The Disaffected Lib

Subscribe to The Disaffected Lib  feed
Dedicated to the Restoration of Progressive DemocracyThe Mound of Sound
Updated: 40 min 57 sec ago

Chet and Mark - See You In My Dreams

Sat, 08/29/2015 - 23:27

Seriously, it this doesn't do something to you, find where it should be because that part of you needs resurrecting.

What is rarely understood was that Knopfler sought out Atkins. He wanted to learn. He spent two years during which Atkins taught him what he knew. It's one of the greatest yet virtually unknown moments in modern musical history.

Look at how these two guitarists from two very separate worlds play off against each other.  That, friends, is worth the price of admission.

Knopfler, the great front man for Dire Straits, went to Atkins. He wanted to learn the joyous magic of the acoustic guitar. They did this for two years. Years later they did a command performance in London to the Queen.

Get With the Programme

Sat, 08/29/2015 - 14:36

There is so much research and analysis pouring in these days that it can be hard to keep the reality of climate change in clear focus.  There are any number of online course on climate change and related topics such as oceanic changes, water and food security, the political and geopolitical dynamics now undergoing transformation and much more.

Of all that I have experienced, there's one that is particularly informative, insightful and compelling.  The course is entitled, "Turn Down the Heat." It's been produced by Germany's excellent Potsdam Institute and features Hans Joachim Schellnhuber and may other top experts in the field. The programme is sponsored by the World Bank.

Here's a trailer for Turn Down the Heat:

The course is still available through Coursera. It takes about five weeks, about five hours a week.

You can access the course through this link.  Especially at this time when we're exploring competing political options, this is information you might find handy, possibly indispensible.

Sea Levels Rising Faster than Predicted - Again (and again and again)

Sat, 08/29/2015 - 10:01

1992, not all that long ago. Just long enough for global sea levels to rise an average of 8 cms.  At 2.54 cms. per inch, that comes out at just over 3 inches.

Three inches, big deal. Actually, yes, it is a big deal. In military parlance, it's a "force multiplier." It increases the frequency and severity of oceanic impacts such as coastal erosion, storm surges and flooding.

Take British Columbia's "Lower Mainland" - the large and bountiful Fraser River estuary, home to 2.6-million people. A lot of that area is low lying and vulnerable to spring flooding especially from rapid snowpack melting in the interior.  The Fraser River pours out into the sea but if the sea is three inches higher then that causes the spring deluge to back up, increasing destructive flooding.

You have some coastal areas, such as Richmond, that are below sea level. Like the Dutch they use dikes or seawalls to protect residents. Three inches of sea level rise makes those dikes three inches less effective and more vulnerable to high tides especially when coupled with storm surges. The formula is high tide exacerbated by storm surge exacerbated by sea level rise.  Think Hurricane Sandy.

So here's NASA's take on what we're facing and what we need to start doing about it.

Just a Reminder to you Dippers. No Woolies for You, These Days You're Farting Through Silk.

Sat, 08/29/2015 - 09:18

In case you missed it last time, and obviously a good many of you did, here's that link to Yves Engler's (Canada's Chomsky) evaluation of Tommy "Angry Beard" Mulcair's profound neoliberalism.  Read it - and, yes, weep for what once was but no longer.

Yes, Dippers, despite your protestations to the contrary, today's NDP is neoliberal, shot through.  You're no longer the party of Douglas and Lewis. No, that's just a conceit. You don't take your meals in the kitchen any longer. You dine in the parlour now with the silverware, fine china and crystal. You're everything that, for all those decades, you so fiercely rebuked. That greasy feeling you get? That's the hypocrisy coming through your pores.

As Engler put it:

At some point progressive minded party members will have to ask themselves how far down the neoliberal path they are willing to travel.

Meanwhile, Dippers, you would do well to heed these thoughts of another NDP/social democrat stalwart, James Laxer:

There are times in history when truly reactionary political formations come along. Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party is such a formation. While thankfully, it is not overtly racist in the manner of the far-right parties in Europe, it shares all of the other views and instincts of such bodies. Harper himself, as his speeches and writings reveal, would be very much at home in the Republican Party. His government threatens all of the societal innovations the NDP and the CCF before it have inspired. It is not foreordained that the neo-conservatives will succeed in imposing their philosophy on us, but because they have the support of most of the business class in Canada, it’s highly possible. It is, therefore, overwhelmingly in the interest of social democrats to prevent this outcome.

Sadly, the NDP has evolved into a party much like the others. There is little political ferment. Riding association meetings, party conferences and provincial and federal conventions are not occasions for basic debate and education about the state of society and what needs to be done, but rather focus on fundraising, holding raffles and showcasing the leader for the media.

The only time when there is genuine democracy in the NDP is during leadership campaigns. At least during these intervals, real debate becomes possible. Once the leader is chosen, however, party policy, decided on at conventions, is ignored. That has been the case for decades. Between leadership campaigns, the leader, surrounded by his or her inner staff and pollsters, determines the political course of the party.

...A becalmed political party like the NDP is of limited use to working people in a mean-spirited time such as ours. We don’t need a party that no longer knows how to fight and has lost the combative edge of the social democrats of earlier decades.

...The consequence of the NDP’s tactical stance is that the party ends up as just another liberal party, operating from a somewhat more progressive vantage point. The lack of a compelling vision has left the NDP looking much like the other parties, which is why so many people who are searching for something genuinely different are opting for the Green Party.

And, as for you Dippers and your incessant and utterly false bitching about the Green Party being rightwing when, in fact, it's often to the progressive left of the NDP, here's the analysis of another Laxer, Michael that puts that hollow but desperate blathering to rest.

Paul Martin Gives Tommy Angry Beard a Well-Deserved Kick in the Ass.

Sat, 08/29/2015 - 08:42
Paul Martin was the finance minister who plucked the federal government from the brink of fiscal chaos. It was a tough time for all including the provinces, even the Canadian Forces, but he balanced the budget and paid down $90 billion of our national debt. He kept the bankers in line and when he handed the reins to Harper he bequeathed a full treasury ready to absorb the brunt of the great collapse of 2008.

Put simply, Martin pulled our fat (yours and mine) out of the fire. Which is why he deserves to be heard on the mess we're in yet again and where we're headed.

The public has grown used to the Harper government’s mantra on deficits, but should be startled by what they hear from New Democrats, he said.

“That Tom Mulcair is now a student of Stephen Harper’s economy makes absolutely no sense,” said Martin.

“Where is the conscience of those who belong in the NDP? How can the NDP party — those who’ve worked it for all these years — stand for the fact that the party is now holding hands with the Conservatives and saying that our goal in the next mandate is to do absolutely nothing?”

The current Conservative government has ground the economy down so far, trapping our most vulnerable of citizens in the process, that the next government has to act and that the NDP doesn’t understand that boggles the mind. Conservative obsession with eliminating the deficit down to the final decimal point is more than short-sighted. It’s yesterday’s war.”

Further evidence of how Mulcair and Harper are on the wrong page with their babble about balancing budgets comes from a new poll that finds Canadians believe their country is in a recession and support the federal government running a deficit to stimulate the economy.

Anyone who reads this blog knows I've been pretty tough on young Trudeau but I will give him credit for his commitment to a major, 3-year infrastructure programme. Sure he'll run a deficit but that's not the point. It's like bad cholesterol and good cholesterol. Harper's "throw a deck on the cottage" stimulus budget of 2009 was bad cholesterol. It was money squandered, gifted away, with no lasting return. Infrastructure spending, of the sort Harper didn't have the vision or courage to implement, is good cholesterol. It's money invested in public assets - highways, bridges, overpasses, power grids - that bolster the economy and reap returns for decades.

Of course, with this latest poll, the bearded chameleon may change his colours as effortlessly as he has on other situations in the past.

"Harperman" Lands EnviroCan Scientist in Trouble with the Fuhrer

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 15:35
Call out the Stasi. Fire up the generator and man those alligator clips. It's time for Tony Turner to "ride the lightning."

The guy singing is Tony Turner, a habitat planning scientist who may not be working for Environment Canada much longer.

An Ottawa federal scientist is being investigated for breaching the public service’s ethics code for writing and performing a highly political protest song to get rid of the Harper government.

Tony Turner, a scientist in habitat planning at Environment Canada, was recently sent home on leave with pay while the government investigates the making of Harperman, a music video posted on YouTube in early June that has attracted about 48,000 hits.

Mark Johnson, a spokesman for Environment Canada, said the department wouldn’t be commenting on the case because of “privacy concerns.” He said public servants agree to comply with the value and ethics code — which lays out expected behaviours — when they join the government regardless of their level or job.

I Knew the Harper PMO Reminded Me of Something.

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 14:55
Yes, that's it! Something way back from my childhood. Yes.

Word has it that Harper chief of staff, Ray Novak, will be doing his best Sgt. Schultz impression when he gets grilled under oath in November.

Novak told CTV's Bob Fife, “Bob, I did not know that Mr. Wright was going to cut that cheque. Beyond that, I will speak at the appropriate time. Now is not the appropriate time.”

Fife then asked Novak if he had read the email in which Wright informed him that he was sending the $90,000 cheque.

“No I did not see that email, Bob,” Novak replied. “I first saw that email when it was disclosed much, much later.”

The Unist'ot'en People of Northern B.C. versus Chevron. Which Side is the RCMP Backing?

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 14:08

Band leaders of the Unist'ot'en of northwest British Columbia are bracing for mass arrests in their ongoing fight against the fossil fuelers, Chevron in particular. The RCMP aren't exactly denying the allegation, either.

"We understand that there has been some discussions on social media that don't accurately reflect the RCMP's action or the situation," she told Vancouver Observer in an email statement. "To date, there has been no police action. It is our understanding that discussions between industry and the Wet'suwet'en are still possible."

Just what does that mean? So long as the FNs are talking with "industry" they won't be jammed up? If they remain defiant of Chevron they'll be heading for the Greybar Hotel by the busload?
More than 50 individuals and organizations including Elizabeth May, David Suzuki, and Greenpeace Canada, signed an online declaration of support for the clan, which has claimed and governed the territory through its traditional and hereditary laws.

"We are deeply and gravely concerned to learn from a variety of sources that the RCMP appear to be on the verge of executing a highly provocative and dangerously reckless operational plan to make arrests," said the document. "We are local, national and international organizations monitoring these developments closely and we affirm that the Unist’ot’en are not alone."

The BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) also sent a letter to the RCMP urging them to scrap any plans to cross into Unist'ot'en territory and make arrests.

"... Police must proceed with the utmost caution in a situation such as this, so as not to interfere with the constitutional rights of the Indigenous people," wrote BCCLA executive director Josh Paterson. "If the RCMP is, as reported, planning to move in on the camp and remove its members against their will, we urge that this plan be reconsidered."

Meanwhile, at the blockades, they're bracing for Canada's Petro-Police Force, formerly known as the RCMP, to move in.
Unist'ot'en checkpoints have been set up on two entrances to its territory on Moricewest Forest Service Road and Chisolm Road. The Indigenous group has allowed loggers, tree-planters, and hunters to pass through peacefully, but has used the barriers to keep oil and gas officials at bay.

The camp has not and never will approve pipeline construction on its land, said Huson, despite more than 10 proposalsinvolving its ancestral land. Among the most controversial pipeline projects that would affect the Unist'ot'en are Enbridge Northern Gateway and Chevron's Pacific Trail Pipeline.

The Iron Curtain is History. Is the "Ice Curtain" Next?

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 10:06
It's not just global warming that's transforming the face of the Arctic. It's also Russian president Vlad Putin and his very clear Arctic ambitions both territorial and military.

A new report from the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies, The New Ice Curtain, Russia's Strategic Reach to the Arctic, suggests the 20-year old Arctic Council needs, at the very least, a facelift to address security concerns in the high north including confidence-building, multi-lateral military agreements between Russia and her Arctic neighbours.

The report notes that Moscow sees Russia as the Arctic superpower, the polar hegemon but the authors also warn against demonizing Russia for taking steps justified in the protection of its national interests only because we haven't kept pace.

Bitter Truth

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 13:47
This is the butchery Paul Manly stood up against - and it cost him the NDP nomination in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

One thing is for sure. If Mulcair becomes prime minister, Canada will sure as hell not be part of the "international process" to bring Israel to account.

Props Wanted. Great Pay and Benefits.

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 12:18
So it's come to this. Apparently feeling the sting of Canadian combat vets angry with Steve Harper and vowing to do everything in their power to run him out of Ottawa, the Tories are trying to recruit veterans willing to appear with the prime minister.

The email appears to have been written by Kris Sims, who is on leave from her role as director of communications for Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O'Toole in order to work for the party during the campaign.

In it, she asks to be connected with ex-soldiers who are willing to appear on camera and prepared "to say in their own words why (Stephen) Harper is the best choice for Canada, based on their military experience and the threats we face in the world."

I'll Vote "No" on Strategic Voting.

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 12:07
Quick trip to Victoria yesterday to buy a jacket for my daughter's pending wedding. I rode the great yellow Beast and, even with end of summer traffic, there was room to get a little adrenalin going.

The province of Vancouver Island has this one highway that runs from Victoria in the extreme south that connects the city to Nanaimo, my town, Courtney/Comox, Campbell River and on all the way to the northern reaches at Port Hardy. One highway, just the one. Which makes it predictable that the highway is the place you'll see who is running for which party and where.

This island has been a bastion of strength for the NDP and, judging by the sheer number of signs, that's not going to change except up.  The Greens are out in force, second only to the New Dems in signage. The Liberal presence is desultory at best. The big change is the Conservatives. They had more signage than the Libs but not by much and certainly not nearly what we saw in previous elections.

It was great to see so many Paul Manly campaign signs as I transited through the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding. He's an island boy by birth from Port Alice way up north. He was raised a New Dem, the son of former NDP MP, Jim Manly. He's a pretty impressive guy and was on his way to being the next NDP MP from his riding until he was denied permission to seek the nomination by Team Mulcair. It seems Paul committed the mortal sin of standing up and speaking out for the Palestinians. Can't be having that, not with the Thatcher-loving, Harper-courting, ex-Liberal, market fundamentalist neoliberal,Likudnik Tom "I'll bend any principle for a vote" Mulcair running the show.

But Manly found a better home. He's running for the Greens and he might just steal the riding from the Dippers. That would make me happy, very happy for Manly and for the Green Party.

One of the main reasons I left the Liberals was their unbalanced support of Israel and Ignatieff's pre-absolution for the atrocities in the last Gaza outrage. Now Mulcair's Latter-Day-Liberals are singing the same hymns out of the very same book. If I left the party I had supported for forty years because of that, I'm certainly not going to be tossing my vote into Mulcair's bucket this time around.

As I was carving corners crossing the Malahat I began rethinking this strategic voting business, giving it a second chance in my mind. The Dippers relentlessly hector Greens that voting for our party is tantamount to supporting Harper's re-election. Bollocks!

I'm voting Green not to make a point. It's not a protest vote. Maybe it won't get the Green candidate elected in my riding. I don't care. I'm voting Green because it's the only party I can vote for. I don't want to vote for Mulcair or for Trudeau and, obviously, I don't want to vote for Harper. A pox on them all and their parties.

The New Dems may have abandoned just about every principle that Tommy Douglas stood for, they don't eat in the kitchen any longer, but there's one thing they still cling to - working over every other party and that includes sniping at the Greens and their leader. And having done that, I'm supposed to vote for Mulcair? After what he did to Paul Manly? I'm supposed to vote Likudnik?

No, I don't think so. My Green Party lawn signs should be up before sundown tomorrow. This election could be far more important to the Green Party than the ABC crowd would like to acknowledge. That's their problem.

Wishful Thinking. Oh, to Dream.

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 09:39
Got an email this morning from the Green Party. It spoke of an "independent poll" that showed the Greens in second place on my home turf, Vancouver Island.

No information about the poll itself but I can say this. While travelling around my own town I've been pleasantly surprised at the number of Green Party lawn signs, second only to NDP signs, and the dearth of CPC signs. I have yet to see a LPC sign anywhere.

You Drylanders watch out. When we become the Province of Vancouver Island, we'll be a Green bastion floating serenely beyond the orangish-red wasteland to the east.

Why the Far Right is Always Wrong

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 08:32

Neoconservatism of the type practiced in the U.S. and worshiped at the secret shrine in the closet at 24 Sussex Drive is a mental infirmity. That's why since it was spawned during the Clinton years (the Project for the New American Century) to its rise to power during Bush/Cheney and its tenacious grip on survival under Obama, it's been consistently wrong. The Iraq disaster was its crowning achievement but there's been so much more and all of it wrong, dead wrong.

Harvard prof. Stephen Walt dissects the neoconservative malfunction in "So Wrong for So Long, Why Neoconservatives are Never Right."

Living (Usually Broke) in Harper's Petro-WonderLand

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 08:20

Shifty Harper constantly blames setbacks to Canada's economy on problems abroad. It's his "heads I win, tails you lose" ploy and it usually works with the gullabillies who form a critical part of his base.

With almost two months remaining in the election campaign, we can expect China's market meltdown to send Harper squealing like a porker about how the economic blowback hitting all petro-states isn't our fault. Blame China.

Me, I'll blame Comrade Shifty for his "oilfields first" policy that even had his minions changing "tidewater, tidewater, tidewater."  China's ship may be sinking, so to speak, but it was Harper that lashed Canada's dinghy hard alongside.

The perils and pitfalls that beset petro-states have been well chronicled, especially the boom and bust cycles.  I'm sure the lessons haven't been lost on Alberta's sophisticates but, since Peter Lougheed left this mortal coil,  Alberta hasn't been burdened with a surplus of intellect.

Norway is Alberta's constant shame. They listened to Peter Lougheed's caution. They adopted Plan Lougheed. They're rich. They have the largest sovereign wealth fund on Earth. Alberta rejected Plan Lougheed, even though it was written just for them. Alberta doesn't have Norway's sovereign wealth fund. Alberta has debts and deficits.  And if the last three petro-busts have taught us anything, if and when the good times return, Alberta will do it again.  Kind of makes you wonder why we should trust those obvious mental defectives to run bitumen pipelines across our province.

For what China's meltdown could mean to Canada, there's this handy piece from - "China's Meltdown Spells Even More Peril for Petro-States."

British Columbians Say It's Time to "Heave Steve"

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 17:01
The headline in the paper's largest newspaper, The Vancouver Sun, says it all - B.C. Voters planning to push Harper's Tories Out of Office.

The new Insights West online survey of 815 British Columbians suggests a strong animosity in the province towards the notion of a re-elected Conservative government.

The online survey of 815 British Columbians said 75 per cent of decided respondents, including close to half (43 per cent) of those who voted Tory in 2011, say it’s time for a change.

“In addition, 60 per cent of British Columbians say they would be ‘very upset’ if the Tories form the government again. The level of animosity towards a possible victory by either the Liberal Party or the NDP is significantly smaller (36 per cent and 33 per cent respectively),” according to Insight West.

The four-day online poll, which concluded Monday, said 41 per cent of decided voters would vote for the New Democratic Party if an election were being held now.
That compares with 24 per cent favouring the Liberals, 22 per cent the Conservatives, and 12 per cent Elizabeth May’s Green Party.

If valid, the results would confirm University of B.C. political scientist Richard Johnston’s recent comment to The Vancouver Sun that “there’s a B.C. thing going on about Harper.”

The poll is consistent with recent data from various firms collected by CBC poll analyst Eric Grenier.

If those numbers held up it would result in an all-time best performance for the federal NDP, which took a record 37 per cent of the vote and the majority of B.C. seats in the 1988 election.

Grenier’s seat projection model suggests that these numbers would translate into an NDP landslide, taking 25 of the province’s 42 seats.

The Liberals would be second with 11 seats, the Conservatives third with five, and the Greens fourth with May’s Saanich-Gulf Islands seat.


Conservatives Have a Big Decision in this Election. What'll It Be - Canada or Harper?

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 15:59
I backed into what became an argument today with an old friend and I did not feel very good about it at all.  We both knew Duffy way back when and naturally the conversation turned to the trial.

Trev is one of those guys I mentioned this morning who doesn't think that the Duffy trial is a big deal that undermines the Harper government. He just thinks it falls short of being significant in deciding how he'll vote. He is unhappy at how the Harper government has treated veterans but, again, it won't keep him from voting Tory.

Trev has it in his 75-year old mind that Harper has done a pretty good job with the Canadian economy. He can't say why that is, it's just the way he feels. He had no idea that Harper has turned in 7 consecutive deficit budgets. He had no idea that Harper has swollen our national debt to the tune of $150-billion.  He still thinks Harper has done a pretty good job.

I told him that, in this election, he'll have to choose. Will it be Harper or will it be Canada?

In every election since Trudeau first led the Liberals I have never felt that any party leader was less than dedicated to our country. Sure they had differing views, irreconcilable ideologies in some respects, but that didn't negate their commitment to the country and the Canadian people.  All of them would respect our democracy and do nothing to degrade it.

In no way can I find any of that in Stephen Harper.  As Harper cheerleader, John Ibbitson, recently wrote:

The Conservatives’ autocracy, secretiveness, and cruelty, critics accuse, debase politics to a level that threatens the very foundations of Canadian democracy. “Hardly anything in this world hints of Putinism more than Harperism,” columnist Ralph Surette of the Halifax Chronicle Herald opined.

Michael Harris, no fan of Harper to be sure, nonetheless put it both fairly and accurately when he wrote:
The hallmark of the Harper era has been an attempt by the government to take ownership of all federal human assets in a degrading and political way. Civil servants have been used as props in fake TV news items. The justice department has drafted a string of unconstitutional legislation reflecting the CPC’s ideological agenda. Federal scientists have been muzzled like unruly dogs.

But one of the most disturbing elements of this tyrannical capture of every aspect of the machinery of government is the increasingly partisan behaviour of the RCMP. The Force has been used against Harper’s political enemies, often without a shred of real misconduct on the table.

Then, today, long-time Harper booster, Andrew Coyne, captured the culture Harper has bred within his own Prime Minister's Office, one that would befit The Sopranos:

...It is noteworthy that, almost without exception, no one at any point raises any objection to what is going on: not the public deception, not the attempts to tamper with the audit, not the whitewashing of the committee report. The lies are so habitual, so instinctive, so much a part of the normal run of things that no one seems to think them even unusual, let alone unacceptable. It matters, in the end, because the things that should have mattered to them, like honesty and integrity, didn’t.

Harper, like a monarch rather than a prime minister, has indeed taken "ownership of all federal human assets in a degrading and political way."  For years I've lamented on this blog how Harper has corrupted everything he touches in a blatant coup to subvert parliamentary democracy by transforming our public service, our state police apparatus, even our armed forces into his personal, partisan agencies.  What he has truly degraded, with clear contempt, is our democracy - the same democracy that our veterans for so long fought and died to defend. Harper has instituted illiberal democracy. In my view that's nothing short of treason.
It should make no difference - Right, Left or Centre - we should all be Canadians first regardless of our partisan affiliations. Canada comes first. Our fellow Canadians come first. Any leader who places himself above the country, above our people, who treats our government as not ours but his and our 'federal human assets' as his property is not a leader but a malignancy. 
Harper is solely responsible for making Conservatives choose between Canada and their party.  Through four successive elections they've empowered this betrayal of their country, our Canada. Now they've had four years of majority rule to see what Harper is, his true face and now they've seen it, they have to choose.

Another "Dog (Ate My Homework) Day" Wraps Up Duffy Trial, For Now.

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 13:43
The Duffy trial is adjourned until 18 November.  Don Bayne finished mauling Chris Woodcock, Harper's former PMO director of issues management with yet another fitting bit of the, now almost standard, implausible "the dog ate my homework" testimony.

Woodcock argued over whether the senator was forced to accept a deal cooked up by members of the PMO that made him admit he may have mistakenly claimed living expenses.

Bayne referred to a police statement made by Woodcock in which he said that the PMO had to force, convince and persuade the senator to agree to the plan.

When asked to clarify for the court what he mean by the the word force, he said it was interchangeable with the words convince, persuade or agree.

"The meaning that you're trying to attribute to the word force is not the meaning that I intended to convey. I intended to use persuade, convince. All of those were the same concepts to me when I gave that answer."

But Bayne responded that there are lots of ways to force people.

And indeed there are, counsellor.  There are also lots of ways to skin cats and you seem to know most of them pretty well.

Poor old Chris. Yesterday he had to tell a whopper about not reading the final line in a very short email from Nigel Wright telling him that Wright was covering Duffy's Senate tab. Today he was left squirming, forced (as it were) to invent a new definition for a simple, five-letter word - "force."
You see, the meaning Bayne was trying to attribute to the word force was, well, "force." How could anybody be so ridiculous?
Interesting question. What if, when the trial resumes on 18 November, Stephen Harper is the former prime minister of Canada? He'd have a much harder time avoiding the witness box, wouldn't he.

Update: - meanwhile, out in the hinterland on the campaign trail, a janitor finds the door to his utility closet locked. There's a noise inside, a voice, an angry voice. He can't make out much of it but he does catch the words "goddamn that f#*king Magna Carta!"

Andrew Coyne Nails It - Again. It's Not About Duffy. What Matters is the Corruption at the Very Top.

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 09:41
We've probably all run into people who don't get what Wright-Duffy is all about or why it's a big deal or a deal at all.

Andrew Coyne might have been one of those doubters - way back when - but he sure isn't now.

Lifeboat Europe. Man the Oars!

Sun, 08/23/2015 - 11:56
You've got 20 people huddled in a lifeboat designed to hold 25.  There are 60 people in the water, swimming toward you, each of them intent on getting aboard.  The wind is freshening, the sea is rising and nightfall is approaching. What do you do?

Do you do nothing and let the lifeboat be overwhelmed, casting the 20 already aboard into the water to share the fate of the others?

It's a tough choice, isn't it, but it's a dilemma now besetting Europe.  Waves of refugees are in the water, swimming for Lifeboat Europe, hoping to get over the gunwales via Macedonia. Many are fleeing the devastation in Syria. Others, trying to find safety in Europe, are migrating through North Africa, heading for refuge in Mediterranean Europe.  They're drowning by the hundreds.

Many Europeans already feel austerity's boot on their necks.  What awaits them if their countries have to absorb waves of newcomers on a scale never before even imagined?

Tough decisions await Europe and you may find some of the answers hideously brutal, to us even cruel. Wait, our turn will come.