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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Duffy should please just shut up for a while 

I think Canada has had quite enough of Mike Duffy.
I know I certainly have.
Apparently we aren't supposed to hold this grown man responsible for understanding such complex rules as:
1.  If its not Senate business, don't ask for reimbursement; and,
2.  If you live in Ottawa, don't ask for reimbursement.
Most other Senators had no difficulty acting ethically and with the rules. But poor Duffy just found it too hard.
After the greediness and ineptitude and poor judgment displayed throughout his trial, Duffy now is adding insult to injury by asking for retroactive pay for the two years he was suspended from the Senate.  And I think it is quite likely he will get it.  So he will pocket years and years of the income taxes I worked to pay.
So no, I'd just rather not hear any more from him for a while.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

NDP leadership woes 

So Saskatchewan NDP leader Cam Broten has resigned after losing his seat, and federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair was voted out - though apparently he still wants to hang around embarrassing the party for the next two years until they finally elect a new leader.



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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Clinton is on track to win it 

Looking at what has happened so far, and at the contests coming up, here's my unscientific view of what is going to happen over the next two months:
First fact: the total number of delegates needed to win is 2300.  As of yesterday, Hillary needed about 700 more delegates, and Bernie needed about 1400 more.
Second fact: From now until the end of May, there will be 13 primaries and caucus, awarding about 1,100 delegates.
Based on results so far with Bernie winning the smaller caucuses and Hillary the larger primaries, I think Bernie and Hillary will continue to split many of these votes.  But I believe Hillary is on track to achieve significant wins in the closed primaries in New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky, while Bernie's only large blowout will be today's open caucus in Washington.
As a result, over the next two months, I think we will see Hillary gain maybe 600 to 700 delegates -- which brings her pretty close to the goal -- and Bernie gain maybe 400 to 500, which leaves him still about a thousand delegates short.  And there are only about 700 delegates remaining in all of the June primaries.  So even though he gained about a hundred at the Saturday caucuses, which is cheering to his supporters, in the long run these delegates aren't going to help.
I must say now that its becoming clear that Hillary is going to win -- because millions of Democrats actually like her a lot -- I'm glad to see more people pushing back against some of the Hillary hatred which has polluted blogs like Daily Kos for the last several months.  In refuting Matt Taibbi's incoherent Clinton trashing, Kevin Drum goes point by point while Booman gives everyone a valuable history lesson in what happened during Bill Clinton's presidency. Booman concludes:
The choice between Clinton and Sanders is not a choice between today and 1992; it’s a choice about who you think is best prepared to be president and who can win by the biggest margin. It’s also a bet, or a gamble on how much change you think the system can bear. And it’s a guess about which candidate can get more out of a reluctant Congress.
It’s no easy choice, and I don’t want to pretend that it is, but it’s not a choice between good and evil, and it’s not obvious who is right.
The more I see of Bernie, the less I think of him. As Kevin Drum puts it:
Bernie Sanders too often lets rhetoric take the place of any actual plausible policy proposal. He suggested that his health care plan would save more in prescription drug costs than the entire country spends in the first place. This is the sign of a white paper hastily drafted to demonstrate seriousness, not something that's been carefully thought through. He bangs away on campaign finance reform, but there's virtually no chance of making progress on this. The Supreme Court has seen to that, and even if Citizens United were overturned, previous jurisprudence has placed severe limits on regulating campaign speech. Besides, the public doesn't support serious campaign finance reform and never has. And even on foreign policy, it's only his instincts that are good. He's shown no sign of thinking hard about national security issues, and that's scarier than most of his supporters acknowledge. Tyros in the Oval Office are famously susceptible to pressure from the national security establishment, and Bernie would probably be no exception. There's a chance—small but not trivial—that he'd get rolled into following a more hawkish national security policy than Hillary.
I'm old, and I'm a neoliberal sellout. Not as much of one as I used to be, but still. So it's no surprise that I'm not always on the same page as Taibbi. That said, I continue to be surprised by the just plain falseness of many of the left-wing attacks on Hillary, along with the starry-eyed willingness to accept practically everything Bernie says without even a hint of healthy skepticism. Hell, if you're disappointed by Obama, who's accomplished more than any Democratic president in decades, just wait until Bernie wins. By the end of four years, you'll be practically suicidal.
Finally, here's Hillary's latest speech, on terrorism and how she intends to deal with it  -- hint:  she's not carpet-bombing ISIS, or closing the borders, or patrolling Muslim neighbourhoods. As well as laying out her own positions, she is also testing out the attack lines she intends to use during the election campaign against the Republicans.



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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Hillary sweep 




I was so so glad to see Hillary sweep the five Super-Duper Tuesday states tonight -- she comfounded the polls just like Bernie did last week in Michigan, except this week she took Illinois, Ohio and Missouri from him, as well as maintaining significant leads in Florida and North Carolina.
Why did he lose? Two main reasons I think -- first, however odious Trump is, Americans are totally committed to free speech, so I think they had a visceral negative reaction to Bernie Bros trying to shut down Trump rallies. And I think it was offensive to democrats for Bernie to say in an interview Sunday that he was running in the Democratic primary, not as a service to the Democratic party or to the country but because of the media coverage he would get as a Democratic candidate.
And why did she win? She had an awful week with the Nancy Reagan HIV flub in spite of her somewhat-graceful recovery. But she hit it out of the park with the painfully-honest answer about why people didn't like her, the nuanced response on capital punishment to the wrongfully-convicted man, and the post-debate follow-up which we could see off-camera to the Guatemalan woman whose husband was deported. These small-ball moments added up to a home run.
UPDATE: And we are already seeing an uptick in Clinton Derangement Syndrome.
In her victory speech, Hillary pivoted to attacking Trump because she no longer needs to deal with Sanders.  So one of her lines in this speech was about how America needed to “engage its allies, not alienate them” — quite obviously an attack line against Trump and his slanging of Mexico, Europe etc.   But later in the evening I saw a tweet from Max Blumenthal with a retweet by Billmon, that she was referring to Obama and Israel and she was “dissing” Obama for supposedly not supporting Israel.
What???  Why would any sane person jump to the conclusion that she meant something like that?
It horrifies me to realize how deranged the Hillary-Haters have become.

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Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Enjoy the Cherry Blossom Festival, boys! 

Our social services ministry has finally figured out how to deal with homeless men in North Battleford -- give them a one-way bus ticket to BC:
A decision by a Saskatchewan government social worker to buy bus tickets to British Columbia for two homeless men is raising concerns in both provinces.
According to Caitlin Glencross, who works with the Lighthouse homeless shelter in North Battleford, Sask,, the out-of-work men were applying to the province for a spot at the shelter.
But instead of getting funding to stay at the shelter — which has been locked in a funding dispute with the province of Saskatchewan — one of the men was offered a bus ticket to anywhere outside of the province, she said.
When he said he had a friend on B.C's Sunshine Coast, he was offered a one-way ticket on a Greyhound bus to Vancouver, Glencross said.
The second man, who managed to secure funding for a bed at the shelter, then asked for and was issued a ticket to B.C., even though he had never left the province before, she said.
"I'm almost speechless," said Glencross. "Like, I don't know what to say. We can't start shipping people off when we haven't done our due diligence in our own province. It's just not acceptable."
In B.C., Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang called the decision "absolutely appalling."
Of course, an election campaign just started -- Saskatchewan can't bother our beautiful minds about poor homeless people.   An election is no time to discuss serious issues.
And who wouldn't want to be in BC at cherry blossom time!

Cherry Blossoms Vancouver

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Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Justin, you're wrong as wrong can be 

In response to calls for police to immediately stop arresting people for using marijuana, Trudeau has apparently decided to ignore the people who elected him and instead follow the stellar leadership of Bill Blair and the police.
Trudeau has reminded everyone that marijuana laws haven't changed yet -- yeah, we noticed.  And he also set up a ridiculous parsing between "legalization" and "decriminalization" which will give the Liberal government enough wiggle room to avoid ever changing these laws:
News 1130's Reaon Ford subsequently asked what Trudeau would say to a teenager stuck for life with a marijuana charge on their record, and whether marijuana could be decriminalized on an interim basis, until a regulatory framework allows for full legalization.
“I think decriminalization is a bad idea because it doesn’t do anything to make it more difficult for young people to access it and it doesn’t do anything in terms of keeping the black market and the criminal organizations from profiting from it,” Trudeau replied. “That’s why I believe in control and regulation that actually will do the protection of public safety and of minors that we need. And in the meantime, it’s still illegal.”
In other words, its business as usual until Bill Blair can figure out some absolutely perfect way to "protect minors".    Good luck with that.
And in the meantime, police can just continue to make its easy arrests of those kids, and organized crime can just continue to make its easy profits.
This isn't what Canadians voted for, Justin.

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

First Nations answers to #OscarsSoWhite  

Indian Country media network has a post up listing First Nations actors or films that should have been awarded an Oscar, or at least a nomination. Its a great piece, noting in particular the great performances in Smoke Signals, which is one of my favorite movies ever:



And of course Will Sampson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest:



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