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Toronto Olympics and The Star: Do You Smell Something?

Dammit Janet - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 10:58
I'm sensing a pattern here.

Is The Toronto Star, the only media in Toronto to publish a totally pro-Olympics piece (by Royson James, below), systematically shutting down anti-Olympic comments?

Every story I could find on a possible Toronto bid has had it comments closed.

Oddly, the overwhelming majority of comments are unreservedly NEGATIVE.

August 13, 37 comments, closed.

August 12 6 comments, closed.

August 12, 57 comments, closed.

August 12, 12 comments, closed.

August 12, Royson James, 16 comments, closed. The most recent comment is dated "10 days ago," which would be before the dateline, but whatever.

August 6, a poll showing Torontonians want Olympics but ONLY IF they don't have to pay for them, 133 comments, closed.

August 1, 104 comments, closed.

And, perhaps not co-incidentally, comments on stories about what many see as an alternative to 2024 Olympics, Expo 2025, are also being slammed shut when they go negative.

Expo stories
July 25, 37 comments, mostly negative about Olympics, closed.

July 28, 45 comments, mostly negative about Expo, closed.

I ask again: Does The Star have an agenda? A financial interest? A friendly relationship to maintain?

The #NoTO2024 campaign is gaining steam. Website and petition.

Here's Canadian Olympics expert Janice Forsyth on costs to Toronto of a bid.

And here's the think-tank report on the spectacular failure of the Boston 2024 bid, ordered by the state of Massachusetts (pdf).

The report details the many exaggerations and downright lies of the Boston boosters. Mainly, that despite the many assurances of the millionaire hucksters, the financial burdens would fall squarely and uniquely on taxpayers.

On Twitter, some city councillors seem to be paying attention, in particular to The Guarantee that Boston Mayor Walsh ultimately REFUSED to sign.

Now Trending

Politics and its Discontents - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 09:53

Following yesterday's sterling advertisement for the Harper base, the satirical publication The Beaverton decided to have some fun:
TORONTO - During a campaign stop reporters asking questions about the Duffy scandal were cursed at by a Harper supporter, before he was removed and offered a seat in the Senate.

“I spoke to my current Chief of Staff, Ray Novak, about making this problem go away,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper, when asked later about the Senate appointment. Harper further elaborated, “Considering after the 2011 election I appointed Mike Duffy to the Senate in exchange for him doing ‘work’ in the press, this just kind of made sense.”

Harper then clarified that he had no knowledge of any conversations with Novak, and “rejected the premise” that he had said the opposite mere minutes previous.

The latest Senator from Etobicoke has refused to offer any identification outside of the prominent “Doug Ford Mayor” campaign button on his jacket. Following his nomination to the senate, he is expected to chair a committee on how “the media are all lying pieces of shit”.

At a later campaign stop, Conservative spokesperson Kory Teneycke apologized to journalists for the outburst, adding “If you think that guy was bad, you should see the supporters that we screen out.”
It would seem prudent for all future innocent bystanders at Harper rallies to wear protective apparel to guard againt the spewing of infected saliva.

As well, perhaps angry white guy can put an end to this abuse by the Senate, as reported by Buzzfeed.
In a March 2013 memo to Stephen Harper, his chief of staff Nigel Wright and other senior staffers raged that Conservative Senators were too independent and had recommended policies that were not pre-approved by the Prime Minister’s Office.Imagine, the bought-and-paid-for Red Chamber Conservatives thinking they could act independently! A sobering second thought indeed.
Recommend this Post

Stephen Harper: Train has left the station for you

LeDaro - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 09:51

My movie-maker programs have gone haywire. Not the best video but I hope it conveys the message.

Of Alchemists and the Apparent Obstruction of Law.

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 09:48

Where's Vic's Other Hand?
At this point, it wouldn't matter if Duffy went to the gallows. Hank Paulson, Commissioner or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, has some explaining to do.

Just on email evidence alone, the Duffy case is emerging as a political prosecution.  A stench fell over the RCMP investigation right from the start when Paulson sent an email to all his senior officers absolutely forbidding contact with MPs and Senators without his (Vic Toews') express approval.

...the commissioner said that meetings or lunches with parliamentarians "can have unintended and/or negative consequences for the organization and the government. Therefore, should you or your staff receive such requests, I am directing that you advise my office and the chief strategic policy and planning officer."
...Toews's office did not respond to a request to explain the new policy. Paulson's office, however, confirmed that it was co-managed with the minister's office.
Some recipient of that email thought it ought to be leaked - to the CBC. It was conclusive of nothing but it did raise a few eyebrows.  Then followed the investigations - of Duffy, Wallin, Harb, Brazeau.  When it came to Duffy it showed that the mounties always do get their man - but just the one.  Cash comes out of the ether - innocent enough - until it reaches Duffy's hands and then it becomes a bribe.  Who says alchemy isn't real? Why it was positively Biblical, in the Immaculate Conception sense.  A bribe with only one criminal, Duffy. There you have it - an Immaculate Investigation followed by an Immaculate Prosecution of an Immaculate Offence. 
It takes a curious mind, perhaps bordering on the insane, to abuse logic this badly, to stand it on its head.  And where do we see that today?  In a prime minister who "rejects the premise" of the facts that just keep mounting up, pointing an ever bigger finger right at him. I remember reading about a fellow who was trapped in an underground bunker as enemy troops moved in who rejected the premise of what was happening in favour of magical thinking, imagining divisions of soldiers that no longer existed would come to his rescue and miraculously turn the tables just in the nick of time.  His senior commanders also had to stand by his side, anxiously eyeing the exits as they wondered when he would finally end it.
Meanwhile, in a courtroom in Ottawa, Donald Bayne is just beginning to unpack email and documentary evidence of what really went on in Shifty Harper's underground bunker, the PMO, and it bears no resemblance to the fables spun by the prime minister.  He's got a stack of documents, about 800 in all, mainly generated by Harper's own General Staff, and he's using them to great effect to undermine the credibility of the government's witnesses, Harper's generals, to lay the foundation for impeaching the credibility of prominent generals yet to be called, and to steadily bolster his client's defence that it wasn't a bribe, it was a deal that was forced on the Cavendish Cottager.  It must be dispiriting to Harper's generals knowing that soon they too will have to run the gauntlet of their own words.
Bayne has only gotten into Nigel Wright and a bit of Novak and just a smattering of Perrin and already the PMO narrative is beginning to succumb to inconsistencies and contradictions even concealment of evidence and outright lies to apparently cooperative investigators - the very stuff of obstruction of justice.  Yet no one was charged - except Duffy. It's as though some power from above drew a cordon sanitaire around the PMO, the Tory Senate and the Conservative Party executive.
Seasoned investigators are trained to detect the faintest whiff of these things. Yet this carried the gut-wrenching stench of a tannery and somehow passed the investigatorial smell test.  How? How out of this steaming pile of offal could emerge the theory of the Immaculate Bribe, Precium Immaculata?
Why were none of these others not charged, if not for conspiracy then for obstruction of justice? With these characters you could stage a Wagnerian opera. These are not the sort of insignificant issues that lend themselves to forgetfulness. Not with that many people in on it, not with that mountain of emails. This was a major deal involving a bevy of very powerful, prominent individuals each acting in concert with the other.  If their stories don't match up seamlessly, chances are it's because some of them, perhaps all of them, are lying to manipulate investigators, to obstruct justice, to obtain a perverted judicial outcome.
The alchemists have failed.  Lead (Pb) and Gold (Au) are distinct elements on the Periodic Table. You can't turn one into another.  And if you "reject the premise" then people are going to have to conclude that you're either crazy or hopelessly bent.
The state police must be investigated this time. There has to be an enquiry into these shenanigans that goes straight to the top. It's overdue. It is time for Paulson and company to explain themselves, to answer tough questions with credible, verifiable answers. We need to know if Duffy was made a sacrificial goat and why the others were shielded behind such a flimsy, incredible "premise."

Stephen Harper's latest hit!

LeDaro - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 09:30

More Fun With 'Deceivin' Stephen'

Politics and its Discontents - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 06:26

H/t Theo Moudakis

And this from Star letter-writers:
Re: Duffy scandal dogs Harper, Aug. 17


There are many types, just as there are many kinds of lies – white, boastful, malicious, and the Big Lie. This last kind can perhaps be used successfully only by one class of liar – the Big Man or CEO type.

The method is familiar, probably taught at MBA schools. Appear calm and subdued. Begin by saying “Look,” or “Let’s be clear,” or “I’ve said this before.” Slump your shoulders as a visible sigh of exasperation. Use a somewhat rote, very slightly sing-song style of delivery, like one who is patiently taking up valuable time to re-explain something that the listener, disappointingly, lacked the perception to grasp the first time.

Then unleash the Big Lie. The black economy is actually white. Saving the climate is good, but taking any suggested step to that end is bad. Canadians are in imminent danger of terrorism, and bombing Syria will prevent lone-wolf attacks here.

Past tanker, railway and pipeline disasters have taught us so much that future incidents are impossible. Breaches of election spending rules and Parliamentary conduct are normal, nothing new, conform to past practice, nothing to see here, folks. The Senate scandal was rare, contained, and completely divorced from the practices of the party and PMO. If one didn’t use certain quoted exact words, therefore nothing of the kind was said.

The punctiliously polite Tom Mulcair, Justin Trudeau and Elizabeth May seem to think that on the debating podium they are still hamstrung by the Parliamentary rule against flagging an untruth. Well, Stephen Harper himself has killed the current Parliament, so those rules don’t apply, and good heavens, surely somebody has to bell the cat.

If they absolutely can’t bring themselves to use the word, how about witty references to lengthening noses, or: “Mr. Moderator, do we need to call 911? There seems to be a smouldering odour in here of pants on fire.”

Or how about simply looking at the camera and asking Canadians directly: “On the economy, who are you going to believe – this guy or your own eyes?”

J.A. McFarlane, Toronto

For years we’ve known that Lyin’ Brian Mulroney earned his sobriquet; now we know that Deceivin’ Stephen Harper has earned his monicker, too.

Bernie Smith, Parksville, B.C.

If Nigel Wright believed that his $90,000 payment to Mike Duffy was a good deed, then why would he not have told the Prime Minister? Is there anyone in Canada who still believes that he didn’t?

Paul Axelrod, TorontoRecommend this Post

That May Count For Nothing

Northern Reflections - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 06:06

Nigel Wright, we are told, is a very intelligent and righteous man. He has put a lot of effort into establishing his reputation as such. But Donald Bayne, Mike Duffy's lawyer, has been shredding that reputation. Alan Freeman writes:

Nigel Wright cuts a curious figure. Ramrod-straight, athletically slim, he’s a quiet presence in the witness box — calm, never raising his voice, even when clearly irritated by Bayne’s persistent questioning. He seems thoughtful, even cerebral, as he recalls his actions in the winter of 2013 as the Duffy scandal exploded in the PMO.

Yet Wright’s actions at the time clearly demonstrate that he was single-minded — even ruthless — in doing the boss’s bidding and shutting the scandal down, using any means at his disposal.

Government resources, Conservative party funds, his own bank account — they were all interchangeable to Wright, all tools to to be used in carrying out Stephen Harper’s wish to see the Duffy problem disappear. “I didn’t think that this was a distinction that was that significant,” Wright responded, when asked whether he saw any difference between Duffy paying back the money himself — the story the public initially was told — and being secretly reimbursed through the Conservative Party Fund.
It is Wright's inability to make distinctions which is so deeply troubling. One gets the impression that his ambition overtook his conscience. It's an old story. From Christopher Marlowe through Goethe down to Stephen Vincent Benet, it's about a man selling his soul and knowing what he was doing.

Most of the time the story ends tragically -- though in Benet's story, Jabez Stone had a good lawyer to get him off the hook. The irony is that Nigel Wright is supposed to be a very good lawyer. In the end, that may count for nothing.

Wednesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 05:49
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Philip Berger and Lisa Simon discuss the health and social benefits of a guaranteed annual income:
At the community level, poverty also has deep and lasting impacts — some visible, some not. We've seen these visible impacts in Simcoe County Ontario, where one of us works. One in four single-parent families experience moderate or severe food insecurity at some point every year. A family of four receiving Ontario Works would have to spend 93% of their monthly after-tax income on rent and nutritious food alone, leaving little remaining for all other necessary expenses.

We see the population health impacts too, where those living in the fifth of neighbourhoods with the lowest income had a death rate from preventable causes more than 50% higher than those living in the fifth of neighbourhoods with the highest income. Self-rated mental and physical health were also significantly worse among those living in the low-income neighbourhoods.

None of this is surprising, given the strong impact that income has on health at all ages, demonstrated over decades of research. For example, it has come to be understood that the experience of poverty in early childhood can lead to what is termed "toxic stress", with profound implications for physical and mental health from childhood to adulthood.
In addition to providing an effective policy response to poverty and inequality, a basic income guarantee would be a key societal support in the face of rising precarious employment in Canada. Given the trend towards fewer opportunities for secure, permanent jobs providing living wages and benefits, a basic income guarantee could help to buffer the effects of precarious employment by protecting people from slipping into poverty during challenging times. - Meanwhile, Bryce Covert discusses how citizens can get trapped in neighbourhoods facing concentrated poverty - and how we all stand to gain from avoiding that type of concentration.And Emily Badger contrasts the depth and concentration of poverty by race.

- The Star calls for a crackdown on temp agencies who serve to eliminate stable jobs in favour of precarious ones.

- Zoe Williams argues that Jeremy Corbyn is offering a needed antidote to austerian politics.

- Finally, Karl Nerenberg reminds us about Stephen Harper's broken promises surrounding the Senate, while Paul McLeod and Emma Loop expose his plan to take complete control of the supposedly-independent upper chamber. And James Sprague points out that Harper's long campaign may result in his losing the parliamentary privilege which would otherwise shield him from being required to testify in the Mike Duffy trial.

Dipper, Tory...

Dawg's Blawg - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 04:40
…same old story? Will NDP National Director Anne McGrath, who has been pulling NDP candidacies like a mad dentist recently, leap into action once again? After all, support for Margaret Thatcher’s economics isn’t official NDP policy—for now, at least.... Dr.Dawg http://drdawgsblawg.ca/

Defrocking the Choir Boy

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 00:16
Did Harper's current Chief of Staff lie to officers investigating the Wright-Duffy scandal?  If he did then shouldn't he also be lawyering up?

Don Bayne doesn't even have Ray Novak on the stand yet he's already building a fire under the prime minister's former personal secretary.  It all revolves around Novak's participation in the under-the-table cash for expenses scheme that saw $90-grand make its way to Duffy for him to clear his Senate tab.

Harper has lied through his teeth about this, still implausibly claiming that he knew nothing of what was going on until, like everyone else, he read about it in the funny papers. He gilded that lily what an even more fantastic claim that this was strictly between Nigel Wright and Mike Duffy and that they deceived everyone including Harper and all of his other top aides.  Harper at first lauded Wright. Then he accepted Wright's resignation.  After that he came up with another tall tale whereby he was so furious that he fired Wright on the spot for his betrayal.

Now Bayne's got Nigel Wright backpeddling on Ray Novak. He told the cops that Novak was in on the Wright-Duffey deal. Emails back that up. Only Nigel isn't on that page anymore. He's doing what he can to distance Novak from the scandal. He's been texting Novak as recently as two weeks ago.

Bayne then hits Wright with Special Counsel Benjamin Perrin's statement to the investigators where he also fingers Novak as in on the deal.  Wright wilts then wobbles.

When Wright first went on the stand to testify in chief the reporters wrote of a man who seemed confident, collected, even expansive in his answers to the prosecutor's questions.  He was the choirboy everyone expected. Things have changed. Step by step Bayne has been undermining Wright's credibility. It would be nice to think he was doing it to get at Harper but his real objective is to build up the defence that Duffy wasn't a party to a bribe, he was a reluctant player in a deal scripted in the PMO and forced upon him.  Wright says "no" but Wright isn't a credible witness.

Bayne is constructing a foundation to bring in the evidence of Novak, Van Hemmen, Perrin, the cast of wayward Tory senators and the Conservative Party executive.  They're all part and parcel of the Wright-Duffy deal.  Somebody had to orchestrate that three act play and Duffy wasn't the one with the clout to pull those strings.  Wright wasn't either, except in his capacity as stand in for Shifty Harper.

From "redacting" the email pointing straight to Harper, to contradicting his own statements about Novak, to the inconsistencies between Wright's written statement, Perrin's written statement and Wright's evidence in court, that bright light is looking a lot dimmer.

Fortunately Bayne has plenty of other fish in the barrel to shoot and plenty of time to aim carefully.  The others must be wondering, if Bayne can take down the choirboy, what does he have in store for them?

Conapocalypse: The Duffy Trial's Explosive New Revelations

Montreal Simon - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 00:05

It's the smoking gun. Or should I say the smoking flamethrower? 

The Con conspiracy has finally been exposed.

It now seems that Ray Novak, Harper's beloved Chief of Staff, knew all about Nigel Wright's payment to Mike Duffy. 
Read more »

Wait a Second. May Was the Hottest Month in Recorded History. What? Now July Gets the Record?

The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 22:34
They warned us this was going to happen.  The specific warning was that beginning sometime in the early 2020s and continuing until around 2047, our world, region by region, will move into a new climate state in which every year after reaching that threshold will be hotter than the hottest year experienced over the previous 180-years since records were first kept.

It's supposed to begin in the Caribbean and a few other spots in the 20s and reach countries in the northern and far southern latitudes before mid-century.

Yet, as this mountain of research and statistical outcomes continues to grow we'll go about business as usual as though we're still in the 80s.  In that way we'll hasten the moment when we're overtaken by the impacts of these changes woefully unprepared to cope.

Ah, don't feel bad. The history books are full of civilizations that have collapsed from changes they knew were coming but chose to ignore.  The big difference this time is that the civilization affected is global and ours is the first civilization to have the benefit of understanding how those earlier civilizations collapsed by doing the same damned things we're doing today - looking the other way.

Baghdad recently endured 50-51 temperatures. One city, Bandar Mashsahr in Iran hit a "wet bulb" peak of 73C.  Western and Central Europe are baking at 40C. South Asia hasn't been spared. Here's a photo essay of the heatwave that struck India and Pakistan.  Even coastal China has been hit.  Texas, which thought it had been lifted out of drought by recent heavy rains is now experiencing "flash droughts."

I know we're caught up in an election campaign but if the leaders don't talk about this now they sure as hell won't talk about it after.  They won't because that might mean having to spend tax dollars on infrastructure and other things we'll need to cope with what's setting in. Harper, Trudeau and Mulcair being the irresponsible shits they are would far sooner kick this down the road which goes a long way to ensuring it will be a lot more destructive and a lot more costly to deal with just in time for our kids to inherit this mess.

On trust issues

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 18:11
Susan Delacourt's take on what we should expect to see happen if there's a minority Parliament following this fall's election covers most of the bases. But it's worth expanding on one point:
It’s true that Harper, by constitutional convention, would have first shot at forming a government if the Conservatives win the largest number of seats. But there’s a hurdle Harper has to leap first: he has to win a vote of confidence in the House of Commons.

Try as I might, I can’t imagine how that would happen.
The extra-long campaign was clearly designed to drain the bank accounts of the opposition parties, making them reluctant to kick off another campaign immediately after this one. But that reality also could create a powerful incentive for them to work together — to deny Harper a confidence vote and make the case to the Governor General for a coalition or an accord instead of another election.Delacourt rightly recognizes that the Cons' attempt to bleed the other parties dry represents a reason for them to cooperate with each other rather than leaving any ambiguity as to how stable the parliamentary arrangements will be. (And that applies no matter how desperately Justin Trudeau claims that the option isn't on the table.)

But it's worth noting that it also represents a reason not to cooperate with the Cons, even to the extent of letting a throne speech pass.

After all, we know from 2008 that Stephen Harper is perfectly willing to call or demand a second election in short order if it suits his political purposes. And if part of his plan is to catch the other parties without sufficient resources to run another campaign, then it would be outright folly to leave him with the ability to pull the plug and call an election at any time - an option which would be available to him if he gets a single vote of confidence.

In contrast, for all the questions about policy gaps between the NDP and the Libs, both parties could surely agree on the need not to hold another election immediately. And even if there were no other basis for cooperation, that factor alone might be the tie-breaker in determining whether Harper is left at the controls.

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 17:59
Media centre cats.

Canadian PM Breaks The Law, Allowed To Run Again?

LeDaro - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 13:32
Great video. It is worth watching.

Harper Thugs Attack the Media at Con Rally !!!!!

Montreal Simon - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 13:19

They are Stephen Harper's ghastly audience. The hand picked Con fanatics who are allowed to attend his rallies.

They hate it when reporters ask their Great Leader any questions, especially those about the sordid Duffy scandal.

And even though he only allows five questions a day, it drives them CRAAAAAZY.

So now they're trying to muzzle the media, or assault them in the foulest manner. 
Read more »

Stephen Harper: "I am not a crook"

LeDaro - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 11:51
I hope readers will like this video.

Something has gone wrong with my computer. It has crashed many times and many of my programs are not working properly. I am unable to understand that why it is happening. I installed Google Chrome browser a while ago. The Microsoft explorer does not work properly anymore. Many of my videos and pictures have disappeared. I will not recommend Chrome browser at this time given the problems I am dealing with it.

A Member Of The Raid Harper Base Foams At The Mouth

Politics and its Discontents - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 11:31
The following occurred this morning, at a Harper rally in Etobicoke:

You can read about it here.

A persistent Terry Milewski was met by the same crowd lustily urging that the government "shut down the CBC."

Two more reasons not to live in one of Toronto's suburbs.Recommend this Post


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