Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ah, Steve. It doesn't matter who wrote it. You took credit for it.

That's right, Steve, it's right there on your Rubber Soul album.

The OhMyGod!TheyFoundOutIStoleHoward'sWords. NowThey'llThinkICan'tThinkForMyself edition.

Don't worry Steve. Most of us knew it all along.

Right then: It appears something in the Blogger Unimatrix One complex something has made it tough to play videos. So here's the direct link if you're having trouble.

Once an eagle...

But today, a Sharpie™ is more than appropriate. Just in time for the Canadian leaders debate, Scout goes to work.

Give yourself a break today! Prove you are a part of the True North, Stong and Free.

Stand up for Canada and Just Do It.

Not that I would ever counsel anyone to deface a political sign because The Law Is For Protection Of The People.

OK, ok, that was an accident. Tomorrow I will tell you a startling story about the author of that song, but in the meantime... Hell, you can't go wrong with a Sharpie™ .

Wrong Stevie, wrong

I HAVE THE GOOD FORTUNE to have some very intelligent friends, Scanner and Tony (former UN arms inspector), and they're concerned about this little piece from The National Pustule, titled "To Win, Harper Should ..."
Talk about water as the new oil and promote the idea of super-tankering or pipe-lining water from Canada to parched areas of the United States, Mexico and even perhaps to countries overseas. Less than 1% of Newfoundland's freshwater, for example, could be shipped south and yield billions of dollars annually. Ditto for Manitoba, Quebec and British Columbia, where billions of gallons now empty uselessly into oceans. It's estimated that the multi-billion dollar expenditure of any water-pipeline construction would pay for itself in a few years.
Scanner concludes
I love the "billions of gallons [of water] now empty uselessly into oceans" line. That river water couldn't possibly oxygenate fisheries or hydrate coastal basins or anything. I mean, we could get by on on 17% oxygen in the atmosphere vs. the 21% that's there now. We're practically throwing away the other 4%. We should sell it.

A Mighty Wind is still blowing; the CBC still blows

Here's Jonathan Kay in the Natty Post today, celebrating the CBC caving to his right-wing talking points :

"Just this past weekend, a blog-originated campaign against CBC.ca columnist Heather Mallick elicited a stunning and unprecedented admission of left-wing bias from a CBC editor, who pulled Mallick's column and promised to "expand the diversity of voices and opinions" on the Web site."

Jonathan Kay, you will remember, personally led that freeper charge in an earlier post and was cited as such in the CBC Ombudsman's Review.

So Fox News was offended? Please.
If you don't want to see some variation of CBC Guest Columnist Ann Coulter any time soon,

If I missed you in the round-up, let me know in comments.

Saving Civilisation

Lester Brown and the Earth Policy Institute have released the third revision of their rigorous series of books on saving us from ourselves. Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization. Follow the link to download for free or purchase a hardcopy.

I haven't had a chance to do much more than glance through it, but it appears to be a very worthwhile read considering the shit we're in. While I don't have a lot of faith in our ability to voluntarily change the way we live before things really get bad, I do think books like this are important because they at least help people understand the problems. Which in turn ought to help us take more reasoned measures as pressures mount, and hopefully minimise the sort of lunacy that might emerge when reality finally bludgeons some of the more touched members of our species.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Philosophy gap

As Steve V points out, the Conservative war room might want to figure out how they're going to run damage control on this one. (Emphasis mine)
Canadians would be unwise to follow the Conservative plan for harsher jail sentences, up to life imprisonment, for young offenders, warns the retired judge who shone a spotlight on the flawed youth justice system.

Merlin Nunn issued a landmark report on youth justice two years ago that Stephen Harper claims supports "many" of the Conservatives' newly unveiled proposals to toughen the youth justice law.

But the former Nova Scotia Supreme Court justice took issue with the Tory proposal to boost jail sentences for young offenders, including ratcheting up the maximum youth sentence for murder from 10 years to life in prison, and up to 14 years for other violent offences.

"They have gone beyond what I did, and beyond the philosophy that I accepted," Judge Nunn told The Lawyers Weekly in an interview.

"I don't think it's wise," he added, speculating "it might be politically appealing to people who say 'these kids should all be in jail'."

This is the same Judge Merlin Nunn to whom Harper is constantly referring when telling everyone that his "tough on kids crime" is the result of a study.

Except that the philosophy is completely different. Judge Nunn expanded with this:

But Judge Nunn says he disagrees with the Conservative plan to scrap the existing law for more severe sentences and more jail time. Such a move would fly in the face of expert testimony at his commission of inquiry that punitive sentences don't deter crime, he said.

"Sentencing the child to a longer term just takes away a lot of the opportunity to rehabilitate the young kids," he explained. "There is no proof that long sentences are going to do anything except sometimes make things worse because the young kid sentenced to a longer term in prison, (to be served partially as an adult) in an adult prison, is going to come out. And he may very well be a lot worse than he was when he went in."

Judge Nunn defended the present law's focus on rehabilitation. And for the small number of youths in Canada who commit murder, the Youth Criminal Justice Act already allows prosecutors to ask for adult sentences of life imprisonment. If such offenders are sentenced as youths, their sentences top out at 10 years.

"The young offenders' law in Canada is a very good law -- Canada is miles ahead of most jurisdictions," he insisted. "The reason why I say it's good is that probably 96 or 97 per cent of the kids that get in trouble with the law, don't ever get in trouble again."

And there it is....

The complete philosophical disconnect that should answer at least one question: "Why is the Harper government not pursuing repatriation of Omar Khadr?"

It doesn't matter that whatever happened in that compound on 27 July, 2002 was actually a combat action where defining "murder" would be extremely difficult, particularly since American troops were firing small arms and throwing grenades. It doesn't matter that eyewitness reports of the combat action of 27 July, 2002 are wildly contradictory. It doesn't matter that Omar Khadr's family is a blight on Canada. It doesn't matter that the US military investigation into the combat action of 27 July, 2002 has been reviewed more than once to clarify facts and reconcile witness contradictions.

It does matter that Omar Khadr was an illegally procured child-soldier and any involvement on his part was the result of influence by adults. It does matter that Canada had already signed the UN Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict on 12 February, 2002 with the only reservation being applied to Canadian Armed Forces voluntary recruitment at age 16 with parental consent. It does matter that Omar Khadr, while not absolved of his actions, is entitled under international agreements to rehabilitation and exemption from the actions of a military tribunal. It matters that Omar Khadr was fifteen years of age when he allegedly threw a grenade in a combat action.

But not to the Harper crowd.

Harper's mangling of Merlin Nunn's recommendations to suit his own ideology is a testimony to Conservative dogma. Pure bloody-mindedness.

It's how they prove they're big and tough. They hate anything that isn't them. And they don't do difficult. Everything has to be black and white and if you're a kid going off the rails, the only solution the Conservatives offer is jail.

If you're a kid sucked into some whacked-out religious group of militants that the Harperites don't like, you can rot in jail, forever. It makes them feel strong. It shows everyone that they are mean.

It makes you wonder what they want to do when a baby pukes on their shoulders.

Imagine Stevie at the end of the line

Mega Media Mania . . . .

Concerned about "Big Media"?

Me too.



Tell your friends . . . .

Canada gets a Freeway Blogger

Effective and cheap.

THIS is so you Steve.

Tell us all about this Beatles tune, Steve! What part of the drug culture is this one about?

The ConservativesAreHoggingTheTrough edition

And now for something just a little different. (This isn't for you, Steve. You get back in your hole until tomorrow's scripted, police-protected, reporter-free, sanitized photo op.)

I figure that if somebody sits through A Hard Day's Night three times non-stop and has to endure Paul Anka.... TWICE.... just to do it, well, one more time without Diana should make the drudgery of changing the kitty litter a little less so. (But perhaps messy if one starts dancing.)

Would you Conservatives please make room for the hogs. It is their trough after all

Let's take a trip down Memory Lane and remind ourselves that Captain Transparent quickly dropped his "clean government" mantra once he had a little bit of power.
The Conservative government is deliberately stalling the creation of a new body that is supposed to stamp out political patronage, so that the Tories can keep rewarding their friends in the meantime, a government critic alleged Tuesday.

"They'll be putting in as many appointments as they can, and resisting establishing an appointments commission for as long as they can, so that those appointments can reflect their attitudes, their biases, and their agenda," said government watchdog Duff Conacher of the group Democracy Watch.

Conacher predicted that the government will avoid or delay establishing a promised Public Appointments Commission, while it fills an estimated 2,500 positions with party friends or ideological soul mates.

And this would make Duff Conacher absolutely correct.

The Harper government approved 148 appointments to federal boards and agencies, long used as rewards for supporters of the party in power, as the election neared, The Canadian Press has learned.

Cabinet handed out the posts in three rounds, the first only two days before Parliament recessed for the summer, the second on July 30, at peak holiday time for politicians and political journalists, and the third less than a week before Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Sept. 7 election call.

Harper, who railed against Liberal patronage in the 2006 election, later failed to deliver on a campaign pledge to put an independent commission in charge of vetting cabinet appointments.

He shelved the idea after opposition MPs refused to ratify his nomination of Gwyn Morgan, a Calgary oil baron who is also a friend of the prime minister, as the commission chair.

It's difficult to determine how many of the recent appointments went to members of the federal Conservative party or to provincial Progressive Conservative parties.

Many have had no comment on their new jobs, but interviews and public records outlining the backgrounds of others suggest Harper was courting the party faithful in a number of cases.

Ahhh... how things have changed at Court. Steve, the great anti-patronage crusader, has discovered the trough and he couldn't resist. Just like his conservative predecessor who, after delivering the knock-out line to John Turner, turned his government into a patronage machine. In fact, Harper actually appointed some of Mulroney's old hacks just last year.

So much for Harper's promise of clean government. He's covered in the usual political slime. Except that he said he was going to end it. That makes Harper, once again, a liar.

Hardly surprizing stuff, but it might make good debate material.

What would Willie think about today's mess?

Or Major Clifford Hugh Douglas, the original SoCred, for that matter.

Dead flag flying

Nobody likes the idea of a massive financial bailout of Wall Street. Nobody.

But after a week of chewing and farting, having to put up with a mental midget like McCain injecting himself into the process, it looked like there was going to be something palatable enough that all sides could hold their noses and agree upon.

Apparently not.
The $700bn US bank bailout was today left in chaos after the House of Representatives voted down the plans.

After days of negotiations it had been thought that Democrats and Republicans had agreed a deal which could be passed by both the House and the Senate.

But in a shock vote the measures were rejected by 228 votes to 205.

In a scene of high drama the House briefly kept the vote open to give senior figures from both parties the chance to try and force those in opposition to change their minds. But within a few minutes it was announced the vote had been formally closed, leaving the plans in disarray.

Whether either side can find their way around this remains to be seen, but in the meantime the world's central banks aren't prepared to let everything sink into the abyss because of U.S. navel gazing.
Central banks around the world unveiled a plan to pump massive amounts of cash into the global banking system in a concerted effort to boost market confidence and inject liquidity into the global markets.
Which brings us to something Paul Krugman said about Milton Friedman, (that messiah of the unregulated free-market), in February 2007:
[H]e slipped all too easily into claiming both that markets always work and that only markets work. It's extremely hard to find cases in which Friedman acknowledged the possibility that markets could go wrong, or that government intervention could serve a useful purpose.
Krugman was being kind. German Finance Minister Peer Steinbruck minced no words during an interview with Der Spiegel:
In the end, unbridled capitalism with all of its greed, as we have seen happening here, consumes itself.
The Steinbruck interview is well worth the read, because if you think the 9/11 attacks on the US changed the world, according to him it was the pumping of tons of money into the US economy after those attacks which has led to the disaster that is the crashing free-market today. What has changed, in Steinbruck's view, is that New York and London are finished as world financial centres and an evolutionary shift will take place.

While US legislators start shucking and jiving trying to sort out how best to come to terms with the failure of a de-regulated and greed-driven market where the corporate head of a failed Washington Mutual stands to walk away with $19.1 million for 17 days work, some people have some other ideas as to how to start cleaning up Wall Street.

US Dollar Bill Re-Designed . . . .

In light of all the financial turmoil in the world economy precipitated by greedy Wall Street bankers, the US Treasury has decided to redesign the dollar bill.

Quite apropos . . . .

(Cross-posted from Moved to Vancouver)

Thank You

A message from Stephen Harper's biggest fan

While it is hard to believe something this long could be written in crayon, it is even harder to believe that brain-dead, half-assed, prarie National Review wannabe paragon of conservative intellectual thought - the Western Standard -- would publish this magnum dopus by Adam Yoshida (seen at the left, just one step away from becoming one of these guys) in the midst of an election in which they want to make their guy look less scary to centerist voters.

"Do too much, rather than too little. Don’t shift these things around. Burn them down and salt the Earth. A future Liberal government won’t have the guts, the time, the wherewithal, or the money to recreate them all at once. Sell the land and the buildings. Shred the records. Disperse the staff. It’s easier to destroy than it is to create. A Tory government on a rampage could destroy in a couple of months what it took four decades to create – and what it would take another forty to recreate."

Reassuring isn't it? He burbles on about the need to triple the size of the Canadian Forces, get rid of the CBC, build a couple of aircraft carriers and crank up the Canadian military-industrial complex (no really, he calls it that)

PSA does a proper eviceration. One might think that this would be the craziest thing Adam has ever written and it just somehow slipped through the editing process at the Western Standard. Sadly, no.

Tonight, on a very special episode of ...

Well, you can leave your sitcom name suggestions in the comments (The Frostbacks? Flyboy and Sureshot? The Pitbull and the POW?) but this latest rumour is proof that the GOP brain trust is being run by people who have watched way too much television --and I don't mean 60 Minutes and Nova.

In an election campaign notable for its surprises, Sarah Palin, the Republican vice- presidential candidate, may be about to spring a new one — the wedding of her pregnant teenage daughter to her ice-hockey-playing fiancé before the November 4 election.

Inside John McCain’s campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. “It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider. “You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”

It worked on Rhoda, it worked a couple of times on Friends, it worked on Cheers, it worked on Coronation Street, on the Office, on Beverly Hill 90120 ---almost every television series that lasted more than a single season has a wedding episode. Whenever TV writers are running out of ideas, need a big season-closing climax or just need to get their audience back you can bet that somebody is going to be getting hitched and wacky hijinks will ensue.

And if the wedding plan doesn't work out, maybe McCain can offer Ted McGinley a cabinet post or go waterskiing or take the whole family to Hawaii or London or adopt an adorable orphan-- I know, why not a speech where McCain and Palin sing a duet of "Summer Loving" from Grease!

A mighty wind blows up the arse of the CBC

CBC caves on Heather Mallick's column; promises more rightwing talking points real soon.
Jesus freaking baby momma o' god.

The CBC Ombudsman reviews Mallick's column on VP Embarrassment-in-Waiting Sarah Palin, "A Mighty Wind Blows Through the Republican Convention", and cites this quote :

"It’s possible that Republican men, sexual inadequates that they are, really believe that women will vote for a woman just because she’s a woman. They’re unfamiliar with our true natures. Do they think vaginas call out to each other in the jungle night?"
Great line that last one, wasn't it? Here's the ombudsman's response:

"Ms. Mallick’s item generally stays in the opinion column but she does offer some flat statements that appear to offer "facts" without any backup. For instance, there is no factual basis for a broad scale conclusion about the sexual adequacy of Republican men."
Yes, there really are few things more ridiculous than a prissy serious pants deconstruction of snark, are there?
The ombudsman notes, apparently without irony, that Natty Post writer Jonathon Kay "urged readers to write to complain", and gets skittish on the topic of the CBC being "government-owned":

"I even received a phone call from the Fox News web outlet inquiring whether the views expressed represented the position of Canadians and "the Government of Canada."
Oh dear, the Fox is among the chickens again. And speaking of Fox :

"On CBCNews.ca, there does not appear to be a wide range of "pointy" views. For instance, many of those who complained claimed that there is no one of an opposite ideological viewpoint readily apparent on the service. Unfortunately, this appears to be true."
Uh-oh. Cue CBCNewshead John Cruickshank : We erred in our judgment :

"Mallick's column is a classic piece of political invective. It is viciously personal, grossly hyperbolic and intensely partisan. And because it is all those things, this column should not have appeared on the CBCNews.ca site …We failed you in this case. And as a result we have put new editing procedures in place to insure that in the future, work that is not appropriate for our platforms, will not appear."
Will that be sufficiently spineless to appease Fox, do you think?

"Ombudsman Carlin makes another significant observation in his response to complainants: when it does choose to print opinion, CBCNews.ca displays a very narrow range on its pages. In this, Carlin is also correct. This, too, is being immediately addressed. CBCNews.ca will soon expand the diversity of voices and opinions and be home to a diverse group of writers with many perspectives. In this, we will better reflect the depth and texture of this country."
Uh huh. CBC : "Fair and Balanced".
Good. In that case I expect to hear a good deal more from the poor, the left, the disabled, prisoners, feminists, First Nations, and people who don't live in freakin' Toronto.

And is this the "great wind" of a possible Con majority you're feeling here, CBC?
The ombudman wrote "Liberty is not the same as license"; maybe Cruikshank is hearing "Liberty is not the same as having a licence."

Update : The Rev notes in comments that it only took 300 NattyPost driven crayola emails to put the wind up the CBC.
Hell, we can do better than that by noon : CBC Ombudsman
Normally I suggest using your indoors voice when writing a letter of complaint but Skdadl's suggestion is just so good :
"CBC executives are even more sexually inadequate than Republican men are."

Cross-posted at Creekside

So, did you get enough female candidates, Steve?

To the Cathy McLeods of the Conservative Party. Steve will play his Beatles albums and explain the meaning to you.

The PutAWomanInThere. SoWhatIfNobodyKnowsHer. She'sJustAWoman edition

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Add this one to the list of "hiding" Conservative candidates

It was always fun to watch the riding of Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo where Reform/Alliance/Conservative MP Betty Hinton proved to be one of the most useless representatives the riding has known. Her pathetic performance obviously wasn't lost on the boys in the back room in Calgary either since, as an unrepentant Harper sycophant and deep party loyalist, after 8 years in parliament, she was passed over for a cabinet post. In a party where the cabinet talent pool is sorely lacking and made up of refugees from the Mike Harris Common Sense Revolution and captured, re-badged Progressive Conservative merger-monkeys, Hinton was made a parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, but kept away from the cabinet table.

Hinton, claiming a thyroid condition and after just qualifiying for an MP's pension, chose to not to run in this election.

Her replacement wasn't selected by the local riding association. Instead, the name of her CPoC successor was handed down from Conservative Party national headquarters.

Cathy McLeod, once the mayor of the Village of Pemberton, was appointed as the CPoC candidate for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo. In a place where Nelson Riis held the seat for the NDP for twenty years, was well-known and made himself regularly accessible, Cathy McLeod is presented with a problem: no one knows who she is or what she's all about.

So one would expect that Cathy McLeod, a relative unknown in the riding, would be out there.


If the short list of candidates for the CPoC included McLeod at all she was at the end of it. Prior to McLeod being parachuted into the candidate's slot the Conservatives had approached former Thompson Rivers University president Roger Barnsley and Olympic ski champion (and Canadian female athelete of the 20th Century) Nancy Greene Raine. Other high profile riding residents had also been approached and there was a rumour that the Conservatives might try to slide David Emerson into the position. One can only speculate as to why those high-profile individuals declined but I can venture that at least one would have had some ideological differences with Harper's policies and methods.

McLeod then faces something of a struggle. Her predecessor's track record is anything but stellar, she was not the first choice of the party and she is completely unknown in the riding. So what does she do?

She is refusing requests for interviews.
McLeod’s campaign did not agree to an interview until after the election is finished.
Further down that same article we find that the editor of the Kamloops Daily News has submitted three requests to interview McLeod, none of which has been returned. Given that the editor, Mel Rothenburger, is the former mayor of Kamloops and his newspaper is widely read in the region, one would expect McLeod to jump at the chance to get her name out there.


Perhaps one of McLeod's problems (and something the Conservatives probably don't want to have discussed) is that McLeod's dedication to public service isn't quite as strong as she would have you believe. From her website:
First elected as the Mayor of Pemberton in (1996) Cathy established herself as a community leader and someone who is dedicated to the needs of residents and responsiveness to community.
Yes, but at least one person who served on Pemberton's village council with McLeod says she didn't complete her term as mayor opting instead to move to Kamloops.
McLeod, who also served as a councillor prior to becoming mayor, left the mayor’s post partway through her term to take up work in Kamloops.
Stranger though, is that McLeod's appointment is viewed by almost everybody as a mistake.
That was a big mistake, according to Thompson Rivers University political science professor Derek Cook.

"It's open now," said Cook of the 2008 election race. "It's handed the NDP, the Liberals and even the Greens an advantage.

"The Conservatives have stumbled out of the gate by appointing a person who no one knows," he said.

"It's the way they did it that is raising eyebrows here. It certainly contradicts the direct democracy, let-the-people-do-it type of populism that we thought the members of the Reform Party, the Canadian Alliance, the Conservatives stood for."

So why would the Conservatives overrule the riding association? Well, for one thing, this is a group who clearly failed sandbox in kindergarten and are going for a redo.

The RCMP were called to a Tory riding association meeting in Kamloops after a group of people disrupted the meeting, demanding they be allowed to take part in the vote.

The membership in the riding of Kamloops Thompson Cariboo was to vote on a new board Saturday morning.

But the process came to a halt when 56 people showed up with former party director Miles Lehn asking to be allowed to vote.

This was not a group of "out of party" interlopers attempting to be heard. This was Conservative party members fighting amongst themselves. And it took the police to break it up.

McLeod, it appears, is representative of what value the Conservative Party of Canada actually places on their candidates. Little to none. They are cannon-fodder. Their sole purpose is to be a live warm body and a name to put on a ballot in the place of Stephen Harper. In short, the Conservatives are running a presidential campaign and are betting that voters will see past the "unknowns" in favour of the "Conservative" logo. In that regard, there is only one campaign and it isn't the local one.

The perception, according to Cook, is that McLeod's campaign is being tightly controlled out of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office

"They're afraid their candidates will say the wrong things so they're briefing them before they let the press at them," said Cook.

Having turned away interviews it will be interesting to see if Harper's people allow McLeod to show up for the all-candidates forum on October 8th. If she does, she can expect a deservedly rough ride.

The Post Turtle

on the hand of a 75-year old Texas rancher whose hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Sarah Palin and her bid to be a heartbeat away from being President. The old rancher said, "Well, ya know, Palin is a post turtle."

Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a post turtle was. The rancher said, "When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post turtle."

The old rancher saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he continued to explain. "You know she didn't get up there by herself, she doesn't belong up there, she doesn't know what to do while she is up there, and you just wonder what kind of dummy put her up there to begin with."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Funny thing about cockroaches... when you turn on the lights...

They scramble for cover.

Where are all these brave macho Conservatives?

Explain this one to your kids, Steve. The We'veGoneIntoHidingBecauseIt'sAllAboutHarper edition.

So long, Paul...


From the Independent:

The first evidence that millions of tons of a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide is being released into the atmosphere from beneath the Arctic seabed has been discovered by scientists.

The Independent has been passed details of preliminary findings suggesting that massive deposits of sub-sea methane are bubbling to the surface as the Arctic region becomes warmer and its ice retreats.


In the past few days, the researchers have seen areas of sea foaming with gas bubbling up through "methane chimneys" rising from the sea floor. They believe that the sub-sea layer of permafrost, which has acted like a "lid" to prevent the gas from escaping, has melted away to allow methane to rise from underground deposits formed before the last ice age.

Gwynne Dyer has his take.

It is not possible to overstate how serious this is.

It is the climate change equivalent of finding Soviet missiles in Cuba.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the world

Some things of passable interest.

First, a NY Times piece, "Somali Pirates Seize Ukraine Ship Carrying Tanks". Marvellous. You may be aware that the waters off the coast of Somalia are today's Barbary Coast. When a landlubber like myself knows this, you have to wonder why the skipper of that freighter didn't have some sailors on-deck with a couple of John Moses' .50's.

The tale would make a great movie or a mini-series. George Clooney?

Second is a piece on GlobalSecurity.org, which is a very interesting site about the military, "Eurasian Grouping Plans Regional Army Near Afghanistan".
The Collective Security Treaty Organization, (CSTO), which brings together Russia and a number of other ex-Soviet countries, has announced an ambitious plan to set up an 11,000-strong regional army in Central Asia that will have troops deployed in the vicinity of NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Also of interest is "Russia may sell more MiG-29K carrier fighters to India". Over 12 years ago, India bought the Adm. Gorshkov aircraft-carrier from the Russkies. It's been sitting, awaiting re-furbishment while the two governments have haggled over costs. It now appears that there is movement towards completion.

Why should you care? Well, by 2015 or before, if the Indian/Pakistani situation heats up, the Indians will have 2 carriers, and modern aircraft and enhanced first-strike capability, especially with GPS-capable munitions. This could allow a non-nuclear precision attack on Pakistani 3C centres. If you're the Pakistanis, this could be a problem, as their military is not trained for fingerspitzengefühl.

9/11 changed everything about Steve's election campaign

"He does little mainstreeting, invariably makes announcements before small, hand-picked groups and addresses political rallies where every person in the audience has to register with officials from the local Conservative party organization."

"Unfortunately, we live in an era where the Prime Minister of Canada faces strong security threats.... When we're dealing in an era of global terrorism and these kinds of things, there are a disturbing number of threats to the country and specifically to whoever occupies the office of prime minister. This is unfortunate but it's reality."
RCMP spokesperson : "The RCMP will respond to any situation that could potentially jeopardize the safety and security of the Prime Minister of Canada."

Why just last week Steve had to call on the RCMP to protect him from safety and security risks hiding in reporters' questions. Also at risk are all Con candidates who are approached by national reporters - particularly Dona Cadman, whose mouth is apparently under house arrest for her own protection - and several Con candidates who are unfortunately unable to safely participate even in local candidate debates.

Here Steve has sensibly set up a podium in the safety of a backyard in Richmond, BC. :

But man, this Obama guy. Does he just not get the whole 9/11 "era of global terrorism" security thing or what? :

Cross-posted at Creekside

Friday, September 26, 2008

So Right, and So Fine

THERE ARE LOTS of really good illustrators out there. Check out a fine Canadian site, Drawn.ca, for example. Stevie may not care, but Drawn does.

However, if I had to pick a favourite, it would probably be Ron Cobb. Inspiring content, combined with incredible pen chops. I still have treasured copies of his LA Free Press cartoons, which appeared in university student papers all over North America. From there, Ron Cobb moved to Oz, and moved into movie design. Remember the tough-assed APC in Aliens? That's his.

But this isn't just my opinion. Steven Heller thinks so, too. Who the hell is Heller? Heller's a heavy in the commercial big-leagues of graphic design. Go check his piece on the DESIGNOBSERVER site, titled "Where Have You Gone R. Cobb?" and everything else on it while you're at it. Here, there be chops. The top illustration is 1973, the lower, 1967.

It is what it is and what it is, is unqualified

I know, I know, I said we should stop talking about her, but the more I see of her, the more I'm of two minds. On the one hand, I'm delighted that the Republicans have picked such an obviously, comically unqualified candidate to shore up the glaring gaps in McCain's areas of expertise. On the other hand, I'm horrified that there is any chance at all that this woman could get anywhere near the Oval office.

Caribou Barbie, Sarah America, Bible Spice -- call her what you want, but by any name. Sarah Palin should not be allowed to work in the White House, not even as a tour guide.

The title of this post, at least the first part of it, is one of my father's favorite little verbal tics of late. I was warned that he has taken to watching FOX news -- this is a guy who has always been a centerist politically, more or less, but like many of us seems to have gotten more conservative as he's gotten older. He was Trudeau fan, but I suspect he voted for both Harris and Harper. We are both political junkies, but tend to treat it more as a spectator sport than something we would want to actually get our hands dirty with as candidates--It isn't that we don't care who wins, we do, its just that I suspect we'd both rather be handicappers or bookies than racehorses. I don't really want to drag him into this, but the fact that he didn't express outright support for either candidate had me wondering. He made some predictions, but he never really said which side he hoped would win and since he's the closest thing to a conservative I'm on face-to-face speaking terms with these days, I was curious to see his reactions to the presidential race.

Both the Democratic and Republican conventions were on while I was back in Canada. We watched Obama's speech together and he said he thought Obama would win, but that as usual his speech was short on specifics. I couldn't watch the Republican convention with him, mostly because I couldn't suppress my gag reflex long enough or keep from making snide comments whenever Mitt Romney or Rudy 9u11ani said something stupid, (ie: every time they opened their mouths).

"You have to listen to both sides" he'd keep telling me as he flipped from CNN to FOX and I started to sneer at Bill Kristol. Hey, I'm a journalist, I know all about listening to both sides, but if I'm doing a story on the Holocaust and one side is concentration camp survivors, soldiers who liberated camps and every serious historian on the planet and the other side is David Irving and a couple of knuckledraggers from the American Nazi Party, it isn't a "he said/she said/who knows what the truth is" kind of a situation and I can tell one side to shut the fuck up and get the fuck out of my office with a clean conscience. Eventually, I went and watched in another room.

When it came to Sarah Palin, I was suspicious from day one. I looked around for bio info on the internet when McCain first announced he had picked a running mate, realized she had zero policy experience, was a fundamentalist Christian, was a family values conservative, anti-choice, pro-war, pro-drilling here, there and everywhere, had ties to corrupt bum Sen. Ted Stevens and pretty much wrote her off as a losing prospect. I knew she'd never get the disappointed Hillary voters. When it came out that her teenage daughter was knocked up, I admit I cackled with schadenfreude, wondering how the hell McCain's people missed it and how they would try to spin it. I watched her speech and figured "okay, she can tell a really old joke and make mean misinformed cracks about he opponent. The republican base is gonna love her, but that's it. No problem."

But then the press loved her. And my dad seemed to think she was okay -- he seemed to like the pit bull gag--god knows he sat next to enough hockey moms during my and my brother's minor hockey days. He seemed to think she was as qualified as anyone for the job. "It is what it is" he said. This worried me. My dad is a pretty smart guy and he wasn't dismissing this travesty. Could the American people fall for this bullshit? God knows, they've fallen for some stupid shit before, but would they buy into the neocon Cinderella narrative about her being a tough and sassy hockey mom who could hunt moose in the morning and run the state in the afternoon? I hoped not, but they bought the absurd idea that John Kerry was a coward whose war record was a lie and George W. Bush was a fighter pilot/war leader, so anything was possible.

Then some cracks started showing. The GOP machine was keeping her away from the press and unfriendly crowds. Then they let her be interviewed.

"In what respect Charlie?"

"I'll try to find some and I'll bring'em to ya"

Watch CBS Videos Online

These all reminded me of something.
The best description comes from the comments at Balloon Juice:
"I'm still in shock over how terrible the Palin/Couric interview was. "Train wreck" is being charitable -- it was more like a train derailing on a bridge, tumbling a thousand feet into a canyon and landing on a pile of old dynamite and gas drums. And then a jumbo jet crashed into the flaming wreckage. Followed by an earthquake that caused the whole mess to slide off a cliff into the sea, where the few miraculous survivors were eaten by sharks."

In a way, I'm not worried anymore.

Sorry Dad, but this is a case where one side is grounded in reality and the other is not even sure where reality is anymore--in fact, I don't think they could find reality at this point with both hands and a search party if it was safety-pinned through both ass cheeks. Seriously, if you want to be vice president and you can't even manage to bullshit your way through an interview Katie Freaking Couric, how does she think she's going to do if she has to sit down across the table from Vladimir Putin or even Joe Biden?

I don't think anyone could watch these and get the idea that this person is well suited to be Vice President. I don't think most people watching these clips would even think she should be running the least populous, most remote state in the USA. I don't think anyone but a dyed-in-the-wool, born-again, Republican partisan would think she was even qualified to be the mayor of a town of 5,000. Frankly I'm amazed Wallisa doesn't have a monorail, but maybe that's more of a Shelbyville idea.

She can't seem to form and express a coherent opinion or even put together a full sentence.
That McCain picked her should disqualify him from ever holding public office again. This choice is not a demonstration of poor judgement, its is evidence that he has lost his freakin' mind.

crossposted from the Woodshed

Canada's first convicted terrorist

Yesterday the first person in Canada was found guilty of "participating in terrorist activity" under Canada's new anti-terrorism laws. A teen at the time of his arrest, he faces up to 10 years in prison. G&M :
"Despite the fact there was no evidence that he planned, or even knew about, any specific plot, he was found guilty of participating in a terrorist group.

Despite the marginal nature of the case, Canada's security agencies are buoyed that a terrorism conviction is finally on the books. “All of the folks on this file are really breathing better on it ... It's a big confidence builder,” said Senator Colin Kenny, who heads a committee that probes national-security agencies.
Experts added that the weaknesses in the case illustrate how strong the law is.
"The ruling may indicate that ‘participation in terrorism' becomes the favoured charge, much as ‘material support for terrorism' has south of the border,” University of Toronto law Professor Kent Roach said of a charge laid in dozens of U.S. cases."

After the ruling, the prosection's main witness, Mubain Shaikh, spoke to reporters.
As the RCMP mole who was paid $77,000 to set the group up for arrest, later demanding a further $300,000, Shaikh provided the group with its only weapon - a 9mil handgun. He convinced our reluctant teen to attend the training camp by telling him it was a religious retreat:

"I don't believe he was a terrorist," Shaikh said. "I don't believe he should have been put through what he was put through. But that's our system." Shaikh said he did not believe that the defendant was aware of the group's violent plans."

At the trial : CBC :
"Shaikh said the accused was invited to the training camp under false pretences.
Having recently converted from Hinduism to Islam, the accused was eager to learn. So Shaikh told him the camp was a religious retreat where he would learn about the faith and also test physical skills, as laid out in the Koran.
Shaikh said the accused never heard a word of alleged plans to blow up buildings or behead the prime minister."

As Hysperia put it: "Charged for something that someone else might have been doing without your knowledge"

No matter. Finally we have our first anti-terrorism act conviction in the war of terror.

Under the CTV story reporting the ruling, there are 105 comments. Eight allude to some aspect of the case. A few take the opportunity to proclaim this proves we should vote for Harper on Oct. 14. Among the remaining 90 or so are the following suggestions :
~Who paid for the defense?He should also have been charged with treason and lose the Canadian citizenship."
~now we can take back our nation from the criminals.
~Send him to Gitmo
~Lock him up for life in a 8x6 ft. cell for 23 out of 24 hours each day
~Its a shame that taxpayers' money is wasted on trials like this. if a person is found doing this they should be put away without the trial.
~get this guy's name out
~this does make it tough to be critical of the liberal appointed judges though. We will have to come up with some other way of discrediting them.
~In simpler days, they would have been dealt with by a length of rope.
~they should all be tried under a war tribunal and not the civilian courts.
~tie them with a steel chain in the middle of Lake Ontario.
~Under our terror act we should name names
~it's time we stopping letting just anyone into the country.
~see how the fellow in-mates treat them. I think we all know it wouldn't be a warm welcome!~Youth or not all of their faces and names should be plastered all over this country.
~Free, law-abiding citizens have rights -criminals give them up when they commit crimes
~What would scare these type of people is to strip them of their natural citizenship
~he was probably born in Canada so he gets to stay. If not, deport him after the time served or better yet deport him to serve time in the cushy Middle East jails, if they would actually do this.
~10 years!? I'm speechless. Why is he not looking at 100 years?
~I think it's about time we stopped letting people from other country's into Canada.
~the Charter of Rights has left us good law abiding citizens the shaft and the criminals all the breaks
~you are released from jail into a body bag or coffin.
~I like the idea of that prison in Colorado?, virtually inaccessible, prioners in complete isolation, with 1 hour out by themselves, no phone TV or visitors for the rest of their lives.
~His whole family should be deported.
~what happened to hanging?
~Treason/High Treason in Canada should result in a pubic hanging on Parlament Hill of the accused

All in all it sounds like Canada's war of terror seems to be progressing quite well.
Cross-posted at Creekside

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bullet-headed Saxon mother's son

The LeeRichardsonIsSpeaking that means OurHiddenAgendaIsBeingExposedAgain!! edition. Tell us what this one is about... Stevie.

Pissed Off. Oh Yes!

How many of you will be pissed off at me if I remind you what I said back on September 9 ?

All of you?

OK. Fine with me. I didn't set out ten years ago to make anybody like me.

I want you to imagine what Canada is going to look like in four years.

If imagination is a faculty you still have and if four years isn't too long a time period for your attention span.

That's right, good for you, that's contempt speaking.

It's difficult for me to accept that so many Canadians I've been reading and listening to over the last five or six years have so little appreciation of what's at stake that they're willing to cocoon themselves within their habitual, comfortable partisan zones and completely ignore the larger stakes.

Try as I might I can't tune out the contempt I've come to feel for you hard and fast partisans of the Liberals, NDP or Green. You know who you are. Oh, yes you do.

I want you to know, I mean I really, really want you to get it in the acid of your disintegrating gut, that I hold you in just as much contempt as I hold Conservatives. I will be blaming you just as much as I will be blaming Harper and his gang for what is going to happen to this country over the next four to eight years.

Don't bother to try and defend yourselves, to explain your reasons, your commitments, your histories.

I don't care.

I only care about Canada.

You don't.

I repeat, you don't care about Canada.

You care about your partisan affiliation and you identify that partisanship as being the same as caring about Canada.

But it's not the same thing. I think deep down you know that too.

I believe you don't have effective boundary definitions any more. You simply don't know that Canada is a larger phenomenon that your party of choice.

It's a derangement syndrome.

You're in need of assistance.

But you won't be getting it from me.

From me you'll only be getting contempt.

So shut up and revel in what you've wrought.

I trust each ox Harper gores will be your special pet and your guts will twist in the wind with each thrust.

I hope I've pissed you off.


...only wonderful things can come of this:
U.S. and Afghan troops exchanged fire with Pakistani forces after they shot at two U.S. helicopters near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border on Thursday, a U.S. military official said.

And I bet you thought Iran and the US were going to go at it!

Note to Conservatives:
The Pakistani army is VERY BIG. It is VERY WELL TRAINED. Pakistan has NUCLEAR weapons. Hanging around the US while it starts a WAR WITH PAKISTAN is a VERY BAD THING.

Note to Dion, Layton, May, Duceppe:
NOW is a very good time to start talking about leaving Afghanistan sooner rather than later.

Better get the Barf Bag . . . .

No wonder McSame's trying to postpone the debates:

At least she can't be accused of being "elitist," anyway.

Good grief, even Katie Couric looks skeptical, for crying out loud.

Tundra Trash a "heartbeat away from the Presidency"?

Please don't let the USian public be that "stoopid" . . . .

(Cross-posted from Moved to Vancouver)

The Truth Shall Set You Free . . . .

Looks like there's a bit of financial friction between Germany and the US.

Just in from Reuters:

Era of U.S. financial dominance at an end: Germany
Thu Sep 25, 2008 12:16pm EDT

By Noah Barkin and Kerstin Gehmlich

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany blamed the United States on Thursday for spawning the global financial crisis with a blind drive for higher profits and said it must now accept more market regulation and a loss of its financial superpower status.

In some of the harshest criticism of the United States since the crisis threw Wall Street banks into financial disarray this month, German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck said the turmoil would leave "deep marks" on both sides of the Atlantic, but called it primarily an American problem.

"The world will never be as it was before the crisis," Steinbrueck told the Bundestag lower house of parliament.
"The United States will lose its superpower status in the world financial system. The world financial system will become more multi-polar," he said.


Chancellor Angela Merkel's government, a partnership of her conservatives and Steinbrueck's Social Democrats (SPD), pushed the G8 to agree measures to boost financial market transparency during Germany's presidency of the club last year.

But their drive collapsed amid opposition from Washington and London. Merkel's party and the SPD are keen to claim credit for Germany's G8 push ahead of a federal election next year.


German criticisms of Washington were echoed by leaders of governments from around the world meeting this week at the United Nations in New York. Many criticized the financial record of President George W. Bush's administration and warned that U.S. financial mistakes now threatened the global economy.

The crisis has put the Bush White House, which has long advocated a hands-off approach to markets, on the defensive and forced it to rethink its financial policy.

At the same time it has emboldened voices in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere, who are uncomfortable with American-style capitalism and who want tighter regulation of markets.

It appears the groping/massage georgie gave Angela didn't work out quite as he had planned . . . .

(Cross-posted from Moved to Vancouver)

Question: WTF $700 000 000 000.00?


"It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."

(h/t CC)

"Every budding dictatorship...

... begins by muzzling the artists, because they're a mouthy lot and they don't line up and salute very easily."

Margaret Atwood, CC
24 September 2008

"Art is a hobby."
Harper supporter
Commenting on this blog
29 February 2008

I need to find the time to study Margaret Atwood's hobby more closely.

Hat tip Impolitical

The Conservative campaign

Get up, do a photo op, speak to smiling confirmed voters, answer no questions, repeat 21 times.

Where are your candidates, Steve?

The Beatles, the WhenIsTheMediaGoingToDumpThisTurkey edition:

VANOC trademarks "with glowing hearts"

G&M : "Earlier this month, VANOC quietly applied to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office for trademark rights to the phrase "with glowing hearts," part of the well-known refrain in O Canada: "With glowing hearts we see thee rise, the true North strong and free."

Presumably the phrase will be added to their previously trademarked "winter, gold, silver, bronze, sponsor, Vancouver, Whistler, 2010, tenth, medals, and games", all of which are off-limits to businesses which have not paid for the privilege of becoming a Five Ring Circus sponsor.

So if you were just about to launch "Laundry Bleach With Glowing Hearts", or "With Glowing Hearts Diesel Fuel", or "Dietary Supplements With Glowing Hearts and Edible Fats", you're shit out of luck.
Ditto : "With Glowing Hearts Beer, Blogs, and Bathrobes"

I'm already starting to regret missing out on that last one.

Cross-posted at Creekside

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Culture en péril

As per Impolitical, this needs to be spread:

Long version here.

What is that Aroma ? ? ? ?

Two separate incidents - one in the US and one in Canada - occurred yesterday that got me thinking about politics and the media. Mind you, these were not isolated incidents by any means.

Check out incident #1, via The Politico:

Palin press may boycott UN conference
By: Kenneth P. Vogel
September 23, 2008 01:30 PM EST

NEW YORK – Journalists, displeased with Sarah Palin’s efforts to restrict their access to her, are threatening not to cover her events surrounding the United Nations conference here unless they're allowed more access.

The unfolding boycott is the latest development in a rocky relationship between Palin’s handlers and the press, in which the campaign has sought to tightly control her interactions with the media.

The campaign had originally indicated that the print reporters following her campaign would be among the small group of journalists allowed to attend the so-called “pool sprays” before Palin’s meetings with dignitaries on the sidelines of the U.N. meetings.

The sprays are basically glorified photo opportunities during which journalists can snap photos and film footage and – if they’re lucky – shout a question or two at Palin and her company before she adjourns for private meetings. On Tuesday, those meetings were to include Afghan President Karzai and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

But the imbroglio began developing Tuesday morning when Palin’s handlers informed the small print press contingent covering her campaign that the print reporter designated to cover the events, Elizabeth Holmes of the Wall Street Journal, would not be allowed to cover the sprays.


The campaign also at first moved to bar CNN, the television network designated for pool duty, from sending its editorial producer – basically a hybrid print/video journalist – though the campaign budged when the network threatened to withhold its cameras as well.

Incident #2 occurred right here in Metro Vancouver last evening. Via the Vancouver Sun:

Tories keep candidate Cadman away from media

Andrew Mayeda - Canwest News Service
Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Conservatives refused a request by the media to interview the woman at the centre of the so-called Cadman affair at a campaign stop in Surrey Tuesday.

Media travelling with Prime Minister Stephen Harper requested an interview with Dona Cadman, the Conservative candidate for Surrey North and widow of late MP Chuck Cadman, after Harper addressed a rally here.


However, the Conservatives ushered her and the other candidates out the back door of the conference hall before the media could speak with her.

Dona Cadman has alleged that Tory operatives offered to buy her husband a $1-million life-insurance policy so he would vote with the Conservatives to topple the
government in the summer of 2005. Cadman died of cancer weeks after the confidence vote, which the Liberal government survived.

"Local candidates' priority is campaigning in their local ridings, and not talking to the national media," said Harper's chief spokesman, Kory Teneycke.

Teneycke suggested Cadman did not want to speak with the media, but would not confirm if the party actually relayed the interview request to her.

Sound like quite similar incidents, don't you think?

One may be tempted to jump to the conclusion that the muzzling of the press
may very well be orchestrated by someone?

Perhaps a political "guru" or expert at controlling the message.

Excuse me for a moment, I've got to go close the windows. It seems there is one of Stanley Park's famed furry black and white creatures in the 'hood spreading his or her perfume around.

(walk, walk. peer out windows. scratch head in confusion. walk, walk.)

Well, I'll be damned.

That wasn't what it was at all.

Apparently, the infamous karl rove was in the area and the stench of his "craft" has just now made it's way to The West End from downtown Calgary.

Sorry for the confusion . . . .

(It's not bad enough the life-form has a beach house in the same county that we live in Florida, he's got to follow us here, too?!?!)

(Cross-posted from Moved to Vancouver)