Sep 192013

Canada's pioneering progressive news site shutting down after 13 years

by Ish Theilheimer, Publisher, Straight Goods News

I'm writing to thank you for your readership of and support for SGNews and to let you know that SGNews is going out of business. The good news is that we are joining forces with the online progresssive news source, rabble.ca. Our two boards of directors have reached an understanding under which rabble.ca will feature all the SGN writers that choose to come over, post our archives, and enjoy our cooperation to build one, strong progressive Canadian news service.

We wish the folks at rabble.ca luck in this difficult work. They face all the same challenges we have dealt with for 13 years. I hope joining forces will strengthen progressive Canadian online news.

At rabble.ca, you will ultimately find almost all the SGN contributors and features you value and more. I certainly hope to contribute as often as I can, though I've got some big writing projects on the go that may make it hard to do so as often as I'd like.

It's hard to say goodbye to a dream, but speaking and writing truth have never been lucrative. We launched in 2000, when online news was new and untested. It was the era of so-called "media convergence," when ultra-rich conservatives like Conrad Black and Rupert Murdoch were creating huge media monopolies designed to flood the public with their right-wing views while  laying waste to the jobs of thousands of reporters and others working in news.

Truth-telling has actually become considerably more difficult since then. The difficulties we had trying to expand the readership and support base for SGNews are very typical of what many others doing serious work encounter on the Web.

I do want to tell you how much I have valued your support and readership. I'm very proud of the work of our outstanding staff and of the national stable of writers who freely contributed to make SGN a great read, week after week. I'm proud to belong to a nation- and world-wide community that includes you and thousands of other caring people who think for themselves and act on what they think and believe. I do hope you'll transfer the kind of loyalty you've shown us to our new partners at rabble.ca.

Your email will be added to rabble.ca's email list of readers, and you'll be hearing from them very soon, with the option to take your name off that list should you choose.

We encourage you and all readers to transfer your support to rabble.ca. You can sign up here.

Thanks again for your faith in SGNews. I will miss you, our writers, and our staff a great deal!

Best regards,

Ish Theilheimer
Publisher, Straight Goods News
Credible. Progressive. Connected.
Jul 222013

Only a worldwide citizens' movement can reverse the rising crisis of inequality.

by Ish Theilheimer

The Marshall Plan was a turning point in modern history, enabling Western Europe to rebuild after World War II.  A dramatic departure from the way victors treated the losers after World War I, the plan had bipartisan support the in the US Congress and bore US Secretary of State George Marshall’s name.

In part, the Marshall plan reflected a widely held belief that the punitive Treaty of Versailles, which required the German people to pay for war damages, led directly to World War II. Certainly, Hitler cited the deprivation and humiliation as pretext for his war.

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Jun 242013

Flash floods may bring reassessment of fossil fuels' true costs.

by Penney Kome

Last Thursday, rising flood water overwhelmed Calgary as suddenly as an earthquake. Wednesday’s torrential rainfall seemed to be just another instance of Calgary’s skies dumping a month’s worth of precipitation in one day. But then the rain continued on Thursday too — and, says a CBC report,  the combination of still frozen ground in the mountains, saturated soil, and water’s tendency to run downhill led to a flood that paralyzed Canada’s fifth largest city

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Jun 172013

Canadians disgusted by perks, luxuries for our ‘leaders’.

by Ish Theilheimer

Ostentatious misuse of privilege and entitlement is corroding our faith in Canada's most important institutions. The wealthy and powerful few who run things live in a world most Canadians can't fathom, a world of perks, parties, bonuses, honoraria, expense claims and luxuries beyond the imaginations of most of us at our most covetous.

Every once in a while, the veils drop. Right now, what's on display is pretty shocking.

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Jun 132013
Obama with soldier.

President calls off War on Terror, forswears military force authority.

by Penney Kome

“America is at a crossroads,” US President Barack Obama said on May 23, in a speech that clearly stated his intention to end the US’s state of perpetual war, and to achieve that result at least partly by using drones. As I wrote in Drones: re-inventing war, drones are the key to changing international conflict from being hellishly bloody and expensive mass combat, to being intensely focused violence in a specific area for a short time — that is, policing.

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Jun 102013

Meanwhile, Conservatives push another anti-union bill through a private member.

by Ish Theilheimer

Although new Liberal leader Justin Trudeau claims to stand for some "new" sort of politics, he badly damaged his brand on the weekend defending Liberal Senator Mac Harb. Although an independent audit found Harb filed false claims worth more than $50,000, claiming he likes in Westmeath, ON and that his Ottawa home was a travel expense, Trudeau told Global News he will "absolutely" welcome Harb back to the Liberal caucus once his expense problems are dealt with.

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Jun 032013

Canada needs sustainable future without brutish resource exploitation.

by Ish Theilheimer

Canada, in the Harper years, has become a world leader in something with far more serious consequences than patronage and phony government expense claim scandals — rapacious resource exploitation.

How ironic that a country once seen as a solver of world problems is now increasingly seen as a cause of them! Our Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers often travel to the United States and Europe (as Stephen Harper and his resource minister Joe Oliver respectively did last month) to hector the world in support of frying the planet.

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May 272013

Canadians should keep a close eye on whom the PM appoints next.

by Ish Theilheimer

Richard Nixon accomplished many things in his life, but he will be most remembered for the words "I am not a crook." This is Framing Error Number 1. To deny is to confirm.

The ghost of Nixon has been busy in Canada of late. Hear his echo in the words of Senators Duffy, Wallin, and Harb: "I did not cheat on my expense claims."

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May 202013

Canadians expect PM to act on his 2005 vow that cheaters go to prison.

by Ish Theilheimer

The Senate expense claim scandal keeps getting worse, and we've probably only seen and smelt the tip of the excrement-berg.

First, the public learned that two nationally-known and once-respected TV journalists Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin stooped to bilk taxpayers for tens of thousands of dollars in addition to their six-figure salaries for the "taskless thank" of being appointed to the patronage hall-of-fame, the Canadian Senate.

Next, evidence revealed that Duffy was also double-dipping. He billed both the Conservative Party of Canada and the Senate for campaign travel in the 2011 federal election.

Then came the topper: news that the Prime Minister's wealthy chief of staff, Nigel Wright, gave Duffy $90,000 out of his own pocket — even though the two barely knew each other — so Duffy could make restitution and make the problem go away. As we know, it didn't. Instead, Wright  resigned as chief of staff in the quiet of the Victoria Day long-weekend.

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May 132013
Justin Trudeau.

Bangladesh, Senate expenses among unavoidable 'divisive' issues.

by Ish Theilheimer

In the afterglow of his leadership romp, his fundraising achievements, soaring poll numbers and even YouTube hits for clips of him in SGNews videos, Justin Trudeau mania is clearly in full swing. Last week he even came to Renfrew, in my part of Canada, and filled a Legion hall. It's been a long time since a Liberal filled a Legion hall here.  The man is clearly a phenomenon.

How long the glow will last remains to be seen, but he has shown a lot of smarts in getting this far and avoiding really tough questions and situations. Contrary to the "lightweight" handle he carried before the leadership race, he has come to be seen as canny if not sly in avoiding taking positions that will only cause what he calls "divisiveness."

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