Posts from our progressive community

On foundational assumptions

accidentaldeliberations - Sat, 04/11/2015 - 08:58
Shorter John Geddes:
Conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed. And so the miserable results of Stephen Harper's consistent privatization, free trade obsession and corporate tax slashing don't count as a conservative record.

The definition of privilege

accidentaldeliberations - Sat, 04/11/2015 - 08:41
Connor Kilpatrick is right to observe that while we should be willing to take note of privilege in many forms, we should be especially concerned with organizing to counter the grossly outsized influence of the very few at the top whose whims are typically allowed to override the common good.

But there's a handy dividing line available to assess the difference. After all, there's already been plenty of work done in sorting out who has the most influence on the U.S. political system.

On the best evidence available, any privilege associated with middle-class status or involvement in mass movement has effectively no effect on government policy. In contrast, the privilege associated with belonging to the top 10% or the organized business lobby includes the capacity to overrule anybody else in how we're governed.

To be fair, the Gilens/Page data is based on the U.S. rather than Canada. But when the Cons' key policies like corporate tax slashing, individual tax havens and income splitting focus their handouts on the top 15% here, there's little reason to think a substantially different standard applies here than in the U.S.

So it's not hard to see who's in the currently-excluded class, and who has enough privilege to warp public policy in their favour. And anybody short of the top 10% should have every incentive to change the balance between public-interest politics and elite domination in favour of the former.

Toxic Spills and the Toxic Con (tsk, tsk…) Response….

Left Over - Sat, 04/11/2015 - 08:30


James Moore fires back at ‘political jabs’ over Vancouver oil spill Industry minister criticizes rush to blame before all facts are known

CBC News Posted: Apr 10, 2015 4:33 PM PT Last Updated: Apr 10, 2015 9:42 PM PT


As horrible as this event was, it did some good here in BC..this ugliness  made it clear to all the naysayers bleating about jobs that NOTHING is worth even the chance of a spill..not to mention the fact that we need our Coast Guard and emergency stations, we need our lighthouses manned, we need some serious emergency response services here on the Coast, and the Feds have once again proven their contempt and disinterest for any Province besides Alberta or Ontario..

If anyone  ever thought that  the saving of a few bucks to shut down so many of  our emergency services was a swell idea, that  has gone …

If anyone still believed that  this country, under the HarperCons, was capable of defending itself against a major  bitumen disaster, that concept has  floated away in an ugly oil slick..

Here in the people’s Republic of Vancouver Island, we vote  for either the Greens or the NDP, with few exceptions, so it’s preaching to the converted to say that a vote for the Cons is a vote for self-annihilation…for the rest of BC, and hopefully, the country at large, this sort of thing should be a huge  wake up call..let’s make sure that we have a conscientious voice in the Federal government next time around, and a push for the return, at the very least, of our coastal emergency services should be the minimum requirement for anyone  who wants our votes.

The Cons love to admonish us for having the  temerity to protest their stupidities, as if we were recalcitrant  children…and this  child is spoiling for a fight.

Oopsie. And the Walls Come Tumblin' Down.

The Disaffected Lib - Sat, 04/11/2015 - 08:22
The Crown in the Duffy trial has introduced a very interesting proposition using Justin Bieber to make the point.

The Crown's contention is that you cannot be a senator unless, at the time of appointment, you are duly resident in the province you are to represent.  Mr. Holmes used the example of the requirement that senators be 30-years of age when he asked the Senate law clerk whether, had 21-year old Bieber been given a Senate appointment, the law would deem him to be 30.  Of course not.

So the Crown's theory is that, if you're not already resident at the date of appointment, your appointment is invalid.


Let's chat about Harper loyalist and former personal aide, now senator for New Brunswick, Carolyn Stewart-Olsen - the one who dutifully helped launder Duffy's Senate audit report.  For years she lived and worked as a nurse in the Ottawa area.  Unlike Duffy, who actually owned property - land and a cottage - in Prince Edward Island at the time of his appointment, apparently Stewart-Olsen didn't get her residence in New Brunswick until several months after taking her seat in the Senate.


By the Crown's theory. Stewart-Olsen's appointment was even less valid than Duffy's which could mean her residency expense claims are every bit as fraudulent as Duffy's.

Wow, slap the bracelets on the honourable senator for New Brunswick.

Expect to hear more about this when Stewart-Olsen answers her subpoena to testify.

Rotten At Its Core

Northern Reflections - Sat, 04/11/2015 - 06:27


Whether or not Mike Duffy is convicted of any of the thirty-one offences for which he has been charged, his trial will go down in Canadian history as the event which pulled back the veil on Ottawa's political culture at the beginning of the 21st Century. It is a culture which illustrates the ravages of rampant individualism. Andrew Coyne writes:

His driver’s licence may be from Ontario, his health card may be from Ontario, he may pay his taxes in Ontario, the house in Prince Edward Island he supposedly lives in may not even be winterized, but if he says he’s from P.E.I., he’s from P.E.I., and is entitled to claim a monthly allowance for expenses incurred “travelling” to and from the house in suburban Ottawa he has inhabited for many years. Because the rules don’t explicitly say that he can’t, and nobody else in the Senate’s apparently deserted corridors told him he couldn’t.
Because there are no rules, party business masquerades as public business:

But it is clear the senator spent relatively little time doing the people’s business, compared to the vast amounts of time he put in doing the party’s business, making speeches, attending fundraisers and the like, in cities and towns across the country, much of it on the public dime.
And the man who rode into town claiming that he would change the culture for the better, has simply taken it to a new level. He now insists that the rules are whatever he says they are. Duffy did his business:

with the express approval of his political bosses. When Stephen Harper signed his photo with a hearty shout-out to “one of my best, hardest-working appointments,” he wasn’t referring to the exacting scrutiny Sen. Duffy was giving his legislation in the chamber of sober second thought. One can imagine, then, the senator’s distaste for the kind of hypocrisy that would single him out for punishment.

Whether or not doing partisan work at public expense was against the Senate’s non-existent rules would seem to be a secondary question. If it isn’t, it should be; so far as the rules do allow it, it shows the problem is much worse than one errant senator. The habit of parties helping themselves to the public’s money is deeply ingrained, and one that none of them seems to feel the slightest shame over.
And, while Senators are feeding at the public trough, the government is waging its election campaign using public money for advertising:

It is instructive that even as we are discussing the improper use of taxpayer dollars for political purposes in the Senate, a similar controversy is unfolding, in another place: specifically, over the government’s use of public funds to pay for government advertising — a $7.5 million post-budget buy, 10 times as much in fiscal 2014, a half-billion over the last five years. Ostensibly, as government ministers maintain, straight-faced, this is to help Canadians take full advantage of the programs available.
Our politics is, quite simply, rotten at its core.

World ass oil spill response in Vancouver harbour

Creekside - Sat, 04/11/2015 - 04:19
Say, remember last year when Rachel Maddow was absolutely gob-smacked to learn that Kinder Morgan had included the economic benefits of oil spills in its National Energy Board application to triple the size of the Trans Mountain pipeline?


Well, funny story there ....

Kinder Morgan-owned company called in to clean up oil spill in English Bay

That would be 2,700 litres of this toxic gunk.
So I guess we owe KM an apology here. They were right - there are economic benefits if you're a KM shareholder. KM would have liked to get that apology last year, claiming that they were obligated to mention the upside of oil spills in their pitch to NEB. 
Unfortunately NEB said that was crap.

Federal government describes response to fuel spill as “world class”  Conservative MP James Moore

To which Press Progress replied  :On what fucking planet does this look like a "world class" oil spill response?   (I might be paraphrasing slightly here)
World assness in progress.... Spill reported at 5 pm by a sailor. Nine hours later at 2am there was a boom in place around the leaking bunker fuel now wending its way to the beaches of Kitsilano and West Van.And finally, 12 hours after the leak was first spotted, someone remembered to let the City of Vancouver in on the secret. 
So how could it possibly have taken so long to get their shit together?
Ok here's a clue. The Cons shut down the key responders in 2013.
We had a marine safety response purge when the Kitsilano Coast Guard base - 6 minutes away from the bunker fuel spill  - was shut down to save $700K a year, and the special pollution response boat with its 10,000 meters of oil- containment boom was moth-balled off to Richmond.
Gotta balance that world class ouroboros budget. 
Like why are we here first ? ...Volunteers were out cleaning up the gunk off the shoreline themselves and putting up home-made signs warning to keep dogs and children out of the oily water. Good on them. Still, sea birds are notoriously poor readers and some had to be rescued when they got soaked in the gunk after not obeying the signs. 
CBC reports the leaking vessel was on its maiden voyage after being launched from a Japanese shipyard in February. So - a brand new vessel then.
According to Tanker Free BC, the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project "would see an increase from the current 80 tankers a year to over 400 tankers a year carrying primarily tar sands bitumen which is more likely to sink in the marine environment potentially causing significant harm."

Too bad we don't have some kind of ocean traffic control tower to co-ordinate emergency response communications for the next one. ..... Wait for it .....
Fun fact : "Vancouver will also have to deal without a marine traffic communications centre (the ocean's equivalent to an air traffic control tower). The Conservatives shut that down last month, consolidating the Pacific Coast's operations to Victoria and Prince Rupert."
Tyee : Vancouver's Preview of a Spill from Hell.

Stephen Harper's Most Horrible and Disastrous Week

Montreal Simon - Sat, 04/11/2015 - 04:16

Well he's off to the Summit of the Americas in Panama, along with his travelling photo-op.

But despite the cheery forced smile, and the fact that nobody in Latin America wants to see him, Stephen Harper must be so glad to be leaving Canada.

Because he couldn't have had a more horrible and disastrous week.
Read more »


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