Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Question for the day

Question for the day, if Danielle Smith and Jim Prentice hadn't tried their ultimately disastrous little coup-slash-merger and both had gone into the provincial election leading their respective parties would the election result have been different?

Its an article of faith with right wingers that yes, it would. That the scandal hung over the election leading to the dismay that made people vote NDP purely as a protest vote against the government, certainly not because they actually wanted them to WIN.

Progressives believe the result would have been pretty much the same and in one of the few areas of accord Danielle Smith agrees, arguing the election results vindicates the unite the right attempt even if it failed. That she and Prentice had taken a long hard look at polling showing Alberta moving considerably to the left and tried to save Alberta from an NDP victory that happened anyway.

So is there an alternate universe next door where Jim Prentice managed to win and the Wildrose is either the opposition under Danielle Smith or in third party status? Or is Rachel Notley still Premier in the Alberta where Smith and Prentice never attempted their shotgun wedding of Alberta right wingers?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Alberta NDP outrageously refuse to stop governing just because it makes right wingers unhappy

The CFIB, a far right front group masquerading as a small business federation calls for the Alberta NDP to reverse all of the policies they were elected on because of the downturn.

If we were in a recovery the rationale would be 'cancel your policies so as not to risk the recovery.' If we were in good times their argument would be to 'Cancel all your policies to avoid causing a downturn.' There is NO CIRCUMSTANCE OR CONDITIONS under which they would ever support NDP policies - which mainstream economists would consider straightforward Keynesian stimulus and refusal to protect the well off at the expense of the weakest.

Their objections are not pragmatic, nonpartisan, reality based or any other variation of 'Just the facts ma'am.' that they pretend they are. They are ideological and based on economic theories strongly disputed by the majority of serious economists. The theories that opposed pensions, public health care, infrastructure spending, child labour laws, the very existence of minimum wages or basic labour and environmental standards as tyranny.

These are extreme radicals far outside of the Alberta mainstream being puffed up and supported by a right wing media controlled by corporate interests who benefit directly from such theories being implemented.

Like the angry extremists calling for Albertan's democratic will to be annulled because the election didn't turn out the way they had hoped, they are driven by a profoundly antidemocratic animus to the will of the people.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Judge who berated rape victim is a Conservative Party hack

In September of 2014 Judge Robin Camp of the Alberta provincial court acquitted Alexander Scott Wagar a six foot one 240 pound man of the rape of a 100 pound 19 year old girl.  Throughout the trial the Judge repeatedly referred to the alleged victim as 'the accused', asked her why she just didn't just keep her knees together and pronounced from the bench that "sex and pain sometimes go together, that — that's not necessarily a bad thing."

The case was successfully appealed and will be retried.  Three months after the appeal was filed Justice Minister Peter Mackay appointed Camp to the federal Bench.The fact that Camp had TWO appeals against his rulings for basic mistakes of law and grotesque breach of impartiality would have been completely available to Mackay at the time he appointed Camp.  Camp is now barred from hearing cases as the case against him heats up.

Alberta Attorney General Kathleen Ganley has forced an inquiry into the conduct of Federal Court Justice Robin Camp after his controversial remarks during a sexual assault trial surfaced late last year.
By asking the Canadian Judicial Council to move the complaint to a formal inquiry, the council will skip the review panel phase of its investigation.
Camp got his law degree in South Africa in the 1970s when apartheid was still the law of the land.  He is an Alberta Tory Party insider, Managing Partner in the same law firm as Alison Redford's husband in commercial law (The same law firm at the center of a roiling scandal over improper tendering of Alberta's tobacco company litigation.) before being appointed to the provincial bench by the government of the day.  Because he was already a provincial court judge he could then be appointed to the Federal bench without the same kind of vigorous review other candidates have to go through.

He was also on the board of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, a far right legal group founded by Reform Party and Wildrose party member John Carpay who once berated Ralph Klein for failing to use the Notwithstanding clause to block gay rights.   With connections to the Fraser Institute and other far right groups and secretive about their funding despite the explicitly political nature of their activism they are known for their opposition to human rights legislation and hate speech laws, their defense of Trinity Western University over its discrimination against gays and their attempts to override democracy and undermine public healthcare through legal assault. 

He's a prominent, high profile member of the Canadian right wing establishment.

The Conservatives, both provincial and federal were so eager to get a true believer  Conservative insider on the court they appointed a monster.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Memories of the Apocalyse

The thing about contemporary American crime and thriller cinema, cop shows, serial killer horror movies, every piece of pop culture that assumes a huge level of violence in the world that requires a violent armed hero, is that it is documenting a period in America when a huge percentage of its population was suffering from chemical brain damage.

The huge crime rate spike in the US that started in the early 60's and then dropped just as precipitously in the early 90's exactly parallels the introduction of leaded gasoline in the 1920's and its replacement with unleaded in the early 1970's.  A generation suffering from lead poisoning which lowers intellect and degrades impulse control came of age at once and the poorer the neighborhood the worse the poisoning was due to lead paint, leaded windows and proximity to industrial activity.

Then a new generation came of age born after the introduction of the catalytic converter and the mass switch to unleaded gasoline with just enough less lead in their environment to miss the tipping point that causes major IQ impairment and violent impulse control issues.  Suddenly a massive police state apparatus built when sky high violent crime stats were assumed to be the new normal is using tactics designed for a far more violent population than they are dealing with.

So law, policing policy and pop culture in the US assumes a vastly more violent society than currently exists due to everyone involved in its formation and maintenance coming of age during a mass violent brain damage epidemic that for the most part ended decades ago.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Overheated Rhetoric, Overheated Supporters

Brian Jean bears personal responsibility for the extreme attacks and threats against Rachel Notley from his supporters that he is finally, belatedly speaking against.

The government mishandled the rollout of what they saw as a commonsense implementation of rules that have been clearly on the table since long before the election as inevitable components of any future farm worker legislation.  Rules that have been discussed and consulted on and refined for literally years.  The suggestion that they are now being implemented too quickly with insufficient consultation is absurd on its face.

Brian Jean led the charge against rules he knew had been consulted on, that he knew would inevitably come in by judicial fiat if the government didn't legislate them first, that he knew would not impact traditional family farming or cooperative seasonal activities between neighbors.

Rules that he knew both he and the Wildrose had supported in whole in the past.

Despite all these things that Brian Jean knew, both he and his party engaged in a despicably dishonest and irresponsible assault on Bill 6, seemingly entirely for partisan gain.

Brian Jean needs to remember who his supporters are.  Brian Jean needs to remember that overheated rhetoric when delivered to overheated people is frankly and unambiguously dangerous incitement.

The Official Opposition of Alberta is a right wing party that defined itself in right wing rebellion against... a right wing government.  These are not conservatives, either small 'c' or big 'C'. These are radicals, extreme right-wingers by Canadian standards, who viewed the the PC government, easily the most right wing governing party in Canada, hostile to labour and the environment, light on regulation and fighting equal rights for gays to the bitter end....with utter contempt.

The Wild Rose was formed to oppose this as too moderate and liberal!

Brian Jean is trying to appear reassuring and rational and sunny.  He is leading a party of far right extremists and he needs to remember that the next time he's thinking of throwing a match into a pool of gasoline.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Who would have thunk it

The cesspool of drooling, maniacal hatred becomes too much to ignore and Wildrose Leader Brian Jean feels compelled to call for a minimum of basic civility - or at least no more death threats - in a Facebook post this morning.

His supporters furiously turn on him in the comments section for opposing death threats and violent rhetoric.

The Wildrose sows hatred and contempt for the democratic choice of Albertans with apocalyptic rhetoric and blatant lies about government policies - policies they actually used to support until their was political hay to be made in railing about socialist tyranny - and are then surprised with what they reap.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Losers don't get to appoint the Refs for the next game

The Conservative attempt to stack the deck with a massive wave of appointments, many not even starting till after the election was a shocking and almost (Turner tried it too.) unprecedented abuse. 

You do not handcuff an incoming government like that and it bespeaks utter contempt for democracy and the will of the people.

 Now of course the government's objection is not entirely so high minded; the Liberal Party of Canada is primarily a carefully tooled loot dispensing machine. Tying their hands on patronage appointments must have offended them on an existential level.

 All of these people should have offered their resignations the day after the election rather than wait to be asked and should be publicly shamed if they resist being shown the door now. There will doubtless be lawsuits over this but the principal that you don't try to imprint your government on appointed positions just before an election every poll shows you are about to lose should have been respected.

Then there's this wonderful Freudian slip from Rona Ambrose who seems to have a very limited palate of emotional affect, mostly just flinty-eyed and grimly seething which makes her customary word salad in defense of the indefensible even funnier:

"[J]ust because it was a Conservative government doesn't mean none of these people are qualified. There's a lot of incredibly credible, qualified people," she said.

Incredibly credible indeed.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Falling for it

Somebody attacked a guy with a knife on the London subway.

Not scared enough about a piece of random street crime on the other side of the world yet?

Okay he also shouted scary Muslim stuff at the same time.


Congratulations, you just told angry, frustrated, egotistical potential maniacs all over the world that the best way to get noticed for once is to shout Muslim stuff when they do what they already would have done.

And gave the real terrorists what they want. Terror.

19 teenagers alone have been stabbed in London this year, there's been a surge in knife violence. But this one is getting worldwide news because the stabber had some dodgy Islamist pamphlets in his flat and shouted about Syria when he committed the crime.

Hook, line and sinker.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Confronting Evil

Going forward Donald Trump should not be allowed to make a single appearance or speech without being interrupted by protesters.

This is not a traditional democracy respecting politician running a traditional liberal democracy political campaign. He does not deserve the respect and consideration of one and must not be given it.

This is a fascist dictator in the making running an explicitly white nationalist campaign of vilification and scapegoating and he must be confronted everywhere and any time he tries to present himself as just another politician engaging in the democratic process.

This is one of those moments that people may someday look back upon and say 'If only he had been stopped before....'

Saturday, November 07, 2015

A Challenge and proposed legislation for our shiny new government:

Resolved: That the Federal government be required to at minimum match education funding per child under federal jurisdiction dollar for dollar with what any province or territory any child under federal jurisdiction lives in is spending on the children under their jurisdiction.
Simple parity instead of the vast difference that exists now.

Monday, November 02, 2015

A Right Wing Pro-Market Think Tank thinks Canada under Harper was the Freest country on Earth. Kelly McParland thinks this actually proves something.

It comes a little late for Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, but Canada has been named both the freest and most tolerant country in the world. It’s also one of the most prosperous and best-run, and trails only Australia in education. Good thing we changed governments eh? The latest accolade for Canada comes from a London-based think tank, The Legatum Institute, which publishes an annual “prosperity index.” Canada scores well overall – in sixth place out of 142 countries – but excels in the categories of personal freedoms and openness. Though always near the top of the order in the seven years the index has been compiled, the last year of the Conservatives’ mandate coincided with its rise to first place as “the freest country in the world.”
And who exactly is the Legatum Institute?
Legatum Institue (LI) is a right-wing think tank promoting "free markets, free minds, and free peoples". LI is a co-publisher of Democracy Lab (with Foreign Policy Magazine), a website dedicated to covering political and economic transitions around the world. LI is a project founded and funded by the Legatum Group, a private investment group based in Dubai.  LI is based in London.
So a right wing think tank were fans of Stephen Harper? Shocking.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"They're being mean to me!"

Too used to the obsequious stenographers of the Alberta Sun and Postmedia papers who can be reliably counted on to wipe the drool off his chin and not reveal just how crazy he is.

When they encounter a real journalist who isn't there to protect them they perceive it as an attack because they are used to a comfortable cozy ride from the friendly Alberta press.

Afraid to make the argument

"The inference was that there was no fat to be found in the system and that every penny was being wisely spent. In Tuesday’s budget, every department gets a boost in expenditures." 

The Herald raises a straw man argument here, a claim that of course the government isn't even making but of course the writers don't follow through with their unstated thesis, that the healthcare, education and infrastructure Albertans depend on are bloated, coddled and wasteful rather than falling apart and straining at every seam.

This is not an argument that can survive an encounter with the facts on the ground that their readership knows quite well.

Whenever the usual suspects bleat about how Alberta's social spending is so much higher than other provinces they are always playing the same sleazy little accounting trick of pegging the date range they are making that comparison to AFTER the departure of Klein. Factor the lost decade in and suddenly we are at the bottom of the spending pack.

Cleaning up after an irresponsible vandal is usually expensive.

Monday, October 26, 2015

What to expect

To the rest of Canada, sometime Tuesday afternoon you will hear a ruptured steam-whistle wail with upper register notes of castrated steer coming from the vicinity of Alberta.

Do not be alarmed.

This will merely be the inevitable, carefully rehearsed reaction of the Wildrose, Ezra Levant and the Sun News chain and the owners of the Post Media editorial board to the contents of Alberta's first NDP provincial budget.

Those contents will be uncontroversial, commonsense changes to the tax code, many very similar to the stated plans of the former Progressive Conservative government but with a greater emphasis on shared responsibility and contribution. There will be nods to the stimulant effects of deficit spending on much needed infrastructure projects, a central place for environmental stewardship and support for front line services rather than neglect as they are needed most.

It won't be the communist manifesto. Rachel Notley will not be calling for nationalization, confiscation or declare a worker's paradise. CEOs and oil company executives will not be brought in for public show trials.

Simply a pragmatic progressive budget with pro-growth policies and common sense solutions.

And of course, that's what the shriekers are more afraid of than anything else.

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