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Closer To Home Than They Realize

Northern Reflections - Sun, 11/15/2015 - 03:15

It's been surreal to watch and listen to Stephen Harper's former cabinet ministers distance themselves from their boss. Bob Hepburn writes:

Let’s start with Rona Ambrose, the new interim party leader. Without a hint of insincerity, Ambrose insists her caucus will no longer engage in the “nastiness” of the old Harper government and will be more “constructive, effective” in working as the Official Opposition.Also, Ambrose has completely reversed herself on the need for a public inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women. For years, the Tories refused to hold an inquiry into what the RCMP says are more than 1,200 cases of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. Now she is all in favour of an inquiry, saying it “is an absolutely non-partisan issue, it should never be political.” 
And then there's Tony Clement, who deep sixed the long form census:
Next is Tony Clement, the former industry minister who cancelled the long-form census of 2011, a move widely denounced inside and outside of government. Clement was relentless in implementing the change, insisting it was needed to protect citizen privacy.Now Clement is expressing regrets, saying in hindsight that “I would have done it differently.”
And, of course, there's Kellie Leitch, who -- academically at least -- is supposed to be very bright:
Then there’s Kellie Leitch, the former labour minister at the centre of one of the lowest points in the Tory campaign. She hit that point when she joined cabinet colleague Chris Alexander in announcing “a snitch hotline” to report “barbaric cultural practices.” In reality, Leitch was urging Canadians to target Muslims in their neighbourhoods.Now Leitch, who apparently dreams of succeeding Harper, says the plan was misunderstood and not communicated very well.
Hepburn writes that the Conservatives must really think voters are stupid. Given the results of the election, and their own pronouncements, it's pretty clear that stupidity is closer to home than the former Harperites realize.

The Paris Attacks Weren't Caused by a Want of Bombs

The Disaffected Lib - Sat, 11/14/2015 - 13:44

It didn't take long for the usual suspects to demand that Justin Trudeau reverse his decision to withdraw Canada's penny packet of CF-18s from the hapless bombing campaign against ISIS.

Linking the two is beyond puerile, it's well into the realm of sophistry. It suggests that the Paris bombings were somehow connected with the bombing campaign underway in Iraq and Syria or perhaps even that our decision to withdraw our minuscule contribution might have had some bearing on it. Now, they argue, we must return and bomb some more.

Okay, this is the stuff of belief-driven politics, the sort of thing we thought we had freed ourselves from by ousting Harper.  Bombing Muslims, civilian and insurgent alike, has achieved precisely what? Oh, sorry, that would be evidence-based thinking. That sort of thing isn't in vogue especially when it comes to Western adventures in the Middle East.

About the only rational argument I can come up with for a bombing campaign is one that strikes at the snake in the only place it really matters - the head. Off with its head.

That would mean finally admitting we have an intractable problem with the leadership of the Sunni states: the generals, sheikhs and princes from Egypt all the way to the farthest reaches of the Persian Gulf.

Go to the catalogue of our grievances. Begin with the embassy bombings and right through to the attack on the USS Cole, the first World Trade Center attack, the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; the attack on London, both attacks on Paris; and let's toss in al Qaeda and ISIS for good measure. What do all of those have in common? They're all rooted in Sunni Islam and the worst of them embrace the radical Islamism practiced by the House of Saud, our ally. Sure ISIS beheads captives. So do the Saudis. Sure ISIS tortures victims. The Saudis cherish crucifixion.

Osama bin Laden? He's from a Saudi Sunni family that originated in Sunni Yemen. The 9/11 attackers? They were mainly Saudi with a few Yemeni tossed in. al Qaeda - yeah, Saudi. ISIS, well they're a little more eclectic now that recruiting has become easier but where did they get their start, their financing? Yeah, it was all those sheiks and princes of the Gulf States, our allies.

Notice who is not in on any of this? It's that awful "state sponsor of terrorism" Iran.

But the Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and Qatar and the others were with us in our air war on ISIS, right? Well, not so much. Very quietly, and without a murmur of protest from us, they hightailed it home. Now they're busy bombing Houthi civilians and rebels in Yemen, the same Houthi who are battling ISIS and al Qaeda forces in their homeland. The Saudis are essentially flying air support missions for ISIS in Yemen. And we're okay with that.

Our bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria isn't a SNAFU. No, it's well beyond that. It's a FUBAR - F__ked Up Beyond All Recognition. We're not making a dent against ISIS. We have no idea how to defeat them nor do we have the will even if we had the means. And the people pulling the strings? Well they've gone home where they're safe and sound.

Trudeau's right. This is a mug's game. Too bad there are some self-identified Liberals who don't get that.


LeDaro - Sat, 11/14/2015 - 12:36
I got an Ipad. Having hard time using it first time.


Stop Using War as a Weapon….

Left Over - Sat, 11/14/2015 - 08:38
Defence minister’s marching orders: end Canada’s combat mission in Iraq, Syria Justin Trudeau delivers mandate letters to cabinet ministers mapping out their top priorities

By Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press Posted: Nov 13, 2015 12:21 PM ET Last Updated: Nov 13, 2015 4:21 PM ET

Despite all  whining from the Con losers on this subject,  Trudeau’s new defense minister has been ordered to do the right thing…

One of the reasons that Canada has remained comparatively safe  during  these  ‘troubles’ is that we have  not, until the Con regime,   officially involved ourselves in an offensive way, in the exploitation of  wars…but our  hands aren’t clean.

There are a myriad of  mining companies with  Canadian origins that are putting us in a very bad light as they  destroy the environment, exploit  Third World  workers, and conspire, hand in hand with corrupt national  leaders, to  make a fortune from natural resources while  the  citizens of those countries  gain nothing but  polluted environments.  In places like Nigeria and  Latin  America, Canadian  corps are destroying our  public  reputations with  little or no oversight…

So,  do we simply throw our hands up in the air,  or huff and puff (like Obama)  and really say nothing about the French attacks so prevalent in the news?

France has had a long history of colonization in the  Arab and Southeast Asian world…

Morocco and  Vietnam being two examples..that country  has, also,  a large population of  immigrants who are essentially ghettoized and exploited, while being shunned by many  native  French.. the results being  that  homegrown dissent is prevalent, no need to worry much about imported threats.

England faces the same challenges, and probably other  countries in Europe as well..

These chaotic ‘terrorist’ acts do not simply spring from infertile soil, fully formed. There is a  sad pattern throughout the world of the decades of pain and misery caused by the social and economic slavery of any culture..and here in  North America, we are lucky that  the backlash of our own  enslaved and  exploited populations aren’t  doing the same.

Every country involved in  these issues, and, sadly, that seems to be a majority in the so-called First World, these days,  needs to have a long hard look in the mirror, because redressing the imbalance is  probably more important than worrying about saber-rattling and revenge as a workable solution to this  ‘arbitrary’ violence and carnage.

Cowardly And Indefensible

Politics and its Discontents - Sat, 11/14/2015 - 07:09

As cowardly, indefensible and savage as the terrorist attacks on Paris were, equally so is the response of the right-wing, eager to score points by exploiting that massacre for its own twisted political purposes.

If you haven't already done so, be sure to read Montreal Simon's post on the matter. As well, check out the video carried on Addicting Info, and if that doesn't sicken you sufficiently, take a look at Mother Jones, which carries some of the most outrageous tweets by some of the most unhinged minds in U.S. political culture today.

Beyond that, I have nothing to say.Recommend this Post

Listening To Our Better Angels

Northern Reflections - Sat, 11/14/2015 - 05:25

When facts caught up with Stephen Harper's claim that he was the best person to manage the economy, he tried to stoke the fires of xenophobia, convinced that the heat he generated would lead him all the way back to Sussex Drive. He failed. But, Errol Mendes writes, we should look carefully at the numbers:

Yet, drilling down into the election results, the Conservative strategy partly succeeded at least in Quebec in parts where there was a dominant francophone population. In these ridings, where there are not many and in some cases, not any, Muslims or people from other cultures, the Conservative campaign played into what are often the catalysts of incipient racism and xenophobia, namely fear of loss of identity and suspicion of the “different other”. The French policy of secularism imported into francophone Quebec also played a part.
Canadians, as a whole, are decent people. However, some decent people are easily manipulated:

But irresponsible political leaders attempted to drive a large hole into that precious quality of respect for diversity that Canada gives to the world. The campaign of Stephen Harper partially succeeded in that. It massively rebounded on him and his party due the fact that it wounded the NDP and its leader who courageously stuck to his principles and stood by the fundamental right of the solitary women to wear her niqab at the citizenship ceremony as long she had shown her identity without the face covering beforehand. The demise of the NDP in Quebec due to the xenophobic strategy of the Conservatives led the majority of progressive voters to swing massively to the Liberals as the main hope of ousting the Harper government. The majority Liberal government will no doubt bury the barely disguised xenophobic proposals and actions of the Harper government. However, what limited success those proposals and actions had in Quebec is deeply troubling not only for Canada, but I suggest for many parts of our troubled world. There are growing number of examples in Europe of similar attempts by usually far right politicians to use various forms of xenophobia to make inroads into main stream and sometimes even traditionally progressive parties.
The same kind of race baiting is alive and well in European politics. And, after yesterday's events in Paris, it's bound to raise its ugly head again. Language and symbols -- like niqabs -- can inflame a population:

Language and symbols as much as guns and bullets can cause great damage to any society and pose the greatest dangers to those in democratic societies whose very guarantees of freedom of expression can be used by those who may want to gain power by scapegoating and vilifying the minorities who are part of their increasingly diverse societies.
That is why what happened in Canada a month ago is so important. Like it or not, we are an example -- either good or bad -- for the world. And, for the moment, we have listened to our better angels.

Saturday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Sat, 11/14/2015 - 05:12
Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Lana Payne points out that even some of the world's wealthiest individuals are highlighting the need for governments to step up in addressing major collective action problems such as climate change and inequality. And Angella MacEwen offers one important example of that principle being put into practice, writing that Quebec's family-friendly parental leave policies have made a major impact in improving both social and economic outcomes.

- Duncan Weldon observes that wages will face conflicting pressures in the years to come, as increased replacement of work with new technology is weighed against a demographic crunch in the supply of labour.

- Carol Linnitt exposes some of the cynicism and denial from the corporations who have all too often been able to dictate the terms of climate change conversations, while David Climenhaga notes that the Cons' more overt obstructionism did little but to get the world to tune Canada out entirely. And PressProgress offers some good reasons for Alberta (and other jurisdictions) to move past coal power to cleaner, renewable alternatives.

- Nathan Raine discusses the futility of "tough on crime" policies which do nothing to address the social factors which actually cause criminal behaviour.

- Finally, Errol Mendes points out why we shouldn't be satisfied with the results of an election where xenophobia managed to have a significant impact on the outcome - even if the parties pushing it weren't the ones who benefited most. And Samantha Ponting charts just a few of the corporate connections of the Libs' new cabinet.

The Paris Massacre and the Monstrosity of the Cons

Montreal Simon - Sat, 11/14/2015 - 04:58

What a difference a day makes. One moment I'm celebrating the restoration of Canada, and the return of hope and optimism

And the next moment I'm holding my head with both hands, and mumbling oh no not again. 

And wondering who are those bestial religious fanatics who would slaughter the innocent, and then blow themselves up happily?

And as if that wasn't horrible enough, then there was the Con media in this country, trying to use that tragedy to attack Justin Trudeau.
Read more »

Vive La France!

Feminist Christian - Fri, 11/13/2015 - 21:02
Oh France, my thoughts and prayers are with you tonight.

I would like to remind everyone that we do not know who did this yet. And the only thing we will ever hear is what the media tell us. The media, who are owned by billionaires with agendas.

Here's my truth: Whoever did this is extremely unhappy. They've been radicalized by their anger and hatred. The only way we will ever stop the cycle of violence is to find out what is causing them to believe this is their only option, and stop that.

I continue to support bringing refugees here. If I had room, I'd sponsor one myself. I do not (we barely have room for us!) so I will donate to Oak Bay United Church's plan.

And I will pray for peace. That the little voice inside our heads that says peace is better than war, that love is better than hate, is not ignored. May the Divine fill all our hearts with love, compassion and understanding. May the Great Spirit give us the courage we need to love those we are afraid of. And God have mercy on the souls of the people who contributed to this in any way.


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