Saturday, September 26, 2015

The comparison of ultra orthodox Haredi with the Taliban is routinely made in Israel and the Israeli media

Harassing, abusing and even assaulting women on planes and busses when they don't give up their seats to a Haredi man. Stabbing a teenage girl to death at a gay pride parade, burning a Palestinian infant to death.

Not surprisingly, within Israel and the Israeli media itself the Taliban comparison is routinely made.

But criticisms and comparisons frequently made by Israelis are apparently beyond the pale when noted by anyone else.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Seriously, the Facebook Likes story is a big deal

A CBC reporter finds himself unwillingly 'Liking' the Conservative Party

When asked, the Liberals, NDP and Greens firmly denied that they would ever buy Facebook Likes stolen from Canadians with malware.
The Conservatives said it was 'an internal party matter' and refused to answer any more questions.
Third-party websites or videos that you are clicking on may have malware embedded in them, and you won't even know, that's the thing. It's very insidious in how it can happen and it's also very quick." 
It turns out there are lots of people out there selling "likes." 
Suddenly you are liking companies, organizations, even political parties, and unless someone tells you, or you check your settings, you wouldn't know anything about it. 
"Peer-to-peer recommendation is huge," says Parker. "If I know you well and I see that Reg likes a certain brand, and I'm looking to shop, maybe I say, 'Well, if Reg is liking that, maybe I need to take a second look.'" 
This liking business happened to chocolatier Constance Popp, too. 
She loves chocolate, but when a friend told her that she had somehow "liked' the Conservative Party of Canada on Facebook, it left a sour taste in her mouth.
"And they asked if I purposely liked it," says Popp, "and I said no, and I found myself having to defend that I really didn't do that." 
So the question is, are political parties buying phoney "likes" on Facebook? 
The Liberals, Greens and NDP all said pretty much the same thing. They said they buy advertising, but they don't buy likes.The Conservative Party's director of communications, Cory Hann, however, said: "Thanks for reaching out to us. On this question, it's an internal party matter."  
It could be argued that response doesn't really answer the question at all.
This is a big deal.  This is identity theft by way of computer crime and Canada's governing party describes their participation in it as 'an internal party matter'.

It's actually a criminal offense.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Harper's new campaign fixer is a virulent racist

First this:
Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are reaching overseas for expert election help in a bid to regain their footing and halt a slide in the polls, bringing in globetrotting Australian campaign doctor Lynton Crosby.
Crosby is known as the Wizard from Oz, and is considered one of the world’s top political strategists. He helped David Cameron retain the prime minister’s office in Britain, and just last month engineered victory in Sri Lanka’s election.
Crosby also helped Boris Johnson get elected mayor of London.
The Conservatives have looked abroad for ideas in the past, but this is the first time they’ve brought in a fixer from overseas in mid-campaign. The campaign had already been speaking to Crosby, but he joins the team as they refocus following several weeks of being forced off their main messages.
Then this:
The man David Cameron has picked to head his Election campaign once launched a foul-mouthed rant against Muslims.
Outspoken Australian ‘fixer’ Lynton Crosby used the phrase ‘f****** Muslims’ in a diatribe while working for London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Mr Crosby’s outburst came earlier this year as Mr Johnson’s aides discussed whether to devote more attention to wooing the ethnic minority vote in his battle with Labour’s Ken Livingstone.
According to a source, Mr Crosby said Mr Johnson should concentrate on traditional Tory voters instead of ‘f****** Muslims’. The source added: ‘He definitely used that phrase’ and said: ‘Lynton’s view was that chasing the Muslim vote and other ethnic groups was a waste of time –  and he frequently expressed himself in very strong terms. Some people found it very offensive.’
 So we can assume Harper's re-calibration will not be to chase the Muslim vote.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

The Grownups are now running the Show

Unapologetic common sense about stimulus during recessions.

The Friedmanites of the Calgary School still repetitively reciting their stale and discredited creed will howl and chant their anethemas and clutch their stained copies of the Fountainhead fearfully to their breasts.

But grownups are finally running the show in Alberta.
Alberta’s NDP government may boost spending on public infrastructure as a salve for an ailing provincial economy that has been battered by the slumping price of oil.
Finance Minister Joe Ceci told reporters Wednesday the government has received and is reviewing a report from former Bank of Canada governor David Dodge that it commissioned this summer to examine Alberta’s capital spending.
Ceci said the government isn’t ready to make announcements, but noted increasing capital spending — on infrastructure projects such as roads, hospitals and schools — would give a shot in the arm to private sector companies contracted by the government to do the work.
“Where we’re in a down cycle economically, counter-cyclical spending by governments on public infrastructure is seen as a good investment, especially in this low (interest rate) borrowing time,” Ceci said in Banff, where the NDP caucus was holding a retreat.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Sleazy Partisan Attack

The takeaway that reliably partisan hack Warren Kinsella gets from the tragic death of Alan Kurdi, while farcically decrying the way others have made partisan hay over it, is that NDP MP Fin Donnelly should resign.
If this is true – if, contrary to what he claimed to the media, no application at all was made on the family of that boy – he should resign.  He has not only tried to politicize that child’s death, he has lied to do so.
His logic is that since no formal refugee application had specifically been made for Alan Kurdi, it was deceptive to argue the family had been denied.

Tima Kurdi had in fact applied to sponsor her other brother Mohammed but when that application was denied for his not having UNHCR official refugee designation she hadn't even tried to apply for the rest of the family.

This was, of course, because they didn't have that UNHCR designation either.  Almost nobody does making it impossible for almost any privately sponsored Syrian refugees to get into Canada for a very simple reason completely under Immigration Minister Chris Alexander's control which is why he is being held responsible.
The Conservative government imposed a new rule for potential refugees in 2012 — a change refugee groups say is squarely to blame for why so few Syrians have made it to Canadian soil.
The rule also appears to have played a key role in the government’s refusal to let a B.C. woman, Tima Kurdi, privately sponsor her brother Mohammed Kurdi and his family to come to Canada.
After Mohammed’s application was returned to Tima, their other brother, Abdullah, tried to flee with his family from Turkey to Greece. Their boat capsized and Abdullah’s two young sons and wife all drowned. Pictures of three-year-old Alan Kurdi’s lifeless body washed ashore in Turkey shocked the world this week.
The refugee groups say they have repeatedly called on Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and the government to exempt Syrians from the rule — which says the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) or another country must first designate a person as a refugee before immigration officials will consider letting them be privately sponsored to come to Canada.
But they say their requests have been ignored.
 So it is perfectly, technically correct to say that the Kurdi's hadn't officially applied for Alan and his family after it was made clear by Mohammed's rejection that any such application would be automatically denied, perfectly accurate while simultaneously despicably, grotesquely deceptive.

But Kinsella is more eager to score points against the NDP than in holding this wretched, squalid government with the ultimate responsibility for the death of Alan Kurdi and many more like him to account.

UPDATE: From the Guardian, who get it even if Kinsella doesn't:

Thursday, September 03, 2015

The Attitude Behind It

If You Care

If you care about the economy, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about healthcare, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about privacy and civil rights, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about veterans, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about the lives of First Nations people and native children getting a fraction of the education funding that the rest of Canada's children get and thousands of women abducted and murdered,  you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about corruption, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about democracy and open, responsive governance, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about Canada's standing in the world, you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

If you care about the environment - at all - you cannot vote for Stephen Harper.

You CANNOT vote for Stephen Harper.

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