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New European report on anti-semitism is shocking, but for different reasons

Warsaw GazaThe British government has commissioned a shocking new report from the European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism (EISCA) which among other things argues that the law should be changed so that political commentators cannot draw comparisons between the actions of the Israeli state and those of Nazi Germany.

Antony Lerman writes:

“If you said ‘the way the IDF operated in Gaza was like the way the SS acted in Poland’ and a Jew found this offensive, hurtful or harmful, you could, in theory, go to jail.”

However that is neither the most shocking or hypocritical aspect of this report.  No, that prize goes to the section of the report which argues that one of the ways antisemitism is manifested is by:

“Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation”

Israel and the United States, of course, both permit and praise the Israeli military as well as Israel’s “sovereign right to defend itself” (source, source, source) while at the same time requiring and expecting the Palestinian government to renounce violence and agree never to develop a military (source, source, source).

To read The Guardian‘s fantastic piece on this report, click here.

Now available: The 2009 Canadian federal election projection model

Federal election projection model

Paulitics is proud to present the free, downloadable Paulitics Projection Model.

Paulitics was the #1 most accurate election forecaster for the 2007 Ontario Provincial election and the Paulitics Projection Model was able to accurately predict 96% of all 2008 federal election results*. This powerful tool is now available at your finger tips for free.

You may download it by clicking the button below.

Please note: Once you download the document, you will see a prompt asking you whether you would like to allow “macros” or not. You must click “allow macros” for the program to work.

download

This program operates on Microsoft Excel. It has been tested and proven to work on Microsoft Excel 2003 and Microsoft Excel 2007 (for Windows Vista). The program should work on earlier versions of Excel, but it has not been tested on these earlier versions. If you have any questions or problems running the program, please feel free to post a comment below.

___________________

*Based on entering the 2008 election result data into the 2006 projection model.

Israel solidifies its control over web 2.0

A while back here at Paulitics, I discussed the campaign by the Israel lobby to pay university students to agree with Israel in classroom discussions, university clubs and in rallies.

This programme and the overwhelmingly pro-Israel North American (and, to a lesser extent, European) media coverage were however not enough for the powerful and extremely well organized lobby.  The Israeli lobby then created a desktop application called “Megaphone” about which many political commentators still remain blissfully unaware.  Megaphone serves as a syphoning tool which has the power to instantly send pro-Israel activists flooding into any online discussion, web poll or other forum where Israel is being discussed in order to grossly unbalance the discussion thus creating the impression among Internet users that Israel’s support is both much wider and deeper than it actually is.  However, as frightening and undemocratic as these two operations were, they pale in comparison to what the government of Israel is doing now in terms of making “crimestop” a reality.

The Israeli press is now reporting that, in addition to the considerable influence of the Israeli lobby, the government of Israel has decided to marshal its state treasury to the cause further unbalancing the already obscenely unbalanced debate over Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories.  The government of Israel will now directly pay pro-Israeli agents and bloggers to infiltrate online discussions, message boards, online newspaper comments et cetera with a ubiquitously pro-Israel, anti-Palestinian message.

UntitledIn the original Paulitics post on StandWithUs.org, I commented on their Orwellian use of doves and other peace imagery despite the fact that Israel has steadfastly rejected international law which calls for the right of all refugees to return to their homes and the Geneva conventions which proscribe against the acquisition of land through military conquest.  I can now without reservation say that I was dead wrong in my initial estimation of the situation.  Calling the initial programmes “Orwellian” does a disservice to the now genuinely Orwellian levels of deception and subterfuge being engaged in directly by the state.

On the bright side, however, if all of the favourable and unballanced meainstream media coverage; an impressive array of applications and an intimidating lobby group are together not enough to secure Israel’s outright hegemony, then there surely is hope that the illegal Israeli occupation is unsustainable.

Liberal Party supporters are least likely to believe their party shares their values: poll

A while back, the Strategic Counsel released a poll that managed to slip passed my attention until just now (source).

Many of the findings are fairly banal, however I was surprised to discover this one particularly interesting finding.  It turns out that of the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and Bloc Québécois; Liberal Party supporters are the least likely to believe that their own party shares their values.

party shares your values

I’m not quite sure what that means.  Is it an indication that the Liberals are a “big tent” with people with many divergent ideas all peacefully coexisting together?  Or, does it mean that the Liberals have alienated their own supporters more than any other party and thus their supporters are tending to support them not because they agree with their policies but rather simply as a way of punishing some other party?

I’ll leave that for you to decide on your own.  But either way, this would suggest to me that the normal data on the relative ‘softness’ of each party’s support conceals something very interesting happening with the Liberals.

Thunder Bay economy will still get a major boost, despite best efforts of federal Conservatives

Bombardier1About eight days ago John Baird, the Conservative Infrastructure Minister, gave his second figurative “F— you” to struggling workers in Thunder Bay, Ontario.  This gesture comes in addition to his literal “F— you” to Toronto mayor David Miller earlier this month.

(Yes, he actually said “F—“.)

David Miller, who has been lobbying for a $300 million stimulus package from the federal government, last week had his request officially denied by the Harper government.  The City of Toronto had plans to spend the more than $300 million in stimulus money to offset the cost of purchasing 204 Bombardier LRVs which were to be built in Thunder Bay, ON — one of the hardest hit cities in Canada in terms of employment rates and property value.

BombardierWhat adds even more insult to injury is that the reason the federal government gave for denying the $300 million wasn’t that it was too great a sum.  Indeed the figure is exactly equal to Toronto’s share of the federal stimulus package.  Instead, the Conservatives argued that Toronto can’t get the $300 million federal assistance in buying 204 Bombardier trains BECAUSE the money will be spent predominantly in Thunder Bay and not Toronto.  The federal Conservatives, in short, were trying to fight to stop federal money from being spent in Thunder Bay.

Just to reiterate: the Harper conservatives are trying to stop $300 million from being spent in Thunder Bay because they would rather see the money spent in Toronto on several small projects despite the wishes of the mayor of Toronto and the Toronto City Council.

None of this, so far, is new news.

What is news, however, is that the Thunder Bay economy will still be getting this major boost despite the best efforts of the federal conservatives.  While Baird and the federal Conservative Party seem perfectly willing to play political games with this struggling Northern Ontario community — to say nothing of TTC public transit users in Toronto — the reports which began last week are now confirmed and the purchase of the 204 Bombardier LRVs has been made official.   In order to keep its intended purchase with the Thunder Bay Bombardier plant, the Toronto City Council was forced to cancel six large-scale capital infrastructure projects scheduled for all around Toronto.

While the prospects of being a Conservative candidate in Toronto are never particularly good, I certainly would not want to be a Thunder Bay Conservative candidate in the next federal election and have to explain that one to the voters.  Come to think of it, I also really wouldn’t want to be a Liberal candidate and have to explain why Thunder Bay-ites should vote for my party which voted to support the Conservative government and and keep them in power through confidence vote after confidence vote.

Sources:

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/657018

http://www.thestar.com/article/656267

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20090609/Baird_Toronto_090609/20090609?hub=TopStories

http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/toronto/archive/2009/06/30/ding-ding-toronto-orders-its-bombardier-streetcars.aspx

Happy ‘the-country-I-was-born-in-is-the-best-country-on-earth’ Day

NationalismThis week marks the newly-proclaimed “Sovereignty Day” in Iraq (June 30), Canada Day here in Canada (July 1), and the Fourth of July celebrations in the United States.

I’ve always thought that it was the most fortunate of happenstance that, throughout history, most people who believe Canada to be the best nation on earth just happen to have been born in Canada; most people who believe England to be the best were born in England; most people who believe France to be the best, were born in France and so on and so forth.  The Americans are actually the luckiest of all in this regard since not only do a majority of them believe they live in the best country on Earth, but a recent poll found that a supermajority (61%) of Americans also believe that God — the putative creator of the universe, heaven and hell — has literally blessed their country specifically and has not similarly blessed any other country in the world (or universe?).

In honour of these august nationalist occasions, it is worth sharing some of my favourite quotes on nationalism and patriotism.

~

Shaw“Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior because you were born in it.”
-George Bernard Shaw

“Q: If you find so much that is unworthy of reverence in the United States, then why do you live here?
A: Why do men go to zoos?”
-H.L. Mencken

“Nationalism is an infantile disease.  It is the measles of mankind.”
-Albert Einstein

“A nation is a society united by a delusion about its ancestry and by a common hatred of its neighbours.”
-William Ralph Inge

“Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist J. Krishnamurtidictatorship… Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.”
-Hermann Goering (Nazi party official)

“When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? It is because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.
-J. Krishnamurti

“The Communists are further reproached with desiring to abolish countries and nationality. The working men have no country. We cannot take Douglasfrom them what that have not got.”
-Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto

“Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear — kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor — with the cry of grave national emergency.  Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded.  Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real.”
-U.S. General Douglas MacArthur, 1957

BREAKING NEWS: This morning, right-wing forces staged a coup d’état in Honduras

Paulitics breaking news 3

Honduras protestersReports are coming in from multiple press outlets that right-wing forces have staged a military coup d’état against the democratically-elected leftist president of Honduras, Jose Manuel Zelaya.

After Zelaya’s election in 2005, Honduras joined the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, a progressive international cooperation organization which is also known by its Spanish acronym “ALBA”.  ALBA (which also means “dawn” in Spanish) is an international cooperation agreement Hondurasdesigned as an alternative to the U.S.-backed neo-liberal Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).  It was largely because of opposition to the FTAA from countries like Honduras, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Dominica, Nicaragua and Cuba (all of which are now ALBA members) that the U.S.-backed FTAA failed.

The coup comes as Zelaya was expected to win a popular referrendum allowing him to stand for re-election in 2010 by removing term limits for the office of the President.  The Honduran Supreme Court and military have both declared the vote by the people of Honduras to be unconstitutional.

Currently, heads of government in most advanced democracies including Canada, France, the UK, Germany, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Israel, India and Japan all have no term limits.

Unlike the US-backed coup d’état attempt in Venezuela in 2002, so far, there is no direct evidence of direct US involvement in this Honduran military coup despite the long-standing support and training that the United States has provided to the Honduran military.  It will be interesting to see whether the Obama administration — long fallaciously thought to be leftist and progressive — will stand on the side of democracy and the people of Honduras or whether he will side with the military junta.

Texas soldiers train Honduran military

This is not the first time the Honduran military has been used as a right-wing force to overthrow a surging democratic leftist popular movement.  In fall 1963, the Honduaran military overthrew the leftist government of Dr. Ramón Villeda Morales and then ruled as a US-backed military junta until the early 1980s when power was finally transferred to a US-backed civilian administration.

Noam Chomsky notes that the US involvement in Honduaras has been a bloody affair both before, during and after the period of military rule in the 1960s and 70s.  Chomsky writes:

“Congress compelled the [Reagan] administration to state repeatedly that the human rights condition was improving not only in Guatemala but in El Salvador and Honduras so that the US could continue to support the regimes.”
-Noam Chomsky, Rogue States, p. 94

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/06/28/honduras.president.arrested/index.html
http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/06/28/honduras-zelaya-arrested.html
http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE55R0US20090628

Bloggers everywhere: 2; Ipsos Reid: 0

John Wright has issued a semi-substantive response to the corpus of data presented here on this blog.

Unfortunately for Mr. Wright, as he continued talking he revealed far more than he intended.  Now that he has been talking, he seems to have stumbled headfirst into what I believe is a contradiction against himself and I invite my readers to think critically for themselves about whether they share in this analysis.

In one of his initial comments here at Paulitics, John Wright claimed that the source for his polling data was “Elections Canada”.  The suggestion was, of course, that his data integrity was superior to mine and that therefore his numbers should also be more valid.  At the time that he wrote this, I thought it was a bit strange since I was unaware of Elections Canada publishing or even keeping a database of polls released by private polling firms.  I even did a search of the Elections Canada website, and found that in the last 12 months, Elections Canada hasn’t published a single article containing the word “Ipsos”.

However, Mr. Wright gave me enough material to respond to that I just let it be.  While I knew that it was unlikely, I also knew that it was certainly not impossible that I could be missing some polls from 2009 and thus I asked him for the first time to provide his source.  This week Mr. Wright is now claiming his source as nodice.ca and that his source this whole time has been not just 2009 polls but also some 2008 polls (presumably also from nodice.ca).

(makes Scooby-Doo “Ruh-roh” sound)

This is a big problem for Mr. Wright as nodice.ca contains nowhere even close to an exhaustive list of all polls.

The Paulitics Polling Resource and Wikipedia both documented a total 33 polls between the start of 2009 and when this whole episode blew up (two new polls have since been released, neither of which is by Ipsos Reid).  At only 12 polls, Nodice has less than half of all the polls conducted in 2009 and this is the source John Wright has been using (in addition to 2008 polls which I haven’t analysed once yet, but which I would be happy to take a look at.

Mr. Wright then states a complete and demonstrable falsehood.  He writes that

In the last of our 4 polls the NDP have been in the lower range (running 14-15 points) with EKOS and Harris Decima roughly the same and the others at the higher end. This is when Paulitics made the calculations. But just previous to that are 4 of our polls with the NDP running between 18-19 points. [emphasis added] (source)

Below is a list of the last four polls Ipsos Reid released in 2008.  See for yourself if the last four of Ipsos’s 2008 polls all have the NDP “running between 18-19 points”

Last four Ipsos Reid polls, 2008

If anybody is interested in seeing for themselves, the published sources for these four polls can be found here, here, here and here.  Furthermore, the October 9th, 2008 Ipsos Reid poll, even though it shows the NDP at 18 percent is actually still an outlier because it comes directly before a Nanos, Angus and Ekos trifecta of polls which put the NDP at an average of 20%; and it came on the same day as Segma poll which put the NDP at 21%, a Nanos poll which put the NDP at 22%, and an Ekos poll which put the NDP at 19% (source).

Finally, Mr. Wright again attempts to reiterate his claim that taking the unweighted averages of several unevenly-weighted averages is not problemmatic despite multiple, solid, irrefutable proofs to the contrary.  Mr. Wright also attempts to argue that his method of calculating averages is “perfectly legit and pretty much what the original author [i.e. me, Paul] did with his handful of polls in his charts.” (source)

I am truly sorry John, but this “new math” method calculating averages is neither legitimate nor has it been used by me.  Furthermore, since I’ve demonstrated why this technique is not “perfectly legit”, I think this argument is just a particularly sad attempt to attack the messenger when the data and the arguments presented here speak for themselves.

So, to reiterate:

  1. Mr. Wright seems to have forgotten his original source for 2009 polls (originally it was elections canada, now he says it’s nodice.ca)
  2. Mr. Wright then admits that his numbers are actually based on a database (nodice.ca) that contains less than 50% of the pertinent data
  3. (perhaps because of this) Mr. Wright has been unable to provide a single poll which I have missed in my data.
  4. Mr. Wright then demonstrates a shocking lack of knowledge about the polls that his own firm released in late 2008.
  5. Mr. Wright then proved unable to articulate a single methodological fault in any of my analyses.
  6. Mr. Wright then admits that he has supplemented his 2009 data with 2008 polls
  7. Mr. Wright then reiterates once again that taking the unweighted averages of several unevently-weighted averages is not problemmatic despite multiple instances in which I have provided mathematical proof to the contrary

I’ll tell you, Mr. Wright is the gift that keeps on giving.  Swing and a miss, Mr. Wright, swing and a miss.

Multimedia: A new Paulitics resource

While I take a short break before posting a final reply to Ipsos Reid (hopefully tonight), do feel free to take a look at the newest Paulitics resource — Multimedia — which is now up and running.

It currently has powerful full-length documentaries, alternative progressive media sources, inspiring audio and visual speeches and programmes as well as free live TV news from the Canadian CPAC channel and Al Jazeera English.

Feel free to watch it by clicking below or clicking on the icon in the sidebar.

As always, comments are always welcome and appreciated.


Resources:

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