Thursday, July 17, 2014

When Did the Government of Canada Become the Government of Alykan Velshi?

When British Member of Parliament George Galloway was barred from entering Canada in March of 2009, because he worked for a relief agency that provided food and medication to Gaza, it was discovered that Conservative staffer, Alykan Velshi, was behind the move.

Galloway was painted as a terrorist, and threatened to sue the Canadian government. In a related case, brought about by an anti-war group, Federal Court judge Richard Mosley would state: "one might hope that a ministerial aide would exercise greater restraint in purporting to speak on behalf of the government ... "

In the same year that Velshi barred Galloway, he was instrumental in revoking the funding of the Arab Canadian Foundation, erroneously stating that they promoted hatred toward the Jewish people. Said Velshi: "Groups that promote hatred and anti-Semitism don't deserve a single red cent of taxpayer support. End of story."

What Velshi no doubt saw as anti-Semitism, was an article that ACF director Mohamed Boudjenane had published in the Toronto Star, where he suggested that HAMAS was gaining ground because of Israeli aggression, challenging the notion that Israel was only aggressive because of the strength of HAMAS.

There was nothing anti-Semitic in the piece.

Anti-Semitism is real and its results can be horrifying, but broadening it's scope to include any criticism of Israel, diminishes its true nature. If we criticize the policies of an African nation, it doesn't mean we are bigots. But the issue here is why does a political staffer have this much power?

In the latest controversy over the Harper government's targeting of charitable organizations that oppose their policies, it has come to light that Velshi is also apparently behind that.

In a column by Carol Goar, she discusses a paper written by Garett Kirkby on the subject.
Here are Kirkby’s conclusions: “I find that an advocacy chill is affecting charitable organizations that advocate on public policy issues though it varies in intensity and extent from organization to organization. I find that there is evidence in the data that the government is attempting, with some successes, to narrow society’s important policy conversations. Finally I find the data suggest that the current federal government is corrupting Canada’s democratic processes by treating as political enemies these civil-society organizations whose contributions to public policy conversations differ from government priorities.”

There is one development Kirkby noted but did not highlight. Many of the “political activity” audits launched by CRA since 2012 were triggered by complaints from Ethical Oil, a lobby group with strong ties to the Harper government and the petroleum sector.
And who is the founder of Ethical Oil? Yep. Alykan Velshi.

Foundation for the Defense of Democracies

It is well known that Alykan Velshi is a member of the American Enterprise Institute, where George Bush drew many members of his staff. However, Canadians should be more concerned with his ties to a Neoconservative think-tank; the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Right Web, a group exposing war mongers who influence American foreign policy, says of FDD:
Founded in the wake of the 9/11 attacks with the goal of pushing an aggressive "war on terror" in the Middle East and a hawkish "pro-Israel" line in Washington, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) is a neoconservative think tank that claims to defend democratic countries from "radical Islamism." It is the successor organization of a group called EMET, an education initiative founded earlier in 2001 as part of an effort to gain support for Israel's response to the Palestinian Intifada and to diminish public outcry against Israeli actions.
Think Progress adds:
FDD’s position consistently fell in line with the Bush administration’s militant “war on terror” and policies espoused by Israel’s right wing Likud party. In recent years, FDD has become one of the premiere DC organizations promoting more aggressive actions against Iran.
And after revealing their donors:
... Most of the major donors are active philanthropists to “pro-Israel” causes both in the U.S. and internationally. With the disclosure of its donor rolls, it becomes increasingly apparent that FDD’s advocacy of U.S. military intervention in the Middle East, its hawkish stance against Iran, and its defense of right-wing Israeli policy is consistent with its donors’ interests in “pro-Israel” advocacy.

While FDD has a 10-year history of engaging in alarmist rhetoric and fear mongering — e.g. in 2002 FDD aired a series of ads conflating Osama bin Laden, Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussein — and helped promote the “Bush doctrine” which led to the invasion of Iraq ...
The FDD saw an increase in support after Barack Obama was elected president, including a ten million dollar boost from Home Depot founder, Bernard Marcus, a critic of the Obama Administration, blasting it as “amateurs in the White House” and “amateurs surrounded by amateurs."

They claim to be non-partisan, but looking at its roster of directors, advisors and supporters, it's clear that they are simply another vehicle for the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement.

Founding Members include Steve Forbes, Newt Gingrich and James Woolsey; and Clifford D. May, former Republican National Committee Director of Communications, is on the Board. Advisors include Gary Bauer, Bill Kristol, Mark Foley, Richard Perle, Andrew C. McCarthy and Eric Cantor.

Journalist John Walbridge went on a junket to Israel sponsored by the FDD, and reveals just how one-sided the group and its Israeli allies are.
There is a striking unwillingness to see things from the point of view of the other side or to recognize that the other side has legitimate interests that need to be taken into account. Apart from not asking the most obvious questions (“Why do people hate us so much that they are willing to blow themselves up to kill random Israelis on the street?”), I didn’t hear anyone talking about what Iran’s interests might be, what Hezbollah’s interests were, or how they should be taken into account.
They believe that Iran wants to take over the entire Middle East and that while "God was going to back up their property titles", in the meantime they are simply doing God's work for him.

The FDD applauds Stephen Harper's stand against Iran, and unflagging support of Israel's right wing.

They have also provided the Canadian government with an FDD representative, Sheryl Saperia, who like George Bush's former mouthpiece Ari Flescher, claims ties to the Canadian government. She is everywhere, consulting on immigration and foreign policy.

What's also interesting is FDD's attack on OXFAM, because of their criticism of Israeli occupation and human right violations. Alykan Velshi is simply following their mandate. Attack the NGOs and charitable organizations that stand in their way.

We believe that Stephen Harper's devotion to Israel is simply to garner the Jewish vote at home, but I think it's more than that. Aligning himself with such a well connected Conservative group, feeds his narcissism, and with growing criticism at home, he needs their praise to fuel his ego.

When he claims that Islamicism is the biggest threat to world peace, he may or may not believe it, but he knows his credibility with the American neons just went up a notch.

The biggest threat to peace comes from those who believe that Islamicism poses the biggest threat and sell the notion of preemptive strikes "just in case".

The Americans did not rid the Oval Office of George Bush and his ideologues. They just shipped them north, where they have taken up residency in the PMO.

Alykan Velshi is only an employee. No one elected him to any office, and in fact, if the Canadian people had a say in his hiring, we would probably reject his application given his strong ties to the U.S. Radical elite.

He does not get to say who can visit Canada, who can emigrate to Canada, and what charities we can support.

If Jason Kenney, John Baird or Stephen Harper can't function without him, they need to resign.

Velshi's Ethical Oil is only ethical in the Orwellian sense, and it's time he took a hike. Stephen Harper can destroy this country all by himself.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What Happens When a Tyrant Holds the Purse Strings and a Harridan Carries the Purse

During the Haiti earthquake relief mission, columnist Carol Goar wrote of a disturbing practice by the Harper government, when it came to charitable organizations.

We had already seen funding slashed to KAIROS, a Religious organization that advocated for the poor and disenfranchised, because they spoke out against Israeli aggression in Palestine.

But they were not the only group in Stephen Harper's crosshairs, brought to light during the Haiti crisis. Said Goar:
A shadow hangs over Canada's exemplary earthquake relief mission in Haiti. Several of the charities working heroically to deliver food, clean water, health care and shelter to the victims of the disaster fear their federal funding will be cut.

As long as they stick to pure humanitarian assistance, they'll be fine. But the moment they take a public stand – criticizing the government's decision to shift its foreign aid focus from Africa to Latin America, or its inaction on climate change, or its militant pro-Israel stance or its refusal to include contraceptives in its new campaign to improve maternal health – they risk losing access to taxpayers' dollars.
Several organizations had already received warnings.

Recently, Jason Kenney attacked OXFAM because of their opposition to illegal Israeli settlements.
One of Canada’s largest charities has found itself on the defensive after being singled out by a federal Conservative cabinet minister over its opposition to Israeli settlements. The apparent flap between Employment Minister Jason Kenneyand international development group Oxfam Canada is noteworthy because the Conservative government has previously cut funding to other charities that spoke out against the settlements.
Enter Kerry-Lynn Findlay

Bev Oda, the shrew behind the KAIROS defunding, may be out of politics, after scandals finally caught up with her, but not to worry. A new she-devil has taken her place: Kerry-Lynn Findlay, who is already outpacing Oda for controversy, opportunism, and pure malice.

Her riding of Delta-Richmond East has been a Reform Party stronghold since 1993, so Findlay only had to win the nomination to be assured of her position. Delta-Richmond is being split as part of the Conservative gerrymandering, and the new riding will no doubt go the Party, so we can expect another Neocon clone to join her in the House.

Although, Findlay herself may be vulnerable. Protestors opposed to the (un)Fair Elections Act, delivered a petition with 80,000 signatures to her office.

There was also a scathing letter in the Richmond News, drawing attention to a "ridiculously childish" notice she was sending to her constituents, in an obvious attempt to identify supporters; part of their taxpayer funded "patriotism" contest.

Findlay was not in her office to accept the petition. She was too busy sticking pins in the dolls of Canadian charity leaders, vowing to outdo Kenney and Oda, in her sweep of those who oppose her tyrannical leader and his policies.

No one is safe.

On her list of subversive activities: animal welfare, poverty, education, anti-Israeli sentiment, environment, healthcare, and human rights.

So don't even think of advocating for the poor. You will probably end up on a list and risk a tax audit.

These autocratic manoeuvres are being met with the expected outrage and concern.
The current crop of political-activity audits has prompted a sharp rebuke from the Canadian Council of Churches, which in April wrote directly to the prime minister about the "chilling effect of threats to revoke the charitable status of organizations that draw attention to policies that harm our world."

Similarly, Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada wrote to a United Nations group about what it calls the "shrinking space for dissent in Canada."
We do need more women in politics, but Findlay and many of her female colleagues, are not so much women in politics as soft touches who just happen to be in politics. What a fine example she sets.

Besides, how did she qualify to run Revenue Canada anyway? In 2001 she declared bankruptcy, leaving her creditors on the hook for $382,000. Maybe she needs a little audit.

Or maybe the Fraser Institute that shills for tobacco companies, foreign and domestic. Of course, it's more likely that the Canadian Cancer Society would be scrutinized for opposing the Fraser Institute.

Remind me again why Canadians still believe they live in a democracy. If this isn't fascism, than nothing is.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

If a Tsunami Was Coming Our Government Would Warn us Right?

Last month the Australian Broadcasting Corporation released the findings of the International Monetary Fund's study of house prices in developed nations.

They were ranked by affordability based on income. The worst three countries were Belgium, Canada and Australia.
Australia is specifically mentioned by the IMF's deputy managing director Min Zhu - along with Belgium, Canada, Norway and Sweden - as one of the countries where house prices are out of whack with where history suggests they should be.
When countries are ranked on how they are moving in the right direction, Canada is 26th.

We all know what the housing bubble did to the United States, so we should take heed:
The IMF says boom-bust house price patterns have preceded more than two-thirds of the 50 most recent systemic banking crises. And when you have a banking crisis in a modern, debt-fuelled capitalist economy it is almost impossible to escape a recession.
The ABC suggests that Australia faired better during the 2008 economic crisis because none of their banks failed, primarily because of a government bailout. In Canada our banks also survived because of a 114 billion dollar bailout; one that our government kept hidden, to make themselves look good.

The U.S. also engaged in massive bailouts, but faired poorly because of sub-prime mortgages. This brings us to another Canadian government "secret"; the fact they have also infected our once sound mortgage industry with these high risk transactions.

From a special Globe and Mail investigation, How high-risk mortgages crept north.
New mortgage borrowers signed up for an estimated $56-billion of risky 40-year mortgages, more than half of the total new mortgages approved by banks, trust companies and other lenders during that time, according to banking and insurance sources. Those sources estimated that 10 per cent of the mortgages, worth about $10-billion, were taken out with no money down.

The mushrooming of a Canadian version of subprime mortgages has gone largely unnoticed. The Conservative government finally banned the practice last summer, after repeated warnings from frustrated senior officials and bankers that the country's financial system was being exposed to far too much risk as the housing market weakened.
Canadians continue to lead in household debt and while house prices continue to rise, and borrowing on equity escalates, we could be heading toward a financial tsunami.

Stephen Harper, with the help of a complacent media, and millions of dollars in tax-payer funded ads; has painted himself as a strong economic steward, but it's all smoke and mirrors.

Instead of bogus feel good ads and cautious reports, we need to have a serious conversation about the true state of our economy.

With rumours of an early election, are the Conservatives hoping to get it over with before the you know what hits the fan? Remember during the 2008 campaign, Harper claimed that there would be no economic crisis, despite knowing full well that one was imminent.

In fact, he even went so far as to suggest that there would only be a recession if the Liberals won the election.

How much longer can he mislead Canadians? I guess he's hoping at least as long as another election campaign.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Peter MacKay Vows to Eradicate the Penguin Population

When Captain Robert Scott visited the Antartic in the early 1900s, his crew was shocked when they witnessed the "depraved" sexual conduct of the penguin population.

Scott's medical officer, George Murray Levick, called them "hooligans", and wrote a paper describing in detail, necrophilia, coercion and "non pro-creation sex". The times were not right to distribute his findings among the general population, but a few were printed for scientific research.

Since then further studies have been conducted, revealing something else about the sex lives of these flightless birds.

Sometimes they paid for it.

Penguins need stones to build their nests, and since there is often a shortage of stones, female Adélie Penguins will trade sex for them. Shocking!

Conservative Penguins

There has been a lot of media attention recently over Peter MacKay's Bill 36, legislation that will allow the selling of sex, but criminalize its purchase.

Apparently MacKay has fashioned the bill after the Nordic or Swedish model of dealing with the sex trade. However, what makes MacKay bat s**t crazy, is that he believes he will single handedly end prostitution in Canada.

Even if the Swedish model was working in Sweden, which it isn't, (it has only driven the trade underground), the motivation behind the manoeuvre differs greatly between the two countries.

In Sweden, it was feminist driven, seeing prostitution as the objectification of women. That is certainly true. However, there is a difference between being forced into the trade and choosing it as a career.

Terri-Jean Bedford, the Bedford in Bedford Versus Canada, that resulted in the Supreme Court decision that rendered our out-dated laws unconstitutional, wrote a letter to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, asking her not to participate in MacKay's nonsense until the Supreme Court can examine it.

The fact is that implementing the law is already proving to be a challenge in Sweden, as police are reluctant to make arrests and the courts reluctant to prosecute. I don't think it will survive.

In Canada, the Conservative government is motivated by misguided morality, emphasizing the stigma placed on any sex outside of the marriage. Unfortunately, Vic Toews didn't get the memo.

Neither did their provincial counterpart in Alberta, Mike Allen, who was arrested in a sting operation, while on government business in Minnesota. Maybe it's okay for Conservatives if you don't actually pay for it yourself, but can get taxpayers to foot the bill.

Conservative MP Robert Goguen, did get the memo, and while on the committee discussing Bill 36, he told the victim of a gang rape, “What I’m saying is you weren’t freely expressing yourself by being raped by three men … If you were rescued, you wouldn’t feel like your rights were violated? You don’t get it. OK.”

The only thing missing was the high fives from his colleagues.

Clearly this government is not concerned with the objectification of women, but simply putting an end to a practice that they find morally repugnant, evidenced by MacKay calling the Mike Allens of the country "perverts".

There are many reasons why men, and even women, seek professional sex services. Few because they are in need of perversion. But as columnist Michael Den Tandt recently suggested, it's none of the government's business.

A better model for this country to have adopted, is that of New Zealand, that has legalized prostitution. It has taken women off the streets and empowered them to set the rules, protected by law enforcement, rather than having to hide from it.

The Conservative Free Market Sex Trade

There are many ways to sell sex and many ways to prostitute yourself.

There is no denying that advertising has become more suggestive, as companies are increasingly pushing the boundaries of sexual content. One area that has seen a move in that direction, is the marketing of children's clothing.

The Canadian Counselling and Physiotherapy Association calls it the Hypersexualization of Tweens and Teens. There's no doubt that this is intentional, and the results troubling to say the least.
Pre-teen clothing market is worth an estimated 150 billion dollars a year. A survey of 15 major pre-teen clothing sites found that 1/3 of apparel was considered ‘sexualized’.

A recent survey showed that 22% of teenage girls report anal sex in the last 60 days.
 It’s estimated that 70-80% of teenage boys watch pornography.
 Another survey showed that 1/3 admit to sending a naked or near naked picture to their ‘crush’

One clothing company actually came out with a line of thong underwear for children with suggestive phrases imprinted on them.

So why are conservatives not attacking the corporate sector's 50 billion dollar child sex trade and unlimited profit from nearly nude sexual advertising?

It is essential to provide an out for those entrapped in the exploitation of sex, but that has to include tackling the root causes of that entrapment, including drug addiction, poverty and abuse.

We can't confuse that with those who willingly have made the sex trade their profession. They are Canadian citizens who need to be treated as such, not vilified when they seek protection from violent acts.

I watched the Doczone documentary Selling Sex, and one sex trade worker suggested that she felt less exploited doing what she was doing, than she did when she was working at a minimum wage job.

This is not a Religious argument, given that apparently God was Ok with it. Concubines, who were usually slaves, were part of the Christian culture. King Solomon had 300 of them.

A nest can be built in many ways, and if a few stones have to be traded in the process, when it's her choice, it's none of our business.

Why should only corporations be allowed to make sex a commodity?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Harper's Balancing Act : How to Accept Anti-Semitism Abroad While Making a Mockery of it at Home

Gaitana, born Gaita-Lurdes Essami, is a beautiful Ukrainian singer and songwriter, who had represented her country in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest; Europe's answer to American Idol.

Not everyone was happy with Ukraine's choice, however.

Yuriy Syrotyuk, a high-ranking member of the ultranationalist Svoboda (Freedom) Party, claimed that “Gaitana is not an organic representative of the Ukrainian culture ... we want to be accepted to the European Union, it could be our opportunity to show the Europeans that we are also a European nation. Gaitana “will provoke an association of Ukraine as a country of a different continent." (Time, March 5, 2012). You see, Gaitana is a woman of colour.

The All-Ukrainian Union "Svoboda"

The Svoboda Party has been enjoying political victories in Ukraine, especially since the Coup that saw the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych.

At a time when the European Union was working out a deal with Ukraine, and the International Monetary Fund was ready to finance the country's economic recovery, Yanukovych signed a deal with Russia, whereby they would pay off 15 billion in debt and lower gas prices, if Ukraine entered into their trading bloc instead.

The West went ballistic. The United States had invested five billion dollars in creating a "democratic" infrastructure, so weren't going to lose their influence so easily.

John McCain was dispatched to meet with anti-Russian rebels, including the far-right Svoboda, and a Canadian Conservative Party delegation was not far behind.

But what do we know of the Svoboda Party, that has become so important to the United States and Canada?

Gerald Caplan wrote a piece for the Globe and Mail: As a champion of Israel, Harper will face uncomfortable truths in Ukraine, in which he exposes their rampant anti-Semitism.
For his own political reasons, the Canadian PM will continue his apparently unconditional embrace of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s unelected government. But in private, we must hope, he will tell Yatsenyuk that it is intolerable and unacceptable that Anti-Semitism, as we all know, has no more uncompromising a foe than Stephen Harper and his government. They even denounce it where it does not exist. So we can be sure they must be outraged by Svoboda, even though in public, strangely enough, they have been silent as the grave.

... Given his newfound pre-occupation with Ukraine, Mr. Harper will surely know that only 16 months ago, the European Parliament expressed concern about Svoboda’s growing support, emphasizing that “racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views go against the European Union’s fundamental values and principles.” The EU actually appealed to “pro-democratic parties [in Ukraine] …not to associate with, endorse or form coalitions with” Svoboda, an admonition Yatsenyuk’s new government has totally ignored.

Oleh Tyahnybok Poster Child For Anti-Semitism

Oleh Tyahnybok is the leader of the Svoboda Party. While promoting the Coup (Scoboda militants shown in top photo), he became the sought after figure for Western photo-ops. John McCain, U.S. Diplomat Victoria Nuland and even John Baird, can be seen smiling with the new poster child of the revolution.

Unfortunately, he is also the poster child for anti-Semitism, a role he is trying to downplay.

When in Parliament, he proposed honouring the WWII Ukrainian Insurgent Army, who while fending off outside threats, were "engaged in the ethnic cleansing and killing of Poles from many towns and villages of western Ukraine. " (Wikipedia). In a speech at their grave sites, Tyahnybok said:
"They were not afraid and we should not be afraid. They took their automatic guns on their necks and went into the woods, and fought against the Muscovites, Germans, Jews and other scum who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state."
In April of 2005, he co-signed an open letter to President Yushchenko calling for a parliamentary investigation into the "criminal activities of organized Jewry in Ukraine" and warned of the spreading influence in the country of conspiratorial organizations like the Anti-Defamation League that ultimately wanted to commit "genocide" against the Ukrainian people.

Another Svoboda member, Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn, a parliamentary deputy, quotes from former Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, and has actually founded a think tank named the Joseph Goebbels Political Research Centre.

The Harper government has suggested that any overt criticism of Israel could be deemed anti-Semitic, but what would they call support of a Party founded in part on anti-Semitism?

I suppose in some ways Harper can relate, as his Reform Party crawled from the ashes of Canada's Social Credit Party. According to Janine Stingel in her book Social Discredit: "Social Credit was wholly dependent on an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory." They even kept copies of the Protocols of Zion in their office.

Harper also has to restrain the zealots in his party, whose views are not unlike those of some Svoboda members. Oleksandr Maksymovych Sych , Ukraine's Svoboda Deputy Prime Minister, publicly stated that women should "lead the kind of lifestyle to avoid the risk of rape, including refraining from drinking alcohol and being in controversial company."
""The establishment came down with a constitutional package which they put to a national referendum. The package included distinct society status for Quebec and some other changes, including some that would just horrify you, putting universal Medicare in our constitution, and feminist rights, and a whole bunch of other things." Stephen Harper 1997 speech to U.S. Right-wing Council for National Policy.
Early Reform Party members thought it OK for business owners to ask ethnics and gays to move to the back of the store if they thought their visibility would turn away customers, and that schools should have the right to refuse gay and lesbian teaching applicants.

This new Conservative Party of Canada may pretend to be moving to the centre, but believe me; the back benches are filled with MPs who share these views.

And not only the backbenchers, evident when James Moore, allowed the controversial neo-Nazi, Geert Wilders, to speak at the Tulip Festival of all places.

Can Harper really pull off this balancing act of being an anti-Semitic watchdog at home, while rubbing the bellies of the anti-Semitic dogs in Ukraine.

That's going to take one powerful whistle.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

It's High Time Canadians Started Listening to Bill O'Reilly at Fox News

The Conservative Movement, that has been gaining momentum since the 1960s, has made one of their missions, destroying progressive agencies; especially those that support the Welfare State.

In the U.S., they honed in on ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), that advocated for low- and moderate-income families.

What bothered Conservatives the most about ACORN, however, was their voter registration drives, that encouraged the poor and disenfranchised to take part in the democratic process. They knew that anyone involved with the organization would not vote Republican. Conservatives have always worked to make sure that they didn't vote at all, and ACORN stood in the way of that.

I had written before of one such attack on the group's integrity, perpetrated by two young warriors, Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe.

I only shared the story because it exposed the kind of tactics used by the American Leadership Institute, created by Morton Blackwell, and its Canadian affiliate, the Manning Centre for Building Democracy, created by Preston Manning.

ACORN would take a much bigger hit, however, when it was discovered that Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN's founder Wade Rathke, had embezzled almost a million dollars from the group. ACORN executives handled the matter internally, not to cover up a crime, but because they knew that word of an embezzlement would be all the ammunition conservatives needed to shut them down.

They were right.

The right-wing noise machine went into overdrive, calling for their immediate defunding, and without so much as a public hearing, the government was forced to stop financial aid to a group that had done so much for so many. ACORN went into receivership and were forced to close their doors.

Fox News, not wanting to draw attention to their advocacy work, instead equated the agency with "voter fraud", despite there being absolutely no evidence to support it.

Bill O'Reilly has since coined the term 'The ACORN Factor', to describe any voter fraud and subsequent defunding, promising to seek out perpetrators and make sure that their punishment was swift.

Of course he only meant liberal groups. If he wanted to include conservative voter fraud, it would become a full time job and require a staff of thousands. Google 'GOP voter fraud' and see how many stories pop up.

Pundits, not wasting an opportunity to expose the hypocrisy, are now suggesting that if O'Reilly wants to defund any group engaged in voter fraud, they should start with the Republican Party.

Harper Government: No Single Acorn but the Whole Damn Forest

Not since before Confederation, when voting booths were often scenes of violence, in an attempt to suppress the vote; has Canada experienced such mass voter fraud, as perpetrated by the Conservative Party of Canada.

The Robocalls scandal, which was national in scope, was a blatant attempt to steer voters, already identified as not supporting Conservative candidates, away from the polls.

Using Bill O'Reilly's ACORN factor would mean that we must defund the CPC.
But if that isn't enough to convince you, how about their attempt to sneak the so-called Fair Elections Act, which is now being challenged in court; past us?

This act will make it difficult for students, seniors and First Nations to cast ballots, but will also make it next to impossible to detect voter fraud.

Elections Canada will be gutted and attempts to encourage voting, no longer part of their mandate.

Not only is the Act unconstitutional, it is undemocratic, as it clearly is designed to give Conservatives an unfair advantage.

Voter Fraud. The ACORN factor. Defund the CPC.

But let's not stop there.

Dean Del Mastro. ACORN factor. Defund him.

Mark Adler. ACORN factor. Defund him.

Rick Dykstra. ACORN factor. Defund him.

Shelley Glover. ACORN factor. Defund her.

Lisa Raitt. ACORN factor. Defund her.

And how about registered charities and non-profits that shill for the Party, like the Fraser Institute, The Canadian Taxpayers Federation and Charles McVety's Canadian Christian College that was actually accepting "charitable" donations for the CPC?

In fact, it was McVety, Jim Flaherty's former campaign manager, who brought Karl Rove to Canada to teach Canadian conservatives how to cheat; so he should definitely lose any funding or tax exempt status.

Yes Canadians should listen to Bill O'Reilly. Once in a while he actually makes sense.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Harper's Cold War Becomes Arctic Chill: Why Domestic Politicking Makes For Bad Foreign Relations

Outgoing Russian Ambassador Georgiy Mame, spoke before his departure, lamenting our government's undiplomatic posturing with his country, including Stephen Harper's suggestion that Putin was the next Hitler.
He accused the Harper government of isolating itself from its allies over Ukraine and hinted broadly that the Conservatives are likely playing to a domestic audience of 1.2 million Ukrainian-Canadians.

“My whole history as a diplomat, during Cold War, after Cold War was: the higher the risk, the more active the discussion,” he said. “The only exception to this rule is the last seven months I spent in Ottawa.”
There is no longer any diplomacy in our foreign policy. It's all chest thumping and hot air, in an attempt to secure Conservative votes, riding by riding.

However, what's more troubling is that the Harper government has also been basing our foreign policy on Religious Doctrine.
... he [Harper] outlined plans for a broad new party coalition that would ensure a lasting hold on power. The only route, he argued, was to focus not on the tired wish list of economic conservatives or “neo-cons,” as they’d become known, but on what he called “theo-cons”—those social conservatives who care passionately about hot-button issues that turn on family, crime, and defence ... Arguing that the party had to come up with tough, principled stands on everything from parents’ right to spank their children to putting “hard power” behind the country’s foreign-policy commitments ..." (Stephen Harper and the Theo-cons: The rising clout of Canada’s religious right, Walrus Magazine, October 2006)
This platform is obvious when we see his ridiculous "devotion" to Israel, refusing to accept that they are not always right. They don't need our protection. They have nuclear weapons. They do however, need to be reined in at times.

Harper's nonsense with Russia, though is becoming a far greater threat. In a piece by Brian Stewart: Putin gets payback for Canada's anti-Russia stance
As Prime Minister Stephen Harper was pouring vitriol and sanctions on Russia for months over the Crimea and Ukraine crisis, he did not seem to have expected much of a serious slap-back from President Vladimir Putin.

While Ottawa joined other allies to punish Russia, using sanctions, criticism and even a modest arms buildup in eastern Europe, Harper’s team always appeared the most determined to “tweak the Bear."
We know from Wikileaks that Americans view Harper a fool, and while they have taken a firm stand against Putin, they still seek diplomatic solutions.

Not so our "Theo-Con" cowboys; and our military; while on high alert, are finding this very troubling.
Just as many feared, Canadian F-18s are yet again being sent screaming towards our northern airspace to see off large Russian Tu-95 heavy bombers testing our borders. Russian military planes, seen here during the Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square, have tested the sovereign borders of the U.S. and Canada in recent months.

... The word in official circles is that this is “strategic messaging from Moscow” in retaliation for our constant criticism, as well as Canada’s actions to bolster Ukraine, which has just signed an historic trade pact with the European Union that Putin has fought against. The fly-overs have certainly shaken complacency.
This will not be a David and Goliath moment. Clearly Harper is over his head and having the bombastic John Baird as foreign minister is not helping.

Will There be a New World Order?

In the past decade and a half, America's international reputation has taken a beating. The clownish George Bush and his senseless wars, and the rise of the Tea Party within the GOP, have shown what poor governance looks like.

The American Congress is dysfunctional and their Republican dominated Supreme Court, is leading the country toward a dangerous theocracy. Like Harper, U.S. conservatives have turned to the Religious Right for political support.

The world is watching and Putin is taking advantage of this compromised position, though not necessarily to assert his own control, but to create 'multiple centres of power'. Says Russia’s deputy security chief, Evgeny Lukyanov, 'US hegemony in world has ended’.
“The United States has an impression that the breakup of the Soviet Union was the only result of the Cold War. This is arguable, and this is possible. But no one has attempted to analyze the results or make any conclusions from the situation. The unipolar world headed by Americans simply appeared,” ...

“However, this status quo was not built to last. New power centers have appeared on the international arena, including the BRICS nations, and Russia itself has managed to regain its stance. Nations openly declare their interests and demand respect to their basic rights. This is how the US hegemony on the international arena has ended and of course Washington officials cannot agree with this."
No one but the Tea Party and it's Canadian supporters, see a nuclear war as a good thing, so it's time stop the nonsense.

The BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, are gaining momentum, and some economists believe that could overtake the G7 by 2027. Said Kishore Mahbubani , Dean and Professor of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore:
"In 2013, China’s economy will grow by 7.8%, India’s by 5.6% and Brazil’s by 2.5%. In response, Western media headlines have begun screaming that the emerging-market story is over. Oh dear, here comes Western wishful thinking again."
The American dollar is no longer the Holy Grail, and the U.S. military weakened by bad press, not against soldiers or veterans, but against a government that has used them as pawns for the oil industry, and the military-industrial complex.

If Harper is counting on the United States to get him out of the mess he's created, he could be in trouble. They have their own problems. Sanctions against Russia have hurt American companies and the EU is softening on these retaliatory actions.

I think in the end, diplomacy will prevail and Harper will have to take his slingshot and retreat with his tail between his legs.