Posts from our progressive community

Is Andrea's Day Of Reckoning Drawing Nigh?

Politics and its Discontents - Sun, 09/07/2014 - 06:26


Andrea Horwath, the current leader of the Ontario NDP, about whom I have written the odd past post, may indeed soon be facing the consequences of her recent decision to force an Ontario election that ran the risk, happily averted, of the election of a right-wing Progressive Conservative Party under former leader Tim Hudak. While Hudak was speedily dispatched for his loss, Andrea has thus far been dancing around the choices she made that so inflamed so many party members and supporters.

Today, Martin Regg Cohn's column suggests that the tune to which Horwath has been gamboling may change abruptly starting next weekend:

Ahead of a formal leadership review scheduled for November, Horwath will face the NDP’s provincial council this coming Saturday and Sunday to explain her controversial tactics — before, during and after the election.

“Andrea is fighting for her life,” says one long-time party worker who has sat in on the party’s internal machinations in recent months.

“Among a very large section of the activist base there is little more than contempt for her,” said the NDP loyalist, who requested confidentiality to speak candidly about the manoeuvres.


As many are aware, the more tantalizing the prospect of power became, the more willing Horwath was to recast her party as a centrist-right entity, thereby destroying, of course, any prospect the former 'party of principle' had of being perceived as anything more than a group of populists who wanted to form the government for the sake of being the government. Her gleeful abandonment of the balance of power her party held in the last legislature to pursue the heady power that only the office of the premier can offer has led many to perceive her as a traitor to the party:

It’s no secret that the top leadership of the Canadian Labour Congress has undisguised contempt for Horwath after she refused to support a public pension plan for Ontario (along the lines of an enhanced CPP) which the labour movement holds dear. The CLC’s new leader, Hassan Yussuff, viewed Horwath’s actions as a personal betrayal and is known to have described her as “a coward” who should be dumped.

Most of the Ontario Federation Labour’s member unions are also deeply unhappy with Horwath’s moves, not least her refusal to meet them as a group.

“If the vote were held next week, she wouldn’t hold on,” predicts one party veteran.

And there are also other reasons for party members' disaffection:

In anticipation of a leadership review, Horwath’s team rammed through changes at a pre-election council meeting allowing her inner circle to reclaim — and reallocate — any unused delegate slots 45 days before the November convention. The move was widely seen as a naked power grab orchestrated by the leader’s office, contravening party rules that constitutional changes can only be agreed at full conventions.

By flouting the rules, Horwath has riled grassroots members who were already apoplectic about an opportunistic campaign platform that lacked the party’s imprimatur and descended into pandering.

While Ontario provincial politics may seem of little relevance to those living in other parts of country, the fact is that the lessons of arrogance are universally applicable. Perhaps Andrea's fate, whatever it turns out to be, will be instructive to others. Recommend this Post

Dipper Drift?

Northern Reflections - Sun, 09/07/2014 - 05:29

                                                       http://news.nationalpost.com/

In yesterday's Toronto Star, Chantal Hebert suggested that, if recent events in Ontario are an indication of the party's future, the NDP may be drifting back to third party status. In the recent provincial election, traditional Dippers voted Liberal to stop Tim Hudak:

In the provincial campaign, the platform put forward by Tory leader Tim Hudak went a long way to convince many progressive voters to stick with the Liberals rather than risk facilitating a Conservative victory by giving their vote to the third-place NDP.
And in the race for mayor of Toronto, Olivia Chow has slipped to third place:

It should come as no surprise that a Forum Research poll that suggested Mayor Rob Ford (Open Rob Ford’s policard) was still in the running for re-election — with Olivia Chow running third — was followed by a Nanos poll that showed that John Tory had consolidated his lead on his main rivals.For scores of Toronto voters, ousting Ford from office this fall comes before loyalty to a political brand.
Could the same thing happen into the 2015 federal election?

To many, the first-place Liberals come across as a safer haven than the third-place NDP, regardless of the comparative skills of their leaders or even their respective policies.

With every passing month, NDP hopes that a barrage of Conservative attack ads will chip away at Trudeau’s credibility are fading. After more than a year, they have yet to make a dent in the Liberal lead in voting intentions

The New Democrats’ own efforts at portraying the Liberals as Conservatives in disguise are also falling short.
It's quite possible that Justin could stumble. And he is still policy lite. But, faced with the devil they know, many Dippers might hold their noses and vote Liberal.



Progressives in Toronto need a voice, and NOW magazine ain’t it | #TOpoli @nowtoronto

Posted by Sol Chrom - Sun, 09/07/2014 - 05:24

@m_hollett This from one of the Einsteins behind Horwath's faux populist tack. How'd that work out, Mike? bit.ly/1wc0WjZ #TOpoli
Sol Chrom (@sol_chrom) September 05, 2014

So it seems the deep thinkers at NOW have noticed that Olivia Chow’s campaign is faltering.

Naturally, they’ve got the answers. (They’re smarter than us, you see. They’re The Oracles and the Source of All Wisdom, didn’t you know.) According to Enzo DiMatteo, it’s because

“somewhere along the line the decision was made to sell Chow as a pragmatist.”

Right. So here’s a writer for NOW magazine, calling out the “progressive” candidate for making a strategic decision to play down the leftie roots and come over all “pragmatic.”

But wait! What’s this? Just a few weeks ago, they were shitting all over us for not falling in behind Andrea Horwath for doing the same thing, except back then it was ‘populism.’ Then when that blew up in their faces, they sneered at us for letting ourselves get played. As John puts it, apparently we’re just too stupid to appreciate their genius.

Hey, NOW brain trust: do you even listen to yourselves talking? With ‘allies’ like you, the left doesn’t need enemies. Condescending weenies.

Related posts:

 


Tagged: Andrea Horwath, arrogance, hypocrisy, NDP, NOW magazine, olivia chow, progressive politics in Toronto, Toronto politics

When the truth is considered a "gaffe"

Trapped In a Whirlpool - Sun, 09/07/2014 - 05:16
Much has been made of the Harper Government's use of provocateurs to get opposition pols to disclose their true feelings on the issues.
Read more »

Scottish Independence: The Triumph of Hope Over Fear

Montreal Simon - Sun, 09/07/2014 - 02:08


With less than two weeks to go before the Scottish independence referendum a new poll has shown the YES side ahead for the first time. 

Some 51% of those who have made up their mind and intend to vote back an independent Scotland while 49% plan to vote no, the YouGov poll suggests.


The poll of 1,084 people, carried out between 2 and 5 September, is the first and only serious study to put the Yes campaign ahead, and suggests the pro-Union camp has lost its lead - once regularly in the double-digits.




Sending a shockwave rolling across Britain, and sending David Cameron's ghastly Con government, and almost the entire British establishment, into a state of almost total panic.
Read more »

thank you, charley richardson! your legacy lives on

we move to canada - Sun, 09/07/2014 - 00:30
On Labour Day, I happened to see this on Twitter:



I am on my union's labour-management committee, the group that meets monthly with management to discuss members' concerns and try to resolve issues. I was intrigued and followed the link that Rank and File had posted.

To my surprise, the original "how to" advice was written by the late Charley Richardson, who passed away in 2013. I knew of Charley, mostly by his outsize reputation, from another part of his life: along with his wife Nancy Lessin, he co-founded Military Families Speak Out.

MFSO is now defunct, but the organization did tremendous work advocating for veterans and against wars for oil and profit. As it happens, MFSO bears a special place in my own anti-war activism. Shortly after the US invaded Iraq, while we were waiting to emigrate to Canada, Allan and I attended an MFSO event in New York. The tiny Judson Memorial Church was packed to the rafters, people applauding and weeping as parents, spouses, and siblings of soldiers testified to the terrible treatment they endured, and to the real motives behind the wars. I never forgot that meeting, although it would be many years before I reconnected with its mission.

Years later, working with the War Resisters Support Campaign, I often heard about Richardson, Lessin, and MFSO. They were incredibly supportive to the families of soldiers and veterans, whether or not they were active in the military, had finished their tours, or had deserted. A friend and comrade of mine was close with the Richardsons, and that's how I learned that Charley, only in his late 50s, was dying. Here is his obituary in the Boston Globe.

Now, more than a year after Charley's untimely passing, I had stumbled on some of his wise and practical advice. Digging a bit deeper, I learned that part of Richardson's legacy as a labour educator has been archived and preserved as "The Charley Richardson Guide to Kicking Ass for the Working Class".

And here, perhaps, is the best part of the story. I shared the article with our labour-management committee team. The response was strong and positive. We prepared for our next meeting with new resolve, and we had the strongest, most effective labour-management meeting I've seen since joining the team more than a year ago.

Thank you, Charley Richardson!

Eleven years and six months later, Steve finally gets his wish

Creekside - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 23:22

Finally, eh?

A small deployment of 100 "special ops" at first to be sure, but still a significant addition to the ongoing campaign to fund and arm the Mujihadeen, al Qaeda, Al Nusra, ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State, and whoever comes after them next. Blowback. It's a never-ending job. 

Here John bomb-bomb-bomb-Iran McCain poses with Free Syrian Army rebels in 2013, in photos purportedly released by ISIS . McCain disputes claims these men are IS-related. McCain press secretary : "If the individual photographed with Senator McCain is in fact Mohamed Nour, that is regrettable."


"I believe there are ways to get weapons to the opposition without direct United States involvement,” McCain said in 2012 during his Mideast tour with Lindsay Graham. "The bloodshed must be stopped, and we should rule out no option that could help to save lives. We must consider, among other actions, providing opposition groups inside Syria, both political and military, with better means to ... to fight back against Assad’s forces."In Syria, you see, IS are the good guys fighting against Basher Assad, while across the border in Iraq, they are the bad guys. 

Here they are rolling across the Iraq border in their column of 43 shiny yellow Toyota Hiluxes, allegedly a gift to 'moderates' from the US, in another photo of disputed origins.



Top GOP Senator Lindsey Graham warns of 'inevitable' next attack :
 "The seeds of 9/11s are being planted all over Iraq and Syria". Yup. Although actually you're still working off having invaded Iraq after the last one.
"Speaking to reporters at the NATO summit on Friday, Harper condemned the "barbaric acts" of ISIS, the jihadist group behind recent beheadings of American journalists."Harper offered no comment on the 19 beheadings committed by our ally Saudi Arabia last month - some of them for "sorcery and witchcraft" - presumably because Canada has "two contracts totalling $14.8-billion awarded to General Dynamics Land Systems Canada of London, Ontario for the 2013-14 fiscal year to supply Saudi Arabia with military armoured vehicles.""The Canadian government hopes that over time, ISIS could be pushed back into Syria"  where they will be our friends again.
Durka, durka, durka, Steve.
.

Southern Ontario Skins: A Cast of Stooges Part X

Anti-Racist Canada - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 12:19
While the lead writer of the ARC Collective is planning on taking a hiatus for a month or so to recharge the batteries on a beach somewhere in Baja soon, it wouldn't seem right to leave when there are still a couple to loose ends to tie up.

Then again, we don't expect this particular loose end to remain tied for very long.

Our readers have been following a series that we lovingly refer to as the "cast of stooges" where we provide a running account of some of the misadventures of the Southern Ontario "Skinheads." One of those stooges, Jeremy Crawford, can't seem to help continuing to make a clown out of himself and a fool out of the rest of the SOS, particularly Max "Come at me bro!" Hynes who founded the gang.



In one rather epic and very well read piece on the blog, we posted the email exchanges between ourselves and Crawford who inexplicably believed that we were the SOS or, at the very least, would be willing to help him get in touch with Hynes and then member Brodie Walsh (who later had his own problems one can read herehere, and here). Eventually Crawford figured things out, but not before we were able to string him along for more than a month. Suffice it to say he was a little bit upset.

Now to get an understanding of why Crawford took so long to figure out who we really were, here is a recent example of Crawford thinking:



First, one would think that a prerequisite of running a prison gang like the Aryan Brotherhood would be the ability to spell Aryan. Second, we appreciate his simple logic, if one could refer to this line of thinking as logic: "Black are all criminals who sell drugs. You can trust me because I'm a former federal inmate jailed for selling drugs and possessing illegal weapons."

That being said, we didn't think we would hear from Crawford directly anymore. He's dumb as a brick, but even he knows when to quit, right?

Right?

ALL U GUYS GOT IS YOUR MOUTHS YOUR TELEPHONE TOUGH GUYS IF YOU WERE TO RUN INTO ONE OF US YOU'D BE BACK PEDDLING AND DOING ANYTHING TO SAVE YOUR OWN ASS.

Oh Jeremy Crawford. You are just a national treasure!

Read more »

In Case You Missed It, the Nuclear Option is Back

The Disaffected Lib - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 11:37
Vlad Putin is going for his nukes and we need to grasp our role in getting him there.  Russia is re-arming with a new class of nuclear submarines, a new and possibly illegal inter-continental ballistic missile and a new strategic bomber. 

Our sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine are working.  They're hammering the Russian economy which, in turn, destabilizes the state.  In case you don't get it, a destabilized nation just brimming with nuclear weapons is never a good idea.

NATO has been ratcheting up the pressure on Russia by announcing plans to establish two new bases on Russia's doorstep and the formation of an all-arms (naval, air and land) rapid reaction force specifically targeted at Russia. 

Putin doesn't much trust the West nor have we given him any reason that he should.   NATO's blunt-minded (and fortunately outgoing) Secretary-General, Andy Rasmussen, is pushing for the establishment of two military bases on Russia's borders.  It's the sort of thing that Hadrian would have done to keep the Picts at bay.  He's also spinning the idea of a rapid reaction force just in case Moscow gets frisky.  Little does Foggy Rasmussen seem to understand that his own homeland, Denmark, would probably fare poorly in a shooting war with Russia and that, maybe destabilizing Russia with provocative military installations and threats of rapid reaction forces really isn't in Europe's best interests.  Winter is coming.

But surely a cool customer like Vlad Putin wouldn't do something insane like resort to nukes, would he?  Maybe, maybe not.  The folks at ForeignPolicy.com aren't convinced.

Ever the one to administer bracing doses of Geopolitics 101 to his opponents, especially those inclined to underestimate his nerve, President Vladimir Putin, at a youth forum north of Moscow last week, reminded the world that "Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations. This is a reality, not just words." (Indeed it is.)

Fifteen days earlier, on Aug. 14, at a conference in Yalta, the Russian president had told the assembled factions of the State Duma that he soon planned to "surprise the West with our new developments in offensive nuclear weapons about which we do not talk yet." This came as Russian strategic nuclear bombers and fighter jets have been accused of violating the airspace of the United States and Western European countries with mounting frequency, while under the surface of the world's seas Russian and U.S. nuclear submarines have been involved in confrontations recalling the worst days of the Cold War. As NATO leaders convene for their summit in Wales, Russia just announced that its strategic nuclear forces will hold exercises of unprecedented dimensions this month. And the Kremlin, for its part, just declared that it will amend its military doctrine to reflect Russia's growing tensions with NATO. What this means exactly remains unclear, but in view of the rising tensions with the Western alliance, it cannot be good.

...But Putin would never actually use nuclear weapons, would he? The scientist and longtime Putin critic Andrei Piontkovsky, a former executive director of the Strategic Studies Center in Moscow and a political commentator for the BBC World Service, believes he might. In August, Piontkovsky published a troubling account of what he believes Putin might do to win the current standoff with the West -- and, in one blow, destroy NATO as an organization and finish off what's left of America's credibility as the world's guardian of peace.
 
In view of the Russian leader's recent remarks and provocative actions, the scenario Piontkovsky lays out becomes terrifyingly relevant. Worse, if the trigger events described come to pass, it becomes logical, maybe even inevitable.

Here's the chilling scenario the experts envision.

Not a massive launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles at the United States or Western Europe, which would bring about a suicidal atomic holocaust, but a small, tactical strike or two against a NATO member that few in the West would be willing to die to protect. Piontkovsky surmises that, in such a conflict, the nuclear-armed country with the "superior political will" to alter the geopolitical "status quo" and -- most importantly -- with the "greater indifference to values concerning human lives" would prevail. Any guesses which country that would be?

But what would trigger a Russian attack? According to Piontkovsky's scenario, it could be something as simple as a plebiscite: the Estonian city of Narva, overwhelmingly ethnically Russian and adjacent to Russia, deciding to hold a referendum on joining the Motherland. To help them "freely express their will" at the polls, Russia could send in a brigade of "little green men armed to the teeth," much like it did in Crimea in March. Estonia would thereupon invoke Article 5 of the NATO charter -- "an armed attack against one or more [NATO members] … shall be considered an attack against them all" -- and demand that the alliance defend it. Speaking in the Estonian capital of Tallinn on the eve of NATO's summit in Wales, this is just what Obama promised. "The defense of Tallinn and Riga and Vilnius is just as important as the defense of Berlin and Paris and London," he said.

Suddenly, the most terrifying nightmare becomes reality: NATO faces war with Russia.
 
How would Putin then react? Piontkovsky believes that NATO would balk at attacking Moscow over a small country remote from NATO's heartland and the hearts of its citizens. Piontkovsky imagines the course of action open to Nobel Peace Prize laureate Obama as he contemplates unleashing a planetary holocaust over a "damned little city no one has even heard of" while the American public cries out, "We don't want to die for fucking Narva, Mr. President!" Piontkovsky also cites a German public opinion poll asking what Berlin should do if Estonia enters an armed conflict with Russia: 70 percent would want their country to remain neutral.

Piontkovsky then tries to envision the situation in which Putin would find himself if NATO intervened to drive his little green men from Narva. Would Putin commit suicide by letting his missiles fly against the United States? No. Rather, he would respond with a limited nuclear strike against a couple of European capitals -- not London or Paris, but smaller ones, presumably in Eastern European countries that have only recently joined NATO. Warsaw, against which Russia has already conducted a drill simulating a Russian nuclear attack, first comes to mind. Or, say, Vilnius, Lithuania's capital. The point is, Putin would bet on decision-makers in Washington, Berlin, London, and Paris not retaliating with nuclear weapons against Russia if it had "only" hit a city or two most Westerners have barely heard of -- and certainly do not want to die for.

...it's worth remembering that since 2000 Russian nuclear doctrine has foreseen the deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons to de-escalate a conflict with NATO, if Russian forces were about to suffer defeat in a conventional conflict -- which shows that the Kremlin has already been betting that neither Obama nor the leaders of other nuclear powers would push the button if they could avoid it.

The Kremlin is probably right.




Saturday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 08:39
This and that for your weekend reading.

- Andrew Jackson writes that public investment is needed as part of a healthy economy, particularly when it's clear that the private sector isn't going to put massive accumulated savings to use. Bob McDonald notes that we'd be far better off using public money to fund basic research instead of funnelling it toward the business sector. And Ed Keenan looks to Ontario for examples of how far more money is flowing into questionable corporate handouts than toward basic human needs.

- Meanwhile, Lana Payne exposes the Cons' efforts to both downplay and reduce the federal funds available to improve both economic and social conditions if they had any interest in getting things done:
Martin serially underestimated the size of federal surpluses, surpluses the Conservatives quickly spent when they took power, mostly on reckless corporate tax cuts. The Conservatives then continued the trend started by Martin, who had reduced federal corporate taxes to historic lows. Apparently not low enough for the Conservatives, who lowered them again and again.

This has been the extent of Canada’s tax debate for a generation: tax cuts. Even the political left has bought into the mantra, to a certain extent. Political parties, for the most part, want to avoid having an adult conversation on what a fair tax system in Canada would look like.And, as a result, there is little to no fiscal room to build and deliver on the needs of the next generation of Canadians or to meet the demands of an aging population.

The Conservatives have continued the austerity agenda, slashing programs and services and laying off more than 20,000 employees.  They have overstated the size of the deficit. Indeed, for the first three months of fiscal year 2014-15, the federal government has been in official surplus.

The parliamentary budget officer (PBO) has been critical of the federal government’s continued austerity, noting that the measures have slowed economic growth and resulted in fewer jobs. The PBO has also predicted a $7-billion surplus for 2015.

These slash-and-burn austerity policies have served to keep the expectations of Canadians low, but they have also fundamentally changed and diminished the role the federal government has played in Canadian society.

This, of course, has been the point and some of the rationale behind the reckless tax cuts — empty the federal coffers, strangle the expectations of Canadians and then repeat.- Linda McQuaig writes about the costs of allowing corporations to engage in tax-evasion maneuvers like the Burger King/Tim Hortons takeover:
We’re always told we should try to lure corporations here with low taxes. But such a strategy — even if it did result in some benefit to Canada — is ultimately self-defeating.

The more we cut our tax rates, the more other countries feel obliged to cut theirs. Round and round it goes, with less and less revenue for vital public programs everywhere. It’s a race to the bottom only corporations can win.

Instead, we should be supporting the Obama administration in its efforts to stop international corporate tax dodging. The White House is now locked in a fierce battle with powerful corporations over tax inversion schemes and also over the U.S. corporate tax rate, which — at 35 per cent — is one of the highest in the world. Corporations want it slashed.

The outcome of this showdown will affect us all. If the multinationals succeed in coercing the mighty United States government to cut its corporate tax rate, it will be much harder for less powerful countries to resist the corporate tax-cutting juggernaut.

The race to the bottom will be on in earnest — with the corporate world happily handing out steroids.- Mike De Souza reports that the Cons refuse to let Health Canada or its scientists talk about the effects of oil-industry toxins on Alberta residents (other than to dismiss out of hand the research which actually shows harm to human health caused by the tar sands).

- Finally, Rick Salutin highlights the foreign policy that's actually threatening us at home at abroad:
Yes, there’s a threat of domestic 9/11-type attacks by ISIS: either in the name of global proselytization or to teach the West what it’s like to be bombarded at home. But it’s the predictable result of western policies since 9/11: invasions, occupations, brutalizations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. Western leaders and policy mavens knew these would elicit further 9/11s. That’s what I find despicable. They surely try to stop them but eventually some will probably get through — and they’re prepared to accept those, along with the terrorization of their own populations, as the price of their agenda.

In other words, they don’t invade or attack to stop future 9/11s. They accept future 9/11s as the cost for invasions and attacks with other purposes.

Such retaliations can arise in any society that’s been buffeted by outsiders, though they’re easier to mount in the globalized era. They already occurred in Ireland and Algeria. They often come from religion-based groups because those have deep roots and seem better able to survive repression than secular resistance movements. Occupiers like the U.S. are willing to risk the retaliation since, though terrifying and barbaric, it doesn’t menace them existentially: neither economically nor militarily. They’ll survive, and meanwhile have an excuse to tighten the screws on domestic dissent, further eroding personal security.

Tragedy In The Commons

Politics and its Discontents - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 08:07
I know that I am hardly alone in sometimes thinking that the insights and observations of progressives have a Cassandra-like quality to them; we think we can see patterns auguring ill for our country and our democracy, but warnings are largely ignored by a quiescent or alienated proportion of the population, the latter so turned off by the cupidity and corruption that seems to abound in the political world that they have just disengaged and decided to pursue other aspects of life that seem more worthwhile.

One can argue that it has always been thus; others can, quite cogently, argue that the process of alienation has vastly accelerated under the Harper regime, the result of a cabal that has made an art out of vilification, dirty tricks and divisiveness as it relentlessly pursues its raison d'être, the retention of power for its own sake.

I have just started reading Tragedy in the Commons, written by Alison Loat and Michael MacMillan, who founded Samara, a non-profit devoted to strengthening democracy in Canada by improving political participation.

Here is a brief excerpt from it about the role of the MP as offered by a former Liberal:

The truth is: you're there to develop policy that is self-serving and beneficial to your party in order to keep you in power and get you re-elected...

That bald statement epitomizes the monumental task before those who seek a renewed democracy, one that offers both hope and the opportunity to feel a part of something larger than themselves, something truly worthwhile.

While I was intending this post as a lead-in to more commentary on how the Conservatives have so abjectly failed in the above regard, other duties summon me, so for now I will leave you with this brief video:


Recommend this Post

How Many McJobs Go With That?

Northern Reflections - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 06:08

                                                      http://www.frontpagemag.com/   

When Burger King gobbled up Tim  Hortons two weeks ago, Joe Oliver crowed about Canada's low corporate tax rates. But, Linda McQuaig writes, Oliver was telling whoppers, not selling them:

One might be left with the impression that the corporate creator of the Whopper plans to invest a whopping $11 billion in Canada. Now there’s a whopper for you — but it’s not inside a bun.

The truth is that the Burger King-Tim Hortons deal is just a paper transaction that, apart from enriching some stockholders, likely will provide zero benefit for Canada, in terms of job creation or additional revenue for the public purse.
Certainly, south of the border, Americans were unimpressed:

Burger King is clearly trying to take advantage of a popular U.S. tax scheme known as “tax inversion,” whereby a corporation takes over a foreign company to get around U.S. tax laws requiring corporations to pay tax on their worldwide incomes. Canada doesn’t have such a requirement, making it easier for companies headquartered here to avoid taxes through “transfer pricing” — that is, shifting profits to offshore tax havens.

The Obama administration has been trying hard to clamp down on this “unpatriotic” tax inversion scheme, whereby some of America’s wealthiest corporations have managed to dodge billions of dollars in taxes.
The American president understands that this is all about a race to the bottom. And he would appreciate a little help from Canada:

The more we cut our tax rates, the more other countries feel obliged to cut theirs. Round and round it goes, with less and less revenue for vital public programs everywhere. It’s a race to the bottom only corporations can win.

Instead, we should be supporting the Obama administration in its efforts to stop international corporate tax dodging. The White House is now locked in a fierce battle with powerful corporations over tax inversion schemes and also over the U.S. corporate tax rate, which — at 35 per cent — is one of the highest in the world. Corporations want it slashed.
But the Harperites have always been bottom feeders. No one appears to have asked, "How many McJobs go with that? And will they be filled with Temporary Foreign Workers?

The Real Reason Stephen Harper Wants to Cling to Power

Montreal Simon - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 04:01


Well I'm not surprised that Stephen Harper was looking so beat up at the end of the NATO summit. I mean just look at him.

For a moment I though he was going burst into tears, or resign on the spot.

But then it must have been painful to have to tell the other leaders that despite screeching like a chicken hawk, he won't put his money where his mouth is, because he needs the cash to bribe voters in the next election.

So much for Great Warrior Leader.

And as fate would have it, on the very same day, so much for Great Economist Leader. 
Read more »

Stephen Harper and his Ghastly Flying Monkeys

Montreal Simon - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 01:41


I've been warning for a while that the number of young right-wing fanatics in the PMO War Machine had reached dangerous levels.

And that with their master Stephen Harper so desperate, some of them would eventually take wing like the flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz.

And sure enough they have. 

And now they're out of control.
Read more »

We Had This Place

Sister Sages Musings - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 21:21

There was this place in the world, where we were home.

For a decade, we occupied this place. We brought in topsoil. Slate. Beautiful flatrock. At the time, I worked at a nursery, and I brought in plants, shrubs, trees. Dave made art out of stumps and logs and burls. We stewarded that land . . . → Read More: We Had This Place

Musical interlude

accidentaldeliberations - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 19:57
Orjan Nilsen feat. Kate Louise Smith - The Thunder

BC Parents dropping their Christy Clark $40 bribe checks right into the Teacher's strike fund kitty

Rusty Idols - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 17:49
They were at $12,000 a few hours ago the last time I looked, they're about to hit $15,000 now. 

This is BC parents giving to the Teacher's Strike fund, in denominations of $40.

The Christy Clark Liberals are throwing a farcical $40 a day bribe paid for with public funds at BC parents in a desperate attempt to deflect the well deserved blame for the teacher's strike.  The parents, in huge numbers, are then turning around and giving that money to the Teacher's strike fund.

The Christy Clark government is helping to finance the Teacher's Strike.

Can there be a more symbolic and perfect demonstration how utterly the Christy Clark government has lost this public relations battle? 

The Teacher's arbitration offer is just a twist of the knife, the government knows it can't win a fair, unbiased arbitration, or even come out even, and they can't explain to the public that they are rejecting arbitration because they can't live with a fair settlement.

All that's left to this war is shooting the wounded.  sdnxry5z7g

Politics in the raw

Dawg's Blawg - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 15:25
There is outrage in the land. Stephen Harper’s short-pants brigade “trapped” a couple of Liberals into straying off-message. One was “pro-lifer” MP John McKay, grousing about Justin Trudeau’s insistence that Liberal candidates be pro-choice. The other was Liberal hopeful General... Dr.Dawg http://drdawgsblawg.ca/

Murder, she wrote

Cathie from Canada - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:30
The "root cause" for why Indigenous women are murdered and missing?
Men are killing them. Usually, white men.
Really, its as simple as that.
Sarah Hunt asks why are we so hesitant to name white male violence as the reason for missing and murdered Indigenous women:
I fear that no amount of increased awareness and political organizing will actually end the violence if we continue along this current trajectory because we are still not shining a spotlight on the real causes of violence. No, I'm not talking about the drug use and street involvement that some journalists have drawn attention to in their portrayal of Tina Fontaine's final days. I'm also not talking about widespread poverty on reserve, or even the myriad factors that systematically marginalize Indigenous girls and women.
What this latest round of media coverage has failed to address is simply this: white male violence.
Indeed, the erasure of that violence as a topic of social and political concern is arguably a form of violence itself, as it serves to remove white men from the equation. White men get away with being unmarked by the violence they perpetrate, not at fault for carrying out a form of violation that is as old as colonialism itself.She adds that the search for ways to blame First Nations for the problem, and the reluctance to ascribe responsibility for violence to its actual perpetrators, also serves to marginalize Indigenous women:
Maybe all those white male 'experts' who have weighed in on this issue during these past few weeks would make better use of their energy by turning their attention to the obvious: that serial killers like Legebokoff and Pickton are their peers. Where is the national action plan to address the violence that starts with them?

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