Politics and its Discontents

Subscribe to Politics and its Discontents  feed
Reflections, Observations, and Analyses Pertaining to the Canadian Political Scene
Updated: 51 min 39 sec ago

Chris Wallace Defends "The Enemy Of The American People"

11 hours 56 min ago
When even elements of the right are spooked, you know things are getting very, very serious:

Recommend this Post

If You Can Name It, You Can Condemn It

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 13:48
It is bigotry, pure, simple and deeply ingrained:



Recommend this Post

Now This Is How To Conduct A Protest

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 05:51
This past Thursday, #DayWithoutImmigrants, these protests took place. Their simple elegance reverberates and reverberates.


Recommend this Post

As Canadians, This Should Profoundly Disgust All Of Us

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 06:03
All this over a motion, a mere House statement, that has no force in law.
The Liberal MP who tabled an anti-Islamophobia motion says she has been inundated with hate mail and death threats.

Mississauga, Ont. MP Iqra Khalid told the House of Commons Thursday she received more than 50,000 emails in response to M-103, many of them with overt discrimination or direct threats.

"'I'm not going to help them shoot you, I'm going to be there to film you on the ground crying. Yeah, I'll be there writing my story with a big fat smile on my face. Ha ha ha. The Member got shot by a Canadian patriot,'" she read, quoting from the video.

And that, she said, was just tip of the iceberg. Here are some other messages she received and read in the House:

"Kill her and be done with it. I agree she is here to kill us. She is sick and she needs to be deported."
"We will burn down your mosques, draper head Muslim."

"Why did Canadians let her in? Ship her back."

"Why don't you get out of my country? You're a disgusting piece of trash and you are definitely not wanted here by the majority of actual Canadians."We all need to speak out forcefully againt those who propagate such palpable hatred. Remember, silence implies consent.



Recommend this Post

The Mad Hatter Holds A News Conference

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 12:51
This has to be seen to be believed.

Recommend this Post

Bad News From The North

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 06:45
No matter how you parse it, this is extraordinarily bad news. That glacier melt is taking place at an alarming rate is bad enough, but the nature of that melt, as you will learn in the following report, should make all of us very, very nervous.





You can read more about the study here. Time is of the essence, despite people like Rona Ambrose calling Canada's pursuit of climate change mitigation measures "complete insanity" in light of the current madness in the White House.Recommend this Post

My Head Is Starting To Spin

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 14:54
CNN’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday humiliated Donald Trump’s claim that the barrage of negative news stories related to his administration are “conspiracy theories,” taking moment to explain to the president what differentiates a conspiracy theory from actual, real news.

Recommend this Post

An Ideological And Horticultural Taint

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 08:59


Although I am not a user of medical cannabis, the current scandal (and it can only be termed a scandal) regarding dangerous and forbidden pesticide use by companies with the Health Canada seal of approval is instructive.

First, a recap of the situation is in order:
After a string of recent recalls by Mettrum Ltd., OrganiGram Inc. and Aurora Cannabis Inc. because of the presence of myclobutanil – a banned pesticide that produces hydrogen cyanide when heated – a number of patients told The Globe and Mail they don’t see how Health Canada can assure them the product can be trusted. Revelations that the government isn’t testing regularly to prove all companies aren’t using harmful chemicals have left consumers concerned for their health.The real villain of the piece is our current 'new and improved' government, which seems quite content to follow the same practices set out by the former, much-despised neoliberal Harper government.
In a background briefing with The Globe and Mail, a senior Health Canada official acknowledged that even though the government prohibits the use of potentially harmful chemicals such as myclobutanil, – which is known to emit hydrogen cyanide when heated –the department has not been testing cannabis growers to ensure the 38 federally licensed companies were, in fact, not using it.Instead, the regulator has been leaving it up to the growers to police themselves on the use of potentially harmful chemicals.[emhpasis added]The rather naive justification for this betrayal of the people using pot for therapeutic reasons is unconvincing:
... we have not required licensed producers [LPs] to test for any unauthorized pesticides, nor have we been testing all LPs, and it is because we expect their companies to be pro-actively watching and taking the appropriate measures to ensure non-authorized products aren’t used.Perhaps the most damning aspect of all of this is that when a recall of tainted product took place in December, Health Canada refused to reveal the reason: the discovery of myclobutanil.

We will soon be a year-and-a-half into our 'new' government's tenure, more than sufficient time to set new directions for all government bodies, but just as Revenue Canada has shown no particular appetite for chasing down offshore tax evaders, despite the revelations of The Panama Papers, Health Canada and undoubtedly many federal regulators are still hewing to the much-vaunted industry self-regulation.

A damning indictment, to be sure, both of the medical marijuana industry and the Trudeau government, which clearly has not yet met a neoliberal policy it doesn't like.Recommend this Post

A Pertinent Parable

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 05:54
A friend sent me the following. Enjoy!

While stitching a cut on the hand of a 75-year-old farmer, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Donald Trump and his role as President elect of the United States.

The old farmer said, " Well, as I see it, Donald Trump is like a 'Post Tortoise'.''
Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a 'Post Tortoise' was.

The old farmer said, "When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a tortoise balanced on top, that's a Post Tortoise."

The old farmer saw the puzzled look on the doctor's face so he continued to explain.

"You know he didn't get up there by himself, he doesn't belong up there, he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, he's elevated beyond his ability to function, and you just wonder what kind of dumb asses put him up there to begin with."




Recommend this Post

Trump Human Rights Tracker

Sun, 02/12/2017 - 08:00
In reading Penny Collenette's column, Trump has wakened the sleeping giant of law, this morning, I learned that that particular giant as a watchdog on extreme political authority in a democracy, is now fully awake and alert. One of the expressions of that alertness is found in the fact that
Columbia Law Human Rights Organizations have launched an online tool called the Trump Human Rights Tracker, which records and summarizes the human rights affected or violated by each of the president’s orders. It is already chilling reading.Although in its early days, the site already has seven entries, all of which link to the executive orders the Trump/Bannon presidency has enacted, as well as the analyses of various human rights' groups and the United Nations. Reading the latter is a particularly constructive exercise.

Consider, for example, the executive order Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States. While Trump publicly insists that the removal of illegal aliens will be limited to 'criminals', the actual language of the order says something quite different; this excerpt illustrates some of those it applies to:
(a) Have been convicted of any criminal offense;

(b) Have been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved;

(c) Have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense;

(d) Have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency; It is c and d that have therefore allowed heartbreaking scenes like this to occur:



In essence, anyone who has gained access to the U.S. illegally is now more vulnerable than ever under Trump's executive order, even someone like the above who poses no threat to security and has children who are, in fact, American citizens. While some will exult in such measures, those willing to look at the human dimensions and tragedy involved will not.

I have bookmarked the Human Rights Tracker, and intend to visit it regularly for further study and analysis. I hope you will too.Recommend this Post

Scenes From The Apocalypse

Sat, 02/11/2017 - 06:13
Just another day in the life of our warming planet:

Recommend this Post

A Change of Pace

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 06:35


Perhaps I am in a bit of a mood, but I don't feel like writing about politics today. Instead, today's subject is death, which we all must confront at some point. But this post is not about quotidian deaths, you know, the kinds that come as a result of long illness or random violence. Rather, this is about demises that occur under, to say the least, unusual, even absurd circumstances, circumstances that one can hardly anticipate.

While I probably have something of a macabre sense of humour, today's subject is prompted by a story I read this morning of a rather ignoble end:
Judith Permar drove to a clothing drop-off box at about 2 a.m. Sunday, her black Hummer shrouded in the darkness of the Natalie, Pa., night.

It doesn’t appear the 56-year-old was fueled by a late-night desire to help the poor, though. When she arrived at the box, she jumped out of her enormous SUV, leaving the engine running.

At that point, it seems that she pulled a stepladder up to the drop-off box. No one can say for sure — the next time anyone saw Permar, she was dead.

After allegedly removing several bags filled with clothes and shoes, she slipped as the stepladder collapsed, her arm catching in the door.

The fall broke her arms and wrists, which were trapped in the box. Her feet, meanwhile, didn’t quite touch the ground, leaving her hanging.

There she dangled until 8:30 the next morning, when she was finally found.

Permar was pronounced dead at the scene. The county coroner James F. Kelley listed the cause of death as blunt force trauma and hypothermia.And while we are on this subject, allow me to share with you some of the opening sequences of one of my all-time favourite shows, Six Feet Under, an HBO series which dealt with the mortuary business.

Enjoy, or not, as your sensibilities permit.



Recommend this Post

Facebook's Community Standards

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 10:11
Some time ago, I wrote about my disappointing experience with Facebook after I complained about what was essentially hate speech by a FB group. The response I got was that the racist anti-Muslim group did not violate their community standards.

Since then, it would appear that little has changed.

Yesterday I happened upon a video by a FB group entitled Refugee Resettlement, below which was an invitation to learn more at Act For America, which describes itself as "the NRA of national security." Take a look if you want to get a flavour of their 'concerns.' I watched the group's video which, in my view, is an exercise in fear-mongering and anti-Muslim sentiment. In my view, it does violate my standards, but apparently not those of Facebook. Here is the reply I got about my complaint:
Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the video you reported for displaying hate speech and found it doesn't violate our Community Standards.

Please let us know if you see anything else that concerns you. We want to keep Facebook safe and welcoming for everyone.Well, perhaps not everyone, as the video below makes clear:

Recommend this Post

A Reason For Hope

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 06:29


Although the White House is currently overrun with a band of lunatics that has quickly brought about very dark days, I can't help but think that there are reasons for hope. That I, an inveterate cynic, hold such a view astounds me, but the signs are unmistakable.


Or consider this array of magazines, whose covers leave do doubt about the medium's values and sensibilities. Here are but two of many:





Then there are the strong commitments to justice shown by the number of Canadian and American lawyers who are providing free assistance to travelers caught in Trump's Muslim ban.

As well, large protests are taking place in West Palm Beach near Trump's exclusive Mar-a-Lago resort; charities that traditionally hold fundraisers there are under intense pressure to go elsewhere rather than lend any scintilla of legitimacy to this rogue executive.

What I find especially heartening is that, unlike many protests and demonstrations of the past, these seem dominated by young people, not the graybeards of my generation. Is it possible that the Trump presidency has awakened, not just the dark forces of racism, division and hatred, but also a political consciousness that is strong, defiant and contemptuous of repression? Can it be that Americans, who like to think of themselves as fair-minded and open, are stung by the dark image of the U.S. that Trump is propagating both at home and worldwide?

Consider what Tony Burman has to say:
... the resistance to Trump’s rule is beginning to build in every corner of America, and in many parts of the world. This silent majority — yes, majority — is no longer silent.

It began the day after Trump’s inauguration with the breathtaking women’s marches in more than 600 American cities, as well as many world capitals, denouncing his policies. This event is now regarded as the largest day of demonstration in American history. Since then, there have been countless protests across America, both inside and outside of government, fuelling a growing resistance movement similar to the emergence of the conservative Tea Party in 2009.

Some of the protests have been evident in overflowing town halls and besieged congressional offices, while others have been more discreet. In an unprecedented act of disapproval, more than 1,000 State Department employees signed a letter condemning Trump’s anti-Muslim ban.

In Austin, Texas, meanwhile, the sentiment was more dramatically expressed.

Every year since 2003, a small group of Muslims in Texas have met in Austin to visit with lawmakers. It is called “Texas Muslim Capitol Day” and last year’s event was disrupted by protesters shouting anti-Muslim slogans.

At this year’s event on Tuesday, more than 1,000 people showed up to form a human barricade around the Muslim group to show solidarity.So palpable is Trump's hatred, so clear is his racism, it would seem that the better angels of our nature are beginning to reassert themselves. Give those angels time to coalesce, and there is no limit to what they might accomplish.Recommend this Post