Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Bill Longstaff: Who loves the US of A?

The answer to the above question, according to a Pew Research survey of 44 countries, is mostly everybody. Well, outside of the Middle East anyway. Not surprisingly, most Middle Eastern countries hold an unfavourable view of the U.S., led by Egypt where only 10 per cent of the population is favorably disposed.

Most European countries are fans, particularly Italy, France (now there’s a surprise

Bill Longstaff: Hamas is not a terrorist organization

It seems that the media and politicians can hardly mention Hamas, much in the news these days, without referring to it as a terrorist organization. And indeed a number of governments, including our own, have officially labelled it as such. But we might keep in mind that our government at least is sycophantically pro-Israel and labeling Hamas terrorist is very much in Israel’s interest. So is

The Canadian Progressive: House Bars NSA From Meddling With Encryption Standards

The U.S. House of Representatives last month inserted into a defense appropriations bill a measure barring the National Security Agency from meddling with encryption standards.

The post House Bars NSA From Meddling With Encryption Standards appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: Here’s One Way to Land on the NSA’s Watch List

If you downloaded the privacy software Tor in 2011, the NSA may have scouped up your computer IP address and spied on you, says ProPublica.

The post Here’s One Way to Land on the NSA’s Watch List appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Bill Longstaff: Omar Khadr’s trial lacked legal basis

After the way Omar Khadr has been persecuted by both the American government and ours, I wouldn’t have thought any more outrageous news of this sordid affair could emerge. But it has. After a hard-fought freedom of information case by the New York Times and the American Civil Liberties Union, a court has ordered the release of a U.S. Department of Justice memo that rejects any legal foundation

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Public Education: School to Prison Pipeline (VIDEO)

To end the violence in Baltimore there must be radical reform of public education and the criminal justice system – a panel moderated by radio talk show host Marc Steiner

The post Public Education: School to Prison Pipeline (VIDEO) appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

Alberta Diary: On the centenary of Gavrilo Princip’s fateful shot in Sarajevo, let’s learn the right lessons from history

Gavrilo Princip under arrest. Below: Princip and the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Today is the centenary of the day Gavrilo Princip took his little Belgian pistol to Sarajevo and blew the heir presumptive to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian empire into history.

As is well known, not long after young Princip caused the demise of Franz Ferdinand, archduke of Austria-Este and royal prince of Hungary and Bohemia, not to mention inspiration for future indie musicians, things went rapidly downhill.

Someone somewhere rolled the dice to score a strategic point or two in the Balkans – one of which, it’s been (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Republicans losing the Cuban vote

Lack of support from minority voters has long been an Achilles heel for the Republican Party. This holds true for Hispanics. In the last presidential election, Obama gained a record 75 per cent of the Latino vote. About the only consolation for the Republicans has been the support of Cuban-Americans who have long identified with or leaned toward the GOP. Now even that is changing.

A recent

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Interchange a Highway

Atlanta isn’t known for being a walkable city. Florence, Italy has a better reputation.

This is kind of mind blowing, and should have people thinking about overpasses and cloverleaf highways in a different way. Auto-sprawl has many costs.

Florence Italy and a highway interchange in Atlanta at same scale. @stevemouzon goo.gl/68yzg0 http://t.co/3dKQkgXHdg— TreeHugger.com (@TreeHugger) June 12, 2014

Alberta Diary: The NFA is right about one thing: it’s time to talk about guns and mental health

The National Firearms Association’s logo and slogan. What do you think their message is? Below: NFL President Sheldon Clare and the organization’s Executive VP, Shawn Bevins. All photos grabbed from the NFA’s public Facebook page.

Enough time has passed since the shocking murders of three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers in Moncton, N.B., for Canadians to start to ponder the serious issues raised by this tragedy.

Unsurprisingly, the need for calm reflection didn’t hold back the so-called National Firearms Association from immediately publishing a press release that bizarrely argued the shootings proved Canada should have fewer controls on (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: PRISM: NSA Caught In Another Lie about #Snowden

The NSA had claimed that Ed Snowden hadn’t contacted superiors with concerns about their illegal activity. They released an email attempting to discredit his claim that he had raised concerns, and the email proves Snowden was telling the truth.

The Washington Post has published a response from Snowden to NSA’s release of this email. He says, “Today’s strangely tailored and incomplete leak only shows the NSA feels it has something to hide,” and, “I’m glad they’ve shown they have access to records they claimed just a few months ago did not exist, and I hope we’ll see the rest of (Read more…)

Art Threat: An open letter to George W. Bush, the artist

Dear Mr. Bush,

I was heartened to learn of your recent exhibition of paintings at your own Presidential Library in Dallas. Some may have considered this a crude display of the vanity of power, but I happen to think such crudeness has its own aesthetic merit and honesty. It is crucial that world leaders such as yourself advocate and promote the fine arts, even if, during your presidency, you oversaw their continued economic abandonment (in favour of increased military spending), and even though many of your colleagues in the Republican party have been at the forefront of castigating, belittling and (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Canada PetroState vs. United States of America

Americans hear this on their news last night. “Feds Issue Tighter Regulations For Trains Hauling Highly-Flammable Crude”

Canadians are told this of their explosive oil in unsafe train cars. “B.C. municipality chaffs at railways’ requirement for secrecy about dangerous cargos traveling through town”

You have to wonder if the Harper Conservatives really don’t give a shit if they vapourize a few more Quebecers. Will your town be next?

Bill Longstaff: The Great Game—did Putin outplay the West in Crimea?

In the 19th century, the British and Russian empires’ strategic rivalry for supremacy in Central Asia was referred to as the Great Game. The game has never really ended as Russia has continued to vie with Western powers for influence and control in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. And in recent days, the Russians may have just outplayed the West in Ukraine.

Influence in Ukraine has see-sawed

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Canadian Police and Suicide Hotlines Violating Privacy

It’s mind boggling that Canadian police would think it’s justified in sharing mental health information with Homeland Insecurity in order to help the USA discriminate against people with mental illness.

What in the heck made them think it’s okay? Are they crazy?

People need to trust that they can reach out to a Suicide Hotline without fear of future reprisals. Canadian police have seriously damaged this expectation, and therefore are likely to have harmed people who’d have otherwise sought help. It would be hard to learn definitively if this abuse of authority has killed people, because the people we’d learn (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Colbert At Google. Replacing Letterman

Bill Longstaff: The United States—democracy or oligarchy?

Last year, Iran held an election to choose its president. Many in the West mocked the election because the candidates were vetted by the Guardian Council (a group appointed largely by the Supreme Leader). This, however, is not so different from American presidential elections. In the U.S., candidates have to get approval from the corporate sector simply because if they don’t get those big

Alberta Diary: Vladimir Putin’s strategic crisis in 2014 sure looks a lot like John F. Kennedy’s in 1962

President John F. Kennedy signs the proclamation of the “Interdiction of the Delivery of Offensive Weapons to Cuba” on Oct. 23, 1962. The order imposed the U.S. naval blockade on Cuba that Mr. Kennedy had announced during his televised address the night before. Below: Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, Sun News bloviator Monte K. Solberg.

“Good evening, my fellow citizens,” President John F. Kennedy said grimly on Oct. 22, 1962. “This Government, as promised, has maintained the closest surveillance of the Soviet military build-up on the island of Cuba.

“Within the past week unmistakable (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Dr. Strangelove Was More Of a Documentary Than We Thought

This is a little bit terrifying, in the context of world destruction. Dr. Strangelove was a great movie in the 60s about a military base commander going crazy and ordering a nuclear strike on Russia without Presidential authorization. It should be remade today with another great comedic actor like Steve Carell.

It turns out, MAD was real, and the Russians didn’t tell anyone about it making it pointless. Way to go, crazy Russians.

Bill Longstaff: Ukraine and American arrogance

The New York Times ran an intriguing headline earlier this week. It read “Debate Over Who, in U.S., is to Blame for Ukraine.” Apparently American politicians are debating which among them is responsible for recent events in Ukraine, Republicans blaming Obama and Democrats blaming Bush.

The arrogance is extraordinary. The debate seems predicated on the notion that if something goes awry in the

Art Threat: Skinny Puppy bills US military for music use in torture

The U.S. military is using a Vancouver band’s music to torture prisoners at Guantanamo Bay — and the artists are working to make sure they pay for it.

Electro-industrial act Skinny Puppy has learned through a former guard at Gitmo that inmates would be drowned in their unsettling sounds for up to twelve hours at a time — or until they literally crapped their pants.

Skinny Puppy co-founder cEvin Key spoke to CBC’s As It Happens about the situation, which the band is strongly opposed to. They plan on sending the American government a bill for $666,000 — an (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Pardon?

I’d wondered why the USA wasn’t chasing after draft dodgers still.

On this day in 1977, U.S. President Jimmy Carter granted an unconditional pardon to hundreds of thousands of men… fb.me/2Zrr46qpA— Christina Cherneskey (@ccherneskey) January 21, 2014

My respect for Carter went up when I learned this.

Obama could redeem some of his failing popularity if he stood up to the NSA spy machine and pardoned Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, among other whistle blowers of illegal American spying programs aimed at American citizens.

Alberta Diary: Ted Cruz: For God (& country’s) sake, talk to Conrad Black before you shred your Canadian passport!

Canada or USA? USA or Canada? Texas Senator Ted Cruz, visible between the signs, ponders what he should do. Actual Tea Party favourites may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Mr. Cruz waves bye-bye to his fellow Canadians … maybe; Lord Black of Crossharbour.

It’s said here that Calgary native Ted Cruise needs to make an appointment to have a serious chat with Conrad Black before he makes any rash and irrevocable decisions to run his Canadian passport through the shredder.

Mr. Cruz is now the junior Senator from Texas and a favourite of the Tea Party, a group that (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Iraq—an Al-Qaeda playground

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The U.S. and its coalition of the willing invaded Iraq with the justification that it had weapons of mass destruction and Saddam was conspiring with al-Qaeda to use them. The country had to be cleansed of both. But of course there were neither WMDs nor al-Qaeda to be cleansed. So how ironic, and profoundly tragic for the Iraqis, that the country has now become a

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: F-35: Lies from Lying Liars #cdnpoli

The F-35 was going to be a plane made with Chinese parts, despite US law forbidding that.

mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBR… this just adds to the ridiculousness. Russia probably has deal w china to remotely disable these.— jeff cliff (@jeffcliff1) January 04, 2014