Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

The Disaffected Lib: The Struggle Ahead for a Decent Future for our Youth

It’s sometimes hard to read a Henry Giroux essay without coming away feeling like you’ve been dragged into a dark alley and bludgeoned.  In his latest essay, this American intellectual explores what we’ve allowed ourselves to become, how we’ve been complicit in our own orchestrated economic, social and political degradation.  Brace yourself.

“The danger is that a global, universally interrelated civilization may produce barbarians from its own midst by forcing millions of people into conditions which, despite all appearances, are the conditions of savages.”

- Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) Following Hannah Arendt, a (Read more…) . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: The Struggle Ahead for a Decent Future for our Youth

The Disaffected Lib: You’ll Never See Vlad Putin the Same Way Again

If there’s one guy who doesn’t get any slack from the Western media, it’s Russian strongman, Vlad Putin.  We vilify Putin at every turn and, while he certainly brings some of it down on himself, we make sure to depict ourselves as the guys in the white hats while we heap scorn on him.

It’s time to reset our compass and there’s no one better to do that than Princeton prof Stephen F. Cohen who has been involved with post-Soviet Russia since he served as an advisor to George H.W. Bush during the fall of East Germany. According to (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Back to the Future with Joe Oliver

Finance Minister Joe Oliver brought Canadians his first budget yesterday. Instead of it being a budget for the coming fiscal year of our government, he tried to line things up for the next ten years. It was a very Conservative view of our future. And we can only hope that it is Joe Oliver’s final budget and the final Conservative budget.

It was more of a manifesto than a budget. Yet, it lacked a clear direction. It lacked compassion. It was in many cases blatant bribery. The continuing reductions in business taxes makes you wonder when it will cost more (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The Hair’s ‘Politics of Division’

Asking a voter why s/he is going to vote for the Conservatives this fall can cause a rising anger. The anger is hardly directed at the voter. This person has been had. They have been duped. The anger can only be directed at the Prime Minister—he of the Hair!

And we watch in this land of inclusion, tolerance, sharing and openness, as the Hair spreads his politics of division.

It was just last week when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Toronto, we saw how easily the Hair moved into the mode of pandering to the Indo-Canadian vote. It (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: ‘Diplomat’ Brown and his friend Narendra Modi.

What is wrong with Canada’s foreign relations is more than explained by the friendship of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Patrick Brown MP. Yes, that is Patrick Brown, the most useless member of the Conservative back bench and the candidate for the leadership of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party. With probably less than 50 people in his electoral district from India, Patrick Brown must have been left among the final MP draftees for a country on the friendship committee.

Brown got India. The air flights there are gruelling. The food there is, well, foreign. You can imagine that India was (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: 2015 election: Harper on road to minority government?

The problem?

The latest compendium of polls by 308 have good news and bad news.

Good news for Harper who – based on these results – would form a minority government after the 2015 election.

Bad news for the Liberals, whose support is slipping.

And good news for the besieged Mulcair’s NDP, which has steadily lost whatever magic it had in the 2011 election, despite herculean efforts in Parliament by their leader.

Here’s the chart showing the steady but slight erosion in Liberal support: And here is the 308 forecast of possible seats if those polls hold:

With these levels (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: 2015 election: Harper on road to minority government?

Babel-on-the-Bay: Legislating Ideology.

It is when you listen to the federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver that you realize what a breath of fresh air the late Finance Minister Jim Flaherty must have been in Mr. Harper’s Cabinet of Inadequate Ideologues. You can also imagine how he would have laughed at Joe Oliver’s suggestion that there be a law passed against deficit budgets. That would be like passing a law that says Canadians cannot have a mortgage or an auto loan.

The ability for a country to borrow is just one of the many strategies available to a finance minister to level out the (Read more…)

Left Over: Toxic Spills and the Toxic Con (tsk, tsk…) Response….

 

James Moore fires back at ‘political jabs’ over Vancouver oil spill Industry minister criticizes rush to blame before all facts are known

CBC News Posted: Apr 10, 2015 4:33 PM PT Last Updated: Apr 10, 2015 9:42 PM PT

http://montrealsimon.blogspot.ca/2015/04/the-bc-oil-spill-and-con-clown-james.html

 

As horrible as this event was, it did some good here in BC..this ugliness made it clear to all the naysayers bleating about jobs that NOTHING is worth even the chance of a spill..not to mention the fact that we need our Coast Guard and emergency stations, we need our lighthouses manned, we (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: What’s the Senate all about Hair?

There is something of a contest going on. The Hair might draw the line at taking off his stuffed shirt and streaking the tourists gaping at Ottawa’s Confusion Square but no holds are barred in distracting Canadians from the Duffy Trial.

The Duffy Trial is the big show in Ottawa now and it’s getting the news media all a twitter. It is where the chubby one-time spokesman for the Hair Senator Mike Duffy is on trial for accepting a bribe.

But just a minute: maybe the Hair can explain to us why the person accepting the bribe is charged and (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Can Duffy Shred Nigel Wright’s "Goody Two-Shoes" Routine?

Nigel Wright’s ‘gift’ of $90K to senator Mike Duffy was a bribe when it was pocketed by Duffy but not when it was given by Wright.  Most of us are finding that pretty hard to square and it is.  The logic by which Duffy is culpable and Wright is not reflects how far the RCMP was prepared to bend over backwards to make some cherry-picked facts suit their narrative.

It sounds as though they’re charging Duffy with extortion, not bribery.  Duffy strong-armed the money out of Wright’s chequebook.  But that’s a different section of the Criminal Code of Canada.

Besides, (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Alberta stumbles as the Hair’s empire crumbles.

There are at least a couple ridings in Alberta that could attract some smart Liberals for the federal election. Voters in that province are not stupid you know. They might also like to send a message to the Prime Minister after what he has helped to do to the province’s economy. The message is simply: Bye-bye Hair.

Canadians are inclined to forget much of what the Hair has done to this country over the past nine years. The effect of that bad stewardship has had an even worse effect on the province that gave him its 100 per cent support. (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Why The "Fight Against ISIS" Is A Farce

Prime Minister Harper’s current political “divert the public’s attention” strategy is to beat on the war drums over ISIS.

Yes, ISIS is a brutal lot, and they are doing a lot of horrible things.  Should they be held accountable for their actions?  Absolutely.  Are the western powers the right people to “hold them accountable”?  No.  Not in the slightest.

Way back in 2002 (before I started this blog), Bush the Lesser decided to invade Iraq, turning one foolhardy war in Afghanistan into two wars.  Invading Afghanistan was foolish enough, invading Iraq was ludicrously stupid.  Both of these were essentially colonial (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: "Whack a Mole" is No Reason to Go to War.

We spent a decade in Afghanistan playing whack-a-mole, essentially achieving nothing.  We had no coherent vision of what ‘victory’ might even look like much less how it could be achieved.  In the result we never committed anything remotely like the size force that would have been necessary to keep the insurgents at bay in Kandahar province long enough for the government to establish its authority there.

Now we’re in for a bombing campaign against ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria. What are we trying to achieve or is this just more whack-a-mole?  Now ISIS is in all sorts of places (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Five Days Until the Senate of Canada Stands Trial

It’s been pretty obvious for a while now that the Mike Duffy corruption trial will likely be transformed into an indictment of the Senate of Canada.  ”We all did it” seems to be a core element of Duffy’s defence.  Andrew Coyne seems to agree. He writes that the already overdue audit reports will reveal that Duffy was in good and plentiful senatorial company with his approach to “expenses.” According to Coyne, 40-senators have received warning letters from the Auditor General:

No amount of pre-emptive spinning is going to save the Senate’s reputation, if the report is anything like what (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Has Harperland Made Canada a Rogue State

The Tyee’s Crawford Kilian argues that Harper’s Canada has become a rogue state.

Kilian disposes of the arguments of those, including several Liberals, who see a “moral imperative” in our air war against ISIS.

It’s a very selective morality that attacks the Islamic State in Syria while not attacking Boko Haram in Nigeria, or Russia in Ukraine, and attacks no one at all to protect the millions slaughtered and raped in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Somalia, and other failing states.

The media and academic war pimps have generally fallen into line with Harper, while dutifully and objectively reporting (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Want Canada to Make a Difference? Let’s Back Tunisia.

Face it.  There’s not much hope that we’re really going to achieve anything significant from our air war in Iraq, regardless of whether we get stuck into Syria also.

All ISIS needs to survive is a nation in chaos.  They weren’t in on the ground floor in Syria.  ISIS moved in after the civil war was well underway.  Same thing for Libya.  ISIS moved in once the anti-Gaddafi forces had established a viable resistance.  Iraq, same same.  Yemen, ditto.

ISIS is into turf, acquiring control.  Muslim countries that are destabilized are the organization’s preferred hunting ground.

Our approach to ISIS (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Because You Really Can’t Tell the Players Without a Programme

The Duffy trial is just about a week away.  It seems like forever since the scandal broke plunging Harper’s PMO and the Senate into a fearful rout.

To get you back up to speed on the scandal and all the players, National Post has published a dandy primer on the Who’s Who of the witnesses expected to be called at trial.

There’s a big bag full of names some of which, by the time this trial is over, you’ll probably hope never to hear again.

The Disaffected Lib: Running on Empty – Harper Defence Budget Stretching Military to Breaking Point

It’s the usual story.  The federal government talks a good game but it’s just empty talk. A glaring example is Canada’s military.  Harper came to power promising to build up the Canadian Forces into a war waging, ass kicking powerhouse.  Rick “The Beached Cod” Hillier praised Harper to the rafters for rescuing the forces from their “decade of darkness” under the Liberals.

Today the boast is burst.  Harper has his own stealth programme, quietly defunding the military.  As Liberal senator Colin Kenny has pointed out, Harper won’t downsize the military to meet his budget cuts, unemployed soldiers would be hard (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The "Piss Away" Province

The key to understanding the dilemma is to realize that Tar Sand, bitumen, is just a part of Alberta’s oil history.  The province has also produced a vast amount of conventional crude oil.  It’s actually produced and exported a good deal more conventional crude oil than Norway.  That brings us to the starting point of the conversation. The CBC today features another one of those awkward, cringe-worthy stories about Alberta and Norway and why Albertans are wallowing in another recession while their Norwegian counterparts are sitting on a mountain of wealth.  The easy answer is that Albertans, while deeply Conservative, (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Three Eras of Canada’s Democracy or How We Got to Where We Are Today.

I first voted in the 60s and I’ve watched Canadian democracy evolve, not always in a good way, ever since.

I’ve witnessed three political eras in my lifetime.

There was an era of rights and freedoms, the years of Diefenbaker, Pearson and Trudeau.  Some might not realize it but Diefenbaker was a true champion of human rights.  Pearson brought Canada to the world stage as honest broker and peacekeeper.  Trudeau, of course, patriated the constitution and left us with perhaps the most important legislative enactment in our country’s history, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  That was the zenith of (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Finally, a Mulroney We Can Believe In.

David Mulroney served as a deputy minister in charge of Canada’s Afghanistan task force.  It seems he learned a thing or two from the experience, enough to know that we’re at risk of repeating the same mistakes in our rush to war in Iraq.

“When I recently saw Foreign Minister [Rob] Nicholson musing that we’d apply some of the lessons of Afghanistan to our engagement, I kind of sat bolt upright because I think one of the problems is we haven’t spent much time learning the lessons of Afghanistan,” Mulroney said in an interview to air Saturday at 9 a. (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Yeah, But in Harper’s Eyes, They’re the Canadians That Matter.

Another zinger from the parliamentary budget officer.  The PBO is confirming what other critics have been saying for a long time – Harper’s income splitting initiative will benefit just one in six families and they’re already the well off.

“The FTC [family tax credit] benefits about two million households, or 15 per cent of the Canadian total,” a newly released report by the PBO says.

It goes on to say “middle and middle-high income households benefit most because they are more likely to have a family income and income tax structure conducive to FTC gains.”

Opposition critics have complained (Read more…)

Trashy's World: The NRA folks must be smilin’…

… as Harper seems to be moving toward an American style position on gun ownership rights. Now, not only are Canadians being told that there are terrorists around every corner, but armed criminals are just waiting for us at our country homes and cottages. Scary country, Harper’s Canada! Harper’s comments are being promoted by the […]

The Disaffected Lib: Filipinos Trash Stephen Harper

I couldn’t have said it better myself.“Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is an embarrassment to the civic-minded and environmentally conscious Canadians.” That’s the assessment of Filipino priest and environmentalist, Father Robert Reyes, speaking on behalf of environmental and public health activists protesting 50-cargo containers full of hazardous waste that have been sitting in Manila for the past 600-days. Philippine customs impounded the containers in June, 2013.  They were designated as plastic waste for recycling but were found to contain, instead, hazardous waste. Canada says it can’t force the exporter to re-export the hazardous materials but the Filipinos (Read more…)

Scott's DiaTribes: The Niqab Hijab etc.. real issue.

By now, you know that a Federal Court has ruled against the Government of Canada that wanted veils/face coverings removed for the “ceremonial” part of the citizenship ceremony to become a Canadian citizen. (more specifically, niqabs, and apparently hijabs). You also know that Prime Minister Harper has decided to go on a rant about that, calling it against Canadian values, etc.. and the Conservative Party is fundraising on the issue.

I can go on about how this is attempting to appeal to the base fears and prejudices of Canadian society, and how they’re trying to cynically use this issue to (Read more…)