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bobby keys, 1943-2014

we move to canada - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 05:00


Terrible news for the music world this week, and for the world of unabashed, unrepentant, hard partying rock-and-roll.

I have loved Bobby Keys for as long as I've known of his existence, which is to say a very long time. If you read Life, Keith Richards' memoirs, you know a few good Bobby Keys stories. And if you love the music of the Rolling Stones' best years, you've been loving Bobby Keys, too.

Keith and Bobby shared a birthday, and much of their lives. The death of Bobby Keys hits Stones' fans with a special kind of force.

Bobby Keys: Bruce Weber writes about him here.

A Foremost Fabulator

Northern Reflections - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 04:26

                                                http://www.webchercheurs.com/

Stephen Harper came to Ottawa claiming that he was a righteous man. He stood, he said, for the truth. But, Michael Harris writes, with Harper it's never been about the truth. It's been about advertising -- and he arranges for Canadians to foot the bill:

We’re living in the age of propaganda politics financed by the public between elections; appearance and reality are now separated by light years of marketing BS. As the PM postures as the veterans’ champion, his government has quietly agreed to transfer to Quebec the last Veterans Affairs hospital in Canada run by the feds. It hasn’t been announced yet, but Quebec’s health minister, Gaetan Barrette, listed St. Anne’s Hospital in the Law Number Ten Project, merging the federal facility with other establishments in Montreal’s West Island.
The veterans affairs fiasco is a particularly egregious example of how advertising has replaced the truth:

So the latest episode of let’s-pretend marketing goes something like this: The Harper government is going to hire new front-line workers for VA — ergo, its commitment to veterans is confirmed.

It’s nothing of the sort, of course. In fact, it’s more tarnished than ever. The Harper government has fired thousands of VA staffers and are hiring dozens. There is no information on how these new front line workers will be deployed. There never is any detailed information in Harper “news” releases; he saves that for information leaks about his enemies, like Helena Guergis or Jim Prentice.
And the Harperian propaganda surrounding the F-35 was equally putrid:

Remember all the marketing attached to this file? The PM confabulating that there was a contract when there was no contract. The PM saying the price was $16 billion for sixty-five F-35s; it was $10 billion higher and cabinet knew it. The PM saying the parliamentary budget officer was wrong on his numbers; it was the PM who was wildly, consciously wrong. The Auditor General finally put the Cons out of their misery by completely backing up Kevin Page.
Joan Mellen wrote that Lillian Hellman was the:

foremost literary fabulator of her generation. Lillian Hellman invented her life, so that by the end even she was uncertain about what had been true. 
Hellman's and Harper's politics were diametrically opposed. But they shared a fatal flaw.


Stephen Harper and the Torture Cons

Montreal Simon - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 19:25


We have all read the horrifying stories about the CIA's torture campaign. The systematic brutality, the mechanical cruelty, the monstrous depravity.

And a lot of Americans are finally understanding how they got from 911 to Ferguson. 

When hijacked airliners slammed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and an empty Pennsylvania field in 2001 everyone knew that the United States was changed forever. We had no idea, though, that what we are told are our essential values would be surrendered. Now thirteen years on we are left with a legacy of wars, deceit, torture and a massive erosion of our basic liberties.

But I wonder how many Canadians understand how far down the road to torture and depravity Stephen Harper has taken this country.
Read more »

When Steve Carell Channeled Marvin Gaye

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 17:11
In these times we need more of this, a lot more.  Enjoy.  From the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Government's Own F-35 Report Demolishes Myth of F-35 Superiority

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 15:02


A report commissioned by the Harper government concludes that the F-35, stacked up against the competition, is no clear winner except in one area, open state-versus-state warfare, which it concludes is "highly unlikely."


Tabled in the House of Commons on Wednesday, the report represents the culmination of the Conservative government’s F-35 “reset” after Auditor General Michael Ferguson blasted its handling of the stealth fighter project nearly three years ago.Overseen by an independent panel of experts, defence officials spent a year re-examining the F-35 as well as the Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale and Boeing Super Hornet to determine if the aircraft could adequately replace the military’s aging CF-18s.The report identifies six missions Canada’s next fighter jet will be expected to fulfil. Those include defending Canadian airspace, participating in a Libya-style bombing mission, responding to a terrorist attack, and assisting in a humanitarian emergency or natural disaster.However, the report says historically, domestic and North American missions have accounted for at least 90 per cent of the work done by Canadian fighter jets.“Moreover, 80 per cent of the missions flown by the fleet have related to the ability to protect Canadian air space from intrusion,” it adds. “This function is projected to continue to be the most important role of the Canadian fighter capability.”The report shows all four aircraft were capable of protecting Canadian airspace and performing four of the other missions with minimal risk. “This was due to the fact that most of these missions involve relatively low level of threat and are less onerous for fighter aircraft,” the report says.Dassault has welcomed the report, saying that the only way for Canada to now move forward is with a "full, open and transparent competition."  Yes, what would be better than a genuine fly-off with the contenders put through their paces in a grueling competition.   That would make Canada the first country to evaluate the F-35 on a "fly before you buy" basis.

Expect Lockheed to do everything in its power to derail any possibility of an open and transparent competition.  Not only might that imperil Lockheed's current lock on the Harper government but it could also reveal to other wary markets just what they're really getting for their defence dollar.  The F-35 is already at a cost disadvantage.  A flying competition could threaten its "wunderplane" publicity.



Where Some Truth Resides

Politics and its Discontents - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 12:53
A friend of mine sent me the following. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

Prime Minister Harper took an aerial tour of the proposed pipeline route through BC earlier this week.

When he returned he said he thought it went reasonably well.






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Is Michigan the Most F_cked Up State in the Union?

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 08:23


Ever since the conquest and occupation of the City of Detroit, the Michigan state government has done some pretty quirky things.

The Boys of Lansing wasted no time passing a union-busting, "right to work for less" labour law in 2012.

Last year the far Right legislature enacted a law that bans all insurance companies from covering abortion costs unless a woman's life is in danger. Women who want that sort of coverage are required to buy an extra rider.

Now working its way through the legislature is a controversial "religious freedom law" that critics claim will clear the way for denial of service to gays and other minorities.

“In many religions, it’s OK for a man to beat his wife,” Brooke Tucker, staff attorney at the ACLU of Michigan, told msnbc. “Based on language in this bill, all he has to say is my religion allows me to do this.”

If you still have any doubts about how unhinged Michigan's state legislature has become, look no further than a bill to amend its renewable energy act to allow the burning of old tires, industrial waste and used oil to be classified as "renewable energy."
 

Is the Militarization of Cops the Last Straw?

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 07:43

The line between law enforcement and the military is, sadly, blurring.  Today's cops are being equipped with combat weapons and gear, even armoured military vehicles.  They're being trained to operate in military formations - squads and platoons - and they're skilled in some aspects of counter-insurgency.

The bottom line is that this evidences a fracturing of the relationship between governments and their people.  For the public, this may be the last straw as a recent article by Johanna Mendelson Forman of the American University's School of International Service from The Globalist contends:

The appearance of armed personnel carriers, Humvees and other military equipment reveal to Americans – and the world – that U.S. cities are indeed the new war zones.A key part of the problem is the pervasive access to heavy weaponry by local law enforcement after 9/11. Instead of focusing on community policing – getting closer to the people – law enforcement has actually distanced itself and “tooled up.”It is scant comfort that local law enforcement agencies sell this as their approach to “homeland security.” Their weaponization – and indeed the militarization of civilian security, as their actions to “defend” themselves against protestors show – is a bridge too far....The brutal and violent use of excessive force to arrest Eric Garner, an unarmed citizen, in New York City was inhumane. The illegal chokehold that ultimately killed Garner despite his screams, “I cannot breathe,” reflect two trends that policy analysts have known for a long time.First, U.S. cities are the newest zone of conflict. And second, this new type of urban warfare mentality has gone hand in hand with a greater tolerance by the U.S. legal system when it comes to holding police accountable for their actions.Unless we are completely blind, we Americans must urgently realize one painful global reality: What we now see – and practice – at home is precisely the impunity which we Americans so frequently deride in places like Mexico.There, we know that preservation of the rule of law is often the exception in cases of police corruption or complicity in murder.But now the shoe is on the other foot: The failure of grand juries to indict policemen in both Ferguson, Missouri, and now in New York City all point to a dangerous conclusion: We Americans are now treating our policing activities as acts of war, and thus hold any offending acts committed in the pursuit of that broader goal to different standards than the civilian ones used to prosecute criminal acts.Unfortunately, the urban wars of 2014 are not armed conflict as we know it. Instead, they are manifestations of ideological divides like the racism of the police in Missouri or in New York.These actions are but a mirror that reflects the deeper divides that are rearing their heads all across the country. Whether it is a matter of color or class, all these actions, from Iguala to Ferguson to New York, send a powerful message of exclusion and hopelessness.And, lest we want to blind ourselves, we must recognize that it is precisely this type of sentiment that lays the groundwork of unrest and instability in any political system.,,,The result is a potentially dynamic international movement of citizens who have had enough of the status quo and are taking to the streets to make their voices heard.The demonstrations yesterday in New York City and Washington, DC over the failure to indict police for acts of violence will only grow stronger – unless citizens regain a sense of legitimacy in our criminal justice system.Of course this sort of thing could never happen in politically stable Canada, eh? That doesn't seem to be how the Canadian Forces see it.  They've even developed an urban warfare camouflage designed to best blend in with the urban setting in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.  I wonder if they'll add patches with the logos of Enbridge or Kinder Morgan?

Welcome to My (Soggy) Neighbourhood

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 07:20
We've been getting soaked lately.  A series of torrential rainstorms often called the "Pineapple Express" has been bringing flooding to Vancouver Island and parts of the Lower Mainland.

Hardest hit has been drought-stricken California.  Unfortunately these squalls can do far more harm than good.  This isn't the sort of precip California needs.


This graphic, depicting the past 72-hours, shows the atmospheric river coming out of the central Pacific to the North American coast.

New column day

accidentaldeliberations - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 06:57
Here, on how the Cons' secretive giveaway of what's left of the Canadian Wheat Board can only be explained by their desire to eliminate collective marketing in favour of total corporate control.

For further reading...
- Janyce McGregor reported on the Cons' refusal to consider allowing the Farmers of North America to bid on the Wheat Board's remaining assets. And Karl Nerenberg followed up on the Cons' excuses in Parliament.
- Dougald Lamont rightly sees the Cons as forcing producers toward the "bozo zone" of racing to the bottom in quality and price.
- And even the Globe and Mail recognizes the dangers of giving away public assets through a secretive process when there are bidders willing to ensure both some return in the short term, and a viable business structure in the long term.

Thursday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 06:45
This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Wray Herbert examines Lukasz Walasek and Gordon Brown's work on the psychological links between inequality, status-seeking and reduced well-being. And Linda McQuaig writes about the harm increasing inequality has done to Canada both economically and socially:
(The OECD's recent) report puts actual numbers on how much growth has been reduced as a result of trickle-down. In the case of Canada, the reduced economic growth amounts to about $62 billion a year — which economist Toby Sanger notes is almost three times more than the estimated annual loss to the Canadian economy of lower oil prices.

But while dropping oil prices are grabbing headlines, the serious negative economic consequences of Canada’s pro-rich economic policies are largely ignored. Certainly the Harper government promises to entrench these policies more deeply if re-elected.
...
The OECD’s powerful message is clearly of little interest to the Harper government, which is planning to exacerbate Canada’s rich-poor gap by introducing an income-splitting scheme that will benefit rich families almost exclusively. Harper’s plan to provide an additional $60 a month per child to all families won’t be nearly enough to allow the bottom 40 per cent of Canadians to invest meaningfully in their children’s education.

The OECD stresses the need “not only for cash transfers, but also increasing access to public services, such as high-quality education, training and healthcare” — areas where Harper’s planned cutbacks to the provinces will hit hard.

What’s striking about the entrenchment of policies favouring inequality is how out of sync they appear to be with popular will.
...
While the world’s elite may still be slapping their knees and marveling at what they’ve managed to pull off, the fact that the most prestigious international economic bodies have lined up against trickle-down orthodoxy may mean there are now prospects for real change.

At the least, it suggests that, in a showdown with the world’s billionaires and multi-millionaires, the world’s people may actually stand an outside chance.- Of course, if free money for the rich is a demonstrably foolish policy, the Cons remain all too happy to destroy the evidence. But Tavia Grant reports that we can still see an alarming number of Canadians living with low incomes - signalling that the promise of trickle-down economics remains as empty as ever.

- Stephen Gordon takes a look at the fiscal squeeze Stephen Harper has placed on the federal government. But it's well worth pointing out one more piece to the puzzle, as the eroding resources nominally allocated for public services are increasingly being applied to spin rather than anything which could help anybody besides the Cons themselves.

- Thomas Walkom weighs in on the fallout from the Ontario Libs' failed P3 schemes - including needless debts which the province will be paying off for decades to come.

- Finally, Pablo Iglesias discusses how social justice principles reach far beyond partisan lines - even as they've been applied to turn Podemos into an emerging political force (as both a party and a movement) in Spain:
When you study successful transformational movements, you see that the key to success is to establish a certain identity between your analysis and what the majority feels. And that is very hard. It implies riding out contradictions.
...
Politics is not what you or I would like it to be. It is what it is, and it is terrible. Terrible. And that’s why we must talk about popular unity, and be humble. Sometimes you have to talk to people who don’t like your language, with whom the concepts you use to explain don’t resonate. What does that tell us? That we have been defeated for many years. Losing all the time implies just that: that people’s “common sense” is different [from what we think is right]. But that is not news. Revolutionaries have always known that. The key is to succeed in making “common sense” go in a direction of change.

César Rendueles, a very smart guy, says most people are against capitalism, and they don’t know it. Most people defend feminism and they haven’t read Judith Butler or Simone de Beauvoir. Whenever you see a father doing the dishes or playing with his daughter, or a grandfather teaching his grandkid to share his toys, there is more social transformation in that than in all the red flags you can bring to a demonstration. And if we fail to understand that those things can serve as unifiers, they will keep laughing at us.

Exposing The Lie

Northern Reflections - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 06:04
                                                   http://thisfragiletent.com/

The Big Lie of the last forty-five years has been Trickle Down Economics. The Great Depression exposed it as a Big Lie. But people have short memories and  -- at least until recently -- they've bought the lie for a second time. The OECD, however, has exposed the trickle down lie for a second time. Linda McQuaig writes:

Essentially, the OECD report reveals the immensity of the trickle-down scam, which the report shows has not only failed to foster economic growth as promised, but has proved to be an overall killer of economic growth.

And the report puts actual numbers on how much growth has been reduced as a result of trickle-down. In the case of Canada, the reduced economic growth amounts to about $62 billion a year — which economist Toby Sanger notes is almost three times more than the estimated annual loss to the Canadian economy of lower oil prices.
All along there have been contrarian voices:

Meanwhile, there was mounting evidence — advanced by Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman and other high-profile liberal economists — that neoliberal policies did little more than the obvious: making the rich richer, with no benefits for anyone else.
Now the economic powers that be have caught up with Stiglitz and Krugman:

With its report this week, the Paris-based OECD has gone farther still, stating unequivocally that its research shows that policies favouring the rich haven’t just failed to create overall economic growth, they have actually “curbed economic growth significantly.”

Indeed, according to the OECD, the dramatic increase in income inequality — now at its highest level in 30 years — is the “single biggest impact” preventing economic growth.

This drag on economic growth, the OECD explains, results largely from those lower down the income scale — including the bottom 40 per cent of earners — lacking the funds to invest in their own education.
The Harper government, however, has no interest in the OECD's research. They've already been bought and paid for.



Remembering A 'Superstar'

Politics and its Discontents - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 05:38
Well, we arrived back in the early hours of yesterday, having enjoyed a relaxing week in Cuba. Unfortunately, there was no English-speaking Canadian television available, so I feel unprepared to offer any political commentary until I get caught up. Fortuitously, however, my son sent me the following item, which, I hope, you will find of interest.

Is it wrong for me to feel such deep and utter disdain for Jonathan Bernier, who, as you will see in the video below, does nothing to dispel the stereotype of the 'dumb jock.'

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Canada on torture : We're buying if you're selling

Creekside - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 04:16

Canada's collateral fallout from Tuesday's Senate Intelligence Committee summary on the torture of prisoners at CIA “black site” prisons around the world.
"A spokesman for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney’s office said Wednesday that Canada does not engage in, or condone, torture by national security agencies but ...  Canada will act on “a tip from any source” if Canadians’ lives are in danger."This is our usual "we're buying if you're selling" approach to torture.
Feb. 2012 : "The latest directive says in "exceptional circumstances" where there is a threat to human life or public safety, urgency may require CSIS to "share the most complete information available at the time with relevant authorities, including information based on intelligence provided by foreign agencies that may have been derived from the use of torture or mistreatment."
April 2010 :  Day One of Omar Khadr's trial at Guantanamo. Confessions elicited via sleep deprivation, denial of pain medication, stress positions, being forced to urinate on himself and being used as a human mop, being terrorized by barking dogs, and being threatened with rape and torture. Khadr's defence team was only allowed to interview three of Khadr's 30 interrogators at Bagram and Gitmo, two of whom admit the 15 year old Khadr was threatened with rape.FBI agent Robert Fuller"... elicited from Khadr the identification of another Canadian, Maher Arar, who Khadr during interviews by Fuller claimed was training with al Qaeda operatives at a training camp at a time that, it later turned out, Arar was actually at home in Canada.
Shortly after Fuller reported the identification of Arar to the government, Arar was apprehended at JFK airport and rendered to Syria for interrogation there.FBI agent Fuller also got Khadr to confess to throwing a grenade at US forces."December 2009 : Harper shuts down parliament for two months in what turned out to be a successful strategy to muzzle parliamentarians regarding Richard Colvin's testimony about the torture of random Afghan farmers and taxi drivers under Canadian watch. Harper hired Bruce Carson to "stickhandle" the Afghan file "on a daily basis, involving senior officials from departments such as foreign affairs, defence, RCMP, justice and corrections". In 2007 a requisition for special boots to allow Correctional Services Canada inspection teams to wade through blood and shit in Afghan prisons was made public.
I think it's fair to say any report similar to the US Senate summary made partially public on Tuesday would never see the light of day in Canada.
April 2009 : "More than 16 months after Canada's security agencies cleared Abousfian Abdelrazik, government lawyers are now pressing him to admit to being a senior al-Qaeda operative, echoing American accusations extracted from Abu Zubaydah, water boarded more than 80 times under the Bush administration."
As noted by POGGE at the time : "While the rest of the world is coming to terms with the fact that the Bush administration was actually using torture to elicit false confessions in an effort to justify their invasion of Iraq, the Hapless Government™ is trying to use statements from a man who was waterboarded 83 times to prove that Abdelrazik is a terrorist."March 2009 : The same day that CSIS lawyer Geoffrey O’Brian told the public safety committee there is no absolute ban on using intelligence that may have been obtained from countries with questionable human rights records on torture, RCMP spokesman Gilles Michaud tells the same committee :"I want to be clear here - there is no absolute ban on the use of any information by the RCMP."November 2006 : CSIS director Jim Judd said it had done nothing wrong by accepting as genuine the confession of Maher Arar, who was secretly and illegally bundled off by extraordinary rendition to a prison in Syria where he was held and tortured for a year."It does not necessarily follow that because a country has a poor human rights record that any information received from it was the product of torture," Judd told Parliament's public safety committee..

The Real Stephen Harper and the Light in the Darkness

Montreal Simon - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 04:02


I hate this time of the year, when it gets dark before you get home. 

And of course nowhere is it darker than in Harperland, where the beast rules, and hope goes to die.

But now at last I see a glimmer of light. The Con Death Machine which has been on a rampaging roll for weeks may be grinding to a halt.

After the real Stephen Harper finally revealed himself in all his hideous horror.
Read more »

Wednesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 09:41
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Scott Clark and Peter DeVries remind us that any fiscal problems Canada has faced under the Cons have been entirely of Stephen Harper's making:
Harper needed a deficit problem; the fact that the previous government neglected to leave him one was just a short-term inconvenience. From the very beginning his fiscal strategy has been driven by a commitment to his Conservative base and ideology — which demand smaller government by any means — and by a desire to show that he had ‘what it takes’. He desperately wanted to be seen by history as a better fiscal manager than his predecessors.

Harper and Flaherty both believed — as do most modern Conservatives — that smaller government inevitably leads to stronger economic growth. Unfortunately, stubborn reality has once again refused to cooperate with an impractical theory.

The evidence is clear: Cutting deficits does not by itself generate economic growth. The Conservative “growth friendly austerity” strategy has failed consistently, whenever and wherever it has been applied — in the U.S. under Republican administrations, in the eurozone in recent years, by the G20 after 2010 … and in Canada since 2010.

Cutting the GST by two points will go down in Canadian fiscal history as one of the worst public finance decisions ever. It served no useful purpose — apart from giving the prime minister the cover he needed to impose a neo-liberal fiscal orthodoxy that diminished the federal government while failing to generate growth and jobs.

All Canadians paid the price for securing Mr. Harper’s legacy. We’ll go on paying it for while.- Meanwhile, Brent Patterson points out how another of the Cons' "economic management" themes - that of constantly pushing trade agreements which entrench corporate power at the expense of the public - seems designed to prevent the development of an effective national pharmacare plan.

- Andrew Jackson notes that it's silly to think that markets can address climate change without some strong public policy leadership. But of course, for the Cons (and other petro-politicians), the only acceptable time to consider the well-being of the planet is never. And indeed, Mychaylo Prystupa reports that the Cons' kangaroo-court National Energy Board is positively bragging about its elimination of any public voices from regulatory decisions about pipelines.

- Adrian Morrow reports on the Ontario Auditor-General's findings that public-private partnerships have cost that province upwards of $8 billion in public money compared to simple public management.

- Finally, Frances Russell points out how the Cons go out of their way to eliminate precisely the voices which would ensure that public policy benefits everybody, rather than only the privileged few:
Harper now faces a wide swath of civil society groups opposed to his government on everything from shockingly mean-spirited assistance to wounded veterans to wanton disregard for the environment to authoritarian disdain – and deep antagonism -towards the forms and traditions of parliamentary democracy.

Never content with just opposing his adversaries, Harper enjoys pre-empting them, beating them up with a totally unexpected attack.

As prime minister, he frequently uses private members bills to begin the softening up process.

Take, for example, the Conservatives’ visceral – and obviously intensely personal – antagonism to organized labour. Harper is moving swiftly to destabilize and disempower Canada’s trade unions. Using the ruse of a backbench Conservative MP’s private member’s bill as the cover, the legislation will force unions to publicly disclose the names and salaries of all employees earning more than $100,000 a year and reveal how much of their time each spends on political activities, lobbying and other non-labour relations work.

Noticeably missing from this purported concern for union members is any actual changes to ensure workplace rights and protection for Canadian workers. And, of course, there is not the remotest indication of similar disclosures being required from the corporate side of the economy.

What better way to try to weaken, divide and destabilize Canada’s House of Labour than perpetrating a Hobbesian war of all against all by stirring up internal strife between leaders and members and between unions with strong and progressive collective agreements and those struggling with weaker and less robust ones forced to exist on the fringes?

With the Harper Conservatives, it’s always win-win for corporations and the well-to-do and lose-lose for everyone else.

Harnessing The Energy Of The Young

Northern Reflections - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 06:10
                                                       http://www.vice.com/

Generational conflict awaits Canadians -- unless the young are brought into the political process. And Franks Graves' latest polling suggests that is not happening. Graves reports:

Among younger Canadians there is clear sense that the playing field is tilted to favour older voters. This perception may be grounded in harsh realities about how the economy, our democracy and our public institutions are performing. The youth vote is increasingly irrelevant to the business of winning elections — so political agendas tend more and more to reflect the wishes and fears (both real and imagined) of older Canada. This, in turn, may be leading to the permanent political disengagement of the young — who increasingly see a political process that doesn’t reflect their needs, their concerns and their ethics.
The Harper government has focused its pitch solely on baby boomers, whereas the children of the boomers have been forgotten.The gap between them and their parents is profound. The young are:

much more ethnically and culturally diverse — and more educated — than previous generations. They grew up in a digital climate and are completely at home with modern information technology. Their social values are highly progressive — but they suffer from being the first post-war generation that failed to benefit from the middle class covenant of intergenerational progress. They’re entering their peak years of economic influence and they’re raising families now — but they will never have the political and market clout enjoyed by the boomers that preceded them, and will be shoved to the side by the larger echo boom of Gen Y and millennials now coming of age.
And the Gen Y folks are even more distant from the present government's agenda. Together with the GenXer's, they don't buy any of the Harperian prescriptions for this country:

They are extremely progressive in their social values; the small-c conservative values of hard work, self-reliance, traditional family values and respect for authority are basically meaningless to this generation. They’ve entered a stagnant and unequal economy and their futures look much less bright than those of their parents at the same stage of life. They’re deferring the usual rites of passage — starting a career, marrying, building a family — further and further into the future.
So what is the Harperian plan to deal with the young? Turn them off and keep them turned off. As long as the young stay away from the polling booths, the Harperites feel they are safe. However, it's clear that the future belongs to the politicians who can harness the energy of the young.


What Madness Looks Like

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 05:47
It's said to be a done deal, just the matter of a few centuries at the outside.  That's how long it's expected to take to melt all the great ice fields of the Earth.  The Arctic sea ice will disappear first, followed by the world's glaciers and then the Greenland ice sheet.  All the while the Antarctic ice sheet will continue to melt into the sea.

So, what's that going to look like say to the average Vancouverite?  Maybe something a lot like this:


As we lose those ice sheets and glaciers we can expect sea level rise of about 80 metres, maybe more.  That would leave the Lower Mainland looking something like this.  The waterfront cities of North and West Vancouver, gone.  Stanley Park, ditto.  The superprime downtown area and the toney communities along what once was English Bay, Jericho and the north shore of the Fraser, completely submerged.   No need to dwell on already low-lying municipalities like Richmond, Delta and White Rock.  They would have been among the first to succumb, their populations evacuated presumably to high ground in the interior.

It's madness yet this is the path we are taking.  Madness.

The Night Stephen Harper Channelled Axl Rose

Montreal Simon - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 04:37


Well it must have been a scary sight. Stephen Harper at the Con Christmas party last night.

Channelling Axl Rose. 

Stephen Harper channelled Axl Rose for his musical encore at the annual Conservative Christmas party on Tuesday night. Harper was on keyboards and lead vocals with his new band the Van Cats (as in 24 in French, 24 Sussex), and played the Guns N' Roses tune "Sweet Child O' Mine" to round out the night. 

Even though Ol' Axl ain't the man he once was. These days he has a crazed look in his eyes.

But then of course, if you take a closer look, so does Stephen Harper.... 
Read more »

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