Monday, September 29, 2008

Bailout defeated

Despite being supported 60% to 40% by the Democratic legislators after incorporating the oversight they demanded and opposed and ultimately defeated by a 67% to 33% margin by the House Republicans, somehow - a pre-vote speech by Speaker Pelosi that hurt Republican feelings is cited - it's the Democrats who were playing politics and the Democrats fault that it failed.

Welcome to life through the looking glass.

Just how bad is Dion?

He's so bad that even James Laxer, who's never before seen a Liberal leader that New Democrats shouldn't abandon their party and rally behind when it comes to crunch time, now despairs.
“We cannot have a coalition with a party that has a platform that would be damaging for the economy. Period,” Dion said. A few months after becoming Liberal leader, Dion proclaimed that he wanted to push corporate taxes even lower than would the Conservatives. Yesterday, when Layton launched the NDP platform which includes a plan to reverse Stephen Harper’s $50 billion corporate tax cut, Dion dismissed this as old fashioned socialism. This sort of thing is just not done in the world these days, he sniffed. Dion needs to re-examine his neo-liberal orthodoxy, whose precepts underlay the widening gap between the rich and the rest during the Chretien-Martin years.

Against the backdrop of the stinking mess on Wall Street, Dion’s corporate tax plans do not go down well with most voters. While attacking the NDP, the Liberals have adopted the Harper corporate tax cuts as they’re own and they want to go even further.

This week the Liberals are getting feisty. But they’re charging off in all directions, proclaiming themselves the true progressives while rallying to the defence of the corporations.

To which quite a few Dippers respond 'Well duh James, this is kind of what we've been saying about the faux progressive Liberals all along. Welcome to the party.'

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Voices of the Smeared

I've addressed Jason Cherniak's contemptible smear jobs multiple times in the last few weeks, from an outraged post right after he defamed Stacy Douglas to several follow-ups as he continued his sleazy ways; basically since I don't support efforts to ban him, from Progressive Bloggers for instance, because I'm not comfortable with a blog aggregater having the ability to ban anyone the only other alternative is to stand up, point at him and repeatedly shout "Lying pussbag over here!" at the top of my lungs.

In the back and forth of many other bloggers also calling douchebag on Jason's behaviour, ultimately leading to the Liberals being the only party to actually lose a candidate as an ultimate result of Cherniak's sleazy character assassination attempts, two voices were not heard from.

Stacy Douglas reluctantly bowed out of the race to pursue her PhD in the UK, only to have Jason slimily insinuate that she was fired as a candidate because of her criticisms of Israel, with the unambiguous implication that she was antisemitic. She responds to the campaign of disinformation and defamation started by Brian Henry and continued by Jason Cherniak here. Her replacement for the candidacy in Scarborough-Agincourt Simon Dougherty gets his say here.

To date Cherniak has still failed to correct or replace his factually bereft libelous post.

Suday Linkblast - September 28

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Little Wing

If you're still winding down from the week and chasing that lazy weekend vibe, give this Celtic version of the Hendrix classic by The Corrs a try.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Debate is on

John McCain has decided to attend the debate after all, this after nearly scuttling the economy saving bailout with his grandstanding. McCain has now decided to show up in Mississippi - in fact his campaign is already claiming he won!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sarah Palin: Planned Parenthood's Sugar Momma

Heh. I like this a lot.

Planned Parenthood is suddenly a lot richer because of Sarah Palin. And the Republican vice presidential nominee will soon be receiving tens of thousands of thank-you notes.
A three-week-old Internet campaign is asking abortion-rights activists to send donations to Planned Parenthood in honor of the Alaska governor.[..]
One e-mail making the rounds on the Internet says: “Instead of (actually, in addition to) all of us all sending more e-mails about how absolutely horrible she is, let’s all make a donation to Planned Parenthood in Sarah Palin’s name.”
Katie Groke Ellis, field manager for the Planned Parenthood of the Rockies Action Fund, predicts that the five-state chapter of the group alone could draw $100,000 in donations.[..]
Planned Parenthood sends a handwritten thank-you card to the donor. If a donation is made in someone’s name, he or she gets one, too.
In this case, the Palin cards will go to Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s national headquarters.

You wanted to go there? Fine.

Jason Cherniak trumpeted vague guilt by association smears against the NDP with a breathtaking paucity of evidence. Surely, once being videotaped being polite to people who approach you in public is trumped by Lesley Hughes, running for the Liberals in Kildonan-St. Paul going on the record making 9/11 truther claims that are unambiguously antisemitic.
German Intelligence (BND) claims to have warned the U.S. last June, the Israeli Mossad and Russian Intelligence in August. Israeli businesses, which had offices in the Towers, vacated the premises a week before the attacks, breaking their lease to do it. About 3000 Americans working there were not so lucky.
Like Doctor Dawg, I eagerly await Jason's blistering denunciation of the Liberal Party for being so welcoming to hatemongers.

Update: Bye Lesley.

If you are looking for a cognitive dissonance chuckle, check out Cherniak gamely arguing that it's much worse that Jack Layton failed to be actively rude to some people who approached him in public on camera than that a Liberal candidate is spouting Jewish conspiracy theories.

As they say in Texas, 'Well, Bless his heart. At least he tries.'

UPDATE 2: In the interest of fairness here's Lesley Hughes response. I still think what she wrote is too close to 'The Jews were warned to stay home' for comfort, as well as being factually wrong - the Israeli company in question apparently still had employees working in the tower office packing up on 9/11 - but she should probably get the benefit of doubt.

Liberals should take a long hard look at the Liberal operative whose childish games of smear and defamation led to only one party taking any damage - his own.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Quote of the Day

The issue of government controls on compensation for executives of corporations that participate in the bailout had ignited a firestorm, with Americans complaining to their representatives in Congress that these corporate chiefs shouldn't be rewarded for failure.

"On the executive compensation thing, it went to the core of their (the Bush administration's) being," said Frank. "It was like asking the chief rabbi of Jerusalem to eat bacon on Yom Kippur. It was the most unthinkable thing they could think of."-Barney Frank

"Fresh meat"

Say what you will about Gilles Duceppe, dude can turn a phrase.

Mr. Duceppe had stated that teenaged criminals sent to prison under Mr. Harper's plan to crack down on youth crime would be “fresh meat” for the perversions of adult inmates. “We all know what happens in prison,” Mr. Duceppe told reporters after meeting with union leaders.

“They will be fresh meat, let's not kid ourselves.”

Steve is clutching his pearls of course:
"Here, he has passed the limit," he said. "Rather than debate ideas, Mr. Duceppe is saying extreme, irresponsible, and unacceptable things. Things he himself knows to be false."
Really Steve? You're quite sure about that? Don't tell this judge:
WINNIPEG - A Winnipeg judge warned two violent young offenders Monday that they face bleak futures - which could include being raped in federal prison - if they don't turn their troubled lives around.

"Next stop is Stony Mountain," provincial court Judge Ronald Meyers told a 17-year-old boy, who along with a 15-year-old pleaded guilty to three armed robberies of Winnipeg businesses.

"I don't know whether you're prepared to consider yourself the girlfriend of some guy in there. But that's what awaits you. An 18-year-old fresh face comes in and it's fair game. Think about that."

And unfortunately its not just the other prisoners to worry about:

The Canadian Press OTTAWA -- The Supreme Court of Canada has awarded $140,000 to a B.C. man who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a jail guard -- reducing the amount awarded by a lower court by almost half.

Dean Zastowny, who has spent much of his adult life in prison, claimed his career in crime was partly due to psychological damage from the abuse.

.....

Zastowny is one of dozens of prisoners MacDougall allegedly preyed on.

"He targeted younger inmates, inmates who had been sexually abused in the past and/or inmates who had little experience in jail,'' according to one statement of claim.

In fact, as the organization Stop Prisoner Rape submitted to the House and Senate the last time the Tories went on a bread and water kick, in Canada the prisons are safer, at least compared to the nightmarish dungeons in the US, but only because:
Based in the United States, SPR is a human rights organization committed to ending sexual violence against men, women, and children in all forms of detention. The organization recently conducted a fact-finding mission in Canada to assess what makes Canadian institutions generally safer than their U.S. counterparts. The SPR delegation determined that the manageable size of the prison population, stemming directly from Canada’s reasoned laws that afford judges discretion in sentencing, has played a critical role in maintaining safe facilities.
and
The U.S. experience with prison overcrowding has made it painfully clear that violence, particularly sexual violence, proliferates when correctional facilities house too many inmates. In addition, there is a direct link between prison overcrowding and community violence. Virtually all inmates are ultimately released, bringing their prison experiences, including learned violent behavior, back to their communities. The experience of the U.S. illustrates the significant problems that may develop if Canada adopts the proposed harsh sentencing laws. Bills C-9 and C-10 would make the prison population in Canada increase significantly, causing Canadian prisons and detention centers to become larger, more difficult to manage, and more violent. Notably, the prisoners affected by these laws would not be the most dangerous and violent offenders, but rather those for whom a judge identified factors that supported community supervision or a minimal prison term. These defendants are among the most vulnerable to abuse in prison, and have the greatest prospect for rehabilitation in the community.
Gilles Duceppe was stating the simple facts.

The Other Shoe Drops

Shorter McCain Campaign: "...Oh, and were going to want to delay the Sarah Palin/Joe Biden debate next week too - are you OK with that?"

Swami Cliff's fearless prediction of the immediate future:

Now that Obama has rejected McCain's call for a time out, Mccain will put on a wounded air of smoking martyr and bleat about how said it is that Obama wasn't prepared to be a good American and put country ahead of partisanship.

The American people have swallowed bigger cock-meat sandwiches than this in the last 8 years - but they may have lost their taste for it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Quote of the Day

"I have always been proud of the role and the behavior of the NDP in the House of Commons. Sure, we have had the odd louder-than-appropriate voice in our corner of the House, and the odd unparliamentary incident, usually driven by rage at some form of government inaction. But my memory of my life in the NDP corner will primarily be one of trying to raise important issues while the Liberals and Conservatives, aided by the fatal attraction of the media, preferred to spend their parliamentary time debating who among them was the least corrupt." - Bill Blaikie, in the Globe and Mail today
Spotted by Dipper Chick - I skimmed the Globe this morning and would have missed it, Thanks Erin!

Desperate smears from a desperate smear of a man

Jason Cherniak apparently wasn't content with his shoddy, defamatory and factually false attacks on Stacy Douglas - now he labours to draw a connection between the NDP and the 9/11 Truth Movement.

The best dirt he can come up with is that Jack Layton, a politician, was not openly rude with 9/11 Truth Movement members when they approached him on camera and Libby Davies once read a petition to the House of Parliament from them. Even the Western Standard (!) dismisses this as the kind of thing all MPs do: serving their constituents by reading petitions into the record that they don't agree with.

He has a grab-bag of other factoids that he's throwing at the wall in the hope that they will stick: an NDP candidate once appeared on a radio show with people with odd beliefs, another is affiliated with a group that describes terrorism as a distraction - and you don't have to believe the 9/11 truthers to believe that.

No, the real story here is that a prominent Liberal blogger repeatedly proven to be a sleazy compulsive liar is desperately afraid of the NDP - NANOS today puts the Liberal Party in fourth place in Quebec - and will engage in the tackiest most desperate stretching of the truth to try to smear them. Because he's incapable of actually debating the NDP about policies and issues he resorts to meaningless distraction.

It's all he's got.

UPDATE: Liberal candidate Lesley Hughes on the other hand is actually on the record peddling a variation of the contemptible 'The Jews were warned to get out of the towers before 9/11' twaddle.

Kind of puts things in perspective.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Calgary Centre NDP

Buckdog gives us the good news that fellow blogger Tyler Kinch will be my candidate here in Calgary Centre.

Tyler got my attention by writing a nice supportive post about the lockout at Telus. I pointed some people to it and it ended up going the rounds on the union's message board. When I later met him at a University of Calgary blog seminar, that helped clear up a minor mystery for him about who all the visitors from a private message board on his statcounter were!

Tyler seems like a genuinely nice guy, is very concerned about the state of his province and country and writes a smart blog. I look forward to voting for him.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Schmuck in the headlights

Jan from the Bruce asked the pivotal question this morning over at Dawg's Blawg. At what point do you start considering sanctions against a blogger engaging in unethical conduct?

The case: Cherniak first wrote a dishonest post about ex-NDP candidate Dana Larsen on Wednesday. The ick factor was reasonably high on this piece - primarily due to Jason knowingly describing a parody clearly written for adults as Larsen 'telling children to dope up'.

In the comments for that post Brian from Toronto directs Jason to a posting at Dust My Broom about Stacy Douglas. Brian from Toronto is Brian Henry who wrote the Dust My Broom piece and the Jewish Tribune piece on Douglas. Five minutes searching of Brian Henry on the Internet reveals someone with a serious axe to grind against the NDP, convinced of the premise that there is far more and more virulent antisemitism on the left than on the right.

Cherniak jumped on the chance to tar the NDP as antisemitic, although he is careful not to actually use the legally actionable word. No, Cherniak's new standard is that being 'anti-Israel' should bar someone from public life forever. Being opposed to a foreign government should make you beyond the pale in Canada. He also presents the Dust My Broom post and the Jewish Tribune story as reinforcing separate sources when they were both written by the same guy.

The Facts: Jason first titled the post NDP Candidate is Anti-Israel and claimed that Stacy Douglas was the NDP candidate for Scarborough-Agincourt. When it was repeatedly pointed out to him that no, she wasn't, he....waited another day, arguing that it was up to his readers to get his facts straight, before finally 'correcting' his post.

His correction consisted of re-titling the post NDP fired candidate who was anti-Israel. He presents no evidence that Douglas was fired or that she was fired for being 'anti-Israel'. He just assumes it must be the case because that's how he sees the world. In his comments section it is pointed out to him that there are many examples of people planning to run for office and then not doing so for one reason or another when the election is called. Jason pushes back defensively at this straightforward logic arguing plaintively that 'If you read the details, she was signing letters as the candidate only weeks ago!'

Except if you actually take him up on it and do read the details, the letter he's referring to is dated March 5 - over seven months ago. Read it to see the kind of views that Jason believes should be banned from the public discourse.

Jason refuses to let through comments pointing out this mistake.

In Conclusion: Cherniak's investigation of his 'story' is shoddy to the point of being non-existent. He gets major facts wrong but refuses to correct the record. He uses a single source which he either doesn't realize is one guy or is knowingly suggesting is two separate sources. In a McCarthy worthy display of vindictiveness he argues that someone should be barred from public life forever, not for being an antisemite but for being 'anti-Israel', literally that being critical of the actions of a foreign state should disqualify someone from serving the public here in Canada.

Should Cherniak face sanctions as Jan wonders? At the very least Stacy Douglas who's name he dragged through the mud should be seeking legal advice pursuant to filing a case of libel against him. He publicly claimed that she was fired as a candidate and implied that she was an antisemite. With a good lawyer I think she could end up owning his home.

As for being barred or expelled from Progressive Bloggers for example, well... some of you probably remember his vindictive crusade against another blogger who he demanded be driven forth from our midst. I would argue Jason's blogging crimes of the past week are at least as bad if not far worse than a clumsily phrased post about antisemitism that Cherniak insisted be interpreted as antisemitism.

He's never going to change and its not us, it's him.

UPDATE: Please do read Jason's hilarious riposte. Self justifying, disingenuous, playing fast and loose with time lines and facts and defensively passive aggressive. I really don't think Jason realizes how much he reveals of himself with his writing.

He still defiantly cites the Jewish Tribune article of September 3 by Brian Henry, who seems to have flogged variations of it all over the place, as evidence that Stacy Douglas was the candidate until very recently and therefore must have been fired for being anti-Israel.

Of course the reference in the article to Douglas is to a letter she wrote that was dated March 5.

UPDATE 2: Check out Firebrand, as mentioned in the comments, Stacy Douglas isn't running because she's studying in England this year. Don't hold your breath waiting for Cherniak to correct the record.

Inside

UNKLE

Friday, September 19, 2008

Here we go again...

Serial liar Amir Taheri is at it again. You may remember him from the infamous National Post front page false story about how Iran planned to force it's Jewish population to wear yellow badges JUST LIKE THE NAZIS DID! Now he's spreading lies about Barack Obama refuted even by Bush administration members:

Earlier this week, the campaign of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., seized upon a column in the New York Post that described Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., as having urged Iraqi leaders in a private meeting to delay coming to an agreement with the Bush administration on the status of U.S. troops.
"Obama has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a drawdown of the American military presence," Post columnist Amir Taheri wrote, quoting Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, who told the Post that Obama, during his meeting with Iraqi leaders in July, "asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the U.S. elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington."
The charge -- that Obama asked the Iraqis to delay signing off on a "Status of Forces Agreement," thus delaying U.S. troop withdrawal and interfering in U.S. foreign policy -- has been picked up on the Internet, talk radio and by Republicans, including the McCain campaign, which seized on the story as possible evidence of duplicity.
The Obama campaign said that the Post report consisted of "outright distortions." Lending significant credence to Obama's response is the fact that -- though it's absent from the Post story and other retellings -- in addition to Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, this July meeting was also attended by Bush administration officials, such as U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and the Baghdad embassy's legislative affairs advisor Rich Haughton, as well as a Republican senator, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.
Attendees of the meeting back Obama's account, including not just Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., but Hagel, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffers from both parties. Officials of the Bush administration who were briefed on the meeting by the U.S. embassy in Baghdad also support Obama's account and dispute the Post story and McCain attack.
The Post story is "absolutely not true," Hagel spokesman Mike Buttry told ABC News. "Barack Obama has never urged a delay in negotiations," said Obama campaign national security spokesperson Wendy Morigi, "nor has he urged a delay in immediately beginning a responsible drawdown of our combat brigades."

UPDATE: It turns out that it's the Bush Administration taking positions in the negotiations based on domestic political concerns.

Warnings ignored

From "The Demons of Greed are Loose"
Why a Global Economic Deluge Looms
By GABRIEL KOLKO published in Counterpunch June 15, 2006
The investment managers of private equity funds and major banks have displaced national banks and international bodies such as the IMF, moving well beyond the existing regulatory structures and they have "reintermediated" themselves between the traditional borrowers, both national and individual, and markets. They have deregulated the world financial structure, making it far more unpredictable and susceptible to crises. They seek to generate high investment returns, which is the key to their compensation, and they take mounting risks to do so.
A "brave new world" has emerged in the global financial structure, one that is far less transparent because there are fewer reporting demands imposed on those who operate in it. Financial adventurers are constantly creating new "products" that defy both states and international banks. The IMF's managing director, Rodrigo de Rato, at the end of May, 2005, deplored these new risks -- risks the weakness of the U.S. dollar and its mounting trade deficits have magnified greatly.
Read the whole piece, and contemplate what steps could have been taken if the many warnings of the coming deluge hadn't been ignored.

Green Shift? What is this Green Shift you speak of?

So today Dion says that the Green Shift was never the central campaign plank he was running on - that was all the wacky press corps fault for suggesting it was the centerpiece of his election strategy.
WINNIPEG–Liberal Leader Stephane Dion said today that his Green Shift plan featuring a controversial carbon tax is not a major part of his election platform.
"You have said it was but never me," Dion told reporters.
His surprise declaration follows by a day campaign appearances in the Toronto area where he failed to mention it once in his speeches.
Dion released the Green Shift plan in June in Ottawa with great fanfare. It proposes to tax fossil fuels while cutting taxes for lower and middle income Canadians.
"I have always said it was an important policy for Canada. I strongly believe it would be good for Canada," he told reporters.
Dion said: “Okay, maybe I didn’t use the word `green shift’ ” but denied he was downplaying the policy.
Fortunately for Dion, we Canadians are morons and will fall for this completely. It doesn't look like a humiliating retreat in the face of widespread scepticism at all.

Spotted by POGGE

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Exploitation Nation

This is the country we live in now:
VANCOUVER — Fourteen Mexican farm workers employed at an Abbotsford greenhouse were fired from their jobs and sent back to Mexico days before a union-certification vote, the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada said yesterday.

The workers were terminated late in the day on Sept. 5, a Friday, before being driven to the airport the next day in time to catch an afternoon flight to Mexico, the union said.

On Sept. 4, the UFCW had filed an application to represent 29 employees at the company, Floralia Plant Growers Ltd.

Canadian businesses have seen how conveniently helpless migrant labour is in the US, and they want in.
A June study of B.C. farm workers by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Simon Fraser University found farm workers are routinely exposed to pesticides and other chemicals; immigrant workers are regularly transported by farm labour contractors in vans that violate safety regulations; and health and safety standards are routinely violated, for example, by employers failing to provide adequate washroom facilities or water for hand-washing.

Keep that smear alive Jason

You can always tell how worried Jason Cherniak is getting about the NDP; just index it to how hysterical and dishonorable his smear attacks get.

Like disingenuously implying a parody clearly written for adults, albeit giggly and patchouli reeking adults, constitutes an NDP candidate telling children to 'dope up'. It's humorless gotcha crap with no real gotcha to it. And the cognitive dissonance on display, of linking to pages that directly refute his premise is really quite astounding.

Or there's today's two minute hate passionately denouncing an NDP candidate in Scarborough-Agincourt for, horrors, disagreeing with Jason about whether Canada should attend a UN human rights conference. One little problem: the 'candidate' Cherniak has fastened on with a terrible slavering joy, isn't. A candidate that is.

Cherniak was advised hours ago that the Stacy Douglas he writes about is not the NDP candidate in the riding of Scarborough-Agincourt. He eventually updated his post, sulkily asserting his belief in the premise of guilty until proven innocent.
One of my commenters suggests that somebody else was acclaimed for this riding last night. However, the Jewish Tribune wrote about Ms. Douglas' candidacy on September 3. If anybody can point me to a determinative source, I will correct the record (whatever that correction might be).
So having been advised that he has posted an untruth, having subsequently been advised in his own moderated comments section that the Elections Canada website confirms that it is an untruth...

As of 10:25 PM MST the post is still up.

No correction other than a demand that someone prove he has committed an act of partisan libel before he will correct the record. Funny, I've always believed that the burden of getting your facts right was on the writer.

If its a choice between bloodthirsty humorless partisanship or basic concepts like honesty and simple decency, Mr Cherniak is at the very least, consistent.

UPDATE: 11:35 PM MST - The post is unchanged. Jason Cherniak still knowingly has a provably false smear attack on the NDP featured on his blog. At best demonstrating a cavilier disregard for correcting the record.

UPDATE: Midnight, MST - Cherniak approved a comment on his comment moderated blog at 10:25 Central time stating that the Elections Canada website confirms his story is false. It has now been two and a half hours at a minimum that he has known that he posted a falsehood.

Still there. No correction. No apology.

UPDATE: It's now 7:15 AM MST Friday Morning - Jason Cherniak still has not corrected a smear he knows to be untrue. Any and all future posts he does about the NDP should be considered within the context of what this incident has shown us about his nonexistent credibility, irresponsibility and contempt for basic standards of honesty.

Final UPDATE 9:30 AM MST: Jason finally concedes that there's 'evidence' that Douglas is not the NDP candidate for Scarborough-Agincourt. Actually Jason an Elections Canada page showing that someone else is the candidate isn't 'evidence', the technical word for that is actually proof. A lawyer should probably understand the difference.

He goes on to insist that there is 'evidence' that Douglas was the candidate, with the implication that she was fired by the party for 'anti-Israel' views. He provides no further evidence for either of these statements - presumably still clinging to the Jewish Tribune article by Brian Henry.

Five minutes work with 'teh google' reveals that Mr Henry has a hardcore axe to grind and never met an anti-NDP slur he didn't cherish. Isn't that sweet, Jason found a soul mate.

OK, one more UPDATE, but only because the best way to not get past Jason's comment moderation is to catch him in an embarressing mistake. In his comments for the updated hit piece Firebrand asks what evidence Jason has that the NDP 'fired' Stacy Douglas:


So I read the details. The only letter from Stacy Douglas referenced in Jason's hit piece linked by his oh-so unimpeachable source Dust My Broom is dated March 5. Now as I measure time that actually constitutes months ago not weeks - over seven months ago in fact. I helpfully pointed this out to Jason in a comment.

As of yet, that comment appears to be 'pending approval'.

Doctor Dawg sums it up. Cherniak has crossed the line. His contempt for the truth and assumption that criticizing Israel should forever bar someone from public life crosses the line of acceptable discourse.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Back home

Back from an extended trip to Saskatchewan necessitated by a family emergency. We now return to our regularly scheduled ranting.

I was born in Saskatchewan but have never lived there - the hospital was on the Saskatchewan side of town, our house was on the Alberta side - over the course of a sleep deprived but rewarding visit with my lady's family we spent a lot of time driving through beautiful countryside encountering just really nice people and enjoying some pretty spectacular weather for mid-September.

We had a six hour layover in Regina on the way back and spent it wandering downtown and in the big mall. After Calgary, Regina mostly impresses me with its smaller population; the whole province only has twice the population of my city which brought back memories of the more relaxed and spacious feel of Calgary when I first moved here in the early nineties. There is also very clearly a much higher percentage of Saskatchewan's population that is first nations than Alberta.

The mall was small to middling sized but with a large and zealous security detachment. They were Mall Ninjas, no doubt about it. Over the course of a few hours we watched them perform their duties, which apparently is to zero in on any native, particularly any native teen who enters the building and follow them in packs, scribbling furiously into notepads, self importantly muttering into shoulder mounted radios and generally making their native visitors feel welcome.

After watching them tailgate their fifth or sixth perfectly harmless looking pair of kids out of the mall and right off the grounds, even standing outside surveiling them until they had crossed the streets, I told my girlfriend that if I was a native kid in Regina I think I'd be absolutely furious all the time. I mean overturning cars and setting them on fire furious, and I was impressed that they didn't. I'm sure that natives in Alberta experience the same kind of crap on a daily basis, it's just been quite a while since I've seen it be so blatant.

'Welcome to Saskatchewan.' she said.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Brief Intermission

Sudden need to leave town for a few nights has come up. I'll be back on the air Monday.

Be good.

Oliver North involved in a cover up

Hard to believe right?

The first story from the Pentagon was that the airstrike in the mountains of Afghanistan on the night of August 21 had been a complete success and only militants had been killed. The Afghanistan government complained it had actually massacred 80 civilians most of them children. The Military 'investigated' and claimed their initial conclusion was correct: nothing but Taliban.

And then the photos of dozens of dead children started appearing.
Now the Pentagon has dispatched a General to investigate their original investigation.
But the story has taken a new turn - it appears the original investigation relied on the corroboration of an embedded journalist when it concluded that the airstrike had, after all, only hit militants. That journalist has now been revealed to have been former Iran/Contra conspirator and FOX correspondent Colonel Oliver North.
Republican criminals never die, they just commit more crimes.

Coyote Physics as an election strategy

The reason Stephen Harper is rushing us to the polls with such unseemly haste? The commodity bubble just popped and he wanted to call an election and get it over with in the blissful moment just after the Canadian economy has run off the edge of the cliff and is hanging in space legs pumping, before gravity claims its due and the pain begins.

UPDATE September 19: Sweet! Jon Stewart references the Wile E. Coyote theory of economics!

Hannity: Is Senator Obama then using what happened on Wall Street this week? Is he using it for political gain? Is there a danger of a presidential candidate is saying to the world that America’s situation of economic crisis is the worst that we’ve seen in decades — which was words that he was using yesterday — is there a danger in terms of the world hearing that?

Stewart: “I mean, Sarah, answer this for me: Shouldn’t we be lying to the world? For instance, what if we told the world the stock market was like golf scores, lower numbers are better. Apparently for Sean Hannity, the greatest in an economic free fall is acknowledging it. It’s the Wile E. Coyote theory applied to economics.”

The Republican Party Vote Supression Machine

First: Through insane Republican economic policies and a deliberately under-regulated mortgage industry drive thousands of people, primarily in the lower economic spectrum out of their homes.

Then use the foreclosures these policies have inevitably caused as an excuse to deny people made homeless because of them of their right to vote.
Michigan Republicans plan to foreclose African American voters
The chairman of the Republican Party in Macomb County Michigan, a key swing county in a key swing state, is planning to use a list of foreclosed homes to block people from voting in the upcoming election as part of the state GOP’s effort to challenge some voters on Election Day.
“We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren’t voting from those addresses,” party chairman James Carabelli told Michigan Messenger in a telephone interview earlier this week. He said the local party wanted to make sure that proper electoral procedures were followed.
State election rules allow parties to assign “election challengers” to polls to monitor the election. In addition to observing the poll workers, these volunteers can challenge the eligibility of any voter provided they “have a good reason to believe” that the person is not eligible to vote. One allowable reason is that the person is not a “true resident of the city or township.”
The Michigan Republicans’ planned use of foreclosure lists is apparently an attempt to challenge ineligible voters as not being “true residents.”

May is in the debate

As anyone could have predicted, the other leaders have withdrawn their objections and Elizabeth May will be in the debate.

The political path has been cleared for Elizabeth May to participate in the televised leaders debates after first NDP Leader Jack Layton and minutes later Conservative Leader Stephen Harper withdrew threats to boycott.
The reversals could be a pivotal point in this federal election campaign.
Dogged by protesters and divisions within the ranks of his own party, Mr. Layton told reporters during a visit to a solar-panel company here Wednesday that the debate about the debate has become an unwanted distraction.
“I have only one condition for this debate, that the Prime Minister is there, because I want to debate the issues with him,” said Mr. Layton. “I don't want to be debating the debate forever.”
Mr. Layton's change of heart put the onus squarely on the shoulders of Mr. Harper to decide where the block against Ms. May will remain.
Conservative spokesman Kory Teneycke then said the Tories were dropping their opposition to Ms. May participating in the debate. “Our point of principle doesn't change but . . . we would not boycott the debate,” Mr. Teneycke said.
“We don't think she should be there. But if the NDP have decided they're changing their position, we will not stand alone.”

Can we put a fork in this nonsense now?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

When the chips are down

It never fails. Tell the Canadian people that there's a real chance that the Conservatives might actually win a majority and they respond with a hearty "Fuck that!"
TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's ruling Conservatives have lost some of their momentum in swing parliamentary districts since Prime Minister Stephen Harper triggered an October 14 general election, a poll released on Tuesday suggested.
There's a reason why Harper desperately wanted to avoid any suggestion of a potential majority, because as predicted here, nothing will depress Tory poll numbers more than convincing Canadians that they might actually get the untrammeled power of a majority.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Lucky day for the Greens

Andrew Steele writes in the Globe and Mail blog page that being barred from the debates was the luckiest break the Greens could get:
If I were Green Party leader Elizabeth May, I'd be glad I was being excluded from the leaders' debate.
Far from needing a platform for solidifying and growing its potential vote coalition, I think the Green Party is something like mushrooms: It grows best in the dark. The less people know about the party, the more they project their own values onto the Greens. They are a handy protest vote for Red Tories, left-wing New Democrats, disaffected Liberals and bored Bloquistes - those who won't go so far as to vote for another main-line party, and can't stand not voting.
...
So take a page out of the Tom Hanks stinker The Money Pit. Keep the lights off. Say you are lighting the place with candles to prevent global warming. Stay in the shadows. Mumble when people ask what your specific policies are, and then talk vaguely about a bold new Green future. And be glad you won't actually have to show up at the debate!
Plus now they get to present themselves as smoking martyrs to democracy and free speech while never having to display what an empty suit they are in terms of policy. Get down off the cross Elizabeth, we need the wood.

To be clear: I oppose this decision. I think it's wrong headed and anti-democratic and I'd love for the Canadian people to get an opportunity to see just how formless the Greens are.

They'll probably get more votes from being excluded than they would have gained from participating in the debates and they'll certainly lose less votes from soft supporters finding out exactly what they stand for - or don't.

"Majority? What is this majority you speak of?"

Any other party would be touting new polls suggesting they are within striking distance of a majority to the sky. Conservatives can't run away from the word fast enough.
QUEBEC -- You won't find Conservative Leader Stephen Harper using the M-word during the federal election campaign if he can help it. That's M as in majority government - a phrase the Tories want to prevent from taking root in voters' minds.
Remember last election, when the press started reporting the real possibility of a Conservative majority in the final few weeks and their numbers immediately tanked?

They know that if the Canadian people actually believe an unchallenged Conservative Majority Government is a realistic option this time their poll numbers will head south again immediately. Watch for it in the next few weeks. And watch for the traditional attempt by the Liberals to poach NDP support with a surge of fear mongering.

We're running against the government, the Liberals will be running against the NDP - and the Greens. Elizabeth May is about to learn what getting between Liberals and power means, she'll be dazedly brushing off the boot prints from her back and wondering what happened to her 'understanding' with Dion.

And the Canadian people know what they could expect from a Conservative government with no limits on their power. There's no hidden agenda, its right out there in the open.

UPDATE: Told ya.

Scientology declares war on people making fun of them on YouTube

Over a period of twelve hours, between this Thursday night and Friday morning, American Rights Counsel LLC sent out over 4000 DMCA takedown notices to YouTube, all making copyright infringement claims against videos with content critical of the Church of Scientology. Clips included footage of Australian and German news reports about Scientology, A Message to Anonymous/Scientology , and footage from a Clearwater City Commission meeting. Many accounts were suspended by YouTube in response to multiple allegations of copyright infringement.

YouTube users responded with DMCA counter-notices. At this time, many of the suspended channels have been reinstated and many of the videos are back up. Whether or not American Rights Counsel, LLC represents the notoriously litigious Church of Scientology is unclear, but this would not be the first time that the Church of Scientology has used the DMCA to silence Scientology critics.
So I wonder how Anonymous will take this? They will doubtless see it as something they have to respond to. I wonder what the response will be?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sunday Linkblast - Sept 7

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Lotion

From The Greenskeepers
This song is just full on WIN. Press play.

Question for the Day

Why is the statement "The CIA are drug dealers." treated as a whacked out conspiracy theory, rather than an established fact?
Here's an update on the strange story of the Gulfstream II jet filled with 3.7 tons of cocaine that crashed in the Yucatan last year. The Mexico City newspaper El Universal reports that European Parliament was investigating the circumstances surrounding the plane, which had previously been used by the CIA for "extraordinary rendition" flights.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Why are conservatives so bad at economic management? (And why do so many people think they're actually the ones who are good at it?)

It's the most undeserved of reputations. Consistently in both the USA and Canada huge margins of the public erroneously believe that liberals and leftists are the profligate, deficit creating, big government fiscal maniacs and Conservatives (both small 'c' and big 'C') are the deficit fighting, big government fighting, fiscal realists - when the unambiguous, easily verifiable fact of the matter is the exact opposite.

Right wingers are very, very bad at running economies.

Oh and the whole 'Bush is an aberration who doesn't represent true conservatism' thing? Fuck off. He's the logical extension of every strain of fiscal conservatism: loot the surpluses left by progressive governments, paper over massive wealth redistribution upwards with unsustainable deficit spending, slash taxes for the top 5% of the income bracket while slashing support for the bottom 5% and chortle about drowning government in a bathtub as they vandalize it.

Bush is the Platonic Ideal of conservative governance.

Oh and look, up here in Canada we have a Conservative government calling an election not least because they're about to post the first deficit in Canada since the huge mess Brian Mulroney's last Conservative government left us in.

Oh and John McCain is a reformer? The outsider riding into town to clean house? Fuck off. McCain's party controlled every branch of government for all but two of the last eight years and his entire campaign staff are high powered lobbyists and Bush administration stalwarts.

As for the great conservative hope Sarah Palin...
As Mayor, ‘Hard-Core Fiscal Conservative’ Sarah Palin Left Wasilla $20 Million In Debt

The campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is presenting his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK), as a reformer, fiscal conservative, and “tough minded budget cutter.” Other conservatives have latched onto this image - Phyllis Schlafly calls Palin “the total package” with “fiscal conservative credentials.”

Palin embraces the title, labeling herself a “hard-core fiscal conservative,” whose “agenda was to stop wasteful spending.

However, as mayor of Wasilla, AK, Palin “was not always the fiscal watchdog she has since boasted of being...”

Here we go, here we go, here we go...

Todd Palin's business partner just filed an emergency writ to seal the record of his divorce proceedings, leading to the Alaska court records website crashing and burning like the Hindenburg.

That increasingly loud scribbling sound you're hearing is coming from the National Enquirer's checkbook.

UPDATE: Denied!

Do you want some cheese with that whine?

A favorite moan from the Liberals in the past few years, unrelated with reality though it was, was that the NDP was concentrating on attacking them instead of the Conservatives.

It turns out that doing the opposite upsets them even more.
Jack Layton is ready to talk about all kinds of campaign issues, from affordable medication to smog, but one topic he didn't mention yesterday was Opposition Leader St├ęphane Dion. "If you apply for a job, you don't normally talk about the other applicants," the New Democratic Party leader said yesterday, when asked why he had delivered an entire campaign-style speech without once saying the Liberal leader's name or bringing up his carbon tax.
This has unleashed a storm of peevish sarcasm, concern trolling and misrepresentation from representatives of the Liberal blogosphere. They seem to have taken to heart the famous Oscar Wilde bon mot that the only thing worse than being talked about - is not being talked about.

Get used to it folks, this is a campaign strategy that merely recognizes the cold hard political reality of the Liberal Party's slide into irrelevancy.

Why so serious?

Stephen Harper and John McCain have a lot in common:

Bully boy belligerance, a willingness to abandon supposedly closely held principals out of electoral expediency and an on again, off again but ultimately dependant relationship with an extremist party base.

They both also do this creepy thing with their faces that they think is smiling. And really shouldn't.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

"Because you're scary and unpleasant and occasionally one of you flips out and starts shooting people."

Abortion protesters in Vancouver asked the BC Appeals Court why they should have to follow a clinic bubble law.

The B.C. government brought in the law in 1995 after an escalating series of protests around the Bagshaw and Everywoman's Health clinics.

Protesters outside the clinics carried graphic signs, blocked the sidewalks and access and conducted so-called sidewalk counselling to try and dissuade women entering the clinic from getting an abortion.

But it was the November 1994 shooting and near-death of Vancouver abortion provider Dr. Garson Romalis that spurred the government to action.

Romalis was sitting at his breakfast table when he was shot by someone outside his house. The bullet shattered the bone in his leg and severed an artery.

American anti-abortion activist James Kopp is suspected in the shooting of Romalis, as well as the shootings of Dr. Hugh Short in the elbow at his home in Ancaster, Ont., in 1995, and Dr. Jack Fainman in the shoulder at his home in Winnipeg in 1997.

The court ruled that while the law did limit the free speech rights of the anti-abortion protesters it was justified by the competing rights of vulnerable women wanting to have a legal medical procedure without feeling intimidated or threatened.

UPDATE May 2009: A working link

Quote of the day

"Now, in Dick Morris's defense, he is a lying sack of shit," -Jon Stewart

Dismal Science, dismal people?

Many economists argue that the guiding force, central principle and primary trait of human nature and human society is selfishness and self interest.

Turns out that might just be them.

In the course of researching my next novel, I happened upon this old paper by Robert H. Frank, Thomas Gilovich, and Dennis T. Regan, "Does Studying Economics Inhibit Cooperation?" Its conclusions: Economics grad students are more likely to free ride than the general public. Economists are less generous than other academics in charitable giving. Economics undergrads are more likely to defect in prisoner's dilemma problems. Students are less likely to return found money after studying economics but not after studying another subject like astronomy. No wonder they call it "the dismal science."
Of course there's an excellent argument to be made that this is only due to economics as it is currently taught. The rising popularity of True Cost economics may offer an alternative approach to the world and other people.

Minneapolis = Montebello?

Lot's of 'Well the cops may be getting a bit rough, but some of those protesters are really asking for it.' in the American media, though as usual Glen Greenwald displays his furious clarity.

But after catching the police in the act in Montebello, skulking among the real protesters, carrying rocks and getting exposed by the real protesters telling them to drop them, can we really be sure it's protesters at the RNC to blame for any of the destruction or violence?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

"It's over."

Republicans may be keeping up a united front about what a BRILLIANT CHOICE McCain made with Sarah Palin but when they don't know the mike is hot the mask slips a little. Video of GOP war horse Peggy Noonan wondering off the record what the hell McCain was thinking has already been pulled from youtube, but expect to see it, and other unintentional moments of Republican lucidity again.
After a segment with NBC's Chuck Todd ended today, Republican consultant Mike Murphy and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan were caught on a live mike ridiculing the choice of Sarah Palin. "It's over," said Noonan, and then responded to a question of whether Palin is the most qualified Republican woman McCain could have chosen.
"The most qualified? No. I think they went for this — excuse me — political bullsh** about narratives," she said. "Every time Republicans do that — because that's not where they live and it's not what they're good at — they blow it."
Murphy chimed in:
"The greatness of McCain is no cynicism, and this is cynical."

The gift that keeps on giving

More Palin revelations, this new revelation every few hours public devouring is nuking the McCain campaign. He had a shot with this insane gamble if the campaign controlled the release of information and set the storyline in stone early enough. This did not happen.

I literally wonder what new revelations will come out before I wake up in, yikes, 6 1/2 hours.

No doubt about it. This gave him back the evangelicals which he needed - but he needs the independents too, they had pretty much decided on Obama anyway, and right now they're recoiling from the freakshow.

Today they're hearing about the mother of an unwed pregnant teen who opposes sex education, and slashed the paltry budget of a program that helped homeless teenage moms.

And about John McCain making his first executive decision with less than a week of vetting.

And they're hearing about, and seeing video proving Palin's links to the Alaska Independence Party - literally, the PQ of Alaska, except far right wing and openly theocratic.

Of course don't forget the new principal of public life established in this campaign season: A candidate is responsible for what is said in the pulpit of the church they are attending. In Palin's case that message is that terrorism in Israel is God's punishment on Jews for not accepting Jesus.

Any question of how enthusiastically Hillary would campaign on Obama's behalf can I think, be put to rest; If you thought Obama pissed her off, I think watching the Republicans cynically present this empty pantsuit as an alternative to her...

She's going to do that chilly little smile that means she's setting you on fire in her head.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Oh, you poor dumb bastard

On his MySpace page, Johnston boasts, "I'm a f - - -in' redneck" who likes to snowboard and ride dirt bikes.
"But I live to play hockey. I like to go camping and hang out with the boys, do some fishing, shoot some s- - - and just f - - -in' chillin' I guess."
"Ya f - - - with me I'll kick [your] ass," he added.
He also claims to be "in a relationship," but states, "I don't want kids."
I've known this guy. Hell, I grew up in Alberta, I'm related to guys like this.

And the poor kid's life and that of his 17 year old girlfriend will never be the same because her mom is now the Republican candidate for Vice President. At some point in the last few days he woke up or sobered up and found out his carefree adolescent jock existence is over forever.

I repeat: 'You poor dumb bastard.'

The poll results the Alberta government didn't want you to see

In 2005 the Alberta government reluctantly agreed to consultations on the province's 20 year old employment standards laws. They've been fighting ever since to keep the results under wraps.

In 2005, the Alberta government embarked on an ambitious public consultation to find out what changes the public wanted to the Employment Standards Code. This review was long overdue - the Code had not been amended in almost 20 years. The AFL was pleased the government was looking at making changes to the outdated and clunky Code. That good feeling didn't last long, as not a single legislative or regulatory change has occurred to the Employment Standards Code. The consultation died without a single improvement to the Code.

As part of the consultation, the government commissioned a public opnion survey of 400 employers and 400 workers to guage opinions about certain elements of the Code. The poll was conducted in the fall of 2005.

The AFL wondered why the consultation resulted in nothing, and thought the poll might reveal a reason. The AFL submitted a FOIP request to receive a copy of the poll questions and results. The government refused. The AFL appealed to the Commissioner.

When the results were finally, grudgingly released by order of the Commissioner the results were surprising. A majority of both employers and employees wanted increased protection for workers injured on the job, disagreed with the governments decision to allow child labour in the province by lowering the working age to 12 and opposed the excluding of basic rights from farm workers. Alberta farm workers are not covered by workplace injury laws and are legally prohibited from organizing to protect their interests.

It turns out that Alberta employers are just as opposed to this Dickensian state of affairs as Alberta workers are.

In the case of farmworkers, the Employment Standards Code currently excludes this group of workers from most protections. Farmworkers have no right to a minimum wage, to limits on hours of work, to overtime pay or to statutory holiday pay. They also are not protected by the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Only 15 per cent of employers and 16 per cent of workers believe these exemptions are fair. The vast majority of Albertans want some or all of the exclusions removed. In other words, Albertans appreciate that farmworkers have as much right to basic protections as the rest of us. The poll also revealed Albertans want some consideration for family farms, demonstrating they know the difference between a small family operation and a big industrial farm.

Too bad the Conservatives can't see the difference.

It's long past the time that labour law in Alberta entered the 21st Century and the only response the Alberta government has to the issue is to fight tooth and nail to avoid revealing that the majority of Albertans want change.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Pregnant Pause

So right off the bat lets put the it's really her daughter's kid and Sarah Palin is really the grandmother theory aside. I find it unlikely and counterproductive and reveling in it is the kind of tackiness that will make people choose sides and they won't pick the lefty websites ranting about fake pregnancies and bizarre conspiracy theories.

I don't buy it, I've known women who hardly showed at all until the very end and I think this whole thing is seriously going to backlash on Kos.

But the fact that the teenage daughter of a supporter of abstinence only sex education who opposes any education about birth control methods is now pregnant is relevant. The fact that Sarah Palin opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest - which basically means she supports the right of a rapist to pick the mother of his child - is relevant.

Skip the conspiracy theories folks, there's enough unambiguous facts to bring Palin's judgment into question without them.

Update: Settled.

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