Saturday, December 20, 2014

UKIP's quips

Ah, I believe we're a familiar with this sort of problem with our ReformatoryCons, who are basically now required to think only in verbatim PMO talking points.
Nigel Farage is cracking down on Ukip supporters’ social media activity after a series of scandals over racist comments. The party has changed its constitution to prevent unauthorised use of the Ukip logo by supporters, members and officials, while Ukip’s chairman has warned those tempted to join Twitter: “My advice: just don’t.”
A rather scary lesson from Canada is that if UKIP can actually tighten up its game, a merger with the Conservatives is just over the horizon. I don't think there's anyway UKIP can break a certain percentage threshold without at least finding an ally. Be interesting to see how this plays out...

Friday, December 19, 2014

OK, cupboard

Well, we had to know that at some point the man would have to account for his cupboardliness in the face of danger. The excuses, sorry, reasons are apparently as follows.

1. His MPs hustled him away and stashed him with the mops and things.

2. The RCMP trained him to hide.

3. He's gets to see all the intelligence that no one else does so he alone understands the nature of the threats he faces and hid accordingly.

4. And lastly, he's simply too important to die.
"One of the things you try and do is conceal yourself if you can, but obviously the best situation is to exit," Harper said, adding the goal is for the prime minister to be able to continue to run the government.
Well, on the first and second counts, maybe. But then that suggests, especially in the context of third and fourth counts, the rest of his MPs and staff are, shall we say, expendable. Pity he didn't bother to share his apparently unique knowledge of threats with the rest of his caucus or the Oppositon. Not important enough, I guess.

None of that changes the fact that he hid in the cupboard while his peers faced death and he is now making excuses. 




Monday, December 15, 2014

Sydney cafe hostage: They called the army?

One gunman holding hostages in cafe. This is the exactly the sort of civilian problem that police tactical unites train for the world over and partly what's behind the rise of the warrior cop. In Australia, however, early reports indicate the cafe hostage situation was resolved by an army tactical unit (BBC is reporting RAR, which has a commando battalion but who knows, it could be SASR).  If true, one wonders why the army was brought in. One scenario comes to mind.

The hostage-taker had Islamist banners and such, making the Australian government or authorities regard it a military problem given the at this time nebulous links to Daesh/ISIS. 

Truly bizarre. The aftermath?

1. Linking a comparatively minor civilian event to problems in the Middle-East causes the powers-that-be in Australia to put troops on the streets. Nice work, there.

2. If true, much of the rationale for the New South Wales Police having a tactical capability (very much on display in the news footage) just vanished because violent hostage takings involving civilians are now an Australian military matter. So much for the warrior-cop, eh?

Osama bin Laden couldn't have dreamed this.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

NEB: Rubber-stamping pipelines and boasting about it

Hostile to the public interest. Conservative Party agent. Oil sector agent. In league with Satan. Pick your description, either the formerly respectable National Energy Board, which you pay for, will not help you understand and possibly object to an oil or gas development in your neighbourhood.

Fascism. Now read this.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Con clumsiness

Oh for crying out loud.

Canada's Special Economic Measures Regulations against Iran state that "it is prohibited for any person in Canada and any Canadian outside Canada to … provide or acquire any financial services to, from or for the benefit of, or on the direction or order of Iran or any person in Iran." Shahrooz said it seems that some banks are interpreting the sanctions harshly, essentially applying them to anyone who has a connection to Iran — be it a residence, citizenship or even travel.  "That's a fairly aggressive reading of the legislation. It actually captures people who I don't think Canadian legislators ever intended to capture," he said.
The Canadian 'legislators' who came up with this regulation are vindictive pricks and I'd be unsurprised to learn they are well pleased with themselves over how aggressively and broadly their little bitty rulz are applied.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Out there, in the Harpercarnage

Oh, cupboardly man, I would not want to be in your shoes.

Here's the deal. As former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page put it at a talk in Victoria a couple of years ago, he's untouchable. Mr. Page lost a son, and in his mind there was nothing you or your minions could do to him after that experience that would hurt him.

Major Mark Campbell is a very capable man maimed beyond most people's comprehension on a mission you sent him. You've made him angry because you fucked him and his soldiers out of care and compensation for their wounds.

When the enemy blew away half his body, you turned around kicked the other half. You didn't support him or his brothers and sisters. You didn't withdraw them when you decided the war was pointless, and 51 were killed after that point and I don't know how many wounded. And you've cut compensation so they will spend their days 'managing' sort-of with their disabilities and horrors. What does that make you, if after the enemy has their go at the troops, you take a shot at them when they return? Seriously, what do you think that makes you?

Here's the thing: If you keep hurting people, taking things away from them, they eventually reach a point where they have much less to lose and far more to gain by taking you down. A person who can lose half their body in combat and still keep fighting is not someone you want to dick around.

Forget the useless Opposition, it'll be Maj. Campbell or someone like him who will destroy your government through the courts or the election circuit or some other very Canadian means. 

Cupboardly man, you and I don't know who you're fucking with out there.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Talking tough

The cupboardly man is talking tough regarding two regions of the world with the potential to blow-up. Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Palestine are flirting with major war and insurrection.

Our PM may think it is low risk to mouth-off to Putin or declare some kind of weird love for right-wing Israeli governments, but sometime in the next year or three he could find himself facing requests to back-up his words with actions.

He ought to shut-up and tread carefully.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Soft targets and red herrings

The mentally questionable individual who posed as a decorated jumper from the RCR is a soft target and irrelevant. The scorn presently being heaped on him from military circles is unsurprising, but Mr. Gervais is a red herring. Stephen Harper has worn unearned RCAF wings and members of his government has appeared in uniforms complete with rank and unit insignia, not to mention received unentitled salutes.

The military members and police, serving and former, crying blasphemy at some random civilian might ask themselves if they are also willing to heap the same vitriol on the politicians who do likewise and cause real harm for veterans, not their simulcrum.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Interstellar

Interstellar is an interesting revision of the same themes apparent in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Time features large and the idea of literally warping time is now theoretically possible. The vastness and complexity of the universe, or multiverses are increasingly known to us. We have devices in space now that can look at the some of the oldest light in the universe. We have caused a particle to exist in two places at once.

And yet, despite all of this knowledge about our position in spacetime, that is our position in existence, we cling to old fears and identities. We still scream at each across lines on maps, or colours of skin, or whatever confabulations tell us we are somehow divisible from each other like fire and water, not beings made of the same matter as the stars around us.

What we are so much more than we claim to be.

Canada and Australia, alone in the world

G20 Summit lead-up, 2020

The world was not shocked today when the remaining G20 countries declined to extend meeting invitations to Canada and Australia over their stance on climate change. The intransigent position on fossil fuels taken by the national governments of these two countries distrupted last year's summit as the other G20 nations all but finalised a new energy agenda. An unidentified official from Japan suggested that Canada and Australia were excluded for both their roles as fossil fuel producers and that the main goal of this year's meeting was the finalise binding commitments on clean energy production across the G20.

The French foreign minister went even further, saying bluntly that the two countries were harmful to the G20 and a danger to the future of the Earth and said that if their over-leveraged economies were not already in steep decline due to the loss of major international markets for coal and oil and the maquiladorisation of the Canadian labour market, sanctions would be an option. "In five years or less, their economy will collapse anyway because nobody buys dirty fuel," the minister said to reporters.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Putin and Ensign Teal

Apparently, they've had a bit of chat.
Putin approached Harper and stuck out his hand. Harper responded: “Well, I guess I’ll shake your hand, but I only have one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine.”
“Mr. Putin did not respond positively,” said MacDonald but declined to offer further details or whether there were similar comments by other leaders there.
I wonder if the Russian leader said something like, "Or you'll do what? Tweet?"  Canada has zero capacity to leverage or pressure Russia on its own and our contribution to any NATO or international response in military strategic terms is negligible. We are insignificant in this regard.

In pre-Conservative days, there might well have been a role for Canada as a quiet mediator and broker of deals aimed at avoid disastrous confrontation. Macho talk is childish and absurdly counterproductive. This country has no independent means of backing up tough words and effectively must hide behind NATO and NORAD collective security agreements should something more serious that rhetoric transpire.

High noon in Ch√Ęteauguay

Good lord.

The police officers in the municipality — located on Montreal’s south shore — donned their new uniforms today, complete with cowboy boots, dark cowboy hats pinned with a sheriff’s badge, and lapel badges shaped like stars. They are protesting against Bill 3, a bill tabled by the Quebec government in June that would see municipal workers’ pension plans reformed.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Abbot and Harper: expended energy

The uncomfortable and awkward weirdness that are the combination of the dudebromate Australian PM and the spiteful vacuum of anti-humanity that is the Canadian PM when they're together results in some profound stupidity. 

In Canada, the falling price of oil and the approaching cost parity of renewable and green energy, in addition the really big energy consumers making climate deals, is making the prospect of Canada tarsand energy superpower status ever dimmer. In Australia, where the PM is all about the coal, things are also looking a little less lucrative.


Still, these two clowns insist on leveraging their national economies on increasingly unviable energy sources because they hate hippies or something. Good luck with that.

Especially, because approaching just over the horizon is the destroyer of fossil and conventional nuclear energy world.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

BNP tries to do Remembrance Day. Fails.

This is hilarious.

The British National Party (BNP) suffered an embarrassing slip-up after tweeting a Remembrance Day reminder a day late. The far-right group posted the message at 6.50am this morning before apologising and deleting the tweet.
I understand how the nationalism they like in the struggle against their Hitler might confound them a little.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Diktats from the cupboard

CBC is reporting that at the last minute the cupboardly-man got that idea that Canada should make a claim on the North Pole. Which specific North Pole, he didn't say.

It is hard enough if you've ever had the misfortune to work for someone who operates like this. Last minute changes happen, and some overactive leaders get panicky near deadlines,  keeping everyone stressed.

However, requesting a last minute paragraph change or something similar is very different from demanding lawyers and civil servants craft an argument for Canada to radically redraw its geographic boundaries to include the most significant geographic feature on the planet. A move, as the article points out, that has massive geopolitical repercussions.

Sectionable, he is.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Pay no attention to the liar in the cupboard

Nothing demonstrates cowardice in a politician as much as attempting to sneak things, which should be completely public, past the citizenry in a clandestine fashion intended to hide the truth.
Boris laid the groundwork here.

Why is the coward bearing the title "prime minister" so hell-bent on sole-sourcing the F-35? BECAUSE HE'S MADE A DEAL HE HASN'T TOLD YOU ABOUT. He's hiding something - he always is!

A little more for you.

F-35iness

Aviation Week is reporting that it has evidence showing Canada has asked for a switcheroo with four formerly US-bound production F-35s so that Canada would receive these airframes next year.

Four isn't anywhere near the total figure of 65 that was in play before the Conservatives were embarrassed into rebooting the fighter procurement process so that it was in line with Canadian legal requirement for a competitive procurement process.

The Aviation Week report, if accurate, suggests the Conservatives are still trying to somehow game the procurement process to favour that annoying little aeroplane from Lockheed Martin. 

I'm sure the lawyers at Dassault, Boeing, Eurofighter, and Saab are watching this very closely indeed.



Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Oil prices and the future of the middle-east

Part of the cost of US fracking and rise of renewables is the growing irrelevance of the oil producing countries of the middle-east and the appalling scale of violence that may follow in these places.

This would happen anyway as production peaked in Saudi Arabia and the other OPEC states in the region, but the appearance of alternative energy sources means that the rest of the world will carry on instead of run out of energy.

The past decade of violence and the recent rise of ISIS might pale in comparison to what happens should unrest spread to places like Saudi Arabia as oil revenues fall and people retreat into the false security of religion and ideology. This could just be early days.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"Straining" Kuwait? Really Canadian Press?

There's a Canadian Press piece on CBC announcing the arrival of RCAF fighter-bombers in Kuwait tonight.
Canadian warplanes have taken up position in Kuwait, a country straining to hold back the tide of Islamic extremism from its borders.
"[S]training"? A few lines later we learn it is actually more of a "debate" in Kuwait about something happening a very long way away on the other side of a mass of heavily armed Shia militias and the Iraqi Army.
With Islamic State fighters on the outskirts of Baghdad, about 600 kilometres away, much of the debate in the tiny country is about how much of a security threat is posed by the extremist movement, and also whether it is a long-term political danger.
 Incidently, the Canadian government travel advisory service notice on Kuwait reads:
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Kuwait. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to crime and the general threat of terrorist attacks.
 Just for fun I looked up the UK travel advisory service notice for Canada.
There is a general threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. You should monitor media reports and remain vigilant.
How 'bout that, eh?

Leading from the cupboard

You and I don't know precisely what went on in the Conservative's caucus room last week. That said, the information we do hvae suggests that when the gunfire was heard, a good number of Tory MPs acted swiftly to barricade the doors and create makeshift weapons to defend against whatever lethal violence might come through them. Gunfire indicates a very real risk to life and those who took action in that room might legitimately be said to to have risked their lives to defend their colleagues. There are few actions we humans hold in higher regard.

However, one prominent MP seems to have found it more convenient to locate himself in a storage cupboard.

Now, it's a perfectly normal and evolutionarily helpful instinct to hide in fear of your life when violence closes in, and I personally cannot fault most people for it. However, most people are not political leaders who have made it their thing to militarise foreign policy and turn an otherwise serviceable peace-creating nation into a "warrior-nation" and deploy military forces on combat missions where they die.  It's this point that sticks in the craw.

Maybe it's a truism that politicians who send soldiers to die in optional wars end up being found hiding in small spaces when the shooting gets closer to them.

Indeed. It's not hard to read his life as one spent in hiding. Hiding from the Opposition when scandals and coalitions were proposed. Hiding behind the certainty of ideology. Hiding from the press. Hiding from questions in Question Period with his scripted answers. Hiding in the loo at international meetings. Hiding behind a trained voice and rhetoric. Hiding behind an emotionless face. Hiding behind specs that hide the eyes.  Hiding behind the boys in short-pants. Hiding behind the protections of his Office. Hiding behind power.

You know, I don't think we've ever had such an emotionally troubled Prime Minister hiding in plain sight.