Agrégateur de flux

Khorasan Group : First there was Mothra ...

Creekside - il y a 1 heure 39 min

Both Syria and Iraq have requested the US not to bomb the shit out of them over ISIS, a group posing no imminent threat to the US, so pretty much the only way Nobel Peace Prize President BamBam could justify doing so would be on the grounds of US self-defence and 3...2...1... voilà ... 

BamBam : “Once again, it must be clear to anyone who would plot against America and try to do Americans harm that we will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people.”
And just like that ISIS is sidelined by the newest biggest worstest previously unknown group in the history of the world EVAH - Khorasanus Rex!
However, the following day, after the story had worked its magical justification for bombing Syria ...

Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain at The Intercept : THE FAKE TERROR THREAT USED TO JUSTIFY BOMBING SYRIA

Democracy Now interview with Murtaza Hussain : How the U.S. Concocted a Terror Threat to Justify Syria Strikes, and the Corporate Media Went Along

Chris Hedges : Becoming Hezbollah's Air Force
"In endless war it does not matter whom we fight. Endless war is not about winning battles or promoting a cause. It is an end in itself. In George Orwell’s novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” Oceania is at war with Eurasia and allied with Eastasia. The alliance then suddenly is reversed. Eurasia becomes an ally of Oceania and Eastasia is the enemy. The point is not who is being fought. The point is maintaining a state of fear and the mass mobilization of the public. War and national security are used to justify the surrender of citizenship, the crushing of dissent and expanding the powers of the state. The point is war itself. And if the American state, once a sworn enemy of Hezbollah, gives air cover to Hezbollah fighters in Syria, the goals of endless war remain gloriously untouched."h/t Waterbaby for Intercept link      h/t Intercept for NBC tweets.

The Disgraceful Sham Apology of Sun News and Ezra Levant

Montreal Simon - il y a 2 heures 41 min

Well it wasn't much of an apology. 

The Sun News network has apologized to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and declared that an “offensive” rant against his parents’ morality — which included a description of Pierre Trudeau as a “slut” — should have never made it to air.

Ezra Levant wasn't man enough to deliver it himself.

So instead it was scrolled on the screen like a public health warning...

But it did tell us all we need to know about Sun News.
Read more »

Some of the Things I learned at Home.

Sister Sages Musings - lun, 09/29/2014 - 23:16

When I was a child, I used to love to make my dad’s lunch. He was a logger. I would line his lunchbox with a paper towel and write a message on it. “I love you”, “have a great day”. I would make him a couple of sandwiches, wrapped neatly in wax paper. His . . . → Read More: Some of the Things I learned at Home.

When Is An Apology Not Really An Apology?

Politics and its Discontents - lun, 09/29/2014 - 18:00
When it is delivered, not by the offending party, but rather by an unseen narrator instead.

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Dear Sun News,

A Creative Revolution - lun, 09/29/2014 - 14:22


You have to know what a joke you really are?

Far be it from me, a lowly consumer of all kinds of news,  to tell you how wrong you are- on just about everything. (And, apparently fake. )

But lets concentrate on the current Sun News poster child for wrong, Ezra Levant. Same dude who ran his own creation, the Western Standard into the dumper. Currently the WS publishes online only,  every two weeks. It has also lost the whole conservative schtick, and looks to be more Libertarian. (contrarian) 

But back to the guy who was censured for blatant racism (even on your network) and has been caught just being a complete waste of skin on oh so many occasions. His defense of racism in the name of "free speech" has never failed to amuse or elicit eyerolling from all of us in the Batcave.

Anyone recall what EL said in from of a US committee on civil liberties? You will find it here, careful wading in however, as no detergent will get all that hypocrisy tinged bullshit out of your clothes. 

How about making fun of a man who has just passed, while so many were in a state of shock and grief? And then on the anniversary of Layton's death, Ezra and that other nitwit Michael Coren, just sat and behaved like a couple beer guzzling hyenas. Shameful stuff.


How about the "threats" against that other paragon of Conservative nastiness, Ann Coulter? 

Ezra was invited last year to speak in a small community in BC, and that was cancelled. The organization that did the invitin' is also on life support and everyone I have spoken to about it was outraged. One of the organizations volunteers were even heard distancing themselves from the "Provacatalks" and their own magazine in a phone conversation I had with her. Heh. Sleeping with idiots, will give you a bad case of stoopid. And unsold memberships apparently.  

Ethical Oil. Oh yes. How to spin one of the biggest disaters on the planet to make it sound good. Some bought it. Most know it for what it is. 

The latest spittle filled rant against Justin Trudeau where Ezra unloaded his Trudeau derangement syndrome was just another day for you, wasn't it? Ho hum. 

Ezra thinks he is being "provocative". Other people just think he is an asshat. For being an asshat's sake. 

It is more about attention isn't it? I mean, Sun News is not taken seriously by anyone who actually follows politics and understands them. Sun News is sort of like the class clown, but a mean stupid one. There is no cleverness or edginess.  

But  at Sun News, you do appeal to the lowest common denominator.

And this, is the part that truly bothers me. You attract some souls who find it easier to hate and believe the lies than to think for  themselves after looking at things from different angles. You legitimize hate. You dilute what is truly important for Canadians with whatever you decide is the "outrage" of the day. Your "hosts" have nothing but complete contempt for anyone who is struggling in this economy and you are on your knees performing service to the rich and the powerful. 

And that I guess is the whole drive.

One only has to look at the comments sections on your online "articles" to know that it is far worse than the youtube comment sections. That, is not an easy feat. Virtual crayon scrawled screeds against morals and decency are just an average day at Sun News. And TRUDEAU!

Why do Sun News and Quebecor hate Canada- and Canadians so much? So much that you want to mold us into a subsidiary of the United states? 

Money. Greed, and a complete disregard for anything that resembles truth. And no matter what you say about the "free market"? There you are, corporate welfare bums with your hat out anyway. 

I wish all politicians and advertisers would stop cavorting with Sun News. It is hurting us all in so many ways. We have no need for FOX news, and I always wish that the rest of the media would stop and use the gifts they are given to actually work for the betterment of us all. 

PS. Fox News fans are the least informed about news in the US. The Daily show and Colbert do a better job. 



Heather Mallick Lowers the Boom

The Disaffected Lib - lun, 09/29/2014 - 12:04
Is this blunt enough for you?

The planet is headed for a climate catastrophe, and soon. Make that now. Your reaction will be either a quick calculation as to whether you’ll be able to die in time to skip the whole thing, or an appalled realization that your children are in for pain and your grandchildren for a terrible fate.

Heather Mallick has an enormous talent for getting to the point.  She brings that talent to bear as she weighs in on Naomi Klein's "This Changes Everything."

Meticulously researched and briskly rational in tone, her just-published book is one of the basic texts of the modern era, by which I mean since the Scotsman James Watt invented the coal-fired steam engine in 1776. Hasn’t perdition come quickly on its wee cloven hooves?

Until then power came from water wheels. With Watt’s device, owners could build factories near the urban poor, hire cheaply, cut prices and stabilize production that used to depend on the whims of weather. Ironically it’s weather that will finish us off now. Capitalism is magical until it isn’t. Skip ahead 240 years and here we are, basically doomed by its profit formula.

[Klein's book] portrays fossil fuel corporations as victims of their own nature. Programmed like computers, they could not reverse themselves even if they wished to. Only governments can do it. Even then, international free-trade agreements allow corporations to sue nations to stop this, the very reason smart Germany has just objected to Canada’s new European trade deal. Stephen Harper knuckled under to corporations but the Germans are smarter than that.

This magnificent textbook has already been attacked by people who didn’t read it, apparently for the high school reason that Klein is too famous, or that the book is too hard on the West. But science has spoken. There are 2,795 gigatons (a gigaton is 1 billion metric tons) of fossil fuel reserves already claimed by industry that will be extracted and burned. “We know how much more carbon can be burned between now and 2050 and still leave us a solid chance (roughly 80 per cent) of keeping warming below 2 degrees Celsius,” writes Klein. “That amount is 565 gigatons.”
That’s 2,795 vs. 565, not even faintly close, and humans haven’t agreed even in principle to slow down. “2 degrees now looks like a utopian dream,” Klein writes, and 4 degrees is reliably said to be “incompatible with any reasonable characterization of an organized, equitable and civilized global community,” a.k.a. life as we sort of know it. Many experts say we’ll go far beyond 4 degrees.

There's the core dilemma.  Survival of our civilization and some measure of decent life for our grandchildren hinges on leaving 80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground, unburned.  You begin filling that 80% quota, with the filthiest, highest-carbon fossil fuels - coal and bitumen for starters.  You shut down Athabasca just as you shut down our asbestos mines and production of CFC aerosols.  You do it because you must because people in their masses will suffer and die if you don't.  You do it because you have no right to condemn your grandchildren to a horrible life for the sake of dubious profits today.

Listen Up. Does This Sound Familiar?

The Disaffected Lib - lun, 09/29/2014 - 11:47

It seems to be an unavoidable part of neoliberalism - the sense of being ruled, not governed by consent.  It's the degradation of democracy, the detachment of the rulers from the ruled that is paralleled by the compression of the political spectrum so that one party becomes largely indistinguishable from the others, all of them in service to the corporate state.

The good news and the bad news is that this modern political caste, grey suits stuffed with wet cardboard, inevitably spawns populist movements but they can either be more democratic or more authoritarian.  As we saw in the 20th century, populism can easily go either way and sometimes with catastrophic consequences.

Richard Seymore describes this phenomenon in play in Westminster where, he contends, the political caste is now seen as an occupying power.  See for yourself if his remarks don't sound familiar.  He's painting a picture of what could lie in store for Canada.

Both the SNP and Ukip have been banging their respective drums for years – Ukip wanting to rescue the British state from the EU and metropolitan pinko elites, the SNP wishing to inter it – but their current traction is unprecedented. Why should it suddenly be that each finds an enthusiastic audience? Why is it that Westminster increasingly appears to significant groups of voters, to not be the “cradle of democracy” as it has sometimes been vaingloriously styled, but as an occupying power? And why is this impasse of representative democracy registering as a crisis of Britain?

...George Monbiot wrote, at the zenith of New Labourism, that Britain had become a “captive state”. It was a society where corporations penetrated the epicentre of government, where politicians of all major parties converged on a single model of statecraft – neoliberalism – and where more and more democratic functions were outsourced to quangos and businesses. This was true enough, and its effects were registered in the ensuing sharp drop in electoral turnout and party membership – the traditional indices of popular political participation. But what we are seeing now may be a deep institutional crisis akin to the collapse of the postwar compromise in the 1970s.

The fact that this is expressed in a national form is neither accidental nor a distraction. Britain has been heading toward a crisis for years. As long as it was a multinational state at the heart of a global empire – one in which Scotland was an enthusiastic participant – Britain had a purpose. And in the postwar era, Westminster was able to deliver certain social reforms on this basis. The memory of these goods is what Gordon Brown invoked when he cautioned against the loss of the British welfare state if Scotland chose independence.

But there are generations of people who have no memory of either empire or postwar social democracy. It is they, overwhelmingly, who absconded to the yes camp; their elders who remained firmly no. This is why the demand for the reterritorialisation of political authority is gaining popular traction. Whether it is devolution in Scotland and Wales, demands for local representation in Manchester and Yorkshire, or the renewed calls for English votes for English laws, there is a recognition on all sides that the centralised power of Westminster is itself part of the democratic deadlock. It is coterminous with a spatial distribution of wealth and power, which is sometimes too simply called “the north-south divide”. As Danny Dorling argues, this divide is getting worse in austerity Britain. Westminster’s distance from ordinary people is physical, social and cultural as well as political, and the most effective populist responses tap into this fact.

Seymour sees in the decline of British democracy the abandonment by the Left of its historical role in driving political policy.  The once centre-left Labour Party was neutered under Tony Blair, shifted well to the right, Blairified if you will.  In Canada we have seen the Liberals part company with their traditional centre-left partners while the NDP, under Layton and Mulcair, shamelessly moved to centrism leaving the left flank of our political spectrum abandoned, empty.  Today, if you're not centre-right, there's really not much for you and so our politics has become estranged from our people.  We have been surrendered to the right.

The English left has no coherent response. Whereas most of the Scottish left found a renewed purpose in the Radical Independence Campaign, English nationalism has only benefited the right. As such, only in localised situations, where a popular revolt has long been brewing against cartel politics – Tower Hamlets or Bradford, for instance – has the left made a breakthrough.

By contrast, the right is filled with energy. Farage speaks of a new constitutional settlement, and the Tories have long appropriated the language of local democracy. This is because they believe local parliaments can be made to compete with one another, thus engendering a race to the bottom over taxes and regulations. Such might have been the hope entertained for an independent Scotland, if it weren’t for the “far left” and “greenies” that Rupert Murdoch warned were empowered by the campaign.

This is the problem. If the right leads the way in reorganising the British state, then the populist energies harnessed to that purpose will only be rallied behind a new elite – one still addressed at Westminster.

I think the lesson is clear.  We need to rehabilitate the left in Canada within the NDP but also as a viable element of the Liberal Party.  If we don't, our very democracy is at risk.

Just Under 8 Inches an Hour

The Disaffected Lib - lun, 09/29/2014 - 10:50
If you were looking at something moving at 8 inches an hour, you would notice that wouldn't you? 

20 cm or just about 8 inches per hour is the pace at which wildlife - fauna and flora - is migrating away from the equator due to climate change.  That's almost 5 metres a day.  That's roughly 1.8 kilometres a year or more than 70-kilometres since the migration is believed to have started 40-years ago.

Plant life tends to migrate slowly but animal life, that's another story altogether.  The denizen of the Sea of Cortez, the Humboldt squid, seemed to migrate from the waters of Baja to the beaches of Vancouver Island quite rapidly, possibly within a year.  Sardines from California also seem to have migrated to our waters very quickly with their predators, white-sided dolphins, and their predators, transient orcas, in hot pursuit.   Even the return of large numbers of Humpback whales to our waters may reflect the migration of the whales' prey.  Something must have seemed inviting.

Species have moved towards the poles (further north in the northern hemisphere, to locations where conditions are cooler) at three times the rate previously accepted in the scientific literature, and they have moved to cooler, higher altitudes at twice the rate previously realised.

Analysing data for over 2000 responses by animal and plant species, the research team estimated that, on average, species have moved to higher elevations at 12.2 metres per decade and, more dramatically, to higher latitudes at 17.6 kilometres per decade.

For Alpine species, plants and animals, this migration can be a death sentence.  While climate change may compel them to migrate ever higher, they can go only so far before they reach an altitude at which they can no longer survive.  When they reach that line, they die.

Simply moving to higher latitudes can also be difficult due to both natural and man-made obstacles to migration.  America's fortification of its border with Mexico can present an insurmountable blockage to anything that can't fly over the fence.  Some creatures can't cross waterways, others are unable to cross deserts. 

First author Dr I-Ching Chen, previously a PhD student at York and now a researcher at the Academia Sinica in Taiwan, said: “This research shows that it is global warming that is causing species to move towards the poles and to higher elevations. We have for the first time shown that the amount by which the distributions of species have changed is correlated with the amount the climate has changed in that region.”

Co-author Dr Ralf Ohlemüller, from Durham University, said: “We were able to calculate how far species might have been expected to move so that the temperatures they experience today are the same as the ones they used to experience, before global warming kicked in.  Remarkably, species have on average moved towards the poles as rapidly as expected.”

...previous studies suggest that climate change represents a serious extinction risk to at least 10 per cent of the world’s species. Professor Thomas says: “Realisation of how fast species are moving because of climate change indicates that many species may indeed be heading rapidly towards extinction, where climatic conditions are deteriorating."


Neoliberalism Has Made Us What We Are Today - And That Isn't Pretty

The Disaffected Lib - lun, 09/29/2014 - 09:57

Neoliberalism is a social, political and economic model best suited to those with psychopathic personality traits.

That, in any case, is the conclusion of Paul Verhaeghe, who dissects neoliberalism and what it has done to us in The Guardian.

"Thirty years of neoliberalism, free-market forces and privatisation have taken their toll, as relentless pressure to achieve has become normative."

"..the financial crisis illustrated at a macro-social level (for example, in the conflicts between eurozone countries) what a neoliberal meritocracy does to people. Solidarity becomes an expensive luxury and makes way for temporary alliances, the main preoccupation always being to extract more profit from the situation than your competition. Social ties with colleagues weaken, as does emotional commitment to the enterprise or organisation.

"Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace. This is a typical symptom of the impotent venting their frustration on the weak – in psychology it’s known as displaced aggression. There is a buried sense of fear, ranging from performance anxiety to a broader social fear of the threatening other."

The bullying reference struck me because it is precisely what I hear mid-level public servants complain has spread through their work place.  Performance anxiety, job insecurity, the sense of fellow workers being threatening.  That seems to have taken hold since the arrival of the Harper regime.

"...Our society constantly proclaims that anyone can make it if they just try hard enough, all the while reinforcing privilege and putting increasing pressure on its overstretched and exhausted citizens. An increasing number of people fail, feeling humiliated, guilty and ashamed. We are forever told that we are freer to choose the course of our lives than ever before, but the freedom to choose outside the success narrative is limited. Furthermore, those who fail are deemed to be losers or scroungers, taking advantage of our social security system."

A good measure of Social Darwinism has been inculcated in us.  Even those most vulnerable to it seem to embrace it.  It's powerfully corrosive of social cohesion, an attribute that we, as a people, will need to find our way through the travails that await us this century.  "Every man for himself" becomes a mantra for social ruin.

"A neoliberal meritocracy would have us believe that success depends on individual effort and talents, meaning responsibility lies entirely with the individual and authorities should give people as much freedom as possible to achieve this goal. For those who believe in the fairytale of unrestricted choice, self-government and self-management are the pre-eminent political messages, especially if they appear to promise freedom. Along with the idea of the perfectible individual, the freedom we perceive ourselves as having in the west is the greatest untruth of this day and age.

"The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman neatly summarised the paradox of our era as: “Never have we been so free. Never have we felt so powerless.” We are indeed freer than before, in the sense that we can criticise religion, take advantage of the new laissez-faire attitude to sex and support any political movement we like. We can do all these things because they no longer have any significance – freedom of this kind is prompted by indifference. Yet, on the other hand, our daily lives have become a constant battle against a bureaucracy that would make Kafka weak at the knees. There are regulations about everything, from the salt content of bread to urban poultry-keeping."

Yes, indifference, disengagement, disaffection are the usual by-products of today's neoliberalism.  There are those, such as our prime minister, who have learned to exploit this.  The fewer citizens who turn out at the polls the better for Stephen Harper.  He needs merely appeal to the fears, resentments and bigotry of a small segment of the voting public, barely 20% of eligible voters, to achieve a majority provided enough other eligible voters can be kept away from the ballot box. 

"...There are constant laments about the so-called loss of norms and values in our culture. Yet our norms and values make up an integral and essential part of our identity. So they cannot be lost, only changed. And that is precisely what has happened: a changed economy reflects changed ethics and brings about changed identity. The current economic system is bringing out the worst in us."

This very economic system that brings out the worst in us is still accommodated by our political classes - all of them.  There's a reason there is not one federal leader today - Conservative, Liberal or New Democrat - speaking out against the scourge of neoliberalism, much less offering the public a "New Deal."  Mulcair, trying to stay ahead of the shadow of Horwath, is claiming to have turned Left but it's an unconvincing performance. 

So what are we to do?  A vote for Harper or Trudeau or Mulcair is still a vote for the continuation of neoliberalism at the expense of social democracy.  It is a vote for social and economic feudalism, the relentless advance of increasingly illiberal democracy. 

There's a study coming out of Princeton this fall that addresses the death of democracy in the United States and the ascent of plutocracy and the corporate state.  We need to pay close attention to those findings because the same process is already well underway here in Canada.  If we don't defend democracy it is at risk of remaining in name only.

A Clear And Present Danger?

Politics and its Discontents - lun, 09/29/2014 - 09:24
Only for some, I'm happy to report.

Recommend this Post

Overrated insect parables

Dawg's Blawg - lun, 09/29/2014 - 08:19
What would happen in a post-scarcity, fully-automated society? I’ve posted previously on this subject. Now neoliberal economist Brad DeLong makes a contribution on the subject in response to tycoon and venture capitalist Peter Thiel. You see, Thiel believes in... Mandos

Monday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - lun, 09/29/2014 - 07:49
Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Aaron Wherry reviews what the last week has told us about the functioning (or absence thereof) of our House of Commons - and points out that the most important problem is one which hasn't yet surfaced in headlines or memes:
(T)he most important sentence delivered last week about the state of our Parliament might’ve been found not on any screen, speaker or widely read page, but on page four of the Parliamentary Budget Office’s quarterly expenditure review: “The Government has refused to release data that is necessary for the PBO to determine whether the recent spending cuts are sustainable.”

That much didn’t inspire even a single question last week (though there was one question about a different refusal to provide the PBO with information). Maybe because this is such old news. But minding the collection and expenditure of public funds is arguably the primary reason we have a Parliament: the idea from which our Parliament began to grow in the 13th century. That we have a profound problem in this regard is hardly news. But to dismiss that concern is merely to dismiss 700 years of progress. - And lest there's any doubt, the Cons are once again taking a stand against their ever having to answer for anything - this time, by opposing the NDP's simple motion to require the government to provide merely relevant answers in question period.

- Meanwhile, Michael Harris notes that recent days have also offered a continuation of some familiar and dangerous patterns when it comes to the Harper Cons' foreign policy choices:
The prime minister long ago used up any “benefit of the doubt” account he might once have had on foreign affairs. His analysis a decade ago would have had Canada front and centre in the last Iraq debacle — which anyone who takes a second to think about it knows set the stage for this latest ISIS fiasco.

The old thesis is back. One can bomb one’s way to peace in the Middle East without telling the folks back home what’s going on. You know, like Viet Nam. Only undemocratic war mongers believe that. And for that matter, only war mongers celebrate the beginning of the First World War, the way Harper did.
Harper has done this much for the country. He has shown us that even in an age as shallow as this one, marketing has it limits. Harper’s UN speech was in the same category as the contest to name his new cat. If he thinks that talking peace and motherhood will allow him to send Canadians to fight and die in Iraq without debate, if he thinks he can foist weeping losers on the public in important positions, if he thinks he can replace inconvenient facts with made-up versions, he has forgotten it is no longer 2006. - And Mark Kennedy reports that truth and reconciliation aren't anywhere on Harper's agenda at home either - as he's refusing to meet with the chair of the commission he himself appointed to examine Canada's shameful legacy of residential schools.

- Finally, Tom Sullivan discusses how P3s are failing to live up to their promise of a free lunch around the developed world. And Jim Holmes notes that a combination of vanishing funding, false assumptions and broken promises is turning Regina's wastewater P3 into a bad deal as well.

On choosing sides

accidentaldeliberations - lun, 09/29/2014 - 07:03
Shorter L. Ian MacDonald:
Anybody doubting whether it's worth going to war in Iraq based on minimal information and questionable reasoning had best take a cold, hard look at the dangers of being on the wrong side of history. But of course, anybody demanding a war in in Iraq based on minimal information and questionable reasoning can count on the full and indefinite support of Very Serious People around the globe, no matter how appallingly wrong the decision proves to be.

The Canadian Rodney Dangerfield

Northern Reflections - lun, 09/29/2014 - 06:28

Last week was not a good week for Stephen Harper. Certainly, Paul Calandra's performance in the House did not cover his boss in glory. But, Michael Harris writes, Stephen Harper's performance at the UN -- in front of an almost empty chamber -- gained him no praise or respect:

Harper has got to realize that you can’t score points talking up peace and maternal health. Everyone in the world knows he is itching to get deeper into the war in Iraq to bolster his international tough guy cred.

You can’t win applause at the UN when you have consistently made clear that the will of the majority of member states means nothing to you. The world’s top diplomats are beyond being taken in by blue sweaters, Beatle songs, and phoney speeches. Day in the Life of videos, cat photographs, and patriotic selfies now work only with dear friends and relatives.
Harper has as much respect for the UN as Calandra has for the House. And the international community has returned the disrespect:

The prime minister long ago used up any “benefit of the doubt” account he might once have had on foreign affairs. His analysis a decade ago would have had Canada front and centre in the last Iraq debacle — which anyone who takes a second to think about it knows set the stage for this latest ISIS fiasco.

The old thesis is back. One can bomb one’s way to peace in the Middle East without telling the folks back home what’s going on. You know, like Viet Nam. Only undemocratic war mongers believe that. And for that matter, only war mongers celebrate the beginning of the First World War, the way Harper did.
 Back home, the natives are getting restless:

Maybe it was published rumblings on Bourque Newswatch of Harper’s imminent exit from politics, a story based on anonymous sources in the Conservative Party of Canada from across Canada. While some might want to dismiss Bourque, it was an earlier series of stories on the same site correctly reported the looming corruption scandal at SNC-Lavalin.
Everyone -- at home and on the international stage -- is tired of Stephen Harper. The prime minister is now the Canadian version of Rodney Dangerfield.

A Possible Soution To Health Canada's Willful Impotence

Politics and its Discontents - lun, 09/29/2014 - 06:05

Yesterday I wrote about the fact that Health Canada has 'convinced' (not ordered) Apotex to stop importing drugs from one of its suspect plants in Bangalore, India. The agency's (and Health Minister Rona Ambrose's) ongoing timid relationship with pharmaceuticals at the expense of our health and safety suggests stronger measures are needed

Writing in The Star, Amir Attaran thinks he might have a solution to this sorry state of affairs. The professor in the Faculty of Law and faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa asks,
should we reduce, or nearly abolish, Health Canada’s drug regulatory functions? Could we be safer by trusting in the decisions of larger, better-funded, foreign drug regulators instead of little lame Health Canada?He looks to Europe for a model:
The 28 countries of the European Union, many of them quite small, long ago decided that it is expensive, inefficient and sometimes dangerously ineffective for each country to have its own drug regulator. Nowadays, most of them have delegated large parts of their drug regulatory functions to an EU-wide organization, the European Medicines Agency.Attaran is not optimistic that Canada will likely follow suit with a similar co-operative venture:
Here, the Harper government’s asphyxiating control of government scientists and almost childish pride in Canadian sovereignty mean that Health Canada minimally co-operates with America’s FDA just next door. This is dumb: the FDA is more transparent, better resourced and scientifically better equipped than Health Canada will ever be.
He goes on to offer a picture of the FDA's ruthless effectiveness in interdicting suspect drugs:
Consider the case of Ranbaxy, a pharmaceutical company from India. Last year, the FDA successfully prosecuted Ranbaxy for manufacturing adulterated drugs and misleading it with false, fictitious and fraudulent drug testing data — crimes for which Ranbaxy paid $500 million (U.S.) in criminal and civil penalties.
Contrast that decisiveness with Health Canada's feckless dealings with the same company:
Even though former Ranbaxy executives say they are “confident there were problems” with drugs sold here, after the criminal conviction Health Canada refused to ban Ranbaxy’s factories, and instead negotiated with the company to voluntarily pull a few of its medicines off the market for testing; Health Canada won’t say which ones.
According to Attaran, the main reason for this gross disparity of response is not legal, but cultural,
namely the indolent, lapdog attitude of ministers like Ambrose and the public servants at Health Canada, who seem to lack any understanding of how governments should regulate.
Because they refuse to learn from the best practices of bodies like the FDA and the European Medicines Agency, he concludes that
we should in part abolish Health Canada and harmonize our drug regulation with those foreign agencies that are more competent than our own government.
While that might strike many as too drastic a solution, it is clear that major changes are needed if we are to be protected from corrupt and venal pharmaceutical companies that place their profits and their shareholders above the health and safety of Canadians.

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keith olbermann: derek jeter is not god. (a must-see!)

we move to canada - lun, 09/29/2014 - 05:30
Dog, I am a glad this baseball season is over. And not only because the Red Sox finished in last place.

Stephen Harper and the Umbrella Revolution

Montreal Simon - lun, 09/29/2014 - 02:46

It's an amazing sight, and an incredibly inspiring one. Tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators defying the authorities in Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong democracy protesters defied volleys of tear gas and police baton-charges to stand firm in the center of the global financial hub on Monday, one of the biggest political challenges for Beijing since the Tiananmen Square crackdown 25 years ago.

The so-called Umbrella Revolution...

But while I'm cheering the protesters on wildly, and praying for their safety at the same time.

You can be sure that Stephen Harper is shaking his umbrella at them, and cursing them loudly for threatening to rain on his parade.
Read more »

Did Brian Mulroney Order the Humiliation of Ezra Levant?

Montreal Simon - dim, 09/28/2014 - 21:21

Yes, according to Robert Fife:

Brian Mulroney called Liberals to say Sun Media will apologize tomorrow for offensive rant by @ezralevant vs @JustinTrudeau. #cdnpoli
— Robert Fife (@RobertFife) September 28, 2014
You know, the CTV reporter who first exposed the Senategate scandal.

And if it's true it couldn't be more delicious.

Or more humiliating for Levant.
Read more »

How Is Paulie's Campaign Going? Also, A Contest With Real Cash Prize

Anti-Racist Canada - dim, 09/28/2014 - 20:38
In one month, Paulie will go down in flames (again) after another election. Then again, winning the election isn't really why Paulie is running:

Yes, yes, we are indeed a cynical lot. But if Paulie can be considered to be good at anything, it is shamelessly promoting himself to his suckers.... er.... I mean donors. 

A recent publicity stunt certainly suggests the only thing he is serious about is convincing those who still follow him (and it seems to be a shrinking number here in Canada) that he stands an actual chance of winning and thus needs their financial backing. Here he is with the Canadian leader of the violent creativity movement Wes Smith:

Busy Weekend on Campaign Trail -- Mayor of Mississauga 
This was a busy weekend on the campaign trail with extensive literature distribution in many parts of Mississauga. Here we unveil my sharp election banner to inform motorists coming of the QEW gridlock into Port Credit that Paul Fromm is "the motorists' friend."
Hold on there sparky. Mayor of Mississauga? Might be getting a bit ahead of yourself.
I can't help observe two things. First, the traffic. Where is it? Really, it doesn't seem to be so bad.
But assuming traffic is as bad as Paulie claims it to be, we aren't sure someone touting himself as, "the motorist's friend" should be displaying a banner that would inevitably distract said motorists and perhaps result in an accident.
But really, we all knew this already.
The main purpose of this post is to allow our readers to participate in making fun of Paulie:

Oh yes. We certainly couldn't pass of this blank canvas.
As in 2010, we are offering a cash prize to the person who can create the funniest slogan for Pauie's banner. As I am not as affluent at the person who offered the prize the last time, I can only offer $50.00, but it is $50.00 you don't currently have so don't be picky.
Now, I am not as witty (or funny) as Nosferatu, but I did create a few examples to help stoke the creativity of our readers:Read more »

David Cameron's Women Problem

The Disaffected Lib - dim, 09/28/2014 - 11:14

Why is it always the dweebs?  Conservative P.M. David Cameron's Minister for Civil Society (and Dick Pics), Brooks Newmark, has resigned in disgrace.   The Belgravia resident, father of five, was caught in a tabloid, social media sting.  Newmark thought he was sending dick pics via twitter to an ardent admirer who was, in reality, a tabloid reporter.

Newmark has always been a vocal advocate of the Tory party boosting its appeal to women. He is a founder of the Tory campaign body, Women2Win, which works to help women become Tory candidates in the hope of increasing the representation of women in the Conservative party in parliament.
Newmark is co-chair of the group, and is often quoted responding to the party's problems with appealing to - and representing - women. He is also a figure Tory MPs often refer to when attempting to defend their party's attitude to women, ie. a male Tory MP who bangs the drum for women's representation. Now they will no longer be able to use Newmark for this, at least for a good while, and he will inevitably become less of an appealing face of Women2Win and solving the Conservatives' "women problem" in general.


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