Posts from our progressive community

Arc d'Trump?

Politics and its Discontents - Sat, 10/15/2016 - 06:51
Thanks to Jonathan once again for alerting me to some clips from the 1957 movie, A Face in the Crowd, starring Andy Griffith in a role so diametrically opposed to his later persona as Sheriff Andy Taylor that he seems positively demonic at times. That the director, Elia Kazan, was able to draw the link between television stardom and political power is a testament to his prescience.

I think you will agree that the film eerily echoes the future rise of Donald Trump. Hopefully, a similar downfall ensues.

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The Scary Meltdown of Donald Trump

Montreal Simon - Sat, 10/15/2016 - 04:39

I want to look away, I want to escape the insanity, I want to live in our peaceful kingdom, not in some American nightmare.

But I can't take my eyes off the horrifying sight of Donald Trump sounding crazier by the moment, and revealing his inner monster.

For it is a horror show. 

It is a total meltdown.
Read more »

Referendumpster fire

Creekside - Sat, 10/15/2016 - 01:31

CPC MP and ERRE committee member Scott Reid held a presser today to lay out the CPC position on electoral reform : No referendum, no Consent to electoral reform.

Mr Reid cites the results of a householder CPC MPs sent to their constituents. Shocker : 90.6% of them voted for a referendum.

Wikipedia : 
"In Canadian politics, a Ten Percenter is a party political flyer that MPs have the right to mail — at no cost to themselves — to households in their own ridings, equivalent to 10% of the households in their constituency. They may also send the same flier to all of their constituents if they change 50% of the copy." Complaining that members of the public who show up to ERRE road show meetings are "self-selective" and therefore not representative of Canadians as a whole - a complaint also repeated in committee by ERRE Lib MP Sherry Romanado - Reid calls his survey of 59 Conservative ridings out of a total of 338 possible ridings "the largest sampling of views on this issue to date." Ok but 30% of ridings surveyed were in Alberta. Nothing "self-selective" there.

The 81,000 votes from across Canada returned to the Conservative office or the local riding MP include up to 4 votes per household. To put that in context, 81K is the same number of voters found in the ridings of Ottawa West or North Vancouver. 
In Scott Reid's own riding of Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston with 77,808 voters, 1400 responded to his electoral referendum questionnaire ... which works out to a 1.8% response rate. 
So, you know, good effort, Cons.

Now Scott Reid has been personally in favour of implementing a proportional electoral system like STV since 2001 and his fellow ERRE member CPC Gerard Deltell also favours PR , but alas their hands are tied by the 2004 CPC founding charter which specifies that any electoral reform must be preceded by a referendum. Apparently their Bill C-23 Fair Elections Act didn't count.

Reid also reported he thinks a five-party committee consensus to proceed with a PR system is possible, that a public referendum on PR would pass, and that Elections Canada CEOs JP Kingsley and Marc Mayrand have said there is time before the next election in 2019 for both a referendum and a new electoral reform system provided the new system is not unduly complicated in the redrawing of ridings. 

So why are the CPCs the fly in the electoral reform ointment?

Reid notes that Minister Monsef has not proposed any specific model to replace FPtP or pledged to accept the committee's consensus position, supposing they reach one. 
Reid :
"Up til now, she has only said she'll take it under advisement so we can move towards that model. What I don't want to have happen is this : have the committee move towards some kind of conclusion and then the government says 'thank you very much, we're doing something else' because we have an ironclad commitment about 2019 and then impose a system that favours the governing party. That would obviously be completely unacceptable and I am anxious at all costs to make sure that doesn't happen."I get this concern. I do. The dreaded Alternative Vote, considered capable of keeping the Libs in power forever because the Libs are everyone's presumed first and/or second choice on a ranked ballot in a single seat riding, is right there in the ERRE committee road show handout and was included in the public e-consultation on the ERRE site.  

But after months of sending out householders like the one pictured at the top here - sent out prior to the committee rejig in May which allowed the Bloc and Elizabeth May a seat at the ERRE table and reduced the number of Liberals on committee from a majority of six down to four Libs plus the chair - together with your failure to hold town halls in your communities to inform yourselves and voters about possible alternatives to FPtP, and the fact your official seven page Conservative Caucus submission to ERRE today is about nothing but holding a referendum ...  well, Cons, you failed miserably at reaching out further afield than just to your dog-whistled fear-mongered householder base here to achieve that all-party consensus you claim to aspire to.

Musical interlude

accidentaldeliberations - Fri, 10/14/2016 - 16:25
Gorgon City feat. ROMANS - Saving My Life

What If We All Went Out In This Costume at Halloween?

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 10/14/2016 - 11:07

Here's an idea. Everybody in this costume. You can easily reverse engineer this for guys.

This is British journalist and heiress, Jemima Khan. Brilliant.

How Trump Tripped Up

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 10/14/2016 - 10:52

Trump, being Trump, set himself up for disaster.

His top campaign staff wanted, even demanded, to run a forensic investigation on The Donald to uncover and prepare for anything scandalous that his opponent could use against him in the campaign - but Trump flatly refused.

Donald Trump's lawyers will be in a funk – last week their client paraded several women who accuse Bill Clinton of treating them inappropriately, and demanded that their stories be heard; but on Thursday, Trump launched a searing attack on several women who accuse him – Trump – of treating them inappropriately, and who want their stories to be heard.

And some in Trump's campaign are in a funk – they've revealed that Trump rebuffed their attempts at standard campaign practice, which is to research a candidate's past so that they might mount a counterattack in the event that, oh, say something like the "grab them by the pussy" video surfaced or a small army of women shared stories of a candidate abusing them.

Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway definitely is in a funk – between the emergence of the video and the first of the new women's allegations of abuse by Trump, Conway thought she was skewering Hillary Clinton but, ooops, she stabbed Trump too, by re-tweeting a Clinton tweet: "Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported."

...The several iterations of Trump's campaign management sought, but always failed to get the candidate's agreement that they investigate his past, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Corey Lewandowski, his first campaign manager who now is a CNN analyst, wanted Trump to submit to a forensic evaluation – no; his successor Paul Manafort insisted to the point of it becoming a divisive issue – still no; old guard Trump advisers Roger Stone and Michael Cohen thought it would be a good idea – Trump didn't.

Wondering what to wear to this year's Halloween costume party? This one seems a killer for all the women out there:

Friday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Fri, 10/14/2016 - 09:11
Assorted content to end your week.

- George Monbiot discusses the importance of recognizing our social connections in making our political choices, rather than treating the world as merely a collection of unconnected individuals:
It is not hard to see what the evolutionary reasons for social pain might be. Survival among social mammals is greatly enhanced when they are strongly bonded with the rest of the pack. It is the isolated and marginalised animals that are most likely to be picked off by predators or to starve. Just as physical pain protects us from physical injury, emotional pain protects us from social injury. It drives us to reconnect. But many people find this almost impossible.

It’s unsurprising that social isolation is strongly associated with depression, suicide, anxiety, insomnia, fear and the perception of threat. It’s more surprising to discover the range of physical illnesses it causes or exacerbates. Dementia, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, lowered resistance to viruses, even accidents are more common among chronically lonely people. Loneliness has a comparable impact on physical health to smoking 15 cigarettes a day: it appears to raise the risk of early death by 26%. This is partly because it enhances production of the stress hormone cortisol, which suppresses the immune system.

Studies in both animals and humans suggest a reason for comfort eating: isolation reduces impulse control, leading to obesity. As those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder are the most likely to suffer from loneliness, might this provide one of the explanations for the strong link between low economic status and obesity?

Anyone can see that something far more important than most of the issues we fret about has gone wrong. So why are we engaging in this world-eating, self-consuming frenzy of environmental destruction and social dislocation, if all it produces is unbearable pain? Should this question not burn the lips of everyone in public life?- Meanwhile, Meghan Joy and John Shields discuss the folly of putting programs in the hands of the corporate sector through social impact bonds which prioritize single contractual metrics over broad social outcomes. And Murray Dobbin criticizes corporate control over hospital food as a prime example of necessities being turned into cash cows, with no benefit for either the public purse or the people being served.

- Jim Stanford points out that implausible denials of the downside of corporate globalization will only strengthen the rise of divisive and destructive alternatives. Paul Waldie reports that two of Belgium's regions may put the ratification of the CETA on hold indefinitely. And Rob Ferguson highlights one of the reasons that's for the best, as the largest award ever under NAFTA has just been ordered due to Ontario's change in renewable energy policy. 

- Finally, Sam Levin reports that multiple social media sites handed over access to user data to a private security firm to track individual Black Lives Matter protesters.


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