If you expected Olivia Chow to promise big spending, you’ll be disappointed — she’s the frugal one.

… a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since the campaign got under way early this year. Mr. Tory rolled out a big and expensive transit plan, SmartTrack, and said he could get it built without raising local taxes. Rob Ford rolled out an even bigger, more expensive plan for a network of new subways. He, too, said he could get it done without raising taxes. His brother Doug is running on essentially the same transit-for-nothing plan.Ms. Chow’s platform looks modest and cautious in comparison. Her promises to increase bus service, expand child nutrition programs and study a new central subway line come at a reasonable cost. She would raise money to cover her pledges by hiking land-transfer taxes on properties worth more than $2-million.She admits that paying for the subway line may mean higher property taxes down the line. She would try to cancel an expensive subway extension in Scarborough and go back to the original plan to build light-rail, a plan that would be funded by the provincial government instead of the city. 

~ from "Chow delivers left jab for fiscal responsibility" by Marcus Gee.  Photo by Fred Lum for The Globe And Mail.

If you expected Olivia Chow to promise big spending, you’ll be disappointed — she’s the frugal one.

… a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since the campaign got under way early this year. Mr. Tory rolled out a big and expensive transit plan, SmartTrack, and said he could get it built without raising local taxes. Rob Ford rolled out an even bigger, more expensive plan for a network of new subways. He, too, said he could get it done without raising taxes. His brother Doug is running on essentially the same transit-for-nothing plan.

Ms. Chow’s platform looks modest and cautious in comparison. Her promises to increase bus service, expand child nutrition programs and study a new central subway line come at a reasonable cost. She would raise money to cover her pledges by hiking land-transfer taxes on properties worth more than $2-million.

She admits that paying for the subway line may mean higher property taxes down the line. She would try to cancel an expensive subway extension in Scarborough and go back to the original plan to build light-rail, a plan that would be funded by the provincial government instead of the city.

~ from "Chow delivers left jab for fiscal responsibility" by Marcus Gee.  Photo by Fred Lum for The Globe And Mail.

Not an endorsement of Chow so much as an endorsement of voting for who you truly support.

Since early this year, polls have shown it almost impossible for Ford Nation to win an election — because of John Tory. Even if Olivia gains, Doug can at most hold on, but he still can’t overtake Tory, or gain any support from Olivia’s base … Olivia voters, your campaign may need a last-second Hail Mary, but don’t be afraid to try — no matter what happens, you won’t give us Ford More Years.

From "John Tory Progressives: How Polling Skews Elections" by Dan Speerin.
Photo source:  click here.

Not an endorsement of Chow so much as an endorsement of voting for who you truly support.

Since early this year, polls have shown it almost impossible for Ford Nation to win an election — because of John Tory. Even if Olivia gains, Doug can at most hold on, but he still can’t overtake Tory, or gain any support from Olivia’s base … Olivia voters, your campaign may need a last-second Hail Mary, but don’t be afraid to try — no matter what happens, you won’t give us Ford More Years.

From "John Tory Progressives: How Polling Skews Elections" by Dan Speerin.

Photo source:  click here.

I suppose this epic trolling counts as psychological warfare.
     Islamic State troops reportedly believe that being killed by a woman will prevent them from entering their preferred afterlife venue, so their moderate-Muslim opponents have deployed women on the front lines. 
     Not only have the Kurdish PKK assembled all-female infantry units for operations against the Islamic State on the ground, but the United Arab Emirates reportedly assigned a squadron led by a female pilot to conduct air strikes against Islamic State troops.
     Well played ­— well played indeed.

I suppose this epic trolling counts as psychological warfare.

     Islamic State troops reportedly believe that being killed by a woman will prevent them from entering their preferred afterlife venue, so their moderate-Muslim opponents have deployed women on the front lines. 

     Not only have the Kurdish PKK assembled all-female infantry units for operations against the Islamic State on the ground, but the United Arab Emirates reportedly assigned a squadron led by a female pilot to conduct air strikes against Islamic State troops.

     Well played ­— well played indeed.

Some good news for the 2018 Toronto election —

     Premier Kathleen Wynne has ordered her municipal affairs minister to give Ontario cities the option of using ranked ballots in the 2018 civic elections.  “You will ensure that the act meets the needs of communities, and that it provides municipalities with the option of using ranked ballots in future elections, starting in 2018, as an alternative to first-past-the-post,” she wrote.      Dave Meslin, head of Ranked Ballot Initiative of Toronto , praised Wynne for keeping a campaign promise to revamp the system.  “Voters would have a lot more choice,” said Meslin, noting if the ranked ballot system were in place in the current Toronto mayoral contest former “candidates like David Soknacki and Karen Stintz would likely still be in the race.”      Meslin pointed out that all political parties already effectively select their leaders using a ranked ballot — Wynne needed support from backers of her rivals to win the 2013 Liberal leadership race.  “It’s not as if run-off voting is a foreign concept in Canada. (Candidates) tend to be more cordial to each other because they want to build second-place support of their opponents’ supporters,” he said.

~ excerpt from "Ranked ballot a priority for 2018 civic elections" (by Robert Benzie for The Toronto Star).   Photo by Tannis Toohey.

Some good news for the 2018 Toronto election —

     Premier Kathleen Wynne has ordered her municipal affairs minister to give Ontario cities the option of using ranked ballots in the 2018 civic elections.  “You will ensure that the act meets the needs of communities, and that it provides municipalities with the option of using ranked ballots in future elections, starting in 2018, as an alternative to first-past-the-post,” she wrote.

     Dave Meslin, head of Ranked Ballot Initiative of Toronto , praised Wynne for keeping a campaign promise to revamp the system.  “Voters would have a lot more choice,” said Meslin, noting if the ranked ballot system were in place in the current Toronto mayoral contest former “candidates like David Soknacki and Karen Stintz would likely still be in the race.”

     Meslin pointed out that all political parties already effectively select their leaders using a ranked ballot — Wynne needed support from backers of her rivals to win the 2013 Liberal leadership race.  “It’s not as if run-off voting is a foreign concept in Canada. (Candidates) tend to be more cordial to each other because they want to build second-place support of their opponents’ supporters,” he said.

~ excerpt from "Ranked ballot a priority for 2018 civic elections" (by Robert Benzie for The Toronto Star).   Photo by Tannis Toohey.

Amanda Taub’s take on the Watson Hoax —

     … women being threatened, women being pressured to change their own behaviour to avoid sexual assault, and women being told that they don’t deserve protection unless they stay pure and ladylike … all individually terrible.  But together, they add up to something even worse: a vicious cycle that pressures women out of public life. 
     When we tell women that the threats and attacks they experience are their own fault, for failing to be sufficiently chaste or failing to take “responsible” precautions, we are telling them that they are on their own: that they cannot rely on society’s protection against those crimes. 

From “The sexual threats against Emma Watson are an attack on every woman” (by Amanda Taub for VOX).
     This is what I’ve always seen as being so threatening to human society about hatred of women:  it creates an excuse for citizens and security services to slack off on their duty to protect — which ultimately makes life more dangerous for everyone.  As long as this kind of behaviour continues, those of us who take our responsibilities seriously will have to step up and stomp down on people we see acting that way, or things are going to get a lot worse for all of us.

Amanda Taub’s take on the Watson Hoax —

     … women being threatened, women being pressured to change their own behaviour to avoid sexual assault, and women being told that they don’t deserve protection unless they stay pure and ladylike … all individually terrible.  But together, they add up to something even worse: a vicious cycle that pressures women out of public life.

     When we tell women that the threats and attacks they experience are their own fault, for failing to be sufficiently chaste or failing to take “responsible” precautions, we are telling them that they are on their own: that they cannot rely on society’s protection against those crimes. 

From “The sexual threats against Emma Watson are an attack on every woman” (by Amanda Taub for VOX).

     This is what I’ve always seen as being so threatening to human society about hatred of women:  it creates an excuse for citizens and security services to slack off on their duty to protect — which ultimately makes life more dangerous for everyone.  As long as this kind of behaviour continues, those of us who take our responsibilities seriously will have to step up and stomp down on people we see acting that way, or things are going to get a lot worse for all of us.

Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson on the Koch Brothers’ toxicity —

     In “the science of success,” Charles Koch highlights the problems created when property owners “don’t benefit from all the value they create and don’t bear the full cost from whatever value they destroy.” He is particularly concerned about the “tragedy of the commons,” in which shared resources are abused because there’s no individual accountability. “The biggest problems in society,” he writes, “have occurred in those areas thought to be best controlled in common: the atmosphere, bodies of water, air … “     But in the real world, Koch Industries has used its political might to beat back the very market-based mechanisms — including a cap-and-trade market for carbon pollution — needed to create the ownership rights for pollution that Charles says would improve the functioning of capitalism.     In fact, it appears the very essence of the Koch business model is to exploit breakdowns in the free market. Koch has profited precisely by dumping billions of pounds of pollutants into our waters and skies – essentially for free. It racks up enormous profits from speculative trades lacking economic value that drive up costs for consumers and create risks for our economy.     The Koch brothers get richer as the costs of what Koch destroys are foisted on the rest of us – in the form of ill health, foul water and a climate crisis that threatens life as we know it on this planet. Now nearing 80 – owning a large chunk of the Alberta tar sands and using his billions to transform the modern Republican Party into a protection racket for Koch Industries’ profits – Charles Koch is not about to see the light. Nor does the CEO of one of America’s most toxic firms have any notion of slowing down. He has made it clear that he has no retirement plans: “I’m going to ride my bicycle till I fall off.”

From "Inside The Koch Brothers’ Toxic Empire" (by Tim Dickinson for Rolling Stone).
Photo:  A 1996 explosion of a Koch-owned pipeline in Texas killed two teens. (United States National Transportation Safety Board)

Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson on the Koch Brothers’ toxicity —

     In “the science of success,” Charles Koch highlights the problems created when property owners “don’t benefit from all the value they create and don’t bear the full cost from whatever value they destroy.” He is particularly concerned about the “tragedy of the commons,” in which shared resources are abused because there’s no individual accountability. “The biggest problems in society,” he writes, “have occurred in those areas thought to be best controlled in common: the atmosphere, bodies of water, air … “

     But in the real world, Koch Industries has used its political might to beat back the very market-based mechanisms — including a cap-and-trade market for carbon pollution — needed to create the ownership rights for pollution that Charles says would improve the functioning of capitalism.

     In fact, it appears the very essence of the Koch business model is to exploit breakdowns in the free market. Koch has profited precisely by dumping billions of pounds of pollutants into our waters and skies – essentially for free. It racks up enormous profits from speculative trades lacking economic value that drive up costs for consumers and create risks for our economy.

     The Koch brothers get richer as the costs of what Koch destroys are foisted on the rest of us – in the form of ill health, foul water and a climate crisis that threatens life as we know it on this planet. Now nearing 80 – owning a large chunk of the Alberta tar sands and using his billions to transform the modern Republican Party into a protection racket for Koch Industries’ profits – Charles Koch is not about to see the light. Nor does the CEO of one of America’s most toxic firms have any notion of slowing down. He has made it clear that he has no retirement plans: “I’m going to ride my bicycle till I fall off.”

From "Inside The Koch Brothers’ Toxic Empire" (by Tim Dickinson for Rolling Stone).

Photo:  A 1996 explosion of a Koch-owned pipeline in Texas killed two teens. (United States National Transportation Safety Board)

This image comes from Laura Schocker’s summary of the damage done by sleep-deprivation, written for The Huffington Post.

This image comes from Laura Schocker’s summary of the damage done by sleep-deprivation, written for The Huffington Post.

     This criticism of the Canadian government comes not from China or Iran, but from The Lancet.

During recent years, Canada’s reputation as a global citizen has slipped, in recent months more precipitously than ever before, and in new directions.

~ from an article by Chris David Simms for The Lancet. 

     This criticism of the Canadian government comes not from China or Iran, but from The Lancet.

During recent years, Canada’s reputation as a global citizen has slipped, in recent months more precipitously than ever before, and in new directions.

~ from an article by Chris David Simms for The Lancet

This article from 2012 provides a glimpse into our future if the FIPA comes into force.
China turns to courts in business disputes with western governments (by Shawn McCarthy for The Globe And Mail)

     Having already lost several high-profile NAFTA cases, governments could face substantial new challenges as an anticipated flood of Chinese investment washes over Canada in the next decade and the newcomers use all legal means to protect their interests.     That’s already happening internationally. Take the case of Ralls Corp., a Delaware-registered company owned by two Chinese nationals who are executives in the country’s largest wind turbine manufacturer.     Ralls this week added President Obama to a lawsuit filed in U.S. district court after the American government ordered it to halt construction of four small wind farms in Oregon because the sites were too close to a navy training site. The company – which was seeking to place wind turbines supplied by China’s Sany Group at the site – complained Mr. Obama and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) had violated its “right to equal protection under the law.”     The lawsuit is “pretty ballsy and gives you a flavour of where the Chinese firms are standing,” said Milos Barutciski, co-chair of the international trade and investment practice at Bennett Jones LLP. 

Photo:  Wind turbines near Arlington, Ore. A Chinese firm is suing President Barack Obama and the U.S. government for blocking a wind farm near a U.S. Navy base in Oregon.  (Jamie Francis/The Oregonian)

This article from 2012 provides a glimpse into our future if the FIPA comes into force.

China turns to courts in business disputes with western governments (by Shawn McCarthy for The Globe And Mail)

     Having already lost several high-profile NAFTA cases, governments could face substantial new challenges as an anticipated flood of Chinese investment washes over Canada in the next decade and the newcomers use all legal means to protect their interests.

     That’s already happening internationally. Take the case of Ralls Corp., a Delaware-registered company owned by two Chinese nationals who are executives in the country’s largest wind turbine manufacturer.

     Ralls this week added President Obama to a lawsuit filed in U.S. district court after the American government ordered it to halt construction of four small wind farms in Oregon because the sites were too close to a navy training site. The company – which was seeking to place wind turbines supplied by China’s Sany Group at the site – complained Mr. Obama and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) had violated its “right to equal protection under the law.”

     The lawsuit is “pretty ballsy and gives you a flavour of where the Chinese firms are standing,” said Milos Barutciski, co-chair of the international trade and investment practice at Bennett Jones LLP.

Photo:  Wind turbines near Arlington, Ore. A Chinese firm is suing President Barack Obama and the U.S. government for blocking a wind farm near a U.S. Navy base in Oregon.  (Jamie Francis/The Oregonian)

     Today, we remember the death of Salvador Allende.
     In 1970, then-US President Richard Nixon wanted Allende stopped.  Nixon gave instructions to the US CIA to consider an Allende-led government in Chile to be unacceptable.  Nixon authorised $10 million to be used against Allende:  to stop Allende from coming to power; or, failing that, to unseat him; via whatever means necessary. 
     In early September 1973, following Nixon’s instructions, the US CIA had succeeded in creating violent divisions between Allende and various opposition groups.  Allende wished to resolve the political tensions in the country via a referendum on his policies, but he was never able to deliver the speech which called for such a referendum — because on 11 September 1973, the day that that speech was to be delivered, the Chilean military staged a coup d’état. 
     Allende was forced to instead deliver a farewell speech, with explosions audible in the background, via live radio from the Palacio de la Moneda — “Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Keep in mind that, much sooner than later, the great avenues will again be opened through which will pass free men to construct a better society.”
     Moments after the radio speech was delivered, the Palacio de la Moneda was overrun by soldiers loyal to Augusto Pinochet.  Pinochet’s military junta was immediately recognised as the government by American diplomats, and the US CIA helped the junta close its fist around Chile. 
     Pinochet stayed in power for 17 years as the leader of a brutal dictatorship — one which killed between 1,200 3,200 people, interned up to 80,000 people, and tortured as many as 30,000, in its efforts to stamp out popular resistance to its rule. 
     As the junta was an ally of the USA, the crimes committed by Pinochet’s men against common Chileans never triggered an armed intervention by American troops.

     Today, we remember the death of Salvador Allende.

     In 1970, then-US President Richard Nixon wanted Allende stopped.  Nixon gave instructions to the US CIA to consider an Allende-led government in Chile to be unacceptable.  Nixon authorised $10 million to be used against Allende:  to stop Allende from coming to power; or, failing that, to unseat him; via whatever means necessary. 

     In early September 1973, following Nixon’s instructions, the US CIA had succeeded in creating violent divisions between Allende and various opposition groups.  Allende wished to resolve the political tensions in the country via a referendum on his policies, but he was never able to deliver the speech which called for such a referendum — because on 11 September 1973, the day that that speech was to be delivered, the Chilean military staged a coup d’état

     Allende was forced to instead deliver a farewell speech, with explosions audible in the background, via live radio from the Palacio de la Moneda — “Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Keep in mind that, much sooner than later, the great avenues will again be opened through which will pass free men to construct a better society.

     Moments after the radio speech was delivered, the Palacio de la Moneda was overrun by soldiers loyal to Augusto Pinochet.  Pinochet’s military junta was immediately recognised as the government by American diplomats, and the US CIA helped the junta close its fist around Chile

     Pinochet stayed in power for 17 years as the leader of a brutal dictatorship — one which killed between 1,200 3,200 people, interned up to 80,000 people, and tortured as many as 30,000, in its efforts to stamp out popular resistance to its rule. 

     As the junta was an ally of the USA, the crimes committed by Pinochet’s men against common Chileans never triggered an armed intervention by American troops.