Saturday, December 08, 2012

Seems legit.....

So let me get this straight: It would be wrong for the Canadian government to own and administer any of our resources like the Oil Sands for the good of the Canadian people because that would be socialism - but it's ok for the communist Chinese government to own our resources for the good of the Chinese people because that wouldn't be?

 Makes perfect sense.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Not just Un-Canadian. Inhumanly vicious and depraved

The pathologically sadistic and demented Harper government has now gone so far they managed to shock the conscience of Saskatchwan's right wing Premier Brad Wall.  Or maybe he just realized it would appall his constituents.
Premier Wall called Ottawa’s decision to deny chemotherapy to a refugee in Saskatoon "un-Canadian.” Now, the Province of Saskatchewan is stepping up to the plate.
The province will pick up the tab for chemotherapy for a man seeking asylum in Saskatoon. The man says he fled Pakistan when he was persecuted for his Christian faith.
Shortly after arriving however, he was diagnosed with cancer, and the federal government refused to pay for treatment.
Ottawa quietly introduced changes in the spring to the Federal Health Program, which cut drug, dental and vision care for refugee claimants.  These cuts were highlighted in a recent mail out by Saskatoon area MP Kelly Block. The mail outs triggered protests, saying the language was inappropriate and offensive.
The  display of small minded, xenophobic demagoguery by MP Kelly referred to was this:
Block lets her constituents know that she is working hard for them and "ending unfair benefits for refugee claimants." The mail-out goes on to say, "new arrivals to Canada have received dental and vision care paid for by your tax dollars. Not anymore."
The pamphlet then asks constituents to answer a questionnaire that provides two options. A respondent can agree either with the statement, "I agree with Kelly Block. Newcomers don't deserve more benefits than Canadians," or, "I disagree. Refugee claimants should get dental, vision and phar-macare even if I don't."
To say that the MP's mail-out to constituents is misleading is an understatement.
Actually, if you are a government-sponsored refugee, health benefits such as vision and dental care continue. But if you are a refugee sponsored by a church group, those benefits ended as of June 1. We now have two different classes of refugees in Canada as a result of the federal government's rule changes.
Block's reference to "newcomers" leaves the impression she is talking about all immigrants. For the record, most immigrants who land in Canada - particularly if they come under the immigrant nominee program - never have had dental, vision care or pharma-care benefits. In the past, all refugees did.
Unseating Stephen Harper and his merry band of repugnant toadies is now a moral necessity in order to save the soul of this country.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Just a thought

Critics of Israel's actions in the Gaza are once again being tarred with the pro-terrorist, anti-Israel even anti-Semitic brush. Yes, during a prison riot the guards and the people living outside the prison have a right to defend themselves. It doesn't mean the reasons for the prison riot and the methods of quelling the riot AND the justification for the prison's existence in the first place aren't legitimate topics of discussion.

 Also it was just a few decades ago that critics within and without Israel were saying that seeking to undermine Yasser Arrafat and the PLO by promoting and supporting the Islamist opposition to the PLO was an immoral, short-sighted idea that would be bad for Israel in the long term. Hamas was essentially the creation of care and feeding by the Israeli government and people who opposed that creation were accused of being soft on terrorism, being anti-Israel even anti-Semitic.  Please note that the source link for that statement is that well known purveyor of lefty conspiracy theories The Wall street Journal.

 At some point, based on track record alone, maybe critics of Israel should be listened to rather than slurred.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Common Ground

The messy balance between protecting free expression and prohibiting incitement, villification and threat in Canada is a valid subject for debate, but I think we can all come together and find common ground in the sincere belief that the Koran burning pastor 'Reverend' Terry Jones is an asshole.

My country's border control having a 'no assholes' rule is something I'm reasonably comfortable with.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Holy Writ Rant

I know its been a while since my last post.  As an antidote for the time of universal dishonesty we live in, here's the entire masterpiece Rant in E Minor by the irreplaceable Bill Hicks. The greatest comedy album ever recorded.  Dennis Leary stole 90% of his act from Bill Hicks and this album will make you realize just how weak and pathetic mainstream so called comedians are. Listen and weep. With laughter AND sorrow that Bill Hicks was taken from us the same year this was released.

NSFW as fuck.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Only Themselves to blame

Republicans. A couple months from now, the day after the election as you are feeling that dismal stomach churning angry despair over there still being a black man in the White House, please remember that you lost the election long before the final coup de grĂ¢ce in the voting booth.

Let us have no whining about non-existent vote fraud. You rode that hobby horse as hard as you could to suppress the non-white vote as much as you could. Even wide scale Jim Crow style minority voter suppression can't save you this time.

Don't console yourself that the media was against you and you were treated unfairly by the press. It is in the media's interest to pretend there was more of a competition than there really was and they have spent most of the campaign propping you up and withholding the scrutiny you really deserved. Not to mention having an entire TV news network entirely in the tank for you.

When the media turned on you it was because you gave them no choice. If a Democrat had lodged his foot as deeply into his mouth as Aiken did would you not be enraged if the media soft pedaled it? And all Aiken did is say what Republicans actually believe out loud.

Republicans, the enormity of the defeat awaiting on election day will be purely and entirely your fault. You are the ones who chose to so completely alienate women, Latinos, young people, old people and independents.

And don't pretend you were given no chance to talk about real issues with the public - that's what killed you, you were.

You've claimed for years that you want to run on the issues and values you stand for, that any defeats in the past were because you held back from running on your real beliefs, goals and governing history. Well you are going all in on the right wing extremism this election and the voters are abandoning you in droves.

You are going to lose and lose badly and you will own your defeat utterly.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Get him off the Street!

Despicable swaggering bully Const. Taylor Robinson, who shoved a disabled woman to the ground in an unprovoked assault still thinks he did nothing wrong.


"It's important to know the officer has never acknowledged really any wrongdoing in shoving Ms. Davidsen and has continually held to the unbelievable position that she was grabbing for his gun," Bernstein said Tuesday.
"The video shows her hands nowhere near his gun," he said of the June 2010 incident. "It really is unbelievable he can continue holding to this position, but that's what he's doing."
If he doesn't think he did anything wrong that's basically a 100% guarantee he will do it again or something even worse if he thinks he can get away with it.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Corporate Atrocity Enablers

When Iran wants to spy on its citizens international Telecommunications firm MTN helps them do it.  When Syria is about to roll tanks into a neighbourhood and blast it into rubble MTN helpfully shuts off their phone and Internet service first.

Tell MTN what you think of international corporate citizens helping dictatorships spy on and murder their citizens.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Republicans debating their Social Welfare policy:

Return of the Mythical Horse Race

There's been angst from liberals and conservatives with a modicum of sanity and exultation from the far right over Mittens' choice of Paul 'Sarah Palin with a Penis' Ryan as his running mate. Lots of hopeful pronouncements from the American media about how this radically shakes up the race.

This is, not to put too fine a point on it, bullshit.

Mitt Romney's speech introducing his new running mate was was his concession speech. This was Mitt Romney being told by the Grey Eminences of the GOP to write off his shot at the White House and simply provide Ryan with his entry point for the 2016 race.

But.. but.. Obama is only a few points ahead of Romney in the polls and the jobs situation in the US is still dismal (Due to Republican obstructionism but they have Fox News to blame it on Obama 24/7) so how can you say that?!?

Remember what we all learned over the last few American election cycles; the popular vote isn't what selects the President, it's the Electoral College vote.

And in the Electoral College vote polling Obama has an all but insurmountable 84 vote lead over Romney and Mittens would need to get the equivalent of multiple Royal Flush hands on election night to beat him. There is virtually no path to victory to the White House left for the Republicans.

Demographically the current old, white, mean and male GOP is a dead party walking. They've spent the last few years spitting on women and Latinos, alienating independents and watching their constituency die off and not be replaced. They are, in a word, screwed. This was about the last Presidential election that the current iteration of the Republican Party had even half a chance of winning and that chance evaporated over the last couple years as income inequality, traditionally not on the American political agenda became item number one.

Of course it isn't in the Mainstream Media's interests to admit that short of something absolutely cataclysmic and unprecedented Obama is going to romp to a huge victory on election day so expect the drama to continue, just don't make the mistake of thinking its based on reality.

Democrats and commentators should use this mythical horse race meme over the next several months to argue that a defeat of Romney/Ryan in November is an ultimate and decisive repudiation of the Republican agenda. 

And then act like it when it happens.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Zombie Eyed Granny Starver

When Jimmy Breslin called Rudy Giuliani "A small man in search of a balcony." I never thought I'd hear a better one line description of a politician. Then Charles P. Pierce called Paul Ryan 'A zombie eyed granny starver.'

Mark this day down as the point Mitt Romney decided he just didn't really want to be President after all.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Betraying a Hero

The wife of the first woman in space Sally Ride will receive no survivor benefits because of small minded, petty homophobes who support the Defence of Marriage Act.
Sally Ride was the first American woman in outer space. Upon hearing the news of her death last week, media outlets and celebrities alike celebrated Ride as a hero. But under federal law, Ride’s domestic partner of 27 years will not receive death benefits or Social Security payments. Is that any way to treat a hero?

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Slaughter Continues

Three horses, three beautiful majestic animals killed in the Chuck Wagon races at Stampede.  We all knew it wasn't a matter of if, only when.

Can it still be called a tragedy if its as regular as clockwork?

Fuck your tradition.  It isn't worth a single horse's life, much less dozens.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Nancy Grace: Disgusting Evil Monster

Irresponsible self righteous bully drives another troubled woman to suicide:

A tragic accident, a loving mother with a drinking problem accidentally smothers her newborn while sleeping with it.  Police believe it was unintentional, a tragic accident, but the grieving mother faces manslaughter charges leaving the courts to decide the matter. 

In rides Nancy Grace to dub her 'Vodka Mommy' and DEMAND murder charges.  After watching herself be pilloried on national television followed by a campaign of harassment by the despicable Ms Grace's lynch mob fans, the grieving mother kills herself by self immolation.

This brings the repugnant Ms Grace's death toll from her harassment to two.  Why does CNN still give her a platform for her despicable bullying?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Jesus was pretty clear about conservatives...

“‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

We can't afford Stephen Harper

Real Change

The Liberals and Conservatives have the same governing goal: managing and facilitating Corporate rule. The Liberals add a touch of noblesse oblige while the Conservatives pine for the days of the lash and prison time for not doing what you are damn well told.

For the first time we have a federal opposition that is actually operating from a different paradigm from that of the government.  Harper deliberately tried to engineer this believing that if the alternative was the Conservatives and the NDP the Canadian public would never choose the NDP.  The Liberals won many elections by convincing skittish progressives of the same thing.
 
A solid year of neck and neck polls and growing comfort with the NDP from the Canadian public suggests Harper's ideological blind spots have once again trumped his supposed Machiavellian brilliance.
 
A government that actually IS on the side of ordinary Canadians is within our reach

Sunday, July 01, 2012

I Love Canada

The Canada Stephen Harper has openly revelled in his hatred for and unambiguously promised to destroy.   #DenounceHarper

Sourced from Unseat Harper

"You have to remember that west of Winnipeg the ridings the Liberals hold are dominated by people who are either recent Asian immigrants or recent migrants from eastern Canada; people who live in ghettos and are not integrated into Western Canadian society."
Report Magazine, 2001

"Human rights commissions, as they are evolving, are an attack on our fundamental freedoms and the basic existence of a democratic society. It is in fact totalitarianism. I find this is very scary stuff."
Interview with Terry O’Neill of BC Report newsmagazine, 1999

"[Y]our country [the USA], and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world."
Speech to a Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, June 1997

"Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it"
Speech to a Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, June 1997

"In terms of the unemployed, of which we have over a million-and-a-half, don't feel particularly bad for many of these people. They don't feel bad about it themselves, as long as they're receiving generous social assistance and unemployment insurance."
Speech to a Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, June 1997

"Canada appears content to become a second-tier socialistic country, boasting ever more loudly about its economy and social services to mask its second-rate status ..."
Op-ed article in the National Post, December 12, 2000

"Now 'pay equity' has everything to do with pay and nothing to do with equity. It’s based on the vague notion of 'equal pay for work of equal value,' which is not the same as equal pay for the same job."
National Citizens Coalition Overview, Fall 1998

"For taxpayers, however, it’s [pay equity] a rip-off. And it has nothing to do with gender. Both men and women taxpayers will pay additional money to both men and women in the civil service. That’s why the federal government should scrap its ridiculous pay equity law."
National Citizens Coalition Overview, Fall 1998

There's no hidden agenda, he's been quite open about it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tory Government: Screw the disabled!

The opposition tried to bring forward amendments to the bill but the government rejected them. Even an amendment that would have allowed those with perceptual disabilities, such as deaf or blind Canadians, to break digital locks in order to transfer the content to Braille or to add subtitles for closed captioning was defeated.
NDP MP Charlie Angus was livid Friday over the government's refusal to make a minor tweeks to the legislation.
"My daughter went through school deaf and to get copyright material she had to actually break the lock rhythm which is used to access material," Angus told Industry Minister Christian Paradis.
"Why would the Conservatives not work with us on a clear amendment that would ensure that students with perceptual disabilities are not treated as criminals for accessing material in an educational format so they can succeed?"

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Subversion

If the feds really want to go after foreign subsidized organizations engaging in subversion against Canadians they should be looking at the Canadian IP Council.  This is an organization openly lobbying to drastically reduce the freedoms of Canadians and in fact criminalize and imprison whole new classes of lawbreakers.
The IP Lobby's Post-Bill C-11 Playbook: ACTA, SOPA, Warrantless Search and the Criminalization of IP
The Canadian intellectual property's lead lobby group, the Canadian IP Council (itself a group within the Canadian Chamber of Commerce) released a new policy document yesterday that identifies its legislative priorities for the coming years. Anyone hoping that the SOPA protests, the European backlash against ACTA, and the imminent passage of Bill C-11 might moderate the lobby group demands will be sorely disappointed. Counterfeiting in the Canadian Market: How Do We Stop It? is the most extremist IP policy document ever released in Canada, calling for the implementation of ACTA, SOPA-style rules including website blocking and stopping search results from resolving, liability for advertisers and payment companies, massive surveillance at the border and through delivery channels including searching through individual packages without court oversight, and spending hundreds of millions of tax dollars on private enforcement.

Monday, June 04, 2012

If a Neo-Liberal tells you that there is no alternative...

... and you are being profoundly un-serious to even try to find one - they are plainly and simply lying to you.

Iceland proves that to recover economically you should listen carefully to what the wise, consensus neo-liberal gray eminences sternly tell you about how you must make the poorest pay for the excesses of the richest if you don't want to face complete disaster... and then do the exact opposite.
Iceland was the only European country that dared to default on the bankers. In February 2011 Iceland’s President Olafur R. Grimsson refused to sign a $5B bailout bill and told the bankers he was going to put the bill to a referendum. Although 44 of the 63 members of Parliament had passed the bill, Grimsson said he was responding to a popular demand for a plebiscite after more than 42K of Iceland’s 318K inhabitants signed a petition asking him to block it.

Icelanders absorbed some of the costs itself but forced foreign investors to take the biggest hit. Not deterred by horror stories about an “unthinkable economic demise” that have prevented countries like Greece and Portugal from defaulting, Iceland has proved that default was the best thing it could have done. As a result, not only has the economy not collapsed since last year, but its gross domestic product is expected to increase by 2.6% this year. Much of that growth is based on increased production, mainly in tourism and the fishing industry. In contrast, most other European economies are either stagnant or in decline. Even the Times article admitted that many economists say Iceland’s recovery was aided by the collapse of the banks.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

WTF Blogspot!

All blogspot.ca sites are setting off virus scanners and being blocked by Facebook right now - if you are wondering why my blog is setting off alerts they ALL are right now. Blogspot fix or remove whatever you have added that is triggering this please!

UPDATE: Appears to be fixed. Whew.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Quebec Spring

Most of you have probably seen this on Huffington Post already but damn its inspiring.

I Stand With Quebec Students

Poster by Molly Crabapple
Because we all hang together or we will all hang separately - and with this federal government are you 100% sure that is hyperbole?

Because this is something bigger, maybe even the start of a Canadian Spring.  Lead, follow or get out of the way.

Because whatever you think of the student's cause, Bill 78 is a breath-taking assault on freedom, Totalitarian by design, explicitly formulated to cripple dissent against the elites by intent.  This is a declaration of war.  The political class, frankly, need to be terrified by the social and political consequences into never trying such odious legislation in this country again. Shock and awe motherfuckers.

Because, as I've asked before, The question isn't why Quebec students are fighting back so fiercely against education being incrementally turned into a tiny gated community for the wealthy and the imposition of lifelong crippling debt for the rest of the population, the question is why aren't the rest of us?

Friday, May 18, 2012

If the shoe fits...


Black said he was not pleased that the New Democrat called him a "British criminal" while speaking in the House of Commons.

"If he wants to divest himself of his parliamentary immunity, it would certainly be my pleasure to sue him for defamation," Black told Mansbridge.
Except truth is a defense against libel or defamation.  So what basis does a convicted criminal who is a British citizen have for complaining about being described as a 'British criminal'?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Provocation and/or Police State?

There are only two options: Either the two undercover officers arrested at the G20 were engaging in illegal behaviour - they were provocateurs in other words - or this is an admission that you didn't have to break the law to be chained and jailed, just protest. Either one condemns the entire police operation:
TORONTO, ON (NEWS1130) - The watchdog that keeps an eye on the national police force has found that two people arrested during the G20 summit in Toronto in 2010 were plain-clothesed police officers.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

"Are you now, or have you ever been, an Environmentalist?"

In yet another display of contempt for democracy, the environment and the Canadian people the Harper government has rejected calls from the Opposition to break up the budget bill into separate bills so that the unprecedented erosion of environmental protections and vindictive witch-hunting of environmentalists enshrined in it can receive the scrutiny and debate they deserve. 

The Stephen Harper 'Enemies List' is about to become the law of the land.
I've started to have a repetitive nightmare.

The light in the hearing room is bright, hot and pointed right at me. The heat is suffocating, and I am visibly sweaty, the senator leans over, taps his microphone and begins to read questions from a typed sheet.

"Mr. Fenton, Have you ever donated to or been a member of the Sierra Club of Canada?"

"Do you own a book or books written by Dr. David Suzuki?"

"Did you or did you not write blog posts that were critical of the oilsands?"
That's usually about the time I wake up, but instead of relief that my nightmare is over, I make the mistake of turning on the radio or picking up the paper to find my speculative fiction becoming more and more real.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Using God to justify being a vicious prick

Pastor Sean Harris of the Berean Baptist Church Fayetteville, North Carolina is the latest pro-Amendment One pastor to demonstrate just how virulently anti-gay the campaign is. In his sermon this past Sunday, he gave the parents in his congregation “special dispensation” to use violence against their children if they violate gender norms. For example, if you see your four-year-old son “dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist.” Pastor Harris says boys should have their girlish behavior “squashed like a cockroach” and similarly advises forcing girls to conform to female gender norms
For those who argue biblical justification for their bigotry against gays: If you saw your brother working on the Sabbath would you bash his head in with a rock? Do you believe in the death penalty for eating shell fish? If our country defeats another country in a war, do you believe that gives us a right to slaughter their children and take their women as sex slaves? No? Then you are already picking and choosing which parts of the bible you will follow and which you won't, the fact that you embrace the passages that justify bigotry against gays says more about you than it does about a rule book written for nomadic goatherders thousands of years ago.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Real Question


The question isn't why Quebec students are fighting back so fiercely against education being incrementally turned into a tiny gated community for the wealthy and the imposition of lifelong crippling debt for the rest of the population, the question is why aren't the rest of us?

UPDATE: And lest anyone forget, it is a proven, established fact that the Quebec police engage in agent provocateur violence to justify a harsh response. We KNOW they do this, its not an accusation, its a fact.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Do you get it now?

The Conservative House Leader says plainly and unequivocally that Woodworth's bill was intended to lead to changes in Canada's abortion laws.  Can those naive twits who fell for his denials and suggested there was a good faith discussion to be had about what stage in a pregnancy a woman loses her human rights admit they got suckered yet?

The Progressive Blogosphere suffered a major schism over a SoCon trolling exercise.  How would this have played out if Harper hadn't just watched the Wild Rose Party get annihilated?  We just had a demonstration that even in the most conservative province in Canada social conservatism is electoral poison and suddenly an incremental attack on women's rights becomes a platform for Harper's government to demonstrate his independence from the social conservative right. 

But if Mondays result had been different so would this debate.  Woodworth and the SoCons just got thrown under the bus but Harper would have embraced them if he thought he could get away with it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dance with the ones that brung you Allison

The PC party of Alberta has a proud history of being progressive and conservative and as we go forward from this place tonight we will honour both of those traditions.- Premiere Redford's Victory speech Monday night. 

Translation: "Thanks for bringing me to the dance after those other guys dumped me, would it be OK if I still flirted with them now that we're here?"

In a word, No.

Alberta's progressives saved Premier Redford's bacon and that of her party on Monday. Here's what that support will cost, please note, this is not a wish list. This is a price tag.

  • Labour - Alberta has the highest worker fatality rate in Canada. It also has the single most anti-worker labour laws in the country, a prevalent attitude of contempt for labour and the most chummy pro-management policies of any province in Canada. It's not a coincidence, there is a direct correlation between these things. If Redford wants to keep the progressive support that saved her from the unemployment line, the current state of affairs is not going to fly anymore. She needs to bring farm workers under Occupational Health and Safety rules and remove the second class citizen status that forbids them from even tyring to form a union. An exception originally justified for small family farms has resulted in ruthless, often deadly exploitation by huge corporate Agribusiness giants. A human rights lawyer who countenances such a thing is, to put it mildly a despicable hypocrite. Among many other concerns for Labour like a blatantly in the management tank provincial Labour Board is the Temporary Foreign Workers program, which is under federal jurisdiction, but its in Alberta that it has achieved its full flowering of racism, abuse and exploitation. All of this needs to change if Redford's vaunted 'Progressiveness' is to be anything but tattered fig leaf. 

  •   Health Care - Redford has many soothing words on this file promising major new investment and labour peace. We will be watching to see if this government continues its sub rosa campaign of underfunding and mismanagement that for years has been a clearly intentional effort to manufacture consent for privatization. The government has zero good will and trust from the Alberta public on this file and would be advised to remember that. 

  • The Environment - Sure, unlike Danielle Smith Redford concedes the existence of global warming caused by man. Good for her. But acknowledging the problem while resolutely doing nothing about it is less than meaningless. And no, carbon capture, an expensive useless pr boondoggle with numbers that will never add up does not count.
These are the top of the list on the bill - I'm sure others can think of more examples. It's due now, when can we expect payment?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Creep

Recorded just a few weeks ago.  Gave me chills.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ignoring the Charter

Conservatives hate the idea of rights they can't just arbitrarily legislate away if they offend the reactionary bigots, you know, their base.

So blah blah blah divided history - that's an easy excuse, not a reason.  The real reason Harper and the Conservatives are so shamefully ignoring the Charter's anniversary is that they really do think the government belongs in the nation's bedrooms, and doctor's examining rooms and in our bodies and they really do think politicians should have the final say on human rights.

 And they hate that the Charter doesn't let them.

Meanwhile the Canadian Constitution and Charter have become the standard the rest of the world looks to instead of the centuries old US Constitution - and even an American Supreme Court Judge recommends the Canadian over the American Constitution.  This while the yokels in charge try to pretend the whole aniversary isn't even happening.

Petty schmucks.

Like Digger Wasps

I was born in Alberta and I've lived most of my life here but I did spend a decade on the lower mainland in BC.

In BC the two main political groupings are the people, as represented by the NDP and what I'll call the Chamber of Commerce Tendency as represented by... well thats the thing.  It tends to burrow inside existing parties, hollow them out from the inside and ride them until their exclusive and enthusiastic servicing of the rich and powerful at the expense of everyone else taints it beyond reclamation and then it is abandoned to wither and die as the Tendency moves on to its next host.. 

When I lived there it was animating the husk of the BC Social Credit Party - most of the kookiness of Social Credit had been shed in favour of cold blooded service of capital but  their last Premier Bill Vanderzalm mixed a sleazy televangelist grinning wing-nut vibe with an approach to ethics and finances that also brought televangelists to mind. After years of less flamboyant but still sleazy simmering scandals under Vanderzalm's predecessor Bill Bennett, Vanderzalm's toothy religiosity and nickle and dime sleaziness in his personal dealings with shadowy Hong Kong land developers sunk the Social Credit label completely. As the NDP took over the Chamber of Commerce Tendency  withdrew to lick its wounds.

And to slowly, over years inhabit the BC Liberal Party, hollow it out and animate it like a grotesque jerking corpse puppet.

Now that the zombie stink has gotten too much for the BC voter and the Liberals look like they are shambling to a political grave the 'Tendency' turns cold eyes to its next husk, the BC Progressive Conservatives.
 The B.C. Conservatives took 2.1 per cent of the vote in the 2009 election. But under the leadership of John Cummins, the party is tied in recent polls with Premier Christy Clark's B.C. Liberals in second place at 23 per cent.

Marshall said there are striking similarities between B.C.'s Clark and Alberta's Redford: Women in their mid-40s who returned to elected office after successful careers outside politics and became leaders of par-ties whose previous male leader had become too unpopular.

Both enjoyed brief bursts of popularity, added Marshall, followed by a decline in the polls as small-conservative voters shifted to an insurgent party from the political right.

Similarly, Redford was a red Tory - "certainly not the blue-est of candidates for the Alberta PC leadership" - while Clark was a federal Liberal, said Marshall.

Simon Fraser University political scientist Royce Koop agreed that Wildrose and the B.C. Conservatives share a common tack. "They are both consistently and openly principled conservative parties."
"There doesn't seem to be any attempt or desire to moderate that. When you are coming in from the right, as the Reform Party did on the federal scene, you sort of behave in a principled right-wing manner."
One difference, added Koop, is that Wildrose is poised to take power. Given the NDP's current strength in B.C., the most the B.C. Conservatives can hope for in next year's election is to replace the B.C. Liberals as the main party for B.C.'s anti-NDP forces.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Not Open for Debate

I resist absolutism but some things are red lines.  A woman's right to control and 'own' her own body is one of them.  Add me to the chorus of voices deeply disappointed in the tone of the Prog Blog moderators during the recent unpleasantness over the inability of some who call themselves 'progressives' to understand how monumentally offensive the suggestion that such rights could ever be open to debate is.

I had vacillated over severing ties but 'screaming banshees'? Scott?  Really?  'A trivial matter'?  Do you seriously not see the problem with these remarks and the attitudes behind them?   I couldn't even believe you had said that until I saw it with my own eyes.  Very, very disappointing.

This 'trivial matter' and your clueless response to it has cost you another blog from the list.  Please consider this my request for removal from the Progressive Bloggers Aggregate.  Those who come here from Progressive Bloggers - which I have been a member of for almost six years and do not abandon lightly - please make other arrangements.

'Screaming banshees'. Unfuckingbelievable.


UPDATE: Busily adding everyone who left Prog Blogs to my Links list who wasn't already there. I'm happy to say most of you were already were on it.  If I've missed anyone please let me know.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Conscience Rights in Action

May 2011 - (AP) NEW ORLEANS A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have. Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.
"I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way," Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. "I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else."
Bardwell said he asks everyone who calls about marriage if they are a mixed race couple. If they are, he does not marry them, he said.
And to those who are now thinking, 'Well thats not the same thing as denying marriage to gays' - respectfully, fuck you, its EXACTLY the same thing.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Hello Wildrose, Goodbye Public Healthcare

In the States, that crazed pack of screaming ideologues known as the Tea Party only hate one thing more than the idea that a black man named Barack Obama could be their President and that's his paltry industry supporting attempt to provide all Americans with healthcare.  A plan that subsidizes private insurance company's and explicitly ISN'T a government provided healthcare system is derided as creeping Stalinism and irony deficient tight lipped teabaggers wave mis-spelled signs demanding Obama keep the government's hands off of Medicare.  Don't bother pointing out the logic problem there, they wouldn't understand you anyway.

Here in Alberta, the Tea Party's Canadian wing the Alberta Wildrose Alliance has to be a bit more circumspect about their fervent desire to end Canada's healthcare system and deliver us into the welcoming arms of the insurance industry.  Through gritted teeth they swear allegiance to universal healthcare while making long term plans to kill it as fast as they think they can get away with it.

David Climenhaga connects the dots here:
There’s not much need for scare tactics by supporters of public medicare: Yesterday the Wildrose Party laid out a pretty clear plan for privatizing health care in Alberta.
Wildrose Party Leader Danielle Smith’s news release touting the idea of a “wait-time guarantee” for medically necessary treatments and procedures is heavy on glittering promises (“Alberta families will have peace of mind”) and short on technical details, but it boils down to a three-part plan for privatization:
  1. Starve the public system of funds
  2. Pump public money into for-profit private health care corporations
  3. Watch a two-tier private system quickly flower as the public sector withers
It’s not a big step from administering public health care in two tiers – a neglected public system and a pampered private sector – to an honest-to-gosh two-tier system in which extra payments get you timely care in a private clinic and lack of cash lets you wait longer and suffer more.

The Wildrose news release claims “we all know from experience” putting more money into health care won’t work. (This statement is false enough on its face to warrant a Wildrose-style “clarification,” perhaps in the form of a “bullying press release.”)

Anyway, how would we Albertans know? After all, at least from the time Peter Lougheed left office until Premier Alison Redford came along, Alberta’s long-governing Progressive Conservative party has been playing pretty much the same game of starving key parts of the system for funds in hopes of creating public support for private “solutions.” And the jury’s still out on what Ms. Redford would be doing were her party not facing an existential crisis thanks to her apparently incompetent re-election strategy.

The only thing is that, up to now at least, the PCs have made a practice of bowing to public pressure to maintain the public health care system whenever voters cottoned on to what they were up to. It’s not so clear what a Wildrose government of hard-right market fundamentalists and raw-meat social conservatives would do if faced by a public backlash.
Remember Danielle Smith is a Fraser Institute alum.  An organization dedicated to the idea that the public sector is always bad and people should have to put a quarter in a meter to use a sidewalk.  They despise Canada's system, not least because its a constant reminder that the government does healthcare better than the private sector does south of the border.  They view the affection the Canadian public has for our public healthcare system as an existential threat because any example of successful, economical public sector solutions directly contradicts their core premises.

Be very clear Alberta, a vote for the Wildrose is a vote to kill public healthcare, just as fast as they think they can get away with it.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Wild Rose promises to waste your tax dollars...

...by attempting to discriminate against gays and women seeking reproductive services, guaranteed to cause legal challenges equally guaranteed to be decided against the Alberta Government after expensive legal battles with preordained results.

So called 'Conscience Rights' have been decisively adjudicated.  People in government licensed positions like Marriage Commissioners MAY NOT refuse to perform legal civil marriage ceremonies because they disapprove of the people seeking to get a legal marriage.  So a hypothetical Marriage Commissioner who believed that gay marriages or racially mixed marriages offended his conscience (or his bigotry) cannot refuse to perform them.  His rights to 'concience' do not trump the right of those seeking a legal marriage to not be discriminated against by a representative of the government.  The same goes for a licensed pharmacist who 'doesn't think he should have to sell the sluts their birth control pills'.

The Wildrose Party would rather pander to the most reactionary and hateful elements of their hateful and reactionary base with a Kabuki show of wasting your tax dollars on doomed legal challenges.  When they inevitably lose those challenges they will rant about 'activist judges' to get more donations from their followers, but it wont be the Wildrose party that pays the millions of dollars in futile legal costs it will be YOU.

You don't get to call yourselves fiscal conservatives if you plan to deliberately waste MILLIONS of tax dollars to appease your bigoted base.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Danielle Smith: Wrong for Alberta

What happens if a rigid, far right ideologue who's only experience in a public service role is a tale of obstruction, fundamental lack of understanding of the facts, radical disdain for the role of the public sector, childish spats and a seeming inability to compromise or work with anyone who disagrees with her becomes Premier?
December 6, 1998: Smith proposed the closure of up to 30 schools due to excess space in older, inner-city classrooms. Smith suggested that the money earned from selling or leasing older schools could be used to build new schools and stem the exodus of public school students to Catholic, private, charter and home schooling. Contradicting Smith, LoVecchio told the Herald that she didn't "know where she's getting her numbers," explaining that when a CBE facility is leased to a non-profit group or private school, the Department of Education excludes those students from the board's utilization rate.

December 7, 1998: Calgary Herald editorial:

'Trustee Danielle Smith's contention that the CBE will close schools and then lease the buildings is also fatally flawed. Even if such buildings are rented to day cares, private schools or other users, Alberta Education still applies the space against the CBE balance sheet, but not the students. Previous decisions to lease old schools instead of sell them has simply exacerbated the CBE's poor utilization rate.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Damn Peasants!

The Globe and Mail sniffs in outraged offense at the peons daring to inconvenience or insult their betters.

Consider contacting the Globe and Mail and expressing how you feel about this display of patrician disdain.  Try to avoid any tempting four letter words.

Hat tip to Dawg

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Should Canada start considering EVERY American woman eligible for Refugee status?

Government mandated rape with medical instruments, laws mandating that women be forced to explain to their boss why they are using birth control pills, laws mandating that even if pregnancy will KILL the mother she be forced to carry a pregnancy to term - even if the fetus itself is dead.

At what point should any American woman seeking refuge in Canada start being considered a political refugee?
This week the Georgia State Legislature debated a bill in the House, that would make it necessary for some women to carry stillborn or dying fetuses until they 'naturally' go into labor. In arguing for this bill Representative Terry England described his empathy for pregnant cows and pigs in the same situation.


I have a question for Terry England, Sam Brownback, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and too many others: I have three daughters, two of them twins. If one of my twins had been stillborn would you have made me carry her to term, thereby endangering both the other twin and me? Or, would you have insisted that the state order a mandatory fetal extraction of the living twin fetus from my womb so that I could continue to carry the stillborn one to term and possibly die myself? My family is curious and since you believe my uterus is your public property, I am, too.

Mr. England, unlike the calves and pigs for which you expressed so much empathy, I am not a beast of burden. I am a woman and I have these human rights:

The right to life.

The right to privacy.

The right to freedom.

The right to bodily integrity.

The right to decide when and how I reproduce.

Mr. England, you and your friends do not get to trade these rights, while "dog and hog hunting," in return for a young man's chickens.

My human rights outweigh any you or the state corruptly and cynically seek to assign to a mass of dividing cells that will eventually turn into a 'natural' person. Personhood-for-zygote based bills and related legislation, like Georgia's and hundreds of others, bills and laws that criminalize pregnancy and abortion and penalize women for being women, violate my human rights.

Just because you cannot get pregnant does not mean I cannot think clearly, ethically, morally, rationally about my body, human life or the consequences of my actions. Just because you cannot get pregnant does not mean that I do not have rights when I am pregnant. I have responsibility but am powerless. You have power but are irresponsible with my rights.

By not trusting me, you force me to trust you. And YOU are not trustworthy.

I gestate humans, you do not. I know how it feels to be pregnant. You do not. I know what happens to a fetus in a womb. You do not. I have carried three fetuses to term. You have not. What I experience when I am pregnant is not empathy. It is permeability. The fetus is me. And the state is you, apparently. But, no matter what you say or do I have fundamental human rights. What makes you think that you, who cannot have this fully human experience, can tell me anything about gestation or how I experience it? Especially when you compare my existence and experience to that of brutish animals.

The rest of the civilized world thinks this country has lost its mind.

Pandering to Hate

Throughout his career, whenever his job was on the line French president Nicolas Sarkozy has never shied away from pandering to the worst instincts of the French people.

With the polls showing that the French are abandoning the political center and that the more xenophobic have begin to flock to the far right, Sarkozy went into full pander mode echoing fascist party attacks on immigrants.

Is it any wonder the most violent and hateful would think they have been given the go ahead to consider immigrants legitimate targets?

The men, described by French media as "muscular and tattooed", were dismissed in 2008 after they were pictured giving a Nazi salute in front of a swastika flag.

Police have linked the men to the shooting of three soldiers from their former regiment, the 17th Parachute Engineers, on 15 March. Two soldiers died in the attack and a third was critically injured.

France’s Le Point news magazine said: “This is the first real lead the police have. [It is believed] there could be a link to the three soldiers dismissed from the army four years ago.

"The profile of these men corresponds to the scant information investigators have on the Toulouse killer, that is to say, muscular and tattooed.

"This lead is being followed up by both civilian and military authorities.

The shooting on 15 March followed another attack on 11 March, in which a soldier was shot and killed outside a gym in Toulouse.
All of the soldiers were reported to have been black or of north African origin.
Nicolas Sarkozy bears personal responsibility for this tragedy due to his despicable pandering to the worst parts of his people's natures.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

How the mighty have fallen

Last year Gary Mar was the odds on favorite to win the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservatives and by extension the Premiership of the richest province in Canada.

Now he's been peremptorily and unceremoniously summoned back to Alberta from his consolation prize/exile job as Alberta's Asian trade representative in Hong Kong and suspended without pay by the upstart candidate who beat him to the job he really wanted, Premier Alison Redford.

His sin?  Desperately trying to pay off the huge debt from his failed leadership bid with a March 1st fundraiser that auctioned off a trip to Hong Kong with invitations that strongly implied business help in Asia for donors.

To the casual observer of course, accusing any Alberta Tory of ethics violations is a bit like accusing a fish of liking water.  Apparently there are big blatant lines you shouldn't cross even in a oil sheikdom petro-state like Alberta.  Particularly if your boss is someone you just fought a contentious leadership battle with.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Taking on a Revolting Bully

A billionaire Mormon backer of Mitt Romney with an anti-gay axe to grind and a habit of using his vast wealth to harass, intimidate and silence critics gets openly challenged by Glenn Greenwald to put up or shut up:
Frank VanderSloot is an Idaho billionaire and the CEO of Melaleuca, Inc., a controversial billion-dollar-a-year company which peddles dietary supplements and cleaning products; back in 2004, Forbes, echoing complaints to government agencies, described the company as “a pyramid selling organization, built along the lines of Herbalife and Amway.” VanderSloot has long used his wealth to advance numerous right-wing political causes. Currently, he is the national finance co-chair of the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, and his company has become one of the largest donors ($1 million) to the ostensibly “independent” pro-Romney SuperPAC, Restore Our Future. Melaleuca’s get-rich pitches have in the past caused Michigan regulators to take action, resulting in the company’s entering into a voluntary agreement to “not engage in the marketing and promotion of an illegal pyramid”‘; it entered into a separate voluntary agreement with the Idaho attorney general’s office, which found that “certain independent marketing executives of Melaleuca” had violated Idaho law; and the Food and Drug Administration previously accused Melaleuca of deceiving consumers about some of its supplements.

But it is VanderSloot’s chronic bullying threats to bring patently frivolous lawsuits against his political critics — magazines, journalists, and bloggers — that makes him particularly pernicious and worthy of more attention. In the last month alone, VanderSloot, using threats of expensive defamation actions, has successfully forced Forbes, Mother Jones and at least one local gay blogger in Idaho to remove articles that critically focused on his political and business practices. He has been using this abusive tactic in Idaho for years: suppressing legitimate political speech by threatening or even commencing lawsuits against even the most obscure critics (he has even sued local bloggers for “copyright infringement” after they published a threatening letter sent by his lawyers). This tactic almost always succeeds in silencing its targets, because even journalists and their employers who have done nothing wrong are afraid of the potentially ruinous costs they will incur when sued by a litigious billionaire.

Given Vandersloot's MO, Greenwald and Salon have to be expecting to be in the sights of the billionaire's legal arsenal for this blistering broadside.  It's an open challenge and a slap to provoke a SLAPP.  Repost this widely folks.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Delivering a Message

Explain to me the how the interests of public safety are served by a gang of black clad thugs showing up swaggering about and shoving people for a while, sucker punching one person and throwing another to the ground and then getting back in their cars and driving away?


Are the people holding the banner some kind of direct and proximate to safety or public order that I'm missing and if so why, after committing acts of intimidation and violence against these threats to public order, do the police suddenly drop everything and walk away and leave them still standing there holding their banner?

Is the perceived threat more an existential one?

Is this plain and simply about delivering a message?

The civic responses to the Occupy movement and by extension all economic protests as those against school fees definitely are, deliver a clear message. With their blatant and unambiguous coordination and collusion between media, politicians and police.  The 99% protests after all are explicitly and directly targeting powerful entrenched forces and their control over our society.  Did we think they would just roll over?

The 99% movement only accomplishes any of it's goals if support for it at least approaches a plurality of that 99%.  The monoculture construction we live in created and maintained by the economic power elite will defend itself and a majority of the population still believes there is no viable alternative.

But as the contradicitons become more blatant, as more and more people realize the system is increasingly stacked against them, as we watch Caterpillar continue the elite assault on the concept of the middle class, as corporate citizens annihilate the concept of informed democracy, as those who care about the environment are described as enemies of the state  and students are beaten for standing up for equal access to education the entire structure begins to display its structural weaknesses.

To everybody.

So yes, this kind of deliberately oppressive policing does in fact deliver a message, just not the one intended.  Intended to display power and authority it instead displays weakness.  It displays a huge stupid animal starting to notice pinpricks of opposition and retaliating stupidly and brutally against those threats. 

 First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.       -Attributed to Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, February 03, 2012

Sun Media's Jihad against the CBC so blatant even a Conservative Minister can see it

Initially, Heritage Minister James Moore said he would like to see more warning on the website regarding the show's content while stressing that Sun is "in the business of going after the CBC."


Wow.  Somebody went off message.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Calling Out

Had one of his critics gone on a radio show and compared Rob Ford to Hitler the Canadian right wing blogosphere would be exploding with fury right now.

That sound of crickets?  Its their reaction to Ford comparing his opposition to Joseph Stalin.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

He's back......

Wow, two months.  A longer time without blogging then I've had since I started Rusty Idols lo those many years ago.  What can I say?  Sometimes real life takes precedence.

So while I've been gone Huffington Post Canada has continued to be an embarrassment and a disappointment.  Famously progressive in its home country the Canadian version has been a venue for far right felons like Conrad Black, reactionary media dinosaurs like Peter Worthington and  PR releases from Big Oil treated as if they were some kind of column or opinion piece rather than an AstroTurf propaganda operation carefully coordinated with government figures.

But still pretending to be some kind of independent progressive media voice, it is to laugh, ruefully.

Stateside, the carnival geek show that is the Republican primary has been a grotesque display of drooling halfwits, bigoted maniacs, animal torturers and calculating servants and card carrying members of the 1%.  At the moment they appear to be preparing to commit electoral harakari by picking serial adulterer and racial dog whistler Newt Gingrich.  Democrats must by rubbing their eyes in disbelief that the GOP would want to give them such a gift.

I promise to try to update more often folks - particularly when the bastards and boneheads offer me so much to rant about.

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