Ah, but what should Canada do? Is Canada a nuclear power? No. Does Canada have one of the top 10, or even top 20 militaries in the world? No. Canada has spent over $500 million in the last 12 months on a bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria, but are we any safer from ISIS in Canada as a result? No.

Stephen Harper found the money for a bombing campaign, but he cut money from the RCMP in an attempt to balance his budget when millions of dollars more were and are needed for the Mounties to keep Canadians safe at home.

Furthermore, the sole terrorist at the Parliament buildings in Ottawa left us with a video that explained his motivation for his actions: He was angry that Canada was military involved in the Middle East. How does our continued military involvement in the Middle East keep other radicals at home less likely to attack targets on Canadian soil?

What is our national interest here? What are our obligations to our allies? What are we trying to achieve? When will we know that we have achieved our goals?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be under pressure from many corners to do this or that in the coming days based on what has just happened in Paris. We need to take a step back here.

The Paris attacks were not of the magnitude of the Nazis marching into Poland in 1939, or the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbour in 1941, or even Al Qaeda hijacking four planes with devastating consequences on 9/11. Lots of nasty things are going on in Syria and Iraq, but there are also lots of nasty things going on in Nigeria that don’t seem all that 24/7 newsworthy, and therefore it seems that we just don’t care all that much about what is going on there.

Maybe Canada should do something in the light of the recent Paris attacks. Maybe Canada should not. Whatever Canada does or does not do there should be a reason, and the reason should be arrived at through reasoned discussion and not simply by way of emotion, ideology or perceived obligation.Recommend this Post

We Need Not Repeat The Mistakes Of The Past

Northern Reflections - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 05:37

After Friday's events in Paris, there have been loud and sustained calls for vengeance. While the impulse is understandable, Robin Sears writes, we must not let  terrorists turn us into beasts. Sears cites Charles Taylor, the Canadian philosopher with a world-wide reputation:

Canada’s priceless contribution to the world’s understanding of the essential role of tolerance or mutual accommodation in every successful community is the philosopher Charles Taylor. Taylor puts his case starkly. None of us, he cautions, is capable of resisting the seduction of prejudice, exclusion, or even collective punishment if we are sufficiently terrified by propaganda about “the other.”Equally, each of us is willing to walk the path of inclusion, tolerance and openness to religious, ethnic and racial diversity with sufficient reassurance about its wisdom and safety. He cites France’s painful passage from being one of the world’s most inclusive societies post-revolution, to its more shameful treatment of its Muslim citizens since they landed on its shores post-Algerian war.
The roots of what happened in Paris go back along way -- just as the causes of the cauldron in the Middle East go back at least a century. And so, Sears writes, Canada stands at a crossroads:
So Canada and the world stand once again at this crossroad — do we build walls or bridges? Do we cede victory to these sub-humans who revel in their ability to shed massive amounts of human blood purely to instill terror — and refuse sanctuary to their fleeing victims? Or do we teach our children well, about the dead end that such cowardice necessarily delivers?Do we again commit the sin of rejecting refugee ships like the St. Louis in Halifax or the Komagata Maru in Vancouver. Will a future Pier 21 curator mount a photo of a dead Syrian family, next to the courageous but rejected Polish family?Because there is another lesson from Paris, and all the horrors like it, that we will no doubt yet have to endure.
We need not repeat the mistakes of the past.

Brad Wall and the Phoney Con Refugee Scare

Montreal Simon - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 04:44

I like to think that in some refugee camp in the Middle East, a mother and her children have just found out that they could be in Canada in just a few weeks.

And that they are a lot happier than they are in this photo.

For they have been living in hell.

So you can imagine how I felt when I saw that Brad Wall, the Premier of Saskatchewan, the Little Con on the Prairie, the ferocious oil pimp, thinks they and 25,000 other refugees should just cool their jets.

Because he thinks they're too dangerous.
Read more »

The RedHead Girl in the Back of the Chevrolet

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 01:07
I've been writing some, no, a lot, of pretty grim essays lately. Sorry but that's how I see what's unfolding around us.

This stuff gets to me too, maybe even more than some others. Still I write but what keeps me going is reliving moments even as whimsical as this:

"Drank a lot of take-home pay.." yeah, fair enough. But there was an intensely progressive side to Billy Joel:

Syria, France

Metaneos - Mon, 11/16/2015 - 21:35
My opinion, let's stay the hell out of Syria. It's Russia's business what happens there, and the less we have to do with it, the better. Let's take care of our selves before we adventure off to some quagmire, and lose many lives in some fruitless search for peace.
France, please refrain from a war-like response. However terrible the attacks on your populace were, remember the masterminds behind the attacks should be pursued as criminals. True justice would begin by sending in police investigators to arrest the suspects after gathering strong evidence, rather than soldiers who aren't at all trained for this sort of thing.


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