Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Democracy Under Fire: Essential Reading for Democracy.

There have been a number of articles highlighting former Conservative MP Mr. Rathgeber’s new book Irresponsible Government: The Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in Canada in recent days.That he outlines the tight control that the PMO exercises over the Conservative MP’s is hardly a surprise given that he quit the Conservative caucus over having his private members bill nixed by them, however such concerns by those who sit, of have sat, in the House are not new. “Mr. Rathgeber, twice elected as a Conservative before quitting caucus last year, outlines how MPs have seen their powers fade away, reduced (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Restoring the Vox Populi

Some thoughts for this, Labour Day.The voice of the people.  Oh, how long has it been since that really meant anything?  In Canada and many other advanced countries, polls show that people are being governed without much if any regard to their views, their concerns.

It’s sort of like standing, waiting at the civic bus stop for a bus that just keeps passing you by.

Canadians want action on climate change.  Are they going to get it?  No. Canadians want action on inequality.  Are they going to get it?  Don’t be ridiculous.

The American people utterly loathe their federal (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Against Collective Forgetting

Workers must do our part to Stop Harper!

Happy Labour Day!

In Stephen Harper’s Canada, we keep enumerating the things we’re losing: meaningful legislative debate, evidence-based policy, public science, a free and open society, among other things. But what happens if we go too long with a slow erosion of the features that make our society vibrant? What happens if we let the right wing continue to teach us that we shouldn’t expect anything meaningful from government?

What happens if young Canadians grow up without a sense of what used to be the Canadian birthright: Medicare, the CPP, and (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: The War of Words

I am tired of beating my head against the wall repeating things I have been saying here in this blog for over 5 years, this week I am going to simply point you towards a few other folk who are also aware of the dangers of believing everything we are told by the truth spinning oligarchs that have the nerve to call themselves a democratic government. They are not, they are a regime whose sole stated purpose is to bring our government bureaucracy and election process to the point where they and only they can hold the reins of power (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: What Vestige of Democracy Remains in the Age of Neoliberalism?

Henry Giroux argues that we must perceive democracy as a culture and shake off the cloak of neoliberalism by which it has been subverted.  Excerpts from his essay, “Beyond the Spectacle of Neoliberal Misery and Violence in the Age of Terrorism”:

American culture is beset with what I want to call the spectacle of catastrophes, which move between the registers of transgressive excess and extreme violence, and in doing so exhaust their shock value, degenerating into escapist entertainment, while furthering a state of ethical and political paralysis given the widespread cynicism that has become the modus operandi of neoliberal (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Of Zombie Politics and Culture War

In a system that reduces life to a chain of disconnected reactions to shock, personal communication tends to lose all meaning… The individual under terrorist conditions is never alone and always alone.  He becomes numb and rigid not only in relation to his neighbor but also in relation to himself’; fear robs him of the power of spontaneous emotional or mental reaction.  Thinking becomes a stupid crime/ it endangers his life.  The inevitable consequence of that stupidity spreads as a contagious disease among the terrorized population.  Human beings live in a state of stupor, in a (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Successful Coverup, Fall Guy Convicted

The Conservative party has consistently said it ran a clean and ethical campaign and had nothing to do with what happened in Guelph and has also said that they ‘fully cooperated ‘ with the investigation by Elections Canada. This being the case then how is it that only one person was charged, and now convicted, in what was obviously a far wider conspiracy?

November 14, 2013, One of Prime Minister Stephen Harper‘s top advisers instructed a potential key witness in the robocalls investigation to delay an interview with an Elections Canada investigator until she could obtain legal advice. (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Is America an Oligarchy? – The New Yorker

Is America an Oligarchy? – The New Yorker.

From the Dept. of Academics Confirming Something You Already Suspected comes a new study concluding that rich people and organizations representing business interests have a powerful grip on U.S. government policy. After examining differences in public opinion across income groups on a wide variety of issues, the political scientists Martin Gilens, of Princeton, and Benjamin Page, of Northwestern, found that the preferences of rich people had a much bigger impact on subsequent policy decisions than the views of middle-income and poor Americans. Indeed, the opinions of lower-income groups, and the (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: The Ballad of #MikeBrown

a young Dylan would've written a song: THE BALLAD OF MICHAEL BROWN. #Ferguson— Raffi Cavoukian (@Raffi_RC) August 15, 2014

If you go to Quik Trip You’d better take your gun, Cause the boys in blue will get you, That’s how things are done, In #Ferguson.

@DomoTheTruth dude was running and the cops just shot.him. i saw him die bruh— Bruh. (@TheePharoah) August 09, 2014

If you finish highschool in this two-bit town, A quick trip may last forever if they gun you down, The fate of poor #MikeBrown.

#Ferguson Police Chief says #MikeBrown was stopped because he (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: ConCalls: Michael Sona Found Guilty of Being Pierre Poutine in #RoboCon

While Sona’s been found guilty of one charge, questions remain about how he would have managed to have log files removed from CPC Headquarter’s computer database known as CIMS.

"There is no record of the accused accessing that database at anytime" Hearn says, but notes others did, incl. Ken Morgan.— Glen McGregor (@glen_mcgregor) August 14, 2014

Sona did not have computer access, or skills to perform that part of the cover-up, so how did those log files go missing. How did unnamed Conservatives in Ottawa avoid obstruction charges for their apparent participation?

So, Judge Hearn is methodically dismantling evidence (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Welcome to the 1,000th Politics, Re-Spun Editorial!

Steve Harper, the greatest threat to Canadian security in the modern era.

Happy August! Happy Day!

I have a few comments about this, the 1,000th editorial at Politics, Re-Spun. But you can read them below, about my sabbatical plan, new visions for this almost 12-year-old website, and other things.

But at the top of this post, I have something slightly more urgent to delve into before I check out for a break.

That great sick freak, Donald Rumsfeld is generally credited with popularizing the concept of unknown unknowns to our modern/post-modern era. Being a sick freak, he spun that bafflement (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Transcript: Julia Gillard Addresses The Broadbent Institute Progress Summit

Here’s the transcript of former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s keynote speech to the Broadbent Institute’s first annual Progress Summit, held March 28-30 in Ottawa.

The post Transcript: Julia Gillard Addresses The Broadbent Institute Progress Summit appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Bill Longstaff: Germany stands up for democracy

Finally, someone has said enough to the erosion of democracy brought about by “trade” agreements. From NAFTA to the proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union, these agreements have eroded the power of governments in favour of investors.

International agreements are, in themselves, a very good idea, one way of imposing orderly behaviour

Democracy Under Fire: Harpers “Democracy”

With the Harper Regime loosing a series of rulings in the Supreme Court of Canada from their plans for the senate to prostitution laws to his nomination to the court it should be no surprise that as well as Harpers direct attack upon Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin he now has set his minions out to attack the Supreme Court in general. It would seem that the Court making rulings that follow the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is now a “problem” and that groups using the Charter to defend their rights when a new attack upon our democracy issues (Read more…)

Song of the Watermelon: Globe and Mail Letter

Please, dear readers, take a gander at today’s Globe and Mail for a letter I wrote urging the establishment of recall at the municipal level of government. For the record, I also favour such a mechanism at the provincial and federal levels, but in this particular case, I was responding to an op-ed by Preston Manning that argued for municipal “responsible government,” which I consider to be the wrong approach.

My letter is fourth from the top.

Filed under: Democracy, Letters to the Editor, Municipal Politics Tagged: Globe and Mail, Preston Manning, recall

. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Globe and Mail Letter

Bill Longstaff: Why Canadians must resort to the courts for democracy

Federal Conservatives have been complaining lately about the courts being used, in the words of MP Dan Albas, “to do an end-run around our democratic process.” My immediate reaction to Albas’s remarks was, what democratic process? If he is referring to our current governance, describing it as democratic is overly generous.

To begin with, our government is run by a party that won the support of

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Harper Tries To Foment A Crisis

Harper has taken a surprising number of losing cases to the Supreme Court of Canada.  Most, if not all, were obviously places where the government’s position is one that is in direct contradiction with the Constitution of Canada.  Even a relative neophyte in Constitutional law in Canada can spot that, whether it is Harper’s desire to “reform” the Senate or the government’s daft position on prostitution.  

Now we have the CPC caucus starting to trot out the “undemocratic” talking points. Dan Albas, the MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla, says that while he respects the courts he also believes an increasing number (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral Reform – Personal Perspective

After more than 5 years of writing about our declining democracy and having several times reviewed the options open to us should we ever get a government in power willing to put the issue of voting reform before the people I am now going to try and spell out my own wishes in this regard. Such wishes must be tempered by some practical considerations, wishing for things that simply are never going to happen is an exercise in futility – perhaps this whole series on Electoral Reform should be filed under that heading!

I will start by reiterating that I (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Class Warfare CAUSED Income Inequality, Not the Opposite

Horatio Alger mythology is designed to make us leave the 1% alone and shut the fuck up.

If you haven’t yet seen John Oliver’s amazing rant about the perils of inequality and how the rich shame us out of talking about it by suggesting we’re trying to invoke class warfare, you can see it below.

The truth is, income inequality doesn’t just happen one day, then the classes fight each other. Class warfare is what creates the conditions for income inequality.

But as long as the 1% can keep us from talking about class issues, we can say income inequality (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral Reform – The Parties Position

Its sometimes hard to see where the parties stand on any particular issue given the hype, bafflegab and spin that issues from almost all of them at times and the ever changing positions taken depending upon their position in the polls or whether they are in power or not. As far as I can tell the following is their current position on Electoral Reform.

Trudeau is a supporter of a preferential ballot, having made it a plank of his leadership platform.Liberals say they will launch all-party consultations on reform. The party passed a resolution at its convention earlier (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: BC’s Deep Deep Racism, Shhhh!

Shhh, this is uncomfortable. It might make you ashamed.

Hopefully it will anger you to action?

First Nations burial grounds in BC have less protection than settler cemeteries.

Along with desecration at a Musqueam burial site, someone is building their home on top of another burial ground on Grace Islet off Saltspring Island. On stilts [see the horrible details below]. And the person building this home was once fined $150,000 for putting fake safety labels on retail products. Sigh. Morality much? Ever?

The minister responsible said in the legislature that Grace Islet’s “owner” “and the archaeology branch had (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Occupy Movement Has Changed the Narrative, But We’re Not Done

Recently, with the WEF spending the last few years acknowledging global income inequality is a problem, I’ve declared a kind of victory for the Occupy Movement: getting the lexicon on the 1% and inequality on the tongues of the sly gazillionaires who rule the world, and into mass consumption.

Now we see that the CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the biggest cancers of neoliberal capitalism and a prime mover of the 2008 crash, has admitted that income inequality is a problem and a destabilizer. Sadly, though not surprisingly, in this interview he also trotted out typical neoliberal “realities” (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The 1% Has More Solidarity Than We Do

In Davos, the 1% rule the world. Literally. They also have the guns.

The 1% are claiming we have it out for them; that if we don’t tone down the rhetoric and stop calling them names like “the contemptuous rich,” we might end up starting a class war. But they already know there’s a class war, and it’s been going on for generations. Today, the rich are winning because they have more solidarity than we do. The year 2014 is a battleground and the currency is solidarity. If we don’t start organizing together, quickly, and far more effectively, the contemptuous (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral Reform – Voting Systems

I have said that simply calling for PR (Proportional Voting) is not sufficient but that we must understand the various systems that are generally promoted as ‘proportional’, and the alternatives. I wrote about the various systems some 3 years ago and will simply re-post part of that article with some updates and additional thoughts here in this series on Electoral Reform.

First however I must point out that non of the systems thus far proposed can be compared with what is often touted as the outcome from FPTP in so far as ‘the popular vote’. We currently vote for an (Read more…)

Left Over: Desperation and Distraction, but a Little Satisfaction?

 

http://montrealsimon.blogspot.ca/2014/07/the-increasing-desperation-of-stephen.html

Two things have me momentarily distracted these days, and both are all about the lack of traction that the Cons are getting from attacking both Junior and the NDP..vis a vis the ‘scandal’ that never was re their supposed illegal Parliamentary postal charge avoidance..what happened with that? Sadly (IMHO) the NDP are falling in the polls, yes, but I think that redemption may be at hand, at least in the form of continuing to be the Loyal Opposition after Junior’s team get elected..yes, I fear the writing is on the wall, I (Read more…)