Agrégateur de flux

Musical interlude

accidentaldeliberations - ven, 10/31/2014 - 20:08
Watchmen - Boneyard Tree

Fraud Alert: The Harper Cons are Caught Cheating Again

Montreal Simon - ven, 10/31/2014 - 18:27


Well as I'm sure you know, the Harper regime contains more Con artists than you can count.

One moment they're lying like thieves, the next moment they're twisting the truth.

One moment Lord Harp is a Great Strong Leader, the next moment he's cowering in a closet.

But holy chicken this is embarrassing.
Read more »

I am a bad environmentalist, episode 2: precaution shmecaution

Dawg's Blawg - ven, 10/31/2014 - 14:10
I don’t really believe in the Precautionary Principle. The honest truth is that our next major technological developments are going to involve massive, uninsurable environmental risk, if we are going to continue our roughly linear/exponential path (with epicycles) into... Mandos http://politblogo.typepad.com/

What's Your Little Jihadi Doing for Halloween?

The Disaffected Lib - ven, 10/31/2014 - 12:46
Apparently WalMart has that covered.  $39.95 gets little Johnny a full Pashtun costume complete with beard.  IED not included.


If It's Cold War You Want, It's Cold War You'll Get

The Disaffected Lib - ven, 10/31/2014 - 12:21


Wasn't one enough?  Really?

For almost a half century we, the West, and the Russians/Soviets poured mountains of money down the drain preparing for a war none of us would have survived had it come to that.

Underground missile batteries, fleets of nuclear missile submarines, strategic (nuclear) bombers, nuclear-capable strike fighters, mobile battlefield (tactical) nuclear missiles, massive tank armies ready to mix it up in the Fulda Gap on short notice.  An ocean of gasoline just looking for a match.

How many trillions of dollars were squandered on this global, nuclear make-work project?

Make no mistake, that money was squandered.  Pissed away.  It didn't have to be that way.  With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, we could have taken a well-earned reward from the investment of all that money and all those lives.  We could have turned sacrifice into peace.

Lasting peace. It was ours for the taking. We could have implemented peaceful approaches to East Europe and Russia. That didn't happen. Instead we treated Russia as a vanquished foe.  As the Warsaw Pact dissolved, we eagerly snapped up its member states, brought them into the NATO fold, and marched triumphantly to Russia's very borders.

We said we were going to be peaceful, at least that's what we told Moscow.  But they've heard that from the West before and, instead, what they got was war. Napoleon, Hitler - real object lessons.



We said we wanted peace.  George H.W. Bush promised Gorbachev that NATO would not expand beyond the borders of a unified Germany.  They believed it. We lied. That sort of thing left scars and primed Russia for strongman rule.

We let Russia know we wouldn't hesitate to attack.  We even positioned anti-missile batteries on their borders with the unconvincing cover story that they were to protect Europe from an Iranian attack.  And all this stealth technology? It's aimed at two countries, China and Russia. It's intended to take down their sophisticated air defence networks to pave the way for their aerial subjugation. The Americans have even done full-scale dress rehearsals that revealed our willingness to strike without notice, pre-emptively if you like.  We've shown the Russians - and the Chinese - they need their own stealth squadrons.



Today the Cold War that never really ended, not really, is returning to business as usual.  Putin has commissioned the deployment of new, long-range ballistic missiles; a new strategic bomber; new warheads and new submarines.  As Vice reports the undersea arms race is really heating up.



Last week what was believed to be a Russian sub had the Swedes chasing their tails in the Stockholm archipelago.   This week it's Latvia's turn.  They've got the wind up after spotting what appears to be a Russian sub tender in their waters.

It's a good thing we've got six CF-18 jets defending the airspace over the Baltic nations, again on Russia's doorstep, because Moscow is giving them plenty of warplanes to keep them hopping.  Let's just hope those RCAF Hornets never have to go head to head with Russia's Su-35s.

When the White House discovered in recent weeks that its unclassified computer systems had been breached, intelligence officials examined the digital evidence and focused on a prime suspect: Russia, which they believe is using its highly sophisticated cyber capabilities to test American defenses. But its tracks were well covered, and officials say they may never know for sure.
They have no doubt, however, about what happened this week on the edges of NATO territory in Europe. More than two dozen Russian aircraft, including four Tu-95 strategic bombers, flew through the Baltic and Black Seas, along the coast of Norway and all the way to Portugal, staying over international waters but prompting NATO forces to send up intercepting aircraft.




Taken together, they represent the old and the updated techniques of Cold War signal-sending. In the Soviet era, both sides probed each other’s defenses, hoping to learn something from the reaction those tests of will created. In 2014, cyber is the new weapon, one that can be used with less restraint, and because its creators believe they cannot be traced and can create a bit of havoc without prompting a response.
From Bush to Clinton to Bush and, now, Obama, we've kept the embers of Cold War burning and now, quite predictably, we're back in business.  All that danger, all that money, all those lives - and it was all for nothing.  I know, maybe we can tell ourselves all this is "noble."

The Incredible Downfall of Dean Del Mastro

Montreal Simon - ven, 10/31/2014 - 12:19


Uh oh. Beat a drum slowly. Or if you're in the Harper PMO beat a gong furiously.

The Deaner is DOWN !!!! 

A judge has found Peterborough, Ont., MP Dean Del Mastro guilty of spending too much in the 2008 federal election and falsifying a document to cover it up. Del Mastro now faces the prospect of losing his seat in the House of Commons and possibly being sentenced to up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Read more »

Friday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - ven, 10/31/2014 - 08:09
Assorted content to end your week.

- Natasha Luckhardt examines what we can expect from Burger King's takeover of Tim Hortons - and the news isn't good for Canadian workers and citizens alike. But Jim Stanford reminds us that we're not without some public policy options by following up on the employment effects of an increased minimum wage.

- Of course, that would require a government committed to ensuring that the benefits of public policy go where they're needed. And we plainly can't count on that as long as the Cons are in power - as Kathleen Lahey, Jennifer Robson, and Scott Clark and Peter DeVries all note in discussing the distortions created by income splitting. Per Clark and DeVries:
According to the Harper government, income-splitting will cost Ottawa $2.4 billion 2014-15 and $1.9 billion in 2015-16. That’s an awful lot of revenue to give up just to make a small group of well-heeled taxpayers happy. Why do these households deserve a deep tax break more than the vast majority of Canadian taxpayer? How can the government justify a re-distribution of income that benefits the wealthy?
...
There is no justification whatsoever for introducing income-splitting on social or economic grounds — certainly not in the current economic environment. The argument that the government makes — that it did it for seniors and therefore it should be applied to other families — doesn’t make a particle of sense. The fact is that the Harper government gave income-splitting to seniors to make amends for its decision to tax income trusts.

Income-splitting is being done to placate a small part of the Conservative base at the expense of virtually everyone else.- Meanwhile, Canada Without Poverty highlights the Cons' targeted attacks at those who most need help, this time through a budget which attacks benefits to refugees.

- But in case anybody thought that meant the general public is safe from the Cons' action, Scott Anderson and Vanmala Subramaniam report on the latest example of gross regulatory neglect - as Transport Canada let GM vehicles with a deadly flaw stay on the road after failing to follow up on an investigation. (And as an added bonus, Lisa Raitt lied to the public about her department's knowledge - though that seems to be the trend among Harper and his provincial puppet governments.)

- Finally, the CP reports on the NDP's work to pass an environmental bill of rights.

Was Nathan Cirillo A Hero?

Politics and its Discontents - ven, 10/31/2014 - 06:43


As I noted on this blog previously, it is always a tragedy when a young person loses his or her life, whether to accident, disease, or mayhem. The lost potential is incalculable. Like me, however, I suspect many found the mythologizing of Nathan Cirillo's murder, his passage on the Highway of Heroes, and what amounted to a state funeral, attended by an array of dignitaries, including the Prime Minister, a little much. And as a cynical observer of the political landscape, I cannot escape the notion that all of the ceremony will prove to be of great benefit to the Harper regime's propaganda machine and its ongoing efforts to reduce our civil liberties.

This morning, a friend of mine alerted me to a piece by the Hamilton Spectator's Andrew Dreschel. It is a frank and honest assessment of this past week's spectacle. It is also brave, as I suspect it will earn him a barrage of hate mail.

While in no way detracting from the loss of this young man, Dreschel offers an unsentimental assessment of what happened:
The 24-year-old Hamilton reservist was murdered in cold blood by a homeless crack addict with terrorist notions while he was ceremonially guarding the National War Memorial in Ottawa.

Cirillo's death was tragic and senseless, but in no way was it heroic.Dreschel then goes on to talk about what constitutes heroism: those who display remarkable courage,
by performing brave deeds and daring feats — risking or sacrificing your life to save others, valiantly defending a position, boldly destroying the enemy.But Cirillo never got the chance to show the stuff of which he was made:
He died unprepared and unarmed, the unlucky victim of a seemingly deranged killer who was himself gunned down after storming Parliament.All of the subsequent coverage gave this tragedy a life of its own, culminating in what the writer describes as secular canonization.

Dreschel ends on this note:
Through no action of his own, the accidental victim had become an accidental hero. But sadly, like all accident victims, he just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.Unsentimental and accurate, the column raises some disturbing issues that we should all be honest enough and brave enough to confront. Of course, it is right to feel grief and empathy in tragic situations; obviously it is part of what makes us human. But we should also be keenly aware that those very human responses can work to our detriment if they are not leavened by the knowledge that those in positions of trust with far darker motives may try to exploit them to their own advantage.Recommend this Post

Of Course There is Do-It-Yourself Abortion in New Brunswick

Dammit Janet - ven, 10/31/2014 - 06:31
Well, who didn't see this coming?
Because abortions are nearly impossible to access in New Brunswick, people in need of the procedure have begun terminating their pregnancies themselves.
Whenever and wherever women have found it impossible to continue a pregnancy and to find competent help to end it, they have resorted to whatever is handy and has the slightest chance of working. And, it is to be hoped, not kill or maim them.

Right now, for example:

A woman in Morocco looking for help is considering drinking bleach to end her pregnancy. In Poland, a rape victim says she’s thinking about hitting her stomach with a stick to induce a miscarriage. Another woman desperately emails, “I am not a monster, I just cannot have the baby.”

These are the distressed messages that Women on Waves receive every day from women who live in countries where abortion is illegal. The organisation, an activist group famous for providing abortions on a ship in international waters, has recently been chronicled in the award-winning film, Vessel. The movie follows the work of Dutch doctor Rebecca Gomperts and her crew as they work around various countries’ abortion laws – and sometimes just flout them – to help women end their pregnancies.

While watching the film, which has its New York premiere next month, it’s hard not think about the current hostile climate for reproductive rights here in the US and wonder: How long until illegal abortion is the norm here, too?If the Women on Waves ship visits North America, a period anchored in Northumberland Strait would be useful to the women of PEI and New Brunswick who are denied -- for purely political reasons -- access to a common medical procedure available to the rest of Canadian women.

In the meantime, here's some advice from the organization's website, Women on Web.
The best and safest way a woman can do an abortion herself until the 12th week of pregnancy is with the use of two medicines called Mifepristone (also known as the abortion pill, RU 486, Mifegyn, Mifeprex), and Misoprostol (also known as Cytotec, Arthrotec, Oxaprost, Cyprostol, Mibetec, Prostokos or Misotrol). If you live in a country where there is no access to safe abortion services and you would like to obtain a medical abortion with Mifepristone and Misoprostol, please go to Women on Web (www.womenonweb.org).While women may be just as desperate as ever, the (semi-) good news is that DIY abortion is safer.
Although abortion is still illegal in many countries around the world, "do-it-yourself" (DIY) medical abortion means that it has become much safer compared to traditional methods such as inserting foreign objects in the uterus or ingesting poisons. However, there are still dangers when women buy dubious medication on the black market and take it without any instructions or medical supervision -- hence, the urgent need for groups like [new international foundation called Women Help Women] WHW, as well as Women on Web. The latter group courageously piloted the online provision of medical abortion in 2006, proving the viability and safety of this model.
And speaking of politics, the newly elected Liberal Premier of New Brunswick is already walking back one of his major promises. He seems to be changing his tune on fracking.

Gee, I wonder how the fetus fetishists of the province will respond to that news, given recent research showing that fracking increases the risk of fetuses developing congenital heart problems?

Reproductive Justice New Brunswick is keeping track of Gallant's shilly-shallying on his abortion review promise with its Days of Inaction Timer.

New Brunswick women who can afford it and have a passport will continue to contribute to the spike in abortions provided in Maine. But women who can't afford it will resort to other means, necessarily less safe than medical abortion.

Any less-than-ideal consequences of that will be on you, Premier Gallant.


Stephen Harper and the Buying of the Next Election

Montreal Simon - ven, 10/31/2014 - 04:53


It looked like a remake of the 1950s TV show Dialling for Dollars. Or one of those Christian TV programs where the lame are made to walk.

But it was only Stephen Harper strutting around a stage in a Jewish school in Julian Fantino's riding.

Announcing plans to buy the next election.
Read more »

wmtc movie and series season now open: your suggestions are welcome

we move to canada - ven, 10/31/2014 - 03:30
Baseball season was painfully short for Red Sox fans this year. When your team wins a grand total of 71 games it's a chore to watch, and I gave up early. The postseason, on the other hand, was incredible, and I watched (at least until I fell asleep) every night.

I was mildly disappointed that the Royals didn't go all the way, but going to Game 7 of the World Series and losing that by only one run is awesome. And the Giants play in one of my favourite cities and ballparks, so it's not like I hate them, either. All in all, a great October.

Because the 2014 Red Sox sucked, I've watched more TV and movies than I normally would during the baseball season. But Movie Season started in earnest last night, with Season 3 of The Wire.

So what movies did you see and would recommend since this time last year? If you emailed or Facebooked me with titles, please still feel free to post them here.

Movies: always looking for well-made documentaries, quirky indies, suspenseful noir, crime thrillers or capers, mind-benders, smart teen movies, and smart comedies. Don't care about action, zombies, most sci-fi, or standard rom-coms.

Series: Sons of Anarchy and The Shield are on our list. We're watching one season of The Wire every winter. Breaking Bad, maybe one day. Game of Thrones, never. Mad Men, never. Got something not on this list?

Binge viewing update: finished Farscape, finished Longmire (need more!!), and am currently watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (I know, what took me so long. Didn't care about TV in those days!) Buffy is going quickly, so anything good with lots of episodes, I'm game.

TV Comedies: Loved Parks & Rec until we stopped loving it and gave up. Netflix ended Community in the middle of a season and I'm waiting for more. Finished (and would love more of) Bob's Burgers, BoJack Horseman, and Brooklyn 9-9. Currently watching and loving The Mindy Project.

Harper's War and the Rise of ISIS

Montreal Simon - jeu, 10/30/2014 - 23:50


Back in my teenage days when I was studying martial arts and fighting a lot, I tattooed this famous Sun Tzu quote on the back of my right shoulder:

"Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster."

Which I deeply regret now along with so many other things. 

But with Canadian warplanes maybe only hours away from beginning to bomb the ISIS hordes. 

It's probably a good time for all us to know the enemy. 
Read more »

Seriously, From Here on In, This Might Be as Good as It Gets. But, on the Other Hand. It's Something Else.

The Disaffected Lib - jeu, 10/30/2014 - 23:05
My all-time band, from the very first time I heard "Satisfaction" to today and, almost certainly, forever.  The Rolling Stones with former,  albeit briefly, band member, Mick Taylor.  Oh yeah, and Bernard Fowler.

Got a nice ling cod and a 12-lb salmon today.  I'm blessed.

#BeenRapedNeverReported ***trigger warning***

The Regina Mom - jeu, 10/30/2014 - 21:23

This week has been something thereginamom never imagined but totally welcomes. Yes, she’s talking about the Jian Ghomeshi story.  But she’s taking it further.  Much further.

When the story first broke, trm was in community meetings so it wasn’t until the story of his dismissal from the CBC was all over social media that she saw it.  Quite frankly, she didn’t know what to think.  But then The Star delivered the stories of  anonymous women who had had remarkably similar non-consensual sexual experiences with Ghomeshi and things changed.  She wanted to believe the women. thereginamom is also a survivor of sexual assault and rape.

So much has happened in the intervening days.  Three anonymous women became eight women, six anonymous and two self-identified.  Their stories have brought on a flood of information on social media, including tonight’s Twitter hashtag, #BeenRapedNeverReported.  It’s also seen the CBC announce a 3rd party investigation into the allegations against Ghomeshi, the communications firm and PR company he used drop him as a client, and the Toronto Chief of Police issue a call for all victims of rape or other assault to come forward.  It says something significant about our society and system of so-called justice that women do not come forward to insist on justice after being raped.

thereginamom didn’t either.  In fact, it wasn’t until years later, when she found feminism and understood that no means no, that she stopped blaming herself for being raped.  trm doesn’t like that due process has not yet been served but she does like that people are listening, hearing, and believing the stories these women have told.  And there are so many more women with stories to tell, as evidenced by Twitter tonight.  When trm joined in the tweetfest she referenced a poem she’d written about her experience of rape.  She struggled with including it in her book but eventually decided to do so.  And so, on the occasion of #BeenRapedNeverReported, here is that poem.

Oktoberfest

She’s known eighteen ordinary autumns
that blow away summer heat and leaves.

She doesn’t know that tonight at the Agridome
where ein prosits empty glasses

one genuine German suggesting fun
will tease her into a party for two

snake her to a room, shed
charm, rough hands

around her belly,
fingernails

on breasts, scratching
her torso, ripping

at hair and skin.
He will toggle her

to the bed
cock poking

her
dry.

c. 2010 Bernadette Wagner, This hot place (Thistledown Press)


And the Winner Is.....

Anti-Racist Canada - jeu, 10/30/2014 - 16:22

So it would seem that my substitute writer offered a $50.00 cash prize to the winner of the Paulie election banner contest. And as a result I am on the hook.

And that is absolutely fine with me.

It just so happens that ARC knows the individual who created this particular banner. If she would kindly send us an email so we could send the money, we will be getting that out asap.

Harper's Perps with Perks #12

Creekside - jeu, 10/30/2014 - 15:32

Please welcome former citizenship judge Philip Gaynor to Harper's Perps with Perks for stealing and selling copies of citizenship tests to two immigration consultants for cash. The papers were then given to the consultants' citizenship applicants.
In sentencing Gaynor to three years, the Ontario judge was not convinced by the explanation that Gaynor didn’t want to see “good people” be denied citizenship because they failed the multiple-choice test.

A volunteer on the election campaign of late FinMin Jim Flaherty, Gaynor was first appointed by Monte Solberg and reappointed to a second three year term in 2009 by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.  

The Star : "The position of citizenship judge is a political, quasi-judicial appointment that doesn’t necessarily require legal experience. The judge administers citizenship exams, adjudicates if an applicant meets all the citizenship requirements, and swears in the country’s new citizens at ceremonies. They make between $91,800 and $107,900 a year."

They can be appointed for any number of reasons,” explained a past-president of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council.

When Mr Gaynor was arrested last year, Jason Kenney issued a statement that "Canadian citizenship is not for sale".

No, but up til this summer you could rent it  -  if you invested $800K with the government.
The investor class immigrants have been laughing all the way to the bank. According to the feds’ own research, over a 20-year period an investor class immigrant will pay $200,000 less in taxes than a skilled worker immigrant and $100,000 less in taxes than a live-in nanny. The immigrant billionaire living on the west side pays less in Canadian taxes than his immigrant babysitter.Or you could just fake the citizenship ceremony to help out Sun TV. after you noticed CBC was doing a real one.

h/t Bat signal from Canadian Cynic

Perp with Perks Virtual Boxed Set - Get yours today! 
.

Leave those kids alone

Dawg's Blawg - jeu, 10/30/2014 - 15:11
Remember “Spring Spheres?” Somewhere in Seattle a school supposedly banned the term “Easter eggs” because it was felt to be “non-inclusive.” The usual suspects were enraged. Those of us on the side of a somewhat more robust form of “inclusiveness”... Dr.Dawg http://drdawgsblawg.ca/

November Is the Cruelest month…

Left Over - jeu, 10/30/2014 - 10:23
Unable to find affordable housing, 82-year-old living in Victoria shelter

SARAH PETRESCU / TIMES COLONIST
OCTOBER 29, 2014 09:58 PM

All I want is a room somewhere

Far away from the cold night air

With one enormous chair…..

Ah, wouldn’t that be loverly?

I have been indulging myself in creepy fantasies of just this sort of thing happening to me, and others like me..

I am  lucky to have a partial pension from work, but it doesn’t do very far, and it just covers my rent (but not utilities…)

I realize that, compared to this woman, I am doing  okay, but…

Who knows for how long?  Being a senior used to be something that, frankly, I looked forward to…my time being my own, and a bit of comfort out if the weather…after  many years of physical labor in all weather, I  thought that I could finally be free of the need to worry..but guess that  never leaves us…

Canada’s cities are often touted as the most desirable places to live, etc…blah blah blah….

The one I’m in now is  a beaut, I  am happy to be here in many ways..but it is super expensive, and now food is getting to the point where I will have to be very careful what I buy, and where..

This issue was not part of the rosy picture I painted for myself,  thought that I had  budgeted carefully , assuming I would always have enough.  Now?  Not so sure…

Senior’s grants in BC have supposedly gone up  but I see no evidence of that..the SAFER grant, a bit extra for those of us who rent, has just been fiddled with and as of December, I will be making  $100 less as a rent subsidy than before…a huge amount  for me, but still, I can manage if I’m careful…

I  feel so much empathy for this woman, and all the elderly men and women  who  also  are in this same situation..what can be done?

I have no answers, but the chill of November just entered my soul after reading this. Autumn has always been my  favorite time of the year…up til now.


New column day

accidentaldeliberations - jeu, 10/30/2014 - 07:30
Here, asking what we can do to make sure that individuals who seek help for their mental health and addictions issues through the criminal justice system find more support than Michael Zehaf-Bibeau did - both for their own well-being, and for the safety of the Canadian public.

For further reading...
- CBC reported on Zehaf-Bibeau's interaction with the criminal justice system. And again, Ian Mulgrew also weighed in on the failure to offer any help to somebody who was crying out for it.
- Karl Nerenberg writes that the Cons' expected response to last week's shootings - consisting of increased power for a security apparatus focused on labelling people as threats - would have done nothing at all to prevent Zehaf-Bibeau's actions. - Linda McQuaig reminds us that the Cons have every political incentive to foster a culture of fear, even as Tom Henheffer recognizes how toxic that culture would be for Canada as a whole.
- But Frank Graves notes that public fear tends to fade fairly quickly after a single incident brings security to the forefront.
- And finally, Eric Adams writes that we can and should remember our best selves in the wake of a crisis rather than abandoning our values. 

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