Agrégateur de flux

Trudeau is a Scammer, and British Columbians Are His Victims

The Disaffected Lib - il y a 1 heure 35 min
Rafe Mair has issued a cogent, factual and searing indictment of Justin Trudeau's deceit and hypocrisy. It extends to JMJ (justice minister Jody) and EMC (environment minister Cathy).

I'm not going to try to paraphrase or excerpt it. Read it for yourself, especially if you're a Liberal. Read it, especially if you're a British Columbian for it reveals how quickly this government, emulating the last, has betrayed us.

Saturday Afternoon Links

accidentaldeliberations - il y a 1 heure 38 min
Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Stephen Hawking discusses the crucial distinction between seeing money as a means of pursuing worthy ends versus treating it a goal in and of itself - and notes that we should be wary of political choices based on the latter view:
Money is also important because it is liberating for individuals. I have spoken in the past about my concern that government spending cuts in the UK will diminish support for disabled students, support that helped me during my career. In my case, of course, money has helped not only make my career possible but has also literally kept me alive.
So I would be the last person to decry the significance of money. However, although wealth has played an important practical role in my life, I have of course had a different relationship with it to most people. Paying for my care as a severely disabled man, and my work, is crucial; the acquisition of possessions is not. I don’t know what I would do with a racehorse, or indeed a Ferrari, even if I could afford one. So I have come to see money as a facilitator, as a means to an end – whether it is for ideas, or health, or security – but never as an end in itself.
I hope and believe that people will embrace more of this cathedral thinking for the future, as they have done in the past, because we are in perilous times. Our planet and the human race face multiple challenges. These challenges are global and serious – climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans. Such pressing issues will require us to collaborate, all of us, with a shared vision and cooperative endeavour to ensure that humanity can survive. We will need to adapt, rethink, refocus and change some of our fundamental assumptions about what we mean by wealth, by possessions, by mine and yours. Just like children, we will have to learn to share.

If we fail then the forces that contributed to Brexit, the envy and isolationism not just in the UK but around the world that spring from not sharing, of cultures driven by a narrow definition of wealth and a failure to divide it more fairly, both within nations and across national borders, will strengthen. If that were to happen, I would not be optimistic about the long-term outlook for our species.

But we can and will succeed. Humans are endlessly resourceful, optimistic and adaptable. We must broaden our definition of wealth to include knowledge, natural resources, and human capacity, and at the same time learn to share each of those more fairly. If we do this, then there is no limit to what humans can achieve together.- Linda McQuaig sees Bernie Sanders' progressive populist movement as a crucial force in pushing back against rule by the .01%. And Branko Milanovic offers some theories as to how our economic system should change to better account for public well-being, rather than merely focusing on corporate demands.

- Lola Okolosie notes the connection between the decline of social mobility and school systems designed to preserve and exacerbate inequality.

- Nancy Macdonald examines the woeful exclusion of indigenous people from Saskatchewan's governing institutions (among other indicators of the desperate need to close the opportunity gap).

- Finally, Charlie Smith reports on the Trudeau Libs' choice to ram through Christy Clark's Site C dam with no regard for affected First Nations. And Matthew Behrens discusses how the Libs are continuing the Cons' attacks on human rights.

A Further Reflection

Politics and its Discontents - il y a 8 heures 43 min

At the risk of seeming a tad obsessed about James Forcillo, I feel compelled to do yet another post on him and Sammy Yatim, the troubled teen he recklessly and needlessly gunned down three years ago.

We all know there is a great deal of injustice in the world, the bulk of which is not open to easy resolution. Sometimes all we can do is bear witness to that injustice and the suffering it causes. Although hardly an adequate response, a small gesture at best, it is, in my view, better than silence.

First, on the fact that Forcillo has been granted bail due to his pending appeal, this is what Justice Eileen Gillese had to say about releasing the criminal officer:
“Despite the seriousness of the offence for which the Appellant stands convicted,” she wrote, “in my view, fully informed members of the community will objectively understand and accept that it is not contrary to the public interest that he be released.”The fact that he will now be under house arrest pending his appeal (which begs the question of whether house arrest will constitute 'time served' should his conviction be upheld) is not sitting well with everyone:
Criminal defence and constitutional lawyer Annamaria Enenajor, who wasn’t involved in the case, said there can be a disconnect between what the courts may consider to be supporting public confidence in the justice system and what the public actually feels.

“As a member of the public, I’m outraged by the conduct of Officer Forcillo but I also I view it in the broader context of police violence and impunity. So my understanding of what diminishes my confidence in the administration of justice might be quite different than that of a judge who is really only dealing only with the case in front of them,” she said.

“The reasonable person, who according to the court who is the holder of the public opinion, is somebody who trusts the police, believes the police implicitly and has confidence in them. And that’s not generally representative of many members of society.”Annamaria Enenajor may be reflecting the concerns of the broader community here, but what about those of the Yatim family, who have suffered grievously over the loss of their son and brother?

Nabil Yatim, Sammy's father, speaks of their ongoing trauma:
Yatim, 68, is thoughtful, articulate, reflective, but he struggles to explain the pain of the past three years. “You go through hell and back — how I can describe that more?”

Immediately after getting the news of his son’s death while on a business trip in the U.S., Yatim, a retail management consultant, says he took things hour by hour, day by day. He became a “hermit,” never wanting to go out, avoiding family and friends, because the subject was always the same.

“You’ve been thinking about it all day and all night, the last thing you want to do is talk about it some more, so you become isolated,” he said. “And you just kind of nurse your wounds, in a sense. It was horrible. It still is.”

Harder still is the public nature of the family’s grief. Sammy’s death and the unprecedented conviction of a police officer for attempted murder have made international headlines. Yatim finds himself reluctant to introduce himself to strangers, knowing his name will prompt questions — are you related to Sammy?

“People are so nice, and they mean well, but sometimes you just don’t want to open up (your) wounds again, every minute of every day.”

With psychiatric help and medication, Yatim says he is at least now able to sleep. “I have a little bit more strength than I thought,” he said.But he and his wife are not the only people contending with the aftermath of Sammy's death. Sammy's sister, two years younger than her brother, has undergone trauma that I think few of us can fully appreciate:
In the hours after Sammy’s death, it was Sarah, then 16, who had to identify her brother’s body. She is “traumatized,” and has dropped out of school. “I am very concerned about her,” Yatim said.

He is trying to get her professional help, even check her into a residence program to treat post-traumatic stress, but the family can’t afford it, Yatim said.The other day, in speaking on the conviction of Forcillo, Mike McCormick, head of the Toronto police union, said,
“This is a tragic day for the Forcillo family, the Yatim family - there will never be any good outcome from this, it's tragic all around.”That may well be, but perhaps Nabil Yatim's pained observation about Forcillo sums up a stark reality that puts things into a truer perpesctive:
“He gets to go home. My son sleeps in an urn.”

Recommend this Post

Hillary's Mountain

Northern Reflections - il y a 10 heures 3 min

Hillary Clinton has the Democratic nomination for president. Now the hard part begins. She'll have to climb a mountain. A substantial number of Americans see her as the status quo in an election where the majority of them are clamouring for change. Tom Walkom writes:

When U.S. President Barack Obama called the former senator and secretary of state the most qualified presidential candidate ever, he wasn’t far off.
When he noted on Wednesday night she was more qualified than both he and former president Bill Clinton had been when they first took office, he was absolutely correct. Compared to Hillary Clinton today, both men then were callow newcomers.
But it’s worth noting that both Obama and Bill Clinton won. And they won in large part because they were new.
Victor Hugo wrote that there is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come. If Americans think that Hillary's time has passed, she'll loose -- even if Donald Trump is a very bad idea. That's why the theme floating through Bill Clinton's biography of his wife was that she was the "best darned change maker" he knew:
Bill Clinton understands the problem, which is why in his speech to the convention Tuesday night he insisted on referring to his wife as a “change-maker.”
In particular, he cited her role in passing a law to provide health insurance to poor children and her ability to winkle out federal funds for New York City after 9-11. He pointedly didn’t talk about her failure to get a more generalized health insurance reform though Congress.
Hillary's mountain isn't Everest. It's more like the Matterhorn. It can be scaled by a skilled politician. Donald Trump's approach to mountain climbing appears to be, if you generate enough hot hair, you can soar to the top.
So Hillary's task will be twofold. As she scales the mountain, she'll have to puncture Trump's balloon.

Donald Trump and the Emperor God

Montreal Simon - il y a 12 heures 35 min

There are now 100 days to go before the American election, and we find out whether we will be condemned to live in Donald Trump's nightmare world.

Or whether Hillary Clinton and her progressive army, will be able to bring down the man some of his crazed followers are now calling the God Emperor.

For it is as the Globe says, a choice between sanity and insanity.

The 2016 U.S. presidential race is not like elections past. It is not just a choice between right and left. The old borders are being redrawn by the parties, and by a restless, cranky electorate. No, the cleavage this year is different, and deeper. The line of demarcation is stark. It is no exaggeration to say that the choice in November is between sanity and insanity.

And that dangerous demagogue has never sounded so deranged.
Read more »

When Our Leaders Want to "beat people up," You know we Haven't come Far. . . .

kirbycairo - ven, 07/29/2016 - 19:25
Today, perhaps unsurprisingly, Donald Trump went on another one of his almost daily rants. This time he actively advocated violence, saying he wanted to "hit" several of the DNC convention speakers "so hard their heads would spin." (You can see a story in the Huffington Post here)

Personally I am entirely dumfounded by the idea of a presidential candidate in the 21st century who openly talks this way. And not only does he talk this way but his supporters lap it up. The irony of a guy who a few days ago tried to position himself as the "law and order candidate" talking openly about using violence on his opponents is too rich to make up. Comedians and Hollywood screenwriters must just be beside themselves at the professional goldmine that this man provides on an almost daily basis. But a good swath of Americans must surely be irony impaired, because they just aren't getting it. But oligarchs, dictators, and so-called 'strong-armed' leaders have always been this way. They talk about law and order but what they really mean is silence and obedience. Or Else!

In the words of one of my very favourite writers, Kurt Vonnegut, "So it goes."

By way of contrast, I was thinking today about the most popular and, arguably, the most left-leaning president the US has ever seen: Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Like any man, he had his faults. But when you contrast him with Donald Trump he seems almost saint-like. FDR was barely able to walk as a result of polio. And he went to great lengths to hide his disability from the public, a task that was conceivable in the age before television. Hiding his disability was understandable in those days. Even today, it is difficult to imagine a person with a significant disability getting elected president. But I suspect that FDR's disability is, in part, what made him the compassionate and socially conscious leader that he was.

One of the only photos of FDR in a wheelchair.

Trump lives in a world where men are still judged, by many, by their level of masculinity. His supporters, both men and women, like to hear him threaten people with violence because, in their eyes, it makes him manly and a good leader. Trump's popularity demonstrates how little we've really progressed in the past century.

The measure of person should never relate to how loud they speak, how angry they can get, how intimidating they can be. Physical courage can, indeed, be a useful trait. But without a conscience it easily becomes ruthlessness. Lincoln said, "No man is so tall as when he stoops to help a child." How is it that the first Republican president knew this lesson more than a hundred and fifty years ago, but the current Republican nominee has forgotten it entirely?

For some people, great leaders are people who have fought wars,  or did "what they said they would do" (no matter how terrible that act might be). But for those of us who actually want to move into the 21st century, great leaders must be defined by their compassion and their empathy. We know how Trump will be judged on this scale.

Musical interlude

accidentaldeliberations - ven, 07/29/2016 - 16:30
Broken Bells - Holding On For Life

A Skating Party For Forcillo

Politics and its Discontents - ven, 07/29/2016 - 07:59

What many of us feared has happened. James Forcillo has been granted bail:
Justice Eileen Gillese’s decision was released to counsel by email this morning.

“The Appellant’s release, pending the determination of his appeal, poses no risk to the public as there is no risk that he would commit further offences,” Gillese wrote.

“For the reasons given, despite the seriousness of the offence for which the Appellant stands convicted, in my view, fully informed members of the community will objectively understand and accept that it is not contrary to the public interest that he be released.”I guess Justice Gillese's definition of the public interest is far narrower than mine. It should bother everyone that the public's interest in seeing justice swiftly served continues to to be ignored.

Kind of gives new meaning to the term 'contempt of court,' doesn't it?Recommend this Post

Friday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - ven, 07/29/2016 - 07:51
Assorted content to end your week.

- Bjarke Skærlund Risager interviews David Harvey about the history and effect of neoliberalism:
I’ve always treated neoliberalism as a political project carried out by the corporate capitalist class as they felt intensely threatened both politically and economically towards the end of the 1960s into the 1970s. They desperately wanted to launch a political project that would curb the power of labor.

In many respects the project was a counterrevolutionary project...
(F)or globalization to work you had to reduce tariffs and empower finance capital, because finance capital is the most mobile form of capital. So finance capital and things like floating currencies became critical to curbing labor.

At the same time, ideological projects to privatize and deregulate created unemployment. So, unemployment at home and offshoring taking the jobs abroad, and a third component: technological change, deindustrialization through automation and robotization. That was the strategy to squash labor.

It was an ideological assault but also an economic assault. To me this is what neoliberalism was about: it was that political project, and I think the bourgeoisie or the corporate capitalist class put it into motion bit by bit.- Ian Johnston discusses how the privatization of health care in the UK is leading to far worse health outcomes, including decreased overall access to public services and worsening inequality as serious health problems are ignored in favour of delivering less important services to cherry-picked patients. 

- Larry Buhl highlights the disproportionate effect of environmental damage among minority populations - and the policy choices being made to facilitate that harm. (And needless to say, the Wall government's choice to wave through new pipelines without even considering their environmental impacts looks to fall under that category.) But that discriminatory effect also opens the door to dealing with environmental destruction through existing human rights mechanisms - and John Vidal reports on the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines' move to address the effects of climate change.

- Finally, Nathan Robinson comments on the futility of trying to pitch a "stay the course" message to the public which has been sacrificed in the name of the corporate class. And Erika Shaker discusses the need to offer solutions to citizens' underlying complains, lest voters otherwise settle for punishing scapegoats instead.

The Meaning Of "Growth"

Northern Reflections - ven, 07/29/2016 - 05:21

Economists are obsessed with growth. Unfortunately, Jim Stanford writes, they define the term much too narrowly -- because they assume that good growth is inextricably linked to profit. Progressives should be fighting this idea. Growth means much more than profit. It really means "work:"

"Growth" has to be correctly defined and measured, and we must always be crystal clear that lifting living, social and environmental standards -- not "growth" for its own sake -- is our goal. In this context, I prefer to discuss "work" rather than "growth," since after all human productive activity ("work," broadly defined) is the only thing that adds value to the natural resources we harvest (hopefully in a sustainable fashion) from the environment. It is obvious that there is plenty of work to be done out there (caring for ourselves, our communities and the environment), and millions of underutilized people with the desire and ability to do it.
There is so much work to do. And that work is important for reasons other than profit:

In terms of its impact on living standards, the effects of growth depend totally on how new GDP is produced and what it is used for. If higher GDP is associated with higher profit margins, which in turn are accumulated in undistributed corporate cash hoards or paid out in fat dividends to well-off investors, then growth may accomplish nothing. And if higher GDP is generated through extensive resource exploitation, sucking more value out of a non-renewable resource base and ignoring the need for conservation and amelioration, then it will certainly be associated with continued environmental degradation.

On the other hand, there are many other ways in which an economy can "grow," and a country's real GDP increase. It could happen, for example, through a major expansion in human services delivery (e.g., child care, elder care, education and culture). Proper programs in these areas would create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, tens of billions of dollars in new incomes, and many billions in revenues for government -- not to mention delivering services that are valuable and life-enhancing in their own regard. GDP might also grow because of huge investments in public capital and physical infrastructure -- things like utilities, affordable housing, education and cultural facilities, and parks.

For nearly fifty years now, the world economy has been operating on a narrow definition of growth.The benefits of that narrowly defined growth have gone mainly to those at the top of the economic pyramid.  The powers that be have told us that growth, so defined, is a scientific law -- like Newton's Law of Gravity.

Put simply, that's hogwash. And, in the places most devoted to that narrow conception of growth -- like the U.S. and the UK -- the natives are getting restless.


Sammy Yatim and the Day of Justice

Montreal Simon - ven, 07/29/2016 - 01:04

It's been three years and one day since 18-year-old Sammy Yatim was shot to death on a Toronto streetcar by police officer James Forcillo.

But yesterday his killer was finally sentenced.

A Toronto police officer who gunned down a troubled teen on an empty streetcar three years ago abused his authority in a way that undermines public trust in law enforcement and the justice system, a judge said Thursday in sentencing him to six years in prison.

And I couldn't be happier, because this was murder.
Read more »

That game of chicken that selected a Presidential candidate.

A Creative Revolution - jeu, 07/28/2016 - 17:53


So as was apparent from a few weeks ago, Clinton is the candidate running under the dem ticket. 

Despite a party dead set on who was going to be the candidate, despite some really hardcore propaganda by the corporate media, Bernie got about 43% of the total support. 

Not bad for a man with far less name recognition, and all those powerful forces against him.  Imagine if this had been fair and impartial? 

So now Clinton, who is a war-hawk and also supports the banks and corporate interests is going to bring the US back from the abyss. Hallelujah! Everyone is now supposed to veer out of the way and forget how shitty this all went down.  The Democrat bigwigs are just going to keep down the road they are on, unblinking and unthinking. You know what to do? Right?

In the meanwhile the Bernie or Busters are all over the map. They recognise that if Trump wins, it's a bad deal. 

Many Bernie people who only came out because it was Bernie and his message, are saying Fuck you. Can't blame them. They were not Obama Democrats, or Clintonistas. They were independents or just plain not registered anywhere. 

Some Bernie people were brand new voters, drawn to an actual campaign that spoke to them, and their issues. They have no interest in supporting the status quo. They may disappear, and it will be up to the next generation then. 

Long term Republicans are hating both candidates, they will not be voting for either candidate. Jill Stein is gaining interest, it will be kinda like the legend of Nader. A third party that will give it to Trump. 

I am a believer in voting, strongly.  This is making me be a lot more nuanced in my thinking, I feel their pain. I also know the stakes if Trump gets his new reality show off the ground.

The Dems are playing chicken with this, and since they have been doing it for so long....I think no one is going to blink however, and there will be a cataclysmic crash come November 2016. Oh yes. We will hear that grinding of metal all over the world.

We will feel it. 


Forcillo Is Sentenced, But Is It Justice?

Politics and its Discontents - jeu, 07/28/2016 - 08:39
Toronto police officer James Forcillo, who gunned down Sammy Yatim three years ago, has been given six years for his despicable act. Is it justice? I don't know.

Recommend this Post

Thursday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - jeu, 07/28/2016 - 08:12
This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Branko Milanovic argues that there's plenty of reason to be concerned about inequality even if one puts aside a utilitarian comparison of individual needs and benefits:
(I)nequality of opportunity affects negatively economic growth (so we now have a negative effect going from my third ground back to the first) which makes inequality of opportunity abhorrent on two grounds: (1) it negates fundamental human equality, and (2) it lowers the pace of material improvements for society.

My argument, if I need to reiterate it, is: you can reject welfarism, hold that inter-personal comparison of utility is impossible, and still feel very strongly that economic outcomes should be made more equal—that inequality should be limited so that it does not strongly affect opportunities, so that it does not slow growth and so that it does not undermine democracy. Isn’t that enough? - Brad Delong takes note of Barry Eichelgreen's timeline of the development of inequality over the past three centuries. Marvin Shaffer discusses British Columbia's inequitable growth favouring those who already have the most, while Josh Hoxie notes that the U.S.' generation of young adults is bearing the brunt of grossly unequal distributions of income and wealth. Emma Burney points out the OECD's latest report (PDF) on how tax policy can rein in inequality. And John Hood comments on the UK's seeming consensus on the need to address inequality - though it remains to be seen how (if at all) that will be translated into meaningful policy choices.

- George Hoberg rightly argues that the federal government needs to step up and develop an effective national climate change policy due to the wholly insufficient results of trying to push the issue down to the provinces. But Alex Emmons notes that the oil industry's lobbying at the Republican National Convention represents just one more example of the large amount of money being burned in an effort to stall progress wherever possible. 

- Megan Sandel and Laurel Blatchford discuss the connection between investment in adequate housing and a reduction in health care expenses. And Stephanie Dickrell comments on the massive individual and social costs of child homelessness.

- Finally, Michael Geist studies the Trans-Pacific Partnership's intellectual property rules, and find that they'd impose new and gratuitous burdens and costs on the public in the name of lining corporate pockets.

New column day

accidentaldeliberations - jeu, 07/28/2016 - 07:49
Here (via PressReader), on how the North Saskatchewan River oil spill may not lead directly to a needed reevaluation of the risks of pipelines - but a public expectation that we'll shift away from dirty energy may be more significant in the long run.

For further reading...
- I've previously posted about Brad Wall's response to the spill here. John Klein and David Climenhaga offer their own justified criticism of Wall's choice to hide behind oil-industry spin rather than recognizing the social and environmental damage caused by the spill.
- The Leader-Post reports that North Battleford and Prince Albert aren't interested in letting Wall hold photo ops to savd his own skin now. Betty Ann Adam notes that affected First Nations are being kept out of the loop.
- Carrie Tait examines the public impact of contaminated drinking water sources. And Jesse McLaren notes that there's been a much faster move to clamp down on individual water users than to ensure any accountability for Husky as the source of the spill.
- CBC follows up on Emily Eaton's observation that spills from Saskatchewan pipelines are a regular occurrence.
- Jordon Cooper highlights the Sask Party's tendencies toward corporate self-regulation, while Justin Fisher discusses the urgent need for far more effective monitoring of hazardous industries. And Elizabeth McSheffrey reports that the province's neglect has resulted in the federal government having to step in and investigate the spill.
- Finally, Abacus Data's poll on how Canadians see our own future is here - with people expecting that in the next two decades we'll see storage of solar and wind energy (86%), a majority of vehicles being electric (66%), and sharp declines in carbon emissions from Canada (59%) and the world (51%).

Another Religious Fanatic Prepares to Join The Con Leadership race

Montreal Simon - jeu, 07/28/2016 - 06:50

Yesterday I told you how ever since Jason Kenney announced he was flying off to Alberta to fight the godless commies, the Con's religious base has has been in a frigging frenzy.

Demanding that another religious fanatic be summoned to lead the Harper Party.

And it seems that their prayers are being answered. The former speaker Andrew Scheer is preparing to answer the call.

And here comes another one crawling out of the woodwork.

Read more »

Inside The Tent

Northern Reflections - jeu, 07/28/2016 - 05:15

Bernie Sanders' revolution has had a profound effect on the Democratic Party.  Once upon a time, that party didn't cower to Wall Street. Linda McQuaig writes:

In the midst of the 1930s Depression, Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt showed backbone, championing unions, bringing in universal pensions, taxing the rich and restraining Wall Street with the Glass-Steagall Act. Addressing a wildly cheering crowd at Madison Square Gardens in 1936, Roosevelt vowed to defy the enraged bankers and financial tycoons lined up against him. “They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred!”
Roosevelt’s New Deal ushered in a postwar era in which workers made impressive economic gains as a rising middle class while the wealthy elite lost ground.
But, beginning in the 1970's, the party lost its nerve:
Indeed, the Democratic Party had soon virtually abandoned working people, realigning itself with Wall Street and voting with Republicans for financial deregulation and dramatically lower taxes on the rich.All this only encouraged the financial elite to become more grasping and assertive. When President Obama took the minimal step of trying to close a notorious tax loophole favouring hedge fund managers, Wall Street billionaire Stephen Schwarzman. “It’s war,” he declared. “It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”
Republicans sided with Schwarzman and other angry billionaires. Even though the Democrats initially had control of the White House and both houses of Congress, they capitulated, thereby maintaining a tax loophole that delivers billions of dollars in tax savings to some of the least needy people on the planet.
Not content to protect their own tax breaks, the Wall Street barons, including American Express CEO Harvey Golub, went on the offensive, demanding an end to tax breaks that helped low-income Americans — a group dubbed “lucky duckies” by the Wall Street Journal for their low-tax status.
And then came Bernie -- who calls himself a socialist, but who really is a New Dealer. He and his folks are not going away:
The youthful Sanders crowd, which threatened to derail the convention on opening day, isn’t likely to go away. It’s determined to shape the Democratic Party of the future, believing that the only way to respond to the class war being waged by an aggressive billionaire class is with backbone — a body part that’s been noticeably missing from Democrats in recent decades.
Hillary owes Bernie big time. If she's wise, she'll give him a prominent position in her administration. As LBJ once said of J. Edgar Hoover, it's better to have him "inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in."

The Day Donald Trump Declared War On His Own Country

Montreal Simon - jeu, 07/28/2016 - 04:32

Once upon a time Donald Trump's passionate bromance with Vladimir Putin had its comic qualities.

But not any longer. Not after this.

And what Trump said yesterday was not only dangerous and crazy.
Read more »

we have a new contract

we move to canada - mer, 07/27/2016 - 15:22

Our ratification vote meeting was an experience we will never forget. The line to sign in snaked all around the building; it took more than an hour for everyone to sign in. I believe it was the largest turnout we’ve ever had, for anything.

At the top of the meeting, the bargaining team stood in the front of the auditorium. Before we could say anything, our members burst out into applause, standing and clapping and cheering — for a long time. I was overwhelmed: the member who took this photo caught my tears. We applauded our members back, and we all stood clapping and cheering and shouting. I have no words to describe how I proud I was — of all of us.

While we walked our members through a presentation about the new contract, there was spontaneous cheering and applause throughout.

And then the vote: 99% voted to ratify. 99%!

Our goals

We went into bargaining with four principal goals:
- no concessions,
- living wage for our Pages,
- some improvement for part-time workers, and
- the largest increase possible for all.

We achieved every one of these goals.

Our strategy

We had one central strategy: we would not accept gains for one group at the expense of another. Pages, part-time, and full-time must all gain. We all know that employers try to divide us, to play groups against each other. Our union has fallen into that trap before. This time, we vowed that would not happen.

Employers are fond of talking about “the pie” — the size of the budget alloted to the bargaining unit, which is then divided throughout your contract.

So if, for example, you give Pages a fair piece of this pie, then you can’t also get a fair wage increase for full-time. If you want to keep your premium for Sunday work, then you can’t also get something else. And so on.

The bargaining team vowed to reject this way of thinking. Our shorthand for this was: Reject the Pie. Here’s a meme that I used as my profile pic for a long time.

A few details about our goals and our contract


Naturally the Employer was after whatever it could get out of our contract. The list of potential concessions is so long, it’s practically our entire contract.

So many locals had been burned on recent contracts, that CUPE has adopted a national strategy: no-concession bargaining. I find it strange that such a thing even needs to be said. But from our earliest days of bargaining training, we agreed: no concessions.

We did give the Employer two things that they wanted that some of our members may see as as loss. However, in both instances, we were able to win additional language that made these points a benefit for both sides.

Living wage for library pages

Our Pages are our largest classification — 28% of our membership — and they were earning only pennies over minimum wage. We went into bargaining insisting that they earn $15/hour, at once. And we were determined to do it without compromising anyone else’s deal.

The Employer did recognize the need to give the Pages a significant raise. With a new mayor crowing about poverty reduction, they knew they had no choice. But the Employer’s proposals for the Pages were all too little, took too long, and came at the expense of other members. Time after time we rejected their proposals for step increases, including their supposed best offer which brought the Pages to $14/hour in 2018.

Our Pages now earn $15.00/hour. New hires will start at $14, and move to $15 after their probationary period (390 hours). This is the achievement I am most proud of.

I’m told 1989 is the first CUPE local to bring members from minimum wage to $15/hour in one leap.

Improvements for part-timers

We did not go nearly as far as we wanted on the part-time improvements. Their work life is still precarious and their contract still grossly inadequate. But had we accepted the Employer’s offer in late June, it would have degraded even further.

As a result of our strike, the Employer dropped its demands for the punitive language — language that we promised our part-timers we would never agree to.

And we did win two significant improvements that will have a very positive impact on the lives of our part-timers. I believe we will be able to go further for part-timers in our next round of bargaining.

Wage increases

The Employer moved off its (supposed) best offer, and agreed to our (reduced) wage increase proposal. We did not win as much as we deserve — nor as much as library managers and city executives get. But we did get more than the Employer’s best offer — and more than they said they could afford.

What we gave up

We told our members that we wouldn’t win everything, that no strike wins absolutely everything. The bargaining team struggled for a long time over where to give.

We looked at the possibilities from every angle, factoring in every variable. What would benefit the most members? What would hurt members the least? And now, of course, there was another factor. Did we want to ask our members to stay out even longer? Would another week or more of striking produce a better deal, or would there be diminishing returns? We had an opportunity to end our strike while members’ morale was still high. Would more sacrifice bring more gains, or only more hardship?

We discussed and debated for a long time. Eventually, we found consensus. We made what we feel is a relatively small sacrifice in other to achieve all these other goals.

And so much more

These are very practical, tangible gains that we made as a direct result of our strike. Yet it’s only part of the story. I will write more about the intangible gains — how the strike changed us, both collectively and individually. Stay tuned.

The Con Leadership Race and the Religious Fanatics

Montreal Simon - mer, 07/27/2016 - 06:34

When I wrote a post about the sad state of the Harper Party's leadership race the other day, and ran a group photo of the sorry losers that contest has so far attracted.

I forgot to say that with the departure of Jason Kenney, there will be at least one more candidate.

The candidate of the Con's rabid religious base.

Read more »


Subscribe to agrégateur