Posts from our progressive community

Rona Ambrose and the Fatal Legacy of Stephen Harper

Montreal Simon - Tue, 06/14/2016 - 04:40

As you know, Rona Ambrose is finally trying to put some distance between herself and Stephen Harper.

Desperately trying to dispel the notion that she's no longer his faithful puppet, as she was for so many years.

And if you remember, at the recent Press Gallery dinner, she even went so far as to declare that "the bad man's gone." 

But sadly for her and her Cons, the monster may have left the building, but his legacy lives on.
Read more »

Envy Is A Very Unattractive Quality

Northern Reflections - Tue, 06/14/2016 - 04:39

Canadians are supposed to have a reputation for being polite. But, Robin Sears writes, that stereotype doesn't apply to the Canadian press corps. They are pretty good at stoking class envy:

Rarely a month goes by without some lazy reporter, certain of a front-page story, digging up the shocking total of hotel costs of some well-travelled trade minister, or the abomination of the two bottles of Ontario wine consumed at a “working dinner” with a visiting dignitary. (the quotes conveying always the ‘some work, some dinner!’ sneer).
Lately, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau has been the target of their barbs:

One wonders if the mostly male editorial writers at Canada’s two national newspapers could plausibly claim to be such staunch guardians of the public purse, if they were attacking a First Man and his choice of tailor.

The same gang tried it on Mila Mulroney and Laureen Harper, from time to time. But now they have doubled down.
It's time, Sears writes, to give Sophie her due:
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau happens to be an accomplished, popular and valuable champion of Canada and of several charities, and reportedly, a devoted mother. Are we really going to whinge about the domestic support we provide her in those roles, or the costs of the Canadian designed gowns she wears, or what the cost of the orange juice she consumes might be? It is demeaning, but not of her or her husband.
Come on, let’s drop this veiled sexism and embarrassing class-envy. Let’s be proud of a committed young family, raising their children in the public eye, while attempting to lead the country, and to be exemplars of Canadian values to the world.
Envy is a very unattractive quality.
 Image: mtlblog

Minister Wilson-Raybould is Apparently Above the Law. . . .

kirbycairo - Mon, 06/13/2016 - 20:11
Well, it seems pretty clear now that those of us who have been questioning the Liberal's commitment to the constitution were right. Sorry Simon and all the rest who have been so eager to give the Liberals the benefit of the doubt. It seems fairly clear to me that Minister Wilson-Raybould has settled it.

In a so-called 'background paper' sent out by the Minister on Monday, Wilson-Raybould says fairly unequivocally that the Liberal government is above the law. When the Minster says that her government does not have to comply with the Supreme Court's Carter ruling the message is clear. Wilson-Raybould says that the issue is not whether Bill C-14 complies with the Carter decision but whether it complies with the Charter, she is saying very clearly that she and her government are the final arbiters of the Charter rather than the Supreme Court. There is no way for Liberals to parse their way out of this conclusion for the simple reason that the Carter decision IS a reflection of the Charter. The Constitution is not that complicated. The Court is the final arbiter of the Charter not the government of the day. And when the Court unanimously handed down the Carter decision, they were telling the government what the Charter had to say on the issue of assisting dying. They weren't saying "Well, this is how we feel, but the government should interpret the Charter the way it sees fit"!!! Wilson-Raybould should resign immediately because she has just made it clear that she is believes, to quote another oligarch, L'Etat, C'est moi.

Here's the thing - if a Conservative minister have even hinted at this position, liberal bloggers would have spared no vitriol in condemning him/her. If Peter Mackay, Rob Nicholson, or Vic Toews had floated this idea, every progressive blogger I know in Canada would have gone crazy. And any that deny it are just being hypocritical.

I see no reasonable way to misinterpret this. Wilson-Raybould is simply saying the Government doesn't have to listen to the Supreme Court on matters of Charter interpretation, but rather only has to be responsible to itself on such matters. This is exactly the kind of thing we spent years fighting against the Harper government for.

One doesn't need to be an expert like Josh Patterson or Peter Hogg to understand that the Liberal Government has pushed the envelope here into very dangerous territory, territory that violates the very principles of our system of government.

Of course if the Government rejects the Senate amendments to the Bill, and the Senate refuses to comply, we will be at a stalemate that will de facto mean that there is no law at all governing assisted suicide. If the Senate capitulates and the Trudeau government has its way, the SCofC will smack it down the very same way that it continually smacked down the Harper government on similar issues. If I had any doubt before, I have less doubt now, for the simple reason that the Government is de facto saying that it is above the Court on such matters and the Court, to ensure its authority, will, if called upon, rule on the issue with renewed vigour.

Until that day comes, we will continue to have a government that appears to think it can make any law it wants because it will decide what the Charter means. For those who have been eager to give the Trudeau the benefit of the doubt, I think it is time to review that optimism in light of a Minister of Justice who thinks she IS the law.

When the Right Wing Media Tries to Deny the Reality of Homophobia

Montreal Simon - Mon, 06/13/2016 - 18:29

I attended this memorial in Toronto last night to remember the victims of the Orlando massacre.

And although it was a beautiful peaceful event, afterwards I couldn't help but notice the anger of some of the LGBT people who attended.

Anger over the fact that some in the media are trying to downplay the homophobic nature of the attack.

And trying to make it sound it was just an ISIS inspired attack on Western values.
Read more »

What Does Lockheed-Martin Not Understand?

Montreal Simon - Mon, 06/13/2016 - 18:28

I must admit that Steve Over, Lockheed-Martin's chief flying vacuum cleaner salesman for the F-35 jet, is really starting to annoy me.

First he threatens to blackmail us if we don't buy his overpriced overhyped clunker or junker.

Then he lied, and said he wasn't threatening us.

And now he has the nerve to lecture our Canadian government.
Read more »

Trudeau Needs a Justice Minister Who Understands the Law of Canada

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 06/13/2016 - 18:01

When justice minister Jody runs afoul of the legal mind of Joe Arvay. That's one thing. Regrettable, sure, but hey, it's Jody. When she refutes the wisdom of the top constitutional expert in Canada, Peter Hogg, Jody has one deep-seated, serious problem - herself.

The issue, of course, is the Carter decision of the Supreme Court of Canada and how much leeway justice minister Jody has to defy the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to whittle away the constitutional protections of severely afflicted Canadians.

Jody has sent a background paper to Canada's senators arguing that Trudeau's bill C-14 is "Charter proof." Jody is cleaving to the sophistry that the restrictions in C-14 are necessary if we're to avoid a stampede of people out to off themselves. Following the SCC decision, she maintains, would encourage suicide.

Josh Paterson, executive director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, a plaintiff in the Carter case, said it doesn’t matter “how many new purposes they put in the bill or how many bells and whistles and safeguards they impose,” the legislation is unconstitutional because it maintains an absolute prohibition on assisted dying for all those who are not close to death.
Canada’s leading constitutional authority, Peter Hogg, last week noted that the top court specifically directed the government to enact legislation “consistent with the constitutional parameters” set out in the Carter decision. Excluding all those who are not terminally ill from the right to assisted dying is not consistent with Carter and will thus be inevitably struck down, he told a Senate committee.
We already have a highest court of the land and it's not Jody much as she might think otherwise.
Here's an idea. Why not just pass C-14 on condition that Jody agree to resign, not her portfolio but her seat in Parliament never to seek office again, if when Canadian judges throw it out as unconstitutional?

Scripture Ain't Gospel - Live With It.

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 06/13/2016 - 16:11

Biblical inerrancy is bullshit. The Bible, especially the Old Testament, is not the literal word of God. That's bullshit. It's the word of countless old geezers passed down from one to the other, embellished a bit here and there to suit whims and biases and fancies of the day with plenty of space left over for even more bullshit.

And people who believe the word from God is that gays should be put to death, well they have shit for brains. They probably also have prehensile tails. We developed an institution for them. It's called the zoo.

Lewis Black has a great sketch on the Old Testament and how it screws up Christians. Embedding is disabled but you can access it here.

How much mayhem have those damned books and the people who devour them inflicted in the name of their gods over the centuries? Those fundamentalists who come in equal parts of piety and murderous brutality. And they've been dining on a diet of straight bullshit.

we movie to canada: wmtc annual movie awards, 2015-16 edition

we move to canada - Mon, 06/13/2016 - 12:00
I'm posting my annual movie awards later and later every year. I'm also watching fewer movies, because I'm watching more TV shows. When I come home on Friday or Saturday, exhausted and needing total downtime, sometimes even a movie is too much mental effort; binge-watching a series is somehow easier. So I end up with a ton of movies on the List, unwatched, year after year.

But no matter. Here's what I did watch, and what I thought.

First, the annual recap.
- Canadian musicians and comedians (2006-07 and 2007-08)
- my beverage of choice (2008-09)
- famous people who died during the past year (2009-10)
- where I'd like to be (2010-11)
- vegetables (2011-12) (I was out of ideas!)
- Big Life Events in a year full of Big Life Changes (2012-13)
- cheese (I'm getting desperate!) (2013-14)
- and last year (2014-15) types of travels.

This year I've recycling a theme from a few years back. It was a bad year for the deaths of famous people, and it's only going to get worse, as a generation of musicians, actors, and thinkers that people in my age-range have worshipped have begun to leave us.

War resister, peace activist, athlete, orator, leader. Warrior for peace and justice. Proud Muslim. Few have sacrificed as much for peace as he did. Muhammad Ali was The Greatest, and so were these movies.

The Wire, Season 4
-- The absolute best viewing his past year wasn't a movie at all. Season Four of The Wire has more positive characters, more emotional investment, and a more profound impact than anything we've seen yet. The Wire is likely the best series ever aired, and this is its best season (so far). Exceptional.

Call Me Lucky
-- A hilarious, heartbreaking, inspiring movie about a man you've probably never heard of, featuring a lot of famous people who owe so much to him. My full review is here. I want everyone to see this movie.

-- A riveting drama and a fascinating history. A story that should never be forgotten, beautifully told. The DVD has interviews with the real Spotlight team.

-- Solidarity that made me weep with joy. A vision of the possible. Inspiration of the highest order.

Merchants of Doubt
-- An important, terrifying look into public manipulation, from Big Tobacco to climate change deniers. The must-see documentary of my movie season.

Brilliant, multi-talented, unique, influential, and gorgeous. There was only one David Bowie, and he influenced our culture in myriad ways. He did put out some clunkers and some mainstream fluff in his day. Like Bowie, these films are not perfect, but they are excellent.

Blue Ruin
-- A low-budget revenge thriller, as bloody as it is suspenseful. Riveting.

Far from the Madding Crowd
-- A lush, luminous adaptation of a great novel. I was skeptical, then found myself completely caught up in the characters and their tragic or triumphant lives.

The Search for General Tso
-- This documentary uses Ameican Chinese food as an avenue to explore identity, authenticity, and otherness. So well done.

Boardwalk Empire Seasons 1-3
-- This high-quality historical fiction about boss politics in the Prohibition era ticks every box: gorgeous period setting, social significance, political intrigue, class war, and complex relationships. The first few seasons were stellar. After that, the great storylines faded away, and the plots became too repetitive. But these first three seasons, wow. Violence warnings, bigtime.

The Good Wife, Seasons 6 and 7
-- Rarely does a show stay great for seven full seasons. Writing, acting, storylines, politics -- all brilliant. I loved the ending, and am sad that it's over. Very nearly a Muhammad Ali.

    The shocking deaths of David Bowie and Prince overshadowed the passing of many other musical artists. Allen Toussaint, Merle Haggard, and Maurice White all created original, important music. Each man took established genres and threw in elements of culture, diverse influences, and their unique visions to create something new, different, and beautiful. Their music was solid, good, and sometimes wonderful. So are these movies.

    -- Part buddy road trip, part bedroom farce, funny, sad, and outrageous. Plus a trans actor plays a trans person. Plus it was shot on an iPhone. Not a perfect movie, but a really good one.

    The Overnighters
    -- A stark documentary that reveals a sad slice of the dead American dream. Bleak, compassionate, thought-provoking, surprising.

    BoJack Horseman, Season 2
    -- As often happens, this comedy improved when it found the pain beneath the laughs. The second BoJack season was often very sad, and also very good.

    -- A gentle, good-natured comedy about some misfits, their subculture, and their attempts at connection. Lovely, and left me wanting more.

    Ex Machina
    -- Plot twists, suspense, and an absolute shocker of an ending. For an exploration of human-technology love, see Her. For a thriller that happens to feature some androids, see this.

    Force Majeure
    -- How do we behave in a crisis? What would you do if...? The answer to that question sets off a chain of events that remakes a family's life. A bit long and occasionally tedious, but thought-provoking and worth seeing.

    God's Pocket
    -- A strange comedy-drama romp, and a reminder of Philip Seymour Hoffman's quietly perfect talents.

    -- I finally saw the film adaptation of one of my favourite junior novels. It almost does justice to the book, which is very high praise.

    How We Got to Now
    -- Steven Johnson's PBS series does a good job of making a science-history lecture visually entertaining. I've only seen two episodes, but plan on watching all six.

    -- The Big Man of Documentaries meets the flamboyant Grand Dame of Fashion, when 87-year-old presents 93-year-old Iris Apfel. A film about free spirits and life as creation. Really fun.

    Keith Richards: Under the Influence
    -- The latest revision of Keith's biography. Diehard fans won't learn anything new, but it's Keith, so it's fun.

    Life Itself
    -- This tribute to Roger Ebert, the film critic and cultural icon, was... good. I wanted it to be better, but if you were a fan of Ebert's, you'll enjoy it.

    Magic in the Moonlight
    -- Solid Woody Allen. Won't change your life, but if you like Woody's comedies, this is one of them.

    Master of None
    -- Aziz Ansari tries to break out of the comic-turned-sitcom mold, and sometimes succeeds. Funny and interesting enough to watch another season.

    -- An African-American girl from a working-class, religious family, comes to terms with her sexuality and claims her identity. Even though the story has been told many times, when it's told well, it's touching and inspiring. A young filmmaker's very impressive debut.

    Sherlock Holmes (2009)
    -- A nice take on the Sherlock Holmes franchise. I found myself skipping through the action scenes to find the movie underneath, but it's fun and well done. Also a reminder that I just don't like action movies.

    The Clouds of Sils Maria
    -- In a film about actors and theatre, what's real and what's theatre shifts and bends and flips. This film is purposely disorienting and confusing, and strangely compelling.

    The Dark Matter of Love
    -- A cheery Midwestern family adopts older orphans from Russia, and learns that love and good intentions do not conquer all. This documentary follows their struggles, their perservanace, and their work with family therapists to try to get it right. Well done.

    The End of the Tour
    -- If you're not a writer or a fan of David Foster Wallace, I don't think this film adaptation of David Lipsky's Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself would be of much interest. But if you do fall into either of those categories, it's interesting and though-provoking. Jason Segal's portrayal of DFW is relevatory.

    The Great Train Robbery
    -- A funny, suspenseful, well written crime caper, told in a two-part series, first from the robbers' point of view, then from the police's. The first part is much more interesting than the second, but in general it's enjoyable. Lovely 1960s period piece, too.

    The Imitation Game
    -- This is not the first film about Alan Turing, the Enigma machine, and the homophobic persecution of Turing, but it's a very solid new take. Plus Benedict Cumberbatch. If you ever have the opportunity to watch Derek Jacobi as Turing, it's a very different portrayal, and also very good.

    Tiger Eyes
    -- Amazingly, this is the first Judy Blume novel to get a film adaptation. Directed by Lawrence Blume, the author's son, it's a simple and direct coming-of-age story. A tad melodramatic, but that's teenage life. Nicely done.

    Rectify, Seasons 1 and 2
    -- This series started out strong, but lost its way. Interesting, though, and worth seeing. We might try again at some point.

    Love & Mercy
    -- This biopic about Brian Wilson transcends the "troubled genius" mold. A good music film about struggle and redemption. The DVD extras include Brian and Melinda Wilson themselves.

    Glenn Frey probably made some halfway decent music at some point. His career probably wasn't a total waste, but if I never heard another Eagles song again, that would be fine with me. These movies and shows don't completely suck, but they are generally failures.

    Garfunkle & Oates
    -- The female Flight of the Conchords is mildly amusing, but it only plays one note, and gets old fast.

    I Believe in Unicorns
    -- I wanted to like this teenage story of dangerous love, escape, and redemption. But I just couldn't buy any of it. Natalie Dyer's performance is excellent. Other than that, ugh.

    The Thread
    -- Online communities and their impact on mainstream news and public perception is a fascinating topic. I'd love to see a movie like this, but better. Halfway between Glenn Frey and Haggard-Toussaint-White.

    Last Weekend
    -- Family melodrama about incredibly privileged people and their relative self-awareness or lack thereof. The always brilliant Patricia Clarkson saves this from the scrap heap.

    Stephen Fry Live: More Fool Me
    -- Stephen Fry is a treasure. This live show is occasionally good, but mostly meh.

    Fruitvale Station
    -- A fictional dramatization of the last day of Oscar Grant, who was killed by police in the Bay Area. This is one of those movies that I'm glad exists, but isn't very good.

    God Bless the Child
    -- The camera follows a group of siblings left alone by their depressed mother, with minimal plot and seemingly no script. It was such an interesting concept, and I wanted to love it. But it was so boring!

    Levon Helm: Ain't in It for My Health
    -- I love The Band and I loved Levon Helm, so I found something to enjoy in this movie. Levon deserved a great film and this is not it.

    -- Al Pacino is a misanthrope, then presto-change-oh, he's redeemed. What a disappointment!

    No No: A Dockumentary
    -- Do you want to see this baseball film? No. No.

    Paper Towns
    -- If this makes you read more John Green, it has served some purpose. Otherwise, a must to avoid.

    Sagrada: The Mystery of Creation
    -- This movie has some nice views of La Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudi's unfinished masterpiece, so it wasn't a total waste.

    Schitt's Creek
    -- This started out full of promise, but faded first. It should have been much funnier.

    Set Fire to the Stars
    -- The best part of this film about Dylan Thomas is the title. There are a couple of good moments that save it from the bottom of the barrel.

    Welcome to Me
    -- Kristen Wiig is good, but quirky just to be quirky is just silly.

    Seymour: An Introduction
    -- This movie about an inspiring teacher looks might be interesting to someone who knew and cared about him. But when it comes to introducing Seymour Bernstein and getting me to care about him, it completely failed.

    -- I'm starting to wonder if Simon Pegg will ever appear in a good movie again. This road-trip romp has a laugh or two, but wow, some serious dreck.

    Antonin Scalia was a disgusting excuse for a human being and a dangerous US Supreme Court Justice. He should never be missed and these movies should not be watched.

    Skating to New York
    -- If you must see all things Canadian, don't say I didn't warn you.

    The Angriest Man in Brooklyn
    -- An angry, bitter man finds out he is about to die, and runs around trying to love everyone. Yikes.

    The Slap
    -- I don't need to like every character in order to like a movie, but when every single character is hideously unlikeable, I must run away.

    Computer Chess
    -- What the hell? This was several critics' pick for best indie film of the year. I found it unwatchable.

    -- Lurching from one plot hole to the next, awash in melodrama and rickety devices, this movie is a complete mess. Once again I am reminded not to be fooled by hype.

    Global Weirding - U.K.

    The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 06/13/2016 - 11:05

    The Brits will have to put away their beach wear for a while. After the recent heat wave and predictions this will be the hottest summer in more than a century they're now being told to brace for Arctic temperatures this week.

    Not sure how that works. Even the Arctic isn't experiencing Arctic temperatures lately.

    After the "Arctic whisper" passes the Brits have been told to brace for heavy rains and flash flooding.

    And that folks is what you call Global Weirding. Our new "normal."

    Orlando and the Plague of Fundamentalism

    The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 06/13/2016 - 10:28
    I got a call from my brother yesterday morning. He's gay. Naturally the Orlando massacre came up in our conversation. The discussion got around to religious fundamentalism, people of that rabid religiosity that infests the world today - Muslim, Christian, Judaic, Hindu, hell even Buddhist. There you will find the murderous malignancy of intolerance.

    I wondered how many good Christian folks went to church yesterday seeing God's hand at work in Orlando.

    Fundamentalism is rooted in scriptural inerrancy. Every word, no matter how malicious, is the word of God. If God says homos are to be put to death, well it's right there in writing. Has to be true. How warped does a mind have to be to believe that shit?

    Imagine a world free from fundamentalism of any stripe. Imagine.

    Justin, Meet Edmund

    The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 06/13/2016 - 10:13

    When I think of Israel's headlong plunge into fascism and our government's indifference (or worse) to it, I can't help but think of Edmund Burke's classic warning:

    All that is needed for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
    Only never let it be said that this prime minister is guilty of the sin of doing nothing. No, he and our government have joined the effort to censure those who campaign to boycott, divest and sanction Israel for its half-century long oppression of the Palestinians and the theft of the Palestinian homeland.
    Jeez, remember how we got our knickers in a bunch over the supposed remarks by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that called for Israel to be wiped off the map? Oh my lord, there were going to be sanctions. Israel demanded the US attack Iran. What a mess. (BTW, read this account from the Washington Post that clarifies what was actually said and what was meant - it's not what you've been led to believe)
    Anyway, we got up on our hind legs in righteous indignation. We were not going to sit by and tolerate these threats (or supposed threats). Iran was going to be taught a lesson.
    Of course the supposed threat was laughable. Iran has no nuclear weapons although they were interested in perhaps building a few. That seems to have been part of the Sunni v. Shiite tensions. Israel, by contrast, has dozens of nukes and the ability to deliver them, pretty much at will. Hard to imagine the Ayatollahs wanted to see Iran turned to glass.
    So the Iranian threat was empty rhetoric at worst. Ahmadinejad (no longer in power) was no Avigdor Lieberman, currently the second most powerful man in the Israeli government.  That rabid rightwinger did threaten another country, Egypt, with genocide. He proposed destroying Egypt's Aswan dam and sweeping the Egyptians into the sea. He's now the defence minister which also gives him responsibility for keeping Israel's boot on the Palestinian's neck. Bet you he hates that job.
    Then there's Netanyahu's agriculture minister, Uri Ariel, who thinks it would be agriculturally wise to for Israel to now annex Area C of the Palestinian West Bank. Area C may not sound like much but it's 60 per cent of the West Bank.
    The proposal triggered a storm of protest (none from Ottawa, of course) when word got out that Ariel was calling for the expulsion of 300,000 Palestinians. Nothing of the sort, he says.
    On Thursday, a spokesperson for Ariel clarified that the minister was misquoted on the issue of Palestinians in Area C: Rather than saying that he wants to remove a few thousand Arabs from Area C, he said that only a few thousand Arabs live there, and their numbers are not high enough to prevent an Israeli annexation of the area.

    We have to aspire to the annexation of Area C. These are areas where there are no Arabs at all, except a few thousand who don’t constitute a significant numerical factor,” Ariel said.

    Ariel also said the Israeli right is unconcerned over recent peace overtures by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since they will eventually come to nothing. Nonetheless, Ariel, who opposes Palestinian statehood, carped that by invoking a desire for a two-state solution, Netanyahu is fueling the notion held by many Israelis that the creation of a Palestinian state is inevitable.

    Gee, that sounds like ethnic cleansing. Good men nothing.
    Of course those numerically irrelevant Palestinians have it easy compared to their brethren in the prison camp known as Gaza. They've got an epidemic of skin problems caused by drinking their own contaminated water. Here's an updated account on the state of suffering of these besieged Palestinians.
    The 1.8 million Gazans are the victims of the Israeli strategy of Dahiyeh, the calculated destruction, in flagrant violation of the laws of war and human rights, of essential civilian infrastructure - water, sewer and electrical utilities, hospitals, schools and such. The Israelis perfected the technique in the Beirut suburb from which it gets its name and they practiced it on Gaza three times. (It's also the template our other ally, the Saudis, are using against the Houthi civilians in Yemen).
    Good men nothing.
    The Trudeau government would rather censure the B/D/S movement than do anything about the evolution of this fascist state of Israel. Our government is onside with this. We just can't pretend any more. We can't look the other way forever. Netanyahu promised in the elections in March last year that there'll never be a Palestinian state while he's prime minister.  There's one thing, maybe the only thing, on which Netanyahu's words have to be taken at face value.
    What we're witnessing is incremental ethnic cleansing. When Gaza becomes completely uninhabitable the population will either have to die or be relocated, perhaps to Jordan. As Israel continues to swallow up the West Bank there'll be no viable homeland there for Palestinians either.
    With governments such as that we have now and the one we just sent packing, we, all of us, are complicit in this. 
    I was mistaken about Edmund Burke. He was talking about evil triumphing when "good" men do nothing. We're running short of good men these days.

    Unfiltered Hatred

    Politics and its Discontents - Mon, 06/13/2016 - 09:42
    I don't feel completely right posting this video in which a hatred-spewing 'Christian' pastor, Stephen L. Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church, offers his evaluation of the Orlando massacre. However, we cannot turn away from such evil ranters; their malignity only grows if left unchallenged and not held to account.

    I will warn you, though. It is not easy listening to such obscenity:

    Recommend this Post

    happy birthday to me

    we move to canada - Mon, 06/13/2016 - 09:37
    Apparently I have been alive on this planet for 55 years. That seems completely impossible. Yet there it is.

    As always on my birthday, I feel incredibly fortunate to be alive and living such a good life. Thanks for still reading my (now occasional) blather.

    Monday Morning Links

    accidentaldeliberations - Mon, 06/13/2016 - 09:24
    Miscellaneous material to start your week.

    - Cynthia Kaufman discusses Moses Naim's theory that while a transnational ruling class has managed to exercise almost total control over the functions of government, it's set to lose power over the public at large. And 63Mag interviews Jennifer Hollett about the future of progressive activism and organizing in Canada.

    - Sophia Harris reports on yet another round of fee increases from Canadian banks which will do little other than goose their already-massive profits. And Kelly Crowe highlights the pharmaceutical industry's track record of secrecy and falsified test results.

    - Jim Bronskill writes that the Canada Border Services Agency's "Border Security" show has at long last been cancelled due to its blatant and inexplicable infringement on privacy rights.

    - Tom Parkin calls for the Libs to get moving on ending the Charter abuses imposed under C-51. And Vincent Gogolek worries that Justin Trudeau's promises about improved transparency and access to information are about to be replaced by even more means of suppressing information.

    - Finally, Bill Graveland reports on Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond's observation that child protective services need to be able to track at-risk children across provincial borders.

    False Hope and the Great Illusion - Life in the Ghetto of Neoliberalism's Predator State

    The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 06/13/2016 - 08:58

    Chris Hedges figures we're fattened lambs being prepped for slaughter by the agents of corporatism, those we ourselves put in office.  He writes, of course, of America. Canadians, naturally, don't have a care in the world on this stuff. Don't we?

    The aims of the corporate state are, given the looming collapse of the ecosystem, as deadly, maybe more so, as the acts of mass genocide carried out by the Nazis and Stalin’s Soviet Union.

    The reach and effectiveness of corporate propaganda dwarfs even the huge effort undertaken by Adolf Hitler and Stalin. The layers of deception are sophisticated and effective. News is state propaganda. Elaborate spectacles and forms of entertainment, all of which ignore reality or pretend the fiction of liberty and progress is real, distract the masses.

    Education is indoctrination. Ersatz intellectuals, along with technocrats and specialists, who are obedient to neoliberal and imperial state doctrine, use their academic credentials and erudition to deceive the public.

    The promises made by the corporate state and its political leaders—we will restore your jobs, we will protect your privacy and civil liberties, we will rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, we will save the environment, we will prevent you from being exploited by banks and predatory corporations, we will make you safe, we will provide a future for your children—are the opposite of reality.

    The loss of privacy, the constant monitoring of the citizenry, the use of militarized police to carry out indiscriminate acts of lethal violence—a daily reality in marginal communities—and the relentless drive to plunge as much as two-thirds of the country into poverty to enrich a tiny corporate elite, along with the psychosis of permanent war, presage a dystopia that will be as severe as the totalitarian systems that sent tens of millions to their deaths during the reigns of fascism and communism.
    Thank Freya that's only America. But, wait, is it really? Sure our cousins to the south are going through a rough patch. Having to choose between Drumpf and Hillary isn't pleasant. Talk about an election where everybody is holding their noses to vote. Who will it be - Bad or Worse?
    Besides, it's America. They're flamboyant, always doing everything to extremes. It's easier to see the rot that way. You've got to dig around a little more to see it in Canada. It's still there but it's understated, seemingly gentler, less offensive.
    Some of the stuff he chronicles is found here. Manufactured news spun and flavoured and dished up by our corporate media cartel. We've sure got that. Monitoring of the citizenry - I haven't heard Justin say he's dismantling the pipeline secret police his predecessor set up. Have you? CSIS is still in the domestic surveillance business, right? If you haven't heard anything to the contrary, it is.
    Inequality - of wealth, income and opportunity - that's still going on. That's a self-perpetuating problem if left unattended. Neoliberalism? Yes, it's alive and well in the True North. 
    Then there's the kicker, what Hedges calls "the looming collapse of the ecosystem." It's happening even if you didn't notice it on your commute to work this morning. This CO2 chart from NASA tells you everything you never wanted to know. Since 1950 we have been in a man-made environment unlike anything known for the last 400,000 years.  All my life and, I'll bet, all yours too has been in that unprecedented territory.

    False hope and great illusion - is that all that's keeping us going? Is that what's propping up the state? Given the way our civilization is responding to this looming ecological collapse what else could there be? It's a house of cards.
    Hedges argues that our only hope now is to take our fate into our own hands. New political movements, civil disobedience and more.
    It is time to step outside of the establishment. This means organizing groups, including political parties, that are independent of the corporate political machines that control the Republicans and Democrats.

    It means carrying out acts of sustained civil disobedience. It means disruption.

    Many who work within ruling class structures understand the corruption and dishonesty of corporate power. We must appeal to their conscience. We must disseminate the truth.

    We have little time left. Climate change, even if we halt all carbon emissions today, will still bring rising temperatures, havoc, instability and systems collapse to much of the planet.

    Let us hope we never have to make the stark choice, as most of the [Warsaw] ghetto fighters did, about how we will die. If we fail to act, however, this choice will one day define our future, as it defined theirs.


    Politics and its Discontents - Mon, 06/13/2016 - 06:26

    If there is any good to come from this terrible massacre, let it be the realization that the things that may set us apart are small indeed compared to the bonds that unite us.Recommend this Post

    It's Later Than We Think

    Northern Reflections - Mon, 06/13/2016 - 04:51

    The real battle in the United States won't be between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Chris Hedges writes that the real battle is between corporate power and ordinary citizens. And, if ordinary citizens are to win the battle, they must understand their opposition:

    The reach and effectiveness of corporate propaganda dwarfs even the huge effort undertaken by Adolf Hitler and Stalin. The layers of deception are sophisticated and effective. News is state propaganda. Elaborate spectacles and forms of entertainment, all of which ignore reality or pretend the fiction of liberty and progress is real, distract the masses.

    Education is indoctrination. Ersatz intellectuals, along with technocrats and specialists, who are obedient to neoliberal and imperial state doctrine, use their academic credentials and erudition to deceive the public.

    The promises made by the corporate state and its political leaders—we will restore your jobs, we will protect your privacy and civil liberties, we will rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, we will save the environment, we will prevent you from being exploited by banks and predatory corporations, we will make you safe, we will provide a future for your children—are the opposite of reality.
    The Citizens United  decision has allowed the corporate elite to establish a huge propaganda machine:

    The corporate state, operating a system Sheldon Wolin referred to as “inverted totalitarianism,” invests tremendous sums—$5 billion in this presidential election alone—to ensure that we do not see its intentions or our ultimate predicament.

    These systems of propaganda play on our emotions and desires. They make us confuse how we are made to feel with knowledge. They get us to identify with the manufactured personality of a political candidate. Millions wept at the death of Josef Stalin, including many who had been imprisoned in his gulags. There is a powerful yearning to believe in the paternal nature of despotic power.
    But, if the Trump and Sanders campaigns prove anything, it's that ordinary citizens are beginning to wake up to the fact that they've been played for chumps. There is some hope. But time is short:

    But we still have options. Many who work within ruling class structures understand the corruption and dishonesty of corporate power. We must appeal to their conscience. We must disseminate the truth.

    Climate change, even if we halt all carbon emissions today, will still bring rising temperatures, havoc, instability and systems collapse to much of the planet.
    It's later than we think.

    The Orlando Massacre and the Hatred that Kills

    Montreal Simon - Sun, 06/12/2016 - 17:51

    I am sure that by now most of you have heard the horrible news. 

    A gunman entered a gay nightclub in Orlando, and opened fire on the innocent.

    So even though they are a relatively small minority, LGBT people are now the victims of the worst mass murder in American history.

    And while I'm still so stunned by that act of senseless, brutish violence,  and so angry, I don't really feel like writing anything.

    I feel I have no choice but to say this.
    Read more »

    Standing with Pride

    Fat and Not Afraid - Sun, 06/12/2016 - 16:00

    Sunday never seems to be a good news day lately; too many shitty things happening overnight at clubs. I went to work today and kept an eye on the news feeds about the Orlando, Florida gay nightclub massacre and was overwhelmed with how supportive so much of what I saw was. Still, it's not enough. I saw a lot of tweets today that hit home, hard; the gay agenda is still just to survive. If after the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings America couldn't change how it dealt with guns and gun violence, there's no hope. The only explanation for what happened today was not enough thoughts and prayers after the LAST mass shooting. People in power who speak against the LGBTQ community and also promote the 2nd Amendment are a HUGE part of the problem. Religious extremism is too, from all the big Abrahamic faiths. And on and on.

    It's Pride month around the world right now and even the Sault and Subury are having events, though Sud's isn't until July for some weird reason. Across vast nations thousand and thousands of people are marching, dancing and singing to show the world that love is love, you can't hate someone for their own good, can't kill us all. Gay pride started as a protest against lives lost and injured in the Stonewall Riots. It's morphed and evolved over the years into flashy pageantry and a place of politicians to score points with The Gays, but at it's core it's about visibility. We're here! We're Queer! Etc. 

    After today's events, with 50+ gay folk gunned down in cold blood at nightclub by someone asshole with an assault rifle, I feel the only thing I can do is take that last little step out of the closet. For most of you this will be no surprise at all; I've been open about my bisexuality with people outside family for a while. I've known I've like both women and men for a long, long time. My first real girl crush was in highschool (of course!) but I've never been able to have a Real Relationship (TM). I settled down with Ryan pretty quickly but that doesn't mean women haven't continued to spark interest over the years. It doesn't mean that I don't care about the LGBTQ community where I live, and abroad. It does mean that I have a ton of privilege that comes from being a bisexual woman who married a man. It means that it's been fairly easy for me to pass as straight, to just coast along and not worry too much about certain things. 

    Well, enough of that. Visibility honours the past and preserves the future. It's a step I can take, sure footed and thankfully safe. I'm old enough now I don't have to fear backlash, and it's just time. I don't need to pick a team and being bisexual doesn't make me a cheater or insatiable (in fact my libido runs towards the other end). Next month when Sudbury has their pride parade I'm going to be there as a visible member of the bi community. Enough with the jokes and erasure. Enough with closets. Enough with the tears and the blood and suffering. Enough. 


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