Feed aggregator

A Duty to Abort?

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 07:06
In recent weeks the atheist crowd were left to cringe as one of their leaders, British scientist Richard Dawkins, appeared to defend "light pedophilia." Dawkins said his own schoolboy experience of having a master put his hands down his pants was essentially harmless.  No harm, no foul.

Now Dawkins is at it again.  This time it's to claim that a woman, knowing that she's carrying a Down Syndrome baby, has a duty to abort the foetus. 

The British author made the comment in response to another user who said she would be faced with “a real ethical dilemma” if she became pregnant and learned that the baby would be born with the disorder.Dawkins tweeted: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”
Richard Dawkins might not believe in god but he acts like he'd love to play one.,

Refusing To Follow The American Model

Northern Reflections - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 06:50


From the start, the F-35 was a testosterone fuelled dream. Jonathan Manthorpe writes:

The F-35 concept was born of fantasy fertilized by hubris. The idea was to design and build a single plane that could perform a multitude of air warfare tasks, and which also would incorporate all the technological wizardry of stealth, sensor fusion and manoeuvrability. The F-35 was intended to be an aerial combat fighter, equally at home on land or aircraft carrier bases, also capable of performing the very different role of close air support for ground troops. And there are to be three versions: one for the Navy, a conventional Air Force model and a short takeoff and landing version for the Marine Corps.
To cover the costs, the United States assumed that its NATO partners would buy into the dream. However, things have not worked out that way. Canada has put a hold on its purchase of the jet. So have a host of other NATO countries:

While Canada has put the purchase of the F-35s on hold pending reports from a National Fighter Procurement Secretariat, Italy and the Netherlands already have announced sharp cutbacks in the number of the planes they plan to buy. Denmark is holding a competition that will test the F-35 against other fighters, such as Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet. Canada may well take the same route.

The U.K., Norway, Turkey and Israel also are tempering their initial enthusiasm for the F-35 project and have cut back on the numbers they planned to order a decade ago.
And the cost of the jets keeps rising:

When the programme was started in 2001, the Pentagon signed on for 2,852 planes at a cost of $233 billion. But as design problems mounted and costly delays continued, the Pentagon reduced its order by 409 fighters. Just to hold the lifetime cost of the programme to the gargantuan $1.5 trillion now forecast, 3,000 of the F-35s will have to be built and sold.
The United States may fly the F-35. But the country's deficit will rise. And NATO countries do not wish to follow the American model.

Two? Two?! TWO!?

Fat and Not Afraid - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 05:00

Two years ago today Katherine was born via cesearan in a BC hospital. Her delivery was fraught, my recovery slow, but other than that little bump at the beginning the last two years have been AMAZING. She is the sunniest toddler in the 'verse (and I can say that 'cause I'm her mom and it's her birthday!) and I truly never ever thought I could love like this. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity. Sure, it's not sunshine and roses every second of every day but it never is so I dont' expect it to be. She's almost potty trained, speaking in 3-5 word sentences (though pronunciation and word placement still needs work), loves bunnies, Spiderman, trucks and Toopy and Binoo, playing outside and especially at the park on the swings, and car rides. Omg does this girl love car rides! Doesn't matter if it's to the beach or to just dropping me at work, her day isn't complete without a 'caw wide!' Sadly I work all day today so I wont see her much but I know she's going to have fun with her Auntie Melissa and other family.

Happiest of happy birthdays to you, my sunshine girl!


Stephen Harper's Deeply Disturbing Descent into Tea Bagger Hell

Montreal Simon - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 02:49

He is sounding more deranged every day. You can see the desperation in this cold dead eyes.

He's flailing away in every direction, trying anything he can think of to try to make himself more popular.

One moment he's Great Warrior Leader, a legend in his own mind.

The next moment he's a Republican Tea Bagger denouncing the "liberal elites."  
Read more »

The Day Dr Chris Lectured Stephen Harper

Montreal Simon - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 23:56

He's been slowly killing medicare in his usual creepy stealthy way. Nibble nibble, gnaw, gnaw.

Killing it with neglect, and preparing to bleed it dry. 

So most of it can be privatized, just like the Cons in Britain are doing to that country's National Health Service. The magnificent system that inspired our own.

And most dangerously of all he has done absolutely nothing to help prepare our health system for the increasing influx of aging baby boomers.

And is setting the stage for an absolute nightmare of unnecessary human suffering.

So I'm really glad to see that the new president of the Canadian Medical Association is finally taking aim at Stephen Harper's criminally irresponsible inaction. 
Read more »

Jaywalking in Ferguson

Cathie from Canada - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 23:00
I found this report on Daily Kos to be shocking and horrifyingFerguson makes 2.6 million dollars a year from court fees. In 2013, the court "disposed of 24,532 warrants and 12,018 cases, or about 3 warrants and 1.5 cases per household."
There's your smoking gun. If it seems the town of Ferguson sees protesters as something less than human and more like cattle that have escaped their pen, it may be because the town has been "farming" their mostly-black population as a vital source of revenue for a good long time. In Ferguson, a ticket for jaywalking can be the gateway to repeated jail stays, homelessness, and a lifetime of poverty.The white paper which Hunter is discussing is here.
So maybe this helps to explain why Michael Brown was trying to get away from a jaywalking charge -- he didn't have the $275 fine.

Justin Calling

Tattered Sleeve - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 21:51
Justin Calling to Albertan towns

Now the election's undeclared, but expected regardless

Justin Calling to the oilsands

Forget about Pierre and his Energy plans

Justin Calling, now look here to us

The new Trudeaumania is on the up'n'up

Mulcair isn't catching

Harper's on the way out

The Cons are corrupted

The Greens got no clout

A BQ error, leaves the left in the clear

And Justin is calling and I'll...

Go for the winner!

Justin calling, yes, I was there, too

An' you know what they said? Well, some of it was true!

London calling at the top of the dial

After all this, won't you give me a smile?

Justin calling to the gun registry arm

Forget it brother, that's a horse that's long gone!

Justin calling to the zombies of Ignatief

Quit bitchin' bout, those (true) ads all negative

Justin calling, and I don't want to flout

But while you were sulking, I glad-handed about

Justin calling, see we ain't getting high

But there's taxes to be raised from making it legalized

Mulcair just ain't catching

Harper's on the way out

The Cons are corrupted

The Greens got no clout

A BQ error, leaves the left in the clear

And Justin is calling and I'll...

Go for the winner!

Justin calling, yes, I got swept up too

And you know what they said? Well, his brother Sacha's true!

Justin calling through the Mop & Pail bile

After all this, won't you give me a smile?

Justin calling

I never hoped so much, so much so much!

- 30 -

The Mulcair Solution: Fence-Sitting as Political Suicide….

Left Over - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 18:06
Quebec NDP MP Sana Hassainia defects over Mideast position

By Susana Mas, CBC News Posted: Aug 20, 2014 1:48 PM ET Last Updated: Aug 20, 2014 7:16 PM ET




Sad to say, the NDP has always waffled on this issue, and it’s one of many reasons I refuse to join the party or do any more volunteer work for campaigns…I will, also unfortunately, have to keep voting for them as there is no progressive alternative around…if the Greens ever cease kowtowing to the Tories, I might have to go there.May is the only ones with the guts to take a principled stand on the Israel-Palestine issue….

The fact that Mulcair has decided to take cheap shots at Hassainia’s  ‘attendance’  or comment that they tried to ‘accommodate’ her by allowing her to breastfeed in a private office is  so pathetic that I can’t think of anything that isn’t too vulgar to compare it with.

I can’t help but wish that she had  breastfed right from her seat in the house, that would have stirred things up! Suffice to say, I am disappointed (as usual) with the NDP, but sadly, not too surprised…

I’m guessing they are in panic mode because they have foolishly sat back and watched as Junior Trudeau went out and pressed the flesh, his gleaming smile and spit curls on the forehead charming the average disgruntled Tory voter (read: ex-Libs) and stealing all the thunder  garnered by the NDP in Quebec..

Mulcair is great in the House, no denying it; but  the average voter could care less…he is allowing the Cons and Libs to take the fight to him, instead of being out there  meeting the public, at least once in a while…and  this latest defection will help not at all…

Sorry, I've Been Kinda Busy...

Politics and its Discontents - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 16:36
That must be the reason that people like Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and her parliamentary secretary Jeff Watson haven't yet had time to read the Transportation Safety Board's damning report on last year's Lac-Mégantic train derailment that killed 47 people:

Recommend this Post

Is Obama Bombing the Right Targets?

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 13:56

Maybe Obama needs to expand the target list for his bombers trying to thwart Islamist extremists in Iraq.  Why not bomb a few royal palaces in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Gulf states?  These crown princes and sheikhs unleashed Sunni outfits like Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda and lavishly funded them for years. Many believe they're still funding them under the table.

What sanctions are being imposed on these prominent Arabs by the West?  None. Why not?  Because they're our friends, supposedly.  Or at least they sell us oil and buy our weapons.  But what kind of friend supports Wahhabists and Salafists? That would be an underhanded, double-dealing friend and that's no friend at all.

It's time our "friends" were handed the Butcher's Bill for their perfidy.  They've got oodles of weapons.  We saw to that.  They've got plenty of people to use them.  We trained those guys.  It's time we told our "friends" that it's on them now.  It's on them to intervene to defeat ISIS and hunt down Islamist terrorists wherever they have spread.

This is their mess.  They can damned well clean it up.  Or else we can just start leveling their palaces until they see the light.

Could Harper Deploy Troops Against Canadians?

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 13:13

I was taken aback by a post from Geoff Kennedy at Parchment in the Fire entitled, "EU Advisors Advocate use of Military Against Strikes and Protests | Global Research."

The thrust of this report is that military forces should be employed to defend the interests of the extremely wealthy from unrest among the masses.  The key author was professor Tomas Ries, currently with the Swedish Institute for International Affairs.  Geoff writes:

Ries sees the central threat to “security” in a violent “conflict between unequal socioeconomic classes in global society,” which were “in vertical asymmetric tensions in the global village.” Put simply, the main “security issue” is class struggle in the globalised world economy.

For the inevitable social, economic and political conflicts which would emerge from this inequality, he recommended that the EU enter a “symbiosis” with the global corporations. The power of these companies “in the areas of technology and economy is constantly growing, while they are also winning influence in other areas. But they need the state and the state needs them.”

With the financial crisis, the state had already fulfilled its part in the “symbiosis.” The population had been burdened with the banks’ debts, and the living conditions of the working class had been attacked and undermined.

As a consequence of these fundamental attacks on the social rights of the working class, according to Ries, social conflict will inevitably develop which would constrain important areas of infrastructure.

The rich had to be protected from the poor, the professor explained. Since “the percentage of the population who were poor and frustrated would continue to be very high, the tensions between this world and the world of the rich would continue to increase, with corresponding consequences. Since we will hardly be able to overcome the origin of this problem by 2020, i.e., the functional defects of society, we will have to protect ourselves more strongly.”

Ordinarily I would have written this off, putting it down to just more ravings of another Euro-crank.  However much of what Ries advocates is now being put into place in the United States. I wrote about this the other day in a post about America's Posse Comitatus Act which prohibited the deployment of U.S. military forces against the American people.

That's "prohibited" as in past tense.  The intent of the Act was quietly watered down by Bush-Cheney in 2006 when Bush persuaded Congress to enact an express authority for the use of military force on American streets:   "The President may employ the armed forces... to... restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition... the President determines that... domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order... or [to] suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy..."

Which leads me to wonder - if the Europeans are toying with it and the Americans have already put it in place, would our Divine Leader be reluctant to invoke The Emergencies Act, successor to The War Measures Act, to use military muscle to put down civilian unrest, say in the form of large scale opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline?

The Act allows the prime minister, with a cooperative Governor General, to impose martial law in the event of, "public order emergency." The Harper gang are utterly intolerant of dissent, especially when it results in protest.  How far would protest have to go before our Constitutional Beelzebub declares it an emergency under the Act?  And, as for Harper's stooge in Rideau Hall, is there any reason to trust that he would defend Canadians against the excesses of our prime minister?  With deviants like Joe Oliver ready to denounce environmentalists as terrorists who are 'inimical' to the country and with CSIS (and presumably CSEC), the national police already in secret service to Big Oil we have a government that plainly sees those who stand opposed to its will as enemies of the state.

The Governor in Council is authorized to declare a public order emergency exists in the event of a "threat to the security of Canada" as defined in s,. 2 of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act:

“threats to the security of Canada” means
  • (a) espionage or sabotage that is against Canada or is detrimental to the interests of Canada or activities directed toward or in support of such espionage or sabotage,
  • (b) foreign influenced activities within or relating to Canada that are detrimental to the interests of Canada and are clandestine or deceptive or involve a threat to any person,
  • (c) activities within or relating to Canada directed toward or in support of the threat or use of acts of serious violence against persons or property for the purpose of achieving a political, religious or ideological objective within Canada or a foreign state, and
  • (d) activities directed toward undermining by covert unlawful acts, or directed toward or intended ultimately to lead to the destruction or overthrow by violence of, the constitutionally established system of government in Canada,
but does not include lawful advocacy, protest or dissent, unless carried on in conjunction with any of the activities referred to in paragraphs (a) to (d). Joe Oliver obviously had s. 2(b) in mind when he spoke of Canadian dissidents being under the influence of foreign organizations and when he declared dissenting Canadians "inimical (detrimental) to the interests of Canada."  That alone gives the game away. The Act itself is hopelessly vague on the powers of the government on declaration of an "emergency." Preamble to The Emergencies Act: WHEREAS the safety and security of the individual, the protection of the values of the body politic and the preservation of the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of the state are fundamental obligations of government; AND WHEREAS the fulfilment of those obligations in Canada may be seriously threatened by a national emergency and, in order to ensure safety and security during such an emergency, the Governor in Council should be authorized, subject to the supervision of Parliament, to take special temporary measures that may not be appropriate in normal times;

Operative sections:

17. (1) When the Governor in Council believes, on reasonable grounds, that a public order emergency exists and necessitates the taking of special temporary measures for dealing with the emergency, the Governor in Council, after such consultation as is required by section 25, may, by proclamation, so declare.
  •  (2) A declaration of a public order emergency shall specify
    • (a) concisely the state of affairs constituting the emergency;
    • (b) the special temporary measures that the Governor in Council anticipates may be necessary for dealing with the emergency; and
    • (c) if the effects of the emergency do not extend to the whole of Canada, the area of Canada to which the effects of the emergency extend.
  •  19. (1) While a declaration of a public order emergency is in effect, the Governor in Council may make such orders or regulations with respect to the following matters as the Governor in Council believes, on reasonable grounds, are necessary for dealing with the emergency:
    • (a) the regulation or prohibition of
      • (i) any public assembly that may reasonably be expected to lead to a breach of the peace,
      • (ii) travel to, from or within any specified area, or
      • (iii) the use of specified property;
    • (b) the designation and securing of protected places;
    • (c) the assumption of the control, and the restoration and maintenance, of public utilities and services;
    But the Act does embody certain protections.  The conclusion of the preamble states, "the Governor in Council, in taking such special temporary measures, would be subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Bill of Rights and must have regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, particularly with respect to those fundamental rights that are not to be limited or abridged even in a national emergency.  The Act also requires the emergency order to be brought before the House for consideration and debate.

    Harper would therefore be restrained by his arch-nemesis, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  Once again our last line of defence against our jackboot government would rest with the Supreme Court of Canada.  Knowing Harper the defiant would be spending a good bit of time in the Greybar Hotel before the court could intervene.


    Cathie from Canada - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 11:16
    Doesn't Canada's official languages commissioner have better things to do than investigate John Baird’s tweets?

    Is this the goal, to make the commissioner's office look ridiculous and trivial?
    If so, they're succeeding.

    Harper Northern Tour Caption Winners

    FFIBS - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 10:25

    Harper Nortern Tour 2014Thank you to all those who entered.

    Filed under: 2011 Election

    Wednesday Morning Links

    accidentaldeliberations - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 07:58
    Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

    - David Leonhardt offers a revealing look at the relative priorities of wealthier and poorer regions of the U.S. And Patricia Cohen discusses the disproportionate effect of inequality and poverty on women:
    It’s at the lowest income levels that the burden on women stands out. Not only are they more likely than men to be in a minimum-wage job, but women are also much more likely to be raising a family on their own.
    “Inequality is rising among women as well as men, but at the bottom, women are struggling with some dimensions of these problems that men aren’t, which is raising and supporting these families as single heads of households,” said Francine Blau, an economist at Cornell University.
    So while the number of families living on less than $2 per person per day doubled between 1996 and 2011, according to the National Poverty Center, it tripled among families headed by a lone woman.
    Wages are only one part of the problem, said Arlie Russell Hochschild, a sociologist at the University of California, Berkeley, whose 1989 book, “The Second Shift,” described how fathers rarely chipped in with housework and child care even when their wives were working full-time. She notes that as men’s economic opportunities decline, so do their marriage prospects. The increase in poor single mothers means that many of the lowest-wage workers are not getting any help in the second shift.- But while that example reflects market outcomes rather than policy choices, sometimes right-wing disdain for vulnerable people is actually made explicit. And Lizanne Foster exposes the B.C. Libs' apparent hostility toward special needs children - whose learning supports are being put on the chopping block as "wage benefits".

    - Andy Blatchford reports on the Transportation Safety Board's findings about the Lac-Megantic rail explosion. The Globe and Mail editorial board highlights the failure of Transport Canada to properly regulate an increasingly dangerous industry, while Paul Wells notes that the history of railway self-regulation extends back to the Libs' stay in power.

    - Meanwhile, in another prime example of the conflict of interest inherent in letting corporations (and their hand-picked consultants) regulate themselves, David Dayen discusses how the U.S.' big banks avoid public regulation by instead choosing their own investigators.

    - The Star points out that the Cons' obsession with austerity and deficits is entirely political. But it's also worth recognizing that any talk of balancing a budget is purely temporary: as soon as the red ink stops flowing for a year, their plan is to start slashing taxes again to make sure the federal government lacks the capacity to repair the Cons' damage. And David MacDonald charts the public revenue already lost to a decade and a half of corporate tax giveaways.

    - Finally, Marilyn Reid takes a look at how CETA fits into the Cons' general philosophy of suppressing wages and rendering work more precarious.

    Pros and Cons

    Politics and its Discontents - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 05:45

    Following up on Rona Ambrose's stout denial that the government's planned anti-marijuana campaign has anything to do with trying to undermine Justin Trudeau, along with Canadian doctors refusing to be part of a campaign that has become, as they describe it, political messaging, here are the perspectives of two National Post readers:

    Re: Health Canada Doesn’t Endorse Medical Use Of Pot, Ambrose Says, Aug. 19.

    The time for legalizing marijuana is long overdue. It strikes as more than a little hypocritical that the politicians in this country spend our tax dollars to bewail the evils of pot, while alcohol is given a free pass on being socially acceptable.

    It would be interesting to compare the harms caused by alcohol and marijuana. Should we start with tallying vehicular injury and death? Then we could calculate which substance contributes more to violent crime. Then look at which is more likely to cause social ills, such as broken families and spousal abuse. Then we could also measure the medical costs incurred on the health system by both substances.

    Every state in the U.S. that has fully legalized marijuana has reported only positive results — socially and economically. It is time that the politicians and the people benefiting from this draconian system of prohibition accept the facts.

    Robert Fitzpatrick, Sicamous B.C.

    Playing politics

    By refusing to take part in a Health Canada anti-drug campaign that will target young people, the doctors are showing their political bias in favour of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, who supports legalizing marijuana use. Can’t they see that they have allowed their politics to prevent their informed opinion on discouraging marijuana use to be propagated?

    Jiti Khanna, Vancouver.Recommend this Post

    One Turn Deserves Another

    Northern Reflections - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 05:36


    The time has come, Lawrence Martin writes, for Michael Sona to name names. If he doesn't, the Harper party will get away with what was clearly an organized attempt to steal an election. In fact, what happened in the robocall scandal was standard Harperian practice. Consider the record:

    We have a party that got caught staging a deceptive phone campaign against Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, an act that the Conservative Speaker of the Commons called “reprehensible.” We have a party that first denied, then admitted involvement in a deceptive robocalls campaign involving a Saskatchewan riding redistribution dispute. A Conservative MP pointed the finger at senior party organizer Jenni Byrne, now the Prime Minister’s deputy chief of staff. We have a party that pleaded guilty in 2011 to Elections Act charges relating to exceeding spending limits in the so-called “in and out” affair from the 2006 campaign.
    Perhaps, facing five years in jail, Sona will pull the plug. It's clear that Elections Canada -- under Mr. Harper's appointee, Yves Coté -- has no intention of reopening his investigation into the 2011 election. That's exactly what the Conservatives want.

    It was those same Conservatives who turned on Sona. One turn deserves another.

    The Harper PMO and the Insane War on Justin Trudeau

    Montreal Simon - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 04:03

    Well you might think that Stephen Harper and his PMO gang might have better things to worry about than the Liberal leader's visit to Edmonton.

    Like the disastrous state of the Canadian economy which is only producing part-time jobs.

    Or how they're going to explain why they failed to prevent this totally preventable catastrophe.

    Or how they're going to dodge the beginning of the Mike Duffy trial on the same day that Parliament returns.

    But no, as this memo from the PMO shows, they have only one thing on their minds.

    The total destruction of Justin Trudeau. 
    Read more »

    Julian Fantino and the Continuing Con War on Canadian Veterans

    Montreal Simon - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 00:08

    I don't think I'll ever forget the sight of Julian Fantino running away from the wife of a wounded veteran who just wanted to speak to him.

    And how Jenifer Migneault finally threw up her arms in frustration and despair and shouted at the retreating minister:

    "We are NOTHING to you."

    It was so powerful, it stunned me like a concussion grenade.

    And how right she was.

    For what else is anybody supposed to conclude from this disgusting situation? 
    Read more »

    Today's flying pigs

    Cathie from Canada - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 21:27
    Flying pigs were in the news today.

    Justice Minister Mackay actually said that the Harper Cons are still considering tickets for pot possession and he expected us to believe it.

    Next we'll likely be told that the PMO is reconsidering letting federal research scientists talk about global warming and the CRA is finishing its coercive charity audits.

    Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

    accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 19:10
    Cats in motion.


    Subscribe to canadianprogressives.ca aggregator