Posts from our progressive community

Unrepentant Sinner of the Year

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 09:30


And the award goes to - Chevron CEO John Watson.

While other top oil executives are on the run from angry shareholders and investors or snooping prosecutors, Watson says climate change could be good for Chevron.

Climate change - good for an oil company - how so? Well, according to Watson, he's expecting Chevron to wind up increasing its market share.

The oil industry sure is crazy. How crazy? This crazy:

A band of gutsy and resourceful truck drivers are crisscrossing dangerous front lines in wartorn Syria to deliver oil and other cargo, Raja Abdulrahim reports. Tanker trucks carry oil from Kurdish wells to Islamic State territory.

The Kurdish north is dependent for revenue mostly on oil and wheat, and wells are mostly idle because the Kurdish administration doesn’t have the ability to refine or export large quantities. Islamic State controls 10 oil fields in Syria but it has been forced to buy fuel from the Kurdish state, and that trade is indirectly funding the Kurdish militia fighting the extremists.


The Kurds have been selling their oil to ISIS to get money the Kurds need to fight ISIS. The Islamic State needs oil that it can refine and export to get money to fight its enemies and so it has to buy oil from the Kurds, one of its major enemies.
Crazy.

Okay, Next.

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 09:12

The American press is all over the story of the successful drone attack on Taliban commander, Mullah Mansoor, whose car was reduced to scrap metal by a missile fired from a stalking drone.

Why do these "we whacked their leader" stories so closely resemble "world's oldest person dies" stories? Both seem to happen with an almost boring regularity.

Yes, you're the new Taliban commander? Thanks, I'll write down your name and do remember to have somebody tell me when you're dead.

There's always another "world's oldest person" and there's always another Taliban or al Qaeda or ISIS commander.

Okay, next.

Tony Blair Unveils His Defence

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 09:01
Tony Blair is looking increasingly nervous as he awaits the imminent release of the Chilcot Inquiry report into Britain's role in instigating and conducting the Iraq War that toppled Saddam Hussein and plunged the region into chaos. The report is set for release on July 6.

Blair is sticking to his fantasy that conquering Iraq was "the right thing to do" but his latest fallback is that the British and American governments "profoundly underestimated" the chaos that would arise during the occupation.



Blair has no choice but to stick to the justification defence. Anything else would be a confession to war crimes that could send him to a place with no Michelin star kitchens or Savile Row tailors.

The silly git doesn't have a lot of friends in the UK any more. Even his Labour Party, now headed by Jeremy Corbyn, is calling for a war crimes investigation into Tony Blair.

Blair's obvious and worsening nervousness may have something to do with the fact that he has already read the report's findings. He knows what's coming.

I wonder if Tony has his bags packed, ready at a moment's notice to bolt to Saudi Arabia or some other sanctuary?


Just What The World Needs

Northern Reflections - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 05:28

Bob Fife reports, in the Globe and Mail, that Stephen Harper will resign his seat before Parliament resumes in September:

“He is not going to be there when the House returns in September,” one close associate said. “He has had some good conversations about what is next for him. … He has some board discussions happening and he’s looking at some options about setting up his own institute.”
Apparently, the institute will focus on foreign policy:

The institute is in its early stages of discussion, but friends say it won’t be academic or domestic-policy focused, such as the conservative think tank founded by former Reform Party leader Preston Manning. Mr. Harper’s interests will be directed largely at global “big picture” issues that he has espoused over the years.

His former policy director, Rachel Curran, said once Mr. Harper leaves politics, he will want to champion global free trade, building on his success in negotiating deals with South Korea and the European Union, as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“He spent tremendous time and energy really concluding these trade agreements and opening up trade corridors,” Ms. Curran said. “He has got a really recognized expertise and a lot of respect internationally in terms of his kind of knowledge.”
She said Mr. Harper will also want to promote his geopolitical thinking – whether it’s on human rights, the promotion of democracy or standing up to authoritarian regimes.
Mr. Harper knows something about authoritarian regimes. He'll need money to fund the institute. Word has it that he has been spending time lately with Las Vegas casino magnet Sheldon Adelson. His base might be a little concerned about where the money comes from. But one suspects the base is not on Harper's mind these days.
No, he's thinking about the world. And that's just what the world needs -- more Stephen Harper.
Image: pressprogress.ca

Pay to Play in BC with Spectra

Creekside - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 05:26
Six years ago the BC government decided not to bother doing its own environmental assessments any more because it was so much more efficient to hand that responsibility over to the industry-captured federal National Energy Board for rubber-stamping. That deal was called the Environmental Assessment Equivalency Agreement.

In January the BC Supreme Court ruled that the BC government did not have the authority to pass off its constitutional obligations onto the NEB and found this agreement "invalid" as it served as an end run around the province having to consult BC First Nations over major pipeline projects on their territories. Score one for Gitga'at First Nation.

Now this equivalency agreement can be cancelled by either the NEB or the BC Environmental Assessment Office at any time with 30 days notice but Christy Clark opted instead for another end run - passing an Order In Council last Thursday exempting five Peace region natural-gas projects from the provincial environmental assessments the Supreme Court says it must now carry out: 
The Spectra South Peace pipeline, Spectra's Dawson gas plant, Spectra's Fort Nelson North plant, Nova Gas Transmission's Groundbirch pipeline, and Nova Gas Transmission's Horn River mainline extension.As noted by Charlie Smith in the Georgia Straight : Christy Clark cabinet issues order-in-council to get around court ruling on environmental assessments
"Premier Christy Clark's former deputy chief of staff, Kim Haakstad, is Spectra Energy's manager of technical workforce strategy."Ms Haakstad was forced to resign her position as Christy's chief of staff in March 2013 over the "Quick Win" ethnic vote election scandal but was back in May stumping for Christy in her bid to win a seat in her home riding of Vancouver-Point Grey - which she lost, making her a Premier without a riding until a safer seat could be found for her. 
Haakstad made the jump to Spectra three months later in August 2013. 

Over at RossK's killer reporting and banjo emporium, some of his commenters wondered if Spectra contributed to the $50,000 top up salary Christy receives from the BC Libs each year.   
Dunno, guys, but Texas-based Spectra has been pretty good to the BC Libs





From the BC gov press release
"EAO has begun a process for the projects which are also impacted by the court decision but have not been approved or constructed. These projects include: Approved Projects – not yet constructed
North Montney Mainline Pipeline Project; andEnbridge Northern Gateway Project. Projects currently under review

Trans Mountain Expansion Project; andTowerbirch Expansion Project.Following a process set out by EAO including consultation with Aboriginal groups, ministers will make environmental assessment decisions on these projects according to the act."Extra homework : Why Do So Many BC Liberal Operatives End Up in Trouble?
Criminal charges, convictions, and more plague the party..

How Could The Con Media Blow The Elbowgate Story So Badly?

Montreal Simon - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 04:53


Yesterday I tried to imagine how disappointed the Con media must have been, after trying to turn Elbowgate into a monster scandal.

Only to discover that far from destroying Justin Trudeau, their breathless coverage, and the clownish overreaction of the Cons and the NDP, had only made Justin even more popular.

So I'm glad somebody out there is wondering how could the pompous asses of the parliamentary press gallery have misread the country's reaction so badly?
Read more »

Why We Can't Get Rid of Stephen Harper's Porky Legacy

Montreal Simon - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 02:13


They were the ads no Canadians could avoid, no matter how hard they tried. For they were everywhere.

Stephen Harper's porky propaganda ads, paid for with gazillions of OUR money.

And although the Liberal government is moving to ban that kind of blatantly partisan advertising.

The Liberal government has introduced new rules to prevent the use of public funds for partisan advertising.

Brison explicitly tied the measures to criticisms of the previous Conservative government’s use of public funds for advertising, such as the ubiquitous Economic Action Plan campaigns.

Now it seems we have another problem.
Read more »

Foreign Policy Wrap-Up - Saudi Arabia, Israel in the News

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 17:37

The Yanquis, it seems, are leaving Canada's federal government in the foreign policy dust.

First up, Saudi Arabia - or what Steffie Dion and Slick would call our "good ally."  In the course of debate over a new Senate bill that would allow the victims of the 9/11 (mainly Saudi) terrorist attacks to sue the Saudi monarchy, House members of both parties got together to castigate the Saudis for stoking extremism. That, in case you're wondering, is code for ISIS and al Qaeda.

“The Saudis and the Saudi royal family have been right up to their eyeballs in terrorist activity,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.).


Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), the chairman of a House subcommittee on terrorism, noted that “Wahhabi followers are more easily recruited by terrorist groups.”

Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman of California accused Riyadh of funding religious leaders who “preach violent murder against those who they disagree with.”

During the hearing, Rohrabacher asked the four Saudi expert witnesses — who included former 9/11 commissioner Tim Roemer — to raise their hands if they believed the Saudi Royal family did not know of the 9/11 plot ahead of time. Two experts, Karen Elliot House of the Belfer Center and Daniel Byman of Georgetown University, raised their hands, while Roemer and Simon Henderson of the Washington Institute kept their hands down. Later, Roemer said the question was too complex to deal with in an up-or-down fashion, but Rohrabacher rejected that view. “The Saudis have been financing terrorism now for 20 years at least,” Rohrabacher said.
Meanwhile, as Israeli slips into the arms of fascism, its newest Democratic BFF, Hillary "what's in it for me?" Clinton was handed a bit of a setback today. The Dems know they've got a huge problem with Bernie Sanders who, unlike Hillary, consistently outpolls Donald Trump as the peoples' choice for president.
Hillary, for a lot of good reasons, is not well liked. Her negatives far outweigh her positives among American voters. Bernie is the opposite. The Dems know that if they throw the nomination to Hillary - and they will - they'll be vulnerable not only to Trump but, potentially, to Bernie supporters also who threaten to boycott the polls on election day.
Operation Placate Bernie is underway. The Democratic organization is trying to play nice with Sanders, inviting him in to help draft party policy. Sanders foreign policy advisor, Jim Zogby, says that would mean a tougher approach to Israel including calling Israel's half-century occupation of the Palestinian territory a - gasp - "occupation." Remember, this is coming from the strongest Jewish presidential candidate in American history.
We'll just have to wait for Bernie's shopping list to unfold but, chances are, it won't be Hillary-friendly.
To Zogby and other Sanders supporters, the independent Vermonter’s 20 states won in the Democratic nominating contest have given his message a mandate. In conceding appointments on the drafting committee, the DNC has acknowledged Sanders’s clout among the party electorate. And Sanders’s picks, sure to clash with those selected by Democratic leaders and the more hawkish Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and likely nominee, are his most powerful statement yet that he intends to fight for the party’s future beyond the convention in Philadelphia.


Think Of "Dr. Strangelove" on Steroids

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 10:08

The good news is that your chance of dying in a car accident isn't very high, about one in 120 in the United States.

The bad news is that the risk of an average person dying from an extinction event is five times greater than the car accident risk.

So we demand cars that have the best brakes, stability control systems, crash absorbing zones, air bags, seat belts and more. We spend a fortune to build and maintain our highways and hire police to enforce our traffic laws.

Well then, what are we spending on that extinction event risk, the far more dangerous threat? Well, when you add it all up, it comes out to just about bugger all.

When it comes to extinction-level risks there are several. Climate change and nuclear war are 1 and 2. Britain's astronomer royal, Baron Martin Rees, gives us a no better than 50-50 chance that we'll succumb this century to what he calls "bio-terror or bio-error." According to Rees, now that we've privatized scientific research, there's stuff going on in the big corporate labs, unmonitored, that could easily wipe us out if someone goofs up or should it fall into the wrong hands. He gives many examples in his book, Our Final Hour, that - trust me - you probably don't want to read.

I was born at the start of the Cold War and grew up under the constant threat of nuclear Armageddon. When the Soviet Union collapsed we felt a weight had been lifted off our shoulders. The Doctor Strangelove era was over. Well that didn't last long. It's back. More people have nuclear arsenals and some of them are much more likely to use them than anyone who had them back in the 70s. And now we've got all these other extinction-grade threats.

"[N]early all of the most threatening global catastrophic risks were unforeseeable a few decades before they became apparent. Forty years before the discovery of the nuclear bomb, few could have predicted that nuclear weapons would come to be one of the leading global catastrophic risks. Immediately after the Second World War, few could have known that catastrophic climate change, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence would come to pose such a significant threat."
There are no easy answers. Confronting these challenges, reducing the risks to something manageable, survivable is going to require a different model of organization and governance. We'll have to redefine society as we've known it right down to our notions of basic citizenship. That's because we'll never be able to reduce this plethora of risks nearly enough which demands that we also focus on building our resilience, our ability to cope and adapt. You can't do that with social cohesion in tatters as we have today. 
It will take real leadership and vision of a calibre we haven't known for years.

And They Attacked Michelle for Having Bare Arms.

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 09:28

Remember when Republicans criticized Michelle Obama for appearing in a sleeveless dress? Oh, that was so undignified, so unsuitable for America's first lady.

Well, look what they've got in store.


There she is, bare cheeks, in a thong with a gun on the wing of Her Donald's private jetliner. But wait, there's more. Here's a picture of Melania inside that jet, looking for all the world like some drug lord's moll with a briefcase overflowing with jewelry.


Thank the Lord on High that all them good, God-fearin Americans won't have to put up with this any more:



The Police State Edges Closer

Politics and its Discontents - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 05:49


Perpetually down in the mouth because they are expected to be accountable whenever they beat, shoot or kill a member of the public, police officers in the United States will undoubtedly be buoyed up by legislation that has been passed in Louisiana. The bill, clearly serving to minimize and marginalize the "Black Lives Matter" movement, is entitled "Blue Lives Matter" and would classify any violent attack on police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel a hate crime.

Louisiana State representative Lance harris had this to say about the bill:
“I certainly do think there is a need for it. If you’re going to have an extensive hate crime statute then we need to protect those that are out there protecting us on a daily basis,” Harris said. “There is a concerted effort in some areas to terrorize and attack police and I think this will go forward and stop that.”Not everyone agrees:
Anti-Defamation League Regional Director Allison Padilla-Goodman pointed out that crimes against police officers are already aggressively prosecuted under Louisiana law: “The bill confuses the purpose of the Hate Crimes Act and weakens its impact by adding more categories of people, who are already better protected under other laws.”
In fact, the notion of a hate law for an occupational category weakens real hate laws, which were enacted for a particular purpose:
“Hate Crimes are designed to protect people’s most precious identity categories,” Padilla-Goodman said, “like race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, and gender identity. Proving the bias intent is very different for these categories than it is for the bias intent of a crime against a law enforcement officer.”As you will see in the following news report, something very similar to Louisiana's bill is now before Congress:



Just one more step, some would argue, in bringing the police state to full fruition.Recommend this Post

Is The TPP Dead?

Northern Reflections - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 05:20
 
Michael Geist thinks it might be. He writes:

First, the TPP may not have sufficient support to take effect, since under the terms of agreement both Japan and the United States must be among the ratifying countries. Implementation has been delayed in Japan where politicians fear a political backlash and seems increasingly unlikely in the U.S., where the remaining presidential candidates have tried to outdo one another in their opposition to the deal.
Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have been outspoken critics of the TPP from start of their campaigns. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has shifted her position from supporter to critic, recently unequivocally stating that “I oppose the TPP agreement and that means before and after the election.” 
If the deal goes down, that's good news -- because new models are emerging for international trade agreements:
Canada already has an alternate blueprint for a trade strategy to open up key markets throughout Asia. By the government’s own admission, the Canada-EU Trade Agreement offers a better investor-state dispute settlement system than the TPP, while the Canada-South Korea free trade agreement, which was concluded in 2014, eliminates tariffs without requiring an overhaul of Canadian or South Korean laws.
There are criticisms of both of those deals, but they offer better models than the TPP.
And a recent analysis by the C.D. Howe Institute claims that the proposed agreement offers Canada  few incentives:
For example, a recent C.D. Howe study found that the Canadian gains may be very modest, with some gains offset by losses on issues such as copyright and an outflow of royalties. Given the limited effect of staying out (the study describes the initial impact as “negligible”), some have suggested that killing the agreement might be a good thing for the country.
The C.D. Howe study, which is consistent with several other reports that found that TPP benefits to Canada are among the lowest of the 12 countries, should not come as a surprise. Canada already has free trade deals with several key agreement partners, including the U.S., Mexico, Chile and Peru. Moreover, some Canadian business sectors have told the government they would be better off removing inter-provincial trade barriers before working to open markets like Vietnam and Malaysia.
The government is currently holding cross-country hearings on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It will be interesting -- and critical -- to see what Chrystia Freeland and Justin Trudeau decide to do with another piece of Stephen Harper's legacy.
Image: youtube.com

Elbowgate: How the Haters Failed to Hurt Justin Trudeau

Montreal Simon - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 04:06


In my last post I ran a video by John Oliver, where he strongly suggested that Justin Trudeau had apologized enough for elbowgate.

And that it was all just a tempest in a very Canadian teapot.

Now it seems that's also what most Canadians believe.
Read more »

Now, More Than Ever - Boycott/Divest/Sanction

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 05/23/2016 - 19:28

“If there is something that frightens me about the memories of the Holocaust, it is the knowledge of the awful processes which happened in Europe in general, and in Germany in particular, 70, 80, 90 years ago, and finding traces of them here in our midst, today, in 2016.”
                                                                   General Ya'ir Golan                                                                    Deputy Chief of Staff, Israeli Army
The appointment by Benjamin Netanyahu of ultra-right extremist, Avigdor Lieberman, to the second highest office in Israel's government, defence minister and de facto consul of Palestine, demonstrates that Israel is on a headlong dive into fascism.
General Golan's warning, delivered during a Holocaust Day speech, has effectively ended his career and put his life in danger - from the threat posed by his own countrymen. Speaking the truth in a state of fascism can be a death sentence.
Former member of the Knesset and peace activist, Uri Avnery, has seen the signs before as a young Jewish schoolboy witnessing the collapse of the Weimar Republic. He was lucky. His parents fled Germany just in time. The world knows what befell those who weren't as quick.
"I was there when it happened, a boy in a family in which politics became the main topic at the dinner table. I saw how the republic broke down, gradually, slowly, step by step. I saw our family friends hoisting the swastika flag. I saw my high-school teacher raising his arm when entering the class and saying “Heil Hitler” for the first time (and then reassuring me in private that nothing had changed.)

"I was the only Jew in the entire gymnasium (high school.) When the hundreds of boys – all taller than I – raised their arms to sing the Nazi anthem, and I did not, they threatened to break my bones if it happened again. A few days later we left Germany for good.

"General Golan was accused of comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. Nothing of the sort. A careful reading of his text shows that he compared developments in Israel to the events that led to the disintegration of the Weimar Republic. And that is a valid comparison.

"Things happening in Israel, especially since the last election, bear a frightening similarity to those events. True, the process is quite different. German fascism arose from the humiliation of surrender in World War I, the occupation of the Ruhr by France and Belgium from 1923-25, the terrible economic crisis of 1929, the misery of millions of unemployed. Israel is victorious in its frequent military actions, we live comfortable lives. The dangers threatening us are of a quite different nature. They stem from our victories, not from our defeats."


"The discrimination against the Palestinians in practically all spheres of life can be compared to the treatment of the Jews in the first phase of Nazi Germany. (The oppression of the Palestinians in the occupied territories resembles more the treatment of the Czechs in the “protectorate” after the Munich betrayal.)

"The rain of racist bills in the Knesset, those already adopted and those in the works, strongly resembles the laws adopted by the Reichstag in the early days of the Nazi regime."


"By the way, when the Nazis came to power, almost all high-ranking officers of the German army were staunch anti-Nazis. They were even considering a putsch against Hitler . Their political leader was summarily executed a year later, when Hitler liquidated his opponents in his own party. We are told that General Golan is now protected by a personal bodyguard, something that has never happened to a general in the annals of Israel."

This has been building for a long time. The world was put on notice just over 20-years ago when Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, put to death by a countryman, for his moderate beliefs and pursuit of peace.
"In Rabin's pocket was a blood-stained sheet of paper with the lyrics to the well-known Israeli song "Shir LaShalom" ("Song for Peace"), which was sung at the rally and dwells on the impossibility of bringing a dead person back to life and, therefore, the need for peace."

What does all this say about the government of the day and our prime minister? Trudeau chose to support the Tories' motion to censure the BDS movement when he should have been embracing it, adding Canada's voice to the international community's.  Instead Trudeau chose political expediency at the expense of everything else, including morality and the honour of Canada.


Wouldn't It Be Great If This Was Comedy?

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 05/23/2016 - 13:31
It's a Big Club and you ain't in it.


No Non-Polluting Victories on Victoria Day…

Left Over - Mon, 05/23/2016 - 10:16

 

Stephen Hume: Province’s secrecy puts people’s health at risk STEPHEN HUME
More from Stephen Hume
Published on: May 20, 2016 | Last Updated: May 20, 2016 3:25 PM

 

Finally, the  Mayor of Vancouver, BC,  Gregor Robertson is earning the trust that voters have given him for a few years now…and possibly starting the next campaign for the Provincial election somewhat early? So be it! However, Trudeau went on and on, pre-election, about how he disapproved of new pipelines to the West Coast..now? Not so much…be careful who you put your trust in…Christy Clark did the same thing..what we need in BC is a referendum, just like the HST..and then it will be final!

We are all  so tired of  these constant  threats to our well being…at the same time, we are being  bombarded with news of Portugal and  Germany  being  between  50 and  100% self sufficient in energy,  without fossil fuels..why do we lag so far behind?  Why aren’t we harnessing the clean power that exists for the developing ?

Why is the Federal government still supporting the dumping of contaminated soil on Vancouver Island,  in our  neighbors’ hills, above the site of Shawnigan Lake,  drinking water for thousands?  Does no one in our country with any [power at all not  read about what is going on in the  States, where  contaminated water is being  found  in countless places that once thought their drinking water was safe?

While the chattering classes are distracted on Twitter by some inane  shenanigans  in Parliament,  our medical system is going straight to hell, our water is being polluted  with impunity, and  our  new savior is off to Japan to lick his self-inflicted wounds  and take some more idiotic  selfies…and we  here in Canada pay homage to a long- dead queen with our own  version of bread and circuses…

Happy Victoria Day…

 


The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump Or a Caisson-Ride Down Pennsylvania Avenue

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 05/23/2016 - 10:10



Let's hope he doesn't pick Ted Cruz as his running mate. That said I doubt Trump would want a running mate whose popularity could drag down his own. Trump-Cruz, possibly the worst ticket imaginable.

There's been a lot of speculation about Trump in the Oval Office, most of it focusing on the rise of a fascist state. Some speculate that Trump would go extra-constitutional, dissolve Congress, suspend the Constitution. Me? I don't believe it.

Two things might happen. One involves a state funeral, the other a trial on charges of "high crimes and misdemeanours."

There are many powerful people in the United States, all of whom have taken an oath to defend their country and uphold its Constitution. Many hold their Constitution in near religious reverence and, to them, the state and their constitution are inseparable. Included in this group are America's military commanders and the key personnel in its national security apparatus. The latter group has already proclaimed Trump as a threat to American security and global stability should he become president. I expect that conversation has been echoed behind many closed doors at the Pentagon.

My guess is that some very powerful voices would speak very softly to president-elect Trump laying out some fairly stark options for his presidency. For all his bluster and eccentricity, I don't see much courage in Donald Trump, any willingness to sacrifice for a cause. No, he won't like it but he will do as he's told once he realizes what's at stake.

Kids, I Think You're Going To Have To Take Your Future Into Your Own Hands

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 05/23/2016 - 09:38

Has there ever been a phrase more inviting of abuse than, "for their own good"?

People with power like to invoke that phrase to justify what they do to those without as much power. Things get done for, and quite often to, others "in their best interests." The powerful like to do that because they get to define "their own good" and "their best interests" almost invariably in ways that closely mirror the good interests of the powerful themselves.

In this way people with power justify clinging to power long after it should have passed to a new group, perhaps the next generation. After all those calling the shots are only acting in the youngsters' "best interests" and "for their own good."

Governance, however, is not parenting. Those who wield and broker power rarely meet any recognizable fiduciary standard. What is paramount to any government is to still govern after the next election.

Now there's your problem. The kids are still looking to the horizon. They're wondering what they can expect when 2050 or 2060 or 2070 rolls around. The more they look the less they like what they see.

For those in power, their horizon is the current term in office with an option to renew. They see things differently than the kids see things because the kids have to visualize the future, their future. Those in power, snicker among themselves, knowing they'll be taking the eternal dirt nap before the future descends.

Think of it in the context of a commercial airline flight. The passengers are all youngsters. The cockpit crew, however, they're geezers. They're not going to be around for the landing, they won't make it. How does that make you feel if you're enduring the torment of a centre seat in cattle class?

Wouldn't it make sense for all the passengers to get up and toss out the captain and first officer before they managed to get that aircraft off the ground? Shouldn't they demand a flight crew who would at least be around to handle the landing?

In these perilous times that we're entering, that's the predicament facing today's young people, the under 40s. They have to wrest power away and into their own hands. We have shown, time and again, that we're as responsible as drunken sailors when it comes to planning for the future and meeting our fiduciary obligations to our younger generation. We are showing no sign that will change, really change, either.

Time, as the near unanimous chorus of scientists reminds us, is not on our children's side. The Big Bad Wolf is coming and all we've got is a house made out of straw. The kids are going to need something a lot better than what we're planning to bequeath to them. If we're not going to provide it, then it's up to them to take it.

I don't know if they have a sense of their steadily worsening predicament and how urgent it is that they move us out of power and fill our positions with their own. For their sake, the sooner the better. For, once they displace us, they're bound to find they define "their own good" and "their best interests" much differently than we chose to for them.

There Goes the Neighbourhood. Chalk Another One Up for Fascism. And, Yes, It Has Nukes.

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 05/23/2016 - 09:22


Washington is rightly concerned with who else has nuclear weapons.

North Korea is a case in point. The US has to fret that whatever iteration of lunatic Kim runs the place could get a bit twitchy and launch a warhead or two.

Pakistan likewise keeps Pentagon defence planners up at night. Two threats there. One is the outbreak of war between India and Pakistan leading to a nuclear exchange that might quickly spread to adjacent regions and then, who knows? The other is the prospect of Islamist radicals, either terrorists or from within the Pakistani military, commandeering some or all of Pakistan's arsenal.

Now there's a new name they'll be chalking up on their Worry Board, Israel. This follows Benjamin Netanyahu's embrace of  the Israeli ultra-nationalist party, Yisrael Beitenu, and the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as the country's defence minister. Critics claim the move represents the evolution of Israel into a full blown fascist state, one with its own substantial nuclear arsenal.

Former Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, says Netanyahu has planted the seeds of fascism. Netanyahu's former defence minister, Moshe Yaalon, spurned a new portfolio, quitting instead, and warning, "Extremist and dangerous elements have taken over Israel and the Likud and are threatening (society)."

As the Jerusalem Post points out this means that Lieberman, as defence minister, now becomes Czar of the West Bank and occupied Palestine.

So how is this going down with Israel's neighbours, a.k.a. the Arab Muslim world? As you might expect. Egypt's military government, until now one of Israel's few friends in the region, is troubled by Lieberman's appointment and the shift in Israel's government and society.
Making the Egyptians deal with Lieberman is a slap in the face to Cairo, given that he once suggested destroying the Aswan Dam and sweeping the Egyptians into the sea. Knowing that the erratic and extremist Lieberman has his finger on the nuclear button must also be nervous-making for the al-Sisi government. The pan-Arab leftwing London daily, al-Quds al-`Arabi, reported that circles around al-Sisi were “shocked” at the prospect of having to work with Lieberman, and that they consider his appointment a “red line” after he threatened them with genocide.

On his way out the door, Yaalon warned that the extremism, violence and racism that has manifested in Israeli society is now spreading into the military.

The former prime minister, Barak, warned Israelis that there'll be a price to pay. "The outgoing defense minister, Moshe Ya'alon, was the victim of a purge. In the initial months, Liberman will give off the impression that he is moderate. Sooner or later, however, we will see the price we have to pay."






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