คาสิโนออนไลน์ แจกเครดิตฟรี_สมัครได้เงินฟรี_เล่นคาสิโน มาเก๊า pantip https://www.google.com//d4d/index.php?topic=politics Evilness Politics feed en-gb /d4d/layout/professional/images/icons/syndication.png Evil Scientist https://www.google.com//d4d/index.php?topic=politics The CIA, Trump, Putin and Russian hackers. https://www.google.com//d4d/article.php?story=20161210225410683 <p>There is a possibility that the Russian government, through hackers, <a href="http://evl.link/93">may have interfered with the US election</a>, by which hacking into a DNC email server and then leaking the information to Wikileaks while also having hacked into an RNC email server and sitting on that information. This begs two questions, why would Putin and the Russian government want Trump as president, and does this compromise Trump and his administration from a security standpoint.</p> <p>The first question is relatively simple to answer. It is in the best interest of Putin and Russia if the US has a weak leader. This would allow Putin to have almost free reign in Eastern Europe with little hindrance from the US and by extension NATO. For example, a strong US president would more than likely not only complain about a Russian incursion into the Ukraine, but likely do something about it either by sending arms or advisors or convincing NATO allies that it's a bad idea to let the Russians do this. On the other hand a weak US president is likely to cave in, to appease the Russians. Thus the Russians would likely want to tip the US election towards someone they think would be weak or at the very least easily manipulated. Given Trumps propensity to Twitter tantrums with pretty much anyone he takes offense from, he is at the least very easy to manipulate. An old KGP pro like Putin is probably giddy like a school girl at the prospect of someone that malleable in the oval office.</p> <p>Which brings up the second question. What does this mean for US security? To answer this it is useful to look at how spy agencies compromise people on the other side. It's a simple formula really, find someone who has access to what you want to know, befriend them, provide them with something they don't have but want, (sex, money, power), get some compromising information on them then blackmail them into providing you with what you want.</p> <p>Now if what the reports of what the CIA is saying is true, this is almost a classic cold war compromise of an asset. Help was provided; information that can harm the asset has been secured. Now all that is needed is for the time to use that to compromise the asset, in this case President of the United States Donald Trump. Now Putin isn't likely to be asking Trump to sneak state secrets out of the White House to be dropped by the third lamp post along Pennsylvania Avenue as it's just as likely that Trump will Tweet the secrets out in a pique of ego. Where the compromise will be most useful is when Putin decides to invade the Ukraine or the Baltic states to reform the former glory that was the Soviet Union. Between planting false stories in fake news sites designed to make Trump feel that the leaders of the countries Putin wants to control have said nasty things about Trump; and then threatening to release the damaging information the intelligence services of the Russian Federation now hold; Trump will be made to at the least do nothing about, if not cheer for Russian tanks roaming the streets of Kiev and Riga. </p> <p>If any of this were true for someone working in an area with security sensitive information, even if they weren't passing secrets, they would be considered compromised and reassigned to somewhere they could do no harm. That's a little difficult when the compromised asset is the President of the United States. There's a good chance that this is a Russian attempt to destabilize NATO and prevent US influence in Europe allowing Putin to assert Russian influence in the region. If these revelations are true, we may be seeing the greatest intelligence coup since Operation Bodyguard.</p> Sat, 10 Dec 2016 22:54:10 -0700 March &#039;em to the trains. https://www.google.com//d4d/article.php?story=2015100220363222 <p>This is the story, the story of a boy who was born in Canada to parents who were naturalized citizens of Canada. A boy whose only citizenship and only country he ever new was Canada. A boy whose family had been Canada 30 years and a country he had lived in his entire 11 years. A boy whose citizenship was removed from him (making him stateless) for the crime of being the wrong race under the guise of security. </p> <p>It wasn't just this boy either. Everyone who shared his ancestry, relative or not, was subject to the same treatment. Their property was confiscated; they were herded into camps and held against their will for years. Eventually they were finally released. They had to re-apply for their citizenship (despite being citizens before everything started), their property was never return to them and compensation for that finally came 40 years later.</p> <p>So who was this boy? My father. His parents immigrated from Japan in 1912 and settled in BC where they grew tomatoes. In 1941 a government in a country they no longer held allegiance to bombed a US territory and suddenly people who had never been to Japan were a security threat and had their citizenship removed. They were promptly herded into internment camps and after the war many who had never set foot in Japan were deported there. My father was lucky and his family was not deported, but their citizenship wasn't restored until 1949. Prior to that it was quite literally illegal for my father to visit BC, the province of his birth, solely based on his ethnicity.</p> <p>At the time is was claimed it was all for "security". But at the end of the day the real reason was racism. The war just gave an excuse. A quote from the then MP and cabinet minister from BC, Ian MacKenzie gives an example of this racism:<br /> <a href="http://evl.link/4w"><em>It is the governments plan to get these people out of B.C. as fast as possible. It is my personal intention, as long as I remain in public life, to see they never come back here. Let our slogan be for British Columbia: No Japs from the Rockies to the seas.</em></a></p> <p>So we had a racist policy set up to appease a racist political base in a region implemented in the guise of security. Sounding familiar?</p> <p>Fast forward 75 years and we're here again. We have a federal political party and its leader raising the security boogey man to get support for two "security" laws that first make pretty much any act the government doesn't like a "terrorist" act (destroying the meaning of the word in the process) and then followed it up with an act to strip people of their citizenship if they are "terrorists". Prediction: only brown people will be stripped of their citizenship by the Conservatives and that will be roundly applauded by Conservative supporters. I bring up bills C-51 and C-24 because the unfounded hype around terrorists in Canada is the same unfounded hype surrounding the internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. A group of people is "different", in this case a different religion instead of ethnicity, and for political gains a government, in this case the Harper Conservatives, use the xenophobia and racism around different for their own political ends. The same can be said about the whole Niqab tempest in a teapot. At the end of the day as long as the identity of a person taking an oath has been confirmed, which can be done privately, what the person is wearing at the ceremony is pretty much irrelevant. If their religion tells them they need to wear a colander on their head for important ceremonies, why not? It's not a debasement of Canadian values to allow stuff like that to happen. Why? One of Canada's values is freedom of religion, and news flash, that means freedom for religions that aren't yours too. If you feel threatened by people who are different, <em>you</em> are the one with the problem, not them.</p> <p>Which brings me to one of my purposes of this post. People I know who support all this crap. Here's some full disclosure: First I'm not Christian, never have been, never will (the reality is I find all religions, including yours, to be equally as made up). Secondly by definition I'm not an Old Stock Canadian, as my mother was an immigrant. Since writing this is in opposition to Conservative policy and Conservative ministers are on record of saying if you're not for Conservative policy you're for terrorism, and under Bill C-51 that's illegal, this article makes me eligible for deportation to my mother's homeland, a country I've never set foot in or have any allegiance to, which to me appears to be something you support (or since I'm white, that's different?). The fact that Harper's racist rhetoric is working on you makes me wonder, given my family history, why you aren't advocating for my removal from the country, or at the very least not calling me a "real" Canadian at every opportunity?</p> <p>So in the end I would put it anyone falling for Harper's racist rhetoric would have likely been applauding the army as they were herding Japanese Canadian families onto the trains as well. It means that for whatever reason you are at the least xenophobic and at the worst, racist. If you don't like that, that's your problem, not mine.</p> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 20:36:32 -0600 Why Senate reform will never happen under Stephen Harper&#039;s watch. https://www.google.com//d4d/article.php?story=20150724175231758 <p>Rumours abounded today when the <a href="http://evl.link/2u">National Post reported that Stephen Harper would be announcing a call to abolish the Senate</a>. Turns out Harper was just <a href="http://evl.link/2v">announcing that he wouldn't appoint any more senators at this time</a>. The rational given for not appointing new senators is to force the provinces to play ball.</p> <p>Herein lies Harper's problem when it comes to reforming the Senate. In order to simply change the Senate Harper needs 7 out of 10 provinces with 50% of the population on side in order to push the changes through. To abolish it requires unanimity on the parts of the provinces. These are difficult tasks, but not impossible ones. They can be accomplished with tact, diplomacy and consensus building on the part of the Prime Ministers. It would be a lot of hard work over several years, but doable.</p> <p>The problem is that Harper doesn't do tact, diplomacy or consensus building. It's his way or the highway. The fact that he's treated his provincial counterparts with utter disdain for the past 10 years isn't helping him. To move Senate reform/abolishment forward Harper will need to actually meet with all the Premiers at the same time, something he has shown great reluctance of doing. The fact that he's trying to bully the Premiers into working for his vision is telling about his inability to work with others, something he's going to need to do to get reform accomplished. He will also have to compromise, also something he's not that great at. All of this will result in a complete failure to build the consensus he needs to make Senate reform happen.</p> <p>So at the end of the day Harper's bully boy personality will mean that any attempt at Senate reform while he's Prime Minister will be stillborn. Harper just doesn't have the qualities of a statesman that would allow him to build the necessary consensus to move forward on reform. It will be up to a future Prime Minister who is far better at working to build consensus to reform the upper chamber; assuming Harper doesn't make the idea of reform so unpalatable that the change becomes an even more uphill climb.</p> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 17:52:31 -0600 Is Harper spooked? https://www.google.com//d4d/article.php?story=20150512184948374 <p>It hit the news today that Stephen Harper has decided that <a href="http://evl.link/w">he will not participate in a nationally televised debate</a> but only in a few select debates with what can be described as "Conservative friendly" media outlets. Given the timing of this announcement one wonders if the recent election of the NDP in what has generally been an overwhelmingly Conservative province of Alberta has spooked Dear Leader.</p> <p>It's not that Harper's likely to lose Alberta. Other than in Edmonton the Alberta NDP picked up seats in ridings that had heavy right-wing vote splitting. So apart from a couple of seats in Edmonton, Harper is still set to take pretty much the rest of the province. The same can be said for both Saskatchewan and Manitoba where outside of the cities Harper has things pretty much in the bag.</p> <p>This leaves the rest of Canada. Harper's Conservatives are pretty much a wash east of Ontario. He'll be lucky to hold the seats he has there. This leave Ontario and BC where things are shaping up to be a tight three way race between the Harper Conservatives, the Liberals, and the NDP. It is because of these battlegrounds that Harper wants to avoid a national debate where he a) has no control over the format and b) lots of people are likely to be watching.</p> <p>The reason for this is what has spooked him. Alberta was a tight three way race until the leaders' debate. This debate basically sidelined the Liberals and the Wildrose and ended up a debate between the Progressive Conservative's Jim Prentice and the NDP's Rachel Notley who are both generally charismatic people who were able to sideline the rather wooden performance of Wildrose's Brian Jean and the reservedness of the Liberal's David Swan.</p> <p>Herein lines Harper's problem with a national debate. Compared to both Justin Trudeau and Tom Mulclair, Stephen Harper has all the charisma of a 2x4. Harper is likely worried that he's going to be coming across as Jim Prentice against Muclair and Trudeau's Notley. What Harper should really be worried about is being sidelined by two people with much more stage presence than he does and being turned in to Brian Jean. </p> <p>At the end of the day a nationally televised debate that is not under Harper's control isn't in his best interest. It's telling that one of the "debates" that he has agreed to is being organized by Macleans Magazine, the editor of which if not having deep ties to the Conservative party is very sympathetic to it (witness the hard right shift in the magazine's editorial policy after the current editor took over). At the least Harper is hoping for an easy ride at the hands of the very sympathetic Macleans staff at at best hoping for them to make Harper look good vis-a-vis his opponents. In short, Harper wants to have the debate on his terms and ground and not a neutral debate where Canadians can all see him and the others in an equal light.</p> <p>This goes to show Harper's fundamental cowardice. If there's any chance he won't be seen as our Grand and Glorious Leader, he wants no part of it. The Alberta results have spooked him and he wants to avoid a repeat at the federal level in Ontario and BC, both of which he has to win to stay in power. Harper has, rightfully so, no confidence in himself at winning a fair and open debate that anyone can see. So he sets up some debates that few will see and that are likely to be set up in a way to guarantee a Harper victory. That way Harper can give a Brian Jean like performance and hopefully no one will notice.</p> Tue, 12 May 2015 18:49:48 -0600 What happened in Alberta? https://www.google.com//d4d/article.php?story=20150509091506780 So at the end of Tuesday's provincial general election we have ended up with a majority NDP government. This is in line with what the polls had been saying for a week though still a shock in a province that hasn't voted for a non conservative party for 82 years. This has left progressives in a state of exuberance and conservatives in a state of panicked shock.<br /><br />So what happened? How did hyper partisan conservative Alberta elect a centre left government? The reasons are many and some are likely not reasons the political right in Alberta want to hear.<br /><br />First the obvious. The actions of PC leader and prior to the election premier Jim Prentice. Facing a collapse in oil prices leaving the structural deficit left behind by Ralph Klein bare and exposed, Prentice had to deal with a gaping 7 billion dollar hole in the provincial budget. To deal with this budget hole Prentice went to the people of Alberta and asked what he should do? Massive cuts? Provincial sales tax? Progressive income tax? Increase corporate taxes? The answer he got was clear, progressive income tax, increase to corporate taxes as well as modest cuts. Prentice promptly ignored this and hiked income tax, introduced a "health levy" as another type of income tax, cut the budget in places by 10% and then not touching corporate taxes at all.<br /><br />This angered PC supporters. Those of a progressive bent were angered because none of the pain was given to corporations. Those further right were angered by the tax increases and cuts that they perceived as not deep enough. This caused a large segment of the PC support to evaporate in anger.<br /><br />Now with over a year to go before the next election, this gave Prentice breathing room. Room for his budget to show that the sky wasn't falling. A year for oil prices to recover somewhat to aid in balancing the budget. So of course a smart politician waits right? Not Prentice. Sensing disarray in what he perceived to be his primary opposition, the Wildrose party, in disarray after talking nine of it's members crossing the floor to the government side; Prentice called a snap election. <br /><br />So now we have an electorate angry over the budget, angry over an acceptance of Wildrose MLA's into the PC caucus and angry over an election called a year early. A perfect storm of voter anger and desire to change horses. This resulted in a net loss of 16% of their vote from the previous election. This translated into a massive 60 seat loss for the party. Nine of this number were the ridings of the floor-crossers which promptly re-elected a Wildrose member to replace the ones that had crossed the floor. The Wildrose party also picked up an additional 5 of the Conservative seats. One of the remaining 46 seats went to the Alberta party. This left 45 seats that were picked up by the NDP. More on the NDP later.<br /><br /><br />Now the less obvious.<br /><br />The Wildrose managed to improve its seat performance from the previous election despite a 10% drop in the popular vote. At the 2012 election the Wildrose party had 17 seats. At the end of last night they held 21 seats and will remain the official opposition. This isn't bad considering the disruption the party had when it lost it's leader shortly before the election. However it is telling in some ways as the party is hardly an unknown. It spent much of the start of the election in a three way race with both the NDP and the PC parties. Further it almost formed government the election prior. So the question becomes why didn't the support the PC party lost go to the Wildrose? Was it the mass defection of Wildrose MLAs? Unlikely as that only shone negatively on the individual MLAs and the Progressive Conservatives. Was it because the party is an unknown? Possible, though as the previous official opposition as well as almost taking government last election makes that a less likely option. Also the Wildrose candidates were at least as unknown as their NDP counterparts. Was it Brian Jean’s rather wooden performance during the leader debate (where he could have effectively ben replaced by a tape recorder with the words “no taxes?recorded on it)? Likely part of the equation as well. This leaves the option WIldrose supporters least want to hear, people weren't enamoured with the Wildrose's platform or perceived location on the political spectrum. This is probably the most likely case, given that the NDP basically ran on a platform similar to what Peter Lougheed did when he took out the farther right Social Credit party in 1971. A couple of conversations with PC supporters who voted NDP indicated that they felt that Wildrose was too far out there for their tastes so they went with NDP for change. I would suggest that this is the most likely scenario for most of the vote that shifted from PC to NDP and not from PC to Wildrose. I would further suggest that the 10% drop in the WIldrose's popular vote from the previous election was primarily due to panicky Wildrose supporters shifting their vote to the PC in an attempt to block a NDP victory (which would mean that upwards of 25% of the popular vote shifted from the PC to the NDP).<br /><br />Now to the NDP. Going from 4 seats and 10% of the popular vote to 53 seats and 40% of the popular vote, the NDP made huge gains at the expense of the Progressive Conservative party. In about 20 ridings the NDP had an absolute majority. In the rest a combination of doing well and vote splitting among the two right wing parties propelled the remainder of the NDP's new caucus to power. Of the 30% of the popular vote the NDP gained, about 5% is likely from the Liberals. The lions share of the remaining 25% is likely from the Progressive Conservative party. This says a couple of things. First as stated above, the Wildrose party has do some thinking about why 25% of the population that would normally vote for a conservative party, suddenly decided to vote for the NDP. Second it shows that the NDP platform was less scary for that 25% than the right contended it was.<br /><br />Now what were the factors part of getting the vote shifting to the NDP? Well there were a large number of voters wanting to shift for the obvious reasons pointed to above. The NDP leader (now Alberta premier) Rachel Notley ran a strong campaign. She performed very well in the leader debate, sparing with PC leader Jim Prentice to the point where the other two party leaders barely got a word in edgewise. This strong showing and complete lack of missteps provided voters with a clear choice of someone who at least looked like they would make a competent premier.<br /><br />So we have a shift of votes from the PC party to the NDP due partially to a strong campaign by the NDP, a centre of the road NDP platform as well as some latent concerns about the Wildrose party being too extreme for the taste of a large segment of Alberta voters. Add to this pretty much half of the regular support the PC party was used to getting being rather angry at the actions of Jim Prentice and you end up with a near perfect political storm where the NDP get elected with a sizeable majority government in that conservative bastion of Alberta.<br /><br />Where do things go from here? What should the various parties do moving forward? What does this mean federally?<br />Well for Alberta it means a centre left government (that’s right CENTRE-left, not far left. If you think Ezra Levant is middle of the road and mainstream, you’re views are the outlier). Though there is likely to be a rebalancing of government priorities away from corporations and toward <br />the citizenry. Notley is a New Democrat in the Tommy Douglas and Roy Romanow tradition (ever notice how the RWNJ’s never mention those two and their 25ish balanced budgets) which means a healthy dose of pragmatism. The unrestrained wild west that has been the oil industry is likely over, but it won’t be a major shackling, let alone outright ban on industry. If Notley stays on a centre-left path, she’ll do well and so will the province, unless of course the industry deliberately sabotages the economy in a fit of spite for the people voting the "wrong" way - which I wouldn't put past some of the players.<br /><br />For the Wildrose Party it means looking past the excuses being bandied about in the media about vote splitting and how that's not the "real" Alberta and take a hard look at the Wildrose platform to see what scared half the PC vote into the NDP's arms and not a further right Wildrose party. Without visible movement to the centre, people will still think "lake of fire" or "vote for me because I'm white" when they think of Wildrose and they'll continue to vote for a more moderate PC party or a moderate NDP.<br /><br />For the Progressive Conservative party, a rapid shift to the right isn't the answer. There's already a party there and they didn't win. Maintaining a centre-right position is, in the long term, the winning strategy. It wasn't a rejection of a centre-right position in the last election but a rejection of a tired, old 44 year government that had become too entrenched and entitled. Vacating this position will allow the Alberta Party to sop up the middle since the 20ish percent of the vote you got isn't likely to follow you to far to the right.<br /><br />What about a merger of the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties? Might work if it swings to the middle of the PC support base, but if it is simply a takeover of the PC party by the Wildrose, it is likely not going to work as many of those who left for the NDP won't come back. Those people will shift their vote to a centrist party like the Alberta Party. So I would suggest that when pursuing a merger of the PC and Wildrose parties to be cautious, a swing to the WRP position won't work as the election has aptly shown.<br /><br />Federally it should give Stephen Harper some restless nights. Though most of Alberta will still likely flock to the polls to mark an X beside the local Conservative bale of hay, there are many ridings in Edmonton where the NDP took an absolute majority of the vote. This puts the seats in Edmonton in play in the next federal election and if seats in Alberta are now in play, seats in the rest of the country are also likely in play. The federal Tories shouldn't take the seats they have for granted anymore. Further one of their own, Jim Prentice, couldn't win an election in the Bluest of Conservative provinces. Prentice's arrogance permeates the federal Conservative party. It didn't play well in Alberta, it won't play well in the rest of Canada. If Harper wants to hold on to power it's time to break out the humble and contrite Harper. I don't think that's going to be happening anytime soon. <br /><br />For the other federal parties it shows that there is hope of unseating Harper. It may mean having to make nice and form a coalition after the election, but it is possible to take down the Tories, even in their own house. The key is to keep the focus on Harper and not each other.<br /><br />In any event it will be an interesting year ahead. Sat, 09 May 2015 09:15:06 -0600 What a shock, anti-Islamic rhetoric causes radicalization?/title> https://www.google.com//d4d/article.php?story=20150315122132511</link> <description><p>It would seem that <a href="http://evl.link/5">CSIS thinks that ramping up the anti-islamic rhetoric plays into the hands of the terrorists</a>. CSIS also suggests that there's a larger domestic terror threat from far-right racist groups than from the Islamic population. This makes one wonder why all the anti-Islamic rhetoric from Stephen Harper and his government and practically nothing on the larger threat. </p> <p>The reason is simple actually. The economy is tanking due to Harper being focused laser like on the oil industry and he needs a distraction pronto. He can't go after the far-right racist groups as, well, they and people who agree with them make up a large part of his voting base. This leaves radical Islam. Harper doesn't see his rhetoric making the problem worse as an issue. Quite the opposite in fact; Harper needs radical Islam to flourish, thus he sees stoking the fire as a feature, not a bug. Harper needs radical Islam to flourish because he desperately needs an enemy. Using the Liberal party only works on his hard core base so he needs someone else. Conveniently for him radical Islam has reared its ugly head and Harper is all to eager to help them for his own political gains while ignoring the danger from what is basically the Christian equivalent, since they vote for him.</p> <p>So we now have a prime minister who will create whatever havoc he sees fit in order to stay in power. The reality is the more secure Canadians are, the less secure Stephen Harper's job is, thus he will never really do anything that will make Canadians feel (or actually be) more secure. He needs fear and taking care of the problem will get rid of that fear. The only question is that does this make him a bigger danger to Canada than the Terrorists?</p> </description> <pubDate>Sun, 15 Mar 2015 12:21:32 -0600</pubDate> </item> <item> <title>That didn’t take long. https://www.google.com//d4d/article.php?story=20141217211009851 <p>Back <a href="http://evl.link/6">here I opined about the fact that Danielle Smith</a> was basically done as Wildrose Party Leader. I figured that there would be a leadership review, the far right of her party would revolt and demand a far right leader and Smith would end up riding off into the sunset. Well things happened much faster than I thought and despite no leadership review it would seem that <a href="http://evl.link/7">Smith and 8 of her fellow Wildrose MLA’s</a> will head their own party off at the pass and head on over to the government benches.</p> <p>This is a bit unprecedented as I can’t recall any party leader crossing the floor while their party still exists. It’s a little unexpected as I had thought that the party may turf Smith and elect a new leader. This turn of events leaves a lot of questions. What will happen to the Wildrose Party? What of the floor crossing members? What does this mean for the Progressive Conservative Pary? What does it mean for Alberta?</p> <p>I’ll look at the Wildrose Party first. Now one of the reasons Smith may have decided to cross the floor is the WRP’s recent denouncing of their own inclusionary policy. This hard right social conservatism probably doesn’t sit well with Smith’s own libertarian philosophy and her leadership must have been an uneasy one. In fact Smith was probably choses as leader to put a more centrist face on the party’s social policy. Given many of the comment&amp;#146;s I’ve heard from WRP supporters on the radio as well as on line comments from various news sources would suggest that the base was never too keen on being an inclusionary party, I think this doesn’t bode well for the party in the future. With a social “moderate?at the helm, the WRP was on the verge of electoral success during the last election - that is until two events. First an Edmonton area WRP candidate was found to have a web page stating that homosexuals were doomed to roast in a lake of fire. This was followed shortly by a Calgary WRP candidate basically stating that people should vote for him because he was white.</p> <p>As an aside I live in a rather culturally diverse section of Calgary. The WRP signs that were popping up like weeds in my community virtually vanished the day after the vote for him because he’s white comment</p> <p>This basically puts the hard-right social and theological conservatives at the helm of the WRP at this point. From what I glean from the comment sections of newspapers, as well as social media, this is a good thing from the average WRP supporter’s point of view as “real conservatives?are now in charge of the party which will win them the next election. Except it won’t. Now I suppose that most of the hard-right conservatives of this province tend to hang out with other hard-right conservatives (given their disdain for pretty much any other political point of view, I find it hard to believe that they would maintain many friendships with people who hold differing views very long) which would tend to colour their views to the point where they think that pretty much every Albertan thinks the same way. They are wrong of course. The fact that Calgary, likely the most conservative (and Conservative) city in the country continues to elect a non-white, Muslim mayor is evidence that most Albertans are actually socially progressive, or at the least not socially conservative. So with the departure of the more socially centrist MLAs and members from the party (there were a few high profile members departing after the repudiation of the inclusion proposal) this leaves the hard right in charge of the WRP. This will make the party again unpalatable to the general electorate of the province. This is not a recipe for electoral success, but it is one for electoral disaster. If the WRP adopts a hard right socially conservative Tea-party-esque agenda they may hold on to a few rural seats in the southern Bible belt part of Alberta, but it would cost the WRP any chance of winning a seat in the cities.</p> <p>So unless the remaining adults in the WRP can take control, the party is doomed to become a rump hard-right Tea party that will be relegated to the political wilderness. Not that this would be a bad thing.</p> <p>So what is to become of the floor crossing members? The WRP supporters on line are livid of course, claiming that they’re all “traitors?and that they’re just doing it for the money and pension (which is exactly the same as the money and pension as opposition members get). Given the example of Rob Anderson who initially crossed the floor to the WRP, then won the subsequent election (despite big “TRAITOR?signs along the highway in Airdrie, what’s it with conservatives thinking everyone’s a traitor?) I suspect for most of the floor crossers there will be little in terms of consequences beyond the general fortunes of the Progressive Conservative party itself. Smith herself may pay a higher political price at the polls as former leader, but even then that may not happen depending on who is running against her.</p> <p>What does this mean for the Progressive Conservative party? Not much other than a near total victory over the WRP. Though there are now 9 more farther right conservatives in the party caucus, the party itself is still mostly centre-right and will unlikely take a hard right turn anytime soon. Prentice is no red Tory, but he&amp;#146;s still a centre right conservative. So baring any major fumbles by Prentice in the next year or so, the PC party will enjoy another cakewalk through the next election back into government. It may not have the 72 seats it now has, but a comfortable majority is still theirs if they avoid any stumbles.</p> <p>So what of Alberta? The weakening of an already weak opposition is not the best thing that could happen, but it is for the most part the norm in Alberta. Things will likely continue as they pretty much have for the past 40 years, generally mediocre government that’s made to look good because oil and the money it brings gushes from the ground and the boom and bust that comes with it. Beyond that don’t expect a lot to change between now and the next election.</p> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 21:10:09 -0700 Ezra Levant loses a libel lawsuit, again... https://www.google.com//d4d/article.php?story=20141127204925706 <p>At this point it's probably safe to say serial libeller Ezra Levant has been <a href="http://evl.link/8">ordered to pay $80000</a> to a lawyer Ezra called "illiberal Islamic fascist? Now this wasn’t Ezra’s first time in front of a judge for libel, as he <a href="http://evl.link/9">was ordered to pay $57000</a> in another libel case he lost. </p> <p>The fact that Ezra is a lawyer begs the question of how good of a lawyer is he? After all one would think that any lawyer who was able to pass the bar would be knowledgeable about what statements would be constituted as libel. In fact Levant has sued others for libel in the past so you’d think he have some knowledge on the subject. Apparently not.</p> <p>Perhaps the most damning comment from the judge in the most recent case is:<br /> <em>I find that [Mr. Levant’s] dominant motive in these blog posts was ill will, and that his repeated failure to take even basic steps to check his facts showed a reckless disregard for the truth.</em><br /> In simple terms the judge in the recent case has called him a liar. Of course those of us who’ve known Ezra since university have known this. The problem Ezra has now is that he’s now in the real world and not the hallowed halls of academe where he could get away with bald face lies. Of course since Ezra was in university during the early ?0s, he had the benefit that it was hard to fact check him. Nowadays it’s possible to check up on him instantly. Ezra seems to either forget this or ignore this. The issue now is that he’s not protected by the broad based concept of academic freedom, but now must bear responsibility for his actions and lies.</p> <p>So with two libel losses (and settlements in other cases), Ezra is a one man cottage industry for libel lawyers. In the end Ezra doesn’t want to pay for the consequences of his actions. To wit he has a web page set up so you can give him money to a) help pay for an appeal and b) in failing the appeal, pay the judgment against him for him. Given that his supporters are gullible enough to believe someone who has be shown to be a bald faced liar, they are also likely gullible enough to fork over their cash so that poor, persecuted Ezra can pay the legal bills he’s racked up due to his own inability to tell the truth.</p> <p>At this point it makes me wonder about those people still gullible enough to believe anything Ezra says. Are they really that out of touch from reality?</p> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 20:49:25 -0700 Stick a fork in Danielle Smith?/title> https://www.google.com//d4d/article.php?story=20141126193729591</link> <description>She’s done? With two more of her legislative caucus leaving, this is only the latest hit to the Wildrose party under her leadership in recent months<br />.<br /><br />To recap, it all started back at the end of October when the Wildrose Party failed to pick up even one seat in four provincial by-elections, coming in third in one of the Calgary ridings. This was followed by loss of one of the parties MLAs when he left the party to sit as an independent. Next was the parties policy convention where the enshrinement of LGBT rights which had been mentioned in previous policy statements were retracted, despite the support of Smith and her caucus for the retention of the policy. This caused the rather public resignation of a riding vice-president. Finally we have two additional Wildrose MLAs leaving the caucus, this time to sit as Progressive Conservatives.<br /><br />One has to wonder at this time how much longer the membership will support Smith. She avoided a leadership review at the policy convention which given events since the convention was probably a good thing for Smith personally. Her party’s fortunes with her at the helm however may be another thing. Smith was elected as leader because she gave a veneer of moderation to a party perceived to be full of hard-line social conservatives, which even in Alberta would have a difficult time winning seats. With the results of the policy convention it would seem that the membership is tiring of moderation (such as Smith is a moderate) and Smith is unable to convince them otherwise. When this starts happening, how long can she maintain the confidence of those she leads? How long until she takes a walk in the snow?<br /></description> <pubDate>Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:37:29 -0700</pubDate> </item> <item> <title>Where Ezra Levant wants to put your kids in the line of fire https://www.google.com//d4d/article.php?story=201411111243473 Darling of the Canadian right wing, Ezra Levant, has sunk to an even new low. In Ontario a school board has responded to the legitimate concerns for the safety of their children at public Remembrance Day events, has reasonably allowed those parents to send their children to <a href="http://bit.ly/1Eq3Fsd">closed activities at the children’s schools.</a> That this was to happen to accommodate those concerns is outlined in a <a href="http://bit.ly/1GMgQHU">letter from the school board</a>. <p> Of course this hasn’t stopped Ezra, master of the false outrage and the made up - well - everything from writing a <a href="http://bit.ly/1uZyEeV">bizarre islamophobic screed</a> for Sun Media. Now to be clear, the reason for children being allowed to not go to the public ceremonies is because in light of recent events at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, some parents are a little leery of having their kids being somewhere where some radicalized nutbar could open up on the crowd. But that’s not Ezra’s take on it. Like the old uncle at a family reunion that everyone’s uncomfortable around, Ezra goes off blaming Muslim immigrants for the “outrage?</p> <p> So now not only do we have Ezra going off on an irrelevant tangent spewing racist screed, but he also wants to force parents to put their children into a situation where there is a small but real risk of life threatening danger. In simpler terms, in order to score some ego points with his fanboi base, Ezra is willing to:</p> <p> </p><ol> <li>Lie about what a school board is doing</li> <li>Lie about why that school board is doing it</li> <li>Lie about a particular religion</li> <li>Be willing to force parents to put their kids in what is perceived to be harm’s way</li> <li>Use an event meant to honour those who have fallen for his own petty racist views.</li> </ol> <p> Of course this has been Ezra’s MO since I first encountered him while we were both at the University of Calgary. The problem for Ezra is that it’s no longer the late 1980s/early 1990s, but 2014. People can fact check Ezra and more often than not, the fact checking shows Ezra for what his is, a liar extraordinaire and more often than not <a href="http://bit.ly/1Eq9xSh">a serial libeller.</a></p> <p> Of course his fanboi audience who follow him in Sun media will not bother to fact check him as his often racist and libellous screeds fits their world view, providing much in the way of confirmation bias. This is the truly scary aspect of Ezra’s lies, that there are so many willing and wanting to believe them. Think of it, if you know someone who think’s Ezra’s the bomb, is this what that person truly believes? What do they think of you if that’s the case?</p> <p> So I would encourage all of you to avoid Sun media as they seem willing to promote Ezra’s lying, meaning at least tacit agreement with him on these matters. If they think Ezra’s lies aren’t an issue, how much else of what they print is lies?</p> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 12:43:47 -0700