Monday, August 17, 2015

Election News Round-Up

I started this post more than a week ago (I think). Was too busy to get to it until now. So what the fuck. I won't have all that effort and shit go down the drain.
NDP candidate for Toronto-Centre, Linda McQuaig says that to respond to the global warming crisis, some of the Tar Sands oil will have to stay in the ground. stephen harper responds with a barrage of laughable bullshit, including the canard that the NDP will "wreck the economy."

Once again; in return for kissing the oil industry's ass for decade after decade, the people of Alberta enjoy no provincial sales tax. (If the right-wing Wild Rose or the corporatist Progressive Conservatives had their way, Albertans would continue to pay no sales taxes, but they'd also suffer health care cuts, education cuts, and there will be no adequate welfare to the workers ditched by the dying Alberta petro-economy (besides one-way bus tickets to another province).

Also, if you want to know what "wrecking the economy" looks like, simply harken back to those thrilling days of yesteryear when financial industry criminals (i.e., pretty much the entire financial industry) caused the 2008 Financial Crisis and the recessionary hard times that the world continues to slog through.

But somehow, stephen harper isn't about to do anything but double-down on that madness.

Anyhow, Linda McQuaig is right. And rather than side-step this obvious reality, the NDP should have already had a narrative in place to appeal to Alberta voters.

In other news, right-winger John Robson simply can't stomach the idea of voting for the harpercons. It's a decent essay and most of you have probably read it already:
Power has corrupted him and his party. I wrote nearly two years ago that Harper is unfit for office because he lied to Parliament over the Wright-Duffy affair, insolently telling incompatible tales five days apart in October 2013, and lying about having contradicted himself.

Instead of recoiling from this cynical deceit, his party enthusiastically embraced it. If they think him worthy of public trust, they aren’t either.
These people are not honourable. Indeed, they laugh at honour. They cherish the low blow, the devious tactic, the unprincipled bribe, in a relentless, sneering, partisan tone. People I know and like retweet Pierre Poilievre with vicious glee. I weep for them and my country.
Self-proclaimed “realists” may consider me unreasonably fastidious. But I will not give my vote to a party that disgusts and appalls me. Neither should you.
But the real reason that I link to it is to point out a hardcore harpercon in the comments section and how somebody else's complaints about harper gagging scientists gave him an opportunity to express his views on the proper role of government-funded science.

His nickname is "Proud Surrey." (Oh! Before I forget; there's another example of right-wing brain-fucked-up-dom at a link to an thingy for Linda McQuaig's The Wealthy Banker's Wife that I posted earlier today. There, another "deep thinker" refers to McQuaig's support for welfare state programs like the Baby Bonus and subsidized daycare as "totalitarian." These pathetic assholes will shit their pants in fear over subsidized daycare but happily continue to vote for mass spying, police-state powers to fight a bullshit "war on terror.") (How many times have I used the words "asshole" and "shit" in this post????)

Here he goes ...
Scientists who work for the government earn their keep as researchers, not whistleblowers, and it's the same for any organization.
First of all; publishing your work (you know, the stuff that the taxpayers have paid you to do?) is not whistle blowing.  Second of all, whistle blowers are people who report illegal activity. So, "Proud Surrey" has basically said that he's fine with harper paying scientists to uselessly spin their wheels and that he agrees that they should not be empowered to expose dangerous or illegal activities.

He manages to say both of these stupid things while denying the whole purpose of government financed science; which is to provide reality-based analysis to help policy-makers construct their laws and regulations. "Reality has a liberal bias" so, so much the worse for reality.

That's hard-nosed "conservative" partisanship for ya! Idiot.

Someone claiming to be a federal scientist takes issue with this nonsense:
I'm replying only to your comment about scientists, because I am a scientist. This government isn't muzzling whistleblowers; they're muzzling research. That very same research you claim we are doing to earn our keep. We aren't allowed to present that research to the public, only the PMO is allowed to do that. Sorry, but that's not science, and I won't be voting for a prime minister who believes that only his favourite truth should be told.
Undaunted, "Proud Surrey" soldiers on ...
Of course you're not allowed to present it to the public. You're doing it for the government, not the public per-se. If you were working for a private company, the company spokesman, not you, would release the results of that research. If you were working for NASA, the NASA spokesman, not you, would release the results of that research. It's no different in government.
If you want to use science to fight some great crusade, I suggest you offer your services to any of the numerous nonprofits who are engaged in doing just that. Just don't be surprised if the benefit package is not as good.
And even then, the nonprofit spokesman, not you, will release the results of your research.
Here, Proud Surrey seems to be living under the delusion that scientific facts are optional. Perhaps embracing some post-structural delusions, wherein professors of English pretend that they can disavow scientific theories that they clearly don't understand the first thing about, Proud Surrey seems to think that if scientific research reveals something inconvenient to government or corporate interests it can be suppressed because the government-corporate agenda is more important than what the science says. One would thin that a corporate scientist would have every reason to find results that favour their employer and that research that shows results detrimental to that employer would have to be pretty solid warrant an employee-scientist to stand by it.

But "Proud Surrey" seems to think that the rights of management supersede reality. Regardless of the consequences. This is no doubt what "Proud Surrey" imagines is "worldly wisdom" when it's really just craven, corporate boot-licking.

Finally, in response to charges about the harpercons destroying decades of work in the form of books and libraries and entire institutions, as well as comments about how truth-based scientific reporting helps to keep government honest and democratic, "Proud Surrey" defecates all over the internet:
Spare me the outrage, Limey. The government owned that data and does not have to keep it if it doesn't see the need. The government disposes of redundant assets all the time. So do private companies. Do you know how many books your community library throws out every year? Is that now to be considered book-burning, too?
And scientists are not the foot soldiers of democracy, any more than union workers or street protesters are. The Soviet Union had a very advanced science program, in some ways superior to America's, but was certainly no democracy. Ditto for Nazi Germany. You are not some thin but unwavering line standing between us and tyranny. So get over yourself.
They must be scraping the bottom of the barrel for scientists these days, if the ones they hire can't spell "scenario." Your reference to Fahrenheit 451 also suggests you are a boomer. The Sixties are over, man. Like endsville. This is not an employee-owned airline in Scandinavia. You do what you're told or you don't get paid. If you don't like it, you are free to look for employment elsewhere.
And those are facts.
Right. So, if a government scientist discovers that the permafrost is melting, or that wildlife is toxic, or that a tailing pond is leaching dangerous chemicals into drinking water, it is a good thing for government or corporate managers to suppress these findings and it is their right to do so. These "facts" about our authoritarian work structures are true and good and all the cancer deaths, billion-dollar clean-ups (that follow the inevitable disasters) won't do anything to make these "facts" any less beautiful.

What a fucking loser.

I don't keep tabs on the right-wing blogs anymore. I don't even read the newspapers much anymore. So it's been a while since I've encountered such brazen right-wing stupidity in such a strong dose.

Finally, I wanted to say something about the disgraceful treatment of Morgan Wheeldon by the Mulcair-NDP. Check this blog. I am not a fan of Tom Mulcair. Not because he's "angry" (a charge laid by people who must never get angry themselves I suppose) or because he has a beard, or because his name is "Tom." No, I'm not a fan of "Angry Tom Who Has A Beard" because he stupidly moved the NDP to the centre, which is the space occupied by the Liberals, whose centrist policies so disillusioned Canadians hoping for an alternative to harperism that they moved (to what they thought was) left, to the NDP.

Lemme see how I can put this: For years, the NDP looked at the Liberal House and there always seemed to be a party going on there. The NDP put out lots of low-brow decorations, old-fashioned rock and roll and blues and folk music, ... lots of simple, but free food, but the whole time, the cool crowd was over at the Liberal house where the latest music played and the hors-d'Ĺ“uvres and the arty people were. And those party's were bitchin' because the Liberal party had rich backers who could really do the place up right.

Then, the Conservative house down the street got everyone to come to their party. And, at first, not a lot of people went. It sounded horrible. A bunch of tightly-wound militarists, religious freaks and stepford wives having an alcohol free-BBQ that started out with prayer circles and ended in Nickleback and Jann Arden. But then the alcohol started flowing and rumours circulated about weird bdsm games going on in the basement, and they started turning their backyard into a shooting range and rich, white assholes started drag-racing each other up and down the street. (Hitting a few kids who got sent to hospital, but who remembers that stuff for more than a minute or two?) Other religions were invited, and they could pray too, so long as they did it in private and so long as they all agree that queers were a threat to civilization.

Whatever, it started to look crazy-assed good, in a fucked-up sorta way. And the rich friends at the Liberal house started to slither over to the Conservative house. And the Liberal house-leaders started to try to say that they liked Jesus and drag-racing and Nickleback too. But many of the long-time friends of the Liberal house were outraged. Their lawns were chewed up by the Conservative party-goer's car wheels. Garbage was piling up everywhere depressing property values. Somehouses were even being set on fire by Conservative pranksters. (To say nothing of those kids hit by their drag-racing.)

In the end, a whole gang of people left the Liberal house and went over to NDP house. And that's when Mulcair and the NDP brain-trust saw that  the Liberal house was almost empty and they climbed into the windows and unlocked the door and blew the dust off the decorations and announced that the party was there. Meanwhile, the crowds of people at the NDP house helped themselves to cold soup and pizza and listened to records with the few remaining NDP'rs who had stayed at the old place.

Anyhow, this is what Wheeldon said:
Wheeldon is featured on a Conservative Party of Canada website calling Israel’s action against Palestinians a war crime — comments he made on a Facebook post in August 2014.
"One could argue that Israel’s intention was always to ethnically cleanse the region — there are direct quotations proving this to be the case. Guess we just sweep that under the rug. A minority of Palestinians are bombing buses in response to what appears to be a calculated effort to commit a war crime," Wheeldon wrote.
The comment, since deleted, was made in the context of a discussion about controversial British MP George Galloway being physically attacked in London, allegedly for his anti-Israeli views.
“I don't agree with everything Galloway says, but the muted reaction to his beating demonstrates a double-standard in the West. If a Palestinian beat up a conservative politician with the opposite stance, the reaction would be immense,” he wrote.
Wheeldon is also quoted on the Conservative site calling Canada "a country of self-interest and cheap outs" in a September 2011 Facebook post. In his post, Wheeldon wrote that Canada used to be known as a compassionate country.
“They tried to kick out an autistic Korean kid/family not long ago because treatment was too expensive,” he said, before making the controversial comment.
What sort of country do we have where someone can say they stand 100% with Israel when it carpet-bombs civilians, but it doesn't work in reverse?

It's insane.

Weeldon's treatment exposes the sickening falsehood of our pretensions to have been an "honest broker" in the Middle East before harper and his gang of crazed racists and Christo-fascist Zionists took over. We were never an honest broker. We've always been on the side of Israel as it abused the Palestinians and stole their land for decade after decade.

There. I had a free morning and this is what I did with it.

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