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Musical interlude

accidentaldeliberations - ven, 12/19/2014 - 17:57
Emma Hewitt - Rewind (Mikkas Remix)

The Ghastly Con Nightmare Before Christmas

Montreal Simon - ven, 12/19/2014 - 17:02


Golly. When I think of the Cons reciting "Twas the Night Before Christmas" all I can think of is "The Nightmare before Christmas."

Because Christmas and the brutish Harperland were definitely not made for each other.

But believe it or not, the real version, is even SCARIER !!!!
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Setting The Record Straight

Politics and its Discontents - ven, 12/19/2014 - 12:41
Weakly constituted as I am when it comes to tolerating disingenuous and dishonest political theatre, I was unable to watch the Chief Prevaricator, a.k.a. the Prime Minister, while his chief courtier and media enabler, the most Reverend (and reverent) Peter Mansbridge, performed what Michael Harris described as his Yuletide foot massage during their year-end chatfest.

However, I was able to muster up the strength to watch this snippet, after which follows a critical analysis on the CBC website of Mr. Harper's claims:



Harper Whopper Number One:
"We’ve got more work to do, but our emissions are falling," Harper said on Wednesday.

"Other countries’ emissions for the most part are going up. World emissions are going up. Canada’s have not been going up."

But the government's own report suggests emissions will go up dramatically by the end of the decade because of oil and gas production, Canada's emissions will be 22 per cent higher than its Copenhagen target of reducing greenhouse gases by 17 per cent below their 2005 levels by 2020.Harper Whopper Number Two:

Harper says he'd be open to using a carbon-pricing system like Alberta's for the entire continent, a concept he's previously opposed.

"I think it’s a model on which you could, on which you could go broader," Harper said in Wednesday's interview.Says David McLaughlin, an adviser at the University of Waterloo’s school of environment,
... emissions continue to rise under Alberta's system of carbon pricing.

"The price of $15 a tonne is too low to actually get the emissions reductions we want from these big emitters. So it would not do the job of reducing emissions in Canada."Harper Whopper Number Three
The prime minister also took credit for getting tough on coal.

"We are phasing out in Canada through regulations, we are phasing out the use of traditional dirty coal. It’s going to go to zero in the next 15 years or so," Harper said.Alas, as with most pronouncements by the Prime Minister, there is less here than meets the eye:
New federal coal regulations apply to new plants built after 2015. Existing plants built in the last 50 years are grandfathered, meaning they would have up to 2030 to close or introduce carbon capture and storage technology to reduce emissions.And Ontario's Environment Minister Glen Murray points out an inconvenient truth:
...the province closed coal plants with no help from Ottawa.

[I]"f the federal government wants to start taking credit for provincially funded initiatives, they could at least have the decency to make a commitment to support those initiatives in the future."Thanks for taking a few moments to see through the Emperor's diaphanous attire.Recommend this Post

My Name Is Ozymandias

Politics and its Discontents - ven, 12/19/2014 - 11:47
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'

Recommend this Post

On satire

Dawg's Blawg - ven, 12/19/2014 - 07:25
Most folks can tell an Onion-like piece when they see it, although we keep saying satire is dead, but we don’t really mean it, right? Deep down we figure there is still room to send up this already exaggerated, crazed... Dr.Dawg http://drdawgsblawg.ca/

On representative units

accidentaldeliberations - ven, 12/19/2014 - 06:57
Does anybody remember which particularly prominent political pundit went far out his way to trumpet the idea that basic unit of political legitimacy is the caucus - to the point of repeatedly advocating a legislated requirement that a caucus vote override the decisions made by the whole of a party's membership?

I ask only because he seems to have been replaced with a far more reasonable impostor.

By the majority-of-caucus standard set under Michael Chong's Reform Act (or the stronger forms suggested by Andrew Coyne among others), the decision of a majority of Wildrose Party MLAs to join up with Jim Prentice's PCs following a caucus vote should be seen as having been fully validated.

So why then is Coyne among the people rightly lambasting Danielle Smith and company for their move? Well, that has to do with the flaws in the original theory behind the Reform Act.

Elected representatives are (and should be) only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to determining the direction of any political party. And we're right to consider it illegitimate when those representatives make choices which run contrary to the underlying basis for their elected positions - even if a majority of their caucus-mates happen to agree.

What's more, an undue focus on a narrow set of representatives rather than the broader populations they represent can make it far too easy for politicians to bargain away their votes or seats, rationalizing the action on the theory that the trust reposed in a representative through the ballot box represents a mandate to use an elected position for personal gain. And that can happen just as easily on a group basis as an individual one.

Of course, the question of how to then check top-down power remains open. (Though it's worth noting that exactly one party has respected the ethical principle that a mandate to serve one party can't simply be passed to another in both law and practice.)

And it's doubtful that any legislated structure can do the job in the absence of a strong and active membership which can ensure that self-serving actions are met with an appropriate response in the next election cycle.

But at the very least, nobody should hold any illusion that handing special power to party caucuses will resolve the problem.

The Curse of Petro-Politics

Northern Reflections - ven, 12/19/2014 - 06:35

                                                          http://thetyee.ca/

Stephen Harper has made no secret that it is his intention to transform Canada into a petro-state.  Stanford professor Terry Lynn Karl has devoted her academic career to the study of petro-states. And she has concluded that petro-politics lead to self immolation. In an interview with Andrew Nikiforuk she predicts that falling oil prices will have catasrophic consequences for several petro-states:

"The effects of falling oil prices will be quickly felt in Venezuela, which is extremely vulnerable. If oil keeps dropping, the country's employment, standard of living and GDP will be affected. This tends to make people not like their government.

"Venezuela, which is already extremely polarized, is in big trouble. In this respect, there is a big difference between how oil prices affect Canada and the U.S. and how they affect countries where the politics have become totally petrolized. Where there is simply no difference at all between wealth and power, where corruption and rent seeking have taken over the whole enterprise or where conflict is already very high, these are the most vulnerable countries.

Russia isn't quite as vulnerable as Venezuela, but because it is a global power its fate is more important. In the face of both sanctions and low prices, the ruble has plummeted, debt is rising, living standards are declining, and food prices are up sharply. With oil prices high, Putin took certain actions in the Ukraine and elsewhere because he felt untouchable; his popularity remains very high.

"But this could change very quickly if prices remain low.

"Most people don't understand that the decline of the former Soviet Union was closely linked to the 1986 collapse in oil prices. Putin later took advantage of high prices to build his own personal power. That could be at stake if prices stay low."
And for all petro-states:

"Debt is the Achilles heel of this picture. If prices remain low for several years, a lot of U.S. shale producers have high debt loads, especially in junk bonds. Today, energy debt currently accounts for a substantial 16 per cent of the U.S. junk bond market. If these producers start going bust, investors in junk bonds will be in for a shock.

 "Dropping oil prices affect international debt as well, creating a high risk of default by countries like Venezuela. Around the world two sets of debt are coming in -- from the high cost bitumen and shale oil producers who borrowed to help create the current supply glut and oil exporting producers who have borrowed heavily. Both affect the entire financial system.
So, just as the financial system almost brought the house down in 2008, oil could be the cause of the next global economic collapse. And Stephen Harper happily assumes oil will lead to national Nirvana.

Who would you believe -- Karl of Harper?

Stephen Harper and his CRA Stormtroopers Prepare to Kill a Charity

Montreal Simon - ven, 12/19/2014 - 05:31


For months Stephen Harper has been unleashing the stormtroopers from the Canadian Revenue Agency upon his many enemies.

They have been harassing environmental groups and other progressive charities, and trying to cripple them into submission.

But now it seems they have claimed their first victim, and are preparing to blast it out of existence.
Read more »

Michael Harris REALLY Doesn't Like Peter Mansbridge

Montreal Simon - ven, 12/19/2014 - 04:20


As I said in my last post, I wasn't impressed with the way Peter Mansbridge handled his year end interview with Stephen Harper.

I thought he stroked Great Crazy Leader with a feather, and failed to challenge his many lies, or ask the follow up questions that needed to be asked.

So the whole thing looked more like a cozy chat than an interview.

But I see that Michael Harris was even less impressed.
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Stephen Harper's Crazy Carbon Tax problem

Montreal Simon - ven, 12/19/2014 - 03:04


As I've been warning recently, Stephen Harper's mental state is clearly growing more unstable by the day.

The exhaustion of all those foreign photo-ops, combined with the shock of seeing his beloved Albertonia torpedoed by low oil prices, and his budget surplus going up in flames, has driven him to the brink.

And there is no better example of that than his wildly oscillating position on a carbon tax.

Just ten days ago he called one "crazy." Or CRAAAAAAAZY.

But in the CBC interview the other night, while being stroked with a feather by Peter Mansbridge, he all but called it a good idea. 
Read more »

RoboContractors

Creekside - ven, 12/19/2014 - 01:22
If the Public Prosecution Service of Canada is so concerned that Michael Sona's nine month sentence for election fraud is "demonstrably unfit and fails to reflect the gravity of the offence” - so concerned in fact that they are appealing to have his sentence increased, why don't they direct that same concern towards investigating the Pierre Poutine perps behind him? 
Especially given both the judge and prosecutor in the case stated that Sona didn't act alone.

So reasons the Council of Canadians in their new formal complaint to the PPSC.

“PPSC is not an investigative agency,” responded PPSC spokesey Dan Brien. “It’s not in our mandate to initiate, conduct or direct investigations.”
Meh, said a spokesey for Elections Canada Commissioner Yves Côté, who now falls under the purview of the PPSC thanks to the Fair Elections Act, noting that the case is now closed as far as they are concerned unless someone submits a formal complaint or new information comes to light. “We conducted an investigation. All of the evidence that we found was presented to the Crown,” Michelle Laliberte told Global News."Asked if the office has received more information, Laliberte said, “Not at this point.”Really?  
Andrew Prescott's immunity-protected testimony that he logged out of his own RackNine account on election day only to log back in again a few minutes later onto the Pierre Jones/Poutine account on the instructions of Guelph election campaign chair Ken Morgan who decamped to Kuwait after refusing to be interviewed by Elections Canada - that isn't "new" or "more" information? Isn't a new lead? Isn't worthy of further investigation, if not a few subpoenas?

You know, it's really too bad Canada lacks a national police force who could look into this kind of crime on our behalf when they aren't busy dragging a 61 year old woman off her walker and throwing her to the ground and handcuffing her for being unclear what was being asked of her, or protecting foreign oil corporations from local protesters or First Nations, or protecting themselves from the possibility of staples, or shooting a vet with PTSD twice in the back and killing him on his own property because they didn't have a warrant to follow him into his house or .... where the hell was I? Oh yeah ...

In the absence of any interest from the horsemen, and for an idea of how much help Council of Canadians can expect from the Elections Canada Commissioner this time round in their bid to have the Poutine case in Guelph re-opened, lets have a look at the commissioner's response to their request for help in their March 2012 election fraud court case, launched on behalf of six plaintiffs from six ridings :
In early August. Commissioner Yves Cote refused to give a federal court more details on its ongoing investigation into the robocalls scandal.To avoid sharing the information, Cote filed for a special exemption, saying releasing it would “encroach upon the public interest,” and that “public disclosure of information from a partially completed investigation carries the serious risk of compromising the investigation by, among other things, influencing the testimony of witnesses, impairing the ability to verify information already obtained and affecting the willingness of witnesses to speak.”And then, as far as anyone knows, some time after that they just stopped..

Not That Anyone Asked

Politics and its Discontents - jeu, 12/18/2014 - 16:40
...but the always reliable Pastor Pat tells us there is really no reason to worry about the 'gay problem' for reasons he makes clear below:

Recommend this Post

John Cleese On Sarah Palin

Politics and its Discontents - jeu, 12/18/2014 - 14:42
As Cleese says in this 2008 interview, Michael Palin is no longer the funniest Palin.



And about Fox News, which currently employs the post-political Palin, Cleese has this to say. It is probably the best analysis I've heard of the rampant stupidity that seems to infest the United States (sorry for that gross overgeneralization):

Recommend this Post

Enbridge Spill

Politics and its Discontents - jeu, 12/18/2014 - 12:52
I'm sure the company will spin this 262,000 litre oil spill in Regina as a 'good news' story. You decide.



You can read additional information here.Recommend this Post

If It Scares Canadians, It's Manna from Heaven for the Tories

The Disaffected Lib - jeu, 12/18/2014 - 09:03
Manipulating the public with carefully tailored fear is despicable.  It's also the entire first chapter in Stephen Harper's playbook.  He's been incredibly successful in using fear as a weapon to motivate his own political base from the outset.

If you own a working television set chances are you've seen the Harper government's anti-marijuana ad.  It's ostensibly the work of Health Canada but the ad bears the imprimatur of the Prime Minister's Office because it's based on falsehoods calculated to scare gullible parents.

An ominous 30-second ad now on YouTube and TV warns that smoking too many joints can seriously harm a teen's developing brain, with the words "Decreased IQ" crossing the screen.

The spot was chosen after that message got the strongest reaction from focus groups of parents who were privately shown a similar ad and several alternatives in cities across Canada in June.The parents, described by the interviewers as "generally uninformed regarding marijuana health risks," reacted with alarm when told marijuana can trigger psychosis, schizophrenia and a drop in IQ in young, still-developing brains.The information on the harmful effects of cannabis on mental functioning was "surprising and scary" to them, says a newly released report by Harris Decima, commissioned by Health Canada at a cost of $95,000.It's been an aspect of HarperLand that the public service has been transformed into a personal partisan agency of the prime minister.  The ad that is being aired was chosen based on focus group reactions according to which they found most alarming.  It's obviously designed to give Harper's anti-marijuana stance more public support in the 2015 election and, best of all, it's electioneering on the public dime.

Reflections on Defections….

Left Over - jeu, 12/18/2014 - 08:59

 

ANALYSIS

MP Glenn Thibeault’s defection leaves the NDP feeling ‘hurt’ Sudbury MP’s decision to join provincial Liberals leaves former party searching for answers

By Rosemary Barton, CBC News Posted: Dec 18, 2014 11:00 AM ET Last Updated: Dec 18, 2014 11:00 AM ET

9 Wildrose MLAs, including Danielle Smith, cross to Alberta Tories Progressive Conservative members say they’re willing to look beyond past grievances

CBC News Posted: Dec 17, 2014 11:09 AM MT Last Updated: Dec 18, 2014 9:36 AM MT

 

I think that ex=NDP Thibeault crossing the floor to the Liberals was typical political expediency, although the fact that he was caucus chair gives one pause….was he some sort of plant, originally? A conclusion that could make sense…while everyone is clutching their bosom at this ‘appalling’ turn of events, let’s not  forget that Mulcair  once switched parties, too….
Still, what happened in Alberta is hardly the same thing..to say that there is no ‘opposition’ left in Alberta is to say that the so-called Wild Rose Party was anything like an opposition, more like Right and Rightier…they are all joining forces because the dirty oil writing is on the wall..the Cons will bomb out in Alberta long-term, because the oil sands are now so unprofitable, and will be for the foreseeable future..It will now cost more to produce their dirty bitumen than it’s worth on the market, with all the new reserves being in competition, world-wide. Already, there are layoffs looming in the energy sector, and certainly more to come… Prentice probably has one more election left in him, and then, once the unemployed start getting restless, things will probably change…but even rightwing Wild Rose  whackjobs recognize that their employment as career politicians might be threatened by appearing even more tea-party than their counterparts…

The one big positive I can see from all this is that a decrease in tar sands  extraction will be an improvement for the environment… and all those newly unemployed workers will be screaming for the jobs  all those foreign workers  are getting now..the best-laid plans, eh, Emperor Steve?


Is Raul Castro's Cuba the First Big Winner in Cold War II?

The Disaffected Lib - jeu, 12/18/2014 - 08:23


Now that Washington and Havana appear to be on the road to kissing and making up, it's worth considering whether the timing is really that spontaneous?

Cuba was always the Soviet's toe hold in the Americas.  It was over Soviet designs in Cuba that the world was brought to the brink of nuclear Armageddon.

The Soviets propped up Fidel Castro by buying Cuba's sugar crop at premium prices.  With the collapse of the USSR, Cuba's economy took a big hit as Moscow withdrew.  Since then Cuba has been mainly important to American foreign policy for the Cuban exile vote in Florida that some, such as Clinton and Bush, shamelessly courted with promises of "get tough" action against the Communist regime.

But, as Obama correctly noted, America's sanctions haven't worked.  The exile vote doesn't command the clout it enjoyed in decades past.  And then there's Putin.

Vlad, the "Russian Impaler," has been responding to Western sanctions with military feints and other provocations: bombers flying at the edge of Western airspace; 'near miss' intercepts, mystery submarines showing themselves in the home waters of European states.

We don't know what has passed between Moscow and Havana lately but, for optics, there could hardly be anything to surpass a renewed Russian presence in Cuba - Russian aircraft deployed to Cuban airbases, Russian ships and subs patrolling in the Gulf of Mexico, that sort of thing.

With Russia's economy reeling from sanctions and collapsed world oil prices and Putin's own position lately in question, this is a truly propitious moment for Washington to do some long overdue Caribbean housekeeping and bring Cuba back into the American fold. It's good for Cuba. It will do wonders to improve America's flagging reputation with the OAS.  It should keep Putin from getting any ideas about parking Russian forces in America's back yard as NATO has done in Russia's.  It almost puts a fresh coat of paint on the Monroe Doctrine for Moscow and Beijing alike.

Smooth move Barack Obama.


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