Friday, October 31, 2008
Since I have dual citizenship, I have the pleasure of obsessing over two federal election choices rather than one. I didn't expect to be voting in Canada this fall, what with the "fixed election date". Maybe that's what distracted me.
That vote was a couple weeks ago -- then I turned my mind to the American election. I realized just after the Canadian vote that I still didn't have my US documents. Phoning them, I found that my registration was only good for two years and had lapsed. But their professional and easy to use website (congratulations Hennepin County!) enabled me to get the registration forms, fill them out, get my lawyer to testify that yes, I was me, and fax in the registration.
Very efficient. The fax went out at 2 PM, I had the ballot and instructions four hours later, by E-mail.
But of course I couldn't vote by E-mail. So I carefully filled out the ballot, researching one candidate I had never heard of, and rushed off downtown to courier my vote to Minneapolis.
It's gone, it might be in the air now, it should be in their hands Monday. A great weight is off my mind. This is possibly the most important vote I will cast in my lifetime.
I must say that when I had marked the ballot and before I sealed it in its envelope, I kissed the paper, as though blessing a carrier pigeon before turning it loose. Sappy, sentimental? Maybe. So what's your point? I do this every time.
Fly. Be free.
Dear Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General of British Columbia :
It's been over a year now already - just get the fuck on with it.
This is, what, the second postponement? What's the hold-up?
"... prosecutors weren't able to meet that deadline because the material received from RCMP investigators was deemed incomplete, with a required report on the use of deadly force missing."
"RCMP investigators have taken more than a year to provide Crown with the material needed to decide whether any or all of the four officers involved should be charged with Dziekanski's death."
Well, it's worked for them before :
October 2006: "The case against a Prince George RCMP officer accused of having sex with underage prostitutes is thrown out by an internal disciplinary tribunal — comprised of three RCMP officers from out of province — because the force failed to bring allegations against the constable in a timely fashion.
Under the RCMP Act, a commanding officer must launch a disciplinary hearing within one year of becoming aware of an officer's alleged misconduct. "
The Justice for Robert Dziekanski Petition
[Your name here]
Update : Over 2000 signatures so far! Nice going, guys.
Please pass it on.
Thanks to Troy's Scribbles and Beijing York at Resettle THIS! for doing so.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
"Pointing out the imminent droughts in the southwestern United States caused by climate change, [former US Ambassador to Canada] Paul Cellucci raised the idea of constructing huge aqueducts to carry Canadian water south of the border.Yes, we already covered that Montreal Economic Institute report back here, Paul :
He added that "to some extent, fresh water is a renewable resource," and that this opinion is shared by a recent report by the Montreal Economic Institute."
The chairman of the board of the Montreal Economic Institute, the 'independent non-profit' so keen on privatizing and exporting Canadian water, is Helene Desmarais. Helene Desmarais is married to Paul Desmarais Jr., co-CEO of Power Corporation of Canada and board member of GDF Suez, a multinational corporation that is a world leader in water privatization.
So. Not entirely arm's length then.
GDF Suez recently spun off its water equities into Suez Environnement Company, now Europe's 2nd largest private water management corp, in which it maintains a 35% controlling interest.
Meanwhile, we learn Paris is the latest city to reverse this trend and take action to put water back into public hands.
Is the Water Privatization Trend Ending? is an interesting article about Suez, "corruption, fraudulent accounting practices, and high prices", and the EU's attempt "to impose the worldwide privatisation of water and other public services through the WTO".
"In the 1990s many countries privatised their water and sanitation services, particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America, under strong pressure from neo-liberal governments, particularly in the European Union (EU), and from international financial institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to 'open up' national services.
The biggest beneficiaries were Suez and Veolia."
Oh yeah, by all means bring on that Canada-EU Free Trade Agreement with its "deep economic integration negotiations", so enthusistically touted by French President Sarkozy, currently also in rotation as President of the EU, as he awarded France's highest honour to Paul Desmarais Sr. ten days ago as thanks for helping him to become president.
In 2006, Mr. Cellucci suggested "that water should be included in the same category as other natural resources exported as Canadian commodities on the open market," an opinion also shared by the Montreal Economic Institute.
Stick it, Paul.
Cross-posted at Creekside
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Because I don't believe the Canadian government has any significant relevance to anything other than the op-ed pages of Canadian newspapers in this day and age.
Bay Street is controlled by Wall Street. The Lester B. Pearson Building is ruled by Foggy Bottom. The Finance and Treasury Departments are comptrolled by the IMF and The World Bank. International Trade is mandated by WTO. Defence is a junior member function of NORAD, NATO and at the behest and with the permission of the Pentagon.
What does the Canadian government actually have any significant effect on?
Health care? Culture? Tax policy?
What else? I can't think of much.
Not to belittle any of those things but that ain't much for a national government.
What's the point?
Then there's the campaign of "That One"
Seen earlier somewhere in the blogosphere: "Rosa sat so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Barack could run. Barack is running so all our kids can soar"
Excuse me, I think I have something in my eye.
Monday, October 27, 2008
"This accident was truly a mystery to me," said Bizilj, director of emergency medicine at Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford, Conn. "This is a horrible event, a horrible travesty, and I really don't know why it happened."
That comment, for those too lazy to click the link, comes from father of an eight-year-old boy who died on the weekend at a gun show after he lost control of a fully automatic Uzi submachinegun he was firing under the supervision of an instructor--and shot himself in the head. All while his father was reaching for his camera to record the little tyke's redneck right of passage.
Yes, you read that right. An eight-year-old firing a submachinegun. And his father who was there taking pictures and cheering the boy on doesn't understand how it could happen that his child could possibly have been hurt, let alone killed.
Would someone please go dig up Charleton Heston so I can kick him in the nuts?
I need a number of drinks.
Crossposted from the Woodshed
A friend sent me this today, and now I'll share it with you.
It tracks how people around the world would vote - if they could - in the US election next week. It is interesting to view the results for the individual nations.
Based on those that actually vote, it appears to be quite accurate as should you try to vote multiple times (Yes, I did!), a cookie disallows it.
If the world could vote?
Looks like McGeezer and Tundra Trash have problems not only in the US, but worldwide . . . .
(Cross-posted from Moved to Vancouver)
"Canadians want Prime Minister Stephen Harper to work more closely with a new U.S. administration" and
"Canadians expect their government to work closely with the U.S. on international problems".
According to the poll, 62% of Canadians would even "adopt American regulatory standards if it would ease restrictions at the border".
As Ibbitson also proclaimed, the reason why this will all be ok is : "Canadians are excited about the prospect of a Barack Obama presidency".
Obama, a fine orator whose speeches move me to tears but whose voting record is thus far still hovering around that of Stephen Harper, is apparently the new deep integration selling point to Canadians.
The G&M refers to the institute which commissioned the poll, the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, merely as a "Calgary-based institute".
Rather more useful would have been the information that CDFAI is a lobby group funded by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and "defence contractor" General Dynamics, beneficiary of millions of dollars in arms contracts due to Canadian participation in the U.S war on terra.
The article also quotes "Colin Robertson, senior fellow with the institute", but fails to mention "he was a member of the team that negotiated the Free Trade Agreement with the United States", information freely available on his CDFAI bio, or that currently Mr. Robertson has been seconded by DFAIT to Carleton University to direct the Canada-US Project, along with fellow continentalist Derek Burney :
Blueprint for Canada-US Engagement under a New Administration
Purpose: To develop a blueprint for a joint Canada-US agenda focused on bilateral and global prosperity and security issues.
Included among its listed "themes" are :
- Canada-US defense cooperation (with US spelling of defence)
- The North American energy-environment nexus
- Cross-border regulatory cooperation
- Scope and issue areas for greater bilateral cooperation in the Americas
Unsurprisingly, these are the same issues addressed in the CDFAI poll, happily reported in the G&M as Canadians, despite their "healthy skepticism of the Americans", nonetheless enthusiastically supporting greater ties.
Thanks, G&M. As CDFAI is holding a one-day conference in Ottawa today - What Does it Mean to Be Good Neighbours? - including Robert Pastor, Vice Chair of the 2005 Task Force on the Future of North America and author of Toward a North American Community, I expect we'll be hearing more of the same from you again quite soon.
Conversely, Republican pattern is what he calls the "strong father" model. The emphasis is on control, discipline, rules and structure with much less consultation.
I am really of two minds as to how far this model goes beyond the rhetoric particularly of the Republican Party. Is it possible that they talk a good line, but don't follow through -- and what's more, their adherents don't expect them to follow through?
That may explain why, in the words of Canadian blogger The Wingnuterer,
Rightwing Nutterz here in Canada are just going insane as the Grandpa Simpson and June Cleaver Campaign is going down the drain. Obama is a Marxist, Obama is a Socialist, Obama is a Terrorist, Obama is a Muslim,... McLame Supporters beating themselves up and carving letters in their faces, supporters at rallies scream out death threats and racist garabage,... Poor old Comedian, Rush Limpball is foaming at the mouth,..
And if we put this in the context of parents and children, I can tell you what this reminds me of. It reminds me of children who have been pampered and spoiled by the non-custodial or negligent parent, but who have been removed from their care and now realize they're going home to live under the fair but strict rule of Nanny McPhee.
Sounds about right to me.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
©Zina Saunders 2008. All rights reserved.
The company says its "C02-to-Fuel" technology uses CO2 to create ethane, propane and methane, three run-of-the mill hydrocarbons used to make high-grade gasoline and other fuels. The key to the process is biocatalysis, a process where natural catalysts are used to perform chemical reactions. Biocatalysis is a more energy efficient and cost-effective way to break down CO2, making the possibility of a large-scale ramp up economically feasible.
Innovating at the intersection of chemical engineering and bio-engineering disciplines, we are developing a highly scalable biocatalytic process to meet the fuel needs of the world. With over 28 billion tons of CO2 emitted each year, there is an abundant supply of raw material available to produce renewable and sustainable fuels for global consumption.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
The old, sharp lines of North and South were gone, but their ghosts remained, interwoven in across the land in hamlets and cities. The slaves, apparently free now, were ghettoised and imprisoned by a quiet racism of winks and denials. A white nostalgia for the mythic glories of a time past permeated through gun clubs and armchairs. The early twenty-first century America was always contrasted to Washington’s rebellion, or the old Civil War - the present and future always in disfavour. This backward gaze led some to ponder that that civil war of the 1860s never really ended. Rather, the loss of Dixie merely drove the war underground, into the sewers of the Union. There it remained, periodically coming up for air when a main broke and they shot a dreamer or two.
The catalyst for this second war began prior to the tense last American election of 2008. A young black man called Barack Obama defeated an old and senile white man: a former prisoner of war by the name of John McCain. Near the end of the contest, McCain rallies became more angry and mob-like. Shouts of “death to Obama” and open racism became the norm. It was said that near the end of the campaign, McCain saw the demon. In the calls for his opponent’s death, the poor man saw the beast, and, once, feebly, tried to talk it down. But by then it was too late. The inchoate masculine hate of a population poisoned by history, and drunk on the paradoxical mix of violence and Jesus, only saw this as weakness.
President Obama faced a lot of tragedy in his brief tenure. He tried. Oh, let no one say he did not try! But the combined horrors of the Second Great Depression, two losing wars on the far side of the planet, and a series of assassination attempts were simply too much.
In 2010, the Second Great Depression brought on by the subprime crisis contracted consumption and killed the just-in-time distribution system for food and goods. Unemployed and lack of savings saw the end of consumerism, which in turn killed the private trucking system that the nation relied upon for delivery of necessities. Government took over, but feeding and sheltering 300 million people was overwhelming. Frustrations grew and hate-fires stoked in the last election burned brightly as the old grey spirits found new hauntings. The Patriot Proclamation, rushed from the limbic system of a populist ultra-right radio DJ and emergent factional political leader, called for a rightwing insurrection, and the extermination of “liberal parasites.” Explosions and assassinations subsequently rolled through university campuses and urban centres. National Guards and the regular military were called out to impose order, but fuel shortages and the effects of a decade of war overseas made them almost useless.
We don’t know exactly what happened, but after the DC Riots of 2011, President Obama simply vanished when Washington was torched.
After that, the nation broke apart. The world was no longer capable of sustaining deference to the United States. And, more importantly, the US could no longer command it. The once mighty dollar was Weimar. A panicked Congress, operating in Maine, tried to find a way out. The new President Biden was also the last. Before anarchy finally swept the land, he managed to get the nuclear arsenal removed from the country or entombed deep in mines or their own silos filled with concrete and succeeded in creating defensive perimeters around a few regions in the agricultural northeast, but not much else. Eventually he attempted to broker a partition of the continental mass. Coastal areas in the west and northeast were to be safe havens and separate polis. The interior and south were to go their own way, with access to the Caribbean. Then insurgents or simply a lack of maintenance took down the power grid. This was followed by a harvest failure because a dead economy and no electricity meant there was no longer a means to manufacture and bring fertiliser to barren, exhausted soils, nor a distribution system to feed the population. The countryside went dark. Columns of refugees staggered into Canada. Prairie farmers awoke to find tens of thousands camped and shivering in their autumn fields, telling of armed militias, starvation, and mass graves in the US heartland, horror etched on their faces.
Reeling from the death of global capitalism, the rest of the world was unable to act. Even without the economic upheaval, there was little anyone could do when a nuclear nation of 300 million imploded. This wasn’t a tiny few countries in the Balkans. The generals said they’d need an army of 10 million, the GDP of 3 planets, and the oil prices of 1962 to save the US from itself. The world turned away. There was nothing to be done.
"This could be Stephen Harper's Big Thing."Well, bully for you for finally coming out, John.
"a revolutionary new agreement that would transform both Canada and the U.S., truly launching the continent into the 21st century."
"This is the perfect time to do something big. This is the time for a North American environmental, security and economic accord."
After years of pissing about, defending the very jelly bean-ness of the Security and Prosperity Partnership - It's not about deep integration; it's just about efficiency! It's not scary! Oh noes, it's dying because of those whiny nationalists and conspiracy theorists! - you finally get down to it.
And what a great name you have chosen for it - The Big Idea.
Coincidentally, "The Big Idea" was also the name coined by the C.D. Howe Institute in 2002 for their Shaping the Future of the North American Economic Space: A Framework for Action, but I'm sure they'll be happy to hear you want to revive it. Their report, which later resurfaced as "The Task Force on the Future of North America", suggested that Canada could successfully woo the US into deeper integration with us if only we would just join their war on terra and offer them free access to our water and oil.
What? You say your Big Idea proposes that too? :
"Canada should propose a harmonized, universal, continental market, coupled with massive joint investment aimed at reducing the environmental impact of the oil sands, in exchange for guarantees that the U.S. gets all the oil."All the oil?
Why it seems only yesterday, John, you were complaining that conspiracy theorists were killing the SPP with crazy ideas like that:
"While on the Canadian side, Ms. Barlow maintains that "deep integration," as she likes to call it, is "quite literally about eliminating Canada's ability to determine independent regulatory standards, environmental protections, energy security, foreign, military, immigration and other policies."
And now here you are - recommending those very same ideas yourself as the best way for Steve to consolidate his legacy. And you've got more:
"Let's not stop there. Let's propose a joint security agreement to prescreen goods and people coming into the continent. Let's set a joint tariff.Because I ask you - what could be better timing for Canada right now than to hitch our wagon to US security agreements and finances?
Let's remove national protections on cultural and financial services."
Congratulations, John. As the only journalist invited to the last SPP leaders' meet-up, you have finally proven your worth to them.
And a big idea shout-out to the G&M too, for having the guts to go public with this. We always knew you had it in you.
Cross-posted at Creekside
What is it with these international banking fund guys, anyway? It wasn't that long ago that we had the wolfowitz/World Bank incident and now this by way of Reuters:
Probe clears IMF chief of abuse of powerWell, isn't that just great? A little slap on the wrist, and all is well again.
Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:11pm EDT - By Lesley Wroughton
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund's board on Saturday cleared Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn of harassment, favoritism and abuse of power following an inquiry into his affair with a subordinate.
While the board stopped short of any type of disciplinary action, its leader, Shakour Shaalan, acknowledged there was concern among female staff about Strauss-Kahn's behavior.
Shaalan said he had warned Strauss-Kahn, a former French finance minister, against any further improper conduct.
"The executive board noted that the incident was regrettable and reflected a serious error of judgment on the part of the managing director," the IMF's board of member countries said in a statement.
The investigation by an outside lawyer into allegations of improper conduct by Strauss-Kahn found that his affair with Piroska Nagy, who worked in the IMF's Africa department as a senior economist until taking a buyout in August, had been consensual.
"I very much regret the incident and I accept responsibility for it," said Strauss-Kahn who is married to French television personality Anne Sinclair.
The board sought to deal with the investigation quickly so as not to distract the IMF from its role in dealing with the global financial crisis that has sent markets plunging on fears that the world economy is in for a long and deep recession.
Shaalan told a conference call with reporters that Strauss-Kahn still had the confidence of the board.
"Our conclusion was that this will in no way affect the effectiveness of the managing director in the very challenging and difficult period ahead," said Shaalan, who represents Egypt and other Arab countries on the board.
"This was an unfortunate incident where he expressed his regrets and the board has accepted his apologies," he said, adding, "I personally spoke to him after the meeting and informed him this should not happen again."
Now, on to ruling over the nations of the world banking systems like nothing's happened. These are the guys we are supposed to entrust with major international financial decisions? Get real.
This crew is so damn out of touch with reality. Betcha they had their fingers in the sub-prime loan mess, derivatives and credit swaps if truth be told.
What a crock . . . .
(Cross-posted from Moved to Vancouver)
MSEH, another same-sex emigrant to Canada from the US has posted an excellent reminder of our history to be chronicled in film next month.
Never forget . . . .
(Cross-posted from Moved to Vancouver)
Mr. Obama has met challenge after challenge, growing as a leader and putting real flesh on his early promises of hope and change. He has shown a cool head and sound judgment. We believe he has the will and the ability to forge the broad political consensus that is essential to finding solutions to this nation’s problems.
In the same time, Senator John McCain of Arizona has retreated farther and farther to the fringe of American politics, running a campaign on partisan division, class warfare and even hints of racism. His policies and worldview are mired in the past. His choice of a running mate so evidently unfit for the office was a final act of opportunism and bad judgment that eclipsed the accomplishments of 26 years in Congress.
Given the particularly ugly nature of Mr. McCain’s campaign, the urge to choose on the basis of raw emotion is strong. But there is a greater value in looking closely at the facts of life in America today and at the prescriptions the candidates offer. The differences are profound.
Mr. McCain offers more of the Republican every-man-for-himself ideology, now lying in shards on Wall Street and in Americans’ bank accounts. Mr. Obama has another vision of government’s role and responsibilities.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Now, do I hear you say "Wow, what a dramatic commentary of how out of control partisan politics are in America, and what a bunch of violent criminals Obama supporters are!" No? Do I hear you say, "That sound like bullshit to me. By the way, why would the attacker lightly scratch the B in backward, you know, the way it would look if you were doing it in the mirror?"
Great story, but not even the likes of Michele Malkin believed it. I wonder why? I mean, it isn't like we've seen anything like this before, is it? But that didn't stop the McCain-Palin campaign from shouting it from the rooftops.
"One message, posted on the extremist website al-Hesbah — which is closely linked to al-Qaeda — said that if the terror group wants to exhaust the US economically and military, then victory for the “impetuous” Republican candidate would benefit them because Mr McCain would continue “the failing march of his predecessor” President Bush."And the last minute endorsements are just rolling in for McCain now...
Jump in and LIVEBLOG the right-now interview between David Frum and Thomas Frank, author of "The Wrecking Crew"
So far Frum has tried to blame the mortgage crisis on Freddie and Fannie, labeling them as government agencies though they were privatized in 1969. Jump right in and detail the argument threads between these guys, with special attention to fact-based and proportion-based criticisms.
Go go go!
UPDATE: The radio network is the CBC, the show is The Current, and you can hear streaming audio by going here http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/ If you come in later, you can go stream the feed from another time zone (go west young bloggers!) And if you come in really late, you can hear the piece once it's archived -- not available yet. --NM
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Greenspan said he and others are in "shocked disbelief" because they assumed lending institutions would protect their shareholders from the credit market fallout.You thought the thieves would protect their victims? Please. Alan. Take your assumptions and quietly go home.
Get large jug of booze, hide under bed, get drunk and stay drunk.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Clergy Often Downplay Mental Illness
By Rick Nauert, Ph.D.
Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on October 16, 2008
Thursday, Oct 16 (Psych Central) -- When people experience psychological distress the first source of help is often the clergy. Unfortunately, a new study finds that ordained leaders often deny or dismiss the existence of mental illness.
The study is believed to be the first to look at the experience those with mental illness have when approaching their local church for assistance with their mental illness.
In a recent Baylor study of 293 Christians who approached their local church for assistance in response to a personal or family member’s diagnosed mental illness, Baylor researchers found that more than 32 percent of these church members were told by their church pastor that they or their loved one did not really have a mental illness.
The study found these church members were told the cause of their problem was solely spiritual in nature, such as a personal sin, lack of faith or demonic involvement. Baylor researchers also found that women were more likely than men to have their mental disorders dismissed by the church.
In a subsequent survey, Baylor researchers found the dismissal or denial of the existence of mental illness happened more in conservative churches, rather than more liberal ones.
All of the participants in both studies were previously diagnosed by a licensed mental health provider as having a serious mental illness, like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, prior to approaching their local church for assistance.
In addition, Baylor researchers found study participants who were told by their pastors they did not have a mental illness were more likely to attend church more than once a week and described their church as conservative or charismatic.
However, the Baylor study also found those whose mental illness was dismissed or denied were less likely to attend church after the fact and their faith in God was weakened.
The results were published in Mental Health, Religion and Culture.
Source: Baylor University
Their divide and conquer strategy worked out very well and but for a Stephen Harper moment of loose lipped ideological hubris would have achieved a majority government.
One might have thought the Canadian people would have learned a little something about those strategies after watching them be played out in the US over the past eight years. One might have at least thought that some political elites might have learned what divide and conquer tactics looked like and what to do to counter them.
One would be mistaken on both counts.
Traditional left and centre-left alliances between the Liberal Party and the NDP have now been utterly destroyed. The two parties (including both forerunners of today's NDP) who, working together over the past 70 years, have brought the country old age pensions, unemployment insurance, protection for unionizing workers, national medical care and much else are now irreconcilable foes.
Canadian citizens who once could be counted upon to at least listen civilly to one another are now suspicious of one another's motives, morals and ethics and do not communicate at all.
The national institutions of public life are now either dysfunctional or becoming so and are equally distrusted by almost all.
There's nothing to say but congratulations for a job well done.
Particularly well done since there's no response possible. The mechanisms that might once have supported and allowed some constructive response are either distrusted or destroyed as well.
It's a bright new morning for the conservative movement in Canada.
I stand back in awe.
As well as in utterly dispirited dismay and grief.
It is a tragedy beyond comprehension and beyond words that the best hope for non conservatives in Canada is a massive economic collapse.
Dow filed their lawsuit against Canada in August but it only just appeared on the Dept of Foreign Affairs website yesterday. Do you think maybe someone in the PMO didn't want a contentious NAFTA sovereignty issue muddying up their nice election?
The company points to a "2007 risk assessment by Canada's own Pest Management Regulatory Agency which said the product could continue to be used safely on lawns".
Oh gosh, Dow, don't bring them up.
Kathleen Cooper, researcher with the Canadian Environmental Law Association, is "troubled that chemical producers can invoke NAFTA in an effort to "undermine the decisions of democratically-elected governments."
But that's the whole point of it, my dear. Chapter 11 allows U.S. investors to legally ensure we don't pass laws for public health or the environment that might interfere with their profits.
Besides, $2-million is chump change compared to the $1oo-million lawsuit that U.S.-based Chemtura Corp. has already filed against us for banning their carcinogenic neurotoxin pesticide, lindane.
Which is a bit mean of them, really, as lindane is due to be phased out in the U.S. soon anyway.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
This video is a clip from PBS' NOW with David Brancaccio this past Friday. Although it was produced in the "swing state" of Virginia, it very well could have been in most states south of the Mason Dixon Line. Hell, what am I saying?!? This same scenario is taking place in every state in the US of A.
Now you get a hint of why we left . . . .
(Cross-posted from Moved to Vancouver)
Shorter former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci : After two years of reviewing the cases of three Canadian citizens detained in Syria during which time the RCMP are alledged to have faxed Syria the questions to be put to them under torture, and after interviewing only the Canadian officials involved, I am ready to conclude that :
"The inquiry did find that the three men were tortured in foreign prisons and that the mistreatment may have "resulted indirectly from several actions of Canadian officials."but that :
"I found no evidence that any of these of these officials were seeking to do anything other than carry out conscientiously the duties and responsibilities of the institutions of which they were part."See, that's exactly what worries us, Frank.
That last bit right there.
Does 'conscientiously carrying out their duties and responsibilites' include outsourcing torture-by-proxy and rendition-lite to third party countries?
Rendition-lite : No, we don't bag em here; we wait till they're attending a wedding or visiting their dying Mom in Egypt and then put the word out. Or we just go along with the US doing it.
Torture-by-proxy : Hey, if you're gonna beat the crap out of our citizens anyway, I got a coupla questions you could put to them for us.
Because without testimony from those US and Syrian and Egyptian officials, who have been more than willing to finger Canadian complicity in these deals in the past when our own officials were denying it, what's the point of your secret inquiry?
Justice Dennis O'Connor's previous inquiry into our government's treatment of Maher Arar uncovered evidence of Canadian rendition-lite and torture-by-proxy.
He recommended a further inquiry to nail this down.
That's where your inquiry came in, Frank.
A mandate so narrow in its scope - not your fault, I know - does nothing to restore confidence in the ability of CSIS and the RCMP to act in our interests without sending us off to foreign countries to be tortured in the process.
And wasn't that the whole point?
Instead, with the release of this report, we now officially don't know any more than we did before.
Stockwell Day issues some pap on it :
"Our Government is moving forward on comprehensive and robust security and intelligence review measures.
Our Government is unwavering in its commitment to give law enforcement the tools they need to safeguard our national security and to ensure review mechanisms are in place to protect Canadians."
Fuck you, Doris. Not everyone else is quite so sanguine :
Reuters : Canada actions likely led to Syrian torture: report
AFP : Canada had role in torture of its nationals: probe
Kady live-blogs Iacobucci's press conference
Speaking of which, how's our other rendition-lite case, Abousfian Abdelrazik, doing?
Is he still living in the lobby at the Canadian embassy in Sudan?
Sudan is begging us to take him back as they consider him to be innocent and why should they look the bad guys in this? But DFAIT continues to obstruct his repatriation so as not to upset the Americans, while frantically attempting to appear not to do so.
Iacobucci's inquiry only considered Ahmad Abou El Maati, Abdullah Almalki, and Muayyed Nureddin.
How many more are there? Who didn't make it home? How many more?
Cross-posted at Creekside
Per Canoe Network:
Thieves hack Sarkozy's account
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS - October 19, 2008
PARIS - The French Cabinet's spokesman says "swindlers" have broken into the personal bank account of President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Spokesman Luc Chatel told France's Radio-J an investigation is under way and insists the incident "proves that this system of checking (bank accounts) via the Internet isn't infallible." He did not elaborate.
Weekly Journal du Dimanche reported Sunday that thieves seized Sarkozy's bank account information and swiped small sums of money.
The press service for Sarkozy's office declined comment.
Maybe an infusion of government funds into the system will rectify the situation.
Sure hope 'Ole Nick isn't making any loan applications soon.
Expensive gifts to Carla Bruni might have to be reconsidered . . . .
(Cross-posted from Moved to Vancouver)
...and while I'm at it, offer advice to the oldest political party in Canada. 
I am not a Canadian Liberal, although I probably would be if there were not other parties somewhat further to the left. However, because they are the oldest extant Canadian political party, because they are generally comfortable drifting to the left when it doesn't cost them too much politically, and finally and most importantly because of the sober intelligence and hard work of their current leader, Stephane Dion, I'm inclined to give them advice, or at least to hope that they take the good advice and prepare a bear trap for Mr. Harper the next time they clash in the polls.
If I were advising the Liberals, here is what I would like to see them do, much of it behind the scenes:
1. For now, keep Stephane Dion as leader as long as possible. There's a simple reason for this -- the Conservatives have spent the past two years attacking Stephane, there is no advantage in quickly putting forward a new
2. Get together the most wise and cunning members of the party, not more than a dozen people are so, and decide upon a single person to put forward as the next leader. This person should be incisive, well spoken, tough and aggressive, but not necessarily the sharpest knife in the drawer. This past couple of years the leader has been the sharpest knife in the drawer, and it has become obvious that intelligence, wisdom and an honorable approach to politics is simply the wrong tool for the job.
3. Gather together a team of people who will have two functions -- first, to provide a tightknit advisory core to back up their leader, and second to be cultivated as understudies -- and to be able to speak clearly and forcefully when approached, just as the leader is expected to do. This group need not be the same as the group in the example above, but I'm sure they will probably overlap. These people will also function like multiple targets for the conservatives to spend their money attacking.
4. Decide as a group, and then stick to this decision fiercely, that no one inside the Liberal party is an enemy more worthy of combat than the conservative party. Set aside whatever intramural squabbles may exist and anyone who raises those quarrels should be hit on the nose with a rolled up newspaper until they behave.
5. Now the party has a pointy bit, and a solid arrowhead behind the point. Money at present is a serious problem, so save every drop of liquidity for purposes were nothing else will do. Meanwhile, recruit among the membership and put together a sort of simmering campaign readiness strategy, much of which would be mediated by extremely cheap means, such as a very active presence on the Internet. I have been very impressed with what the Obama campaign has done by means of the Internet -- the Liberals could do a lot worse than to look at what they've done and see what can be adapted for Canadian purposes.
6. Pick an election timeline of their own, preferably in early one, in the vicinity of a year, keep that completely secret but keep it as an aim, and work towards that.
7. Try to hold an election fairly quickly after the public selection of a new leader. Have everyone else primed and ready for a coordinated, clear and ruthless campaign.
Anyone reading this prescription undoubtedly can see that my experience in politics, especially the running of a very large political organization, is limited. Nothing I can do about that.
It would be interesting some time to count up all the effort and money that the political process spends simply on attacks between parties, and among the candidates within a single party. I find it difficult to believe that this is the best way to arrive at the best leader -- but that is a topic for another day.
 Yep, the Libs are the oldest, therefore the most "conservative"? The ages of the five main parties of this last election (Wiki):
Bloc Québécois, 17
Monday, October 20, 2008
I know I said I wanted your help to become president and continue to carry out the Lord's work just the way our beloved President Bush has done. I even picked one of your own as my running mate to try to buy your loyalty. I know you sincerely believe all this stuff and can quote me chapter and verse in the Scriptures to support your belief. But here's the thing: Most people in America are base sinners who don't understand the threat that witches and satanism actually pose, in fact most of them think Spiritual Warfare is the stuff of cheesy horror movies and the sorts of games with all the books and dice those weird, nerdy kids in high school used to play. I'm trying to win an election here people, so I as much as I appreciate your prayers and other efforts to fight Nigerian witchcraft on my behalf, do you think you could kind of keep it on the down low?
your pal in Jesus,
Sen. John McCain
H/T the Wingnutterer
'Ole bennie traveled to the Italian Mafia's 'hood and clammed-up.
Toronto Star's report:
Pope silent on Camorra crime
Prayer `a spiritual weapon in the struggle against evil,' Benedict tells pilgrims
October 20, 2008 - Philip Pullella - REUTERS NEWS AGENCY
POMPEII, Italy–The Vatican yesterday defended Pope Benedict's decision to avoid direct condemnation of organized crime during a trip to a southern area infested by the Camorra, one of its most ruthless manifestations.
In his speeches, Benedict XVI did not use the words organized crime or Camorra, as the local mafia is known. He made only an oblique reference, saying prayer is "a spiritual weapon in the struggle against evil and every form of violence."
Questioned by reporters, a Vatican spokesperson said the Pope intentionally avoided the word Camorra.
"The trip has a strictly spiritual dimension and it was out of respect for the fact that most people from this area are honest and not members of organized crime," the spokesperson said.
"The Pope preferred suggesting the positive energy through which the Camorra can be defeated," he said, noting the pontiff had already spoken out against organized crime during a visit to Naples in 2007.
Here's an alternative theory for your consideration:
Perhaps bennie and the jerks opted to not piss off the Mafiosos in order to keep the ill-gotten gains contributions flowing into the collection plate.
Just a thought . . . .
(Cross-posted from Moved to Vancouver)
I don't want to jinx anything, but the Obama campaign seems to be an unstoppable juggernaut - anytime a Democratic presidential nominee can draw back-to-back crowds of 100,000 and 75,000 in Missouri, you have to figure the Republicans are going to get worried, especially when they are drawing far smaller, far crazier crowds.
Like I said, I don't want to jinx anything and I probably won't relax until about Obama's third State of the Union address, but the Republicans appear to be giving up on McCain -- pundit rats are leaving the sinking ship and the right wing nuts are about to go all Viet Cong on the rest of the country, skulking off into their spiderholes stocked with canned Cheetos and ammunition to write dogwhistle screeds for New Republic, the Washington Times and Regnery calling for decent, Jesus-loving, white Americans to rise up against their socialist oppressors before the black helicopters arrive with the UN occupation troops.
Newt Gingrich is already setting the narrative for his attempt to renew his Contract
Assuming that some knuckledragging goniff doesn't lurch forward from among the great unwashed and murder the president on the orders of Jesus (and who wouldn't like to have the contract to supply the Secret Service with Depends now that every bald guy in a ski vest on the ropeline is going to look like a skinhead suicide bomber at first glance) Newt or Skeeter or Jeb or whoever will spend the next four year trying to convince Americans that the Democrats are responsible for losing Iraq ("If it hadn't been for those damned dirty hippies, John McCain would have won that war and gas would be 50 cents a gallon") raising taxes on hard-working American oil executives and corporate vice presidents ("He's redistributing wealth, that's class warfare - you know who else engaged in class warfare? Stalin!") and allowing swarthy foreigners to steal jobs.
The economy will just be emerging from the current disaster (which everyone knows was the Democrats fault) and because of the cost of the bailout and wars the Democrats won't be able to afford to do anything about education or health care -- they will be lucky to balance the budget by 2020 at this point, which of course will prove how financially irresponsible they are. ("They nationalized the banks! You know who else nationalized the banks? Mao!")
Now, none of this works if the McCain-Palin ticket gets elected and further screws things up. You thought Iraq was a gigantic clusterfuck? Wait until McCain invades Iran, Syria, Jordan and Spain. They will drop the country from the frying pan into the fire and throw gasoline on the fire and then nuke the fire from an orbital war satellite. You think I'm being pessimistic ? Wait until they start saying the pledge of allegiance at sporting events and requiring Muslims, gays and liberal arts degree holders to attend mandatory bible classes. Wait until they privatize the departments of the interior, education, health and
But none of this is going to happen.
John McCain is not going to win.
He is a sacrificial jackass. The Republican pundits know it. The Republican money men know it. The RNC knows it. The Democrats are starting to figure it out, hell even John McCain is starting to figure it out. How else do you explain his appearance on Fox New Sunday this week? You can smell the fear just reading the transcript on the internet. He must have had a case of flop sweat that left salt stains under his arm pits. After yammering himself into an apoplectic froth for ten minutes about how he didn't care about William Ayers and Barack Obama possibly being gay lovers or cannibals or something, whatever, he doesn't care, he's not interested in slinging mud at that terrorist-loving secret muslim socialist, it's not an issue -- McCain had this to say about the possibility of not winning:
WALLACE: As we said at the beginning of this interview, you are behind in this race, but you are a fighter. You have been your whole life.
Have you considered — have you even dealt in your mind with the possibility that you could lose, and could you live with that?
MCCAIN: Oh, sure. I mean, I don't dwell on it. But look. I've had a wonderful life. I have to go back and live in Arizona, and be in the United States Senate representing them, and with a wonderful family, and daughters and sons that I'm so proud of, and a — and a life that's been blessed.
I'm the luckiest guy you have ever interviewed and will ever interview. I'm the most fortunate man on earth, and I thank God for it every single day.
WALLACE: So if the world turns an unfortunate way on November 4th, don't feel sorry for John McCain?
MCCAIN: Don't feel sorry for John McCain, and John McCain will be concentrating on not feeling sorry for himself.
WALLACE: And you might just be president.
MCCAIN: You never know.
It isn't quite a concession, because, hey, you never know, those Diebold machines might come through yet.
In order to beat the Republicans in 2012 and 2016 -- because it is going to take that long to fix the scorched, salted earth the Republican neo-cons are leaving behind --Obama is going to have to work very hard just to get the shit to shoe level. He doesn't just have eight years of Dubya to fix, he has 12 years of Reagan's dumbassery to repair as well. Expectations will be high and when he fails to fix everything overnight the knives will be out, even among his own party. 2010 is going to be a hard year for Democrats running in the midterm election. The wars will not be over yet, the economy will still be a smoking ruin and it is extremely unlikely that the health care or education or environmental issues will have been addressed to anyone's satisfaction. There will be a whole lot of "I told you so" and "Hilary would have done it better" going around.
But there is a way to beat that. First, Obama has to win by a landslide and the Democrats need 60 or more seats in the Senate and a large majority in the house. They also need to win some state governments over as well so as to control the election referees the way the Republicans have so successfully for the last 20 years. Then Obama has to appoint a serious badass to run the Justice Department, someone like Patrick Fitzgerald, who will investigate the outright fuckery of the last eight years and put some of these people in jail. Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzales, Scooter Libby, Donald Rumsfeld, Douglas Feith, Monica Goodling -- all the political hatchet men and campaign ratfuckers, all the torturers and liars -- screw the pardons Bush is gonna write for all of them, subpeona these people and when, like Karl Rove has done this year, they refuse to appear, send the federal marshals to their country club to slap the cuffs on them right there on the 14th green and jail their sorry asses for contempt. Do the same with some of the Wall Street moneymen who got platinum parachutes while their companies burned down the whole neighborhood. Americans will forget they don't have jobs if they can watch these bastards being put in the dock and sent to Levenworth for a couple of years.
While the public is watching the bloodletting, use the time and the majority to get stuff done. Reregulate the financial industry. Pass your tax plan to give the middle class a break and make the rich pay their share. Pull 50,000 troops out of Iraq and send them to Afghanistan to find Bin Laden and then bring them the hell home and demobilize them. Cut the defense budget in half, the USA will still outspend the rest of the world. Bring back the fairness doctrine and give the FCC some teeth. Conservatives will scream. So what? Let them, they made the mess and they wanna cry while Obama cleans it up? It will be great campaign fodder for 2012.
The other positive working in the Democrats favour is time. The time it takes to clean up the mess is also time that will pass and put some past events in better perspective. Like the enormity of the mistake made in invading Iraq. Like the fact that the 9/11 attacks, while tragic, were not the apocalypse. The luster of Reagan will fade some more, and the stench of the corpse of conservatism will grow. The shadow will start to lift. Plus, within eight years a good quarter of the people who are voting for John McCain this year will be dead from old age, apoplexy, hunting accidents, carnival ride mishaps, cirrhosis and lead poisoning (all those years of eating paint chips will eventually catch up with the people who phone call-in talk radio shows).
My friends, that is change we can believe in.
The Canadian media played along :
Alberta ripe for attacks: experts - Economic terrorism would rattle U.S
Terrorists target U.S.A. via Alberta - Hitting energy supply seen as strike on U.S
Gas pipelines vulnerable to terrorism: expert
Yikes! Who are these experts and what are they saying?
"Alberta has become a "prime location" for terrorists looking to capitalize on shaky economic times in Canada and the United States, terrorism experts said"
"I think that the alarm bells are going off and that is indicated by the fact that the RCMP are bringing in the people who deal with terrorism to look at this," Mercedes Stephenson, a military analyst, told CTV Newsnet Sunday.
"You don't blow up part of a pipeline and kill lots of people . . . you disrupt the economy," she said.
She said that Alberta supplies more than 90 per cent of California's natural gas supply. "You are not disrupting just Canada but you are disrupting Los Angeles, San
Francisco, San Diego."
Mercedes Stephenson : 27 year old media/think tank whiz kid, has worked for the Pentagon, the Cato Institute, US Army Headquarters, and the Fraser Institute. A Koch Fellow, a master's student at the University of Calgary's Centre for Military and Strategic Studies where she wrote a thesis published by the Department of National Defence on the importance of Canada embracing the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defence System, a frequent military analyst for CBC, CTV and Global News.
Note : According to Steve Staples of the Rideau Institute, U of C's Centre for Military and Strategic Studies is one of 12 university programs funded by the Department of National Defence to "churn out 6oo articles a year which have to toe “a particular view” that subscribes to larger spending on the military."
“It’s not about scholarly journals, peer reviewed articles that they have written—it’s really about appearing in the mainstream media. What you tend to get as a general trend, is a steady stream of hawkish opinion from academics that are all linked together through Department of National Defence funding,” says Mr. Staples.
Alrighty then. Next expert :
"Longtime international foes of the United States are closely watching that nation's sharp economic decline, said Igor Shafhid, a world expert in nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
Financial instability causes panic and fear, said Shafhid, founder of Global Strategic Resources, which develops and teaches emergency-preparedness courses in the U.S. and Russia.
"Those are things terrorist states or countries will take advantage of," he said. "If it goes towards recession or depression in the United States, I suspect some activities might start happening in the next few years in the form of biological, radiological or who-knows-what-else terrorism."
However, he said there's no need to fear the world will be destroyed."
Igor Shafhid : author of "Inside the Red Zone", "his personal journey within a godless Russia to the classified operations of the Soviet Strategic Rocket Force where he trained as a military doctor in WMD deployment. Using his own life experience Dr. Shafhid brings answers to Russia's fascination with WMDs, the need for a solid civil defense program, and the importance of maintaining the Biblical foundation America was founded on."
Featuring "Biblical solutions to remain a safe-guarded nation under God"
Dear CanWest, CTV, Calgary Herald :
It would have killed you to include a little bio info on these experts to go along with your fear-mongering Terror! Terror! Terror! headlines?
Besides, where's your sense of fun?
Not one of you mentioned a single word about biblical solutions to WMDs .
OK, we'll provide our own expert then :
Here's Andrew Nikiforuk, author of "Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig's War Against Big Oil".
He dismissed the RCMP's description of the saboteur as an eco-terrorist and said he doesn't believe the saboteur meant to hurt anyone.
"This is not the work of eco-terrorists, for God's sakes. This is the work of a pissed-off landowner who's probably a property-rights advocate, who doesn't like the fact that either his health has been damaged, or his property has been devalued by sour-gas developments."
"Whoever did this wanted to make the headlines, they didn't want to kill people. If you want to kill people up there with sour gas, it would be very easy to do. There are thousands and thousands of pipelines, wells, and scores of sour-gas plants up there," he said
"Whoever did this planned it very well, picked the locations very carefully, and seems to have been either skilfully adept at not rupturing a pipeline, or skilfully inept at not rupturing a pipeline -- and I suspect there are signs here of skilful adeptness."
It's a long shot, I know, given that Nikiforuk fails to make any mention of San Diego or even biblical solutions to "who-knows-what-else terrorism", but so far I'm leaning towards his analysis here.
h/t Toe at Bread 'n Roses
Cross-posted at Creekside
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
"Republican campaign consultant Royal Masset says, "[I]n-person voter fraud is nonexistent. It doesn't happen, and ... makes no sense because who's going to take the risk of going to jail on something so blatant that maybe changes one vote?""And because we lo-ovvve US laws so much, we have to have one of our own.
I can't wait for parliament to begin. I am sure they will begin with a little housekeeping, getting rid of two useless laws -- one which is optional, and the other which outlaws something nobody does.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Blaming Quebec separatists for election results, Premier says it's time to work together
"The Liberal Premier of British Columbia blames Quebec separatists for the country's third minority government in a row.Can I get a lolcat to go with that, please?
"Everyone should understand that the only thing that prohibited Mr. Harper from getting the majority he was seeking was the separatists in Quebec," Gordon Campbell said yesterday"
We have all already given our collective thanks to the Bloc, Gordo.
"He added that Mr. Harper is clearly the man most Canadians want as prime minister."Yo! Gordo! Steve won less of the popular vote than last time!
But I can see where you might be hoping to hitch your little rightwing wagon to Steve's in time for your election campaign next year.
In other fabulous cross-party wankfests:
"The former Interim Leader of the BC Green Party endorsed Premier Gordon Campbell’s leadership and joined the BC Liberal Party team today."
"Over the past year I’ve been impressed with Premier Campbell’s leadership," said Christopher Ian Bennett. "It was time for me to move over and be part of a party that was making a difference and truly leading Canada blah blah blah..."For his part, Gordo said he "respected [Bennett's] ability regardless of party label to stand up for what was right for British Columbia blah blah blah..."
Previously, Bennett was Elizabeth May's communications director in her successful bid for GP leadership.
Ok, are we done with this nonsense of referring to all Greens as "left wing" now?
Anyone else looking to "make a difference" today?
Cross-posted at Creekside