Posts from our progressive community

Harper's War and the ISIS National Anthem

Montreal Simon - Sun, 11/09/2014 - 23:44

I see the leader of the ISIS Death Cult may have had a bruising encounter with the American Death Machine.

Iraqi officials said Sunday that the head of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was wounded in an airstrike in western Anbar province. Pentagon officials said they had no immediate information on such an attack or on the militant leader being injured.

And one can only hope it's fatal.

But sadly killing its deranged leader won't destroy that genocidal cult.
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Thank God I'm Safe

Politics and its Discontents - Sun, 11/09/2014 - 17:44
In our household, we don't 'hold' with energy drinks, so I guess our immortal souls are safe. But I'm not quite clear what that Great Deceiver, Satan, gets out of peddling such beverages:

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The Sad Saga of Vikingwarlord14: Part I

Anti-Racist Canada - Sun, 11/09/2014 - 14:54
It's been a while since ARC introduced a new character to the parade of misfits featured here on the blog, so while this writer was on a brief sabbatical she decided to do a little research on someone who's online activities reminded us a little of Tom Winnicki (who, given his most recent missive, isn't pleased to have his intelligence ridiculed; more on that at a later date):

Meet "Unit14." Well, actually "Unit14" is ostensibly the name of the "crew" this guy has established in BC, though at this point it appears that his is a crew of one. However, he was pretty damn ambitious in that he tried to crowdsource his new hate groups:

Bill Noble actually asked a legitimate question about this endeavor which, if we remember correctly, wasn't really addressed:

Not surprisingly, the fine folks at GoFundMe weren't so peachy keen to have their site used as a means of raising money for a neo-Nazi gang and it was shut down before it raised a dime. But even before "Unit14"/"Jay Stone"/"Jay Smith" had decided to crowdsource a hate group, he had first attempted to start another ambitious, though ultimately futile, project under the username, "proudcracker420":

A while back someone representing the UNP tried to leave a message on the blog announcing the formation of a new political party that would eventually be fielding candidates for federal office and, as such, forming the next government. We get delusional comments like these all the time and while we don't post them on the blog we do follow their efforts for shits and giggle. This case was no exception, though the UNP proved to be especially entertaining:

Except, of course, when the UNP project was abandoned
and the Unit14 project was begun. These people have the
attention spans of goldfish suffering from ADHD
Ah! Here we have "vikingwarlord14," the main subject of this post finally. Now, with a name as grand as "vikingwarlord14" we expect he must be a rather imposing figure:

Yeah, something like that.
Anyways, "vikingwarlord14" was a very enthusiastic early supporter of the UNP as evidenced by many of his comments on the subject:Read more »

Good News - For a Change

The Disaffected Lib - Sun, 11/09/2014 - 10:32
Last week I wrote about how Kinder Morgan/Trans-Canada Pipeline was using its corporate muscle and deep pockets to intimidate anti-pipeline protesters in the Lower Mainland.  The term for this sort of thing is "lawfare" and it's pure, head office sleaze.

The good news.  After the four targeted protesters were sued by the pipeline giant, a crowd sourced legal defence fund was established that hoped to raise $30,000 from supporters.

I received an e-mail this morning advising that, so far, we've raised just over $51-thousand.  It's not a big deal and yet it is at the same time.  Even chipping in is doing something tangible, helping those who are standing up for all of us, letting Kinder Morgan know there is such a thing as social licence and theirs has been revoked.

Defunding Anti-Choice: A How-To

Dammit Janet - Sun, 11/09/2014 - 10:02
After DJ!'s involvement in the rescinding of a grant of public funds to a crisis pregnancy centre, aka fake clinic, we've been asked how to go about it.

First thing to know -- it's not difficult.

Second thing -- the ferreting part is tedious.

Third thing -- it's immensely gratifying. And FUN!

While we at DJ! despise crisis pregnancy centres, we don't deny their right to exist. What we do want to deny is access to public funds.

We chose Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), which distributes gaming proceeds to Ontario communities and groups, because it is a huge granting organization. We're not aware of other public granting bodies in Ontario. There may be some in other parts of Canada.

So, gaming/lottery-related organizations seem a good place to start.

Outside of Ontario, there seems to be two main lottery gangs: Western Canada Lottery Corporation and Atlantic Lottery Corporation. Atlantic Lottery Corporation seems to fund only events, but that may bear more investigation.

(I'm leaving Quebec out, because it's highly unlikely any similar granting body there would have any truck with forced birthers.)

Provinces seem to run their own grant programs with different criteria.

British Columbia




Kathy Dawson, @blueskies366, did a little investigation in Alberta and found this.

So, in Alberta at least, pubic money is going to the lying liars at crisis pregnancy centres.

In Nova Scotia, all proceeds seem to go to "problem gambling." But again, this needs more looking into.

Here's the tedious part. Get into the databases. It's public money -- they have to account for it, if not for their fucked-up justifications.

Nose around. Key words: crisis pregnancy centres, pregnancy centres, pregnancy resource centres, pregnancy options, choices, alternatives, life.

Crisis pregnancy centres have become so notorious for lying and manipulation, they're rebranding themselves, using other words in their titles.

A very large nation-wide franchise (?) is called Birthright.

Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada has done a lot of work on fake clinics. For example, here's a PDF on "Exposing Crisis Pregnancy Centres in British Columbia". Visit ARCC's website for more help.

The granting organizations make a big deal out of getting credit for their largesse. Searching local newspapers and media outlets for the name of the foundation might be useful.

Similarly, the grantees must acknowledge funding. So check their websites. Also check local news -- they like to brag when they've scored public money. (Although that might change [*snerk*].)

If you find something, write to the granting gang to ask their rationale for the award.

DJ! blogged and tweeted about our discovery at this point. We don't do Facebook, but some pals posted the story there too. Public organizations are getting more and more sensitive about their social media presence.

If you don't blog, DJ! will help.

We were lucky or blessed with an unusually responsible granting foundation. Our story stops here. OTF replied (see top link) and rescinded the problem grant.

Your mileage. . .

What follows is speculation, not experience.

Local media generally like stories about unresponsive bureaucracies. They also love a whiff of impropriety in public funding.

Women's organizations probably have connections and networks to help put pressure on the foundation or to solicit media attention.

In short, get out the activist toolbox and rummage around.

Again, DJ! would be pleased to help.

It's estimated that there are about 200 fake clinics in Canada. Let's make their lives a little more difficult, shall we?

Bleedin' Lovely, Winnie. Just Lovely.

The Disaffected Lib - Sun, 11/09/2014 - 09:39

Ever since Bush/Cheney ushered in the "war is fun"era, the Right has absolutely fawned over everything Churchillian.  The invoke Churchill when they want to berate others for supposed appeasement.  They channel Winnie's spirit to help them through the dark moments.  They glibly contend that, if Churchill had managed to get his way, Hitler would have been stopped in his tracks and, who knows, WWII might have been averted altogether.

Yes, Winnie the peacemaker.  That's the spirit.  Except that, after the war, Churchill really, really, really wanted to nuke Russia.

Winston Churchill urged the United States to launch a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union to win the Cold War, a newly released document reveals.
The previously unseen memorandum from the FBI archives details how Britain’s wartime leader made his views known to a visiting American politician in 1947.
Churchill believed a pre-emptive strike on Stalin’s Russia might be the only way to stop Communism conquering the West.
The note, written by an FBI agent, reports that Churchill urged Right-wing Republican Senator Styles Bridges to persuade President Harry Truman to launch a nuclear attack which would ‘wipe out’ the Kremlin and make the Soviet Union a ‘very easy problem’ to deal with.
The Russians would have been defenceless against a nuclear attack at that time – they did not successfully test their own atomic bomb until 1949.
The note continues: ‘He pointed out that if an atomic bomb could be dropped on the Kremlin, wiping it out, it would be a very easy problem to handle the balance of Russia, which would be without direction.
‘Churchill further stated that if this was not done, Russia will attack the United States in the next two or three years when she gets the atomic bomb and civilisation will be wiped out or set back many years.’
Too bad the old bugger didn't live long enough to witness the evolution of today's permanent warfare state.  That he would've loved.

Kicking down

Dawg's Blawg - Sun, 11/09/2014 - 09:34
When it comes to immigration, you may be surprised to know that I actually agree that it isn’t an untrammeled good. I also don’t entirely buy arguments that border controls are prima facie illegitimate: in the “bigger picture”, they... Mandos

Sunday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Sun, 11/09/2014 - 09:24
This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Rob Nixon's review of Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything nicely sums up why the book - and the fundamental clash it documents between corporate profit-seeking and the health of people and our planet - should be at the centre of our political conversation:
(N)eoliberalism — promotes a high-consumption, ­carbon-hungry system. Neoliberalism has encouraged mega-mergers, trade agreements hostile to environmental and labor regulations, and global hypermobility, enabling a corporation like Exxon to make, as McKibben has noted, “more money last year than any company in the history of money.” Their outsize power mangles the democratic process. Yet the carbon giants continue to reap $600 billion in annual subsidies from public coffers, not to speak of a greater subsidy: the right, in Klein’s words, to treat the atmosphere as a “waste dump.”

So much for the invisible hand. As the science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson observed, when it comes to the environment, the invisible hand never picks up the check....In democracies driven by lobbyists, donors and plutocrats, the giant polluters are going to win while the rest of us, in various degrees of passivity and complicity, will watch the planet die. “Any attempt to rise to the climate challenge will be fruitless unless it is understood as part of a much broader battle of worldviews,” Klein writes. “Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war.”...To change economic norms and ethical perceptions in tandem is even more formidable than the technological battle to adapt to the heavy weather coming down the tubes. Yet “This Changes Everything” is, improbably, Klein’s most optimistic book. She braids together the science, psychology, geopolitics, economics, ethics and activism that shape the climate question.  - Meanwhile, Karl Nerenberg writes that we should see Stephen Harper's gross failure to do anything about climate change as his greatest scandal. And Bob Weber reports that NAFTA's Commission on Environmental Cooperation is just the latest environmental watchdog to be put down by the Cons - highlighting both the ineffectiveness of trade agreements in serving any interests other than profit maximization, and Harper's own hostility toward the world around us.

- John Nichols sees the U.S. as a prime (and painful) example of what happens when politics are governed by money rather than by people. But Mary Hansen and Kayla Schultz note that on at least a few fronts, voters nonetheless voted against corporate money and power in the recent midterm elections.

- Of course, that positive takeaway depends on voters actually having the chance to express their views. And Bruce Johnstone writes that the Sask Party is determined to prevent both public opinion and empirical evidence from interfering with their drive to privatize liquor retailing.

- Finally, Dr. Dawg exposes the barbarism behind the Cons' treatment of refugees and other vulnerable immigrants. But we shouldn't pretend the problem of dehumanizing perceived outsiders is limited to that issue alone, as Tabatha Southey notes that the Cons are similarly bent on depriving sex workers of their humanity.

Coalition of Progressives: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Left Over - Sun, 11/09/2014 - 08:35

The usual desultory conversations have been making the media rounds regarding a Liberal/NDP coalition…yet  the typical  trivial fracas in Parliament seems to  be vetoing the idea before it hits the ground..

Trudeau  oversteps, Mulcair gets castigated for responding, the Cons snigger in the background as the rest of us seem to self-distruct, over and over again, a continual Groundhog Day of  self-abuse that gets us nowhere..instead of planning for a successful run at the Cons next time around, our political choices seem bent on maintaining the status quo..

It would be great if this happened of its own accord, but if wishes were horses….
I finally, grudgingly  see the need for a coalition group to establish itself under a separate banner, say, “United Progressives”  or some such, that both Liberal and NDP supporters could relate to,  get together and brainstorm ways to strategically run for office and to vote to defeat the could be done, it should be done, and I would be happy to join support/volunteer for such a group here in BC…here’s hoping that, once again, the voters don’t just leave it all to the politicians..let’s start participating in our participatory democracy…

I Feel Better Already

Politics and its Discontents - Sun, 11/09/2014 - 07:48
....knowing that Mr. Harper's fight against ISIS hasn't distracted him from an even greater threat to all that is holy and good:

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garth hudson returns to big pink

we move to canada - Sun, 11/09/2014 - 07:00
This week, Columbia Records released The Basement Tapes Complete, six CDs of music made by Bob Dylan and The Band at the house they lived in - the legendary Big Pink - in West Saugerties, New York, during the summer of 1967.

Although The Band, and Bob Dylan, and Bob Dylan and The Band, are among my favourite musical artists in the world - and although I love The Basement Tapes (a double-album from 1975) - I greet this announcement with only mild interest. I'll be excited to hear any actual new material, but different versions of already-recorded songs are never that interesting to me.

My lack of interest baffles my bootleg-loving partner, who is over the moon about this release. For more information about The Basement Tapes Complete, you might see Allan's non-baseball blog, currently called Sharp Pencil.

I did, however, love this video from Rolling Stone, documenting Garth Hudson's return to Big Pink for the first time in almost 50 years.

Not only does that house represent some of my most favourite music in the world, it is situated in an area filled with so many important memories for me. This is the Catskills region of New York State - "upstate," in local parlance. We never had a cottage or even a summer rental, but we went upstate with our dogs every summer - first a long weekend in a motel, then a week in a cabin, and eventually a rented house. The whole area is flush with memories for me, including some that are poignant, such as scattering some of the ashes of our beloved dogs Gypsy and Clyde, before we left for Canada. Somehow seeing the video of the drive to that house brought back a flood of memories.

A long time ago, when this blog was just getting going - back when I used one-word titles for every post - I wrote about our experiences upstate, just to preserve it in writing somewhere.

It's Going To Be A Very Nasty Election

Northern Reflections - Sun, 11/09/2014 - 06:28

On Friday, the Canadian Press reported that The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada has voted to abandon its traditional neutrality during federal elections:

Members of the union have complained bitterly about what they claim is the muzzling of federal scientists and political interference with their work.

The union, which represents some 55,000 professionals in the public service, has traditionally chosen to stay at arm's length from elections.

But union president Debi Daviau says the government's war on labour unions and its cuts to public service jobs have forced a change in strategy.

"Extraordinary times call for extraordinary actions," Daviau said in a written statement Friday.

Unions will become, in the Harperite lexicon, subversives. And, with Canada's entry into Iraq, you can bet that the the prime minister will paint his opponents as weak kneed cowards. Those who oppose income splitting will be branded anti-family. And those who oppose the kind of trade deals Harper has been signing will be called the enemies of prosperity. Environmentalists are already enemies of the state.

The Conservatives have bottled their venom. They intend to release it every day until the election. And it's going to be a very nasty election.


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