Posts from our progressive community

Sunday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Sun, 10/16/2016 - 10:30
This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Ellen Gould comments on how the CETA and other trade deals constrain democratic governance - and the fact that corporate bigwigs are threatening any government which considers giving effect to popular opposition doesn't exactly provide any comfort. Meanwhile, Scott Sinclair points out the dangerous effects of the CETA on Canadian public services and water security.

- In a column from September, Robbie Nelson points out the need for our political system to rein in corporate excesses (particularly in the financial sector). And Sebastien Malo points out the World Bank's observation that nowhere near enough investment is going into planning for the effect of climate change on people living in poverty and precarity. 

- Fran Boait writes that capital-focused quantitative easing has done far more to increase inequality than to boost growth - signalling the need for fiscal and economic policy to be used to benefit workers. Jordan Brennan studies the value of investing in people rather than imposing austerity in Nova Scotia. And Armine Yalnizyan discusses how an improved minimum wage leads to bottom-up development. 

- Nicholas Keung reports that a federal fee grab is severely reducing the number of applicants for Canadian citizenship.

- Finally, Lana Payne discusses the challenges that reality-averse candidates like Donald Trump pose for the media. And Matt Taibbi notes that Trump has exploited and amplified the absolute worst elements of the U.S' aristocratic political system. But I wouldn't take that commentary as reason to buy into Jeffrey Tucker's repudiation of politics in general when it can instead offer us a basis to build a political environment that actually builds community.

The Great Con Canada Birthday Scam

Montreal Simon - Sun, 10/16/2016 - 07:53

I'll always remember the day Stephen Harper decided to start celebrating Canada's 150th birthday, three years early.

And how critics warned that the infrastructure money that came with it could be used by the Cons as a giant slush fund.

And sure enough they were right. 
Read more »

How to Escape Donald Trump's Monstrous Horror Movie

Montreal Simon - Sun, 10/16/2016 - 07:51

Yes I know, I vowed to try to tune out the Donald Trump horror movie this weekend, to remind myself that the world isn't THAT crazy. 

But it isn't easy. Not with the deranged demagogue now running wild, and suggesting that Hillary Clinton was on drugs during the last debate.  

“We should take a drug test prior because I don’t know what’s going on with her. But at the beginning of her last debate — she was all pumped up at the beginning, and at the end it was like, ‘Oh, take me down.’ She could barely reach her car.”

After his sniffling, snuffling performance, that had many wondering whether he was suffering from a bad case of coke nose.

So I give thanks that in the midst of this madness there are videos to distract me.
Read more »

Kelie Leitch - Savant Extraodinaire

Politics and its Discontents - Sun, 10/16/2016 - 06:46
I see that Kellie Leitch has officially launched her leadership campaign:

As the campaign heats up, she can expect more of this:

And if that doesn't sate your appetite for this strange lady who would lead the CPC through bigotry and xenophobia, try this from Frank Magazine.

Recommend this Post

Russian-American Relations

Northern Reflections - Sun, 10/16/2016 - 03:16

The War in Syria has severely damaged relations between Russia and The United States. Tony Burman writes:

Not since the darkest days of the Cold War, we are being told, are the dangers of a catastrophic conflict between Russia and the West so genuine.
Last Sunday on Russian television, Dmitry Kiselyov, an influential current affairs host, warned that U.S. military action against the Russian-backed Syrian regime could provoke a world war: “Offensive behaviour toward Russia has a nuclear dimension.”
This week, Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, wrote that today’s global situation is “more dangerous” than the Cold War. And former Soviet leader and Nobel winner Mikhail Gorbachev warned that “the world has a reached a dangerous point” because of the deepening Russia-U.S. clash over Syria.
But there are differences between the standoff which followed World War II and today's standoff:
Putin may strut, may preen and may bluster — and, like the KGB operative he once was, he is skilled at manipulating the optics of a situation. But like Trump, his comrade-in-arms in the U.S., Putin is a phoney. When all is said and done, he doesn’t have the economic or military firepower to deliver on his threats. Compared with the Soviet Union, Russia’s economy is strikingly weak and integrated with the West. If tensions ever escalated to the point of actual war, Russia would be annihilated. And Putin, above all, knows that.
Russia’s sabre-rattling is unnerving the West. It is messing with the heads of American and European politicians, military leaders and opinion-makers. In response, NATO and its member states, led by the U.S., are embarking on their own military buildup, particularly in countries neighbouring Russia. They are using the Russian threat, exaggerated as it is, as a pretext for challenging Russia in its own backyard. That’s a recipe for disaster. Putin isn’t the only threat here: our leaders also need to be watched.
Even though Trump will likely crash and burn on election day, Nov. 8, the poisoned American political system will still be with us. And it’s a system increasingly corrupted by money. Regardless of who resides in the White House, there will be many Republican members, perhaps a majority, whose political success is tied to America’s war machine. This is reflected in those military bases and military jobs that reside in their districts. Even though the Pentagon itself admits that the American military is bloated and over-resourced, it is in the interests of these politicians to keep this war machine growing.
And, should Hillary win, we're told that Putin loathes her. The West is in a tight spot. It's easy to get into a war -- much easier than it is to get out. 

Do Internet Trolls Have a Thing For Donald Trump?

The Disaffected Lib - Sat, 10/15/2016 - 18:31

One of the most unpleasant and tedious aspects of maintaining a blog is the bouts of the dreaded troll virus. There's usually a flair up when some particular issue surfaces that seems to resonate with the troll culture. Donald Trump is a case in point.

The trolls show up, hurl abuse (I guess they can't fling their pooh on the internet, must be frustrating) and then cast aspersions on Hillary, often on the blogger and other commenters as well, never responding when challenged to back up their claims.

I began to wonder why this apparent bond between these trolls and Donald Trump. I remembered, vaguely, a report I had glanced at some time ago, a psychological study of internet trolls. A bit of Googling and I found it, a report published in Psychology Today in September, 2014, "Internet Trolls are Narcissists, Psychopaths and Sadists." It seems they're "prototypical, everyday sadists."

Geez, that sounds a little bit like a candidate now running for the presidency of the United States of America. Is there some natural bond between these trolls and Trump based on their common behavioural disorders? Are they compelled to run to the defence of one of their own? I'm guessing when they look at Trump they do, indeed, see a lot of themselves.

A Simple Matter of Punctuation

The Disaffected Lib - Sat, 10/15/2016 - 10:30
Rebecca Piazza has released a tweet that explains the difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in a simple matter of punctuation.

To women: You can do anything

To women, you can do anything— Rebecca Piazza (@heybecks) October 13, 2016

Saturday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Sat, 10/15/2016 - 10:18
Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Joel Wood highlights the social cost of carbon as a crucial reason to work on reducing greenhouse gas emissions rather than insisting on doing the absolute least the rest of the world will tolerate. And needless to say, Brad Wall's idea of an argument for the position that we should have no policies aimed at actually reducing emissions is rather less than compelling - particularly given Chelsea Harvey's warning that we can't rely on technology to remove emissions from our atmosphere later on.

- Max Ehrenfreund notes that for all the criticism too often leveled toward public housing, it actually produces dramatic improvements in the opportunities for children who grow up in it:
Comprehensive new data published this week challenges the cultural consensus on public housing. For all their flaws, housing projects can have remarkable positive effects on the children who grow up in them, researchers conclude in a paper published by the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research.

Children who spend more time in public housing will earn hundreds of dollars more each year than they would have if their parents had not received housing assistance from the government during those years. Children who benefit from public housing are also less likely to be imprisoned, according to the data.

Not having to worry about paying private-sector rents, parents might have more time to spend on their children — helping them with their homework, keeping them out of trouble and guiding them to a more successful adulthood, the researchers theorize. - Meanwhile, Dawn Foster writes that the differential treatment of owned housing (which can be inherited) and rental tenancies (which can't) results in inequality being exacerbated over the course of multiple generations.

- Nicole Kozloff, Carol E. Adair, Luis I. Palma Lazgare, Daniel Poremski, Amy H. Cheung, Rebeca Sandu and Vicky Stergiopoulos study the success of Housing First programming in assisting homeless youth. But Laurie Monsebraaten and Hina Alam point out the desperate lack of federal and provincial funding to support municipal housing programs.

- And in a similar vein, a group of citizens concerns about B.C.'s education cuts highlights the dangers of relying on fund-raising rather than public revenue to fund necessary educational services. 

- Finally, Kate McInturff examines the gender gap across Canada's cities, and finds that the major cities on the prairies are clustered near the bottom when it comes to gender parity.

it is designed to break your heart

we move to canada - Sat, 10/15/2016 - 09:30
In between my infrequent posts, the Red Sox's postseason came and went. As Basil Fawlty says, blink and you missed it.

It was a strange baseball season for Sox fans. In late June, it looked like another lost cause, and I drifted away, preferring binge-watching on Netflix to sitting through loss after loss. Then suddenly it all looked so possible. Boston got hot, Baltimore faded away. Forget about the wild card, we wrapped up the division with a tidy four-game margin.

Then October comes, and the September Red Sox are nowhere to be found, the team back to its anemic June version. sigh

The Sox's oh-for-three showing in the American League Division Series had me thinking a lot about the particular joys and heartbreaks of the game itself.

Game 2 was a blow-out. Boston didn't show up, and there wasn't much suspense.

But Games 1 and 3 were both close, and in baseball close games mean suspense, frustration, and missed opportunities. Game 3 was especially suspenseful, since it was an elimination game, win or go home. The suspense, the missed opportunities -- every runner left on base, every scorched line-drive into a Cleveland glove -- got me thinking.

Baseball is full of quiet space. The reason some people find it slow and boring is the same reason fans find it exciting. (Also the reason many serious fans despise the constant noise and fake entertainment at the ballpark.) Those built-in quiet spaces frame the game into a series of distinct moments. Action-pause, action-pause, action-pause. And each of those moments holds the potential for joy -- and its opposite.

Depending on the situation, that potential could be perfectly ordinary, or unbearably suspenseful. Will the pitcher preserve the no-hitter? Will that soaring ball clear the fence? Will the runner make it to the plate before the tag? Each time the pitcher goes into his wind-up, each time the batter takes his stance -- we wait -- we wait -- in our mind's eye, we see what we want to happen, imagining it as if we could will it to happen -- comeon-comeon-comeon -- knowing we have been in this position countless times before, the memories of every crazy, impossible, joyous comeback gathering in our minds -- until we feel ready to explode with joy, and then -- celebration or frustration. We cheer. Or more likely, We sigh. We curse. We groan. The whole ballpark lets loose a collective groan, and the millions of fans watching at home groan with them.

And then the whole thing begins again.

No other sport that I know of contains this kind of constant tension and suspense. The sports with more action -- soccer, basketball, hockey -- don't allow for it. The ball or the puck is moving too quickly. The moments of tension and suspense may be numerous, but they are fleeting. In baseball, where the action appears to stop, is the peak of tension, where we hold our collective breath.

And of course the action only appears to stop, to the untrained eye. That's another thing about baseball: the individual contests being fought nearly constantly within the team sport.

Other sports have defense guarding offense, and there's the lone hockey goalie versus everyone. These are in some sense individual-within-team. But pitcher versus batter is a game onto itself. The pitcher's arsenal, the count, the number of outs, the number of runners on base and which bases, the batter's strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies, the lineup, the defensive shifts -- all this and more is happening with every pitch. Not nothing is happening -- everything is happening.

So there we are, ALDS Game 3. Bottom of the sixth, Red Sox down 4-1. Runners on second and third, and only one out! Tying run at the plate! David Ortiz! Storybook ending? Comeon-comeon-comeon... No.

Bottom eight. Runners on first and second, two out, Xander Bogaerts smacks a bullet... right into a glove.

We're still breathing, not dead yet, but first our pitchers have to hold the score, each pitch an agony of suspense as we collectively will the Cleveland batters to do nothing. Finally three outs, we breathe, allow ourselves a millisecond to relax, then here we go again, our season in the balance, David Ortiz's final season in the balance.

Bottom nine, two on, two outs, here comes our storybook ending, we just know it, another chapter in the book called David Ortiz Greatest Clutch Hitter Ever -- comeon-comeon-comeon -- and our season ends.

Every at-bat, the potential for celebration or disappointment, for joy or heartbreak.

A much better writer said it best.
It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone.

war resister ryan johnson needs our help

we move to canada - Sat, 10/15/2016 - 09:00
Our friend Ryan Johnson, a war resister, is now in military prison.

Ryan and his partner Jenna Johnson lived in Canada for more than 11 years. After running out of court challenges, and exhausted from living in limbo for more than a decade, the Johnsons returned to California, and Ryan turned himself in.

Ryan was court martialed, sentenced to 10 months in military prison, and given a bad-conduct discharge. His "crime": refusing to deploy to Iraq, refusing to participate in an illegal invasion of a country that had done no wrong to the United States. His crime: choosing peace.

Ryan and Jenna are some of the best people I know: strong, brave, principled, kind, funny, sweet, caring. They sometimes dog-sat for us, and I never felt safer than when my pups were in their care. They both come from modest, working-class backgrounds. They have loving family, but very few material resources. They need our help.

Donations made through Courage to Resist are tax-deductible for US citizens. The money raised will mean Jenna can visit Ryan in prison, Ryan can buy phone cards to speak to Jen and his other family, and Jennifer can get needed medical care.

You can donate here.

You can read more about the Johnsons' situation here.

thank you, david ortiz!

we move to canada - Sat, 10/15/2016 - 08:41

Thank you and goodbye.

Trump insults America

LeDaro - Sat, 10/15/2016 - 07:50

I found this interesting cartoon on the internet. Sums up Trump's character.

Look In The Mirror

Northern Reflections - Sat, 10/15/2016 - 07:23

Donald Trump gets more reprehensible with each passing day. But he did not rise to where he is on his own initiative. Dana Milbank writes in The Washington Post that there have been may people behind the ascension of Trump. And he has been a long time coming:

The Trump fiasco has been more than two decades in the making, going back to Newt Gingrich’s destruction of civility, Bill Clinton’s personal misconduct, a Supreme Court that, in Bush v. Gore, delegitimized democracy, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney squandering the warm courage of national unity after 9/11, a bipartisan cycle of revenge in Congress, angry liberals portraying Bush as a war criminal, the fury and racial animus of the tea party and the birthers, GOP leaders too timid to tamp down the excesses, and Supreme Court decisions that allowed anonymous groups to spend unlimited sums poisoning the airwaves with vicious and false political speech. 
The media have also had their role to play:

My colleagues and I in the news business deserve much of the blame. Fox News essentially created Trump as a political figure, validating his birther nonsense and giving him an unparalleled platform before he launched his campaign. The rest of the news media, most visibly CNN, gave the entertainer undiluted and uncritical coverage (at least until he secured the nomination), sacrificing journalistic integrity for viewers and readers. If you don’t report on Trump’s latest action, utterance or outrage, you won’t get the clicks or the ratings. And the combination of social media and a news industry fragmented by ideology allows an increasingly polarized public to choose only information that confirms their political views.

Trump knows how to play people for suckers. And there have been a lot of suckers. In the end, Americans will have to look in their mirrors.

Image: Pinterest

Arc d'Trump?

Politics and its Discontents - Sat, 10/15/2016 - 06:51
Thanks to Jonathan once again for alerting me to some clips from the 1957 movie, A Face in the Crowd, starring Andy Griffith in a role so diametrically opposed to his later persona as Sheriff Andy Taylor that he seems positively demonic at times. That the director, Elia Kazan, was able to draw the link between television stardom and political power is a testament to his prescience.

I think you will agree that the film eerily echoes the future rise of Donald Trump. Hopefully, a similar downfall ensues.

Recommend this Post

The Scary Meltdown of Donald Trump

Montreal Simon - Sat, 10/15/2016 - 04:39

I want to look away, I want to escape the insanity, I want to live in our peaceful kingdom, not in some American nightmare.

But I can't take my eyes off the horrifying sight of Donald Trump sounding crazier by the moment, and revealing his inner monster.

For it is a horror show. 

It is a total meltdown.
Read more »

Referendumpster fire

Creekside - Sat, 10/15/2016 - 01:31

CPC MP and ERRE committee member Scott Reid held a presser today to lay out the CPC position on electoral reform : No referendum, no Consent to electoral reform.

Mr Reid cites the results of a householder CPC MPs sent to their constituents. Shocker : 90.6% of them voted for a referendum.

Wikipedia : 
"In Canadian politics, a Ten Percenter is a party political flyer that MPs have the right to mail — at no cost to themselves — to households in their own ridings, equivalent to 10% of the households in their constituency. They may also send the same flier to all of their constituents if they change 50% of the copy." Complaining that members of the public who show up to ERRE road show meetings are "self-selective" and therefore not representative of Canadians as a whole - a complaint also repeated in committee by ERRE Lib MP Sherry Romanado - Reid calls his survey of 59 Conservative ridings out of a total of 338 possible ridings "the largest sampling of views on this issue to date." Ok but 30% of ridings surveyed were in Alberta. Nothing "self-selective" there.

The 81,000 votes from across Canada returned to the Conservative office or the local riding MP include up to 4 votes per household. To put that in context, 81K is the same number of voters found in the ridings of Ottawa West or North Vancouver. 
In Scott Reid's own riding of Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston with 77,808 voters, 1400 responded to his electoral referendum questionnaire ... which works out to a 1.8% response rate. 
So, you know, good effort, Cons.

Now Scott Reid has been personally in favour of implementing a proportional electoral system like STV since 2001 and his fellow ERRE member CPC Gerard Deltell also favours PR , but alas their hands are tied by the 2004 CPC founding charter which specifies that any electoral reform must be preceded by a referendum. Apparently their Bill C-23 Fair Elections Act didn't count.

Reid also reported he thinks a five-party committee consensus to proceed with a PR system is possible, that a public referendum on PR would pass, and that Elections Canada CEOs JP Kingsley and Marc Mayrand have said there is time before the next election in 2019 for both a referendum and a new electoral reform system provided the new system is not unduly complicated in the redrawing of ridings. 

So why are the CPCs the fly in the electoral reform ointment?

Reid notes that Minister Monsef has not proposed any specific model to replace FPtP or pledged to accept the committee's consensus position, supposing they reach one. 
Reid :
"Up til now, she has only said she'll take it under advisement so we can move towards that model. What I don't want to have happen is this : have the committee move towards some kind of conclusion and then the government says 'thank you very much, we're doing something else' because we have an ironclad commitment about 2019 and then impose a system that favours the governing party. That would obviously be completely unacceptable and I am anxious at all costs to make sure that doesn't happen."I get this concern. I do. The dreaded Alternative Vote, considered capable of keeping the Libs in power forever because the Libs are everyone's presumed first and/or second choice on a ranked ballot in a single seat riding, is right there in the ERRE committee road show handout and was included in the public e-consultation on the ERRE site.  

But after months of sending out householders like the one pictured at the top here - sent out prior to the committee rejig in May which allowed the Bloc and Elizabeth May a seat at the ERRE table and reduced the number of Liberals on committee from a majority of six down to four Libs plus the chair - together with your failure to hold town halls in your communities to inform yourselves and voters about possible alternatives to FPtP, and the fact your official seven page Conservative Caucus submission to ERRE today is about nothing but holding a referendum ...  well, Cons, you failed miserably at reaching out further afield than just to your dog-whistled fear-mongered householder base here to achieve that all-party consensus you claim to aspire to.

Musical interlude

accidentaldeliberations - Fri, 10/14/2016 - 16:25
Gorgon City feat. ROMANS - Saving My Life

What If We All Went Out In This Costume at Halloween?

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 10/14/2016 - 11:07

Here's an idea. Everybody in this costume. You can easily reverse engineer this for guys.

This is British journalist and heiress, Jemima Khan. Brilliant.


Subscribe to aggregator - Posts from our progressive community