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I Used to Find Him Odd. Now I Know He's Nuts.

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 08:41
He's the Republican presidential nomination front runner (if only because there's no one else in the race yet) and he's a special guy at that.  In his own humble opinion, Ted Cruz is a modern day Galileo.  And those of us who accept the scientific consensus on climate change?  Well, in the curious mind of Galileo Cruz, we're "Flat Earthers."

Speaking to the Texas Tribune on Tuesday, Cruz said that contemporary “global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-Earthers.”
“You know it used to be it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier,” he said.

In Cruz’s opinion, when it comes to climate change, his denier position places him alongside 17th Century scientist Galileo Galilei, who was also considered to be denying the mainstream knowledge of his day. According to Cruz’s logic, he is taking the minority view that human-caused climate change is not happening, just as Galileo took the minority view that the scientific method should be trusted over the Catholic Church.

Crazy is not considered grounds for disqualification for running for the Republican presidential nod.  See:  Santorum, Rick.

Politically sidelined, Part 2: Cis, trans, ultra ad ultimam

Dawg's Blawg - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 08:09
For those of us who recognize that gender is plastic—if not infinitely so—the debate over the notion of “transgender” is of considerable interest. The actual number of “trans” persons in the population is minuscule. Yet the issue of discrimination against... Dr.Dawg

New column day

accidentaldeliberations - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 08:07
Here, on the Saskatchewan Party's choice to turn the graduate retention credit into a purely political goodie rather than a program which could conceivably retain Saskatchewan graduates, while at the same time devaluing the very concept of education for its own sake.

For further reading...
- The province's explanation (such as it is) can be found here. And CBC reported on the changes here.
- I allude in the column to Ontario's choice to put tuition policy directly in the hands of employers as reported by Simona Chiose here.
- And Kevin Milligan's analysis of the problems with the Harper Cons' non-refundable tax baubles applies even more to the graduate retention credit.

A Little Perspective, Please.

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 08:04
There's a split in the Liberal ranks over Canada's role in our notional air war against ISIS.  Should we be bombing ISIS forces in Iraq?  Should we expand our missions into Syria?

Some, like the Loudmouth Liberal see this as our moral duty, utterly unassailable.  Our six CF-18s are needed to keep these monsters at bay.  It's our duty as real Canadians to do our bit.

This is where a little perspective might come in handy.  Now, ISIS is a fundamentalist Sunni band of brigands.  These insurgent/rebels had to come from somewhere and nobody's pointing fingers at Shiite Iran.  That's because they're largely from the Sunni Gulf States.

Let's have a look at some of those Sunni countries in the neighbourhood.  First up is Egypt.  What could Egypt contribute to this melee?  Egypt is the fourth-largest operator of the F-16.  They've got about 228 of those.  Add to that 18 Mirage 2000s and 200-older jet fighters.

How about the Saudis?  They've got even better stuff.  150 F-15s, 40 Eurofighter Typhoons, and 80 Panavia Tornadoes.  That's a mittful.  Next up, Jordan.  The RJAF has about 60 F-16s.  Kuwait has 35 F-18s and they're a lot newer than ours.  Even Qatar has a dozen Mirage 2000s.

Oh yeah, I've left out NATO's Muslim member, Turkey.  It's one of a handful of countries that actually produces its own F-16s and they currently operate about 260 of those multirole fighters with more coming off the line all the time.

All totaled that comes out to well over 800 combat aircraft that would be just dandy for suppressing ISIS.  It's an aerial armada big enough that they could pretty much do the job by dropping bricks if there is ever a bomb shortage.

So, to sum up, THEY have many hundreds of modern multi-role fighters parked right on ISIS' doorstep.  WE have six F-18s.

He Wants It Both Ways

Northern Reflections - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 05:32

When Stephen Harper rode into town almost ten years ago, he claimed that he was the new sheriff and he vowed to make Canadians feel safe. To that end, Steve Sullivan writes, he made all kinds of changes:

He amended the Dangerous Offender law, brought in mandatory minimum penalties for gun crimes, raised the age of consent, toughened penalties for white collar criminals and abolished accelerated parole review.

He repealed the faint hope clause for killers and brought in consecutive sentences for multiple killers. He cracked down on sex offenders, drug dealers and young offenders. He toughened prison rules and made pardons much harder to get. He went after cyber-bullies and those found by the courts ‘not criminally responsible’.

Now Harper wants to limit statutory release, abolish parole for some killers, crack down on sex offenders (again) and, of course, get those terrorists.
If you listen to Harper's election pitch, you'd have to conclude that, as a sheriff, he's been an abject failure:

Harper’s election year message is clear: Canada is a perilous place. In 2015, things are apparently so bad here that we need judges to give police and spies permission to break the law to deal with “terrorists” who don’t seem to know any actual terrorists. And rural Canadians, of course, need to arm themselves right away. Because terrorism. Or murderers out on parole. Or both.

 Harper’s campaign slogan this fall might as well be, “Don’t Keep Calm and Vote Conservative.” Or, “A Vote for Justin Trudeau is a Vote for Terrorism.” Even former U.S. presidential candidate Ralph Nader has noted the deep strain of paranoia in Harper’s campaign strategy.

But after almost 10 years of the Harper government, it turns out we’re still in mortal danger from … everything. Listen to the PM and you’d be forgiven for thinking there’s more danger around today that there was when he took power. And the message is getting through — a recent poll suggests Canadians feel less safe than they did a few years ago.
Never mind the facts:

I could, I suppose, point out the facts. That Canada is not a more dangerous place. That the homicide rate is lower than it has been in decades. That there’s no evidence whatsoever to suggest that more children are being sexually abused by predators today than a decade ago.

And can we please stop pretending that Canada was until recently some kind of sleepy and innocent cul-de-sac when it comes to terrorism? Air India ring a bell? The FLQ? How about Denis Lortie, who walked into the Quebec legislature with a gun 30 years ago and killed three people?
Clearly, Mr. Harper wants it both ways. He wants Canadians to believe that his efforts have made them safer -- and that they are more unsafe than they've ever been. That patently insane pitch might help him get re-elected.

The Day Stephen Harper Was Called an Idiot by Tom Mulcair

Montreal Simon - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 05:11

Ever since he came to power Stephen Harper has made a mockery out of our parliament.

He has used it as a bully pulpit, he has cut off debates, he never answers questions, he lies all the time. He has turned it into a bad joke, or a fascist circus.

But yesterday when he was asked about the legality of his new war in Syria, and he turned his answer into a joke.

He got put in his place by Tom Mulcair...
Read more »

Meanwhile, South Of The Border

Politics and its Discontents - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 05:09
Ah yes, that land whose political representatives make our elected reprobates look like shining exemplars. For this edition of The Dark Side, we return to the ongoing saga of Gordon Klingenschmitt (a.k.a. Dr. Chaps), recently elected as a Republican State Legislator in Colorado.

A man with many demons (which he regularly exorcises), in this edition he exploits explores a tragedy wrought by the 'demonic spirit of murder' that, it seems, has provoked God's judgement:

Recommend this Post

Harper "whips out" his ISIL lawyer joke

Creekside - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 04:43

The Con bench seals laugh and clap at Steve's joke blowing off the UN and international law because grade six. 

Harper went on to explain that Canada will be bombing Syria as part of an international coalition, although the US is the only NATO member currently bombing Syria. The other coalition countries bombing Syria are Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, and the UAE. 

This same coalition of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, and the UAE minus Qatar also began bombing Yemen today. Egypt and Kuwait will be joining the offensive while Pakistan is still considering it. Nobel Peace Prize recipient President Obama has authorized the provision of US logistical and intelligence support to help bomb the Houthi rebels in Yemen who are fighting Al Qaeda and IS.
The Saudi-led air campaign against the Houthis in Yemen is dubbed “Decisive Storm”.

Harper says IS is a threat to Canada and will extend the mission for another year. 
DefMin Jason Kenney says they have no particular exit strategy..

h/t Maclean's for vid.

Thursday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 03:38
This and that for your Thursday reading.

- In advance of this weekend's Progress Summit, Robin Sears comments on the significance of the Broadbent Institute and other think tanks in shaping policy options:
The Center for American Progress was the wakeup call for progressives around the world. Independent-minded, massively funded, deeply professional, it was created to develop winning agendas for a new Democratic president. Key Obamites trained there. Core strategies and goals were polished there. Their success helped to spawn a third generation of think tanks who understood that to have real impact, good ideas had to be married to credible execution.

In Canada today, the two ‘conviction-based’ parties of left and right as political scientists are wont to label conservatives and social democrats—have thriving think tanks that have played important roles in both the idea baking and the training of a new generation of political activists. The Manning Centre—unlike the Fraser institute—has become less fringe and more effectively political. The Broadbent Institute has quickly found its groove as a forum where greenies, left liberals, New Democrats, and independent activists can hammer out new progressive visions and the tools to deliver them.
The Broadbent Institute’s executive director Rick Smith and his small but impressive team seem so far to have found their footing, pushing the envelope a little, rallying partisans as required, and avoiding the curse of think tanks everywhere: becoming pedantic, boring, and irrelevant. Their annual gatherings of the progressive clans have exceeded most cynical old-timers’ expectations; convening a new generation from outside partisan politics, from the NGO and environmental movements, left liberals and social democrats, and helping them build bonds both personal and political.

Ten years from now—or maybe much sooner—one may expect a proud young minister celebrating the success of a dramatic new initiative, just endorsed by Parliament, telling reporters, “Well, it all started late one boozy night, at the Broadbent summit!”- Meanwhile, Desmond Cole interviews David Hulchanski on rising inequality in Toronto and elsewhere. And Kate McInturff notes that increased inequality is just one of the harmful results of an obsession with fighting deficits rather than improving the lives of citizens.

- Roy Romanow highlights the imminent dangers facing Canada's health care system if we don't fill in missing pieces including a pharmacare program.

- Raveena Aulakh reports on the Council of Canadians' damning study on the protection of water in Canada. And on the subject of regulatory negligence, Allison Martel finds that CN Rail has seen a massive jump in derailments even as it's carrying more hazardous products including crude oil.

- Finally, Bob Hepburn discusses how Stephen Harper decided to use the politics of fear as his main means of clinging to power. And thwap observes that a reasonable amount of Parliamentary pushback has gone a long way in countering the spin when it comes to C-51.

Jason Kenney's Monstrous Day of Delusion

Montreal Simon - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 02:20

What a happy coincidence. The day after I pointed out that the Con's religious base has been pressuring them to expand the war into Syria.

So they can help the Syrian Christians who support that country's bloody dictator, and have been targeted by the ISIS crazies.

The uncrowned Pope of that religious base, Jason Kenney did come galloping stumbling out.

To declare that it was the Americans who pressured or nudged us into Syria. 
Read more »

Just Sayin'

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 01:07
C'mon, wrap your heads around this one.

Does anybody find it curious that (radical Sunni) Saudi Arabia can barely make a token contribution to the fight against (radical Sunni) ISIS but seems to have no end of firepower to bring down on the heads of the (Shiite) Houthi rebels in Yemen?  Does it matter that the Houthi rebels are mainly fighting al-Qaeda and ISIS forces?  The Houthi are fighting the people we're fighting but we're okay with Saudi Arabia giving ISIS a pass so they can bring the hammers of hell down on the Mouthi?

The Saudis are giving air support to ISIS in Yemen.  What have we gotten ourselves into?

Just sayin'

The Con Regime's Never-ending War on Vulnerable Canadians

Montreal Simon - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 18:55

While Stephen Harper declares war on the Great Terrorist Menace, claiming only he can save our lives from those who would behead us in our beds.

His foul Con regime continues to wage war on some of Canada's most vulnerable Canadians.

Even if it could cost thousands of them their lives.

For while this is good news. 
Read more »

Top Gear Becomes Dropped Gear

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 17:25
The BBC has given Jeremy Clarkson the boot from the world's most popular TV programme, Top Gear.  The show is sold to more than 124 countries and gets about 350-million viewers per episode.   Even in the States there's nothing close.

Clarkson's co-host, James May, says Clarkson is a "nob" but describes the three hosts, Clarkson, May and Richard Hammond as a package and doesn't seem interested in doing the show without him.

My guess?  There might soon be a new car show on a rival network.

Whatever You Do, Don't Let Harper Find Out.

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 17:15
This would appeal to Stephen Harper.  Actually, appeal wouldn't be the right word.

The new leader of Thailand, junta boss Paryuth Chan-ocha, says how he'd react to journalists who don't tell the (junta approved) truth.

Last month Gen Prayuth said he had the power to shut down news outlets, and on Wednesday he took an even harsher line. “We’ll probably just execute them,” said Prayuth, without a trace of a smile, when asked by reporters how the government would deal with those who do not adhere to the official line.

Actually, judging by the cowed performance of most Canadian journalists, maybe Harper already has that policy in place.

A Small But Hard Won Victory Over Harper

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 17:15

It's bittersweet at best.  Health Canada has issued an exemption to Vancouver's Insite, the city's clean needle injection site.  That's not to say the battle is over. Despite the clear ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Harper regime has put Insite on a year-to-year exemption meaning the Vancouver authorities will have to run the regulatory gauntlet every year.

Vancouver Coastal Health is required to apply for an annual exemption to operate Insite.

"We know Insite works," says Coastal Health chief medical health officer Dr. Patricia Daly, in a written statement.

"Thousands of overdose deaths have been prevented, the spread of infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis C have been reduced, and clients can more easily connect to health services like detox and primary health care," she says.

The Harper regime this week passed the Orwellian named Bill C-2, The Respect for Communities Act,  which is a vehicle to heap layers of federal disrespect on communities like Vancouver.
Daly said the new legislation will make the process of applying for an exemption more onerous, requiring volumes of information to meet 27 conditions.

"VCH is troubled by the numerous conditions set out in the new legislation," she said.

Donald MacPherson, spokesman for the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, said he believes the government purposely created Bill C-2 to discourage new sites from opening

"Supervised consumption sites are a response to a very dire situation," he said.

La Noirceur nouvelle, cru 2015

Dammit Janet - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 16:16
Last night several feminists I follow on Twitter (québecoises and from the rest of Canada) tweeted the link to a breaking news story in Le Devoir regarding some hidden provisions in Bill 20, currently moving thru the Assemblée nationale.

This bill, framed as a necessary - AUSTERITY! - reform to the programs which regulate how healthcare is provided by physicians in Québec, was bulldozed through Québec's legislative assembly by the Minister for Health Dr Barrette.  The crumbs of information disclosed reveal that family physicians as well as specialists working for community-based public healthcare service providers will be penalized if they don't obey Barrette's complicated system of quotas.

Interestingly enough, specialists employed by private sector clinics that are owned by physicians who are incorporated as business entities are not restricted by these new regulations.  For example radiologists - unless employed by a hospital, individual practitioners - are still allowed to be as greedy as they want.  Dr Barrette and his spouse are radiologists.

Prochoice providers of women's reproductive healthcare crunched the numbers and revealed another repressive aspect of the Québec Liberal regime's proposed system (loosely translated from story here):
The Minister of Health Gaétan Barrette will limit the number of abortions done by Quebec physicians. In a departmental working document, it was said that abortions will no longer be considered as priority medical activities, which will result in the closing of clinics and thus limit access to first-trimester pregnancy termination.

The devil is in the details. For months now, health care stakeholders demanded to see the famous regulations that Bill 20 will impose. A draft regulation, obtained by the Women's Health Centre in Montreal and consulted by Le Devoir, set off reactions. "Bill 20 was passed without consulting patients, which is extremely dangerous! Women's reproductive health and ensuring prompt access to abortion is fundamental to women's rights. This is a basic criterion of equality between men and women."

The director of the Women's Health Center, Anne-Marie Messier, is angry.  Thirty doctors and directors of family planning clinics sent a letter to the Minister to denounce this attack upon the rights of Québecoises. "By trivializing the important work of doctors (mostly women) working in providing abortions and related services in reproductive health, the Liberal government seriously undermines the right of women to comprehensive reproductive health care in Quebec," they wrote.

Jabba the Hutt doppelgänger Dr Barrette is infamous for throwing his political weight around, bullying his opponents into silence.  On radio, he hectored women for their hysterical stupidity.

But women have reacted rationally and calmly Bill 20's proposed reforms.

Toula Drimonis published this.
As it stands, the proposed legislation would impose a maximum quota of 504 abortions per doctor per year, even though the number of physicians performing abortions is already limited in this province. This morning, Barrette said that physicians regularly performing abortions would be given “exemptions” to the restrictions. I still don’t quite understand why you would create a law limiting the number of abortions a physician can perform and then hand out “exemptions” to that very same law. What’s the point? Are these measures aimed at reducing costs or are they simply meant to open the door to privatizing these services? One has to wonder. 

If a woman doesn’t have access to one of the very few abortion clinics that exist, then a woman would have to go through her family doctor or another specialist, and eventually that doctor is going to hit a quota. And then what? What does that woman do? As it currently stands, too many Quebecers don’t even have access to a family doctor. A woman without access to one wishing to terminate her pregnancy would have to resort to her CLSC or another clinic, significantly increasing the chances of coming across that quota once again. Particularly in rural areas. 

Let’s not forget that Barrette and his band of merry cost-cutting men (women too, sadly) are also behind governmental efforts to significantly limit access to in-vitro fertilization treatment (IVF), going as far as making it illegal for women over 42 to get IVF. With this bill, only women aged 18 to 42 would have access to IVF treatment — after passing a psychological evaluation. A psychological evaluation…During that period of Québec history known as "La grande noirceur", Premier Duplessis colluded with the Catholic Church to suppress women's rights. Married women were ostracized by their parish priests if they used birth control. Union organizers like Madeleine Parent and Léa Roback were harassed.

A regressive, patriarchy-tinged backlash is burbling in Québec, much like an over-full septic tank that's been overlooked.  In spite of secularity being the dominant discourse, recent events such as violence enabled by proposed Charter, the emergence of many antiChoice Pregnancy Crisis Centres - which my co-blogger investigated here - a judge refusing to hear the testimony of a woman clad in hijab, suggest that Dr Gaétan 'Duplessis' Barrette is a carbuncle, a symptom of toxic misogyny seething in the body politic. 

The meteorological misadventure that dare not speak it's name......

A Creative Revolution - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 15:43

This is getting as silly as can be. If these people dribbling the silly were not so amazingly dangerous....

There are actually people who will vote for an outhouse if it has a GOP elephant on it. (Similarly, the big ol "C" for the Republican franchise here in Canada)

This is how Scott got in in Florida, and Cruz was elected in Texas. 

In Florida, it is now an "unwritten" rule that no one can say the words......Climate change. (Herin referred to as "limatecey hangecey") It is like sticking your head up your ass so you cant hear it, or calling Bloody mary in front of a mirror apparently. Say "climate change" three times while standing in front of an Oil refinery will bring it on? 

Sorry. It is already here. 97% of scientists pretty much agree in unison on this one. Big oil funded politicians listen to the three percent who say nay. Think tanks are working hard to further this discussion as though it is a matter of "opinion". All of their followers lap it up. 

What happens to those who break the Florida rule?

An employee of Florida’s environmental protection department was forced to take a leave of absence and seek a mental health evaluation for violating governor Rick Scott’s unwritten ban on using the phrases “climate change” or “global warming” under any circumstance, according to a complaint filed against the state.

State officials WILL NOT say the limatecey hangecey words, even to the point of hilariousness, which is what made this video so funny.


Upside down thinking. It also reminds me of all the stories out of the Soviet Union and other politically repressed countries. :)

Considering that Florida is probably going to be hit harder than many other places by limatecey hangecey, their denial is kind of self destructive. Very self destructive actually. 

And that brings me to Ted Cruz. Yanno, the dude that read "Green Eggs and Ham" in order to Fillibuster the Senate on Obamacare. Which of course, everyone likes now, so it seems all the more deliciously ironic to mention it.......

So ol' Ted, who has also a supporter of the "birther" tea party,  (another scrumptious ironic bit! as Ted's lack of self awareness makes him fierce to the point where it seems almost like a mutant testosterone leak)

I must admit, I like being able to pass along Beiber, Dion and Cruz to the US'ians. Thank you USA!

Last week, Jerry Brown who is the Governor of California said:

"What he said is absolutely false," Brown said. "Over 90% of the scientists who deal with climate are absolutely convinced that the human activity, industrial activity, generation of CO2, methane, oxides, nitrogen, and all the rest of those greenhouse gases are building up in the atmosphere. They are heat trapping. And they are causing not just warm, drought in California, but severe storms and cold in the East Coast. So it's climate disruption of many different kinds. And that man betokens such a level of ignorance and a direct falsification of existing scientific data. It's shocking and I think that man has rendered himself absolutely unfit to be running for office."

Of course Cruz wants to make this even more apparent, he stirs up his most righteous indignation, he winds up, he PITCHES......

Speaking on Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Sunday, Cruz said that Brown and other proponents of action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change engage in “ad hominem attacks” and “don’t want to confront the data” on climate change. Cruz said that satellites are showing that warming isn’t happening, even though “apocalyptic computer models said that we would see substantial warming.”

And his spitball pretty much acts like a boomerang. He presents debunked information, again.

He says, in esscence that he looked out the winder, and yonder there was SNOW! Add Narcissistic Nationalism to the list of Cruz traits. Cause yanno that the USofA! is the only place in the world, worth thinking about anyway. There was snow on the ground. In the USA.   limatecey hangecey is a hoax. 

And so it goes. And as the GOP goes, so go the Canadian Harper Republican franchise. 

I always think to myself....Lets say the scientists are wrong. (they aren't) Lets also say that we did what they say is the best course and turned to a green energy economy.  We took steps to mitigate or at least survive the effects of our late action on limatecey hangecey and the next generation had something to build on.  Jobs, economic stability and cleaner air ensued!

If they are right, (they are) we have only made improvements, there is no downside. 

The last bit would happen no matter what. The Oil companies would be the only losers.


Lets say they are wrong (they are)  and we face a bleak future of food shortages, energy shortages and war. We face storms and cold winters and hotter summers. With no airconditioning. We see human migration and suffering on levels of umimaginable tragedy.

If they are right and there is no limatecey hangecey, we just face more of the same here. Food shortages, energy shortages and war. They are already happening. 



Blame History, I suppose

Metaneos - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 13:24
'Helping Assad is shameful,' Mulcair says of proposed mission expansion into Syria
Supporting Assad is shameful. He's a terrible man, but at the same time, ISIS is probably worse. But in the end, we probably should've left the whole thing alone to begin with. And by we, I actually mean the US government, which seemed giddy at the time to be working to destabilize another Middle-Eastern/African nation's government.
We, Canada, should probably reconsider blindly supporting the US on every one of its military misadventures. The only difference we're making, and by we I mean NATO, is making things worse.
Next time, let's not hesitate to refrain from rushing in to the next conflagration. Let's actually take some time to think things through. Using our noggins first might actually make the biggest difference of all.
Of course, that's actually quite a whole lot to ask of the Harper regime here in Canada, but still.


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