Posts from our progressive community

It's Hard to Believe We Were That Stupid

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 07/17/2015 - 08:45
Just as Europe undermined the EU so too did we undermine, potentially fatally, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.  Both organizations foolishly indulged in a promiscuous bout of expansion that has left them unwieldy, incoherent and perhaps even dangerous.

This is EU Europe:

This is NATO:

Both began and operated quite well with a small, well integrated membership, capable of reliably cooperating to achieve clearly understood objectives.  And then they both got just a little whorish in the bacchanal that marked the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Oh my, look, there's one missing - the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.

How they got left out I'll never know.  I guess Bush and Cheney forgot about them in their race to march NATO to Russia's doorstep.

When it comes to NATO it might be a good idea to cull the membership herd, especially if we see the E.U. beginning to come part at the seams.  There are a lot of scary people and movements waiting in the wings to exploit that chaos and we might not find their table manners exactly pleasing.

Don't forget that Article 5 business, the "mutual aid" clause that says an attack on one NATO member is an attack on all.  There's no Article 5(b) that covers the situation where one NATO member attacks another.  Worse yet, there are some NATO aspirants that might like nothing better than to provoke a regional adversary (can you say Russia?) and then drag in the NATO muscle. Think Georgia. Think Ukraine.

NATO was built to face threats from without, namely the Soviet bloc.  It cobbled together nations of the Western European tradition on an implied assumption of shared values and principles. What a happy bunch of chaps - well, except for those uppity French.  DeGaulle, you know.

NATO picked up some dodgy characters in its rampage of expansion to the East. Take Hungary, which joined in 1999.  Sixty years earlier it joined another alliance, the Axis powers.  And today you wouldn't consider Hungary a particularly enthusiastic adherent to democracy.  Sort of like the little kid who's standing still in the corner of the pool.  You just know he's peeing.

It's like having more kids than you can possibly feed. When you get the urge to add a few more, don't.  And try to get the kids you do have educated and out the door as soon as you can.

Quick, put a call through to Grand Fenwick. I need to speak to the Duke.          

Before the fall

accidentaldeliberations - Fri, 07/17/2015 - 08:33
Shorter Brad Wall:
The whole concept of "From many peoples, strength" doesn't do much for me. But "From many dinosaur remains, climate devastation", now that gets me - and any right-thinking Westerner - all tingly with pride.

Why Isn't This Getting Wider Coverage?

Politics and its Discontents - Fri, 07/17/2015 - 05:31
While this story seems most timely and relevant, given the ongoing Council of the Federation meeting discussing pipeline growth, I couldn't even find a reference to it in this morning's Toronto Star. It should be front-page news.

Recommend this Post

The Imitation Of Who?

Northern Reflections - Fri, 07/17/2015 - 05:01


Two weeks ago, Conservative MP Wai Young told the congregation at the Harvest City Church that, when he pushed through Bill C-51, Stephen Harper was walking in Christ's footsteps. All analogies eventually break down. But this one never even got out of the gate. That's why Michael Harris has so much fun with it:

Sorry, Wai — the case for Steve being Christ-like is not compelling. It’s like comparing Donald Trump to Mother Theresa, or John Baird to Gandhi.For one thing, Steve was born in a hospital, not a manger. For another, I think you would agree that Jesus Saves, while Steve spends and spends and spends. Seven years to record a balanced budget of his own — and even then he only managed it through the tawdry tactic of robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Jesus could feed the multitudes with a few loaves and fishes. Steve needs the federal treasury and $8 billion of taxpayers’ money to buy a measly election.
And, given some of Harper's disciples, the comparison verges on the obscene:

Jesus had disciples who later went on to great things. Steve had accomplices who found their way to court with astonishing regularity. Instead of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John, Steve had Arthur, Peter, Bruce and Dean — confidantes and advisors who were persons of interest to the police. Some even made it to the handcuff-and-shackle set. No wonder Steve wants to build more prisons.
 In the end, there are more differences than similarities between Christ and Harper:

Jesus believed in forgiving people and turning the other cheek. Steve believes in turning the other screw and being cheeky.

As for forgiveness, Steve believes that vengeance is his, no matter what the Lord sayeth. Just ask Helena Guergis, Mike Duffy or Tom Flanagan. Never mind the New Horizons probe and all those NASA snaps of that frozen meatball on the edge of our solar system; Flanagan was the first to orbit Pluto after raising the ire of Steve. Jesus forgives. Steve consigns trespassers to the outer darkness.
Christ proclaimed that the meek shall inherit the earth. Perhaps Young thinks meek means stupid.

dogs, apartments, and anxiety: in which diego returns to school

we move to canada - Fri, 07/17/2015 - 05:00
As I mentioned (almost a month ago now), our pack of four is moving to a new den. We're going to stop renting houses, as we have done for the past ten years, and move back to apartment life. Although I've adjusted to the idea, I'm no happier about it. I'm heartsick that we'll no longer have the private oasis of a backyard.

We've found a great apartment: three bedrooms, two bathrooms, well-maintained building, lots of green space outside, dog-friendly building (it's the law in Ontario, but not always followed or enforced), good location for both driving and transit. Honestly, had I seen this apartment when I lived in New York, I would have considered it luxury. Now it just makes me sad.

But there's another factor involved in this move, a big, drooling, barking factor named Diego.

Drooly BoyIn our old house, before the flood, we were working with Diego on better on-leash behaviour, especially his reactions to other dogs. Off-leash at the dog park, Diego is playful and well socialized; on the leash, a barking, pulling maniac.

This is a common issue. We were working with a trainer when the flood upended our lives. We ended up moving, and we never resumed training. This meant I stopped walking Diego, except when the four of us walk together, and Allan can take the big boy while I walk Tala. I couldn't manage him at all.

As soon as we realized we were moving to an apartment, in a building full of dogs, I knew we needed to re-boot Diego's education.

The amazing trainer we had been working with has moved out of the area, but we are working with her by email, phone, and video. We've got a fridge full of Rollover, something this trainer turned us on to: a training treat that is nutritionally balanced, and can substitute for your dog's regular food. We're using a complicated harness-Gentle Leader-collar combination that gives me maximum control, and produces a calming effect on the dog. And we're working daily in our neighbourhood.

Buster posing with some antiquated technologyDiego has already made a lot of progress. It's hard for me to imagine him walking calmly past another dog we might encounter in the lobby, or not going nuts if the elevator door opens and a dog appears, but every walk is a training opportunity, and we'll just keep at it.

And there will be plenty of opportunity! We'll have to walk Tala and Diego separately for the foreseeable future, and we're on the 19th floor of a 20-story building.

But wait, there's more. There's yet another factor at play: my own anxiety. Many years ago in New York, we had a very bad experience with Buster, our pit-mix rescue who had severe fear-aggression to other dogs. This resulted in many things, including a four-day hospital stay for Allan, a famous animal behaviourist donating time to us, and a pitbull on Prozac.

And it resulted in one more thing. Walking Buster became a source of great fear and anxiety for me... which is how I learned more about post-traumatic stress syndrome. Apparently once a person has experienced a state of extreme emergency, their neural pathways are permanently changed. The threshold to trigger the fight-or-flight response is much lower. So I'd wake up in a state of anxiety, just before I had to walk the dogs. Buster and I both needed medication to go on walks! (If only he could have understood rationally. Buster was a dog of extreme obedience - a soldier who lived to follow orders. If he could have controlled himself to please us, he would have done so in a heartbeat.)

Whoever thought she'd be the calm one!And here we are, 15 years later. It's a different dog, who is not an emotionally damaged abuse survivor, but a part of my brain doesn't know that. Dogs, of course, sense your anxiety and react to it. If their person is fearful, there must be something to be fearful and vigilant about. So Diego has to calm down for me, and I have to calm down for him.

The Early Election Call and the Cowardice of Stephen Harper

Montreal Simon - Fri, 07/17/2015 - 04:22

As you know I'm deeply concerned by the horrible thought that Stephen Harper could ruin our summer, or steal it, as only Great Maniac Leader could.

By calling an election one month earlier than most people had expected. So he can use a longer campaign to bankrupt his opponents.

So I'm very glad to see that at least the NDP isn't worried. 
Read more »

The Con Oil Pimp Brad Wall Declares War on Central Canada

Montreal Simon - Thu, 07/16/2015 - 23:58

Oh great. Just what this broken bleeding country needs. 

Another Con oil pimp like Brad Wall, the Premier of Saskatchewan.

Sweeping out of the West to declare war on Central Canada. 
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Ducks sign ex-Canuck Ryan Kesler to massive 6-year, $41.25 million contract extension

Metaneos - Thu, 07/16/2015 - 21:00
Thomas Drance - Canucks Army
Oh, wow. Short term, this might be an okay contract, but six years? This is probably too long contract for Kesler, who already has shown signs of decline in his game.


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