Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

The Disaffected Lib: There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea

In a decade or so the government of Canada will be in the market for new submarines for the Royal Canadian Navy.

In the 17-years since the Chretien government snapped up four used British boats, supposedly a bargain, we haven’t seen much use out of them.  In fact we’ve about doubled the purchase price in maintenance bills trying to get the damned things seaworthy.

One of them, just one, has actually fired a torpedo.  That’s 68-service years, one torpedo.  But wait, there’s news.  HMCS Victoria took some guest journos aboard, sailed out of Esquimalt, dived and demonstrated a simulated torpedo (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: And Now, For the TFSA Switch!

Following up my blog post of 4 years ago about Harper’s tax break for the wealthy are stories on CBC and elsewhere regarding the TFSA folly. The increase benefits only ~39% of Canadians who’ve managed to open such a savings account.

“Harper pledges to double tax-free savings limits – but not till deficit is beat” And you have to give him credit, he’s going to be right. Because he won’t be in office when the deficit is beat, a Conservative government doesn’t know how to go out of deficit (history shows they only go into them).

“TFSA limit could (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: More Debates, Not Fewer Debaters

The unethical fools at the Broadcast Consortium will probably gladly keep Elizabeth May away from the debates this year too. Especially amusing is the Conservative spokes-tool saying more participants would make it a gong show. Mulcair wanting a debate focused on women, while angling to keep the only female leader out of the room, is special too.

What’s wrong with the Star and Robert Benzie to write an article about debate controversy and not even mention the Consortium considering blocking the Green Party again because they got away with it last election?

Why would it be up to the Conservatives (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Newsweek’s Obituary for the Athabasca Tar Sands

Is it time for the Barons of Bitumen to wave the white flag?  That seems to be the case according to an article from the latest NewsWeek, “Keystone and the Riddle of the Tar Sands.” …some of Alberta’s crude has made its way to market, but so much slower than it could have, or was projected to, that producers, refiners, shippers, banks and other investors in tar sands development are beginning to wonder whether they have backed a good play by investing over $160 billion to turn tar into oil. So the economic stranding process has already begun. (Read more…) . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Newsweek’s Obituary for the Athabasca Tar Sands

The Disaffected Lib: Oh, This Is Rich. Stephen Harper Wants Us to Listen to Scientists.

“get the facts from the …scientific community, and if you’re not a …scientist yourself, listen to the people who are. It’s that simple.” You heard it right, straight from the lips of Stephen Joseph Harper.  Get the facts from the scientific community and, if you’re not a scientist yourself, listen to the people who are.  Who could argue with that sort of logic except, of course, the man who said it, Stephen Harper. Memo to Steve:  There are many, many scientists who would dearly love to give you oodles of facts so why aren’t you listening to them? (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: The Pony Express Government

CSE has undertaken a domestic spy operation that is illegal in Canada, because it’s spying on communication of Canadian citizens. CSE is supposed to only spy on foreigners, and the Commissioner overseeing the signals intelligence agency is supposed to put a stop to any overstepping of that mandate. Something clearly has gone awry in a grave way.

PONY EXPRESS should not exist in Canada nor should every (paper) letter mailed by Canadians be photographed, as the US is doing. Claiming the mandate CSE has to protect government computers overrides its restriction on conducting a mass surveillance operation of Canadians’ (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: C-51 Being Pushed by “Fascist” language

A former Mountie and CSIS operative thinks Harper’s so called anti-terrorism bill is scary and unnecessary.

Mr. Lavigne, 55, left government in 1999, but follows intelligence news closely.

He spent years tracking dangerous radicals without the powers the government wants to give to CSIS.

“I find it a little convenient that in the past few years that these radicalized people are the biggest threat to ever hit us,” he said. “There are more people dying because of drunk drivers or because of gang violence.”

(-link added by me)

Mr. Lavigne said the prime minister’s advisers must tell him that (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: This is Canada. Of Course We Live In a Democracy. Right? Think Again.

Do you know the difference between liberal democracy and illiberal democracy? It can be a complex issue.  There are oodles of papers to read if you really want to get a handle on it but, for now, here’s a somewhat useful explanation taken from Wiki.

An illiberal democracy, also called a pseudo democracy, partial democracy, low intensity democracy,empty democracy or hybrid regime,[1] is a governing system in which, although elections take place, citizens are cut off from knowledge about the activities of those who exercise real power because of the lack of civil liberties. It is not an ‘ (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Will the E.U. Again Pull the Rug Out From Under Harper’s Feet?

The European Union’s FQD, fuel quality directive, was once seen as a bitumen killer.  It’s intended to encourage the use of lower-carbon oil and to kill off the European market for tar sand oil.

It had been reported that the Canadian government persuaded the Euros to drop the regulation, opening Europe to Athabasca exports.  Now it seems the FQD isn’t dead after all.

The EU’s most senior energy official confirmed that the fuel quality directive (FQD) to encourage greener road fuels will not be scrapped at the end of the decade, as had been thought. Asked by the Guardian (Read more…)

Left Over: Idle Worship….

Stephen Harper and the Beautiful Flag He Hates So Much http://montrealsimon.blogspot.ca/2015/02/stephen-harper-and-beautiful-flag-he.html

 

As an ex-Yank who always found it profoundly disturbing that rampant, ignorant, my way or the highway stupid patriotism started with ridiculous flag-worship in the States, have to say that spending any kind of big money on the anniversary of a flag seems dumb in the extreme…It’s great to acknowledge it, and fun to read about the people involved, but I hate to see Canadians who are mostly rational and intelligently fervent about their love of country get all worked up about such trivia as (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Rumours Swirl Around Harper’s Head

Interesting opinion/speculation piece from Harry Stirling in this morning’s Times Colonist.Now there is some speculation that, due to the abrupt resignation of Baird, coupled with Adams’ defection, Harper himself might increasingly find his own leadership questioned by normally loyal party members. Even one of the Conservatives’ former MPs, Albertan Myron Thompson, expressed his concern over the prime minister’s lack of commitment to the “values we had back in 1993.”

Adding to the uncertainty swirling around the issue of Harper’s future prospects, there are rumours that this month, Harper might indicate his intention to step down as leader and (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: A good-news story in Canadian media/journalism news: Sun…

A good-news story in Canadian media/journalism news:

Sun “News” Network, aka Fox News North, aka the Conservative Broadcasting Corporation, aka Harper TV, aka Scum Spews is finally shutting down due to a shortage of viewers. I just hope Harper doesn’t bail them out with our taxpayer dollars as part of his Conservative Action Adscam Plan to win the next election. I wouldn’t put it past that scheming, thieving piece of shit. He played a hand in setting up the channel in the first place.

It’s comforting to know there still aren’t enough far-right, ignorant, bigoted, self-hating traitors in Canada (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Tories Look to Make Death With Dignity a Wedge Issue for 2015 Elections

Well, that didn’t take long.  Just days after the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the criminal prohibition on physician assisted suicide, Harper justice minister Peter MacKay let’s slip the Tories see it as a possible election issue.

[MacKay] noted the court provided a calendar year to deliver its answer, but said the government will be taking “the time we need” after describing it as an important and far-reaching issue for Canadians.

He acknowledged the decision’s timing ahead of a federal election expected in October and said input from a broad array of people will help inform and instruct the (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: #HarperFired Soudas Joins Liberals Who Need Heads Examined

To welcome Soudas and Adams into their party after all of the years of their Liberal-bashing, proves that they aren’t a Big-Tent, but rather a Motel Room-for-rent.

“Dimitri Soudas arrives with a handful, maybe perhaps boxes full, of information,” Graham told CTV News Channel. “Soudas has a lot of secrets. He tells people that. He knows a lot. He knows what went on in the Prime Minister’s Office. He knows a lot more about Stephen Harper than perhaps many around him.”

The common Canadian would raise an eyebrow or two at this news, if they gave a rat’s ass (Read more…)

The Scott Ross: We Should All Be Able To Cross The Floor

Instead of bashing politicians who cross the floor, we should instead be more like them. It’s more likely than not to be a good thing that people change political parties. First it shows our competing ideologies are similarly moderate and not extreme; second it shows that we aren’t as polarized and as dysfunctional as other countries are; and thirdly it proves we balance principles with pragmatism. Of course changing parties can be done for selfish reasons, but so can any good deed. I want a moderate political system where compromises are made for the good of everyone. If selfish (Read more…) . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: We Should All Be Able To Cross The Floor

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: The (New) Hockey Song

It would have been more of a tribute if the puck was dropped by a disabled vet. https://t.co/mQIN0NKFf1 #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/um7HxKoinb

— Stephen Lautens (@stephenlautens) February 8, 2015

I’m seeing alarming tweeted images of military men taking over a Maple Leafs game with weapons drawn. Oh wait, it’s a gimmick. Well then.

— kevin harding (@kevinharding) February 8, 2015

“What would Stompin’ Tom say to this?” Possibly:

Hello out there, we’re on the air, it’s military time, The camo’s out, let’s give a shout They’re stopping every dime. Tension grows, & the fans are all insane, The (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Danger of the Lone Wolf

Canada’s had its share of lone wolf terrorism.  In fact, most of the worst incidents have been the work of lone wolf terrorists.  They’re loners, often unhinged and looking for whatever “cause” they can latch onto.  Then they grab a gun or a car and make headlines for opportunistic politicians like our prime minister to exploit, aided and abetted by a spineless opposition.

Matthew Harwood, writing for TomDispatch, warns that, when it comes to the lone wolf, the cure can be worse than the disease.There’s only one problem with the rising crescendo of alarm about lone wolves: most (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: They’ve Already Shown You Their True Colours. And You’ll Vote for Them, Why?

My party has only one voice in Parliament but it’s a voice against which all the rest are to be measured and, when you do that, you get to see them clearly for what they are, their true colours.

In today’s Toronto Star, columnist Tom Walkom calls out Mulcair and Trudeau for what they are – spineless opportunists for whom serving themselves will always trump serving Canada.

So far, the only opposition MP with enough guts to critique the content of the Conservative government’s new anti-terror bill is Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.

She said Monday in the Commons (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Harper’s Bitumen Policy – Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

The Harper government has gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid the public learning just what’s in bitumen and the risk that stuff poses to our rivers, our lakes, our groundwater supply and our oceans.  Mum’s the word.

Two things we’ve learned about Harper by now.  He’s secretive and pathologically dishonest.  The man is a born liar.

One of those subjects Harper wants to keep out of the public eye is bitumen, his Athabasca Tar Sands bounty.  His government commissioned a study in 2003 and promptly buried it.  It has now surfaced but it raises a massive number of questions and (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Canadians Being Spied On

Your Government is Spying On Your Downloads. http://t.co/2hkBFUe7K3 w/ @caparsons pic.twitter.com/OHOf95n64u

— CANADALAND (@CNDLND) February 2, 2015

3. Or maybe the media has allowed government (#CSE) to define spying on its own terms- the least alarming terms possible.

— Jesse Brown (@JesseBrown) February 2, 2015

4. #CSE says it doesn't "target" Canadians. True. They spy on all of us, so no-one is "targeted". Hilarious.

— Jesse Brown (@JesseBrown) February 2, 2015

And yet our creepy Prime Minister wants this law:

C-51: 12 months inside without trial based on the *fear* that someone *may* commit a (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Seven Deadly Traits of a Permanent Warfare State

Classic military science holds that war is a state of affairs that exists between periods of peace.  In other words, war is intended to achieve peace on terms acceptable to the victor.  War is not an end unto itself.  Well, guess what?  That was then, this is now and, today, war is a highly profitable end unto itself.

How is it possible to turn a democracy into a permanent warfare state? Former colonel turned academic, William J. Astore, identifies the seven keys to perpetual war.

1. The privatization of war:  The U.S. military’s recourse to private contractors has (Read more…)

Left Over: Any Cardboard to Spare?

 

Affordable housing in Vancouver within reach: Michael Geller Michael Geller says innovative design and financing ideas are key to creating more affordable Vancouver homes

By Margaret Gallagher, CBC News Posted: Feb 02, 2015 7:29 AM PT Last Updated: Feb 02, 2015 7:29 AM PT

 

Yes, let’s crowd those poor people into micro-style sardine tins, charge an arm and a leg so that they couldn’t afford to flee even if they wanted to, and call it ‘progress’.

Look around, this issue is everywhere in the world that corporate interests are paramount… In London people are protesting in the streets about (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: Canadian and American right-wing politicians going on about…

Canadian and American right-wing politicians going on about Islamic terrorism has a sickening stench of hypocrisy, considering the fact that the American government and other Western governments helped fund, arm and train Muslim extremists during the Cold War, which has contributed to many of the problems in the Middle East (and beyond) today. It looks like the American military-industrial-spy complex backed the wrong “enemy of my enemy is my friend” in that one. They made their bed, and now they are lying to us.

One of the main reasons there isn’t a strong secular, democratic alternative in most Middle Eastern (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Hypocrisy is Blinding

One of these people is Not Happy to Be Here

Barack Obama cuts short his state visit to India, after lecturing his hosts on tolerance and women’s rights, so that he can kiss the slippers of the new Saudi king, Salman.

So, Barack, how do you explain that one?  “Sometimes we need to balance our need to speak to them about human rights issues with immediate concerns we have in terms of counter-terrorism or dealing with regional stability.”Okay, I get it.  The state that has had its sticky fingers in every major terrorist outfit from al Qaeda (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: ConCalls: DDM Calling For Mistrial! #RoboCon

Hapless Dean Del Mastro, the former Prime Ministerial Parliamentary Secretary is supposed to soon find out how long he’ll spend in jail away from his wife and baby child.

What's the difference between $21K and $20K? No kids, not $1000, it is a mistrial! #DelMastro #DDM pic.twitter.com/YPtKkOSmCd

— Far Side Peter (@FarSidePtbo) January 27, 2015