Posts from our progressive community

Shelly Glover and the New Con Assault on the CBC

Montreal Simon - Sun, 11/23/2014 - 02:36

I have to admit that when I heard that the Con Heritage Minister Shelly Glover was warning the CBC to boost its ratings, or ELSE, I thought of her former profession.

And of what some some bloated foreign fascist, who may or may not have been Hermann Goring once said:

"When I hear the word culture I feel like reaching for my revolver." 
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Ferguson waits

Cathie from Canada - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 21:28
Decision day in Ferguson will be Monday at the earliest | Toronto Star:

“We’re living under a governor’s declared State of Emergency, we’re facing school closures, and we’ve got enough extra law enforcement here to make us all feel like enemies in our own country. And all over a process that should have been decided months ago.”
Is there anyone, anywhere, who thinks that Darren Wilson will be indicted?


Dawg's Blawg - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 18:04
Canada—my country—one of only three votes against an anti-Nazi resolution at the United Nations. Sounds like the bitch is in heat again.... Dr.Dawg

Happy, happy!

Dammit Janet - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 13:00
To everyone who makes DAMMIT JANET! such a slice, but especially for my co-blogger and co-founder of this here joint, fernhilldammit:

Happy birthday to us, toots!

That by the way is the sans-pareille Betty Bonifassi.  You can hear and see her here, too.

Polar Vortex be Damned. 2014 Could Be the Hottest Year Ever.

The Disaffected Lib - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 12:23
Take it from NOAA, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency.  2014 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record.

According to the NOAA, five of the past six months have been recorded warm for their respective months; July was the fourth warmest.The October global land temperature was the fifth highest on record at 1.05 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average of 9.3 degrees Celsius.Warmer-than-average temperatures were evident over most of the global land surfaces, except for large parts of central Asia.NOAA said record warmth was notable across a large area of southern South America, the US western coastal regions, Far East Russia, parts of southern and southeastern Asia, much of southern and western Australia, and parts of southern Europe.

Does Your School Have an STD (Standard Teaching of Dogma)?

Dammit Janet - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 12:09
[Guest post by Kathy Dawson.*]
First of all, do not be ashamed. It happens to many nice local schools. With proper treatment and education, a cure is possible.

What it is
STD (Standard Teaching of Dogma) refers to anti-choice missions that are using shame and fear to scare your teen into “never having sex until marriage”. This includes a ban on masturbation or even thinking about sex (thought police)! It is almost always accompanied by a heavy dose of “religious dogma” that masquerades as science based facts. Don’t be fooled! Turning your back on this leads to further infections of sexism, homophobia, attacks on non-traditional families, limiting of reproductive rights and keeping students in total dark about their own sexual health.

How does this happen?
These infections come in free glossy packages affiliated with heavily funded anti-sex league multi-nationals. Egg obsessed missionary hens are accompanied with great qualifications such as “preacher recommend”, “commitment to not counsel or refer contraception” and most importantly a commitment to protect eggs (fertilized or not) at any cost, even if it means financial ruin or death of the “incubators” (the slutty sluts that could not keep their legs closed).

These infections happen in secret. Schools do not like it when parents know there is an infection, it makes things a little crab itchy uncomfortable. It is important to ask every teacher, every year: WHO is teaching, WHAT is being taught, and what is Google’s opinion. Tell your child to watch out for specific lying liar agencies. Nothing wrong with a little sound or video evidence, difficult to get but clears infections immediately. A vocal membership on the parent council will strengthen protection.

Symptoms May Include (but not limited to):
• Abstinence because they told you so.
• View that youth are too idiotic to correctly use contraception or protection.
• Attack of the killer STI/STD.
• Slutty sluts should watch what they are wearing because boys are crazed sex demons with no control
• Soulgasms – mind blowing orgasms brought on by wearing a wedding ring.
• Mention of fetus or eggs brings on glassy looks and moans of “My Precious”.
• Allergic reactions to the mention of clitoris (also known as the Devil’s Doorbell), masturbation (ringing the doorbell), sexually active people (aka slutty sluts), and LGBTQ2S (or anything to do with rainbows).
• How to crochet a hat for your 16 cell zygote because they are fully formed.
• Adoptions are happy time for everyone because teen parents raise criminals.
• Facts can be found here.

Here is a general "how to" when trying to clear up an STD (Standard Teaching of Dogma) in your school. Do not attempt this alone, you will need to call in other stakeholders to help especially if the infection has spread through the entire district. The system is known to shut down and annihilate attempts to clear infection with the process: “you are the only parent, in the only school, in the only board that ever had a problem with it”.

Start gently as some infections are easily cleared up with a little exposure to sunlight. Interactions should be respectful and everyone should focus on what is best for the students. Steps must be taken in a specific order as school systems are very hierarchical and the infection may dig in deeper.

1) Playgrounds can be unforgiving. Protect your child throughout the process.
2) Educate the educator: Try to resolve the issue with the teacher first.
3) Educate school administration: Arrange a meeting with the principal and the teacher.
4) Gather Resources, People, and Research:
    a. Has this issue happened before?
    b. Identify applicable board policies, regulations, curriculum, legislation, etc.
    c. What is the impact on the children? Focus on children’s needs.
    d. Have your talking points (key issues) ready.
    e. Discuss the issue and get support from other parents
5) Educate the Superintendent: provide a copy of your concerns and arrange a meeting.
6) Educate the Board:
    a. Have other stakeholders and yourself attend and speak at board meetings.
    b. Use talking points and be mindful of time limit to get points across.
7) Educate the Minister of Education
    a. Caution: this will automatically start the circular shutdown process. Expect to hear:
         i.“Not our problem it is their issue”. This will rinse and repeat until the media gets involved. Like musical chairs, whomever is left standing will answer to media.
    b. Do not expect “what is good for the students” to be mentioned (that will be your job) as the infection will be trying to survive.
    c. Do not worry, this step is a formality anyway. The next step is critical.
8) Educate the World:
    a. Connect with others stakeholders & organizations:
         i. Comprehensive sexual health providers
         ii. Feminist, Pro-Choice, LGBTQ2S
         iii. Science and/or secular groups
    b. Write letters to the editors
    c. Use social media
    d. Use a petition to connect with interested parties and increase visibility and pressure.
    e. Contact local media and arrange interviews
9) Last resort:
    a. Human Rights: time sensitive, lengthy process. Grounds may be: family status, marital status, gender, orientation, religion (includes non-belief). Check provincial Acts.
     b. Lawyer: Lawyer Referral Services can get you a free consult.
10) Helpful Resource Links:
      a. Alberta Health/Education Teaching Sexual Health website:
      b. Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada supports sexual health education:
      c. Public Health Canada Guidelines for Sexual Health Education:
      d. SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States) Community Action Resources:

* Kathy Dawson has been active on the sex ed front in Alberta as reported here. Follow her on twitter, @KathyDawson.


Trapped In a Whirlpool - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 11:02
I grew up in a working class neighborhood in sixties and the notion of what it meant to be a man then looks cartoonish to me today yet many still cling to it.
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How to Militarize the South China Sea

The Disaffected Lib - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 10:32
China is seeking to bolster its military presence in the South China Sea and where better but in the vicinity of the hotly contested Spratley Islands.

The prestigious British military journal, Janes, believes China is upping the ante in the region by constructing an island to accommodate a joint air and naval base at the Fiery Cross reef.

Hong Kong media have reported that China intends to establish a military air base at Fiery Cross reef, something that will no doubt be a burr under the Pentagon's saddle.

Suborning the federal Public Service

Dawg's Blawg - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 10:31
In the light of the continuing Canada Revenue Agency scandal—foisting expensive and time-consuming audits upon Canadian dissident groups—we should perhaps not be surprised that the Harper government has now enlisted the federal Public Service to push an unambiguously partisan message... Dr.Dawg

Does Your Bank Back the Bomb?

The Disaffected Lib - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 10:12
We're all familiar with the ongoing campaign to urge institutions such as universities and churches to divest their shareholdings in fossil fuel companies.

Well, if we believe that these institutions should be walking away from fossil fuels, how do we feel about their investments in the nuclear weapons industry?

A Dutch organization, Don't Bank on the Bomb, has compiled a list of what it calls nuclear weapons producers and the entities that invest in them.

When you look at the list of producers you'll find a lot of companies you would not be surprised to find on any mutual fund's books.  Familiar names like Raytheon, BAE Systems, Boeing, Lockheed, Bechtel, Airbus, Honeywell, Northrop Grumman, Rockwell Collins, Rolls Royce and ThyssenKrupp.  These companies may not produce actual nuclear warheads but they do manufacture missiles, rockets, cruise missiles, and submarines that get those devices onto their assigned targets.

The organization also lists institutions that invest in these companies on a country by country basis.  Here's Canada's.  The only Canadian lender listed as developing a nuclear weapons policy is the Royal Bank.

Now that our leaders seem hell bent on getting us firmly stuck into Cold War II we should try to get a handle on this nuclear arms business and the role we all may inadvertently have in it.

Update -

While this is an obscure issue in Canada, it is generating controversy in Australia where the country's sovereign wealth fund, Future Fund, is investing millions in these nuclear weapons producers.

And Now, A Word From David Susuki's Grandson

Politics and its Discontents - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 10:03
Tamo Campos, David Susuki's 24-year-old grandson, was arrested Thursday for defying an injunction granted to Kinder Morgan, which is currently conducting drilling tests in preparation for the much-contested proposed Trans Mountain pipeline.

Back at the site on Friday, at the base of Burnably Mountain Campos gave an impromptu speech, the highlights of which follow:
“This is insane, why are we putting our economic system – the market – above the very ecology that we all depend upon? We’re more dependent on clean water, fresh air and clean soil, than the market! It’s the thing that keeps us alive!”

“We have to stand up to unjust laws – to make those the laws, because those are the laws that have always governed our lives. And indigenous people have had natural laws that pre-date colonial laws by thousands of years, and we need to respect that.”
David Susuki is undoubtedly proud of his grandson, writing a letter to and about him. Here is a brief excerpt:
All over the world, local citizens and communities are standing up to protect their ecological, social and economic interests against these invading entities that behave like thugs, intimidating with SLAPP suits and using every legal tool, anything to keep on their destructive path while avoiding the important issues like climate change and threat of spills being raised by protesters.

I say all this to set the action of Tamo and others in context. Tamo is fighting for the world that will be left to his generation in the future. I believe what Kinder Morgan and companies like it are doing is an intergenerational crime but there are no legal precedents to pursue criminal charges on that basis.The following video contains Campos' speech:

Recommend this Post

Saturday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 08:43
Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Tom Sullivan's advice for Democrats south of the border that it's essential to reach out to dispossessed voters of all types of backgrounds with a compelling alternative to the status quo is equally relevant to progressives in Canada.

- But the good news is that here, somebody's actually applying it. And we're also hearing plenty about how our local reactionaries are ignoring the vast majority of families - with Ashley Splawinski offering this look at the Cons' income splitting scheme compared to the obvious alternative: 
About 86 per cent of all families including single parents would gain nothing from income splitting. Being heavily circulated due to its sudden relevance, a research paper titled, "Why income splitting for two parent families does more harm than good" published by the C.D. Howe Institute outlines that 40 per cent of total benefits would go to families with an annual income above $125,000 a year.

When we account for the large revenue cost of these new policies, it is the families that see a modest gain or no gain at all that will ultimately be paying the price through means such as public service cuts.
To stay within a higher tax bracket, the partner who isn't working (who is overwhelmingly likely to be a woman) is discouraged from going to work, lest she wants to pay a more taxes. It seems as though the Harper government is using these policies as a means of subtly favouring wealthy nuclear families.

This has members of the public questioning: If the Conservative government wanted to shed light on issues affecting families, why not increase access to universal child care?

We don't need to look far to find access to affordable child care. Quebec invests $2.2 billion dollars annually into its child care plan. Therefore, a family in Quebec may pay $140 monthly for childcare, yet in Ontario that same family could be paying $900.

Nationally, Canada only has regulated spots for approximately 22 per cent of youth under five years old. Quebec houses half of these spots. Child care costs nationally account for about 30 per cent of the average wage.

The Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada (CCAAC) conducted a study in 2009 which found that affordable child care was not only essential to long-term poverty reduction, but by improving access to affordable child care, it supports stable labour force participation, which is vital for an increase in economic independence -- especially for women. It also found that supporting quality affordable child care would positively support a child's development, leading to improved educational outcomes.- Fred Hahn rightly suggests that Ontario start investing in future economic development rather than pleading poverty while letting corporate giants hoard profits they can't put to any discernible use.

- Phil Tank reports on the potential for massive growth of solar energy in Saskatoon. But it remains to be seen how long it takes for us to see the assault on distributed renewable energy that's materialized elsewhere.

- Finally, Karl Nerenberg writes about the Cons' attacks on the welfare of refugees in Canada. And Susana Mas reports on the Cons' "express entry" system for immigrant workers which has been designed solely at the behest of - and for the benefit of - employers looking for new pools of workers to exploit.

On targets

accidentaldeliberations - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 07:36
Shorter Chantal Hebert:
And just think how much more successful Jack Layton could have been as the NDP's leader if only the Cons had spent years attacking him rather than Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff!Of course, it's true enough that Canada's political scene has changed - and indeed for the better in terms of the NDP's position. But if the NDP can engage its supporters, keep itself in the consideration set of potential governments and build further support for an already-popular leader in relative peace, I'm at a loss as to why Hebert thinks it should envy the party in the crosshairs of the Cons' misfiring smear machine.

Kinder Morgan: Taking the BY out of NIMBY

Creekside - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 07:25

h/t Waterbaby

That's very good, isn't it? "Kinder Morgan has solved the NIMBY problem by taking the backyard".

I also liked his debunking of the attempt to de-legitimize protest itself - the argument that protesters undermine the rule of law by claiming to speak for the whole community.

Hey, here's one now from the senior editorial board of the Vancouver Province!
Mountain mob don't speak for the rest of us

The Province senior editorial board wonders why the protesters are available to protest in the middle of the day and aren't at work "generating taxes", and whether the protesting "clever university professors" understand where their salaries come from. 
My personal fave - Are their tents made from oil products? Oh, the hypocrisy! 
This one is akin to the argument that First Nations should only have 'preferential fishing rights' if they are restricted to using 14th century tools.

But then of course the protesters don't speak for you, Province editorial board, because you're already speaking for your editorial partner CAPP, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

And a bang up job you're doing of it too -  introducing Postmedia stories that "CAPP needs to bring to the forefront of Canadian consciousness".

Last month, backed by its major shareholder New York hedge fund GoldenTree Asset Management, Postmedia added to its stable of CAPP-promoting opportunities with its purchase of Sun Media and 175 more newspapers and websites across Canada, including the 24 Hours daily. 
At left is the before and after effects of the buyout - just another day of tarsands-friendly media concentration in your backyard.

Fun story : Seven years ago, Texas Governor Rick Perry was pushing to build the Trans-Texas Corridor, a quarter-mile-wide swath of truck-only toll lanes, railway lines and multiple traffic lanes rolling from Mexico to the Oklahoma state border. The prime bidder was Cintra SA, Macquarie Infrastructure Group's partner in the Ontario Highway 407 ETR 99 year lease, of which Australia's Macquarie is the largest shareholder. 

To many Texan ranchers and farmers, Perry's superhighway just looked like a royal pain in the ass and opponents of privatizing roads came out against it in the thousands. All up and down the proposed route, ads and editorials critical of the proposal ran in the local newspapers. Macquarie bought those local newspapers out. All 40 of them

Ontario Is Ground Zero

Northern Reflections - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 06:22                                                  
Stephen Harper won his majority by convincing enough Ontarians to vote for him. But those same Ontarians now have a premier who is not a Harper ally. Far from it. Tim Harper writes in the Toronto Star:

There’s simply too much at stake for both sides for détente, certainly not heading into a federal election campaign and the electoral riches available in this province.The Harper Conservatives remember how Wynne campaigned against them last spring, they know they are dealing with aggressive adversaries in Ontario and they remember well Wynne’s characterization of the Harper “smirk” during that campaign as she recounted a previous, private discussion about pension reform.
But it's not just Wynne who the Conservatives see as their adversary:

When Conservatives look at Kathleen Wynne, they see Justin Trudeau. Their instincts tell them to fight and discredit, not to sit and discuss the big issues of the day bedeviling the country’s two largest governments.They saw Trudeau stumping for Wynne last spring and Wynne returning the favour, appearing on behalf of Trudeau’s candidate in this week’s Whitby-Oshawa byelection.
And Harper hasn't helped his case in Ontario:

The list of Wynne’s grievances is real and long. They are not all meant to be distractions or wedges for the 2015 federal vote.Wynne’s agenda would include infrastructure spending, inter-provincial trade, federal transfers, employment insurance and training, her go-it-alone pension plan and the lack of federal action on missing and murdered aboriginal women. The two governments have previously clashed over refugee health care.
For the Harperites, this is personal. Ontario voters, however, are likely to believe that it is more than that.  By now they may have understood that the Cowboy from Etobicoke is working for someone else.

The next time around, Ontario is Ground Zero.

How Stephen Harper Screwed the NDP AND Himself

Montreal Simon - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 05:47

He likes to think of himself as a Great Warrior Leader. And the greatest political genius  this country has ever known.

And of course his faithful fanatics in the PMO groom him like a queen bee, and feed his delusions.

But these days I wouldn't be surprised if they are all sitting there in shock, watching Stephen Harper weeping like a baby, or biting the carpet in his closet.

After finally realizing he has made a horrible, possibly fatal, and definitely elementary mistake.
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What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Politics and its Discontents - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 05:33

When construction crews begin digging a new canal this month across Nicaragua, connecting the Pacific and Atlantic, it’ll be a boon to global shipping and, the government says, to the economy of the second-poorest nation in the Americas. But activists, scientists and others are increasingly alarmed by the environmental impact of a 173-mile artificial waterway—wider, deeper and three and a half times the length of the Panama CanalThe grim facts include:
-The new canal and its infrastructure, from roads to pipelines to power plants, will destroy or alter nearly one million acres of rainforest and wetlands.

-The canal route lies in the middle of a hurricane belt. A storm like Hurricane Mitch, which killed 3,800 people in Nicaragua in 1998, would probably cause the canal to flood,
triggering mudslides that would breach locks and dams. Communities, homes, roads and power lines would be swamped.
Add to that the fact that the route canal will cut across Lake Nicaragua, which is the source of most of the country's fresh drinking water. As a consequence,
critics say ship traffic will pollute the water with industrial chemicals and introduce destructive invasive plants and animals.All in all, this sounds like yet another of the many recipes for disaster that the world is currently contending with or awaiting.

Recommend this Post

Stephen Harper's Outrageous Boondoggle Tour of the North

Montreal Simon - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 02:12

We knew it was just another extravagant photo-op, a chance for Stephen Harper to pose as a Great Strong Leader and a Great Explorer.

The man who found the remains of the Franklin expedition, and told Putin to take a hike...

We knew he made an absolute fool of himself.

We knew he managed to spend a week in the Arctic without ever mentioning the words climate change...

Which takes a certain skill. The kind they teach you in prison.

But holy moly poley bear, who knew it was so EXPENSIVE !!!! 
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Short Story in ‘Trust & Treachery’

Song of the Watermelon - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 00:54

TrustandTreachery-lowresThis one’s a long time coming, folks.

A short story I wrote a while back — “Infinitas,” it’s called, about a group of shipwreck survivors who slowly lose touch with reality while trying to forge a new society aboard their life raft — is now available in an anthology of political fiction called Trust and Treachery: Tales of Power and Intrigue. Please consider giving it a read.

Filed under: Literature Tagged: Dark Quest Books, Infinitas, short story, Trust and Treachery

Harper's no Conservative. Not remotely. He's Something Well Past Anything Conservative.

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 23:10
The father of true conservatism is, has always been, Edmund Burke. What I find most interesting about Burke and his conservatism was the underlying grasp of decency.

The sad reality is that traditional conservatism has been replaced, the new Right. People like Harper and Tony Abbott are of the "new Right."  You can let Edmund Burke demonstrate why.


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