Posts from our progressive community

10,000 Israelis demonstrate for peace in Tel Aviv

Creekside - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 18:57

Haaretz :  A Facebook organized peace rally - "Changing direction: toward peace, away from war.""Following a painful month of war and death, in view of waves of incitement and hatred that are tearing apart Israeli society, we call for a demonstration for peace and democracy. The next round can be avoided. We don’t have to sink into an abyss of ever-crueler wars, of extreme hatred and a destruction of our neighbors and ourselves.Only an agreement will ensure long-term security and quiet for residents of the south and of the entire country. There is another way – immediate dialogue with Palestinians to ensure a fair peace, the opening of Gaza, and a determined stand of Arabs and Jews against racism and for life. Only a two-state political solution will guarantee independence, justice, security and hope for all people living in this land.” Author David Grossman, speaking at the pro-peace rally in Tel Aviv, August 16, 2014."There is no military solution for the conflict between Israel and Hamas. There is no military solution that will end the suffering of Israelis in the south and the inhumane suffering of people in Gaza. People in Israel won’t be able to breathe freely either, until the stranglehold on Gaza is lifted." .

Doctors Refuse to Join The Con Campaign Against Justin Trudeau

Montreal Simon - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 15:10

The other day I wrote about how horrified and disgusted I was to see Stephen Harper's Cons trying to use doctors to attack Justin Trudeau.

By inviting them to endorse an anti-marijuana ad campaign clearly designed to reinforce their own filthy and misleading attack ads.

Well now the country three main medical organizations have delivered their answer: no thank you Great Leader. 
Read more »

Ethical arms sales from Canada

Creekside - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 11:46
Back here in comments, e.a.f. noted I was singling out Israel for its promotion of occupied Gaza as a lab/marketing display tool for selling its population control armaments abroad when USA arms manufacturers also benefit. 

Too true. Also Canada.

As Marc Whittingham, CEO of the Canadian Commercial Corporation, the crown corporation that acts as Canada's global military sales agency and "a foreign policy instrument for the government of Canada", once put it :
 "There is no better trade show for defence equipment than a military mission."  
"Report on Exports of Military Goods from Canada", as per :

  • Chemical or biological toxic agents, riot control agents, radioactive materials, and related equipment, components, materials. 
  • Bombs, torpedoes, rockets, missiles, other explosive devices and charges, and related equipment and accessories specially designed for military use. 
  • Vessels of war, special naval equipment and accessories, and components specially designed for military use. 
  • Aircraft, lighter-than-air vehicles, unmanned airborne vehicles. 
  • Specialized equipment for military training or for simulating military scenarios, simulators specially designed for training in the use of any firearm or weapon.

Saudi Arabia -
  • Guns. Bombs, torpedoes, rockets, missiles, other explosive devices and charges, and related equipment and accessories specially designed for military use. 
  • Ground vehicles. 
  • Aircraft, lighter-than-air vehicles, unmanned airborne vehicles, aero-engines and “aircraft” equipment, related equipment and components, specially designed or modified for military use. 
  • Imaging or countermeasure equipment, specially designed for military use.

  • Chemical or biological toxic agents, riot control agents, radioactive materials, and related equipment, components, materials

  • "Guns. Ammo. 
  • Aircraft, lighter-than-air vehicles, unmanned airborne vehicles, aero-engines and “aircraft” equipment, related equipment and components, specially designed or modified for military use. 
  • Specialized equipment for military training or for simulating military scenarios, simulators specially designed for training in the use of any firearm or weapon. 
  • Imaging or countermeasure equipment, specially designed for military use." 

Iraq - Software.

  • "Aircraft, lighter-than-air vehicles, unmanned airborne vehicles, aero-engines and “aircraft” equipment, related equipment and components, specially designed or modified for military use."
  • "Bombs, torpedoes, rockets, missiles, other explosive devices and charges, and related equipment and accessories specially designed for military use. 
  • Aircraft, lighter-than-air vehicles, unmanned airborne vehicles, aero-engines and “aircraft” equipment, related equipment and components, specially designed or modified for military use. 
  • Imaging or countermeasure equipment, specially designed for military use, and specially designed components and accessories."
[Note : Since this report was issued, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird recommended amending the Automatic Firearms Country Control List (AFCCL) to create "new market opportunities" for Canadian companies to sell armoured personnel carriers to the Colombian military in January 2013.]

Algeria - "Aircraft, lighter-than-air vehicles, unmanned airborne vehicles, aero-engines and “aircraft” equipment, related equipment and components, specially designed or modified for military use." 

Ukraine - "Guns. Ammo."

Russia - "Guns. Ammo. Electronic equipment. Software."

I could go on. You will note we have armed both sides of many recent bloody conflicts, as for instance when Saudi Arabia sent troops into Bahrain to crush their "Arab Spring".

In the time period covered here, 2010 - 2011, 28 countries received "Chemical or biological toxic agents, riot control agents, radioactive materials, and related equipment, components, materials" from Canada.

The figures from this Feb 4 2014 report cover nothing more recent, as our government has not seen fit to provide the Canadian public with more up-to-date figures.   

However Project Ploughshares does provide this rather startling graphic on Canadian Commercial Corporation's recent marketing success in securing "two contracts totalling $14.8-billion awarded by the CCC to General Dynamics Land Systems Canada of London, Ontario during the 2013-14 fiscal year to supply Saudi Arabia with military armoured vehicles. "

According to Project Ploughshares
"For the first time in more than half-a-century of CCC operations, Saudi Arabia has displaced the United States as the largest year-on-year recipient of CCC-brokered military export contracts."Canada, of course, has declined to sign the UN Arms Trade Treaty.

Stephen Harper, Primer Minister of Canada has lost his mind

LeDaro - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 10:21
If you find it please return it to 24 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Canada.

Toronto the Good

Dammit Janet - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 08:23
Well, this is some shitty mayoral campaign we've got going here in Toronto.

Rob Fucking Ford is all lies all the time. David Sockacki has ideas and position papers but is dull as dishwater. And the other supposedly front-runners are depressingly namby-pamby.

For a great and recent example, read Matt Elliott on what the candidates have to say about finances and inflation.

Even worse, all (except Soknacki and Ari Goldkind) are running on the current understanding and practice of populism.

The biggest disappointment is Olivia Chow. I endorsed her back on March 13.

I still like her and think she'd be a good mayor, but her campaign is driving me -- and all the progressives I know -- nuts.

Yesterday, a tweeter named Karen Geier grabbed my attention and that of a bunch of others with her criticisms of Chow's campaign.

Here's the first tweet that arrested me.

.@oliviachow consider that you're being beaten in the polls by a corporate shill who was a fundraiser for the mayor. It's inconceivable.

— Karen Geier (@karengeier) August 15, 2014

She continued to point out the many deficiencies in the campaign, including this one.

.@oliviachow the fact remains that Kinsella was LEGITIMATELY SURPRISED when Horwath lost. You can't afford a delusional campaign

— Karen Geier (@karengeier) August 15, 2014

She, like many of us, really doesn't want to vote for another middle-/upper-classs white male, but Olivia is not making it easy for us.

Geier put her tweets together in a Storify titled Dear Olivia Chow. It's had more than 6500 views since yesterday, and going by Geier's (do follow her by the way) tweets today, she's taking some crap for it.

Toronto under the Fucking Fords has lost a ton of ground. Toronto used to be a leader in things like transit, inclusiveness, and the environment.

So many of us are longing not just to get rid of the bloated, lying, criminal fool we have as mayor but to return to Toronto the Good.

Toronto the Good
• on transit and transportation in general
• on affordable and innovative housing
• on parks and public spaces
• on libraries and community centres and programmes
• on the environment
• on the arts and creativity.

And on prudence and planning and the acceptance of the really rather simple idea that THINGS COST MONEY.

Olivia could be a leader if she'd set her own narrative, be her own person, and boot all the delusional advisors who are telling her to play the Populist Game.

Olivia would have my vote if she could pull it off.

There's still time for her to do it.

But not much.

My vote, like Geier's, is up for grabs.

Saturday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 08:14
Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Amanda Connelly reports on the Alberta Federation of Labour's latest revelations as to how the temporary foreign worker program has been used to suppress wages. And Jim Stanford reminds us that the employment picture for Canadians remains bleak even after Statistics Canada's job numbers were revised:
(F)ull-time employment is now estimated to have declined by about 20,000, instead of the original 60,000.  Not exactly something to boast about.  60,000 part-time jobs were created (same as the original report).  The unemployment rate is the same as the original report — and exactly the same as 18 months ago.  The participation rate is unchanged from June: higher than in the original report, but still stuck at its lowest level since 2001.

I published a Globe and Mail commentary on Canada’s stagnant labour market based in part on the original LFS report.  Today’s revised numbers do not materially change the argument I made there, which is that Canada’s much-vaunted economic recovery was over-rated in the first place, and in fact ran out of steam a long time ago.  There has been no sustained labour market progress for over three years.  The employment rate is languishing just a hair above its level in June 2009 — the trough of the recession.  That means job-creation since the trough of the recession has only just kept up with growth in the working-age population (ageing demographics is part of that story, too, on top of poor job-creation).
The U.S. unemployment rate has dropped 1.7 points since January 2013.  Canada’s hasn’t budged.  The stark difference in macro policy stance between the two countries is clearly an important factor behind this take of two recoveries: American policy is emphasizing job-creation, and mobilizes conventional and unconventional levers to get there, while Canadian policy is dominated by orthodox concern with balancing the budget.

In short, I think Canada’s relative underperormance (sic) since 2011 will become increasingly damaging to the Harper government, given how much it has invested in its reputation (deserved or not) as the “best economic managers.”- Brian Gifford writes that more progressive taxes could go a long way toward getting our economy on the right track:
To promote strong economic growth, tinkering won’t do. Neither will clinging to failed orthodoxies of tax cuts and cutbacks. We can do much better. Why increase taxation? To invest in new services that will help grow the economy and improve social conditions. Quebec’s universal child-care program saves governments money by increasing women’s participation in the workforce and enabling them to pay more taxes. Housing chronically homeless people saves on emergency services costs. A universal Pharmacare program would reduce drug costs and fewer people will be deprived by unaffordable medications from getting treatment they need. We could go on.
Growing the economic pie is important, but only when equality is increased at the same time. It is not an either-or choice: some policies do both while others grow the economy while undermining equality. Given the empirical evidence, we really are at a point where cash-strapped jurisdictions such as Nova Scotia must justify why they are not leveraging the tax system to alleviate poverty and broaden social supports. We cannot afford not to commit to serious social investments to achieve greater equality and economic growth. - But of course, tax dollars are of limited use if an anti-social government won't allow them to be used for anything but its own perpetual campaign. And the Cons' insistence that a modest amount of housing spending be used on photo-op-friendly new construction rather than maintaining existing infrastructure makes it clear that they're fully focused on PR rather than actual housing needs.

- Instead, the Cons are again obsessed with getting governments at all levels out of the business of improving citizens' lives. And the CETA is providing a prime example, as both Les Whittington and Andrea Rexer write that "buy local" policies which can serve as important economic stabilizers are being trashed at all levels of government.

- Finally, the CP reports on the Carbon Tracker Initiative's list of oil projects which are least likely to make a profit if prices aren't extremely high. (And it's well worth noting that many of the projects with the lowest likelihood of any return are also the ones with the most damaging environmental effects - including deepwater drilling as well as tar sands operations.) Meanwhile, Chris Mooney discusses the growing scientific case as to the dangers of fracking.

A Very Dark Place

Northern Reflections - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 06:55

Gerry Caplan has a sober piece in this morning's Globe and Mail. Its thesis is bleak: "No matter what leaders do, there won't be peace in the Middle East." There will be no two state solution, he writes, because both sides are not prepared to give what would be required for peace:

Whatever outsiders think, in practical terms none of the Middle East disputants are in a position to offer the others anything like an acceptable peace deal. Or, to put it the other way, no one is likely to buy a deal the other offers. If Israel offers a certain set of proposals, both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, not to mention even more radical Palestinian groups, are certain to find it too pro-Israel. And from their perspective they’d be right. For given the politics of Israel, no Israeli government, now or ever, would consider offering anything that wasn’t in the best interests of Israel.
And, so, the region is in perpetual conflict:

The present confrontation, seen in proper perspective, is just another in the endless violent conflicts between Israelis and Arabs that began when Israel was first created as a nation 66 years ago and has never stopped: 1947-49, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, 1991, 2006, 2008-9, 2012, 2014. Why should they stop now – or ever?
Over all that time, positions have hardened and hate has exploded:

It was equally predictable that over time Israeli-Palestinian attitudes towards each other would steadily harden. Instead of making good neighbours, virtually all circumstances conspired to turn the two peoples into irreconcilable enemies. Some time back, renowned Israeli Holocaust scholar Yehuda Bauer told me that he believed about 25 per cent of each people held genocidal attitudes towards the other. It seems a safe guess that these shocking figures are now considerably higher on both sides. When you dehumanize the other, the potential for evil knows few boundaries.
If Caplan is right, we are in a very dark place.

Where Do People Stand In The Harper Hierarchy?

Politics and its Discontents - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 06:50

The answer would seem to be, "Nowhere near the top." As discussed in yesterday's post on CETA, leaked documents confirm that Canadian sovereignty, something all citizens should have a right to expect, will continue the erosion that began under NAFTA. Specifically, the dispute-settlement mechanism that enables investors to sue governments when they pass legislation that impairs their ability to make profits (as in environmental regulations, drug regulation, etc.) will be a centre-piece. As well, Canadian governments on every level will see their efforts to locally source good and services severely curtailed.

The corporate state has clearly arrived.

But its arrival affects other areas of our lives, not the least of which is public safety. Industry self-regulation has accelerated under the Harper regime, in part a response to trade liberalization but also a reflection of an ideology which believes government involvement in the affairs of state and commerce should be minimal. Hence the disasters of Walkerton, Maple Leaf Foods, etc. Air disasters, god forbid, seem likely in the future as well due to changes at Transport Canada.

Then of course, there was the entirely preventable tragedy of Lac-Mégantic, which recently observed the one-year anniversary of the deaths of 47 people and the destruction of a significant portion of the town.

Despite those grievous losses, third-party proprietary rights are being invoked as the reason we Canadians cannot know the specifics of that massive failure of safety. As reported in today's Toronto Star, the paper's access-to-information requests resulted in only some information being released:

Safety inspections of the rail company implicated in the Lac-Mégantic train disaster found defective equipment, problems with locomotives, and sections of rail lines so rundown trains could not exceed speeds of 10 miles per hour.

But Transport Canada is blocking the release of information detailing the majority of the problems and their severity, saying the inspection reports cannot be provided in full because the information is “third-party” — confidential, and belonging to the rail company — or was prepared or obtained in the course of an investigation.

[T]he majority of the more than 1,000-page compilation of inspection documents was withheld or heavily censored.

These inspections, by the way, were not performed by Transport Canada, but by the railway company's own crews.

The unredacted portion received by The Star is damning enough:

- employees told investigators the company was using poorly maintained locomotives, and that instead of repairing worn train tracks, ... the company just lowered the speed limit.

- the company performed minimal maintenance on locomotives, and said locomotive 5017 (the one that caused the disaster) was in particularly poor condition.

- Transport Canada repeatedly flagged safety concerns and non-compliance with rail standards by the now-defunct company

Equally disturbing is the fact that the rail companies establish their own safety management protocols:

The arrangement allows rail companies to draft and enforce their own safety regimes, which are then audited by Transport Canada. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is considered third-party proprietary information, and hence the embargo on truth about the disaster.

All Canadians should be outraged by yet another failure on the part of the Harper regime to protect its citizens while simultaneously extolling and elevating the world's corporate denizens.Recommend this Post

So What Do Canadians REALLY Think of Stephen Harper?

Montreal Simon - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 04:01

Well, we know he has a high opinion of himself. That he likes to rule like a king.

We know that he ordered that the Canadian government should henceforth be known as the Harper government.

And that these days he's posing as a Great World Leader.

Spoke to President Obama earlier today regarding the concerning situation in Iraq. #cdnpoli
— Stephen Harper (@pmharper) August 12, 2014
Chatting it up with Obama.

Sending sleeping bags to the Ukrainians, and weapons to the Kurds. 

But sadly for Lord Harpo, when Canadians are asked what they think of him the results are considerably less flattering. 
Read more »

The Community Mailbox Scandal and the Doctor's Revolt

Montreal Simon - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 02:05

As you probably know, from now on in Harperland if you're old or disabled, or can't walk for miles or clamber over a snow drift to get to your ugly new community mailbox.

If you want home delivery, you have to get a doctor's note.

Not CONada Post says because they don't trust seniors. But only because they care about their health, and want to know their "special needs."

After all didn't they once suggest it might be an "exercise opportunity?"

But sadly, or scandalously, it seems those wretched suits forgot to check with Canada's doctors, and they're not happy.
Read more »

Musical interlude

accidentaldeliberations - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 20:13
Dinka - Elements (EDX Remix)

I've Never Done This Before

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 20:08

I want to share an amazing recipe with you all.  It's from America's Test Kitchen and it's for "summer tomato pie."

The key to this recipe is the tomatoes.  You need really good beefsteak tomatoes of the sort we used to enjoy half a century ago.  Some of these vintage varieties are making comebacks and they remind us of how lifeless most of the grocery store offerings can be.

It's a simple recipe.  Pie crusts (2).  2 lbs. of ripe beefsteak tomatoes, cored and sliced into 1/4" slices. 1/2 tsp. salt.  1/4 c. mayo.  4 tsp. cornstarch.  1-1/2 c. grated sharp cheddar.  4 scallions thin sliced.  That's it.  Easy, peasy - and it's amazing.

Click on the link, print a copy of the recipe, and enjoy.

The trick is having the right tomatoes.  It's the tomato flavour that comes through and makes this recipe magic.  Weak tomatoes will be overwhelmed by the cheeses.
Follow the recipe to the letter the first time.  That's the best way to appreciate how great this pie is and, from there, you can figure out how to personalize it.  You might want to add fresh basil, for example, or try other cheeses or cheese combinations.

If you're interested, get the recipe printed off fairly soon as they don't stay up for very long.

Ferguson: the Trayvonning of Michael Brown

Dawg's Blawg - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 19:37
The Chief of Police in Ferguson, Missouri, held a press conference Thursday morning, and spent most of his time talking about a petty robbery allegedly committed by Michael Brown, shot dead later that night by Officer Darren Wilson, who had... Dr.Dawg

Adios "El Presidente" Perry

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 17:45

Texas governor Rick Perry's presidential aspirations could be over.  The New York Times reports a Texas grand jury has indicted Perry on two felony counts of abuse of power.

At the heart of Perry's legal woes is a district attorney and corruption buster, a Democrat, who was arrested for drunk driving.  Following the DA's arrest, Perry threatened to use the governor's veto power to block $7.5-million in funding for the anti-corruption unit unless she resigned.  Perry followed through with the threat.

A non-profit group filed a complaint alleging Perry had misused his powers in order to coerce a public servant.  Perry doesn't seem to dispute what happened but maintains what he did was a legitimate exercise of the governor's powers.  The grand jury seems to have agreed with the complainants.

A Public Service Announcement From The Conservative Party Of Canada

Politics and its Discontents - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 17:45
Given the Harper regime's new-found zeal for warning all of us about the dangers of marijuana, and, coincidentally, the equally dangerous potential of a Justin Trudeau-led government, perhaps the following will help them to bring home the dangers of both:

H/t Patrick ClarkeRecommend this Post

Julian Fantino, Justin Trudeau, and the Marijuana Baloney Meter

Montreal Simon - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 13:45

Well as you know Julian Fantino is the worst Veterans Affairs Minister this country has ever known.

An incompetent bully if ever there was one.

But now he has a new cause. Saving us and the children of Canada from the dastardly Justin Trudeau.

Justin Trudeau cannot be trusted with our safety. He's soft on crime, pro-marijuana legalization, & now consorts with religious extremists.
— Julian Fantino (@JulianFantino) August 6, 2014
And it couldn't be more disgusting.

So I'm glad to see that Trudeau is finally firing back. 
Read more »

It's Our New Normal - It's Yours and Mine. Now Let's Deal With It.

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 12:48

Every morning Google Alerts delivers to my inbox a digest of the day's stories about flooding.   For several years I've begun my morning sorting through these and other alerts to which I've subscribed.

Over the past two years I've noticed significant change in the flooding alert stories. What has come to dominate the flooding stories is flash flooding.  It's the same story wherever it happens.  A massive rainstorm parks over one area, sometimes just one city, and delivers a "once in a hundred year" deluge that quickly overwhelms storm sewers and leaves streets and entire neighbourhoods awash with torrents of flood waters sweeping down gullies and ravines.

What are these immensely destructive severe weather events teaching us?  One important lesson that we still choose to ignore is that the infrastructure we designed and built during the 20th century is not up to the 'new normal' of the 21st century.

Our environment in the 20th century shaped what we built, how we built it and where.  We laid out our neighbourhoods and streets and designed and constructed core services based on the environment of the day.  While we were busy doing that we did not foresee that there would be a much different, more challenging environment by the early part of the 21st century.  We had no idea.

British Columbia's west coast, where I live, is the wettest area in Canada.  Some spots average 12 to 14-feet of rain annually.  You can't live here and be a stranger to heavy, sustained rain.  That said, my town got hit with a squall that brought rainfall like I've never seen.  An inch and a half of rain in just 18-minutes.  As quickly as it began it stopped.  The interesting part is that my town, which normally has no problem with heavy rain, was overwhelmed.  There were cars floating downtown within a couple of hundred yards of the beach.   If it can happen here, it can happen anywhere.

Now the Christian Science Monitor is asking whether these deluge-triggered flash floods are the new normal.

As people clean up after torrential rains and heavy flooding in cities in the Midwest and along the Atlantic Coast, the events highlight what many climate researchers say is a new "normal" for severe rainfall in the US. 

Quite apart from what long-term changes in precipitation say about global warming, these events also provide a reality check on the ability of urban areas to cope with flooding from intense downpours in a warming climate.

As we saw last year in Calgary, these flash floods can cause immense damage to buildings, to essential infrastructure and to commerce.  Roads can be washed out, bridges can be compromised, light rail lines can be buckled, sanitary sewer systems can be overwhelmed.  This sort of flooding can be extremely challenging to local officials and law enforcement and can leave provincial and federal governments with enormous costs for disaster relief.

Even if structures can survive one flash flood, they can't endure too many recurrences.  Some centuries-old villages in rural Britain have already announced that one more flood and they're finished.  It's just too costly to save those great heritage buildings from centuries past.

This morning I discussed sea level rise with our city engineer.  Our municipality is working on a "storm water master plan" that focuses on predicted rainfall curves.   Consultants have been retained to advise on the sea level rise factor, the second half of the double-whammy.  The city engineer said that we're expecting to see more of these monster-intensity squalls like the one that recently hit the town centre and they're expected to worsen in intensity, duration and frequency. Fortunately for us the sea is nearby so it's a matter of channeling flood water through conduits to the ocean.   Inland, as Calgary demonstrates, it'll be a different story.

When I asked the city engineer what the province was doing for coastal communities, he said virtually nothing.  The provincial government has apparently downloaded responsibility for sea level rise and flooding issues to the affected municipalities and regional governments.  There is no unified programme for the coast and islands.   The amount of duplication and wasted money this must cause is ridiculous.  Perhaps that's why the provincial ministries have been so cool to my attempts to engage them on this.

The engineer also confirmed that the consultants are working with the old, and now questionable, estimate of 1-metre of sea level rise by 2100.  That was the figure tossed out by the IPCC back when the Panel was warning that the Arctic could be seasonally ice free, also by 2100.   Now the US Navy has determined that the Arctic will be seasonally ice free by no later than 2019 and possibly as early as 2016 which means those IPCC estimates are out by more than 80-years.

We can't respond to these flash floods with disaster relief measures that we would have used in the past.  When a "once a century" severe weather event becomes a once every two or three years storm, no government can afford to continuously raid the treasury to write cheques for reconstruction.  Instead of shoveling money into rebuilding structures in time for them to be destroyed in the next great storm, it might be better for all concerned to assist property owners to simply relocate to less vulnerable areas.

The first step is to analyze and define this "new normal."  That's obviously not welcome to governments that don't want to discuss climate change when they need that time to focus on extracting and exporting high-carbon fossil fuels as quickly as possible.  Yet nothing our government's do will help us hold back the sea or clear those storm clouds and nature is not going to work on their schedule.

Stephen Harper and the Case of the Missing Job Numbers

Montreal Simon - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 12:27

OMG. All hail Great Merciful Leader !!! It seems that Statistics Canada has been saved from a horrible fate.

After a long search, and a lot of heat, it has found the missing job numbers. 

The Canadian economy created 42,000 jobs in July – not 200 as mistakenly reported last week by Statistics Canada – as revised numbers beat market expectations.
Read more »

Praising Stephen Harper

Politics and its Discontents - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 12:26

Now that I have your attention, let me assure that I am not the source of that praise. No, a site called Breaking Israel News is. Drawing heavily upon a piece written by the Ottawa Citizen's Mark Kennedy, it offers the following effusive approval of Stephen Harper:

The support he has shown for Israel has been absolute and unwavering for the entirety of Harper’s career, so much so that it has spread to many others within the political and social hierarchy of Canada.

For his support, Harper became the only foreign dignitary to have received the Key to the Knesset and who was termed as a true friend of Israel by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Kennedy accurately explained that Harper stressed that conservatives understood “the notion that moral rules form a chain of right and duty, and that politics is a moral affair,” unlike the “modern left” — which had adopted a position of “moral neutrality”.

Harper fully believes that it is in Canada’s and the rest of the western world’s best interest to support Israel and to do what is morally right. After all, the only state in the Middle East that shares the same fundamental values which Canada’s conservative party stands for is Israel. And as Harper said in 2003, “Conservatives must take the moral stand, with our allies, in favour of the fundamental values of our society, including democracy, free enterprise and individual freedom.”

There is a comments section at the end of this propaganda exercise. The majority are along the following lines:

Praise God for Prime Minister Harper that has the integrity, character and guts to stick by Israel and the Jewish People. Prime Minister Harper is a man of strong faith and is acting on the Bible/Torah where is says I will bless those who bless thee, which speaks about Israel and the Jewish!!!

Thank you Prime Minister Harper for taking a stand and remaining steadfast no matter what is flung at you. And I say Amen to that!

Proud of my Prime Minister.

However, some Canadians have tried to set the record straight about our domestic martinet:

I am sure to be dismissed but as a Canadian, who converted to Judaism long ago, I completely and wholeheartedly disagree with Harper's opinion and staunch support of those who run Israel currently. Zealotry is not appealing in anyway, racism and fascism should not be supported nor condoned.

The current climate and tolerance demonstrated by Israel in no way represents democracy nor freedom. If one were to remove the country of origin from the stories and have them read, there would be few who would support or even justify the actions of the Israeli leaders currently.

Since fair and balanced commentary is always desirable, perhaps some of you might also like to weigh in with your assessment of Mr. Harper. I already have.
Recommend this Post


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