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Why Won't the Media Denounce Harper as a Despot?

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:14
As the Vancouver Observer points out, day in and day out Canadian journalists themselves are willing victims of Harper's tyrannical ways.

We like talking to him. It's our job, even when he makes it hard.

And he does. Harper takes only 3 questions at each public appearance (or none at all).

Reporters wishing to ask a question must be pre-approved by his team. If we're approved, we get one question. No follow-up for clarification. No discussion.

Same goes for his ministers, who stick to a script. This is bad for democracy. This damages the public's right to know.

The essence of democracy, its very legitimacy hinges on the consent of the governed.  But consent itself is predicated on an informed decision maker, in Harper's case the Canadian people.  It's their consent to give or withhold but it can only be validly given if their government informs them of what it intends to do and explains why and is prepared to answer questions.
When journalists can't question government officials, get the full story, their corporate bosses might not mind but they're abrogating their responsibility to the public.  When "don't make waves" becomes the standard for journalists, the erstwhile "watchdogs of government," it's bludgeoning democracy.


Oxfam Fingers the "Toxic Triangle"

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:02
Oxfam has identified three factors, the Toxic Triangle, it considers most likely to defeat our efforts to prevent runaway global warming - political inertia, financial short-termism, and vested fossil fuel interests.

“The fossil fuel industry has conjured a toxic triangle that is trapping us into a warming world. Governments and investors are helping the industry to recklessly protect its own profits at the expense of us all. The world’s poorest are already being hit hardest and millions more will be made hungry by climate change,” the Oxfam chief executive, Mark Goldring, said. Oxfam says the “toxic triangle” supported spending of more than $674bn (£423bn) on fossil fuels in 2012. Investment in the industry was propped up by tax breaks, government incentives and an estimated $1.9tn of subsidies a year. More than $500,000 a day was being spent on lobbying US and EU governments, it says.

Dear Steve, Don't Go Down in History as a Mass Murderer

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 10:34
It'll be millions, that's for sure.  More likely many hundreds of millions.  If you add in collateral events such as war, it could well end up in the billions.  Nobody really wants to pin the tail on that donkey, the one representing 4 degrees Celsius of global warming.

Yet that is the future that proponents of high-carbon fossil fuels would bequeath us, a world of chaos and mass death of unprecedented, unimaginable scale.  Here in Canada we've got those very people running the place or waiting in opposition to replace them and pick up where they leave off.  You can think of them as diabolical plague rats.

Look at this picture.


In a way it resembles photos of Chinese factory workers assembling iPhones only the product here is infants.  They're being treated for respiratory illnesses at the children's hospital in Xi'an, China.  Ever see such a thing?  If we don't stop Harper and the rest of the Tar Sanders on Parliament Hill on both sides of the aisle, maybe some day you will.

Germany's climate change centre, the Potsdam Institute, with the sponsorship of the World Bank, recently presented an excellent online course exploring what awaits us in a world beset by 4C warming.  There are plenty of reasons that's not discussed in polite company.  It is certainly not fit for dinner table conversation.

A report just issued by the British medical journal, Lancet, in conjunction with London's UCL (possibly the best university you've never heard of) concludes that climate change threatens to wipe out half a century of advances in global health (see photo above).

“We see climate change as a major health issue and that it is often neglected in the policy debates,” said Professor Anthony Costello, director of the UCL Institute of Global Health and co-chair of the commission.

“On our current trajectory, going to 4C [of warming] is somewhere we don’t want to go and that has very serious and potentially catastrophic effects for human health and human survival and could undermine all of the last half-century’s gains. We see that as a medical emergency because the action we need to do to stop that in its tracks and get us back onto a 2C trajectory or less requires action now – and action in the next ten years – otherwise the game could be over.”

Game over, indeed.

There are only two camps, an we're all in one or the other.

One camp accepts science and fact, especially in the face of such an overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change.  It recognizes the enormity of the challenge and the incredible sacrifices necessary to meet it.

The other camp is for denialism.  There are the active denialists who reject the scientific consensus on the strength of belief as well as those who have personal interests to defend.  There's also another group in the denialism camp, the really large group who simply find climate change far too ominous and overwhelming to accept and who, instead, either ignore it or grasp for nonsensical responses about how the Earth has always warmed and cooled, it's all a scientific conspiracy and a massive hoax, or global warming has stopped.  Another substantial element just can't deal with it.  It's more than they can handle.  There are plenty of Liberals and New Democrats in this last subsection. Theirs are the votes that will keep the plague rats in power.

Of course as Canadians we'll be the last and least affected by the ravages of climate change.  We've got our own "sin eaters" - the poorest and most vulnerable in the most hard scrabble corners of the world.  They didn't accept that role but our prosperity prescribes it for them.  Can't be helped.  I suppose.


Obama's interview and his use of 'N' word commenting on South Carolina tragedy

LeDaro - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 09:54
One can do a google search and find a plethora of racist images of Barack Obama and Michelle Obama and yet this is what’s fuelling outrage?  Listening to the interview and context, Obama’s use of the n-word made sense.  It was about how, while there has been much progress in race-relations, much more needs to be done.  It was blunt, it got people talking, though I’m worried a lot of the media coverage misses the point, trying to turn it into a gaffe-of-the-week and not recognizing the depth and seriousness of the problem Obama was talking about.
Blacks are literally being gunned down in city streets in America, deep inequalities persist.  A few feel-good gestures are not enough, that’s what Obama was getting at. What’s especially ironic is conservatives, who have engaged in dog-whistle politics against African-Americans for decades, choose to get outraged over this.
I’m with the president on this.  You can watch the video of the president’s podcast interview below.

Tuesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 09:17
This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Mark Anderson reports on the Change Readiness Index' findings that the growing concentration and inequality of wealth is making it more and more difficult for countries to deal with foreseeable disasters. But Jon Queally points out that a concerted effort to quit abusing fossil fuels could do a world in making our world both more fair and more sustainable.

- James Galbraith suggests that the EU is guilty of gross malpractice in how it continues to treat Greece in the face of overwhelming public opposition to austerity. But as David Dayen points out, the course of treatment makes a lot more sense if the goal of creditors is to make the patient suffer as a warning to others.

- Andrew Nikiforuk interviews Gus Van Harten about the pernicious effects of the Cons' FIPA trade deal with China:
Just how lopsided is this investment deal with China?

I have followed these treaties for a long time and reviewed hundreds of them. One thing that stands out for me in the deal with China is the unequal rights of market access. In the FIPA -- and I've never seen this before -- the Harper government gave Chinese investors a right of access to Canada's economy, but did not get the same right for Canadian investors in China. That was an extraordinary concession to China.

So, the FIPA requires Canada to open its economy and resources to Chinese companies in general, but it lets China keep a closed economy. China can also keep favouring its own companies at home, in areas like intellectual property, approvals and tax levels. The FIPA is clearly more about giving Chinese investors the freedom to buy what they want in Canada than it is about protecting Canadian investors in China.

How else is the FIPA lopsided? It lets Canada and China block specific investments, but is lopsided on this issue, again in favour of China. China has belts and suspenders to keep unwanted Canadian investors out. Canada has given up the belt and kept a thinner pair of suspenders to keep Chinese investors out.

Treaties like the FIPA are also lopsided in favour of foreign investors, who get far more powerful protection than anyone else does in international law. That comes at a cost to taxpayers and voters. With the FIPA, this part of the deal also favours China simply because the Chinese own more in Canada than Canadians do in China.- Don Braid writes that Rachel Notley's NDP government is not only challenging corporatist dogma in Alberta, but also building a new coalition of previously-marginalized voters who figure to benefit from more progressive governance. And Laurie Monsebraaten reports on Toronto's new - if still somewhat vague - plan to fight poverty in Canada's largest city.

- Finally, tcnorris offers a roadmap for an NDP government in working to abolish the Senate.

Mostly competent government

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 08:05
To nobody's surprise, Stephen Harper's brand of economic management means election slush funds throwing tens of millions of dollars away for no public benefit.

And it also means public servants going unpaid due to the failure of the Cons' supposed attempts to make government more efficient.

Do we dare take the risk of having another, more responsible party in charge of our public purse?

Michael Chong And The Reform Act

Politics and its Discontents - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 07:37
Yesterday, Owen at Northern Reflections wrote a post on Michael Chong, one of the few members of Stephen Harper's caucus with real integrity, attested to by his principled resignation as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs after Harper's unilateral declaration of Quebec as a nation. A legitimate question posed is why he remains in the caucus, given the principles he seems to represent. I opined that perhaps he is biding his time, looking toward a future Conservative Party that is no longer led by Stephen Harper, when there is a real opportunity for renewal.

Another reason Chong should feel profoundly disaffected is the fact that his Reform Act has been gutted, and up to yesterday, looked likely to be killed by the Senate through an odious amendment, despite the fact that it was passed by the House. Fortunately, the bill was passed last night without the amendment.

Here is Michael Chong talking to Terry Milewski about the bill on Power and Politics yesterday that perhaps gives some insight into his thinking:

Recommend this Post

It Will End In Catastrophe

Northern Reflections - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 05:31

                                    http://predicthistunpredictpast.blogspot.ca/

Pope Francis' encyclical continues to make waves. Five Republican candidates for president -- who are also Catholic -- have attacked Laudato Si, claiming Francis knows nothing about science. They forget that the Pope's first degree was in chemistry. They and their followers profess what Gary Wills calls "Holy Ignorance:"

When a Republican politician, asked about climate change, says, “I’m not a scientist,” most of us hear just a cowardly way of dodging the question; but the politician’s supporters hear a brave defiance of an alien force. When we hear only “science,” they hear “godless science,” the kind that wants to rob them of their belief in creation and force evolution into their minds. That science is marching in a battalion of forces—the media, the academy, the government—that has them besieged. “I’m not a scientist” does not mean, “I have not heard enough about the science, and need to hear more,” but “I know the evil intent or effect of science, and I will not let it affect me.” They summon a courage not to know. 
True to his Jesuit training, however, Francis is all about the courage to know -- and the courage to argue an entirely different case:

"The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth."
"The emptier a person's heart is, the more he or she needs to buy, own and consume."
"Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations is, first and foremost, up to us."
"For indigenous communities, land is not a commodity, but a gift from God, a sacred space."
"Earth is essentially a shared inheritance, whose fruits are meant to benefit everyone."
"We should be particularly indignant at the enormous inequalities in our midst."
"We have to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor."
What Francis has done is marry science to traditional Catholic social teaching. Concern for the planet and concern for the poor amount to the same thing. That's a case modern neo-liberalism has been trying to deny for almost fifty years.

For the pope, neo-liberalism amounts to self- centred nihilism -- and it will end in catastrophe.

Solo Stephen and the Scary Collapse of the House of Harper

Montreal Simon - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 03:09


As you know Stephen Harper has been losing so many ministers recently, that even though he's a psychopath not a people person, he must be feeling awfully lonely.

And of course desperately vulnerable.

For how can he claim that the opposition parties are unfit to govern?

When his front bench is now so thin, and his talent pool so shallow, one really has to wonder whether the Cons can still call themselves a government.

What with their Great Leader looking so shrunken...
Read more »

Nikki Haley Says Take Down the Confederate Flag

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 13:48
South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley, has called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the state legislature.

Wow, Tylenol Hits One Out of the Park. You Must See This.

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 12:22
If you're progressive, this will make your day.



And the Band Played On

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 10:11
It's generally accepted in the scientific community that it takes one to several centuries, on average, for species to truly adapt to a 1 degree Celsius shift in temperature, up or down.

Look around today and you'll see species "running" for their lives, continually migrating ever further away from the equatorial zone.  Some species, particularly those that swim or fly, have a big advantage when it comes to migration.  Plants aren't quite so lucky yet it's calculated that, in totality, they too are migrating at about 8-inches every year.

From my perch out here on the Pacific we see lots of signs of this migration out of the south.  Humpbacks have returned to our waters in big numbers.  Large schools of white sided dolphins have arrived bringing pods of transient orca with them.  California has lost its once abundant anchovies which might be the same populations that have recently shown up here.  Victoria now even has a resident flock of brown pelicans that have taken up residence between the provincial capital and Race Rocks.

This may be a case where the race goes to the swiftest in which event there'll be plenty of losers.

One of the most prominent experts in this area is the University of Hawaii's Camilo Mora, whose specialties include biogeography, geology and climate data modeling.  Mora and his fellow researchers made headlines a couple of years ago when they produced a study that forecasts 2047 as the year by which every year that follows - every year - will be hotter than the hottest year that area has experienced over the previous century and a half, a phenomenon called "climate departure."  Some places will reach that point long before then:

Mora forecasts that the unprecedented heat starts in 2020 with Manokwari, Indonesia. Then Kingston, Jamaica. Within the next two decades, 59 cities will be living in what is essentially a new climate, including Singapore, Havana, Kuala Lumpur and Mexico City.

In an interview last year with Yale University's e360 Project, Mora touched on the frustration caused researchers by the public's and their leaders' reluctance to respond to the plain science.
You don’t see any action on these things. And the problem is that these things die away pretty quickly. The press coverage of this paper lasted two days. We were in the New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN. And next week, people were talking about something else. So as scientists, we are struggling to figure out how we can increase public awareness on this issue.

Pope Francis stirred up a lot of reaction last week to his papal encyclical on climate change in which he focused on climate change and over-consumption, especially by the advantaged countries, that were wrecking the environment. The pope, however, disingenuously gave overpopulation a pass.  Mora disagrees.  To him our population loading is already excessive.
Well, it’s paramount because people need food. And the planet is limited in the amount of resources that it can produce. We already have calculated that the planet has on the order of 11 billion hectares that can be harvested in a sustainable manner. Of course we can increase the number by increasing technology, but that’s been happening for the last three decades. The worldwide population is 7 billion people, and we know that to sustain a human being you need on the order of two hectares per person. That means that the world human population every year consumes on the order of 14 billion hectares. The planet only has eleven to give to us.

This doesn't take into account the more recent research about global soil degradation and the mounting threat to food security.  In March, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization released a report on the ongoing degradation of our stocks of arable land, warning that a lot of our topsoil over the next 60-years will be ruined by intensive agriculture and the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.  Like Mora's research, the Living Planet Report, 2014 finding that we have lost half our wildlife over the past 30 years, the UNFAO study was almost immediately flushed straight down the memory hole, completely forgotten.
Much of Mora's claims about overpopulation is borne out by research conducted by the NGO, Global Footprint Network, which tracks the biomass deficit that has set in around the world (only a handful of countries, Canada being one, remain in a biomass surplus).  From this the GFN issues an annual release to mark "Earth Overshoot Day," the date on which we exhaust a full year's supply of the planet's renewable resources.  Just a few years ago, Overshoot fell in mid October.  Now it has advanced to August.  For the balance of the year we deplete Earth's resource reserves and the rate at which our over-consumption is accelerating is a warning that we're depleting those reserves rapidly too.
In 2014, Earth Overshoot Day fell on August 19.  This year it will arrive on August 15.  For more on that and GFN's take on the papal encyclical, you can go here.  
Professor Mora faults the environmental community, including the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), for deliberately ducking the overpopulation issue.
Mora: It’s pure fear. It seems amazing, but friends of mine recommended to me not to publish that paper. They said, “This paper is going to be damaging to you. You don’t get it. You don’t need it.” What is remarkable, though, is that after the paper got published, I had multiple people calling me to endorse it.

e360: Did they endorse it publicly?

Mora: No, just to me. This is really the problem. But why we don’t take it on? I have no clue. Because the data are very clear. I guess the problem is that it can backfire. We have seen, historically, situations in which a scientist has taken on an issue and there are people who have been fired, or attacked by interest groups. So I guess the problem is fear of retaliation.


If he's right, if the scientific community is already too intimidated to address the issue of overpopulation, then we're genuinely screwed.  The pope hit two of three - climate change and over-consumption - but if you can't address overpopulation, you have almost completely undermined your chances of effective action on the other two.
We're already seeing the impacts of climate change but doing little to prepare for what those early impacts tell us is coming.  For now we're forestalling the consequences of ever increasing over-consumption by raiding the Earth's diminishing resource reserves. We have no collective will to even begin tackling overpopulation. 
We comfort ourselves by talking in terms of what might happen by 2100.  Oh hell, we'll all be gone by then anyway so, no big deal.  But, if Mora's research is accurate, "climate departure" begins to set in by 2020 and then spreads across the world until every country is hit by 2047.   






Corporate R & B: Get Over It…

Left Over - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 09:58
Oilpatch could lose $100B without new pipelines, researchers warn Energy research firm suggests Western Canada producers won’t receive full value for oil exports

By Kyle Bakx, CBC News Posted: Jun 22, 2015 11:41 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 22, 2015 12:11 PM ET

 

 

Wah-wah-wah!!!!  The whingeing of the rich and unscrupulous stirs only contempt in the rest of us..if they really were concerned about anything besides the grossness of their offshore accounts , they would spend more on  remedying the damage done,  finance refineries, and work toward sustainable  energy..there is, believe it or not, money to be made in that sector.  Everyone everywhere except Alberta knows that  this sector is on life support, and it’s way too expensive to keep subsidizing dirty bitumen when the rest of the world still has  oil  coming out of their ears…the loss of resources due to fracking in other areas  should give them pause, as well..there is  no viable way to  carry on as if nothing in the  oily sands of Northern Alberta has changed in the  last few decades…get over it, get on with it…

There is,  after all, a reason that the NDP was elected in that province, and all the corporate whingeing in the world won’t change that fact, so join  the  alternative party, corporate scum, and  try and  resurrect what might be left of your  collective  reputations and  pay it forward in the place that made you wealthy…

No more pipelines means Alberta should start, late though it is, to diversify it’s income base…get out of the filthy bitumen toxic wasteland business altogether.. BC doesn’t want your problems dumped on us or our beautiful West Coast..no one anywhere wants to carry Alberta crude at anytime under any circumstances..once they figure that out and start building their own refineries, things might get a bit better for Alberta…but ‘discovering’ that tourism is a self-perpetuating economic boon, for instance, and that steps should be taken to restore the moonscape created in the North to open it up for recreational opportunities will go a longer way to stabilizing incomes than all the pipelines they might fantasize about…


John Oliver Respectfully Suggests Where South Carolina Should Put Its Rebel Flag

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 07:43
Sums it up pretty well



Just in case you think South Carolina is alone on this confederate business, there's this.

On failures of strategy, calculation, politics, principle and general humanity

accidentaldeliberations - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 07:27
Shorter Justin Trudeau:
Nobody could have foreseen that Canadian voters would judge me based on my actions rather than my self-proclaimed brand.

Monday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 07:14
Assorted content to start your week.

- Sean Illing writes about the utterly misplaced view of the privileged few that they can or should be treated as immune from the environmental realities facing everybody:
I see the decadence of the people in Rancho Santa Fe as a microcosm of America today, particularly corporate America. What these people exhibit, apart from their smugness, is a complete absence of any sense of collective responsibility. They can’t see and aren’t interested in the consequences of their actions. And they can’t muster a modicum of moderation in the face of enormous scarcity. Every resource, every privilege, is theirs to pilfer with impunity. These people are prepared to endanger an entire ecosystem simply to avoid the indignity of brown golf courses; this is what true entitlement looks like.

The wealthiest Americans – and their apostles in government – tell us that it’s the poor people who are entitled, who take and exploit and keep more than they deserve. But that’s a half-truth, and a dangerous one at that. Entitlement has many faces, the most destructive of which is on display in Rancho Santa Fe. These adolescent upper-crusters are entitled because they believe they have a right to everything they can get hold of – regardless of the costs. They believe living with others carries no obligations. Anyone who places their right to pristine golf courses above their responsibility to respect communal resources is a social toxin, a privileged parasite eating away at the foundations of society. It’s important that their actions be seen in this context.

There’s a lesson in Rancho Santa Fe and in California more generally. What’s happening there foreshadows our future. We’re confronted with crises on a number of fronts. From climate change to economic inequality, our institutions – and the people controlling them – are failing us. Changes are necessary, but a segment of society (the 1 percent, we’ll call them) is unwilling to sacrifice; they’re too invested in power, in comfort. Whether it’s oil profiteers distorting climate science or Wall Street banks undermining efforts to regulate the financial industry, entrenched interests are doing everything possible to preserve the status quo, even when so doing threatens to upend the whole system – just like the people of Rancho Santa Fe. - Meanwhile, Jan Zalasiewizc reports on new research showing that even without accounting for the effects of climate change, humanity has managed to cause mass extinctions on a planetary scale.

- Cathy Crowe makes the case for a national housing program as a necessary step toward a healthier and more secure society, while the Star backs a plan to provide housing to 20,000 homeless Canadians over the next three years. And Marco Chown Oved reports on the types of abuses private landlords can carry out by imposing arbitrary fees while evicting a tenant, then permanently trashing the tenant's credit rating if that blackmail doesn't succeed.

- Paul Seesequasis writes that the Cons' terror bill is a serious obstacle to reconciliation as it stands to prevent aboriginal people from seeking both sovereignty and respect. And Fram Dinshaw reports that Canada's Muslim community - which figures to be one of the first targets of covert attacks - has already been intimidated into silence about the dangers of C-51.

- Finally, Elizabeth Renzetti interviews Harry Leslie Smith about his fight to build on the hard-won social gains people have made over the course of his life.

This Is What Real Protest Looks Like

Politics and its Discontents - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 07:11
All Canadians could learn a lot from the Brits:
London, United Kingdom - Activists and trade union leaders have called for a general strike and a mass campaign of civil disobedience to bring down the country's new right-wing government as hundreds of thousands took to the streets of London and other cities to protest against austerity and public service cuts.

Organisers said a quarter of a million people had joined Saturday's march from the Bank of England to the Houses of Parliament, with smaller protests also taking place in Glasgow, Liverpool, and Bristol, and pledged the event was only a beginning.

"We've got to get rid of this government quicker than five years. This government cannot last the full term," Sam Fairbairn, national secretary of the People's Assembly, the anti-austerity campaign group that organised the march, told a rally in Parliament Square.

"Today is just the start of a campaign of protests, of strikes, of direct action and civil disobedience up and down the country. We are going to organise the biggest mass movement this country has ever seen, and it is that mass movement that is going to kick David Cameron out of office."


There is similar anger in Canada over the Harper regime's many abuses of the country's citizens. How can we best mobilize that anger?Recommend this Post

Why Does Chong Stay?

Northern Reflections - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 04:46
                                                       http://www.cbc.ca/

Michael Chong used to be Stephen Harper's Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. The story of how he came to resign his position makes interesting reading. Michael Harris writes:

Chong was the Intergovernmental Affairs minister back in 2006 when the prime minister broke all the known rules with his unilateral declaration that Quebec was a “nation.”

Harper did not bother to put the measure through cabinet, but simply did it by decree. Even though Chong was the minister responsible, he wasn’t informed about Harper’s decision until he was on his way to Wednesday caucus back in November, 2006. His then deputy minister, Louis Levesque, gave him the news.

The deputy also informed his minister that he, Levesque, had been in talks about the nation status issue the night before. It was staggering news. Chong’s deputy was involved in this hugely important decision and the minister was not? It was the clearest example of executive governance under Harper yet on record.

The rising star of the Conservative party was shocked by the PM’s unilateral action. He believed that it was the duty of the Clerk of the Privy Council to tell Harper that even the PM had to obey the rules. But with the Clerk’s office politicized under Harper, just like every other part of the government, that never happened.

Harper’s unilateral authoritarianism did not come as a complete surprise to Chong. As an MP and cabinet minister, he had noticed that Harper liked to make most of the big decisions at meetings of Planning and Priorities, a small but powerful committee of handpicked subordinates which the prime minister chairs. In the early innings of the Harper government, full cabinet rarely met and P&P did most of the heavy lifting.

Chong mulled over whether there was a way he could rationalize support for nation status for Quebec. He concluded that it was policy and procedural poison. There was nothing he could do but become the first Harper cabinet minister to resign.
Now the unelected Conservative majority in the Senate has gutted Chong's Reform Act  -- which passed the House by a vote of 260 to 17. The Duffy trial has shown us that Mr. Harper makes sure that caucus votes his way. He can't claim that he knew nothing about what was going on in the Upper House.

Garth Turner refused to endure such arrogant insouciance. So did Bill Casey and Brent Rathgeber. Why does Chong stay?

The Dangerous Summer Journey of Canadian Progressives

Montreal Simon - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 02:07


Summer is finally here, and I couldn't be happier. Not just because I live for this season when everything comes alive.

But also because I know that when this one dies, in the land where summers are so short, so will Stephen Harper's deathly Con regime.

But what I also know, and all progressives need to understand, is that the last part of our long journey to freedom will be fraught with danger.

Because we are now entering the perilous waters of vote splitting. And we could still snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Read more »

Paul Fromm: Council of Conservative Citizens Link to Charleston Killer

Anti-Racist Canada - Sun, 06/21/2015 - 23:20
In the "manifesto" published on his website before he murdered nine men and women, the Charleston killer was clear who first inspired his hatred of African-Americans:

The event that truly awakened me was the Trayvon Martin case. I kept hearing and seeing his name, and eventually I decided to look him up. I read the Wikipedia article and right away I was unable to understand what the big deal was. It was obvious that Zimmerman was in the right. But more importantly this prompted me to type in the words “black on White crime” into Google, and I have never been the same since that day. The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens. There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders. I was in disbelief. At this moment I realized that something was very wrong....

The MSM has begun to focus on this connection and the nasty rhetoric of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CoCC) that appears to have contributed to the Charleston killer's actions:

Extremist group cited in Charleston killer’s alleged manifesto is active in S.C., expert says

CHARLESTON The writer of what could turn out to be Dylann Roof’s manifesto cited the Council of Conservative Citizens as something that influenced his thoughts on race and racial separation.
....
Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, told The Los Angeles Times that much of the language in the manifesto was material lifted from the CCC, which he called a “modern reincarnation” of the old White Citizens’ Councils that in the 1950s and ’60s resisted school desegregation in the South.

“The CCC is very active in Roof’s home state of South Carolina,” Cohen told the paper. “It seems the CCC media strategy was successful in recruiting Roof into the radical right

He identified the CCC’s webmaster as white nationalist Kyle Rogers, who lives in Summerville, a Charleston suburb. According to a report on the website, the Internet-savvy Rogers trained as a computer engineer and moved to South Carolina in 2004.

The CCC’s website also rails against immigrants in the country illegally, defends the Confederate battle flag flying on the South Carolina capitol grounds and in 2011 pushed for a boycott of the movie “Thor” because it cast Idris Elba, a black actor, as a Norse god. 
....

It might interest our readers, including members of the msm who read these pages, that Canada's own Paul Fromm is a member of the CoCC. Here he is in October 11, 2007 discussing a sanitized version of the CoCC, a hate group on which he sits as a board member and is described as the organization's international director:


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