Posts from our progressive community

The Day Stephen Harper Was Accused of Flirting with Fascism

Montreal Simon - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 04:27

I always knew he'd lead this country to a very dark place, from the day he came to office.

And the very first thing he did was order the removal of the words "women's rights" from thousands of government documents.

I knew then that he was an alien beast like we had never seen before. 

And now of course it's even worse. The country is bleeding from a thousand wounds, and he's crazy desperate, and trying to scare us into submission.
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Stephen Harper and the Buying of the Next Election

Montreal Simon - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 02:01

It was one of the most bizarre photo-ops I have ever seen. Stephen Harper at a sports centre in Whitby, Ontario with children playing in the background as if he wasn't there.

Clearly having been told not to look at Harper and his large entourage to make the staged event look spontaneous.

Just another day in the gym with Big Daddy to take care of them.

But it was the look on his face that sent a chill down my spine...

For it betrayed his ruthless desperation. And that cuddly photo-op was nothing less than the beginning of his campaign to buy the next election. 
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Why are we in Vietnam Iraq/Syria?

Creekside - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 00:25

Bloomberg : Syria-to-Ukraine Wars Send U.S. Defense Stocks to Records :

"Led by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), the biggest U.S. defense companies are trading at record prices as shareholders reap rewards from escalating military conflicts around the world. 

President Barack Obama approved open-ended airstrikes this month while ruling out ground combat.  “To the extent we can shift away from relying on troops and rely more heavily on equipment -- that could present an opportunity.” [enthused a chief investment officer who oversees $66 billion including Northrop Grumman Corp. and Boeing Co.] 
Investors see rising sales for makers of missiles, drones and other weapons as the U.S. hits Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq. The U.S. also is the biggest foreign military supplier to Israel, which waged a 50-day offensive against the Hamas Islamic movement in the Gaza Strip.Lockheed, the world’s biggest defense company, reached an all-time high of $180.74 on Sept. 19, when Northrop, Raytheon Co.and General Dynamics Corp. also set records. That quartet and Chicago-based Boeing accounted for about $105 billion in federal contract orders last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.In its first night of airstrikes into Syria, the U.S. dropped about 200 munitions and launched 47 Raytheon-made Tomahawk cruise missiles, according to U.S. Central Command. The military also deployed Boeing’s GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions and Hellfire missiles from Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed, creating an opening for restocking U.S. arsenals."
Meanwhile, stop me if you've heard this one before ... From the LA Times, yesterday :
"Iraqi news outlets reported Monday that at least 18 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in an airstrike on a town under siege by fighters from the extremist group Islamic State. Hit’s general hospital received 18 bodies, including three women and eight children, all killed in an airstrike. Maj. Curtis J.  Kellogg, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, said there was “no evidence” of civilian casualties in Hit."And so it goes ....

Rick Mercer Assesses Andrew Scheer's Job Performance

Politics and its Discontents - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 13:44
Unsurprisingly, the House Speaker gets a failing grade.

My two favourite lines:

“Show me one person who believes he’s done a good job on the decorum front. 308 meth addicts on the dance floor have better manners.”

"We [should] replace the Speaker with a bag of flour with a smiley face drawn on the front with a sharpie.”

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The Harper Regime: 90 Pound Weaklings When It Comes To Heavy Lifting

Politics and its Discontents - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 08:17

As I indicated in yesterday's post, the Harper Conservatives seem very selective in 'standing up for the vulnerable'; they just don't seem to have what it takes to do the real heavy lifting that is required in our troubled world, preferring instead to utter bellicose rhetoric and put our young men and women in harm's way battling an enemy that defies traditional methods of combat.

Globe reader Andrew van Velzen of Toronto offers his view of their performance thus far:
Stephen Harper badly wants to be a player – a contender, if you will – on the world stage (On Balance, Harper Is Right – editorial, Oct. 8). But Canada’s symbolic military contribution to the air assault on Islamic State targets won’t do it.

Canada has lost a huge amount of credibility on foreign affairs under Mr. Harper’s tutelage. Just look at the climate change file (Tories Behind On Climate Targets – Oct. 8). If Mr. Harper wants the world to notice him, how about committing Canada to working diligently for a political solution to the Syrian civil war, even if it means talking with Iran and Bashar al-Assad? Better yet, let’s settle thousands of Syrian refugees in Canada. That would be a concrete and positive step.

Maybe then the world would begin to show Mr. Harper some of the respect he so craves.And speaking of protecting the vulnerable, National Post letter writer John Shaw of Newmarket makes this point:
The arrogant idea that Canada can bomb people in Iraq into a more peaceful existence is being widely promoted. The reality is that there are now more innocent civilians being killed and even more bad guys than before the last Gulf War. ISIS has skillfully manipulated politicians, such as Stephen Harper, to act exactly as they wish — and war is exactly what these groups thrive on.
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Breitbarting to be legalized in Canada?

Dawg's Blawg - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 07:46
The Harper government wants to legalize theft—the appropriation of newsclips without permission for political advertising. So much for property rights, eh, fellas? But that’s always been a bit of a code term anyway, meaning ours and not theirs. Just ask... Dr.Dawg

New column day

accidentaldeliberations - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 06:07
Here, on the Cons' presumption that any individual who breaches the social contract must be punished with a total lack of freedom - and their curious lack of any similar principle when it comes to corporate wrongdoing.

For further reading...
- I've dealt with issues relating to mandatory minimum sentences plenty of times before, while the likes of Dan Gardner and John Moore have taken them on directly. But see examples of the Cons' unduly strict individual sentencing being struck down here and here
- Richard Blackwell reported on the SNC-Lavalin's demand to be held above the law here. And Armina Ligaya discussed its place on the World Bank's corruption blacklist here.
- Again, David Dayen discussed the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's rare step in preventing an abusive business from increasing its operations.
- But in case anybody's under the illusion that Canadian governments are doing anything of the sort, Justine Hunter reported here on the B.C. Libs' flouting of access-to-information legislation in dealing with reports about the Mount Polley dam collapse and spill, while the Star discussed the Ontario Libs' willingness to suppress investigation and inspection reports about private medical clinics.
- And finally, John Nicol and Dave Seglins report on the attempt of rail operators to return to the single-person crews that contributed to the Lac-Megantic explosion, while the new derailment, spill and fire near Wadena offers yet more reason to question whether we should trust the private sector to tell us what's necessary to keep rail transport safe.

On abuses of power

accidentaldeliberations - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 05:34
Shorter Ontario Libs:
It turns out that the public sees privatizing power as only slightly more desirable than the plague. But to ensure a swift transition of profits toward the private sector, we're fully prepared to falsely claim those are our only two options.

What To Do With The Surplus?

Northern Reflections - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 05:32

There's going to be one. And, if the Harper government gets its way, it will go to tax cuts. That happened under the Liberals, too. Linda McQuaig writes:

The trick is to make surpluses disappear quickly by doling them out in tax cuts — before there’s time for a serious national debate about what the electorate actually wants to do with their money.
So when Ottawa started generating big surpluses in the late 1990s, it quickly began slashing taxes — particularly on corporations and high-income earners. As a result, Ottawa now collects about $50 billion less in taxes per year than it would have if it hadn’t done all that tax-cutting, according to labour economist Toby Sanger. That has deprived governments of the revenue they’d need to provide the kind of enhanced public programs many Canadians probably would like. 
That's what right wing think tanks are advocating.  The International Monetary Fund, however has suggested  has suggested that now is the time to spend on infrastructure. Scott Clark and Peter Devries write:

“The time is right,” says the International Monetary Fund in its latest World Economic Outlook, “for an infrastructure push.”

“In many advanced economies,” says the report, “there is still substantial slack … Robust demand momentum has not yet taken hold … There are now worries that demand will remain persistently weak — a possibility that has been described as ‘secular stagnation’.”
Yet the Harper government insists that the way to grow an economy is to create supply, not demand. Which raises the question, who was all this austerity for? Not for ordinary folks. Consider what has happen to medicare funding, writes McQuaig:

When medicare was established in the late 1960s, Ottawa covered 50 per cent of the costs. Today, Ottawa contributes just 20 per cent — and this will fall to a mere 12 per cent over the next few decades under the new health care funding formula unilaterally imposed on the provinces by the Harper government in 2011.
The money which used to fund medicare has gone into the pockets of the wealthy, a trend which will continue if the Harper government introduces income splitting:

This is, of course, exactly what the Harper government is planning to do. It has promised to introduce income-splitting — a costly and deeply unfair tax cut which would see almost all of the benefits go to well-heeled families with stay-at-home mothers.
If you're a politician these days, it pays to look after the rich. they'll look after you in your retirement. The surplus benefits the wealthy and those who serve them.

Will Stephen Harper Win the War in Iraq and Canada?

Montreal Simon - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 05:02

Golly. If you depended exclusively upon some of the poobahs in our useless MSM to know what's happening, you might think that Stephen Harper was not only about to deal the ISIS crazies a crippling blow.

With six planes, and when they finally get there.

He's already dealt his chief political opponent a mortal blow, and is on his way to win the next election.

Because there's Chantale Hébert, already declaring that Justin Trudeau is Harper's War's first casualty. 
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When the Con Attack Machine Goes after the Media

Montreal Simon - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 02:25

It may be hard to believe, but it looks as if the smear artists in the PMO are worried about running out of ammunition for their legendary attack machine.

So they're making plans to "borrow" some from the MSM, without their permission. 
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