If you pass this bill, I'm going to make you forget about Mike Duffy

Terri-Jean Bedford

"If you pass this bill, I'm going to make you forget about Mike Duffy," 
- dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford

Bedford made the statement as she was sent from today's senate committee hearings into Bill C-36. It seems the one person successful in getting the court to overturn Canada's prostitution law wasn't going to be given a second more than her allotted time to address the legislation.

There's too much going on right now so I'm sending you over to Dammit Janet blog for much more on Bill C36 than you will find in the mainstream media or anywhere else for that matter.

Wacking the Piñata.

C36 — the Harper government, with its usual doublespeak flair, titles it the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act — is justone MASSIVE piñata of a Bill.  And when it is whacked, all sorts of goodies come tumbling out. Like Don the Plumber's John School™ - but more on that, later.

No no no.  This piñata  is NOT what you think it is.  Get your mind OUT of the gutter.

BCED strike a result of Christy Clark's Vendetta against the BCTF

BC workers are sticking together. Today the BC Federation of Labour and it's affiliates came up
BC Fed give $8 million to BCTF
with eight million dollars to support the BC Teachers who are on strike in BC.  The BC Nurses Union separately donated $500,000. The BC Government has been especially nasty in this dispute, having lost in the courts twice now and waiting for an appeal which they will likely lose, they are trying to starve out the teachers before that appeal can be heard.

So far teachers seem willing to stand up to the government. Today the teachers are holding a vote of its members to see if they will accept binding arbitration. The union has made that offer to the Liberal government, as a means to ending the strike and getting kids back to school. The government has flatly rejected the offer.

The Liberal government seems to know they will lose their appeal in court in October, they can't simply order teachers back to work and impose a contract as that too would likely see them lose in an even larger court case.  This is a last ditch attempt to keep teachers off the job, hopefully starve them into accepting an agreement which is significantly lower than what the courts have already decided.

Liberal Premier of BC Christy Clark 
It's a vendetta, Liberal Premier Christy Clark is adamant she won't give anything to teachers, unless they are in the private sector, where her own son attends a posh private school.

John Tory will implement Ford, Hudak and Harper's agendas

The ballot issue in Toronto has been defined as anyone but Rob Ford. Ford has embarrassed us all. He was unfit for the job and no one wants it too happen again. It's not just Ford's antics, drugs and friends that were bad for Toronto however. He is a right wingers dream. Recall he was part of the Conservative trifecta, Harper, Hudak, and Ford.  A group that current mayoral candidate John Tory supported both by publicly endorsing all three and with his wallet. 

It seems progressives in some numbers are willingly wearing blinders as they they pretend this election for Mayor is really only about getting rid of Rob Ford.  Their blinders allow them to ignore that John Tory is Rob Ford with a huge dollop of sophistication.

I have to admit, Tory has run a good campaign. He hired one of the best in the business, a guy who pretty much only works for very conservative folks. He was very successful in BC electing Christy Clark Premier against all odds.  He's managed to this point to do the same for Tory. 

On the other side of this is Olivia Chow. She attempted to broaden her appeal early on and that seems to have pissed off some lefty progressives. The Chow campaign, the only one of the top three to put out extensive policy positions, suffers from a progressive campaigner's biggest risk. You aren't proposing enough for my one issue.  

I know quite a few progressives who detest Rob Ford and John Tory, yet spend all their time condemning Olivia Chow because her campaign isn't 100% behind their one issue.  They are willing to go to the matt on that one thing. In some cases that means beating the crap out of Chow publically and then quietly voting for her (damage done), not voting for her as your principles won't let you, better to not help elect the most progressive person even if someone far worse benefits.  

Well, the reason the right wing wins in this country is because they generally understand it's better to have some of the loaf than none of it. An example would be the choice/abortion issue. I know many conservative folks that are pro-choice, yet they vote for a MP or MPP who is strongly anti-choice. 

The last time progressives worked together in Toronto was the re-election of David Miller. Rob Ford was elected, again in large part because we progressives were split and John Tory's current campaign manager was Rob Ford's manager. He's good. 

John Tory will be a disaster as Mayor. Do any of you recall his positions as leader of the provincial conservatives? What about his current views and his support of the Harper government? And today, two GTA Harper MPs have endorsed John Tory.  

John Tory will implement Ford, Hudak and Harper's agendas. 

Olivia Chow will be a progressive Mayor. 



Liberals Assault on Public Education

BC's public education system is facing a major assault from BC's own government.  The Liberal government has decided to create a catastrophe in order that they may take more draconian steps to put teachers in their place.  It's play right out of the playbook of the republicans in North Carolina, where once they had a great system, until the government there decided to turn as much education as they could over to the private sector, whilst starving those still in the public system.

Today Virginia of all places is running ads in North Carolina recruiting teachers, can Alberta be far behind Virginia?

One of the better pieces on the mess in BC's education system was written by a teacher. This teacher identifies as someone who usually votes conservative, who has never been so much as a shop steward and past Rotary president, now finds she has to speak out.

Here's an excerpt...  
I am not a political person.I voted conservative most of my life.  I have never canvassed for a political party.  I
Shawn Bird, BC Teacher
have never held any union position, even  something as innocuous as shop steward. I write a daily blog of POETRY, not political commentary.
I believe in a ‘live and let live’ attitude about most things, but I have voted every election since I was old enough.  I take my responsibility as a citizen very seriously.  I try to be educated about my opinions.  I seek information from those who know what’s going on.  I don’t trust the news to tell me the whole truth.  I am living in an Orwellian world these days where politicians and some news stories are making declarations completely opposite to what I know is true.  Because I am a BC teacher, I live in an alternate reality to the one the government describes. 
Calling a black cat white does not change the fact that it is a black cat!
Here’s what I know. 
After then Minister of Education Christy Clark ripped up contracts with BC teachers in 2002, I watched money leak out of our schools.  We haven’t been able to replace text books. Our rooms don’t get cleaned thoroughly because custodial time is the bare minimum.  I’ve seen libraries closed, until to be  full time a librarian must work at 3+ schools. I’ve seen arts education cut.  I’ve seen learning disabled kids unable to be diagnosed because there isn’t funding for it.  I’ve seen needy kids partnered with kids who have a designation so that a Education assistant can help several of them together when they each need one on one help.  I’ve seen buildings and equipment falling into disrepair.  I’ve seen copying budgets run out months before the end of the year.  I’ve seen teachers feed kids.  I’ve seen parents and local corporations donate food to kids who would otherwise not have breakfast or lunch.  I’ve spent a fortune on supplies for my class room- supplies that I can not deduct from my taxes like other professionals can. 
The BC Liberal government announces that they’ve ‘increased funding to school districts’ and on paper that’s true, except they’ve also required districts to pay millions of dollars from their budgets, for things that the government previously funded separately.  Money that used to go to students now pays for earthquake proofing and the like.  Hydro has gone up.  Gas has gone up.  But the allowance to pay for them hasn’t. 
During the strike the government announced that teachers are demanding triple the benefits of any other group.  Such doublespeak!  They don’t tell the public that what they call ‘benefits’ in that statement refers to ‘everything that isn’t wages’.  In other words, things like class size and composition funding, support staff like teacher assistants, and non-enrolling teachers like librarians and counsellors. These are not benefits!   Those are properly staffed and funded schools!  Does a doctor call his nurse, receptionist, and stethoscope ‘benefits’?   The public, of course, imagines ‘benefits’ are simply extended health and dental and so believes the government lie that teachers are greedy.
Shawn goes on to make an even stronger case for teachers, you can read her whole blog post here..

Commentary- BC Government Extortion & Orwellian Life

Thanks to Raffi for the link


The NDP - Big step reaching out to new voters

Andrea Horwath has abandoned NDP principles for self serving reasons, like getting elected.  I hear this, see it online and its the main stream media primary talking point.  Is it true? 

Some background...

The NDP in Ontario after Bob Rae was a basket case. They lost the support of major union leaders and all but the most dedicated lefties stuck with them. The Conservatives won in a landslide in 1995 and remained in govt till 2003 when an energized Liberal party took power, largely on the basis of theWalkerton scandal, teacher and union support.

The Liberals won and the Harris years ended. Early on, a better arrangement between the Government and unions took hold. When the Liberals would stray too far, the unions would call on the NDP members at Queen's Park to stand up to the government, particularly close to elections. It generally worked.

The NDP under Howard Hampton ran 'traditional' NDP campaigns. Always front and centre were the issues of the poor, people on welfare and tax increases on the rest of us ( I simplify). They never came close to winning, albeit they were congratulated by the Lefty Purity committee.

After losing again in dismal fashion in 2007, the NDP took another course. Andrea Horwath became leader. The NDP again ran on a platform largely conforming with the purity committee in 2011. They made some gains, in my view due to the new face of the NDP, it's new leader.

This election is different. The NDP knew going into this, the Liberals would be the biggest benefactors of big union support with the exception of a few unions, that has been the case. Unions are supporting the NDP where they have an MPP and in areas where they think the NDP is better placed to beat the Hudak candidate. And this time some of those union leaders are being very public about their lack of enthusiasm for the NDP.

Let's get back to the NDP's vote base. While union membership in Ontario is around 30+%, the NDP can only claim a small base of about 15 to 20% of voters. This despite their leader being the most popular and trusted politician in the province, year after year.  That vote base has to expand. If it doesn't they need to reconcile their role with the results.
To win an election in Ontario, a party needs to be in the high end of things, 37 to 40%. That's almost double the NDP traditional support base. 
Okay that's where we are in battle, the NDP platform next post...


Ontario Liberal Maid scandal

You may have heard about the Ontario Liberal Maid scandal. It seems three Liberal Cabinet Ministers and a lot of Officials in the Liberal govt received free maid service from a company that then over billed the government for other services to make up for the free service. 

Rick Bartolucci
Harinder Takhar

The Ontario NDP asked Premier Wynne to tell us who the three Cabinet Ministers were that received the free services. 

The Premier refused to answer.  Well, the NDP has found out who two of the three are. Allegedly receiving free service were Ministers  Harinder Takhar and Rick Bartolucci.  You can read all about here.

Sign this petition to put pressure on Wynne to release the names of the Liberal MPPs who had their homes cleaned for free, or call 1-844-LIB-MAID to find out more.
updated with petition site.

Fake protestors, Fake Twitter; what's next from Ontario Liberals

From faking NDP members at an Andrea Horwath campaign event to faking grassroots support via astroturfing on twitter, the Liberals are proving they haven't changed under Kathleen Wynne. The astroturfing was uncovered by the Ontario NDP. The campaign was designed to show grassroots support for new taxes, in all it cost us $999,99.00.
New documents show the Liberals directed high-priced consultants to create fake twitter accounts as part of an astro-turf campaign designed to suppress public criticism and manufacture the appearance of grassroots support for their plan to hit families with new tolls and fees. More here.
The Liberals started the week with fake protestors at an event organized by the Andrea Horwath's
campaign. They were caught out by the media, because, they still were wearing Liberal branded election buttons etc.

When pointed out by the media, the quasi official from the Liberal campaign that follows and records all that Horwath says and does, told the protestors to take buttons off. He did not say, "hey guys, go home, this is embarrassing, this is not working so well."


5 Cheques in all the fifth being a Govt of Canada cheque in the amount of $1,700.

Fontana, former Liberal MP and a big player within the Ontario Liberal Party is in the middle of his fraud trial in London. This little bit of information is interesting; 
The total owing for the wedding was $18,900, DiPietro testified – the amount minus the $1,700 deposit. He received $8,630 from the bride’s parents, $5,000 from Fontana, $3,570 from Fontana’s mother.
Records seized from the Marconi Club show five cheques were used to make payment on the wedding, Zuber said, the fifth being a Government of Canada cheque in the amount of $1,700.
You can find more on Fontana's fraud trial here and here and here and here

"In your 18 years as an MP, how many documents did you falsify?"

London Ontario Mayor, Joe Fontana, a prominent Ontario Liberal, is in court today, facing fraud charges for allegedly submitting an invoice, which was doctored, for payment to the House of Commons.  The Crown suggests Fontana billed the House of Commons for his Son's wedding. 

Last week as you see here, Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne is seen here shaking Mayor Fontana's hand during an election stop in London.
Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne accepting Fontana's support.

In today's prosecution the Crown asked this in the cross examination: 

"In your 18 years as an MP, how many documents did you falsify?"

Replied an indignant Fontana, "Pardon me?"

"You heard me," said Zuber.

"None," replied Fontana.

"Then why wouldn't you remember this?" the Crown asked.​

Photo from Warren Kinsella here.


Right wing populist? Andrea Horwath?

Andrea Horwath is running to the right of the Liberals? Well if you believe the Liberals, the Toronto Star and some of my bestest lefty friends, this happened. Say it isn't so...

It isn't so...

First there was the minimum wage spat. The labour movement and poverty activists had been running a campaign to raise the wage to $14 per hour. A lofty and worthwhile goal. Wynne couldn't decide how to raise the minimum wage so she appointed a panel (She does this a lot). The panel suggested raising the wage and then indexing it to inflation. 

Yet it seems some people were none too happy that Horwath didn't lead the fight to raise the wage. It was after all a classic NDP position. Horwath knows most Ontarians thought the $11 wage was all that could be afforded. She also knows that $11 is too low. So being the right wing populist she is, she said make it $12 and index it. And then Horwath added a small tax cut for small business. That's a buck an hour more than Wynne yet Horwath has forgotten her roots. 

Before all that happened, there was Bill 115. The 'Take All the Teachers Rights Away' bill introduced by the Liberals and supported by Tim Hudak. The bill was a desperate attempt to appeal to voters in a secretly planned by-election for Kitchener Waterloo, a long time conservative strong hold. The stakes were high, the Liberals would gain a seat, thus hold a razor thin majority. To win however they figured they had to out 'Hudak', Hudak, and they did!

Again, that right wing populist Andrea Horwath and the NDP stood up and surprised everyone by voting against Bill 115.

The NDP demanded that the Liberals tax high income earners and not cut corporate taxes two budgets ago. This was to help fund a job creation program for youth. That kind of populism is so not of the left. 

More coming...

Arthur Potts is the Liberals Progressive alternative to Michael Prue

This is the Liberals Progressive alternative to Michael Prue. It's kinda sad...

                                                                                             From: Youth And Work blog

"I was listening to a very interesting segment on Ontario Today about restoring sanity into our discourse. One the callers referenced how Arthur Potts, the provincial Liberal candidate in the riding of Beaches-East York, was selling himself as a progressive alternative to NDP MPP Michael Prue

The caller in question described how after further research he found that Mr. Potts advocates for Wisconsin-style GOP "right-to-work" policies in his professional life. The whole deception Mr. Potts was perpetrating intrigued me, so I looked into his past history.
 See more here: http://www.youthandwork.ca/2014/05/meet-arthur-potts.html

Ontario Election: Why now?

We're well into the Ontario Election. The minority Liberal government lasted two and a half years, a long time by any standard. The discourse among non Tim Hudak supporters has been to stop him. The oft named progressives are being sought after by both the Liberals and the NDP. That's where I begin...

 In the quest for the elusive progressive voter the Liberals are championing their budget. Some are even calling the budget more NDP than the NDP. That's the Liberal narrative to date and one that has been proffered by Toronto Star columnists and not a few union brothers and sisters. For some the thought is that the budget was progressive and defeating it would lead to a Tim Hudak win. In fact this is the Liberals entire campaign in a nutshell.

Andrea Horwath has been the Liberals biggest concern. Her questions during Question Period hurt the most. Her demands for accountability grind on Liberal nerves. Horwath's statements on making life more affordable hurt because they're true. In fact, Andrea Horwath has pretty much been the most popular politician in the province the last eighteen months.

In February the Liberals number one concern was the NDP according to leaked election planning documents. Liberal support was vulnerable if Horwath could translate personal popularity to the NDP. You may be surprised to know that the Liberals have these past 18 months avoided referring to Andrea Horwath by name, while attacking the Conservatives by their leaders name. That was a strategy, to prevent alienating voters who liked Horwath. It seems however with one Liberal attack ad naming Horwath and another leaflet being dropped by Liberals, they have abandoned that strategy. It's a risk, but hey, the Liberals are running scared now.

So far the fear of Hudak winning an election has been the reason behind demands that the NDP and Andrea Horwath support the Liberals budget. It's an NDP budget after all, at least that is what we are supposed to accept, the Liberals put in lots of 'NDP' stuff to garner support for the budget. Now we need to have a look at a few things. First Kathleen Wynne did not bring the NDP in to assist in drafting the budget. In fact she at many times said she wasn't going to suffer any direction from the leader of the third party. The budget is vague on details, there was no debate on those details because Wynne ended that, choosing to leave the details hidden and called the election before one word of debate. To be fair there was much to like about the budget, that is however not the budget the Liberals will have if they win.

The Liberals were sinking fast. They should have called an election soon after Wynne became Premier. They have suffered from a thousand cuts, lost a sitting Premier and were mired in a never ending gas-plant scandal, not to mention multiple others. They were so bereft of ideas, they started rewriting NDP private members bills and passing them, having in some cases only months before refused the NDP bills. The election had to be now as far as Liberals were concerned. As a minority, they couldn't control the agenda. More cuts would be had. Go now, hope to hell they can win at least another minority, then another election in a year for all the marbles.

Andrea Horwath tried to work with the Liberals. People in Ontario did not want an election after the last one so soon. Horwath did what she could to get improvements in the budget. Things like a tax on those earning over $500,000, childcare expansion, a youth jobs plan. Last year Horwath asked for a Financial Accountability Officer, Lower Auto Insurance rates and a 5 day guarantee for homecare for seniors. None of it happened. We're still waiting.

The Liberals had three promises to keep. They didn't keep any of them. And now people want Andrea Horwath to believe 70 promises?

 Next blog post: Andrea Horwath: What's going on?


2013's Best Social Media Campaign

The story behind a gigantic social media success and how LGBT and other social activists can use social media! 

You might not know Anastasia Khoo by name, but you've probably seen her work. 

Last year, millions of Facebook users changed their profile pictures to a red "equals" logo to support the campaign calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in favour of marriage equality. 

It was a huge success -- the logo was one of the most shared viral photos in Facebook's history, and the Supreme Court eventually ruled to support LGBT Americans' right to legally marry their partners. 

Anastasia, as Human Rights Campaign's Marketing Director, was the organizer who made the campaign a reality -- a feat recognized by Mashable when they awarded her a Mashie for 2013's Best Social Media Campaign, as well a sweep of the SXSW Interactive Awards just last week. 

Anastasia is one of the keynote speakers at next weekend's Progress Summit -- and in just a few hours, she's taking over the Broadbent Institute's Twitter account. She'll be there to tell you how it all happened and take your questions. 

Don't miss it: https://twitter.com/broadbentinst 

WHAT: Human Rights Campaign's Anastasia Khoo takes over @broadbentinst
WHEN: Today (Friday, March 21) at 6pm ET 

Tune in -- and tell your friends about it:


Harper and Kenny use TFW to displace Canadian Workers

Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) program is being used to displace Canadians with much cheaper foreign workers. Pacer Promec Joint Venture in the Alberta Oil Sands fired its crew of union workers on February 4th and replaced them with workers from Croatia. 

These workers are being paid half of what the Canadians were being paid. When this came to light of the media, the company said it would be rehiring the Canadian workers. That hasn't happened. As of this morning, the company had failed to contact the union or the workers and offer them their jobs back.

65 workers have been let go in clearly what is breaking not only the law but the spirit of the law as well. TFW program is supposed to see Canadians offered the job before bring in people from outside Canada. The promised reforms after the Royal Bank laid off 100's of Canadian workers and replaced them with workers from India have not materialised.

To add further insult to injury, the process is complaint driven, requires an investigation and the investigation can take weeks and months. In the interim workers are without a pay-cheque, Government promises of an investigation sound hollow at this point.

It's bad enough the government is subsidizing the Oils Sands companies, but to also abet the companies in replacing Canadians with workers from outside the country is almost treasonous.

The TFW program has its pluses, this is not one of them. 

see Fort McMurray Today


Ontario Liberal's Misinformation - Campaign ad misses the context

The minimum wage battle goes on in Ontario.  Recently the Liberal government agreed to raise the wage to $11.00 per hour and plan to bring in legislation to index it to inflation.  There is little need to know that Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals are trying to make hay out of this.  They have in fact ensured that those receiving minimum wage will remain below the poverty line, setting the wage at $11.00/hour.

The wage could be set to go up at a certain rate plus inflation over a period of time to allow employers to absorb the increased cost.  That is what the Liberals did when they raised the wage several years ago. Now after four years at $10.25/hour, the Liberals are back peddling.

We're nearing the end of two by-elections, the Liberals are desperate to win one of the seats.  They are behind in Niagara by all accounts and Thornhill will likely remain Conservative. So now the Liberals are using selected quotes, out of context, in campaign literature in a desperate attack on the NDP in Niagara Falls.

Ontario Liberals misinformation - campaign advertising
Note the quote of Sheila Block in this production sent out on twitter by The Liberals.

What the Liberals do not tell you is what else Sheila Block said.

"Indexing the minimum wage to inflation is an important first step. Now that it has received advice; the Wynne government needs to step up to the plate with a concrete plan to move the minimum wage up above the poverty line for those who are working full-time and full year, and to cement those gains by indexing that higher wage to inflation." - Sheila Block, Wellesley Institute.  


IOC Dick Pound says, At least in Russia you aren't put to death for being gay

Canadian and IOC member Dick Pound in an article published by Metro, equates violence against gay men in Russia to lack of gay marriage in some states in the United States.  He did that, Pound also suggests that you wont be put to death in Russia like you would be Malaysia. 

Dick Pound IOC Member
“In Malaysia, you can be put to death. In Nigeria, you can be put in jail for God knows how long,” Pound said. “So it’s a target of convenience with respect to Russia, not that I approve of the law, but putting it on a scale of 1-10 of odious laws, it’s not way up there near 10.” 

Pound said much of the anti-Russia gay stand emanates from the United States, where, Pound says, only a handful of states allow same-sex marriage.
Read the full article in Metro here 

Sochi ‘anti-gay stuff’ overstated, IOC’s Dick Pound says

Gay Men Beaten on Camera - Russia (Graphic Violence)

This is happening in Russia. Gay people are routinely attacked, beaten, humiliated and worse. The video below is very harsh. It includes a portion of a video posted to Russian social media of a gay man after a beating, being forced to rape himself with a bottle.  

Warning: Graphic violence

The reality in Russia today, these neo-facists are well organized. They can attack gay men with the knowledge the police will not interfere and if they do, they usually arrest the gay man.

On Thursday, February 6, there will be a rally in Toronto 

Rally for Global Human Rights and Equality ~ on the eve of the Sochi Olympics 
Join us ~ Speak up ~ Stand up for human rights around the world
Rally begins in downtown Toronto at the Russian Consulate on Bloor and Church St.
When: Thursday, February 6, 2014 @ 6pm.
Where: Russian Consulate, 175 Bloor St. East.
#TOwithRussia on Facebook and Twitter
Facebook event post here



A Lesbian wrote America The Beautiful

Oh the irony of it all.  Conservative Christians love the song, America the Beautiful, it encapsulates their faith and the government. The big secret, the writer was gay!

The song was written by Katharine Lee Bates. Bates had a relationship with Katharine Coman whom she lived with for 25 years, until Coman died.

Bates said, after the death of Katharine, "So much of me died with Katharine Coman that I'm sometimes not quite sure whether I'm alive or not."

Now American Conservatives are screaming about Coca-Cola ad where kids sing the song in different languages. The second irony here is that the song writer left the Republican party in 1924, due to the growing xenophobia within its ranks.

Thank you universe for this great day, you have to love it when you have a chance to show conservatives how silly they are. One of their touchstones is this song, America the Beautiful. A song written by a community activist and a lesbian.

See Coke-Cola ad from Super Bowl here.

America the Beautiful, for some

America the Beautiful, as long as you're white and speak English...

Coca Cola has been having a bit of a nightmare over its endorsement of the Olympics, in particular for not speaking out against repression and violence toward gays, and seemingly encouraged by elected government representatives.  To counter this bad publicity, Coca Cola ran an ad during the Super Bowl game.  See Not the Real Thing

Coke's ad puts the diversity of America on display, as children of different cultures sing America The Beautiful in languages other than English.  The bigots and Christian right got together to slam this ad. An ad that was un-american because it had different races, languages and horror of horrors, two gay dads and their daughter.  

Here is the ad...

The reaction that Time Magazine recorded... 

It was that last aspect that unfortunately, brought out America the Ugly, at least on some parts of the Internet. “WTF?” asked one post on Twitter. “@CocaCola has America the Beautiful being sung in different languages in a #SuperBowl commercial? We speak ENGLISH here, IDIOTS.” Some of the vitriol may have been satire for all I know, but there was much too much for that to explain all of the “English or GTFO” sentiment–not all of it in impeccable English itself. To wit: “Dear @CocaCola : America the beautiful is sang in English. Piss off. #DontFuckWithUs.” (To be fair, not every Tweet brought up by a search on “Coca Cola English” agreed: “Coca Cola brings the commercial of the night: America the Beautiful sung in Spanish, English, Arabic, and other languages. Beautiful.”)
The xenophobic protesters had one thing right: we do speak English in America. We speak it on official business and in Super Bowl broadcasts; we use it in publications like this one.

Read more: Coca-Cola’s “It’s Beautiful” Super Bowl Ad Brings Out Some Ugly Americans | TIME.com http://entertainment.time.com/2014/02/02/coca-colas-its-beautiful-super-bowl-ad-brings-out-some-ugly-americans/#ixzz2sHKZUGSk
Prominent Conservatives took offence that the song was sung in other languages - former GOP Rep. Allen West...
“If we cannot be proud enough as a country to sing 'American the Beautiful' in English in a commercial during the Super Bowl, by a company as American as they come — doggone we are on the road to perdition." link
Remember this rendition of the Star Spangled Banner from America Blog...
"Adorable 11 year old Mexican-American mariachi singer Sebastien De La Cruz, a San Antonio, Texas native, sang the national anthem during the NBA finals Tuesday night. And boy were the Twitter racists up in arms." America Blog June 14, 2013


When Social Media is hijacked...

Well now, sometimes social marketing efforts can be very successful, but not quite what you wanted. Witness the Coca Cola effort with Share a Coke on facebook and Twitter. And McDonald's Corp twitter hashtag #CheersToSochi.  Both campaigns have been taken over...

Here is a screen print of the twitter hashtag #CheersTo Sochi


And Coke's share a can stunt backfires. See Boing Boing:

Everything from 'Boycott Coke' to 'Puck Futin' - that one is because the web app doesn't allow you to use the words 'Fuck' or 'Putin'. But the English language is a remarkably wonderful and versatile thing - and it's only a matter of time before Coke realizes they've opened the door very wide for a lot of very angry people to reach their foot in and kick 'em hard in the nads. Enjoy it, and share it, while you can." - Word games with the "make your own Coke label" promo 

Want to make your own can? Here's a link to Share a Virtual Coke

It's The Real Thing - Not

Coke and the Russian Olympics. By now you have read of Russian persecution of gays, the LGBTQ communities (Google it).  Coke is the most most identifiable sponsor of the Olympics and to date has refused to speak up on the homophobia in Russia and its association to these Olympic Games.

In 1971 Coke produced an iconic ad. It's the Real Thing, Coke.
AmericaBlog: This video is brilliant and chilling.  Who doesn’t love that Coke commercial from 1971?  It’s so early 70s, and really just a classic in great American advertising.  But part of what made the commercial so great was the warm and fuzzy “we are the world” nature of its message.
Classic Coke supported diversity. New Coke defends the arrest of dissidents, and even assists in the arrests. Oh how a mighty brand has fallen.

  Here it is re-worked...

And then there is Coke's new social media campaign, a campaign that bans the word "GAY" and many associated words.

I did several using 'gay' and they were rejected. I then had to try Queerthoughts.  I was one letter short, but we like it anyway!

Coke Can 

If you click on the link above, you can make your own can and deliver a message to Russian President Putin and Coca-Cola.

From Joe My God 


Irony as Lyn McLeod receives Order of Ontario as Premier Wynne watches...

Today the Order of Ontario was given to many people here in Toronto.  One of those to receive the honour was Lyn McLeod, former MPP, cabinet minister and leader of the Ontario Liberal party. She was first elected in 1987 and remained in Queen's Park until 2003.

Lyn McLeod, Ontario
Liberal Leader 1992- 1995
In 1990 the Ontario Liberals were in a mess. They lost the election to Bob Rae, they had several interim leaders in the run-up to the 1992 leadership convention. Ms McLeod was one of the favourites, and won the leadership on the fifth ballot by nine votes.

Following her election as Leader the Liberals, lost some by-elections and the party started to flip flop on policy to attract and or keep more rural voters.  One of the policies she jettisoned was Bill 167, same-sex benefits law. Her party had been supportive but suddenly decided to vote against passing this equality bill.  Something I am sure had David Peterson still been leader the party would not have taken. Ms McLeod however had no doubts about it.

The Ontario Liberal party threw the LGBT communities under the bus for hopeful electoral success. (For the record 12 NDP MPPs also voted against the bill.) The electoral success wasn't there. Due to being seen as flip-flopping on issues, the Liberals went from likely to succeed the NDP in 1995 to losing to Mike Harris and the Progressive Conservatives.

Today Ms McLeod received the Order of Ontario. She was the first woman elected leader of an Ontario political party and served as an MPP for many years. Like Kathleen Wynne, she broke through a historic barrier. I can't imagine what it was like today as Premier Wynne looked on as Lyn McLeod received her Order of Ontario. McLeod aspired to be premier. Turns out, somewhat ironically that Ontario's first woman premier Kathleen Wynne is gay, a member of the community that McLeod found politically expendable.



Oklahoma Judge, Jimmy Fallon and Bruce Springsteen - Sometimes America gets it right!

Two items in the news from the US of A grabbed my attention this morning.  One being the Oklahoma Judge's ruling that slam-dunked the arguments of the right and religious, objections to same-sex marriage.  And then it was Bridgegate. The New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie's staff decided to close down several lanes on the world's busiest bridge as retribution for a Democrat not endorsing the Governor! 
First this ruling from Oklahoma Judge on same-sex (gay) marriage...

From: The New Civil Rights Movement: The last thing most people want to do is read a court ruling. They’re tiresome, filled with legal jargon, footnotes, and all sorts of oddities.
So I did.
Yesterday, United States District Judge Terence C. Kern ruled that Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional because it “violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution” — another huge win for marriage equality.
(We should note he stayed his ruling opening appeal, so Oklahoma same-sex couples can’t marry yet.) And Judge Kern took a sledge hammer to every argument the anti-gay and religious right is using to prevent same-ex couples from marrying. Read more here.
Governor Chris Christie’s “Fort Lee, New Jersey traffic jam
And then this! Last night, Bruce Springsteen appeared with Jimmy Fallon to perform a new version of his own “Born to Run” dedicated to Governor Chris Christie’s “Fort Lee, New Jersey traffic jam.”


Budget accountability

Stephen Harper ran for office to end the corruption and secrecy of the Liberal government. He promised to be open and accountable. He also promised to appoint only elected Senators. We all know how this has turned out.

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister
Open and accountable government has been pushed aside other than talking points which suggest the government is the most open and accountable government in our history.  Lets look at the budget. The budget lays out how the government will raise the money to meet its commitments and how it will spend the money.

Your home budget is fairly straight forward. You have an income source, you have to pay for housing, food, transportation, entertainment and health. Sometimes you need to finance to meet your needs. It could be a mortgage on the house, a car loan, using the credit card or borrow from a friend for unexpected costs or for that special event. As long as you have the same or better level of income, you can make your payments. You know what you can afford to pay.

The federal government is required to do the same. They project the revenue they will raise from us, then tell us how they will spend it.  At least that is the way it use to work. Governments assign money to different envelopes (some of you still do this. Put money in the rent, mortgage or food envelope).  The MP's then vote on the budget after debating each envelope in estimates. The envelopes are bi
g, Health, Indian affairs, Defense, Transportation, etc, you get the idea.

To vote, MPs have to make an informed vote. They need to know where the money will be spent. They can vote to agree, modify or defeat the spending. This no longer happens. Budgets provide very little detail, they are passed purely on partisan positions.
Thomas Mulcair, Opposition Leader

Once the budget is passed in Parliament, the government has authority to raise the money and then spend it. Over the course of the year the government has keep the MPs informed as to how they are doing. That's where things are falling down again. This government often spends money in areas that were not approved. Most of us recall the money approved for border security to fund projects in the Treasury Board President's (Tony Clement) riding.

We only find out how money was spent after the fact, even misappropriated spending. MPs have lost the most important power they once held, the purse strings. It's one thing to have a majority governments MPs support a budget, its another for those MPs to turn their backs on the governments failure to show us exactly where the money is going and how much was spent.

The current government, encouraged by the trend of previous governments, has absolved itself of being accountable.