Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Who wrote the RCMP report and why?

First off, it is a clear fail based on sources alone. If this was a paper from one of my students, I'd fail it for failing to use rigorous sources.

This leaves us with a problem.  Either the RCMP is blindingly stupid, and hires D students to its research, or something much worse is happening.

If the RCMP used rigorous and reliable sources for their report, they'd likely have drawn a very different set of conclusions about what constitutes a threat to Canadian infrastructure and the economy. Climate change, undeniably causally linked to the petroleum sector, is an overwhelming threat.   How would the report have read if that were clearly recognised?

On the other hand, and assuming the RCMP is staffed with smart people, the poor quality of the report suggests that it was written to provide some kind of justification or support for a preexisting set of ideas or initiatives.

Ugh.


Friday, February 20, 2015

OK, CSIS and RCMP,

You guys know the Harper Government is not forever, eh? That Bill C-51, with all the whizbang spy-and-dick-with-everyone-and-make-everything-illegal bill looks shiny and fun, but it sets you up for a terrific fall. Here's why.

First, despite what it might think, the Harper government is just a government and PMSH is just a man. Until they actually ban or render illegal the Opposition parties, they're in jeopardy. Remember, only 30 or 40% of us enough vote for his party. Most of us aren't cool with that freakin' guy because, like C-51, we find him rather creepy and weird. This year or some other year, they will lose an election to a party that will make undoing all their bullshit a priority. It could very well be that the next government imposes so many controls on your operations you'll need parliamentary committee approval to order new stationary - if you're lucky. If you're unlucky, they completely restructure your respective organisations.

Second, the Bill and the RCMP report basically put your agencies in opposition to most of Canada. Canadians get out and protest a lot, about a lot of things, and mostly very peacefully. We've been doing it for a very long time and a little law or two ain't gonna change that basic tendancy because we're quite accustomed to being free to do it. Especially when the things people are protesting now appeal to an increasing range of people. The pipeline protests in BC aren't just a bunch of treehuggers, they're also your Timmies crowd who are suddenly waking up the risks of having a bloody tar-hose in their yards or on their coast. You're potentially setting yourselves up to investigate and arrest millions of people. Read that again: millions of Canadians. That's how big the net is that you're casting. Especially when you consider the younger generation who will form your recruiting base and be your bosses in a few years, are aware of the consequences of climate change and the contribution of petroleum to that problem and desperately want it fixed.

You are being set up to attack Canadians in the defence of dying industry on a dying planet. Do your homework on this.

Seriously, there is no long-term win for you here.


Third, my last point, is that if we do not kerb greenhouse gas emissions and radically reduce our use of fossil fuels, there won't be a CSIS or RCMP left in 20 or 50 years. Flooded coastlines, megadroughts, storms, and so on will wreck the global economy upon which the Canadian economy (including the oil industry) depends, and with it, Canada in general.

To hell with a few terrorists in the middle-east: your 'analysts' are too stupid for words if they disregard the threat of climate change in favour of some other pet issue. You might want to replace them.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

The intellectual power of a dead tree stump ... and a wide open net.

Whoa! What's this?!
Watch and listen very closely ...



I n t e r e s t i n g !!!

Here's the thing ... I agree with him ... completely. The anti-vaccine movement is a crowd of dangerous, self-absorbed, selfish, dilettantes who, devoid of any scientific training or knowledge, have positioned themselves as "experts". They are no such thing and Murphy is quite correct in pointing that out.

In fact, Murphy is so right on this one that he just shot off his own foot. Murphy regularly spouts off as one of the leaders of the climate-change denial faction. To use the same facetious tone as Murphy himself employed, whenever people seek climate science guidance from the likes of Murphy or his fellow geo-scientists in media punditry, they've confessed to having the intellectual power of a dead tree stump.

Murphy couldn't complete the first line of a climate formula. He has a degree in English. We don't need Murphy's stamp of approval to determine which science to accept and which to ignore. Murphy represents a movement of dangerous, self-absorbed, dilettantes, devoid of any scientific training or knowledge, who have positioned themselves as "experts".

Murphy needs to heed his own words and start taking his own advice.


Thursday, February 05, 2015

Bill C-51

Bill C-51 is pretty terrifying for a host of reasons, but partly because it represents just how chickenshit the Liberals are of rocking the boat and challenging the Conservatives.

Some things to think about.

1. The Conservative government's involvement of Canadian combat forces in every conflict in the Muslim world in turn makes Canada a target. This is the logic of fighting. If you pick a fight with someone in the street and strike them, you can expect to be struck back. If you send Canadian warplanes and troops to attack an enemy somewhere, you can expect that enemy to hit back.

This terror bill is in part the Conservative government's response to the ultimately very minor enemy strikes on Canada, but strikes nonetheless. The problem is that no one really asked the Canadian public if we'd accept that kind of risk for Harper's little bit of military adventurism.

2. The conflict against Islamist radicals will not last forever, but a new security law on the books will likely remain in place. An expanded security bureaucracy accustomed to radical new powers will look for other places to apply them in order to continue to justify its existence. Politicians have lumped environmental and social justice advocates in the same rhetorical stew as the monsters presently running around Iraq and Syria.

In the era of climate change and growing wealth inquality, that kind of skulduggery leads nowhere good and could well amount to a constraint on adaptive action because it criminalises advocacy.

3. This security fear is a handy distraction for the Conservatives as their economic showpony falls lame with the collapse in oil prices. It won't be much longer if we see massive job losses and economic hardship.






Tuesday, February 03, 2015

New York cops, protesters, and...machine guns?

I don't know what's in the copshop water in New York City, but the police there apparently think they need several companies of infantry to police potential roving shooter terror attacks and, uh, "protests".
"It is designed for dealing with events like our recent protests, or incidents like Mumbai or what just happened in Paris,"
The unit will be equipped with long-rifles and machine guns. While the kind and type are not specified, these kinds of weapons form the basic arms of an infantry section, which makes me think they are developing a capacity somewhat different from the normal SWAT arrangement. I mean how long did we think it would take before the 'warrior-cop' thing just became 'army'?

Couple things.

First, the roving shooter problems they refer to tend to involve large numbers of civilians in the line of fire, and this requires a very controlled response. In Ottawa, despite the awesome array of firepower brought out by the police, the shooter was killed by normal beat cops and the sergeant-at-arms who had to go to his office to get his gun. In other instances, the shooters tend to hide quickly and are found in sheds and backyards, and boats, if not dead by their own hand. Mumbai was an exception and in the case of a highly trained and well armed terror cell, there are military formations and other police to be called upon.

But it's the protests bit that snuck in there that is the scary bit. A bunch of people protesting a suspicious police shooting, or some local political issue aren't terrorists hell-bent on killing people - not even in the same universe. But we live in an age where the powers-that-be insist on lumping them together.

Sigh.

Anyway, I don't know if the police quite realise what they're getting themselves into with this militarisation business. We know what eventually happens when armies are deployed to protests.