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Is America About to be Stabbed in the Back by Its Own Defence Contractors?

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 09:56

It's one thing when an outfit like RubberMaid gets bought out, packed up and moved overseas.  It's another thing when what have been considered "strategic industries" go the same route.

Imagine if Lockheed or Raytheon decided to open start-up, mirror operations in, say, China to build and supply high-tech wizardry to the Chinese military. Sound preposterous?  It shouldn't.  It's happened before.  During WWII, certain US companies maintained their involvement with German companies producing key products for the Nazi war effort.

Aviation Week reports that momentum for something similar is building today.

U.S. companies are trying to replicate themselves in other countries, from factories and engineering centers to charitable giving and political lobbying. To do so, they are hiring locals in numbers not seen before, seeding them into U.S.-based corporate leaderships in more important ways, and “marrying” local companies in partnerships that go far beyond satiating politically driven offset requirements. The end-goal is to be ingrained locally, internationally, in order to tap the growing amount of business and talent happening outside the U.S.—and in spite of it. That growth comes as emerging economies develop and FMS plateaus (see chart). Mirroring the effect, foreign-based giants are adhering to that same game plan in the U.S., as evidenced by Airbus Group’s new Mobile, Alabama, plant and Finmeccanica’s DRS Technologies foothold. “We really believe to do this you can’t just fly in a team, conduct business and come back home,” says Gib LeBoeuf, vice president for Washington relations at Raytheon International. “We need to be there next door with our customers. We need to start building better relationships. “And we understand our customers today are no longer looking for the old ways of doing business, which was buying an FMS product from us here in the United States. They really are looking farther than that today. They’re looking for jobs just like we are. They’re looking to be able to coproduce, to co-develop. They want to have a piece of the action,” LeBoeuf adds. High-tech of course, especially military high-tech, is one of America's last bastions of economic viability. Much of the technology and knowledge-base these companies possess has been underwritten by the American government.  Once that walks out the door and sets up shop overseas, it will be a new world for America, economically and strategically.

Once you get that first foot out the door, the second one just seems to follow. 

Tuesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 06:35
This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- A Gandalf Group poll finds (PDF) that Canadians have come to perceive and expect a disturbing level of self-serving action by our political leaders. And while Dale Smith is right to note that we've largely limited the most obvious forms of corruption, there's still plenty of reason for concern that public policy is being driven by a few insiders and political cronies at the expense of the public.

- On that front, Gerald Caplan reminds us how the CRA is being used to silence only charities who promote social justice - while at the same time cutting back on collecting taxes from the people who owe the most:
The government somehow found an extra $13.4-million for the CRA to audit charities to ensure they were using tax dollars properly. As far as anyone can tell, all the new funds have been used to audit the government’s critics, none to audit its friends. The first wave of such audits mostly focused on environmental groups, but the net was later widened to include anti-poverty, international aid and human-rights groups that drive the Conservatives – and apparently the CRA – crazy.
Indeed the Harper government has never hidden its opposition for certain charities, like the very ones the CRA has chosen to audit. For a while, for example, outrageous attacks on “radical” environmental groups that opposed new pipelines became de rigueur for members of the Harper government.

There’s a scandal within a scandal here as well. While the CRA is disrupting the work of often tiny NGOs, the government is simultaneously laying off international tax auditors who specialized in investigating the tax avoidance strategies of 1-per-cent-ers and corporations. Tax dollars lost to the public treasury are estimated in the multi-billions, which is why the G20, including Canada, has formally made cracking down on tax evasion a priority. Except when it’s not.- And the CRA's selective attacks on charities fit all too well with the oil companies' own strategy of bullying dissenting voices into silence.

- PressProgress points out how the Cons' climate change negligence is sinking to new depths, with spokesflacks trying to pretend that Environment Canada's own scientific data is merely an "opinion" (to be ignored since it might be inconvenient for the Cons' oil baron base). And Aaron Wherry raises plenty of worthwhile followup questions which we can count on the Cons similarly refusing to address.

- Frank Soodeen highlights how secure housing for everybody serves both social and economic purposes.

- But of course, the Cons are instead determined to destroy the federal government's capacity to help people with boutique tax baubles - which lead to Stephen Tapp's call for a more sensible tax system.

- Finally, Salvator Cusimano and Nath Gbikpi write that the Cons are following the UK's model of deliberate exclusion and marginalization for refugees.

The Power of Imagination

Politics and its Discontents - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 06:24

I can imagine that giant ball being put to a better use, like capturing the hot air that the oil industry is so adept at spewing out, much more of which seems in the offing.

As reported in today's Star,
TransCanada Corp. plans to browbeat detractors of its ambitious Energy East pipeline with intense pressure so that they are distracted and forced to redirect their resources, according to documents obtained and released by Greenpeace on Tuesday.

These documents — dozens of pages — also describe the company’s public relations strategy, which includes detailed background research into environmental agencies that are opposing the pipeline and hiring “third parties” who will be able to do things when TransCanada cannot.Among the groups targeted are the David Suzuki Foundation, Equiterre, Avaaz, Ecology Ottawa and the Council of Canadians, all well-known opponents of the potential environmental despoliation the Energy East pipeline represents.

That TransCanada is planning a dirty tricks campaign is strongly suggested by the fact that it has engaged
the U.S. public relations firm Edelman, the largest in the world, to promote the massive oil pipeline project.As revealed by the CBC,
Edelman suggested a "campaign-style approach" and borrowing tactics from opposing environmental groups that "press their advantage" and successfully use online campaigns to leverage "large and passionate audiences that show a propensity to vote and take other political action."Part of the strategy being promoted by Edelman seems to be borrowed from the Stephen Harper/Joe Oliver playbook:
It suggests a three-pronged approach — promote the pipeline, respond aggressively to any criticism and apply pressure on opponents using "supportive third parties who can put pressure on, especially when TransCanada can't."

It's the last tactic that bothers Keith Stewart from Greenpeace, who originally obtained the documents. He said Edelman is proposing to discredit opponents to Energy East by using sympathetic allies who are being fed information by TransCanada.

"When they actually try to do it in a sneaky manner, having attacks on their critics being co-ordinated by TransCanada but not putting their name on it, that's where I have a real problem," said Stewart in an interview with CBC.Too bad Transcanada has gone out of country for this service. I'm sure Harper Inc. would have been glad to lend its well-honed expertise in such matters.Recommend this Post

Change Is In The Air

Northern Reflections - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 06:20

The Harperites won both by-elections yesterday. But it's instructive to focus on the number of eligible voters who tramped to the polls. In Oshawa-Whity, only 30% of those who could vote bothered to vote. But in Yellowhead -- that Tory stronghold -- only 15% of eligible voters bothered to show up.

The big shift came in Oshawa, where the Liberals tripled their numbers. Tasha Kheiriddin writes:

They didn’t win, but they increased their share of the vote in spectacular fashion. Caesar-Chavannes received over 13,000 votes, though only one third of eligible voters cast a ballot. In 2011, voter turnout was nearly twice as high — and only 9,000 souls voted Liberal. Impressive.
The NDP vote collapsed:

Their vote in Whitby-Oshawa declined by two-thirds from 2011, to a dismal eight per cent. Since they ran the same candidate, name recognition was not a factor — which means something else was. That could have been the anybody-but-CPC vote: Whitby-Oshawa has a sizeable chunk of union voters who should have been backing the NDP, but they may have switched their allegiance to the candidate they thought could upset the Tories — ie, the Liberal. 
Last time around, Stephen Harper won his majority by dividing the opposition. And, if there is any lesson to be taken from Oshawa, it's that the opposition now refuses to be divided.

Change is in the air.

Brownbag Jesus - Mulroney, Del Mastro, and Dykstra

Creekside - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 03:42

Jason Kenney's parliamentary secretary Rick Dykstra and Steve's former parliamentary secretary Dean Del Mastro yuck it up at a Del Mastro legal fees fundraiser in May 2013, headlined by brownbagging Muldoon and subsidized by you as political contributions.
"These were funds that were raised separately and essentially moved through the EDA. They were put into the EDA and moved straight back out again " explained the head of the Peterborough Conservative electoral district association without once using the phrase in-and-out scheme to describe the apparently legal tax receipts they issued to the $600-a-plate donors. Del Mastro's brother Doug sits on the board. 
Del Mastro, found guilty on three counts of violating the Canada Elections Act including faking documents to cover it up, will be sentenced along with his accountant to fuck all this Friday. He resigned his seat in the House of Commons two weeks ago in a move that allows him to retain his pension of some $44,000+ per year starting in the year 2025. 
Why, Mr. Speaker. Why?
In 1997, Brian Mulroney, PM of Canada from 1984 to 1993, received a $2.1-million settlement from the taxpayers of Canada for allegations that Mulroney had accepted bribes in the Airbus affair concerning government contracts. Mulroney testified under oath that he "never had any dealings" with arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber, knew him only "peripherally" and they had a cup of coffee "once or twice." 
Ten years later, Mulroney admitted to having received three secret payments of $1000 dollar bills in brown paper bags from his business partner Schreiber. Totalling $225,000 to $300,000 and beginning when he was still a member of parliament, this represents a somewhat smaller haul than he received from us for not having disclosed this earlier under oath.
P.S. Jason Kenney attended the above funder but not shown in photo..

Will Stephen Harper Really Take a Walk in the Snow?

Montreal Simon - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 03:21

When I first heard the rumours that Stephen Harper was about to go for a walk in the snow. Or whatever. 

And announce that he planned to step down in the New Year, I must admit I was stunned. It just didn't seem to make sense.

His fear campaign is boosting his polls, the unemployment rate is down, he's planning to spend billions of dollars bribing voters.

He's just launched this new Porky Action Plan campaign...

Aimed at brainwashing Canadians with OUR money.

And of course, he was the abominable star of the recent G20 summit...

So why would he choose to quit NOW, and give his job to Jason Kenney?
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An Open Letter to Janet Fraser

Song of the Watermelon - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 22:15 Dear Janet Fraser, First of all, let me start by congratulating you on your school board election victory this past Saturday. I voted for you enthusiastically, as I did your running mate Mischa Oak and the rest of the Green Party team on the city council and park board slates. It is truly gratifying to see a Green set to hold the balance of power on one of Vancouver’s three elected municipal bodies. Which brings me to my main reason for writing today. School board is scheduled to select a chairperson on December 8. I don’t know what direction you happen to be leaning at the moment, but I would like to respectfully urge you — barring any unforeseen eventualities — to vote to reappoint Vision Vancouver’s Patti Bacchus. Vision does not by any means deserve unconditional support, and I fully expect you will assess each issue before the board on a case-by-case basis according to its merits. I also happen to agree with the Green Party position that elected bodies in general function better when no single party is in control. But compared to Vision’s often poor performance on council and parks, on school board  the party has for the most part done a commendable job. Under Bacchus’s leadership, the board has lobbied relentlessly for increased provincial funding, made public schools more welcoming to LGBT students, and stood up against Chevron’s sinister efforts to buy influence. None of this is to suggest that there is no room for improvement. There always is. But I for one — again, barring exceptional circumstances — have no desire to see the school board take a giant leap backwards under an NPA chair. Please consider using your new status as swing vote to build upon, and add a tinge of green to, Vision’s many accomplishments on education. Thanks for taking the time to read over my thoughts, and congratulations once again on your victory. Sincerely, David Taub Bancroft
Filed under: Education, Municipal Politics, Open Letters Tagged: Green Party, Janet Fraser, NPA, Patti Bacchus, school board, Vancouver, Vision Vancouver


Sister Sages Musings - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 18:14

     I woke up this morning thinking about food banks. They are advertising now. Food banks are a relatively new phenomenon. I think they meant well. I think what ended up happening though is that food banks allowed the government to ignore poverty.

     Food bank use in Canada has escalated by 25 % . . . → Read More: Poverty

Will We Get It Right This Time? Do We Dare Get It Wrong?

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 10:09
David Cameron is adding his voice to the chorus warning that we're nearing the brink of another global economic meltdown.  The British prime minister, whose failed austerity programmes have done so much to bring Britain low, penned a lament for The Guardian following the G20 summit.

Cameron  generously pats himself on the back and proclaims that what Britain needs now is more Cameron than ever.

As I met world leaders at the G20 in Brisbane, the problems were plain to see. The eurozone is teetering on the brink of a possible third recession, with high unemployment, falling growth and the real risk of falling prices too. Emerging markets, which were the driver of growth in the early stages of the recovery, are now slowing down. Despite the progress in Bali, global trade talks have stalled while the epidemic of Ebola, conflict in the Middle East and Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine are all adding a dangerous backdrop of instability and uncertainty.

Cameron's op-ed is blatant electioneering.  That said, what if he and all the other voices are right?  What if we are heading for another global economic collapse?  What if?

A bit of risk assessment would seem in order.  Remember Harper's completely disingenuous excuse about how "no one could see it coming" to explain his inability to see the Great Recession of 2008 until it had already overwhelmed us?  Harper, being a chronic lying shitsack, was of course wrong.  Plenty saw it coming.  People like Krugman ("The Great Unraveling", 2005), Stiglitz and Nouriel Roubini saw it coming but Harper likes his economics at the undergrad level where ideology reigns unchallenged.

So what is Harper doing to ensure that he 'sees it coming' this time around?  What is he doing to position Canada to meet another seismic hit to the economy?  Apparently nothing.  His focus is on persuading Canadian voters that he's balanced the budget and set Canada on a path to perpetual budget surpluses forever and ever, amen.  Harper wants his base to believe that you can cut taxes, defund government and yet magically leave the country economically robust enough to weather whatever the future throws at us.  That's the sort of thing that appeals to the stupid, the gullible or those with 'faith based' minds adept at magical thinking. 

Canada got through 2008 relatively unscathed but it was thanks to the prudent fiscal policies of previous Liberal governments who handed Harper a government in surplus and a hefty 'rainy day' cash reserve.  Harper immediately set out to defund the government, slashing the GST, and setting Canada's banking industry on the path to emulating America's madness.  Fortunately the Great Recession arrived before Harper could leave us totally exposed - as he has this time.

Harper not only failed to foresee the Great Recession and prepare Canada to meet it, he absolutely bungled the recovery.  Iggy's Liberals also did their full share to fail Canada. Remember Steve & Mike's "Pinata Budget"?  By December, 2010, then parliamentary budget officer, Kevin Page, delivered a damning assessment, concluding that the Conservative/Liberal budget had utterly failed to produce the jobs that sort of stimulus spending could have created.

I have never forgiven the Liberals for Ignatieff.  When the recession sent Canada reeling and Harper had to prorogue Parliament, Ignatieff did nothing to answer the country's call.  Instead he treated the extended Christmas break as an opportunity to finish a book on his maternal family's history.  If he wasn't such a goddamned dilettante, Iggy could have forged a shadow, stimulus budget proposal and then pounced on Harper, forcing Harper to either adopt the Liberal budget or face the voters with their competing visions.  Instead Ignatieff returned empty handed save for an obscure book no one could be bothered to read.

Would Trudeau the Lesser do any better than Iggy if Canada was, yet again, caught by surprise by another global recession?  Or would he place the country in the same mess as his party did in 2008/2009?  A big part of the answer is whether the Liberal Party remains lashed to the lunatic ideology of neoliberalism that is wracking the world economy again.  Because the past six years have taught us that the responses to these calamitous meltdowns will not be found in any neoliberal playbook. 

Perhaps They Forgot (In)Alien(able) Rights?

Politics and its Discontents - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 09:45
The Edmonton Journal reports the following story about the Wildrose Party:
Wildrose members on Saturday voted down a “definitive statement” on equality rights, one day after leader Danielle Smith trumpeted the motion that had been adopted by the party last year.Perhaps its specificity offended some of the party's 'less progressive' members?
Delegates at the Wildrose annual general meeting in Red Deer voted 148 — 109 to reject a proposal to make policy a motion adopted last year defending the rights of all people, “regardless of race, religious belief, colour, gender, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status or sexual orientation of that person or class of persons.”

Instead, party members opted to maintain their existing policy recognizing that “all Albertans have equal rights, privileges and responsibilities.”With the kind of logic and language worthy of the Orwell imprimatur,
Smith described the vote as an affirmation of the party’s current policy, rather than as a defeat of the proposed plank.

“I think that the nature of the debate was that they were concerned there might be something excluded in that long list,” said Smith, who was not on the convention floor for the vote. I think that’s a reasonable position to take. I certainly don’t think anyone should take offence to it.She's probably right. The defeated equality statement did seem to have one glaring omission. There was not one mention of (in)alien(able) rights, and it would would hardly pay to offend these denizens of Rigel V11 :

The farsightedness of Wildrose is indeed breathtaking.
Recommend this Post

Monday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 07:00
Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Richard Wike notes that inequality is properly being recognized as a higher priority around the globe. But Steven Rattner observes that recognition of the issue isn't doing anything to resolve it, as income and wealth concentration are only getting worse. And Linda McQuaig discusses the need for far more political attention to the gap in Canada:
Apart from the obvious issue of fairness, this diversion of money to the top raises other issues that should be central to meaningful public debate.

For instance, there is growing evidence that a high level of inequality hurts economic growth -- presumably something voters might want to know. A staff report released earlier this year by economists at the International Monetary Fund noted: "Recent empirical work finds that high levels of inequality are harmful for the pace and sustainability of growth."

Even more worrisome is the impact on democracy, as Canada's 70 billionaires and hundreds of multi-millionaires become ever more dominant in the political sphere, with an effective veto over a range of economic policies.

It's hard to imagine a development more crucial to the future of Canadian democracy. Just don't expect to hear much about it during the coming election campaign.- Meanwhile, Yves Smith highlights another obvious (and dangerous) trend as corporate profits continue to grow at the expense of wages.

- Chris Dillow points out that it's utter folly to expect "innovation" in the private sector to accomplish anything other than to further enrich the wealthy - and that if we want to see new financial instruments developed for the public good, we'll only get them through public control:
(W)hy do we get so much "dark" innovation and so little "bright"? Banks are guilty not just of sins of commission - mis-selling and rigging markets - but of sins of omission, not developing good products sufficiently.

The answer lies in the basic economics of innovation - that the social benefits (or costs!) of it often differ from the private benefits. (There is, of course, nothing unusual about financial innovation in this regard.) The type of innovation that occurs will depend not upon its social utility, but upon whether its proceeds can be appropriated privately. And this incentivizes dark innovation. "Crap" and "shitty" CDOs which can be sold to fools - sometimes in a different division of the same bank - will be produced, whereas products with big external social benefits need not be. It might be no accident that a big chunk of the good innovation we've had in recent decades - such as index funds or venture capital trusts - has received nice tax breaks.
Herein, I suspect, lies an under-rated argument for intelligent state control (or even ownership) of banks. Such control might be necessary to rejig incentives towards bright innovation and away from dark. Mariana Mazzucato's argument (pdf) that the state can be entrepreneurial might be especially valid for the financial sector.- Susan Prentice and Holly McCracken follow up on this weekend's child care convention by reminding us how much good could be done for the cost of just one of the Cons' tax giveaways. And Aaron Wherry muses about the budget debate we might have seen if the Cons were willing to allow Parliament to discuss their latest fiscal update, rather than presenting it in an isolation chamber to stifle any response.

- Finally, Michael Harris writes that after a decade of relying on campaigns designed to win over just enough swing voters at election time to overcome general public unpopularity, Stephen Harper is now losing even his party's base.

Say what you will

Dawg's Blawg - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 06:53
Sometimes Henry Kissinger does tell it like it is: SPIEGEL: But we cannot tell the Ukrainians that they are not free to decide their own future. Kissinger: Why not?... Mandos

Just a Little Reminder

Politics and its Discontents - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 05:57
While the right enthuses about Dear Leader's performance on the G20 world stage, here's something to bring everyone back down to earth:

And letter writers also have some thoughts to share on the issue.

This from The Globe:
Yes, the U.S.-China climate deal is a really, really, really big deal (Yes, This Is A Really, Really Big Deal – editorial, Nov. 13). Climate change is not just one of the greatest threats facing humanity, it is the greatest threat. With a carbon fee and dividend, we can have a carbon-reducing mechanism, plus more jobs. Since B.C. introduced its revenue-neutral carbon tax, its clean technology industry has been flourishing and emissions per capita are down sharply.

I have conservative values, but Stephen Harper’s closed-minded approach to this issue does not resonate with these values. One hopes the China-U.S. emissions agreement will force him to do something.

Sharon Howarth, TorontoAnd from The Star:
Before he became prime minister, Stephen Harper famously said that climate change was a “socialist plot.” Now that we have the new U.S.-Chinese climate agreement, perhaps our Petro State leader will say, “This is just another plot. Canada sells oil. Let others worry about the planet’s future.”

Anthony Ketchum, TorontoRecommend this Post

Time For a Walk In The Snow?

Northern Reflections - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 05:49


Conrad Black observed last week that the Harper government had "run out of steam." And Stephen Mahar suggested that Jason Kenny was ready and willing to fill the prime minister's shoes. Michael Harris writes that the Conservative base has tired of Stephen Harper for several reasons -- but, most particularly, two. The first is his lack of integrity:

Harper came to power promising to do things differently than the Liberals of the Ad Sponsorship era. The base expected a new integrity reflecting the best conservative values — integrity, frugality and respect for Canadians. Instead, Canadians have been fed a steady dose of behaviour out of the prime minister’s own office that redefines unethical and, in some cases, verges into the criminal.

Harper’s former parliamentary secretary, Dean Del Mastro, has been convicted of election fraud, including exceeding spending limits, failing to report a personal contribution of $21,000, and knowingly submitting a falsified document. This came on the heels of an earlier election-related sleight of hand — the in/out scandal — that saw the party plead guilty to election fraud.

Then there’s Arthur Porter, the man Harper appointed to oversee Canada’s spy agency, who is in jail in Panama fighting extradition to this country, where he faces a bevy of criminal charges. Finally, one of Harper’s closest former aides, Bruce Carson, is facing influence peddling charges. Carson was hired by Harper despite the PM knowing of his previous criminal record for fraud.

And lest we forget, there’s the whole Wright/Duffy mess and the murky robocalls business and self-serving rejigging of Elections Canada’s abilities to promote voter engagement and prosecute wrong-doing.
Harper also sold himself as a frugal manager of the nation's pocketbook:

This prime minister blew close to a billion dollars on the G8 and G20 meetings in Toronto and Muskoka. He blamed the debacle on “thugs.” He wasted $28 million on commemorating the War of 1812 when he was closing veterans centres to save a paltry $3.8 million. And he has doubled the cost of the PM’s personal security to a whopping $20 million and climbing. The once ostensibly cost-conscious politician now thinks nothing of spending a cool million to fly his own limousine to India for a state visit or burning $45,000 of taxpayers’ money to attend a Yankee game.

When it comes to matters that go directly to the Conservative soul, Harper's most fervent supporters have found him wanting. And they are encouraging him to take a walk in the snow.

The Day Thousands Took to the Streets to Defend the CBC

Montreal Simon - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 03:25

It was a stirring sight. And for the beleaguered CBC it couldn't have come at a better time, or be more welcome.

Thousands of people marching in streets of Montreal and other places, to demand that the Harper regime stop killing the corporation.

CBC/Radio-Canada supporters gathered in Montreal, Matane, Sept-Îles, Quebec City, Saguenay, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières, Rimouski, Gaspé and Moncton in New Brunswick to protest against deep cuts and job losses at the Crown corporation.

And all I can say is it's about time.
Read more »

Can War Be Made to Look Too Beautiful?

Montreal Simon - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 01:03

It was the most stunning and beautiful tribute to those who died in the First World War I have ever seen.

A sea of ceramic poppies at the Tower of London, one for every British or Commonwealth soldier killed in that war.

But now the poppies are being uprooted.

The Christmas lights are going on.

And when Sainsbury's, a big supermarket chain, tried to mix war and Christmas, it was accused of making war look too BEAUTIFUL...
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The G20 Summit and the Day of Reckoning

Montreal Simon - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 22:39

It's hard to believe that it's been more than four years since the G20 Summit in Toronto, and my neighbourhood became a police state.

A dark sinister place where more than a thousand people were arrested, and caged like animals.

For no good reason.

And yes, the wheels of justice grind slowly.
Read more »

Fromm Picks Up Levant's Islamaphobic Batton and Runs With It

Anti-Racist Canada - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 22:18
On November 11, Ezra wrote an article accusing the Essex Board of Education in Ontario of exempting Muslims from participating in Remembrance Day and questioned the patriotism of Muslim Canadians. He suggested people who he outraged sign a petition that condemned the board's decision on a website his article linked to (Canada: Love It Or Leave) and, while there, to maybe purchase a charming t-shirt.

The problem with all of this is that none of it was true. Yes, there was a memo that went out from the school board which suggested alternative Remembrance Day commemorations, but the memo was directed at those schools where parents might have safety concerns as it had only been a couple of weeks since the murder of an honor guard at the Canadian War Memorial. The story was debunked as the product mainly of Levant's fevered, Islamaphobic, imagination, though he did do quite a good job of appealing to his xenophobic base of support.

One of those xenophobes though likely hats him as much as any Muslim though:

Yep, Paulie:

Really, it's not as if we should be surprised. Paulie might be an anti-Semite in addition to a racist, but he is also an opportunist and if there's any opening for him to inject his particular brand of Nativism and bigotry into the public sphere, he'll be in like Flynn.

Now, after a lot (and we mean a hell of a lot) of criticism, Levant backed down and even.... begrudgingly,... admitted he was wrong in the passive-aggressive way we have come to know and love from him. He also changed the website to omit mention of Muslims, though he still takes a crack at the school board:

He also noted that no parent in the entire Essex County School Board area had asked for an exemption for their child. In short, everyone participated.

So, the story ended in a bit of a whimper.

Except if you're Paulie Fromm and you want to continue to flog a dead horse:

Paulie posted the following video Sunday, a full 5 days after the original story Levant published was thoroughly discredited:

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