Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Question for the day

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

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

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

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

Sunday, January 10, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Judge who berated rape victim is a Conservative Party hack

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Memories of the Apocalyse

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

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

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

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

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