We are bloggers who advocate for social, economic and labour justice, for human rights, sexual freedom and reproductive choice, for non-violence, the protection of the commons, including universal healthcare, public broadcasting and Canadian culture in an independent Canada dedicated to true representative democracy, the well-being of our environment and the betterment of all in the world.
Hello. Registration has been disabled until I can get a Honeypot installed on here.
THE WORLD IS BEING TAKEN OVER BY BOTS!
Holler if you need to register, and are not made of metal.
pale (dot) cold at the gplace.com
During the dark years of the Harper administrations, Canadians became almost inured to the lengths it would go while promoting its neo-liberal agenda. The extolment of free trade, the promotion of tar sands development, the sneering dismissal of all environmental and climate-change concerns were what we came to expect from a government that was committed to servicing the corporate agenda at the expense of the people.
Then came the victory of the Trudeau-led Liberals, and all of us reveled in and breathed deeply of the liberated air that was all about us. But, as time passes, we are seeing that that air is not quite as pure as we had initially hoped.
Promises made are now being temporized. One of the most shameful instances of this is this government's continued importation of asbestos, the deadly mineral whose use the previous government staunchly defended until the last asbestos mines in Quebec closed in 2011.
It would seem amazing that in 2016, our country as yet has refused to ban the product, even though 55 countries, including Australia and Britain, have done so. Canadian asbestos imports are on the rise. Despite international consensus that the carcinogen should be added to the United Nations’ list of hazardous materials, Canada is among the few countries to oppose the move. The promise of change in the swearing in of the Trudeau government last fall is giving way to a far less attractive reality. Consider, for example, the hopeful rhetoric from earlier this year, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada was at last “moving to ban asbestos” because “its impact on workers far outweighs any benefits that it might provide.” This welcome promise prompted fanfare from health advocates and vulnerable workers who know all too well how devastating that impact can be.The reality is looking less rosy: Asked for an update by the Globe and Mail earlier this month, the Prime Minister’s Office hedged. Ottawa is “reviewing its strategy on asbestos, including a potential ban,” the spokesperson wrote.One need not have a nuanced understanding of the English language to see the difference. More troubling still, at recent UN meetings the federal government has again expressed doubt that so-called chrysotile asbestos should be covered under the Rotterdam Convention, an international treaty on hazardous materials. Its rationale? “It has not been proven that chrysotile asbestos causes cancer.”Or consider what Gerry Caplan recently wrote about the experience of Katherine Ruff, Canada’s most prominent and knowledgeable advocate for a ban on all asbestos, who says, “My experience with the current government is worse than what I experienced with the former Harper government.”Repeated attempts by Ruff to get a meeting with Health Minister Jane Philpott or Environment Minister Catherine McKenna have met with no success. According to her, these add up to a "lack of transparency, lack of democracy and lack of respect...in trying to communicate with the government over the past eight months, which is the opposite to what Prime Minister Trudeau promised."Ruff's fuller consideration of the failure of the 'new' government to act on asbestos can be read in an op-ed she wrote in The Ottawa Citizen.
All of these disquieting signs echo the intransigent Harper cabal that so many of us so earnestly worked to dispose of.
I am growing increasingly pessimistic about the prospects for real change. May the passing of time prove my fears ill-founded.Recommend this Post
President Recep Erdogan is arguably the greatest charlatan in European politics at the moment. He is a man who actively courts an image as a populist democrat while he simultaneously makes every attempt to shut down all opposition and carve out for himself a role as absolute dictator of Turkey. From afar Erdogan's attempts can seem almost comical, as when he lobbies foreign governments to indict their own citizens for criticizing him, but at home his strong-arm tactics are frighteningly real for those who chose to dissent from his vision of Turkey.
Of course, as one might expect with any politician who takes advantage of a populist style of public image making, what exactly Erdogan's national vision is is not entirely clear. On the one hand, Erdogan has built an image as an Islamist leader (as described by the New York Times), but on the other hand he has continued the effort among Turkey's recent leaders to bring Turkey into "modern" political mainstream and make the country eligible for membership in the European Union.
The value of EU membership has recently lost a great deal of its cache, which is probably good for Erdogan who seems to have no intention of backing off his rather desperate efforts to become Turkey's dictator. One of Erdogan's draconian responses to the weekend coup attempt in Turkey has been to publicly float the idea of reinstating the death penalty. This brought a swift response from at least one EU member-state as a spokesperson for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Turkey chance of gaining EU membership would be finished if it returned to using the death penalty. As the Mail Online said today, "Steffen Seibert told reporters that the EU is a 'community of values,' therefore the institution of the death penalty can only mean that such a country could not be a member."
However, it really appears that capital punishment is only one of many problems now faced by Turkey in its effort to be a modern, Western-approved, democracy. Erdogan has taken advantage of the attempted coup to enact a round-up of hundreds (if not thousands) of people in what he claims is a crackdown on the supporters of the coup, but which, given the raw numbers and generalized targets of the arrests, can only be an attempt to undermine all opposition to his leadership. If one needs a primer on how to marginalize and debilitate political opposition on the road to dictatorship, one only needs to look at what has been happening in Turkey in the past forty-eight hours: use a real event as a smokescreen for the total liquidation of dissent. It is a classic tactic with which even those with only a casual knowledge history will be familiar. And it is a tactic which Erdogan's supporters are whole-heartedly embracing. As Tim Arango and Ceylan Yeginsu wrote in the New York Times: "While secular and liberal Turks generally opposed the coup, it was Mr. Erdogan's supporters who flooded the streets and gathered at Istanbul's airport to push out the occupying army. They mostly yelled religious slogans and chants in support of Mr. Erdogan, not of democracy itself." They go on to make it clear that Erdogan's support of free political expression is extremely one sided. "When other groups, like gay and lesbian organizations or labor unions try to gather in public spaces in central Istanbul," Argano and Yeginsu write, "the streets are sealed off. Armoured vehicles with water cannons suddenly materialize, as do police officers with tear gas canisters."
The story is an old one but the implications are ominous as governments everywhere seem to be using the force of the state to shut down opposition and curtail democratic rights. Turkey after the coup will undoubtably be a less free and more draconian state. But citizens of Western nations should not feel comfortable nor satisfied that Turkey's troubles are distant from us. Democratic rights are everywhere under fire and Republican convention in Cleveland this week should remind us that Erdogan's tactics are by no means a 'foreign' or an 'Islamic' phenomenon.
As we all know Rona Ambrose and her Cons are having a really hard time attracting any star leadership candidates. The only candidates they have managed to attract so far, like a candle attracts bugs, couldn't be more boring or more mediocre. And it seems, more delusional. Read more »
Where have all the leaders gone? That's the question Michael Harris asks over at ipolitics. The newly anointed and the wish to be anointed don't inspire a lot of confidence:
As the apocalypse beckons, the need for real political wisdom has never been greater. But no Titans have emerged. Instead, obscene caricatures of political leadership have risen to the top of several world establishments.
In Britain, Theresa May sits astride the absurd political ascendancy of the post-Brexit-referendum era. One of her first acts was to shut down the U.K.’s Department of Energy and Climate Change. Britain’s Tin Lady made another decision which is even more dangerous to the planet on the short term: putting the Brexit Boor and “serial liar” Boris Johnson in charge of foreign affairs. One has to wonder about May's appointment of Johnson as Britain's chief diplomat:
Johnson is the man whose claim to fame is a bad mop of hair, pants that are perpetually on fire, and a yen for racism. Making him the country’s chief diplomat is like putting Bernie Madoff in charge of pension plan. After Barack Obama stuck his nose in the Brexit debate, urging the UK to remain in the European Union, Johnson responded by talking about the U.S. president’s “part Kenyan” ancestry.
Johnson’s previous remarks though made clear that his jibe wasn’t meant as a compliment. As reported in the Guardian, Johnson went on to describe Africans as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles.” Their problem, he opined, was “not that we were once in charge, but that we are not in charge any more.” Over in France, Francois Holland is cracking down on civil liberties, but the attacks keep coming:
The government has used its extraordinary new police and anti-terror powers to round up and arrest hundreds of its own citizens. Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality — the clarion call of one of the world’s most famous revolutions — has morphed into an obsession with policing. Strange that. Civil rights are cancelled but terrorist attacks increase. The French once exported the Statue of Liberty to America. Today they are building a Statue of Oppression at home. And, in the land of the Statue of Liberty, the choice is between Donald and Hillary:
Look at the choice facing Americans in this November’s presidential election — a political lifer investigated by the FBI for possible breaches of national security while Secretary of State; versus a to-the-manor-born ignoramus with a Jesus complex whose idea of big, international news is a new irrigation system for his golf course in Scotland. They don't stoke inspiration. But they do stoke fear. Harris writes, "Frightened people always have an index finger ready to point to the external causes of their woes. They’re also more likely to ignore any part they played in creating the morass like, say, invading Iraq in the first place."
And, before we get too smug, let's remember that the guy we just sent packing set up a snitch line so that the paranoid among us could rat on those of us they felt engaged in "barbaric practices." When leaders go searching for scapegoats, anyone of us could qualify for that moniker.
So remember this? April 2014 Natty Post: Christy Clark once served as chairwoman of B.C. company that she has promoted since becoming premier "The 2007 document has surfaced one week after it was revealed that the Premier was a partner in her former husband’s lobbying firm, which formerly listed its office at her residence and boasted such clients as Enbridge and B.C. Rail.In the fall of 2007, Ms. Clark entered into a two-year agreement as chairman and board member of RCI Capital Group’s RCI Pacific Gateway Education Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the investment firm. Since becoming Premier, Ms. Clark has actively promoted RCI on official trade missions to Asia — recently signing a memorandum of understanding on behalf of the B.C. government in securing $1-billion in overseas investment..." No I never worked for RCI said Christy, and RCI Capital's John Park gallantly came to Clark's defence, saying he'd never so much as even met her back then, much less paid her the first of three annual director's fee installments of $4,000 due her within 120 days of her RCI appointment. No, it was her then husband, Mark Marissen, Stephane Dion's campaign manager, that Park had hired. I guess that's just a spousal Chairman biz card then. In December 2013, Clark appointed RCI managing director Tenzin D. Khangsar as chair of B.C.'s Multicultural Advisory Council. Khangsar was a former chief of staff to both Jason Kenney and Tony Clement and a key CPC ethnic campaign strategist for the Cons in 2011. Bob Mackin, July 2014 : "John Park hired Khangsar to be managing director of his RCI Capital investment bank after the Tories were re-elected in 2011. RCI’s board includes retired Conservative MPs Stockwell Day and John Reynolds. Day represented RCI on last fall’s trade mission led by Premier Christy Clark to China."
Still with me? Ok, flash forward to the Vancouver Sun two days ago featuring yet another Clark Park Day photo op : BC Company benefits from Quebec cash-for-visa program"A B.C.-based company says it has brought $2 billion to Canada under the Quebec government’s cash-for-visa program, a scheme that some say is a factor in Vancouver’s housing affordability crisis.Vancouver-based RCI Capital Group, which helps resource companies develop strategies and raise money in Asia, has a Montreal-based subsidiary that has been active for years in the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program.The Quebec program has become increasingly controversial in Metro Vancouver as critics point to it as one of the drivers of sky-high housing prices, since the vast majority of successful Quebec applicants immediately establish themselves in Toronto and Vancouver."
The Tyee : 'China Syndrome' Paralyzes Politicians in Housing Affordability Crisis Huge impact of foreign buyers can't be ignored, and raising the issue isn't racist."...the province won't act as long as the real estate industry that profits enormously from selling homes to foreign buyers also contributes huge amounts to the BC Liberal Party. Josh Gordon, Simon Fraser University public policy professor, even refers to the influence of Bob Rennie, the real estate mogul who also heads Premier Christy Clark's fundraising efforts.That would be the Rennie who recently suggested action to curb foreign real estate investment would start a trade war. "China buys $6 billion a year in British Columbia exports," he said. "Are we going to tamper with those jobs and our economy?"Gordon calls out those who fund political parties."The fundraising is being dominated by prosperous developers and others closely tied to the housing boom," he writes. "This is the second lesson about housing market politics from the past decade: inside players, with large vested interests, are willing to shovel over massive amounts of money to political parties to keep the boom booming." Just another Clark Park Day in BC. More from Laila Yuile.
I didn't get to watch Donald Trump introduce his running mate Mike Pence yesterday. For it is summer, and both it and life are too short. But now I'm sorry I didn't. Because it was Trump at his worst or most bizarre. Read more »
- Aditya Chakrabortty sums up George Osborne's legacy - and give or take a Brexit vote, it looks awfully familiar for corporatist governments in general: The multi-million-pound spending spree wasn’t justifiable, admitted Osborne, according to Laws’ recent memoir, Coalition. “It will only really be of help to stupid, affluent and lazy people, who can’t be bothered to put their savings away into tax-efficient vehicles!” said Osborne. “But it will still be very popular – we have polled it.”
Disabled people could kill themselves to put an end to the government’s reign of terror, and the chancellor would shrug. Working-class kids could live on foodbank lunches and ministers would claim they had no alternative. But shovelling cash at the people seen as undeserving by their very own benefactor? That, Mr Austerity would happily do. Anything to buy votes. ... Osborne’s fiscal rules have been either broken or discarded, and where their replacement should be is instead a complete vacuum. The man praised for his “strategic grip” by his former permanent secretary admitted last month that he hadn’t bothered coming up with a post-Brexit strategy. Britain is adrift in what could be the choppiest waters in decades without a fiscal policy, a paddle – or even a map.
None of this is accidental. All of it could have been foreseen – indeed, was foreseen by some of us. But it is the direct result of a sniggering callousness that punished the poor while rewarding the rich, that promised greater power for the provinces while shunting ever more money to central London, that bilked the young of their futures while bribing their grandparents all the way to the ballot box.- Jeffrey Sachs, Brooke Güven and Lisa Sachs point to TransCanada's claim against the U.S. for rejecting Keystone XL as a prime example of how trade agreements give the corporate sector unacceptable power over governments acting in the public interest.
- Peter Hannam reports on Australia's problem with abandoned gas wells, showing that the resource industry's expectation of being able to take profits while leaving messes for someone else to clean up is far from unique to Canada. And Natasha Geiling finds industry spokesflacks again trying to claim that oil spills are an economic plus due to the work involved in cleaning them up.
- Mia Rabson discusses how criticism of people living in poverty is generally based on nothing but ignorance and misinformation.
- Finally Doug Cuthand writes that it's long past time to start reversing the damage done by the Cons' dumb-on-crime agenda. But it's worth noting that as in so many other areas, that means more than just resetting laws to where they stood before while allowing their consequences to remain in place.
As you know Jason Kenney's crusade to unite the right in Alberta and destroy the NDP, has gotten off to a disastrous start. His obvious plan to take the "Progressive" out of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta has many PC supporters up in arms.
Stephen Harper's endorsement of Kenney at a Stampede event attended by lots of Wildrose Party supporters, offended many of them. And that has some political observers wondering whether that ghastly religious fanatic will unite the right, or destroy it. Read more »
As Donald Trump -- and now Mike Pence -- head for Cleveland, a group of prominent American historians have decided to launch a full scale assault on Trump. With the help of filmmaker Ken Burns, they have set up a Facebook page that has been garnering millions of views.
Kenneth Jackson, David McCullough, Ron Chernow, William Leuchtenburg, Vicki Lynn Ruiz, Kai Bird, Joseph Ellis, Jonathan Alter, Alan Kraut, Sean Wilentz, Richard Moe and Todd Gitlin each offer their views on Trump.
It's scathing stuff. Is anybody listening? And is anybody asking what kind of a man Mike Pence -- who calls himself "a Christian, a Conservative and a Republican -- in that order" -- really is?
We spent more time in the community this week, speaking to Mississauga residents about our cause, and giving the gift of free storytimes. Here are some reports.
"I had a customer tell me yesterday that he calls 3-1-1 everyday to find out when the library will be open. He asked what else he could do and I told him to continue to call everyday and also contact the emails and phone numbers on the flyer I gave him.
"Many people I spoke to are outraged by the strike and the way the City is treating us. I also talked to a mom and her daughter dropping other small children off at the pool and she was so surprised at how we are being treated and said that I really "shed a light on the true side of the city as an employer". She's always suggested to her daughter to try and get a job with the City, but is now second-guessing this choice. She said she's going to write to everyone and asked for a few extra flyers to spread the word for us.
"I think being at the branches has really made an impact. Of the two days we were at Malton, we had over 400 conversations with customers, many of which sent emails right away from their phones or took flyers/pictures of the email addresses on the flyers. These conversations can sometimes be difficult because you're not sure how someone will react but most are willing to listen and can feel the passion we have for our cause."
"Just came back from Meadowvale Town Centre Metro. I asked a few people and the cashiers whether they are aware of our strike. They said NO. A few of them told me the Meadowvale branch is closed because they are moving to the community centre soon. They were not happy after hearing about the situation. They told me it's unbelievable. One cashier told me it's a great loss for the kids. She also told me she thought we were well-paid happy staff with smiles all the time. Another lady told me 'keep fighting'."
- Abi Wilkinson argues that we can't expect to take anger and other emotions out of political conversations when government choices have created nothing but avoidable stress for so many: Actions can certainly be morally unacceptable. In my opinion, emotions cannot. Really, it’s a manifestation of extreme privilege to insist that people engage with politics in a calm and emotionless way. The further you are from experiencing any negative effects of the policy you’re debating, the more cushioned and secure your social position, the easier it is to adhere to the Oxford Union norms of cool detachment and skilful argument.
MPs might only be human, but they also hold a power over the lives of 70 million fallible, vulnerable human beings. Telling people that they’re wrong to feel anger towards an individual who voted to restrict housing benefit and place them at risk of homelessness is patently absurd. Similarly, journalists hold an unusual level of social power that makes them a reasonable target of scrutiny. ... Broadly speaking, there are two forms of political argument. Either you defend a specific policy as the rational, logical option in the circumstances that exist, or you question the rules of the game. People on the political right are prone to presenting things such as spending cuts as morally neutral decisions, determined by economic reality. Leftwing criticism commonly argues that logic presented as natural is really no such thing, but rather that it’s a question of priorities. Political priorities are, unavoidably, a moral issue.
None of which is to say that I think calling Theresa May a “monster” is a productive, useful form of political commentary. I simply think that anger is a natural, human response to circumstance. Condemning petty name-calling more vigorously than we condemn the suffering and disempowerment that often leads to such expressions of frustration seems topsy-turvy to me. Jo Cox wasn’t simply any politician, she threw herself into defending refugees, migrants and other marginalised groups. No MP deserves to be a victim of violence, but what the politicians actually do with their power does matter. - Meanwhile, Maude Barlow comments on the increasing public skepticism of free trade dogma.
- Ryan Meili and Christine Gibson weigh in on how fair wages lead to far better social and health outcomes for children. And Josh Cohen discusses how the expectation to cling to a rung on the upper middle class ladder creates undesirable pressures on children.
- Dean Beeby reports on Policy Horizons Canada's recommendations on how to create a social safety net which will provide security for precarious workers.
- Jeremy Nuttall points out several of the Libs' most prominent promises which have thus far dropped off the radar since they won power. And Tom Spears notes that contrary to any promises of transparency, the RCMP is backsliding both by destroying documents which were supposed to be released, and ending their policy of making past disclosures publicly available.
- Finally, Chris Tollefson makes the case to start from scratch in developing an environmental assessment system which will have both the credibility and the mandate to meaningfully evaluate proposed developments.
.... except when it is used to criticize Israel, as Mississauga, Ont. teacher Nadia Shoufani is learning. She addressed a downtown Toronto rally on 2 July, marking al-Quds Day, an annual event held around the world to support Palestinian rights and to protest Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.
“Silence in situations of oppression and injustices is a crime against humanity,” Shoufani said in her speech at the rally, in which she condemned the Israeli occupation and Israel’s policies of home demolitions, land confiscation and arrests of Palestinians.
The fact that Shoufani called upon the occupied to resist was apparently too much for the Jewish lobby.
CBC reports that she is now being investigated on several fronts after Bnai Brith et al. complained: Bruce Campbell, general manager of communications and community relations for the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board [for whom she works], said Wednesday an investigation has begun. He said the matter was brought to the board's attention through a number of sources, including the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center and B'nai Brith Canada.The governing body for Ontario teachers is also prepared to bring down the hammer: A spokesperson for the Ontario College of Teachers said the organization is "aware of the matter.
"If and when a complaint is launched to the College, we will deal with it accordingly," Gabrielle Barkany said in an email to CBC News.Toronto police are also involved: Toronto police said they have opened an investigation into comments made at the Al-Quds rally, but could not confirm that Shoufani herself is under investigation.
"It's being investigated as we speak," Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook said on Wednesday. "I can confirm that we are investigating comments made at the rally and there is more than one person involved."MintPressNews reports that her stance has support, however, from those not afraid to criticize Israel: Tyler Levitan, campaigns coordinator at Independent Jewish Voices-Canada, a group that supports Palestinian rights, said organisations like Bnai Brith Canada and Canadian Friends of Simon Wiesenthal “are shills for Israel”.
“Ms Shoufani was speaking passionately in support of the Palestinians’ right to defend themselves against an occupying power,” Levitan told MEE in an email.
“Under international law, those living under military occupation and a system of colonialism have the absolute right to resist. Ms Shoufani spoke as a defender of the rights of an occupied and besieged people to resist an obscenely violent and criminal military occupation over their lands.”Nonetheless, mainstream lobbyists who oppose any defence of Palestinians have shown remarkable effectiveness in stifling criticism of the Jewish state: Recently, pro-Israel lobby groups in Canada have launched several campaigns targeting groups and individuals supporting Palestinian rights.
Bnai Brith Canada lauded a parliamentary motion passed earlier this year condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to hold Israel accountable under international law.
In March, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs accused Canadian law professor Michael Lynk of demonstrating a pro-Palestinian bias and of being involved in “anti-Israel advocacy”. The accusations came after Lynk was appointed as the new Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Pro-Israel groups have also urged Canada to maintain funding cuts on the United Nations agency that supports Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.
They are also pressuring the Green Party of Canada to dismiss two motions, set to be debated at a party convention in August, that would strip the Jewish National Fund of its charitable status and endorse BDS.
“I know from past experience that Bnai Brith would be using every means possible to try to shut down the al-Quds rally,” said Ken Stone, treasurer of the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War and another speaker at the al-Quds Day rally in Toronto this year.
Stone told MEE that Bnai Brith Canada has taken the comments made at the rally out of context and distorted them in an effort to shut down the annual event and silence Canadian supporters of Palestinian rights.
“What they’re trying to do is … put a chill on people like Nadia Shoufani,” he said.
“[And] put a chill on people who might be tempted to get up at an al-Quds rally and declare their support for the Palestinian cause.”What a wonderful ideal to aspire to - free speech and the open exchange of points of view. Too bad that when it comes to Israel, such democratic mainstays seem to have no place.
Well I suppose it was just a matter of time before even the Cons took a good look at the list of candidates for the leadership of the Harper Party. Started to mumble and grumble. Pray up a storm. And give them the lowest grade possible. Read more »
Tony Clement wants to be leader of the Conservative Party. Perhaps he believes that the third time will be the charm. But, Bob Hepburn writes, there are five reasons Clement should reconsider his bid:
First, Clement deservedly earned the title of “The King of Pork-Barrel Politics” for his disgraceful role in doling out $50 million in special projects in his riding that were to be related to the 2010 G8 summit in Huntsville. Instead, most of the money went to totally unrelated projects far from the summit site, such as renovating bandshells and gazebos, planting flowers, repairing public washrooms and paving roads in his riding. Second, Clement became an international joke when he enthusiastically killed the important long-form census of 2011. He saw it as an invasion of privacy for asking such delicate questions as how many bathrooms are in your home. The move so outraged Munir Sheikh, the country’s chief statistician, that he quit in disgust. Third, Clement is talking up his immigrant background, but he has a lot to answer for on immigration. Despite being a senior cabinet minister, he did and said nothing over the last few years as the Harper government deliberately dragged its heels in allowing Syrian refugees to come to Canada. He also kept his mouth shut when his cabinet colleague Kellie Leitch proposed a snitch hotline clearly aimed at Muslims where people could report “barbaric cultural practices.” Fourth, Clement is a Harper clone — and happily so. Like Harper, he is stiff, devoid of charisma and uninspiring. He is well-liked by the out-of-favour Harperites and offers voters nothing fresh, from his call to stop funding the CBC to Iran-bashing that voters didn’t see — and reject — in Harper himself in the last election. And, fifth, there is Peter Mackay. Hepburn is sure he too will throw his hat in the ring. Mackay also has lots of skeletons in his closet. But, at least, he seems less moribund than Clement. All in all, they're not an inspiring bunch. But, then, they never were. Image: Chris Young/Canadian Press
Well he may look like the man from Glad. But Mike Pence, Donald Trump's choice for vice president, is actually the man from God. He defines himself as “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.”
And he's really bad news for women and gay people.
"A terrorist is like a fly that wants to destroy a china shop. Small, low, fly is unable to move not even a cup. So she found an elephant, enters his ear and buzzes until mad with fear and anger, it sacked the shop. Thus, for example, the Al-Qaeda fly led the American elephant to destroy the china shop of the Middle East. Why are they so sensitive to terrorist provocations? Because the legitimacy of the modern state is based on its promise to keep the public sphere free of political violence. A regime can withstand terrible catastrophes, and even ignore them, provided its legitimacy is not based on preventing them. Today, a government may turn a blind eye to high levels of domestic and sexual violence, because they do not undermine its legitimacy. Rapists and abusive husbands are not perceived as an existential threat to the state, because, historically, the state did not build itself on the promise to eliminate sexual violence. In contrast, the much rarer cases of terrorism are viewed as a deadly threat, because over the last few centuries modern western states have gradually built their legitimacy on the explicit promise to maintain zero political violence within their borders." Read the whole article from Yuval Noah Harari in French, or in English h/t Line Merrette Vincent .
While Ribfest took over Celebration Square, CUPE 1989 members had another satisfying day in our communities. The managers that the City has assigned to "monitor" us (their word) and the special outside security detail came along for the ride. Because, you know, library workers are a big threat to public safety.
In our members' words and pictures, here is a bit of our day.
"I was at Erin Meadows Thursday afternoon. A customer came to return a book. He said he just came back from his vacation and he wasn't aware of the strike. When I explained our situation and gave him a flyer, he was really mad and told us he would send emails to the Mayor and Sue McFadden. He said: 'It's ridiculous, I can't believe City is treating part-time staff like this.' He also told us he will be supporting us throughout our fight. He is a customer at Erin Meadows and Meadowvale."
"The Thursday picket at McKechnie went well. One customer was so upset with the city she called the Mayor right then and there. Of course once we heard that the City was refusing to budge in the talks, we got fired up even more and the flyers were passed out to customers fast and furious. I can't begin to tell you how angry that piece of news made me, but that is another story. I think it was great getting out to the branch and talking to our customers. It certainly seemed a lot quieter without the library open. ... This is a tough fight but we will be there for however long it takes."
Most of Friday morning my striking buddies and I were on the mall side of the Ribfest and were handing out flyers. We heard some varied stories. We talked to a man who is part of the rotary and is a pastor. He mentioned he was the one that brought water bottles for the strikers. He is totally supportive. We also came across someone who said would call the city and say 'I would have emailed you, but my access to the internet at the library isn't currently available'. I thought that was a great line.
"It was a very productive and enjoyable day. We met a family with two kids. One little girl rushed up to hug three of us. We were so touched by this, and obviously their parents were upset about the closure, but they supported us. We are like the usual front people, meeting with our customers. I agree with Rose that we are wonderful staff, and it is the staff who make library successful. However only she has a 7.3% increase."
"I absolutely loved talking to the public today at Port Credit. We spoke to small business owners. They are completely committed to helping the Library. We also approached people walking the streets. One lady from Australia, who always visits the library with her grandchildren at Port Credit when she visits, was disappointed this year. We also approached a group of young men (18ish); one pipes up and says "I called 311 yesterday". A page who was with us yesterday and felt uncomfortable approaching people was passing put leaflets and talking to customers - fantastic!!!"
"Our customers at Malton took our striking to heart. Here's some of the response from our regulars:
"One customer who is an author (our libraries carry copies of her books) said: 'This is stupid. Management is making so much money and you guys are doing all the work. I will email Bonnie!'
"Another customer, who is partially blind and comes to Malton every day to borrow the guitar books, said: 'It is very boring without the library. I really miss it and being in there.' He said he would email the Mayor.
"A female minister, who we help with printing, said: 'I can't believe this is happening. You people are always there for me when I need help, especially with printing my flyers and sermons. I miss it very much and some of your high school students were asking me why was the library not open, we wanted books to study for our summer school. I will definitely write to the Mayor.'
"One college student took a pile of flyers from me and said she would pass them around to all her friends. She said: 'We support you fully and love the library.'
"Another regular customer said: 'Management should be flexible and treat staff in a more humane way. This is really sad!' He comes to the library every day with his children to use the computers. He said: 'Poor people, the homeless and students needs the library!' He said in his former country he has nothing like the library. He said he will write to the Mayor!"
About 20 of us covered the front doors and a highly visible intersection at the corner of Burnhamthorpe and Dixie. We had pink CUPE flags and three picket signs that indicated we work at the library. We handed out dozens of pink flyers and continuously urged people to contact the mayor. Several buses stop at that location, and everyone who got off was made aware of our cause, if he or she wasn't already. The overwhelming majority of those we encountered were highly supportive. Even three police cars honked! The best part, again, was how our group came together across all job classifications: full-timers, part-timers and pages. Twenty-year veterans and relative rookies.
Okay, Donald Trump has chosen his running mate, Koch Bros. shill, Mike Pence.
Every campaign team needs a logo and Trump, naturally, has his. It raised a few eyebrows, including a few of my own, when it was unveiled this morning and it didn't take long for the hilarity to ensue.
Here's one animated version:
And, of course, TP conjures references to Toilet Paper and that gives rise to giggles over ass wiping and ass wipes which, to many, seems to aptly describe Donald Trump and his trained monkey, Pence. Let the hilarity ensue. The conference is just two days away.
I’ve been holding back on commenting….reality has been so overwhelming and I feel as if, for the first time since possibly the War of 1812, that the West is slowly, inexorably being pulled into another war, this time on home turf..perhaps even CW2..(Civil War)…
If we look at what is happening around the world, it seems that, indeed, the center will not hold..everywhere are signs of right wing insanity and left wing resurgence, and we all know that the power rests in the hands of the corporatists…but how do they propose to deal with the singular seemingly guerrilla war tactics of the disaffected?..these are increasing in number and seriousness..who would have thought that any mentally unstable individual could out- do Orlando for sheer horror and numbers? I give you Nice, France…
And while all of this is going on, the people are marching in the streets of the US and to a lesser extent, Canada, and no one seems interested in anything except stifling dissent, whatever it may be directed towards..just saw a nasty vid on FB of a protest on private property (the protesters were invited to occupy the property by the legal owner) in the Southern US where the cops literally pushed the protesters onto public property so they could be beaten on and arrested, and they knew they were being filmed..do they care? No! Because no one is being held responsible for their actions anymore, there is too much happening at such an insane pace that no one can deal with it..Emotional overload..Obama goes public with a lot of mumbling about terrorism and violence and guns blah blah blah..then signs a bill allowing Monsanto to keep on poisoning us under the law…
On the home front, our selfie-loving PM has obviously decided, like all politicians, that to actually keep his word regarding pre-election promises might be….well, premature, and so we go on, insecure about whether or not in fact we can do something about pipelines and oil tankers invading the West Coast and despoiling what little we have left…bill C-51 is gonna be a shoo-in, mark my words, and as for local problems like contaminated soil being legally dumped on the hills overlooking a source of our drinking water in Shawnigan Lake, well, that seems to be cracking on, apace…
In other news, Jon Stewart obviously couldn’t resist the temptation of overseeing the Republican Convention, and so will join his old sidekick, Stephen Colbert as an ‘analyst’ on Late Night..something to look forward to, the odd smile to try and keep the numbing horror at bay while the fiddlers screech on – as Rome does a slow burn…
Who can ever forget Stephen Harper's Great Tour of India back in November of 2012? The trip was an absolute disaster, he managed to alienate his Indian hosts, there was no trade agreement. Not even a photo-op with the country's Prime Minister. But he did manage to get his picture taken at every sacred temple of every Indo-Canadian community in Canada. He did bring his own samosas with him...