Posts from our progressive community

David Cameron's Women Problem

The Disaffected Lib - Sun, 09/28/2014 - 11:14


Why is it always the dweebs?  Conservative P.M. David Cameron's Minister for Civil Society (and Dick Pics), Brooks Newmark, has resigned in disgrace.   The Belgravia resident, father of five, was caught in a tabloid, social media sting.  Newmark thought he was sending dick pics via twitter to an ardent admirer who was, in reality, a tabloid reporter.

Newmark has always been a vocal advocate of the Tory party boosting its appeal to women. He is a founder of the Tory campaign body, Women2Win, which works to help women become Tory candidates in the hope of increasing the representation of women in the Conservative party in parliament.
 
Newmark is co-chair of the group, and is often quoted responding to the party's problems with appealing to - and representing - women. He is also a figure Tory MPs often refer to when attempting to defend their party's attitude to women, ie. a male Tory MP who bangs the drum for women's representation. Now they will no longer be able to use Newmark for this, at least for a good while, and he will inevitably become less of an appealing face of Women2Win and solving the Conservatives' "women problem" in general.

Could Climate Change be Detroit's Salvation?

The Disaffected Lib - Sun, 09/28/2014 - 10:08


Will climate change be America's 21st century equivalent of William Tecumseh Sherman's "march to the sea"?  The Union general has a lasting place in infamy in the southern states for leading his army on a devastating march from Atlanta to Savannah, laying waste not only to military targets but also infrastructure, industry and civilian property along the route. 

In recent decades the south has "risen again."  Industries, such as Boeing, chasing cheap labour and weak labour laws, have flocked to the region.  But the region is also the most vulnerable part of America to climate change impacts - floods, droughts, severe storm events, sea level rise and coastal saltwater inundation plus killer heatwaves.  This leads some experts such as Matthew Kahn, professor of economics, UCLA Institute of the Environment, to believe that climate change will revive the fortunes of the languishing Rust Belt states and even abandoned cities like Detroit.

Climate change poses several significant risks to US south-west cities. Major south-west cities such as Los Angeles, Phoenix and Las Vegas face mega-drought and severe heatwave risk. Climate scientists continue to study how long drought could last. Policymakers debate how to allocate increasingly scarce water between agricultural and urban interests.

While economists advocate raising water prices to reflect increased scarcity, politicians shy away from this in order to gain short-term political support. Suppose that the mega-drought persists and desert cities such as Phoenix begin to experience summer temperatures above 43C? In my book Climatopolis, I predict that US urbanites will adapt to these new realities by moving to other cities that are better able to adapt to the new conditions.

Locations such as Detroit (to the north and endowed with water) are prime examples of where we can build our future cities.

The US has more than 300 major cities. These cities will compete to see which (due to natural geographic features and smart local public policies) are best able to cope with Mother Nature's blows. The winners from this competition will experience a net influx of population and rising property prices.

Urbanites will win because they will have a greater menu of destination locations to choose from. Property owners in cities whose quality of life suffers will experience an asset value loss.
They bet on the wrong location.

It does raise the question of what a major exodus out of the US south, especially the south-central and south eastern states, or as I like to call them, Redneckistan, could mean to the more liberal north.  Will they leave that knuckle-draggin', white trash, Dixie culture behind or will they carry that cultural ebola with them? 

The idea of a Rust Belt renaissance is intriguing.  It would be great to see economic and political power restored to the north.  That would be better, all round, for Canadians.
 


Oh, Damn. The Word is Getting Out.

The Disaffected Lib - Sun, 09/28/2014 - 09:36


Don't believe a word of it.  Stay where you're at.  You really wouldn't like it here anyway, really.

An article in The Guardian, "Is Alaska the new Florida? Experts predict where next for America's "climate refugees." is, in a word, unsettling.

The article speculates that, by 2100, Alaska may be a top migration destination for Americans seeking refuge from a much harsher, more hostile climate in the lower 48.  However the bulk of the article suggests the Alaska reference was really a red herring:

"The answer is the Pacific north-west, and probably especially west of the Cascades," said Ben Strauss, vice president for climate impacts and director of the programme on sea level rise at Climate Central, a research collaboration of scientists and journalists. "Actually, the strip of coastal land running from Canada down to the Bay Area is probably the best," he added. "You see a lot less extreme heat; it's the one place in the west where there's no real expectation of major water stress, and while sea level will rise there as everywhere, the land rises steeply out of the ocean, so it's a relatively small factor."

Clifford F Mass, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Washington, writes a popular weather blog  in which he predicts that the Pacific north-west will be "a potential climate refuge" as global warming progresses. A Seattle resident, he foresees that "climate change migrants" will start heading to his city and to Portland, Oregon, and surrounding areas.

"The Pacific Ocean is like our natural air-conditioning," Mass said in a telephone interview. "We don't get humidity like the east coast does."

As for the water supply? "Water is important, and we will have it," he said. "It's a pretty benign situation for us – in fact, warming up just a little bit might be a little bit welcome around here."

Already, he said, Washington state is gearing up to become the next Napa Valley as California's wine country heats up and dries out. "People are going crazy putting in vineyards in eastern Washington right now," Mass said.

Hmm, sounds suspiciously like a Chamber of Commerce pitch to me.  Notice how there wasn't a single mention of how we get earthquakes out here?  Or those really big black & white creatures that prowl the coastal waters?  And, don't forget, we don't have the CN Tower or Marine Land either.  Did I point out that visitors mention that our air smells of the sea?  And we're lucky if we get snow two or three days a winter. You'll miss all that snow and ice.  That sort of thing really gets in a person's blood and, besides, how else do you exercise in the winter?

Did I mention the coastal Rain Festival that usually runs from October to June?  It makes this place the wettest part of Canada - by a country mile.  The Atlantic provinces are next and they're not even close.

So Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan - and you too, Alberta - just stay put.  You really wouldn't like it out here.  Trust me.





Sunday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Sun, 09/28/2014 - 08:48
Miscellaneous material for your Sunday reading.

- Frances Russell notes that the corporate sector is laughing all the way to the bank (and often an offshore one at that) after fifteen years of constant tax slashing, while Canadian citizens haven't benefited at all from the trickle-down theory. And Jordan Weissmann points out that a recent survey on CEO pay is just the latest example of Americans both severely underestimating the level of inequality in their country, and still preferring a far more equal distribution of wealth.

- Elisabeth Babcock writes that in addition to providing a reasonable standard of living, any effort to ameliorate poverty needs to include a concerted effort to overcome the individual stresses created by precarious life. And Chuk Plante reminds us how poverty and exclusion are intertwined with health and economic outcomes.

- Mitchell Anderson highlights how the FIPPA and other business-biased trade deals serve to undermine not only any hope of people-oriented policy, but also the personal and social protections enshrined in Canada's constitution:
Perhaps most importantly, the deal fails to protect aboriginal rights under the Constitution. The implications of this omission are profound. While our federal government has a duty to consult First Nations, Chinese state-owned companies can sue Canada through a secret international arbitration panel for any such accommodation that affects their economic interests.

This would essentially fetter the Crown, which could be successfully sued by either Chinese interests or First Nations depending on whether they respect aboriginal title or not. Put another way, while the FIPA does not specifically override First Nations Charter protections, it could make providing those protections prohibitively expensive. The Hupacasath First Nation on Vancouver Island challenged the FIPA in court based on exactly these concerns and their decision at the Federal Court of Appeal is expected any day.
...
 With the prospect of a change in government in 2015, many Canadians are hoping for a period of rebuilding public institutions. The FIPA, however, could lock in Harper’s draconian cuts to federal environmental laws for almost eight electoral cycles — effectively an eternity by political standards.

Future governments could revisit the legislative changes by the Harper government, but if they affect Chinese interests in comparison to what is on the books now, we have to pay. How much? According to the terms just agreed to by Ottawa, the sky’s the limit.

Harper famously proclaimed, “You won’t recognize Canada when I’m through with it.” He has made surprising progress on that dubious goal, and like most politicians I’m sure would like to keep it that way long after he has left office.

This trade deal will persist for as long as we’ve had the Charter. But unlike the Charter, which was the result of months of good-faith negotiations between opposing political parties, the FIPA seems instead an undemocratic and underhanded endgame to lock in our prime minister’s ideological legacy.- Meanwhile, Mike De Souza reports that the Cons are once again encouraging the oil industry to flout what few environmental laws are left on the books - this time issuing a drilling permit while studiously ignoring scientific evidence about the danger the drilling would pose to endangered beluga whales. Which means that it's more than understandable that affected communities like North Bay are raising concerns about the Energy East pipeline even as it avoids some of the risks and costs of its even more controversial counterparts.

- Finally, as part of Right to Know Week, Sean Holman unveils a new movement - and hashtag - intended to expose government secrecy in Canada.

we like lists: list # 20: top ten reasons we love our favourite cult show or movie

we move to canada - Sun, 09/28/2014 - 07:17
For those who want the question with no context: Do you love a cult show or movie? What movie and why? List at least 10 reasons.

(I wish everyone would reply here and not on Facebook, but I know that is a lost cause...)

* * * *

Further to my longstanding tradition of watching TV shows and movies years - or even decades - after they first run, I have just completed Season 1 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (What can I say? TV was not important to me in the 1990s!) One of my TV gurus, the famous NFC, is a big Buffy fan, and after hearing the show mentioned several times, it was time for me to check it out.

I enjoyed S1 enough to continue watching, with the understanding that a first season often just lays the groundwork. In other words, I liked it, but I'm hoping and assuming that the show will develop into something more than what I've seen so far.

Watching Buffy TVS has made me think about another show, perhaps my very favourite television show: Xena the Warrior Princess.

When we were preparing to leave New York and move to Canada, I used to catch random episodes of Xena re-runs on a minor cable channel. After spending the day writing, it was the perfect mix - fun, absorbing, but not overly challenging. Before I knew it, I was hooked. But I had never seen the whole show, in order...

...until Allan surprised with me with one his amazing birthday presents: first a bootlegged copy of the series on DVD, then an upgrade to this beautiful 10th anniversary special edition boxed set. It even included a miniature dagger, the kind Gabrielle used to whip around.

Now, of course, the series is available on Netflix, but in those days there was no Netflix in Canada, and the opportunity to watch the entire series in order was pure heaven.

Buffy predates Xena by two years, and so far at least, the two shows have a very similar vibe: strongest female lead character, female sidekick, goofy male third wheel, goofy humour, cheesy special effects. (I've also discovered that two of my FB friends also love Xena. Don't you love when that happens?)

So watching Buffy S1 has made me think about why Xena is so special for me. And hey, it's a list!

Do you love a cult show? Or if you're into a lot of cult shows, what's your favourite? Why do you love it? List at least 10 reasons.

Top ten reasons I love "Xena: the Warrior Princess" (not in order) !

1. Mythology. The series moves through the myths and legends of all different cultures: ancient Greek, Roman, Chinese, Hindu, Christian, Norse, and so on. I love mythology, and I love how the myths are adapted and presented in the show.

2. Scenery. Since Xena and Gabrielle are always traveling, the show often has an epic sweep, set in many different terrains. Filmed in New Zealand, the show is sometimes gorgeously cinematic.

3. Cheesy special effects. What can I say? I'm the girl who prefers the Gorn to any more modern sci-fi.


4. Philosophy. What is the nature of good and evil? Can benevolent acts in the present compensate for past abuses of power, or have humans invented that idea for our own comfort? Can good ends justify violent means, or does violence always lead to more violence? Can a commitment to nonviolence bring about change, on its own? What is love? What is mortality? All this and more!

5. Bisexuality. Xena and Gabrielle are life partners, bound in body, spirit, and soul. They have both also loved men, and have recurring relationships with men in their lives. Not a problem.

6. Polyamory. Xena and Gabrielle love each other, and they love other people. Also not a problem. It's not about competition. People are complex, and different relationships satisfy different needs and desires.
I always thought Argo made a better
third than Joxer.


7. The fighting! How will Xena battle these 50 heavily armed but intellectually and morally inferior men? The mandatory group fight scenes in every episode are more choreography than violence.

8. Humour. Cheesy special effects and cheesy humour. They go together like... Xena and Gabrielle.

9. Xena. Lucy Lawless' character is just so freakin' awesome. I want to be her. Isn't that what fantasy - to some extent - is all about?

The obligatory bath scene10. Gabrielle. I said this list wasn't in order, but hmm, is that true? I have always had a mad crush on Gabrielle. Having discovered the series in random re-runs, I first saw her like this, and was smitten. I didn't know she originally looked like this! When I watched the show in order for the first time (on DVD), I was waiting for The Haircut.

Your turn!

Health Canada's Willful Impotence on Tainted Pharmaceuticals

Politics and its Discontents - Sun, 09/28/2014 - 06:48


As I have written previously, the scandal of tainted pharmaceuticals continues, and that which should provoke outrage and demands for accountability seems to elicit for the most part only shrugs and mild interest. And were it not for the Toronto Star's ongoing quest, most of us would be totally unaware of the threats to our health that are aided and abetted by Health Canada and Health Minister Rona Ambrose, thanks to a larger media, including the CBC, that have given the scandal absolutely no coverage.

Despite the investigative series conducted by the paper and an excoriating editorial, the only action thus far taken by Health Minister Rona Ambrose and her recalcitrant department has been to 'convince' (not order) Apotex to
stop distribution to Canadian retailers of what Health Minister Rona Ambrose described as “all products” manufactured at one of Apotex’s factories in Bangalore, India.

“The quarantine will allow the department time to verify that products from this facility meet Canadian safety and quality requirements,” Health Canada said in a short release.
I guess that is progress of sorts, since the last time Health Canada made such a request, Apotex refused. However, it is an anemic response given that when the issue first arose, the FDA banned the suspect drugs from entering the U.S.

However, even in Health Canada's putative victory with Apotex, there is less here than meets the eye, as is typical of the Harper regime:
Health Canada has not told the public what drugs are affected by this quarantine.So even though many Canadians will have been taking these suspect and tainted drugs, they are not permitted to know which ones they are. Undoubtedly, as has been previously discussed, in the warped of Ambrose and her department, that information is considered commercially confidential.

In my next post, I'll discuss a possible way around the protective wall of silence erected by Health Canada to protect the pharmaceutical industry.

Recommend this Post

All That Dead Money

Northern Reflections - Sun, 09/28/2014 - 06:04
                                                    http://muncievoice.com/

In 1974, Arthur Laffer famously drew a curve on the back of a napkin while he had dinner with a reporter from the Wall Street Journal. The curve illustrated Laffer's theory that, as governments cut taxes, their revenues increased. Margaret Thatcher gave the curve a try and it didn't work. Ronald Reagan gave it a shot, too; but he managed to create the biggest deficit  -- up to that time -- in American history. Next in line was Brian Mulroney, whose application of the Laffer Curve caused Canada to hit the "debt wall."

Paul Martin, Mulroney's successor, managed -- with a great deal of pain -- to bring government revenues into surplus and he began to pay down the national debt. But then came Stephen Harper, who insisted that taking the path that Thatcher, Reagan and Mulroney had trod before him would bring Canada to the gates of economic Nirvana.

However, Frances Russell writes:

Corporate Canada reached a milestone in 2014. For the first time ever, it now has more cash on hand than Canada’s entire national debt – $630 billion and counting.

In other words, Canada’s big corporations could pay off Canada’s entire national debt in one fell swoop with just the cash sitting in their collective bank accounts. And they wouldn’t even have to touch their other assets.
David Macdonald, the senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, has had the temerity to point out that tax cuts have not increased government revenues or economic productivity:

Back in the 1990s, Corporate Canada said it would use the new money to build more factories, employ more workers and make Canada more productive.

“Governments dutifully cut social programs as taxes decreased,” Macdonald says. “But Corporate Canada passed on making Canada’s economy more productive….(And) Canadians are left with weaker health care, veterans care and other social programs.”
The Harper government's response was to order the Canada Revenue Agency to audit the CCPA because it displayed political bias. But the CCPA has the facts -- and history -- on its side. Wherever governments have followed Arthur Laffer's advice, the result has been a pile of dead money -- not increased government revenues.

And Stephen Harper continues to assert that Laffer's laughable curve is sound economics.


Stephen Harper and the Great War on ISIS Trap

Montreal Simon - Sun, 09/28/2014 - 04:10


It couldn't have been a more jarring sight, or a more deeply disturbing one.

For there was Stephen Harper, back from his stunning performance as Great Mother Leader at the United Nations, where he posed as a friend of women and children, and a champion of peace.

Now in an unusually agitated state, bordering on hysteria. Rambling on about the Great War on ISIS.

Trying to make us believe that the caliphate is coming to behead us in our beds.
Read more »

Apologies...

Dawg's Blawg - Sat, 09/27/2014 - 12:26
…if you’ve heard all this before. Really. I’m sorry for any offence you might take. In advance. I haven’t reviewed the no-doubt vast interdisciplinary literature on the subject, but I’m getting tired of these apology thingies, for which again I... Dr.Dawg http://drdawgsblawg.ca/

Apologies...

Dawg's Blawg - Sat, 09/27/2014 - 09:19
…if you’ve heard all this before. Really. I’m sorry for any offence you might take. In advance. I haven’t reviewed the no-doubt vast interdisciplinary literature on the subject, but I’m getting tired of these apology thingies, for which again I... Dr.Dawg http://drdawgsblawg.ca/

Offered For Your Consideration

Politics and its Discontents - Sat, 09/27/2014 - 09:18
While King Stephen has grown positively garrulous with the American media, there's one little detail he seems to have forgotten:



H/t Graeme MackayRecommend this Post

Saturday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Sat, 09/27/2014 - 09:13
Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Bruce Johnstone points out that one can't justify Stephen Harper's gross dereliction of duty in addressing greenhouse gas emissions based on any system of principles other than climate change denialism. And Tony Burman criticizes the Cons for burying their heads in the oil sands, while pointing out that we have plenty of work to do as citizens to replace them with leaders who actually contribute to the most important crisis facing humanity.

- Meanwhile, Jeremy Nuttall reports on the NDP's work to stop damaging the planet in the name of unfettered resource extraction - this time focusing on Nathan Cullen's bill to stop tankers from operating off British Columbia's north coast.

- Paul Krugman reminds us why concentrated top-end wealth doesn't actually result in improved lives even for the few who take a perpetually larger share of our resources:
If you feel that it’s bad for society to have people flaunting their relative wealth, you have in effect accepted the view that great wealth imposes negative externalities on the rest of the population — which is an argument for progressive taxation that goes beyond the maximization of revenue.

And one more thing: think about what this says about economic growth. We have an economy that has become considerably richer since 1980, but with a large share of the gains going to people with very high incomes — people for whom the marginal utility of a dollar’s worth of spending is not only low, but comes largely from status competition, which is a zero-sum game. So a lot of our economic growth has simply been wasted, doing nothing but accelerating the pace of the upper-income rat race.- Neil Irwin chimes in on the sad reality that any economic growth in the U.S. is being skimmed off the top by the wealthiest 10% - meaning that the vast majority of workers and citizens don't have anything to gain from corporatist policies even if they did (contrary to all evidence) contribute to GDP growth. And Jennifer Erickson discusses the middle class squeeze which has seen costs rise even as incomes stagnate or fall.

- Finally, PressProgress exposes how the Harper Cons' belief in the magical effect of corporate tax slashing has proven utterly false in reality. And Truthout makes the case for finally repudiating trickle-down economics in favour of policies designed to improve citizens' lives, while Joe Gunn contrasts our options in reducing either poverty or tax rates.

do canadians support a war against isis? not so much.

we move to canada - Sat, 09/27/2014 - 09:00
When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, Canadians protested in huge numbers, adding their voices to the unprecedented global outcry against the "pre-emptive" war. It was that massive public support - almost statistical unanimity - that allowed Jean Chretien to keep Canadian Forces out of the war. Even Stephen Harper, who as Opposition Leader was as gung-ho as any Connecticut Cowboy, has since admitted that the war was "absolutely an error". What's more, even most USians now agree that other countries, such as Canada, were right to not support the invasion.

Now, we're told, it's different. ISIS, we're told, is an evil so great that only a war can stop it. It's déjà vu all over again. The mainstream media would have us think that every right-thinking Canadian is behind this war. Are they?

A recent Angus Reid poll showed that "two-thirds of Canadians support some involvement in American-led action against ISIS," but digging deeper reveals Canadians are less than keen. First, there is a distinction between “military advisors” (38% support) and “military intervention” (28%). An Abacus Data poll turned up 54% in support of "sending Canadian special forces to serve as military advisors to Kurdish forces who are fighting in Iraq to stop ISIS”, but only 16% responded that they "strongly support" sending advisors.

In a Forum Research Poll, those who think Canada has strategic interests in Iraq, and those who also think “these strategic or national interests” are “worth sustaining Canadian casualties” amount to an underwhelming 17%.

In the Abacus Data poll, 52% support "the hypothetical situation of Canada sending jet fighters to Iraq to help American efforts there", while 34% are opposed.” Yet only 45% agree with “what prime minster Stephen Harper is saying or doing with respect to the role of Canadian military forces in combating Islamic terrorism"; 32% disagree, and 24% have no opinion. I don't read this as overwhelming approval. I read it as ambivalence, at most. And that's with the current scaremongering hard sell.

It's reasonable to imagine that the longer Canada's military involvement in Iraq continues, the less palatable Canadians will find it. Once again, I bring you former prime minister Jean Chretien to read the situation for us. When he said Canada was "all in" in Iraq, he wasn't praising Harper.
"They are part of it. It is a done deal. They said yes to the coalition and they sent soldiers," Chrétien told Evan Solomon on CBC Radio's The House, referring to the Harper government's decision. . . . "I hope they did not make a mistake. They are part of it. You know, I find it a bit unusual that they are part of it and then they say we're not quite part of it," he said.

"The other side knows we are part of it. Of course if they refuse to act, the partners will say you are not keeping your word," Chrétien said. "You cannot be a little bit in it. You're in it or out."

"You have only to [look at] the way the Americans got involved in Vietnam. They started with a few advisers," he said.

On deflection

accidentaldeliberations - Sat, 09/27/2014 - 07:41
Shorter Your Corporate Overlords:
It turns out most of the information we supplied to get a free pass on importing disposable foreign workers was laughably inaccurate. And we're outraged that anybody was foolish enough to believe us.

Getting It And Them

Northern Reflections - Sat, 09/27/2014 - 06:33
                                                       www.nationalpost.com/

Paul Calandra's behaviour this week -- first preening arrogance, then blubbering self pity -- is symptomatic of our sick politics. Andrew Coyne writes:

There is no useful distinction to be made between sincerity and pretence in this tableau. Mr. Calandra’s self-pity was undoubtedly genuine, his manipulativeness admirably unforced. And the House’s empathetic response? We know you have no intention of changing anything. Neither do we. Indeed, your non-answers weren’t a great deal different than the non-answers we are normally given, or the ones we’d give ourselves, in the same position, just more obvious. Our chagrin was as feigned as your contrition.

Mind you, in a way being obvious does make it worse. Though the non-answer is as frequent a feature of Question Period as the non-question, it is ordinarily bounded by the time-hallowed conventions of hypocrisy. The minister who takes the trouble of pretending to answer does Parliament the courtesy of dissembling; by his efforts at concealment, he implicitly acknowledges there is a standard expected of him, even if he declines to meet it. He’s still not answering the question. But by observing the proper rituals, custom is respected, and a certain equilibrium between the parties is maintained. The Mafia operates on much the same lines.
Coyn'e analogy to the mafia goes straight to the point. There is nothing of national interest any more in the House of  Commons. Everything is now about self interest. And, therefore, everyday we see nothing but complete contempt for the fundamental institution of our democracy:

Calandra’s overtly nonsensical answers, by contrast, represented a deliberate flouting of convention. He was not just refusing to answer the question: he was rejecting the whole concept of question-answering. He was not only taking no care to conceal his refusal: he was going out of his way to make it obvious. It was a calculated snub to the Opposition, offered up, what is worse, in full view of the public. No wonder they were so filled with fake indignation.
Coyne rightly points out that the Harperites don't have a monopoly on contempt for Parliament.  But the Conservatives have raised that contempt to a new high. Consider the parade of Harper's parliamentary secretaries -- Pierre Poilievre, Dean del Maestro and now Calandra. What does that collection of blubbering boobs say about the man who appointed them?

It says that the Prime Minister doesn't care a whit about getting things right. He cares only about getting it -- (power) and them. (the opposition)


Another Pundit Supports Trudeau's Rejection Of Sun News

Politics and its Discontents - Sat, 09/27/2014 - 05:20


Reaction continues to be mixed on Justin Trudeau's decision to boycott Sun News following resident madman Ezra Levant's tirade against his entire family. Pollster Bruce Anderson is now the second pundit to support the decision, as he makes clear in his inaugural digital column for The Globe and Mail.

His has several reasons for taking this stance:
First off, if a competing politician uttered the things that Mr. Levant said about Justin Trudeau, we would expect an apology or a resignation, or both. If we wouldn’t tolerate such shameful behavior among political competitors, what would it say about how low we are willing to see media standards fall, if there were no consequences.

Second, maybe someone can explain why any of us should have to answer to anyone for the sexual habits of our parents. I’ve never heard a voter in a focus group say “I’d vote for candidate x, if his or her parents had been more sexually conservative.”
Anderson also points out, in addition to the distasteful content of the Levant screed, it is inaccurate:
Watch Mr. Levant’s description of events, and then read the account of how the bride’s father saw the same moments. I suppose it’s possible that the father of the bride was lying, but I think another explanation seems more likely.Labelling the unhinged Levant's performance an embarrassment to journalists, and to those in conservative politics that he is normally aligned with, Anderson feels that Trudeau's response was a reasonable one, since he is simply
holding the publisher to account and using what leverage he can muster. His goal seems not to end or disrupt or manipulate media relations in a permanent or pervasive way, but to say this isn’t normal and it shouldn’t be treated as such.In the instances of such scurrilous attacks one can either ignore the insults or speak out against them. In Anderson's view the latter is the more noble choice:
I fielded one call from a conservative who said that Mr. Trudeau was taking the coward’s way out by refusing to engage with Sun. I tried hard to understand that logic.

But in the end I couldn’t help but think that cowardice in that situation is doing nothing to defend your honour, and that of your parents.

I certainly get the need to protect professional journalism. But this week anyway, it needs more protection against what Ezra Levant would do to it, than what Justin Trudeau would.
It has been my observation that, like the bullies they are, extreme right-wingers are quite happy to mete out abuse, but cry like babies when held to account. Expect no agreement with Andersen's defense of Trudeau from that quarter.

Recommend this Post

Why Justin Trudeau is Right to Boycott Sun News

Montreal Simon - Sat, 09/27/2014 - 04:34


I must admit when I first saw what Ezra Levant had said about Justin Trudeau's parents, I wondered whether Justin would challenge him to a duel.

So he could do to him what he did to Patrick Brazeau...



Because Levant was there that night covering the fight live for Sun News with his reptilian colleague Brian Lilley...



And I've never seen those two Con stooges look so bitterly disappointed after it was over. It was HILARIOUS.

But what really disappoints ME is the way so many of the useless stooges in the MSM are saying that Trudeau is wrong to boycott Sun News. 
Read more »

Not Yet a Comeback — The Bitch Ain’t Back, Yet

Sister Sages Musings - Sat, 09/27/2014 - 00:54

Well, boys n girls, I think this is the longest I’ve been away from blogging. Other than the occasional tweet or Facebook posting of an article or picture of interest, and only recently, back to commenting on a few like minded blogs, I haven’t really written or done anything of substance. I have written . . . → Read More: Not Yet a Comeback — The Bitch Ain’t Back, Yet

Paul Calandra and the Little PMO Monsters

Montreal Simon - Fri, 09/26/2014 - 21:25


Well last night I brought you the sad story of the Con clown Paul Calandra who has been turning Parliament into a freak show, with the help of the Speaker who claims he just can't control him.

And I used this graphic to try to illustrate how Calandras's insane replies to opposition questions had turned Question Period into a madhouse...



So I'm happy to report that to illustrate tonight's story all I had to do was change the bottom right panel...



Because there was the Con clown today, in the Commons, apologizing to Tom Mulcair, and crying like a baby. 
Read more »

Doug Ford should drop out of the Toronto mayoral race – he is...

The Ranting Canadian - Fri, 09/26/2014 - 18:28


Doug Ford should drop out of the Toronto mayoral race – he is splitting the anti-John Tory vote. John Tory should drop out of the mayoral race because he is splitting the anti-Doug Ford vote. They should both drop out because they are both splitting the pro-Chow vote.

If that sounds silly or presumptuous, then think of how arrogant and pretentious it sounds to Chow supporters (or NDP supporters in federal and provincial elections) that progressive-minded people should roll over, abandon their principles and “strategically” vote against their own interests just because one right-wing, pro-corporate, anti-labour, elitist candidate “isn’t as bad as” the other right-wing, pro-corporate, anti-labour, elitist candidate.

The thing that self-proclaimed “progressive” Liberal supporters of the diehard Conservative John Tory cannot comprehend is that real progressives do not want Tory in office, period. They do not see Tory as an improvement over Ford, because Tory is, in fact, not an improvement over Ford.

Ford and Tory would both be terrible mayors, just different. Their main difference is in style, not substance. Both Conservative candidates have policies and outlooks that primarily serve the rich and powerful while screwing over the rest of society. They both want to privatize public services (including healthcare, if they had that ability), want to sabotage the public transit system, want to irresponsibly slash taxes, and want to drastically cut services that benefit the poor, the working class and the environment. They both promote brutal competition and greed over cooperation and pooling our resources for the common good.

For some of us, the thought of voting for any Conservative politician in any election makes us physically sick to our stomachs. If the self-entitled Tory fanatics got their way and Chow dropped out, many Chow supporters would either seek out smaller fringe candidates, spoil their ballots or not vote at all. Attempts at belittling and shaming Torontonians into voting for one of the two pro-Harper candidates will not work. We are not weak-minded suckers or masochists.

The loud and abrasive conflict between Tory and Ford is more like an internal family spat than a gang war. Many of the criticisms that they lob at each other are valid, but are ridiculously hypocritical considering the sources. If their pompous trash-talk sessions seem like segments from a professional wrestling TV show, that is partly because they are just as fake.

Ford and Tory are both children of privilege who have had most of their opportunities (and much of their money) handed to them on a silver platter. Neither of them has ever had to struggle to pay the bills. Neither of them has had to apply for a job like a normal person and go through a hiring process that was more than a mere formality. Both have ridden their fathers’ coattails to get where they are today. Neither of them understands how hard things can be for regular working people, and neither of them really cares. Their main goal is to keep what they have, get more, and exchange favours with their friends and acquaintances.

I know it’s difficult for comfortable, wishy-washy Liberals to understand, but some people actually have principles that they stick to. To those of us who aren’t sheltered by wealth and privilege, politics is more than just a debating club for abstract philosophical discussions.  We understand that actions by governments directly affect our lives on a daily basis.

For some of us, we are already moderating our leftist beliefs enough by parking our votes with the centrist Chow (and the centrist NDP in provincial and federal elections). After decades of incrementally further-right economic policies and the intensified race to the bottom, what Canada really needs at all levels of government are radical socialist governments to get our country back on track. Barring that, we certainly do not feel obligated to abandon all semblance of community and human decency and endorse the very policies that have been actively destroying our standard of living. That is a line we will not cross, so don’t even bother trying to pull our legs.

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