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Message From Orwell: "I Warned You" - A Mound Of Sound Guest Post

Politics and its Discontents - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 06:15

You don't have to dig very deep to get a pretty clear picture of the decline of today's global civilization. The good times are gone, over, finished. We're out of stuff, plain and simple. The game today is for one select group of people to employ its considerable advantages to mine the remaining wealth out of everyone else. We've become the last, best natural resource and the system has been rigged to effect the greatest unearned transfer of wealth ever. It has symptoms - inequality of income, of wealth and of opportunity; the wholesale theft of political power through "capture" of legislators and, in the US, even its courts; media organizations that now serve the power they once confronted; widespread and probably irreversible environmental degradation; secrecy and the triumph of the surveillance state.

Some of us have joined outfits such as Dark Mountain, a place for those tired of the lies civilization tells itself. It's a meeting place for people who know that the game is rigged and that most of the opposition is shadow boxing.

Alternet's John Pilger writes that, "The world we've constructed is far beyond George Orwell's worst nightmare."

"As advanced societies are de-politicized, the changes are both subtle and spectacular. In everyday discourse, political language is turned on its head, as Orwell prophesied in '1984.' 'Democracy' is now a rhetorical device. Peace is 'perpetual war'. 'Global' is imperial. The once hopeful concept of 'reform' now means regression, even destruction. 'Austerity' is the imposition of extreme capitalism on the poor and the gift of socialism for the rich: an ingenious system under which the majority service the debts of the few."

Go back and read that brief passage again. Do you seriously disagree with anything Pilger observes? If not, what does that tell you? Pilger continues:

"In politics as in journalism and the arts, it seems that dissent once tolerated in the 'mainstream' has regressed to a dissidence: a metaphoric underground. When I began a career in Britian's Fleet Street in the 1960s, it was acceptable to critique western power as a rapacious force. Read James Cameron's celebrated reports of the hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll, the barbaric war in Korea and the American bombing of North Vietnam. Today's grand illusion is of an information age when, in truth, we live in a media age in which incessant corporate propaganda is insidious, contagious, effective and liberal."

Do you honestly believe that the Liberals today are not committed vassals to corporatism? Hell, so is Mulcair's crowd. Here's the thing. Ask yourself whether a healthy democracy can co-exist with a corporatist state. It's no accident that the House of Commons is stuffed with petro-pols on both sides of the aisle. I'll conclude with one final passage from Pilger's excellent essay. In his concluding paragraph Pilger points out how easy it is for all of us - you and me - to be corrupted.

"In the 1970s, I met Leni Riefenstahl and asked her about her films that glorified the Nazis. Using revolutionary camera and lighting techniques, she produced a documentary that mesmerized Germans; it was her 'Triumph of the Will' that reputedly cast Hitler's spell. I asked her about propaganda in societies that imagined themselves superior. She replied that the 'messages' in her films were dependent not on 'orders from above' but on a 'submissive void' in the German population. 'Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie' I asked. 'Everyone' she replied, 'and of course the intelligentsia.'"

Are you part of a 'submissive void'? From what I've learned over the past seven years of many people who frequent these sites, there's a damned good chance you are. Think on it.Recommend this Post

Remember the Ottawa cop who abused a black woman?

Dammit Janet - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 06:09

Sgt Steven Desjourdy has a new job. That's him on the right.

Yes Desjourdy - who should NOT even be allowed within 10 metres of any woman in police custody - now works in the division that investigates human trafficking.

In April this year - yes in 2014 - Desjourdy was "found guilty of discreditable conduct at an internal Ottawa police disciplinary hearing into a widely reported, controversial cellblock strip search in 2008.

In September 2008, Desjourdy left a female prisoner half naked in pants soaked with urine; her shirt and bra had been cut off during a strip search [...]

It took more than three hours for Desjourdy to provide her with temporary clothing called a blue suit."

DAMMIT JANET! has written about Desjourdy or made reference to him with regard to cop violence towards women in police custody.

For example, this: "a judge recently exonerated the sexualized brutality that a police officer used against a woman detained for alleged public intoxication - a "charge" which was never actually shown to be founded.

Violent cops like Steve Desjourdy sexually humiliate, degrade and punish jailed women with impunity. His actions which were challenged in criminal court, have been excused and thus can become the official standard that police taking women into custody can apply.

According to the judge who presided over the trial, Desjourdy "used reasonable force".

Many who viewed the internal video that captured Desjourdy and his colleagues' actions, observed that he seemed to be enjoying his job, exerting force in order to break the detained woman's will and her instinct to defend herself from the cops' deliberate, sexualized violations.

Meanwhile, last week some Harper government MPs staged a series of opportunistic histrionics at the Justice Committee, ostensibly to hear presentations from women who have been trafficked and religious groups hoping to receive a large chunk of money in return for rescuing stigmatized victims they'll rehabilitate and pity, ALL in support of C36. 

(DJ! does NOT support C36; it is contempt for women and for the law.  In that blogpost, I reminded Peter MacKay - so greatly disgusted with "perverts" who purchase sexual services - that he might direct some of his outrage towards a certain Con politician, a buddy of Harper who subjected his wife to the very degradation that so incensed the Minister of Justice. Juxtapose this with the passage here, where Rob Ford offered up Renata to anyone interested. Procurement, or trafficking his wife. Is that a Ford family value?)

Back at the Justice Committee hearings, law enforcement witnesses like Chiefs of police supporting C36 were unable to explain why current criminal code sanctions against human trafficking aren't being enforced to stop "procurement" and the enslavement of women into forced sex work through threats, confinement and other brutal methods.  

And the focus of MP Joy Smith's (yes, the MP who hired Vic Toews' mistress) attention at the hearings was riveted upon the horrific, brutal stories told by women who had been trafficked.

Despite numerous fundamentalist religious groups vehemently claiming thousands upon thousands of women are sexually assaulted 10, 20, 30 times daily, very few police investigations, arrests, charges, and prosecutions of human trafficking are being followed through in any rigorous or systematic way.

On the last day of the hearings Christa Big Canoe of the Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto challenged the legal sloppiness of the pro-C36 crowd who used trafficking, and prostituting as synonyms for one and same criminal activity.  

MPs should distinguish between sex work and human trafficking as they consider bringing in a new prostitution law to replace the one struck down last year by the Supreme Court, an expert said Thursday.
After three days of often heart-wrenching testimony, the House justice committee is wrapping up the first phase of its work on the government's proposed prostitution law rewrite.
Many of the witnesses told horrifying tales of being trafficked and abused, while others spoke in favour of letting sex workers choose to sell their services.
Christa Big Canoe, legal advocacy director at Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto, summarized the divide following 20 hours of hearings.
"[What] we're hearing a lot from a lot of the witnesses is the interconnectedness, but what we're not hearing is the distinct differences between trafficking and sex work," she said.
Big Canoe suggested better enforcing Canada's existing human trafficking laws if MPs are worried about the problem. Studies of human trafficking, she said, talk about how elusive the traffickers are.
"So the question I have to this committee is, how is that going to change by the provisions that you're now proposing, and what can be done to change that if it's not already occurring?"
The committee has heard from police officers that it's difficult to charge alleged human traffickers and that some law enforcement agencies use the threat of charges against prostitutes to extricate them and have them provide evidence against the traffickers.
Big Canoe pointed out that last year's Supreme Court ruling known as Bedford dealt specifically with Canada's prostitution laws.
"Bedford was about sex work. It wasn't about trafficking. We have laws in Canada about trafficking that aren't actually being used well. So Sgt Desjourdy, "known to police" for brutalizing women in police custody, is assigned to Human Trafficking at the Ottawa Police Services.

What sadistic person in Human Resources assumed this bully and abuser of women would be an appropriate fit for law enforcement tactics which Prohibitionists and Evangelicals are counting upon to "extricate" women from coerced sex work, arrest them, threaten them until they agree to testify against their traffickers then afterwards dump them somewhere, perhaps in the basement of a church where Harper Conservative business men can exploit them as "regular" low-waged-with-no-benefits workers.  

Oh. Wait.

Grand merci @kwetoday whose tweet tipped me off to Desjourdy's new job.

The Opposite Of Truth and Freedom

Northern Reflections - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 05:42


The Harper government came to Ottawa promising transparency and accountability. But, Tim Harper writes, when journalists request information from the Throne, they get obfuscation:

When we ask for specifics on a program known as the International Experience Canada, a supposedly reciprocal program that is disproportionately being used by foreign workers in this country, [Chris] Alexander’s office tells us our economic recovery is one of the best in the G7 and “Canada’s economy is doing better than most . . . and that is something we can all celebrate.’’
When we ask for a response to reports sex murderer Paul Bernardo plans to marry, the office of Public Works Minister Steven Blaney assures us his government puts victims first and “We continue to examine ways to ensure that the worst of the worst stay behind bars where they belong, without needless perks that these dangerous and violent criminals certainly never afforded to their victims.”When we asked about reports that a couple of Russian business magnates were not sanctioned here because they had Canadian business interests, there is no denial or confirmation, but there are a couple of links to old Baird press releases and: “Our sanctions are designed to punish the Putin regime and bring economic pressure on Russia for its illegal occupation of Ukraine.”
This is a government that is on a permanent spin cycle; and the objective is message control. God forbid that any hard information should make its way to the media. The result would be catastrophic, because facts undermine Conservative policy. That was the whole idea behind getting rid of Statistics Canada's long form census.

If the old axiom "the truth shall set you free" has any validity, then it's obvious that Harper Inc. is dedicated to the opposite of both truth and freedom.

Stephen Harper and the Summer of Discontent

Montreal Simon - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 05:21

Golly. I only hope Stephen Harper was able to shield himself from the rays of last night's super moon.  

Because in his agitated state I can only imagine the effect they might have had on him.

He desperately needs to relax, but how can he? When he's facing a long summer of discontent, he just can't get Justin Trudeau and the Chief Justice out of his mind.

And everywhere he looks the Cons are getting pounded.

Read more »

A Senate Solution

Feminist Christian - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 19:45
A simple solution to the Senate problem:

The popular vote achieved by each party is equal to the percentage of senators the party can appoint to the Senate.

- No party may appoint any senator without at least carrying 5% of the vote.
- No party may appoint a candidate who has lost their riding in that, or the previous election campaign. i.e. If Joe Con loses to Jane Lib, the Cons cannot appoint Joe Con to the senate for 8 years.

Problems? I mean, other than that it just makes too much sense for anyone in government to take seriously...

"This Land is Mine" and Marketing the Tools of Occupation

Creekside - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 18:07

Nina Paley's "A brief history of the land called Israel/Palestine/Canaan/the Levant" and a Who's-killing-who viewer's guide 

Some news headlines from yesterday and today ..
Haaretz : Israel's international credit to pound Gaza is running outBusinessweek : Israel Tells Gazans to Leave Homes Before Intensified AttacksCP : Canada Accuses UN Official Of Unfairly Criticizing Israeli Operation In Gaza  G&M Harper confirms Canada’s support for Israel in conversation with NetanyahuMedia Co-op : Canadian hands involved in Gaza bombings
Real News Network interviews Shir Heveran economic researcher in the Alternative Information Center, a Palestinian-Israeli organization, on how Israeli companies are using the occupation of Gaza to market the tools of occupation to other countries : 
Israel, World Capital of Homeland Security Industries Excerpted :HEVER: "Israel is now the world capital of homeland security industries. They're selling security cameras, surveillance equipments, drones, riot gear. That is the sort of technology that governments need in order to control their citizens. And it comes not just with the actual technology; it comes also with an ideology. It comes with the ideology that, look what Israel is doing, how Israel is controlling Palestinians and every aspect of their lives, and decides who can pass and who gets a permit and so on, and uses this technology to leave Palestinians no option to resist, and why don't we sell that to other governments around the world.So, obviously, these security companies' business model is built on the occupation. These are companies that their motto when they go to arms trade shows and show their equipment, they say, this has already been tested by the Israeli army on actual people. You can only have that because of the occupation. So every new weapon is first sold to the Israeli army, shot at Palestinians. Then you can sell it.After this invasion of Gaza that we were talking about [Operation Cast Lead], there was a trade show that the Israeli army did where they showed how each and every of these new inventions were used in the attack on Gaza, completely shamelessly.The attacks become demos, and these companies make a profit out of it, and then these companies are hiring senior Israeli officials. I don't think that means that they want to end the peace process or sabotage the peace process; it means they want to continue it forever, because as long as it continues, they can continue these periodic attacks and they can continue the occupation.JAY: Yeah, 'cause the peace process is a process of never coming to an agreement about peace. HEVER: Exactly. Exactly.The whole interview is well worth your time.

War was always a racket; Hever argues occupation is one too.

Conflicting message

Feminist Christian - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 14:05
And I wonder why I'm self-conscious about wearing a bikini, sitting in my fenced backyard, because a neighbour might see my flabby belly from the window.

Conflicting messages much?

Good Reading: Kwe Today On Sex Workers As Persons

JOE FANTAUZZI Thoughts about power - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 12:58
In the context of ongoing debate over Bill C36, the so-called Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, @Kwetoday has crafted a powerful personal post urging an understanding that sex workers exist in many more dimensions than merely their occupation: they are family and friends ─ and that’s very important. Here is the link: We Are Persons Too. […]

Good Reading: Kwe Today On Sex Workers As Persons

JOE FANTAUZZI Thoughts about power - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 12:58
In the context of ongoing debate over Bill C36, the so-called Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, @Kwetoday has crafted a powerful personal post urging an understanding that sex workers exist in many more dimensions than merely their occupation: they are family and friends ─ and that’s very important. Here is the link: We Are Persons Too. […]

Nobody expected the Spanish Inquisition

Dawg's Blawg - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 08:21
Since when does a parliamentary committee turn into a showcase for religious revivalists and patronizing patriarchs? But at times the House of Commons Justice Committee, during its July 7-10 hearings on the government’s antediluvian and dangerous Bill C-36, seemed to... Dr.Dawg

Saturday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 07:55
Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- PressProgress highlights how the Cons' stay in office has been marked by temporary rather than permanent jobs, while Kaylie Tiessen writes that precarious work is particularly prevalent in Ontario. And Erin Weir notes that more unemployed workers are now chasing after fewer job vacancies than even in the wake of the last recession.

- Kathleen Harris points out that the Cons' attempt to label refugees as "bogus" based solely on their country of origin bears no resemblance whatsoever to reality, as numerous claims from the U.S. and other countries labeled as "safe" have been found to be valid by the Immigration and Refugee Board. And she also finds the Cons applying a rather unusual definition of "protection" for refugees:
Alexis Pavlich, spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Chris Alexander, said refugee reforms that include restricting health care means more protection for those in need and faster removal of those who don't.That's right: the Cons are so callous as to claim that people in need get "more protection" by being denied essential health care.

- Meanwhile, Mike Palacek discusses the Cons' secret and deceptive plan to gut and privatize Canada Post - which of course was given a political push to replace the postal banking idea which would have resulted in better service and increased public returns.

- Tabatha Southey rightly observes that the Cons should want to distance themselves from Robert Goguen for grandstanding about a witness' gang rape. But the fact that they haven't seems to signal what seemed to me the most plausible explanation to begin with: is there any reason to think Goguen was doing anything but reading off his party's script to begin with?

- Finally, there are plenty of reasons to question Susan Delacourt's attempt to use relatively minor concerns about our current political system as a basis to eliminate political parties altogether - and Dale Smith neatly lays them out. But if we're looking for examples of the type of theory about political party operations which positively begs to be challenged, there are worse places to start than Jeffrey Simpson's insistence that leaders should hold the power to hand-pick their own pet candidates.

That Will Take Some Doing

Northern Reflections - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 06:00

Stephen Harper came to Ottawa like a bull in a china shop -- determined to get his way in all things, even if it meant destroying the shop in the process. But, Carol Goar writes, the bull has been wounded:

It took a while to find the chinks in Stephen Harper’s armour. But Canadians have done it now. They are chipping away at the prime minister’s policies on everything from electoral reform to military procurement. Advocacy groups have raised red flags, the media have highlighted the damage he is doing to people’s lives and communities and the courts have reined him in. But the primary thrust is coming from citizens who don’t like what is happening to their country. 
Goar then goes on to highlight several instances where Harper hasn't been allowed to get his way:

Their plan to the rewrite the Election Act , disenfranchising thousands of voters, ran into a wall of public opposition. The harder Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre pushed his proposal, the harder Canadians pushed back. Eventually he agreed to amend the controversial bill. The new version is not perfect, but its most contentious elements are gone. It will no longer allow the Tories to restrict the right to vote or withhold ballots from individuals whose identification doesn’t meet their standards.  Their plan to flood the labour market with temporary foreign workers worked for six years. But last April it began to unravel. The Royal Bank was caught replacing its information technology staff with temporary foreign workers. (The bank said the arrangement met the letter of the law, but apologized and launched a review of its outsourcing strategy.) Rather than squelching the controversy, that stoked it. Whistle-blowers in other sectors — mining, hospitality, food service — popped up, claiming they too had lost their jobs to temporary foreign workers. Employment Minister Jason Kenney tried to put a lid on the contagion but it was too late. On June 20, he announced a wholesale overhaul of the program, effectively shutting it down. Their plan to revamp — preferably abolish — the Senate without the agreement of the provinces was rejected out of hand by the Supreme Court of Canada. It delivered a stinging rebuke to the prime minister, pointing out he did not have authority to override the Constitution or change the rules under which Canadians are governed. Harper grudgingly accepted the court’s ruling, but tried to exact revenge six days later. His office issued a statement insinuating that Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin had improperly approached him. The evidence melted under scrutiny.  
What is most striking, however, is that the prime minister appears incapable of learning from these rebukes:

Their plans to crush prostitution and drive an oil pipeline through British Columbia will probably be next on the list.
Conservative policies are being thrown out with abandon these days. But the ultimate rebuke will be when Canadians throw Harper and his party out. That is still going to take some doing.

The Lethal Dysfunction Of The Far Right: A Mound of Sound Guest Post

Politics and its Discontents - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 05:10

Problem: you're already getting hammered by early-onset climate change. Solution: deny it's happening, look the other way, think happy thoughts.

It sounds ridiculously dysfunctional and it is but that is the approach being taken by governments, state and municipal, in parts of the American south.

Take North Carolina, for example, where the uber-rightwing state legislature has found a solution to scientific projections of at least a metre of sea-level rise this century - pass legislation banning any mention of that.

And then there's posh Miami, Florida where real estate prices are sky high and still climbing. Miami now floods regularly and there's nothing anyone can do about it. The problem is that the city is very low-lying and it sits atop a dome of porous limestone through which rising sea water passes virtually unobstructed. Seawalls and dikes don't work here because sea water simply comes up from underneath. The city already stands defenceless against seasonal high tides and regular storm surges.

Philip Stoddard is particularly well-placed to judge what is happening in Miami. Tall, thin, with a dry sense of humour, he is a politician, having won two successive elections to be mayor of South Miami, and a scientist, a biology professor at Florida International University.

"The thing about Miami is that, when it goes, it will all be gone," says Stoddard. Nor will south Florida have to wait that long for the devastation to come. Long before the seas have risen a further three or four feet, there will be irreversible breakdowns in society, he says. "Another foot of sea level rise will be enough to bring salt water into our freshwater supplies and our sewage system. Those services will be lost when that happens."

"You won't be able to flush away your sewage and taps will no longer provide homes with fresh water. Then you will find you will no longer be able to get flood insurance for your home. Land and property values will plummet and people will start to leave. Places like South Miami will no longer be able to raise enough taxes to run our neighbourhoods. Where will we find the money to fund police to protect us or fire services to tackle house fires? Will there even be enough water pressure for their fire hoses? It takes us into all sorts of post-apocalyptic scenarios. It makes one thing clear though: mayhem is coming."

Yes, mayhem is coming. So how are Florida's rightwing leaders responding?

"...what really surprises visitors and observers is the city's response, or to be more accurate, its almost total lack of reaction. The local population is steadily increasing; land prices continue to surge; and building is progressing at a generous pace. ...signs of construction - new shopping malls, cranes towering over new condominiums and scaffolding enclosing freshly built apartment blocks - could be seen across the city, its backers apparently oblivious of scientists' warnings that the foundations of their buildings may be awash very soon.

"Not that they're alone. Most of Florida's senior politicians - in particular Senator Marco Rubio, former governor Jeb Bush and current governor, Rick Scott, all Republican climate-change deniers - have refused to act or respond to warnings ...or to give media interviews to explain their stance, though Rubio, a Republican party star and possible 2016 presidential contender, has made his views clear in speeches. 'I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it. I do not believe the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy.'"

Miami, in fact the entire state of Florida, is an invaluable object lesson, a miners' canary to demonstrate rightwing dysfunction at work in the fight against climate change. It's one but just one of several spots in the US expected to be particularly hard hit by global warming. Another is the American southwest from California through to Texas.

In already hot and dry Phoenix, Arizona, they're being warned to expect 10-degrees Fahrenheit warming this century. That translates from an average summer high temperature of 104 soaring to Kuwait City temperatures of 114F. In a region already severely water stressed, heating on this scale could undermine the major cities.

"Climate Central used the IPCC predictions - which generally estimate that summer high temperatures will be seven to ten degrees higher by 2100 - to make an interactive map to compare the current temperatures with cities that already experience those temperatures. For example, Sacramento will feel more like Tucson in the summer. Boston will feel like Miami. And Austin, where the average summer high is currently about 94 degrees, is projected to be more like Gilbert, which has an average summer high of nearly 104 degrees.

Meanwhile, on the clean, renewable energy front, Aviation Week has recently published several articles about space solar power (SSP). The idea is to capture solar energy in near-Earth space, convert it to microwaves and them beam the energy down to power grids on the surface.

“Space solar power has as a concept never been more appealing and more promising than it is right now,” says John Mankins, a Jet Propulsion Laboratory veteran who spent a decade as manager of advanced concepts studies at NASA headquarters. “The new technical architecture, which exploits all of the technological advances of the past 30 years in terrestrial technology—electronics, robotics, materials—makes the approach to space solar power both affordable and scalable.”

Maybe, maybe not. At the very least, though, it's a technology worth exploring.

Recommend this Post

Stephen Harper and the Losing Battle for Quebec

Montreal Simon - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 04:26

Well as you know, and as I mentioned the other day, Stephen Harper has set out to try to woo the province of Quebec. 

Or at least the people in the relatively small region in and around Quebec City, where he is planning to hold a special cabinet meeting. 

The rare cabinet meeting to be held outside Ottawa, which is in preparation for early September, will allow Mr. Harper to promote the role of Conservative Fathers of Confederation in protecting the rights of the provinces when Canada was founded in 1867.

Because in the rest of the province his amatory advances wouldn't stand a chance...

But so deranged and desperate is Great Leader, that he has started comparing himself to George-Étienne Cartier.

And claiming credit for vanquishing the SEPARATISTS !!!!
Read more »

Musical interlude

accidentaldeliberations - Fri, 07/11/2014 - 19:58
Sandy Rivera - Changes

Friday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Fri, 07/11/2014 - 08:17
Assorted content to end your week.

- Linda McQuaig discusses how a renewed push for austerity runs directly contrary to the actual values of Canadians, who want to see their governments accomplish more rather than forcing the public to settle for less:
Their formula for achieving small, disabled government is simple: slash taxes (particularly on corporations and upper-income folk), leaving government with no choice but to cut spending -- or risk deficits and the wrath of Moody's, Ivison, the National Post, etc.

The Harper government, deeply committed to this ideology, has followed the formula closely. It has slashed taxes to the point that Ottawa now collects less revenue (as a proportion of GDP) than it did in 1940 -- before we had national public programs for health care, pensions and unemployment insurance.
The real problem right now isn't the deficit, but getting the economy back in shape -- a point even acknowledged by David Dodge, former governor of the Bank of Canada and former deputy minister of finance.
Asked in an Environics poll to choose between two views of government, 68 per cent of Canadians selected "Governments are essential to finding solutions to important problems facing the country" while just 27 per cent chose "Governments are more often than not the cause of important problems facing the country."

While the conservative revolution and media deficit hysteria have left us with dwindling revenues, the dream of an activist government apparently lingers somewhere deep in the Canadian soul.- CBC reports that the Cons' politically-ordered crackdown on public advocacy by charities now extends well beyond the environmental movement - but is still limited exclusively to groups which tend to disagree with their anti-social policies. And Gareth Kirkby looks in detail at how the policy of silencing opposition has affected the work of the charities affected.

- Julian Beltrame reports on Canada's latest job numbers - which show our unemployment rate now exceeding the U.S.', with particularly little employment available for young workers. And David Climenhaga details the absurdity of the businesses a right to indentured labour through the temporary foreign worker program - pointing out that the effect of the program is to suppress wages for everybody for the sole purpose of keeping fast-food outlets open past 3 AM.

- Alexander Ervin and David Woodhouse lament the corporatization of Canadian universities.

- And finally, Matthew Mendelsohn makes an effort to engage in a detailed, fact-based policy discussion with Joe Oliver. Which figures to end about as well as anybody's attempt to speak truth to a broken record.


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