Agrégateur de flux

Friday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - il y a 1 heure 30 min
Assorted content to end your week.

- Kate McInturff puts forward some big long-term goals which deserve to be discussed as we elect our next federal government. And Leah McLaren discusses how a lack of child care affects every Canadian:
The single most shocking thing to me about becoming a mother was the lack of affordable child care, both in Canada and in Britain (where I was living when my son was born). It was an issue I had heard responsible people around me banging on about for years, but one that had sort of floated above my comprehension, like the sound of the grown-ups talking in the animated Charlie Brown.
Like car insurance or taxes, I expected organizing child care to be a pain – one of those annoying but ultimately surmountable aspects of grown-up life. What I did not expect it to be was a financially crippling, life-paralyzing quagmire.
In Canada (as in Britain), I was shocked to find little or no access to affordable child care during my son’s first years of life. Like most families, we shouldered the heavy financial burden of full-time child care all on our own with no help from the government or extended family (everyone lives out of town). It was either that or one of us quit working. Not a pretty choice, or a realistic one for most parents, either....Child care is not a women’s issue. It’s not even a family issue. Like health care or education, it’s an all-of-us-in-it-together issue. And yet it’s also something many of us don’t think about until we are hard up against it, confronting the impossible life choices that materialize when you live in a society with a lack of affordable daycare – a society that sentimentalizes children but not the act of actually caring for them. - Lindsay Tedds discusses how the Cons' tax giveaways for resource exploration represent all that's wrong with public policy which serves only to enrich investors rather than serving the public interest. And David Dayen highlights how mortgage foreclosure fraud continues in the U.S. even after being publicly exposed.

- Derek Seidman notes that in addition to improving conditions in specific workplaces, the push for a $15 minimum wage is also serving as a rallying point for the labour movement as a whole. And Unifor highlights the importance of an improved Canada Pension Plan as another means of ensuring financial security regardless of one's immediate employer. 

- Finally, Terry Glavin follows up on Alan Kurdi's tragic story with some suggestions as to what can be done next - though it's worth noting that the convention he points to as a barrier to the Kurdis' effort to seek refuge does nothing to prevent a country from doing more than the bare minimum.  Ratna Omidvar, Joseph Yu and Kai Wong make the case to bring 1,000 refugees to the GTA alone. And Aaron Wherry takes a broader look at our options in dealing with refugees and other displaced persons, while Karl Nerenberg and Michael Harris are particularly pointed in criticizing the Cons' callousness.

Exactly How Does Facebook Define Community Standards?

Politics and its Discontents - il y a 2 heures 21 min
Living in a democratic society, of course, entails the promotion, encouragement and defense of a diversity of views. With that I obviously have no quarrel. But, as the saying goes, with that freedom comes responsibility. it is the second part of this equation that some people refuse to accept.

When, for example, does freedom of expression cross the line into the promotion of hatred? I have a specific reason for asking that question, which I shall get to in a moment.

I have had a Facebook account for over seven years now; the reason that I joined goes back to our first visit to Costa Rica in 2009, where we met a group of hospitality students staying at the resort and joined them for a day's excursion. All of us were taking a lot of pictures, and when I inquired how I could see theirs online when they got home, they told me to join FB, where they would be posting them. Thus my social media experience began.

Nowadays I use it primarily to share political stories, people's blog posts, etc., in the ongoing hope of helping my 'friends' become more politically literate. Perhaps presumptuous and largely futile, but I have always believed in fighting the good fight in as many ways as possible.

Because following subject is one I find profoundly distasteful, I thought long and hard before writing this post, as I have no desire to give any kind of publicity or wider exposure to a group of xenophobes and racists, yet I am interested in getting feedback from readers. Yesterday the following appeared in my timeline:

Accompanying this were a variety of comments, a few of which I am reproducing here. Some of it is pretty vile.

... you crack me up. Sure there are Muslims who work. There are exceptions to every race. Believe it or not I've met a chinaman who doesn't like rice and black man who prefers heavy metal to rap music and doesn't play basketball. But the stereotypes exist for a reason. The fact of the matter is these Muslim refugees ARE costing us money for them to be here. We don't want them here, as a tax payer I have the right to not want to waste it on them. I'd rather use it to build a new park or maybe feed our homeless and let them have housing instead of these pieces of shit taking it all while our people starve on the streets.

... We as in WE THE PEOPLE. And of course they are refugees? But the wars and problems the middle East have is all a product of their own choice to follow such an evil ideology. Christian founded countries are the ones that have a greater quality of life and now they wanna come and take what we have after they ruined their own country. And yeah I would rather have a park over a Muslim parasite mooching 1 cent off our tax dollars. I'm happy that little boy drowned. Maybe the money Canada saves from not having to pay for them will be used to re-pave a street instead? And in case you didn't noticed WCAI is worldwide as in Worldwide Coalition Against Islam. We are just one person.

Well fortunately for me I live in a free Democratic country that isn't run by evil Islamic ideologies. It reminds me of 2 brothers that inherited a million dollars each. One brother invested his money right and is reaping the benefits while the other brother blew his money by making poor choices and is now trying to mooch off the other brother. This is no different. You reap what you sew.

...But all people of the islamic ideology are behind an evil ideology that promotes anti-semitism, rape, child molestation, beastiality, persecution, ridiculous law suits and wearing bed sheets and curtains for clothing. And if you think about it the similarities of the Islamic and Nazism ideologies are uncanny. The only difference is Hitler never bothered disguising the holocaust as a "peaceful religion"

In my mind, this is racism thinly disguised by 'economic concerns'. Interested in making a complaint about the group, I checked Facebook's reporting criteria. Under Encouraging Respectful Behaviour, this is what I found:
Hate Speech

Facebook removes hate speech, which includes content that directly attacks people based on their:

National origin,
Religious affiliation,
Sexual orientation,
Sex, gender, or gender identity, or
Serious disabilities or diseases.

Organizations and people dedicated to promoting hatred against these protected groups are not allowed a presence on Facebook. As with all of our standards, we rely on our community to report this content to us. Feeling I was on pretty solid ground, I lodged a complaint. About two hours later I received this reply:
Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the photo you reported for containing hate speech or symbols and found it doesn't violate our Community Standards.I am disappointed in Facebook's response, and it appears there was no effort made to read the comments accompanying the illustration.

So I am left with the question which is my post's title: Exactly how does Facebook define community standards?

I welcome, as always, your comments.
Recommend this Post

And Little Children Die

Northern Reflections - il y a 3 heures 47 min

Stephen Harper works hard to control people. But he can't control events. And events are catching up with him. At the beginning of the week, events caught up with his economic policy. And, two days ago, events caught up with his immigration policy.

The picture of little Aylan  Kurdi's lifeless body speaks volumes and shouts out the message that Canada's immigration policy -- like so much else that Mr. Harper does -- is morally bankrupt. Michael Harris writes:

They’re taking to calling refugees ‘migrants’ these days. I worry about that. But by any other name that photo — that motionless little body — would have rocked the world. What are we becoming?
And, if you're worried about what we're becoming, consider Chris Alexander's reaction:

Listening to the minister pile up superlatives on the Harper government’s deplorable human rights record — including with First Nations peoples in this country — was like listening to Donald Trump introduce himself. Believing his line would mean forgetting how this ‘compassionate’ clan of Conservatives refused to issue visas for injured kids from Gaza who wanted to come to Canada for medical care.

This was the same pack of philanthropists who didn’t want to extend medical coverage to refugees in Canada, forcing Canadian doctors to demonstrate in front of Parliament.
Alexander is supposed to be among our best and brightest. Instead, he proves the wisdom behind Mark Twain's admonition: "It's better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt."

That's what happens to people who immerse themselves in a culture of willful ignorance. Their brains atrophy. And little children die.

The Dead Syrian Boy and the Ghastly Denial of the Harper Cons

Montreal Simon - il y a 5 heures 20 sec

It couldn't have been a more revolting spectacle, or one more monstrous.

The heartbreaking image of that poor little Syrian boy lying dead on a beach.

And three Con monkeys in denial. 

All shedding crocodile tears, but claiming to be blameless.

Even as their campaign went into crisis mode.
Read more »

Stephen Harper and There's Always Money For A War, The Video

Montreal Simon - jeu, 09/03/2015 - 20:39

It has been said of Stephen Harper that he cannot feel the pain of others. 

And I'm sure that's true because he is a clinical psychopath.

So I didn't expect him to feel much sympathy for this poor dead child...

Especially since his government had a hand in making sure he never made it to Canada.

But I never thought he would use that tragedy to reject the idea of more help for refugees.

And instead make the case for more war.
Read more »

The Attitude Behind It

Rusty Idols - jeu, 09/03/2015 - 18:16


Ontario College of Slut-Shaming and Reproductive Misinformation

Dammit Janet - jeu, 09/03/2015 - 12:31
We know how scared the fetus freaks are by how loudly they SHRIIIEEEK in idiotically inflated language.

So, congratulations to the latest study of crisis pregnancy centres (CPCs), aka fake clinics, in Ontario. You've scared them witless. Again.

Here's the most recent in a long, long series of efforts to document the lies, manipulation, and shaming these evil outfits mete out. (In this oldish blogpost are links to a few of the countless other studies and investigations.)

To absolutely no one's surprise, this is what researchers found:
Crisis pregnancy centres, which most people know from transit ads or campus posters, are pathologizing and stigmatizing women who reach out to them after an abortion, according to a new study.
Or, in the words of the abstract:
Conclusions: The expanded provision of post-abortion support by CPCs in Ontario represents a new method for these organizations to pathologize abortion. Our findings suggest their services are judgmental and shaming, thereby contributing to abortion stigma.
(The terrible photographs in the National Post article are in themselves a testament to society-wide anti-choice judgment and shaming. Why not show photos of "post-abortive" women doing things like, gee, I dunno, eating an ice-cream cone, going for a bike ride, laughing with friends.)

Here is LieShite's operatic, no, make that Shakespearean, response.
A new report in a journal with the telling name “Contraception” has concluded that Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) in Ontario treat abortion as if it were something more than having a wart removed and that the counseling found at such centers only contributes to “abortion stigma” by using “judgmental and shaming” techniques.

Titled “Toll free but not judgment free: Evaluating post-abortion support services in Ontario,” the report is from beginning to end nothing but pro-abortion propaganda written by pro-abortion activists. It appears to have the goal of silencing pro-life counsellors who recognize that a living human being exists in a mother’s womb and that when a mother kills her own child it will eventually come back to haunt her.Note typical scare quotes and co-option of progressive language. Not to mention fetuses haunting former hosts.

It gets better -- or worse, depending on your viewpoint.

For example, did you know that Lady Macbeth had an abortion?
Killing another person always damages the soul of the killer, whether the victim is a full grown adult, a child, or a baby in the womb. Shakespeare expressed this well in the character of Lady Macbeth, who, for all her ambition, cunning, and strength of will, eventually cracked after masterminding the coldblooded murder of the king. Through her display of psychological disorders and gradual loss of reason Shakespeare offered a severe warning to anyone who deliberately acts to bring blood upon their own hands.OK, maybe Lady Macbeth didn't have an abortion, but a fictitious character's reaction to regicide is totally pertinent to a discussion about fake clinics in Ontario, right?

If you don't want to read the whole hysterical dumbfuck article, here is a selection of words and phrases used to describe the researchers, the report, and "post-abortive women" in general:

• axe to grind
• nauseating
• sick and twisted
• post-abortive women are truly broken
• lives have been damaged and even ruined by abortion
• self-hatred

Stigmatizing? Nah, who's stigmatizing self-hating, nauseating, sick and twisted, truly broken people here?

The real evil, according to LieShite, is, of course, the researchers.

It’s as if the authors of this report want to lock post-abortive women in a lifetime of guilt and regret by taking away from them the only resources that actually help them come to terms with the pain experienced after abortion. This is not helpful to women. This is simply cruelty and torture.
Let's go back to the abstract for what those evil researchers had to say about the implications of their work.

IMPLICATIONS: Post-abortion support services appear to be a new frontier by which CPCs are able to stigmatize and pathologize abortion. Increasing awareness of and access to existing non-judgmental, non-directive post-abortion services appears warranted.
Because, of course, there are existing non-judgmental services available. But there needs to be more done here, everyone agrees.

Ontario should look to Quebec, researcher Kathryn J. LaRoche said.
“In Quebec, the government has come out with materials denouncing crisis pregnancy centres and saying that they provide false information and lie to their clients,” she said.I'd go further. But then I would, wouldn't I?

Ontario should regulate crisis pregnancy centres. If they're pretending to offer health care, they deserve as much attention as other outright quackery.

Let there be a College of Slut-Shaming and Reproductive Misinformation, like the College of Homeopaths of Ontario.

Wouldn't their Code of Ethics be fun?

Gaza Goes from Prison Camp to Death Camp

The Disaffected Lib - jeu, 09/03/2015 - 08:53
Gaza's imprisoned Palestinians have a problem - getting out. If they don't, they could die. Sorry, Tommy Angry Beard, that's the truth. From ViceNews:

Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020 due to war, its economic blockade, debilitated infrastructure, and environmental concerns, according to a new UN report on Palestine released this week.

The findings of the UN's Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) echoed an earlier assessment made by the UN in 2011, which determined that Gaza would not be livable by the start of next decade "without herculean efforts" to improve health, education, energy, water, and sanitation.

Remember when Israel attacked Gaza last summer?  Who and what did they attack first? Hamas or Islamist radicals and their headquarters and installations? No. The Israeli air force targeted the civilian population and first went after their water and sewage systems.  For days they pounded that essential infrastructure and brought it down.
That Tom, and all you little Dipper Tomasitas, is a war crime. That's not even debatable. Attacking civilians and attacking the civilian population's essential infrastructure are specifically prohibited. Doing it deliberately takes that war crime to a higher level yet.
Look, it's only got three syllables. It's not that hard to learn. It's "Dahiyeh."  Da-hi-yeh, da-hi-yeh, da-hi-yeh, da-hi-yeh.  See, you got it!  Okay, but what does it mean?
It's a word that describes Israel's new tactic of specifically targeting civilians and their infrastructure - their water systems, their sewage systems, their hospitals, their schools and then their homes with both high explosives and Willie Pete or white phosphorous weapons. It's a technique they perfected in a Beiruit neighbourhood, Dahiyeh. What a coincidence. This is what Dahiyeh looked like when the Israelis ran out of targets:

It looks like Berlin when the Russians were finished, only a lot dustier.  And it began with Israeli air strikes targeting Beiruit's water and sewage infrastructure before bombing down the target list. 
Israel has committed Dahiyeh twice on Gaza so far but, according to the UN report, they may never have to do it again. Their work may be finished.
"The most recent military operation, in 2014, impacted an already paralyzed economy at a time when socioeconomic conditions were at their lowest since 1967," wrote UNCTAD. The Israeli assault, called Protective Edge, coupled with others in 2008 and 2012, "shattered its productive base, left no time for meaningful reconstruction or economic recovery and impoverished the Palestinian population in Gaza, rendering their economic well-being worse than the level of two decades previous."

In July, the chief of the UN's Relief and Works Agency said none of the more than 12,000 houses totally destroyed during Protective Edge had been rebuilt.

There's more, so much more, but why go into that?
In today's thoroughly Blairified NDP just having in the past criticized Israel for these atrocities means you're not allowed to seek your party's nomination. That's why Nanaimo New Dem, Paul Manly, son of a highly respected NDP MP from before the party was laundered, is now running for the Green Party.
Besides, when votes are at stake, what's a little ethnic cleansing thousands of miles away?
Dippers typically respond to this by saying that their party is only trying to be "even handed." The NDP doesn't want to take sides. That's like saying you don't want to take sides between a rapist and the girl laying in the alley.

No Hope With This Pope…

Left Over - jeu, 09/03/2015 - 08:48
Pope Francis tells priests to pardon women who have abortions

The Guardian

Tuesday 1 September 2015 16.46 BST

How condescending can this ‘religious’ leader get?
Who cares about forgiveness when there is nothing to forgive? Will the Pope also issue orders to ‘forgive’ the man who didn’t wear a condom, or get it snipped, or whatever? Once again, the onus is on the woman, who, while only 50% of the equation must continue to suffer 100% of the consequences and the blame….
And, once again, the Catholic Church, along with every other form of organized religion, proves my point…organized religion sucks, it is the cause of most of the pain, guilt and war in this world, and the wars we seem to be eternally caught up in should be redirected at abolishing organized religion in all it’s forms.

Every  media outlet in the West is happily showering us with   photos of oppressed refugees (if it bleeds, it leads..)  fighting to live, literally, and  often failing.  The many drownings  and horrors of  displaced persons from war torn areas cannot help but remind me of a similar problem around  70 years ago, in Europe, when the war-displaced wandered, helpless, searching for  help from the  ugliness of  post war trauma…and Europe, and the West,  responded…

Now, it’s  above these petty concerns for the Vatican, which infamously back in the day made a deal with Hitler to  ignore the plight of Jewish refugees…  where was all the forgiveness then, Pope?

Instead of proselytizing  about  what women freely choose to, why  not concentrate your pontificating energy  on the refugees, the  children who still live, why not spend some of those  millions of  Vatican-hoarded  dollars to  aid and assist  in the  situation as it stands….or  are you above such petty concerns?

Stirring Images of Syrian Boy's Body Now Symbol of Europe's Crisis-NBC

LeDaro - jeu, 09/03/2015 - 08:35

Today, a photo from Turkey showing the body of a lifeless Syrian boy washed upon a beach became a symbolic image of the refugee plight.

Thursday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - jeu, 09/03/2015 - 08:29
This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Following up on this post, it was Terry Glavin who broke the story about refugee children dying after being refused admission into Canada. And the Guardian recognizes that the tragic image of Aylin Kurdi represents only a reminder of a a long-running human tragedy.

- Which is why Canada's treatment of newcomers was already emerging as a significant issue - with Harsha Walia rightly slamming the Cons' policy of jailing refugees and favouring temporary immigration. And Jason Kenney's response was to offer spin which was readily debunked by his government's own numbers.

- Zi-Ann Lum reports on another international embarrassment for Canada, as Barack Obama and John Kerry are calling out the Cons for refusing to take climate change seriously.

- Jeremy Nuttall examines how a recession and continued economic stagnation will affect different segments of Canadian society. And Trish Hennessy offers ten reasons why nobody should be taking Stephen Harper's economic advice, while Andrew Jackson makes the case for more investment as the best way to move us back toward real development.

- Finally, Frances Russell repurposes the Cons' "Stand Up for Canada" slogan as a compelling reason to vote Harper and company out of office.

New column day

accidentaldeliberations - jeu, 09/03/2015 - 08:11
Here, condensing this post about the lessons the federal NDP can and should learn from past provincial elections.

For further reading...
- Michelle Gagnon notes that one area where matters don't seem to be in doubt is Quebec, where the NDP looks set to hold or even build on its 2011 wave. And with the NDP's numbers looking strong in B.C. as well, that leaves Ontario as the largest piece of the puzzle which remains in substantial doubt.
- Susan Delacourt comments on the ghosts looming over each of the federal parties. 
- Finally, John Ivison writes about the contest between the NDP and the Liberals for the large number of voters who have had enough of the Harper Cons, while Robin Sears discusses the Libs' rebranding and how it affects all of the parties' strategies.

If You Care

Rusty Idols - jeu, 09/03/2015 - 07:18

If you care about the economy, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about healthcare, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about veterans, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about the lives of First Nations people and native children getting a fraction of the education funding that the rest of Canada's children get and thousands of women abducted and murdered,  you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about corruption, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about democracy and open responsive governance, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about Canada's standing in the world, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about the environment - at all - you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

You CANNOT vote for Stephen Harper.


After Election Speculations

kirbycairo - jeu, 09/03/2015 - 07:12
Andrew Coyne Wrote an interesting article, on which a number of people have commented, about the uncertainly that might prevail even after the election. Coyne, though he has sometimes been a rather mindless supporter of the Conservative government, has become enlightened enough to understand the depth of Harper's duplicity. He has finally realized that this mentally disturbed, power obsessed Prime Minister might do almost anything to hold on to power including trying to form government even after an election loss, refusing to recall parliament, or pressuring the GG into calling another election.

Let me just say that I take Coyne's musings to the next level and suggest that Harper could even attempt to actually nullify the election results themselves, or (more drastically) avoid an election loss by doing something many imagine is inconceivable such as orchestrating a fake "terrorist" attack or finding a way to pull the writ at the last moment. (No one should forget that there is evidence, for example, that the Republicans paid the Iranians to hold the hostages until after the election battle between Carter and Reagan) None of this might be an issue anyway because the depth of Conservative voter fraud might be so extreme that they know that they have the election in the bag anyway, and they are just going through the motions.

Let's assume, however, that by some miracle the Cons do lose the election. Then what? Well let me answer Coyne's last question first. I don't think that either of the other parties would prop up a Conservative government. It seems to me that Trudeau has nearly blown the whole election by supporting the Harper government on one issue (Bill C-51), any wholesale support for Harper would, I believe, destroy the Liberal Party of Canada once and for all. They have surely watched the example of the LibDems in the UK, who four years ago looked like they had a bright future and now look like a defunct political organization. Regardless of Mulcair's dubious political style and questionable past, I don't think he would prop up a Con government either, for the simple reason that such an act would also destroy the future for the NDP and probably bring the Liberals eventually back to power.

However, none of Coyne's other post-election notions seem far-fetched to me. I have certainly been laughably wrong in my political prognostications before. And maybe, just maybe, if Harper ended up with fewer seats than the Libs or the NDP, or both, he would gracefully bow out. It would be drastically out of character for him to do so. However, he may figure that he has done the necessary damage to the Canadian government and figures it will never recover anyway so it doesn't matter if he retires now. On the other hand, I don't actually think Harper is that clear and calculating at this point. I think, as is the case with so many such men, power has driven Harper crazy and he actually sees himself now as the lifetime Prime Minister. I thus suggest that he will do anything, and I really mean anything, to hold on to power.

However, at this point such speculation is little more than entertainment. No amount of anticipation really prepares you for the political chaos of a constitutional crisis. Though, I hope we can say, at the very least, that nothing will entirely surprise us.

A Shameful Indifference

Politics and its Discontents - jeu, 09/03/2015 - 06:48

By now we have all seen the terrible image of the drowned three-year-old Syrian refugee on the shores near a Turkish resort. The juxtaposition couldn't be any more telling of desperation confronting world indifference.

What perhaps isn't as widely known is the fact that the boy, Aylan, and his bother and mother, Galip and Rehan Kurdin who also drowned, were rejected for emigration to Canada:
Canadian legislator Fin Donnelly told The Canadian Press that he had submitted a request on behalf on the boys’ aunt, Teema Kurdi, who had wanted to bring the family to Canada, but her request was turned down by Canadian immigration officials. Teema Kurdi, based in the Vancouver area, is the sister of the drowned boys’ father Abdullah, who survived.Fin Donnelly, who is running for re-election in Port Moody-Coquitlam said he delivered a letter on behalf of Teema Kurdi, Abdullah’s sister, to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander in March but that the sponsorship request was not approved.Exactly what is our responsibility in an humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions?

In today's Star, Tony Burman ponders that very question, and asks why so little is being said about it during our current election campaign:
In recent weeks, the approach by Canada’s political class, led by its major political parties, seems to be based on a 21st-century notion about this country — that this worldwide refugee crisis really doesn’t involve Canada directly, and really doesn’t matter to Canadians.

With the crisis worsening by the day, it is time for this to end. We need to increase pressure on our politicians in this election campaign to push this issue aggressively to the fore.Burman reminds us that historically, indifference has not been the Canadian way:
In recent decades, Canada’s doors were wide open to thousands of refugees. Since the 1970s, 6,000 Ugandan Asians fleeing Idi Amin’s regime, 13,000 Chilean refugees escaping the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, 20,000 Jewish refugees from the former Soviet Union, as well as 18,000 Iraqis, 3,300 Haitians and many, many others were all welcomed to Canada.

There was also, of course, the dramatic response by Canadians in 1979-80 to the flood of refugees trying to escape communist Vietnam.

The government’s initial commitment was to settle 500 Vietnamese, but through the actions of private sponsors, community and civic groups, that number eventually grew to more than 60,000.Contrast that with our current regime:
In spite of promises to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next three years, the Canadian government has been criticized by refugee groups as being laggard in what it actually delivers. In the past three years, only 1,300 Syrian refugees have been admitted. According to the UN, Canada has dropped from the fifth-highest refugee recipient in 2000 to the ranking of 15th last year.Defending and spinning the indefensible has become the only remaining skill-set of the once promising Chris Alexander, our Citizenship and Immigration minister, who, during his appearance on Power and Politics yesterday, was effectively eviscerated by host Rosie Barton, especially near the end of the panel:

If you don't have time to watch the video, BuzzFeed has a summary of the dustup.

It is easy, and perhaps only human nature, to regard this crisis as something occurring 'over there.' Many of us may find it difficult to get emotionally involved in the plight of people we do not know or do not identify with. But that's ultimately beside the point. Whether we acknowledge in our hearts or only in our minds, there is but one conclusion to be drawn: each country, including ours, has a moral and ethical responsibility to help these unfortunate people who, by virtue of the birth lottery, were not born into the advantages that we enjoy but have in no way earned.Recommend this Post

Juxtaposition II: Humanitarian Boogaloo

accidentaldeliberations - jeu, 09/03/2015 - 06:41
From one stunt...
The news of McCain's suspension drew gales of derision from the press. No one was willing to give him the slightest benefit of the doubt...that his motivations were anything less than craven...

McCainworld had assumed that the suspension would be viewed as an authentic, characteristic act of putting country first. But...McCain was now seen as a typical, and faintly desperate politician - and his campaign a campaign of another:
Conservative candidate Chris Alexander has suspended his campaign for re-election in the riding of Ajax, Ont., in the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis.

Alexander cancelled a Thursday morning media appearance and is returning to Ottawa to focus on his ministerial responsibilities. They include looking into a case brought to the forefront Wednesday after disturbing images emerged showing a Syrian toddler's body washed up on a beach in Turkey.

In a statement, Alexander said "the tragic photo of young Aylan Kurdi and the news of the death of his brother and mother broke hearts around the world."Meanwhile, Tabatha Southey calls out Alexander for still caring only about optics:
“Photo,” “images,” image,” talking point. A sense of what Alexander sees as the problem & where he’s going with it.— Tabatha Southey (@TabathaSouthey) September 3, 2015 And Tonda MacCharles notes how the Cons' campaign-only mentality will prevent Alexander from running even a public relations exercise from his office:
According to Chris Alexander's Ottawa office, all media relations spox are on leave until Oct. 19 working on election.— Tonda MacCharles (@TondaMacC) September 3, 2015

What Happens After October 19th?

Northern Reflections - jeu, 09/03/2015 - 05:54


The outcome of this election is uncertain. But regardless of who wins, Andrew Coyne writes, what happens after October 19th is also uncertain:

So it’s an unusually unpredictable election. But that doesn’t begin to describe how uncertain the outcome is. Because it isn’t just the results on election night that are impossible to predict: it’s what happens after. Even if the polls as they now stand turn out to be an exact reflection of each party’s share of the vote on Oct. 19, that still doesn’t give us the first clue who will be governing us.

For one thing, it is always difficult to know how precisely the polls will translate into seats. But suppose the current projections are right: that the NDP wins about 125 seats, to the Conservatives’ 120 and the Liberals’ 95. What then?
In a properly functioning democracy, the Conservatives could try to form a government:

Among the imponderables: who does the governor general call upon to form a government? The answer is not, as popularly believed, the party with the most seats. Rather, by convention it is supposed to be the incumbent who gets first crack. Probably that is what would happen, and probably Stephen Harper would accept. But what if the gap in seats between the NDP and the Conservatives were larger? Would he try to form a government with, say, 110 seats? 105?
And, what if Harper -- like Joe Clark -- refused to call back the House for five months? Or what if the Governor General called on someone else to form a government and -- like Mackenzie King --  Harper refused to accept Donald Johnston's decision? This is a man who believes that all decisions rest with him and him alone.

My bet is that a prime minister who has kept two dozen orders in council secret would not go quietly or easily. However, if the Conservatives were reduced to third party status, much of the uncertainty would be cast in the dustbin.

Perhaps our Hearts Need breaking to remind us we are human. . .

kirbycairo - jeu, 09/03/2015 - 05:23
The refugee crisis in the Middle-East and Europe is a complex issue. International turmoil, political economy, deep-seated historical conflicts. You can't blame people for feeling bewildered by the events they see unfolding. As they used to say about the issue of Northern Ireland: if you're not confused, you don't know what is going on.

But this isn't a complex issue -

This couldn't be simpler - it's a dead child, a child who should be laughing and running around in joyful wonder, happy to be alive and revelling in boyhood pleasures. This little boy's death isn't complicated, it breaks our hearts in as straightforward a way that any event can. 
It speaks to our Western privilege and general callousness, that this has been going on for years in the Middle-East, yet it is only when it begins to affect Europe that we are collectively shocked and begin to really take notice. But let's put that aside for a moment and let this sink in. 
You don't have to be a expert on politics to understand. You don't need to know the history of Middle-East or the role that Europe has played in these conflicts to know this is bad. You simply have to be a human being with all the empathy and compassion that goes along with it. 

These are people. They are traumatized, hungry, vulnerable, worried, frightened, and in need of help. 

You can judge a people by how they treat the most vulnerable among them. And we will surely be harshly judged. 
Now, after you have looked into these faces, and perhaps wept for the fate of that poor drowned boy, return your mind to the politics of this and look into the face of this criminal. 
This is the man who rejected the refugee application of the boy and his family. This is the man who has spent years tirelessly trying to deny healthcare to refugees, and continually misrepresented those refugees to whom he wanted to deny benefits as "fake claimants," even when they weren't. This is the man who has aided Harper and his Government in ignoring thousands and thousands of those in need and take in only a paltry number of refugees from conflicts which are in part a result of Western greed and carelessness. 
And perhaps the most sickening part of all is that these politicians call themselves Christians, as many callous, mean-spirited rightwingers do. But Jesus didn't assume that beggars were shiftless and lazy. Jesus didn't stand above the lepers and condemn their personal hygiene and assume that they were responsible for their fate. The ethics of Christ don't allow us to look to assign blame or second guess people's motives. Rather, Christian ethics require only this - help people, reach out your hand and lift people up, you are your brother's and your sister's keeper and you can never do enough. 
Fate can be heartless. We don't have to be.  

This is why running to the left of the ruling class is important

Metaneos - jeu, 09/03/2015 - 05:04
Hillary Clinton Just Picked Sides With the Democrats’ Warren Wing Against the Rubin Wing
Now, I'm not saying Clinton is to be trusted, but she was forced to pick against her own interest here, in this one instance. It's a small ripple. Possibly, more will occur as the campaign continues, and she worries of losing more ground than she already has to the insurgent, Bernie Sanders.
Now, is he going to win the Democratic Primary? I don't know. I hope so, but I worry he will not.
I worry Sanders will act as sheepdog, sheparding Democratic fence sitters and undecided into the voting ranks, and convince them to vote for whoever's the Democratic choice, no matter how bad that choice may be.
But he is a choice, even if for only a short time. His presence has forced a change in Clinton's campaign, and forced her to make a promise she probably had no interest in making.
This is why it's important to continue putting pressure on the Democratic candidates, even if it's your own party. Especially if it's your own party. You can't give your own leaders a free pass. You have to make them make these sorts of choices, so that you know where they stand on issues that are important to to you. You have to make them earn their position.
And if they fail your litmus test, fight them. You don't have to follow those who would lead you where you're no interest in going.


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