Monday, August 04, 2014

You don't make Peace with your Friends

You make it with your enemies.

"It is a common sentimentalist assumption to hope that somehow the enemies will start understanding each other and liking each other and eventually they will reconcile and make peace. Throughout history things always work the other way round. Enemies with their hearts full of bitterness and hatred sign a peace contract with clenched teeth and revengeful feelings. Then, in the course of time, eventually there may come a gradual emotional de-escalation."

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Deliberate Ambiguity of Occupation

Israel has a policy of deliberate ambiguity about whether its control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is 'occupation'. Every other country on Earth including their closest ally the US says it is an occupation, Israel coyly argues it both is and isn't depending on which definition gives them the most flexibility under international law in any given scenario. 

In practice this leaves the Palestinians dispossessed, discriminated against and in the West Bank without recourse to the law when bands of violent, fanatical settlers descend from their hilltop bandit nests to attack Palestinian homes and crops and savagely assault any Palestinians who resist. 

 The Israeli police stand and watch.

It's time to stop coddling this sleazy little semantics game.

Le Monde diplomatique argues giving them three more years to the 50th Anniversary of the Occupation to once and for all define what they are doing as occupation or not. If its an occupation they are legally required to begin the process of withdrawal, if its not an occupation they are legally required to give full and equal legal citizenship rights to all the population under their control.

They have been allowed to be vague on this subject for almost FIFTY YEARS.

No longer.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Iron Dome is a Scam

The Iron Dome is a scam according to experts inside and outside of Israel.

According to defence experts - plural - its a public relations exercise and it follows that both Israel and Hamas play along with it with because it suits both their interests for Hamas to seem more dangerous and effective than it actually is.

If the Iron Dome is actually stopping NOTHING and  if the 10% of sputtering rockets barely better than those you could buy from a roadside stand across the border before the fourth of July, that land randomly and have so far killed only one Israeli bringing supplies to the front line, if those pitiful few are actually the ENTIRETY of what is fired and each one is magnified automatically into multiple attacks....

Then you've got a combination appropriations scam, propaganda psyop and false or at least inflated justification for an attack that has taken hundreds of civilian lives including scores of children.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

The last time someone as paranoid and vindictive as Stephen Harper was thwarted...

The one entity, one independent power that has stymied Stephen Harper again and again, contradicted his agenda, limited his options and overturned his decisions MULTIPLE TIMES in just the last few months has been the Supreme Court of Canada.

Does Stephen Harper strike anyone as someone who responds well to independent oversight or any restrictions on the exercise of his power?  Can we really count on Harper placidly accepting such an infuriating limitation on his exercise of power - clearly his number one constant priority?

There is a precedent, for a similar powerful, suspicious, paranoid and dictatorial leader being challenged by the judicial branch and lashing out violently in defiance of constitutional norms.  Should Canadians be watchful for our own high court equivalent of the Saturday Night Massacre?


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Reversal of Fortunes

Rand Paul has a problem:  The American conservative movement KNOWS that 'Obamacare' is an expensive, repressive failure straight from the desk of Satan himself that is bringing a great darkness upon the land, slaughtering millions on the altar of government death panels, blighting the crops and turning good American kids gay. 

But Paul has the same problem as Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell; in their home sate of Kentucky the Democratic governor enthusiastically cooperated with Obamacare and KYnect (Stop that giggling!  It's NOT a funny name!)  the Kentucky state health care exchange has been one of the biggest success stories of the Affordable Care Act.   McConnell's method of dealing with this unfortunate political reality is to deny that KYnect and Obamacare are the same thing - a position that has resulted in scornful take downs within Kentucky and without.  Paul Just tries to dodge the question.

Thousands of people in Kentucky who would have died without the ban on refusal of coverage due to prior medical condition and the medicaid expansion consider the Kentucky KYnect application of Obamacare a lifesaver and attacking it directly is rapidly becoming political suicide in the state - deep in the heart of the firmly Republican south.

The time is rapidly approaching when Republicans will regret so firmly associating a President they hate with a program Americans are coming to love.  Which is probably why Republicans of yore were just smart enough not to call social security FDR-Security or Medicare LBJcare.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

On the Value of Scorn


Of late we've been seeing a lot of bigots, kooks and reactionaries trying to adopt the language of victimization.

Gay rights advocates in the US are not being gracious in their victory over decent people who just wanted to go on treating a whole subset of humanity as second class citizens.  Now various laws designed in the last few years to attack, dehumanize and marginalize gay Americans  topple like dominos and they have the sads and gay rights supporters are being MEAN to them.

A conservative spokes clone accuses Bill Nye of being part of a vast conspiracy to bully people who believe that scientists must just be fibbing with this silly 99% of scientists believe global warming is real and human caused stuff. 

You big meanie!

Scorn is a useful social construct.  It exists for a reason.  In the marketplace of ideas scorn is the health department closure poster on a cafe door.

Some ideas and the people who promote them SHOULD be scorned.  Some positions should be career limiting and socially devastating. 

If you believe this nonsense you are wrong and you should feel bad.

That's how society evolves, less from the new ideas we adopt than from the ones we outgrow.


Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The Real Benghazi Scandal

For outside observers the spectacle of Republicans shrieking "Benghazi!" for the last few years has been so blatantly partisan propagandizing that you have to wonder how anyone falls for it.

There were more than a dozen attacks on US embassies and consulates under George W. Bush but despite that the Republican Party voted to slash $300 million from Embassy security over the strenuous objections of Obama and the Democrats.

Benghazi is a scandal. Its a Republican scandal.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Disassembled

Piece by piece Allison Redford's agenda of betrayal of the public service workers and progressive Albertans who elected her is rolled back, invalidated by the courts, abandoned and repudiated by the government. A premier who assumed all we Albertans were just inconveniently mouthy bit part players in her heroic story returns to the legislature to watch another major plank of her government shrivel and die.

Schadenfreude is the only appropriate response.

Former Alberta premier Alison Redford’s ill-conceived anti-union project is in shambles tonight, with an agreement to send two bills attacking public sector pensions to a legislative committee where they can die with dignity. 
With the car in the ditch, wheels spinning and headlights pointed skyward, the Progressive Conservative government of Premier pro tempore Dave Hancock agreed this afternoon to send the two controversial pension bills to the committee, which is supposed to report back in the fall. 
If sanity prevails within the PC caucus and the party remains mired at current levels of unpopularity, it seems likely this will lead to the eventual demise of both Bill 9, the Public Sector Pension Plans Amendment Act, 2014, and Bill 10, the Employment Pension (Private Sector) Plans Amendment Act, 2014. 
The agreement by Mr.Hancock’s PC government and all three Opposition parties also suggests the repudiation by Mr. Hancock personally of the radical program attacking public service unions and employees that emerged unexpectedly in the second year of the leadership of fired premier Redford, who finally reappeared in the Legislature today.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

This is what a psychopath looks like

A Greenpeace representative tweeting a worried call for people to keep an eye out for a missing friend is an opportunity for this greasy specimen with a shit stained soul to mock him  and make political hay over a missing woman.

Being an unambiguous psychopath, he is doubtless incapable of shame,  but hopefully this display of complete lack of human feeling, concern and decency will follow him forever.

In the mean time everybody please keep an eye out for Louise Veillard, her friends and family are very worried about her.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

So the state of Oklahoma tortured a man to death last night...

[Clayton] Lockett, 38, received the first dose of the three-drug cocktail at 6:23 p.m.The drugs were midazolam, which causes unconsciousness; vecuronium bromide, which stops respiration; and potassium chloride, which stops the heart. They are administered in that order. The state has said the procedure is meant to involve three doctors with hand-held syringes, injecting the drugs into IV lines in both the inmate’s arms.At 6:33 p.m., 10 minutes after the execution began, a doctor said Lockett was unconscious. But three minutes later, Lockett began to nod and mumble and writhe, witnesses said. [...]A spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections [...] confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that Lockett did not die immediately after the lethal injection was administered.“The director did say that it appears that a vein [in Lockett's body] blew up or exploded, it collapsed, and the drugs were not getting into the system like they were supposed to,” spokesman Jerry Massie said.Massie said that after the new injection was administered, the condemned man “was obviously showing some movement.”“After several minutes, five minutes, he was not unconscious,” Massie said. “They made a decision to halt the execution, but at 7:06 he suffered a massive heart attack and expired.”

Monday, April 28, 2014

Anti-TFW But Pro-Immigration

It's important I think, in the mounting fervor against the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to remember that the workers in it are not the enemy.  These are people who are following the rules they were given in an effort to improve their families lives.  They have travelled thousands of miles to work hard and live frugally so they can send money home or save it up to someday bring their own families here.

It's all part of the same immigrant tradition as the family histories of most Canadians. 

I don't object in the slightest to competing for jobs against fellow citizens; workers who aren't afraid to stand up for themselves or change jobs or organize.  But migrant workers too afraid of being deported to do any of those things?  Workers who will put up with any abuse, tolerate any working conditions, be unwilling to even take sick days all because they are afraid of failing their families by being sent home?

Creating a class of workers that vulnerable and desperate and exploitable is bad for everybody.

Canada needs more people.  All the boomers will retire in waves and to afford the social safety net we want Canada will need more taxpayers than we will create with births alone.  We should increase immigration and make it faster and easier.

What we shouldn't do is create a permanently exploitable underclass.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

"Yes, they are disenfranchised. Some of them don’t work for us anymore. But in the scheme of things, it doesn’t matter." - McDonald's Canada CEO John Betts

Betts spends much of the conference call railing against the CBC's coverage of the controversy — but admits there is truth to the stories.
"Here’s the kicker. The kicker is there’s an element of truth in each of these stories," Betts said.

"What we’ve got to do is fix what we have in the restaurants concerning the temporary foreign workers.
"But what we’ve also learned is that we have other opportunities in the people area that we also need to take care of. Violations of labour law. And those are the kind of things that suddenly become compounded because we have another issue over here, that’s very emotional in Canada."
With regard to the company's decision to halt its Temporary Foreign Worker Program, Betts told concerned franchisees that, "In dealing with the government, the smartest move was to pre-empt their move in terms of suspending us."
"I think the relationship we build with the minister here is a politically astute one to be taking. Because they're feeling the heat big time before this story broke and now it's bigger and bigger," he went on.
"They need to see us as partners in this as a brand that can help them make some progress on this and at the same time give us an opportunity to clean ourselves up."
At no point during the recording does the CEO mention hiring Canadians instead of temporary foreign workers or go over the rules of the federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
The plan is to wait till the heat dies down and get right back to business as usual. If the TFW doesn't get a stake in the heart from the Canadian public here and now it will come roaring back to life as soon as the public isn't looking. And suspending it just for the food sector doesn't help miners, IT staff, oil riggers. 

This government is Corporate Canada's eager servant and they are committed to wage suppression as an over-riding ideology before any other priority.

Friday, April 11, 2014

They are incapable of Governing

At what point does the fact that the Conservative government is just not competent enough at the process of government to produce laws that don't violate our guaranteed Charter rights and are therefore stuck down by the courts constitute political malpractice?

Are they just deliberately batting foul balls to have something to shout about judicial activism to their mouth breathing base over?

The Conservative government’s tough-on-crime agenda has suffered another major blow at the Supreme Court of Canada. The court blocked the government’s attempt to stop judges from routinely giving extra credit to offenders for time served in jail before sentencing.
The 7-0 ruling continues the losing streak of the Harper government in major cases at the Supreme Court over the past month.
The unanimous ruling is even written by one of Harper's own appointees! They were repeatedly warned this would happen and deliberately pissed away MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars to pass a law that anyone with even a child's understanding of the charter and existing sentencing law could and did tell them would be overturned by the courts. This is incompetence and wastefulness on a truly breathtaking scale.

Frankly it disqualifies them for governance.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Downfall

A surging third party and 25% of voters still undecided makes the coming Quebec election still too close to call but with the Liberals leading and the PQ declining we can be hopeful that after running one of the most despicable and cynical campaigns in recent Canadian history that the PQ are about to pay for their display of pandering xenophobia, scapegoating and contempt for the intelligence of the voters.

With the 'Values' Charter and the nomination of far right strikebreaker and propagandist Pierre Karl PĂ©ladeau they abandoned both liberalism and social democracy and it would be a very, very good message to the political elite if such blatant amoral opportunism ended with massive electoral disaster.

And a very bad message if it paid off.


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