We are bloggers who advocate for social, economic and labour justice, for human rights, sexual freedom and reproductive choice, for non-violence, the protection of the commons, including universal healthcare, public broadcasting and Canadian culture in an independent Canada dedicated to true representative democracy, the well-being of our environment and the betterment of all in the world.
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:
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..
- 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.
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 »
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?
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 »
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
'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.
Just about every Canadian -- of every conceivable stripe -- opposes Bill C-51, aka the Jihadi Terrorists Under Every Bed Bill.
Former PMs, former Supreme Court Justices, law professors, the Canadian Bar Association, unions, First Nations, journalists, former CSIS officers, environmentalists, and even ordinary, everyday, minding-their-own-business Canadians.
Today it was announced that Free Dominion is reopening its forum to join the fray.
Although it entails some risks, Connie and I have decided to reopen the forum in reaction to the dangers to our freedom that we are all facing if Bill C-51 is passed by the federal government. So far the political left in Canada has been bearing the main burden of opposing this legislation and we believe principled conservatives and others should have a place on the political right where they can voice their opposition to this dangerous bill. It beats the hell out of me why anyone purportedly in this fight -- and it is the fight of the decade at the very least -- would scorn any ally. But some are too pure to join forces with groups they otherwise disagree vehemently with.
I'm not so pure.
In fact, I've spent most of today sending emails to two groups I and my co-bloggers usually mock the shit out of -- fetus fetishists and gun nuts.
He too sees many dangers for all manner of people in C-51. Among his examples, this: Want a quicker, easier way to stop abortion doctor murderers or anti-registration gun owners or politically incorrect groups with unpopular views? Label their activities a threat to national security and government agencies can eavesdrop on their phone calls and intercept their e-mails and texts.(I think he had a bit of brain-fart there lumping abortion doctor murderers -- I mean, who wouldn't want to stop them? -- in with the noble gun owners and politically incorrect. But we get his point.)
In fact, it appears that the main gun owners' organization in Canada, the National Firearms Associations, does have serious enough reservations about C-51 to join the Protect Our Privacy Coalition and schedule an appearance before the C-51 committee.
Tasha Kheiriddin speculates about a quid pro quo offered and accepted. NFA has some issues with the Harperists over other pending legislation.
Was the NFA feeling the heat? Or was it the other way around? Could amendments to C-42 [the other legislation] be in the offing, and was the NFA’s decision to abstain from embarrassing the government by tearing into its terrorism law the quid pro quo?We don't know what the organization was thinking, do we? But I wonder what individual gun owners think of a bill that could label them -- just about on a whim -- security threats, disrupt their activities, intercept their communications, and TAKE THEIR GUNS AWAY?
As for the fetus freaks, much as I loathe them, I doubt that even they -- with at least one NOTABLE EXCEPTION -- would want to protect abortion doctor murderers.
But in today's Canada, anti-choicers are proudly dissident. And depending on the whims of police, security forces, and governments of the moment, they could find their little bunfests and prayer-wanks subject to some serious scrutiny and disruption too.
The simple fact is that the C-51 police state threatens us all. All of us. Birdwatchers and bloggers, target-shooters and teaching assistants.
Fetus freaks and free-speechers, too.
All of us.
Me, I welcome anyone who recognizes that fact and is willing to join in the fight.
And hell, who knows? A grand unified anti-police state movement may just breathe some life into the old Canadian collectivist notion of the common good.
2008, pre-election: Liberal bigwigs make a ridiculous spectacle of themselves proclaiming that they'll never deign to cooperate with the likes of the NDP.
2008, post-election: Having spent the campaign echoing Stephen Harper's desperate message that a coalition would be illegitimate, the Liberals conclude that they're willing to cooperate after all, only to botch the job.
2011, pre-election: Liberal bigwigs make a ridiculous spectacle of themselves proclaiming that they'll never deign to cooperate with the likes of the NDP.
2011, post-election: Having spent the campaign echoing Stephen Harper's desperate message that a coalition would be illegitimate, the Liberals conclude that they're willing to cooperate after all, only to botch the job.
2015, pre-election: Liberal bigwigs begin to make a ridiculous spectacle of themselves proclaiming that they'll never deign to cooperate with the likes of the NDP.
From all available precedent, we should fully expect the Libs to again walk back their inexplicable aversion to cooperation once the next federal election has passed. But is it too much to ask that they stop wasting so much of their (and our) time and energy convincing themselves not to do what in all likelihood will need to be done to ensure a better federal government?
Yemen asked the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday to back military action by "willing countries" to combat an advance by Shi'ite Muslim Houthi militia, according to a letter from President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi seen by Reuters.
Hadi wants the 15-member body to adopt a resolution to authorize "willing countries that wish to help Yemen to provide immediate support for the legitimate authority by all means and measures to protect Yemen and deter the Houthi aggression." Hey, when it comes to whacking Muslims, what says "willing country" more than Canada? And this time we'd get to whack some Shiites . We've been ripping up Sunnis for almost 15-years and bombing Shiites for once might be a nice change. Who knows, we might just like it.
Here's some background on Houthi from Vice TV's Ben Anderson that aired several months ago.
- Dennis Howlett reminds us that we can raise enough money to strengthen our social safety net merely by ensuring that a relatively small group of privileged people pays its fair share. And Seth Stephens-Davidowitz examines the glaring nepotism which festers in the absence of some policy counterweights.
- But Robert Kuttner offers seven reasons why the 99% keeps losing on policy grounds despite having the obvious theoretical ability to ensure reasonable political outcomes. In a similar vein, Sean McElwee discusses the connection between racism and poverty politics in the U.S.
- Meanwhile, Samara's report card reminds us that Canada too has plenty to improve in ensuring representative and connected government, while Jordon Cooper points out some particularly egregious examples of pandering and spin from all three levels of government.
- Ashley Renders reports on the World Bank's recognition that it's both possible and necessary to decouple economic development from pollution and climate change. And Kai Nagata recognizes that we shouldn't see a liveable natural environment as a matter of partisanship or ideology.
- But Jordan Press writes that while the Cons were warned against eliminating environmental criteria for infrastructure spending, they went ahead with a political decision to treat a healthy environment as valueless anyway. And Ian MacLeod reports on the Harper Cons' political interference to ensure that Canadian art which might not suit the oil sector's agenda didn't get presented around the world.
- Finally, Ralph Surette rightly notes that the Cons are willing - and indeed eager - to tear apart Canada's social fabric in order to cling to power. But I do have to question when this became news.
Where do they keep coming from? We've seen several iterations of radical, fundamentalist Sunni butchers. They go from mild, the Taliban; to mid-grade, al Qaeda; to full bore, ISIS, with plenty of other outfits betwixt and between.
If you keep running into 7-foot tall monsters that look like Karloff in drag, while you're slugging it out with them you might start asking just where they're all coming from and where will you fight the next monster? Then when it dawns on you that there's this doctor named Frankenstein you might want to pay him a visit and bring this nonsense to an end.
We know our doctor Frankenstein. That would be the vastly wealthy sheikhs and princes of Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States. Those guys are leaking money so fast that there's plenty to fund these murderous radicals and the bunch after them and the bunch after them and so on.
Whatever happened to, "now clean that up"? They've got the tanks, they've got the troops, they've got all the whistles and bells so why aren't the Saudis and the Gulf States killing the monsters they created and continue to create? What conceivably makes that our job? Have we become Saudi Arabia's janitor, racing with bucket and mop in hand, whenever they leave something embarrassing on the floor?
Just because NATO can't find a decent paying day job does that mean we have to become some Arab prince's day labour?
And what about our pay packet? When elder Bush waged Desert Storm, America collected enough donations that it actually came out ahead. Why are we funding this one? Why aren't those Clown Princes picking up our tab?
Most of us come with a pretty good "BD" or Bullshit Detector as standard equipment. People lie, so we need it. Not that it always works but it's still pretty good. The more obvious the lie the better our BD works. White lies sometimes get past us but whoppers rarely do.
Why have we spent decades listening to Israeli leaders tell us how they support the "Two State" solution only to then authorize new Israeli settlements on land that plainly belongs to the Palestinians? Look at it this way - there are now more than 600,000 lies illegally occupying the West Bank. Why do we still believe this nonsense?
How in hell would Israel ever relocate, oh let's use the term "repatriate" all those settlers back into Israeli territory? Do you think they haven't already asked and answered that question? Of course they have. They're not stupid. And the answer is, and always has been, "we won't."
Take a look up top. Can you foresee Israel going back from Map 4 to Map 2? Of course not. So then you're pretending to believe that this Two State business is at least possibly in the cards. You're making this up in your mind. The only place it has any illusion of reality is between your ears.
There aren't many people still breathing who know the doctrine of "profit a prendre" or "long user." They're old real property terms from the days of the ancient British land registry system. Long user describes the situation where a farmer crosses your field to access his own. Over the course of 20 or 30-years he acquires a right of long user. It's sometimes a right of carriageway or an easement. Profit a prendre is a right to take something (okay, let's call it groundwater) from land belonging to another.
Israel has another term for "long user" when it comes to Palestinian lands. They call it "reality on the ground." It's another way of saying, "my tank is parked on that hill, ergo it's my hill." I don't think the Israelis have come up with their own term for profit a prendre but they don't need one, they just take the groundwater without it.
At this point further talk of the Two State solution should have your BD buzzing hard enough to loosen your fillings. So what's the point of pretending it's not? Is it because we don't like to think bad thoughts? Is it because we realize we're complicit in the armed conquest and illegal seizure of the Palestinian homeland? Is it because we don't like to trouble our beautiful minds with images of two generations of Palestinians already born into captivity with a third not far off? Is it because we know that what we're watching is slow-motion ethnic cleansing?