Saturday, December 29, 2012

The final solution . . .

GENOCIDE CAN BE CULTURAL, and NativeWritesNow is grateful to Christie Blatchford for the explanation, with a post, "Christie Blatchford is telling the truth".  Take a minute and check out how this is so.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Allied efforts . . .

IDLE NO MORE: Idle No More calls on all people to join in a revolution which honors and fulfills Indigenous sovereignty which protects the land and water. Colonization continues through attacks to Indigenous rights and damage to the land and water. We must repair these violations, live the spirit and intent of the treaty relationship, work towards justice in action, and protect Mother Earth.

Re: Chief Theresa Spence. Here's an idea: get the UK newspapers involved. "Canadian GuvGen won't meet dying Hunger Strike Indian Chief". The publicity will put pressure on Buck House, which dumps on the GuvGen, who dumps on Stevie. Remember, Stevie reacts to publicity like a cockroach to light. International publicity that makes him look bad, that leaks back to Canada, especially as the election is coming up might have a lot of power.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Odious and disgusting . . .

KUDOS TO MONTREAL SIMON: his post, "When the Cons Try to Cover Up Murder" is something you must read. Stevie will have much to answer for.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A present . . .

MACROPHAGES AND VIRUSES can kill cancer: According to George Dvorsky's article in io9, "Researchers create a ‘trojan-horse’ virus to eliminate cancer in mice".

clinical trials on humans could start as early as next year

Monday, December 24, 2012

Glen Coulthard: "#idlenomore in historical context"

Very serious game
With respect to the emergent #IdleNoMore movement, although many of the conditions that compelled the state to undertake the most expensive public inquiry in Canadian history are still in place, a couple of important ones are not. The first condition that appears to be absent is the perceived threat of political violence that was present in the years leading to the resistance at Kanesatake. #IdleNoMore is an explicitly non-violent movement, which accounts for its relatively wide spectrum of both Native and non-Native support at the moment. However, if the life of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence continues to be recklessly put in jeopardy by a Prime Minister who negligently refuses to capitulate to her reasonable demands, it is my prediction that the spectre of political violence will re-emerge in Indigenous peoples’ collective conversations about what to do next. The responsibility for this rests solely on the state. The second condition that differentiates #IdleNoMore from the decade of Indigenous activism that lead to RCAP is the absence (so far) of widespread economic disruption unleashed by Indigenous direct action. If history has shown us anything, it is this: if you want those in power to respond swiftly to Indigenous peoples’ political efforts, start by placing Native bodies (with a few logs and tires thrown in for good measure) between settlers and their money, which in colonial contexts is generated by the ongoing theft and exploitation of our land and resource base. If this is true, then the long term efficacy of the #IdleNoMore movement would appear to hinge on its protest actions being distributed more evenly between the malls and front lawns of legislatures on the one hand, and the logging roads, thoroughfares, and railways that are central to the accumulation of colonial capital on the other. For better and for worse, it was our peoples’ challenge to these two pillars of colonial sovereignty that led to the recommendations of RCAP: the Canadian state’s claim to hold a legitimate monopoly on use of violence and the conditions required for the ongoing accumulation of capital.  In stating this, however, I don’t mean to offer an unqualified endorsement of these two challenges, but rather a diagnosis of our present situation based on an ongoing critical conversation about how these differences and similarities ought to inform our current struggle.

The federal government of the early 1990s was run by adults who were wise enough to understand the seriousness of what happened at Oka and Kahnesetake. We are not so fortunate today.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

If Chief Spence dies...

If Chief Theresa Spence dies, the nature of Aboriginal-Government relations will radically change. At present there's simply no reason the other than decency that the Harper government will entertain a meeting or reconsider Bill C-45. There is no decency in today's Conservatives.

If Chief Spence dies, Aborginal people and their allies will have a martyr. If there is an uprising of some kind following her death, the Harper Conservatives will use it to justify taking what ever measures they deem necessary to break the back of Aboriginal political mobilisation. This is what they do.

It's a very serious business, this. 

"Settler Canadians"

Note to the #idlenomore uprising: "Settler Canadian" is a well-intended but divisive and couterproductive term. Some of you are engaging in arguments about who is more authentic as an Indigenous person and who is "allowed" to participate in the movement. This does three things. First, it  reproduces the mechanisms of colonialism by othering, by constructing boundaries and in-groups. Second, these divisions are what the Harper government will look to exploit when it moves to stop the movement. Third, if the movement is successful in the short-term, these divisions will very likely spoil it in the long term because it lays the foundations for factionalism. The history of decolonising societies is rife with examples.

Just saying.

Stevie does Gangnam . . .

ACCORDING TO HUFFINGTON, the Air Farce has nailed it. Delightful!

Stevie needs a reading . . .


Friday, December 21, 2012

NRA: Paroxysms of lunacy

NRA says gun violence on TV, movies, and videogames is to blame for US massacres.

NRA also says the "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." 
Somehow I don't think it occured them that the the very idea of a good guy with a gun stopping a bad guy with a gun is also the central theme of just about every US action movie or western since the invention of the genres. The good guys always win and the bad guys always lose, and the cop guarding the school isn't the first one shot by the next mass murderer.  

Yippi-Kai-Yay with that one, Wayne. Also, please, I mean it, please do keep talking because not only will Americans find themselves unable purchase military-grade small-arms, violent entertainment will be kerbed too!

It really is amazing to watch the gun debate in the US because it's so utterly fantastical. Nothing they talk about has any connection to the reality of gun violence. Walter Mitty all around. 

LaPIerre: Database of the Mentally Ill?

Head runnion of the NRA W. LaPierre is apparently calling for a database of the mentally ill as a means of thwarting would be mass-murderers. The idea I suppose is to exclude the mentally ill from owning firearms.

OK, I'll play. Ten per cent of Americans are on anti-depressants. Others have various other issues which could be considered mental illness. PTSD, anxiety disorders, autism, addictions, and so on.

I'm not sure LaPierre has thought this one through.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Guns in Israel

Balloon Juice from Forbes.

Israel’s gun control laws are the opposite of America’s, say Israeli officials. “Only those who have a license can bear arms and not everyone can get a license,” the head of the firearms licensing department told the Jerusalem Post. To qualify for a license, Israelis must be at least age 21, pass a physical and psychological examination, undergo a background check and then qualify at a licensed shooting range. Gun owners are retested every three years, they get a one-time supply of 50 bullets when they order their weapon, and as of next year, they must keep their gun in a safe.
For a nation that has been at war for more than 60 years, it is notable that Israeli officials estimate that there are only 170,000 weapons that are privately owned in a population of less than 8 million, or a little less than one weapon per 50 Israelis. There are an estimated 300 million weapons in America, or roughly one for every America’s 315 million people...

"Evil" declareth he, the gunlobbyist

This is quite amazing. Most of the attention naturally seems focussed on the vapours inducing fact that Piers Morgan factually called Larry Pratt a "stupid man".  But pay attention at the 7:30 mark where Morgan calls the Newtown mass murderer Adam Lanza "derranged" and Pratt interjects and corrects him by judging Lanza an "evil son" then goes on to justify himself by saying that "if you believe there is evil in the world you don't as your first line of defence attempt to solve psychiatrically".

OK, first, I would bet substantial money that's a theory straight outta Christian Fundie School. In a few words, Pratt rejects the science and reason that defines and codifies mental illness, let alone separates us from barbarism, and instead reclassifies it as evil. How do you protect against mentally ill evil people?

Shoot them.

Me thinks the psychiatrists should take a good look inside Pratt's head.


What Michael Kimmel says:

In the coming weeks, we’ll learn more about Adam Lanza, his motives, his particular madness. We’ll hear how he “snapped” or that he was seriously mentally ill. We’ll try to explain it by setting him apart, by distancing him from the rest of us.
And we’ll continue to miss the point. Not only are those children at Sandy Hook Elementary School our children. Adam Lanza is our child also. Of course, he was mad — as were Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and Seung-Hui Cho, Jared Lee Loughner, James Eagan Holmes, and Wade Michael Page — and the ever-longer list of boys and young men who have exploded in a paroxysm of vengeful violence in recent years. In a sense, they weren’t deviants, but over-conformists to norms of masculinity that prescribe violence as a solution. Like real men, they didn’t just get mad, they got even. Until we transform that definition of manhood, this terrible equation of masculinity and violence will continue to produce such horrific sums.
I was telling a friend this morning that I think gender equality is as much about access for women and gender minorities as it is a much improved standard of behaviour from men. Kimmel's essay describes the problem acutely, much of the world suffers a toddler-manhood centred on a whinging "you're not the boss of me" narrative backed up by infantry-grade firepower.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bushmaster Man-card

Patriarchy boiled down to its stupid, terrified essentials.

Apparently [American] men need an AR-15 slung over their shoulder and a really erroneous instruction card in their wallet to explain to them how to be psychopaths men.

I sometimes think the best way to deal with rightwing is to mock them mercilessly. Man-card calls out for a piss-taking. "What, you need an wallet-sized reminder card and a gun? Are you that uncertain of your gender construction or sex AND terrified?"

Teachers and guns

Mr Z was an elementary school French teacher I had for a year. Like many French teachers in peripheral Anglo-Canadian communities, he'd probably spent decades trying to teach French to kids who mocked him without mercy for his efforts. When I got him he was old, very angry, and verbally and physically abusive. Chalk-brushes, text-books, and sometimes chairs and desks impacted the bodies and heads of 10 year old children when he'd go apoplectic. Of course, this being a Catholic school, abuse of this and darker natures was ignored or covered-up.

I hate to think what might have happened if Mr Z had been armed during one of his fits.

The assumption that for the purposes of firearms possession and use teachers are universally saintly creatures, is beyond me.

Monday, December 17, 2012


The police department logged more than 50 gunfire complaints this year through July, double the number for all of 2011, records show. Some of the complaints raised another issue. Gun enthusiasts here, as elsewhere in the country, have taken to loading their targets with an explosive called Tannerite, which detonates when bullets strike it, sending shock waves afield. A mixture of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder, Tannerite is legal in Connecticut, but safety concerns led Maryland this year to ban it.
Tannerite. Youtube is full of videos of idiots being anything but responsible with this stuff. 

The Gun Problem

Round about 1860 a monumental advance occured in firearms development. The metal cartridge was invented. Until then a round of small-arms ammunition consisted of a normally lead projectile, then some form of wadding, and a flammable or explosive powder ignited by a spark produced from a flint, burning cord, or percussion cap located on the outside of the weapon. Cartridges of the day sometimes wrapped all but the cap  in paper in order to make loading faster and easier. Then people got the idea of replacing the paper with metal, usually brass, and then adding a percussion cap at the end, and voila, the modern cartidge was born. Now ammunition was effectively weatherproof, durable, self-contained and safely stowable. This technological advance also allowed for new kinds of magazine-fed firearms, from hunting and target rifles, to handguns and assault rifles. The marvels of the Industrial Revolution and capitalism permitted the mass production and distribution of reliable cartridges and firearms that continues to this day.

People could now possess a device that would accurately propel a small piece of metal faster than the speed sound for purpose of killing living things from a distance. The power that represented was phenomenal. It changed warfare from set piece battles to prolonged and exponentially more lethal wars of attrition. It also allowed a person possesing one of these new devices the power of life or death over others in a way unseen in human history. A pistol fits in a pocket, a rifle over a shoulder, and allow the bearer to kill from a distance whereby the risk to themselves is minimised and the kill is or incapacitating wounding of their target or bystanders is very nearly assured.

That kind of power is incredibly seductive to a fearful-minded and untrusting tribal primate only a few evolution-years out of the caves and trees.

Somewhere along the way the possession of that power became normalised, as if Remingtons, Glocks and AR15s always existed and aren't products of culture, ingenuity, and economics. For some, the gun became part of their culture and even their indivdual identity. Some nations put them on their flags, some people insisted on the right to carry them anywhere they pleased. Governments passed laws allowing greater or lesser distribution of firearms depending on the sentiments of their varying electorates.

The narrative of the gun and the empowerment it gave the individual spread with other techologies. Cinema genres evolved around the lone gunman gunslinger fending off hoards of improbable nasties to save himself/family/children/community/country/civilisation. Live and virtual ranges were created where men and women could shoot at cardboard or computer-pixel improbable nasties.

However within all this mythmaking, real people used their gun-provided godpower to kill other real people. The ready access to firearms made it possible to walk into a workplace, a school, or a street and kill whomever one wished, while other people argued and lobbied for the 'right' that made firearms available to murderers.

The cost of 'gun-rights' are massacres, murders, and accidental deaths. Arguing for looser controls on firearms means that you're willing to accept that periodically someone is going to walking into a school or workplace and kill a lot of people. It means that somewhere some toddler is going to accidently shoot themselves or their sibling. It means that somebody's spouse is going to die after abuse or rejection.

Gun-rights also mean that small arms industries do grow to the point where economies of scale make light weapons and ammunition easily affordable in the poorest places on Earth. Places where warlords flourish and mass graves fill.

Firearms are a social attractor. They are something that members of society for differing reasons congregate around because they have value to those members. In order to limit gun violence two things need to happen. The physical attractor, guns, need to be removed from play. The second thing that must happen is the reduction in the symbolic value and therefore importance of firearms. Yes, guns are a large part of certain cultures, but cultures are not static and the things they value can and do change under the right conditions. Turning gun-fanatics into social lepers, combined with severe restrictions on firearm types, sales, and distribution will go a long way to removing their importance. It could be done in under a generation.

The gun culture of today did not exist 150, 50, or even 20 years ago. It emerged with advancements in firearms technology and the progression of culture, war, and economics that followed the metal cartridge and it can disappear when the social impacts of those developments are no longer tolerable. It does not have exist 20 years from now.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Epigenetic Key . . .

HOW HOMOSEXUAL BEHAVIOR arises has been a mystery. According to an article by George Dvorsky in io9, "Scientists claim that homosexuality is not genetic — but it arises in the womb", as the endocrine system copes with operational life. Fascinating, click on the link to find out more.

A team of international researchers has completed a study that suggests we will probably never find a ‘gay gene.' Sexual orientation is not about genetics, say the researchers, it's about epigenetics. This is the process where DNA expression is influenced by any number of external factors in the environment. And in the case of homosexuality, the researchers argue, the environment is the womb itself.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Human behavior . . .

HUMAN MOTIVATION is incredibly complex. Attempts to tweek with it are invariably mis-directed. Esther Inglis-Arkell's article at io9, "The lasting mystery of the Hawthorne Effect" is worthy of  attention.

The Hawthorne Effect is cited by both business experts and psychology experts, but rarely in the same way. Some say it's real, some that it's real but misinterpreted, and then others that it doesn't exist and never has. It all started with an attempt to increase productivity at a factory in the 1920s, and we've been arguing about it ever since. 

The story of the Hawthorne Effect begins in the 1920s, when productivity studies began at the Hawthorne Works electrical equipment factory in Illinois. They continued for the better part of a decade, with investigators tweaking nearly every aspect of working life.

— The Home Office —

Friday, December 14, 2012

Right to work . . .

RIGHT TO WORK got its start in Texas in the early 1940's. It's the malignant creation of a particularly odious American, Vance Muse. According to Mark Ames at Not Safe For Work Corporation, in an article "You Hate "Right To Work" Laws More Than You Know. Here's Why", Vance Muse was quite a piece of work. Click on the link to get a fascinating explanation of the rise of the fascist Right in America.

Vance Muse was a racist political operative and lobbyist from the state of Texas — the native habitat for all America’s vermin —as Satanically vile as "Turd Blossom" Rove, a racist smear-peddler like Andrew Breitbart, only without Breitbart’s degenerate heart and fondness for blow.

Here is a description of Vance Muse, creator of the "right to work" movement, from a book by an old celebrated journalist, Stetson Kennedy, the reporter who famously went undercover inside the KKK and wrote a tell-all in the 40’s:
"The man Muse is quite a character. He is six foot four, wears a ten-gallon hat, but generally reserves his cowboy boots for trips Nawth. Now over fifty [this is published in 1946—M.A.], Muse has been professionally engaged in reactionary enterprises for more than a quarter of a century."

Among Vance Muse’s "reactionary enterprises": He lobbied against women’s suffrage, against the child-labor amendment, against the 8-hour workday, and in 1936, Muse engineered the first split in the South’s Democratic Party by peeling off the segregationists and racists from the New Deal party, a political maneuver that eventually led to Strom Thurmond, George Wallace, and at last a Republican right-wing takeover of the South, and with it, the collapse of the old New Deal coalition. Which worked out fine for Vance Muse, since he was a covert Republican himself, serving "for years" as the Republican Party state treasurer in Texas.

• • •

To understand why Fred Koch and the Bircher libertarians hated Ike so much, imagine today a Republican like Eisenhower who raised the top marginal tax rate to 91%, who poured massive government investments into building roads and schools, who publicly declared his support for Social Security and denounced any Republican who opposed it

Is it any wonder that the Right has a problem with Obama?


Nothing good ultimately comes from firearms.
Millions of human beings in the global South slaughter each other and innocents because of ready access of weapons and ammunition.

People, ill and 'sane' in the global North kill each other in smaller numbers and intellectualise the debate over the right to own and carry guns.

As if a device designed to kill living things, most often people, really deserves a place in our world.

"Responsible gun owners" are exactly that until the day they aren't. I suggest that any truly responsible gun owner would be campaigning to ban the things.

Hunters? Single shot rifles or shotguns are all you need. Or bow. Because you shouldn't be taking the shot if you think you need more in the magazine. 

Military and armed police? There'd be little use for your weapons in a disarmed world. 

Enough already.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Great military men

“He is neither a strategist nor is he schooled in the operational arts, nor is he a tactician, nor is he a general. Other than that he's a great military man” said US 

[Apologies of the formatting on this post appears weird. Blogger seems to have having issues.]


General Norman Schwarzkopf on Saddam Hussein during the 1991 war, but he might has well have been describing the US military-industrial complex as a man. Brian 

Stewart has an opinion piece up on CBC, where he details what the F-35 fiasco means for the US military and overal US global influence. 

In a nutshell, Stewart describes a US military industrial complex that has priced itself out the game. The F-35 represents a point just past the limit of design feasibility and cost-effectiveness. Seduced by US and Lockheed-Martin lobbying, many of the Western governments and air forces fell for a design they could not afford then and definitely cannot afford now. Yet, this was probably a forgone conclusion at somepoint if not now with this particular aeroplane. The US beat the Soviets by outspending them, in the meantime, as Steward suggests, stimulated an arms industry produced more and more sophisticated designs at higher and higher costs. It would eventually invent and price itself out of the game and turn itself into a strategic obstacle to US and its allies.


Because with all the technological superiority came hubris and narrow-sightedness. The military and politicians convinced they could solve complex foreign policy problems with laser-guided bombs dropped from large-package coalition air assaults supporting or in lieu of the most heavily armed and armoured ground forces in the history of the world. The tech made them stupid and once, twice, thrice, from Vietnam, to Iraq and Afghanistan they through the most masses of the most sophisticated armed forces in the world at small groups of lightly armed locals in sandals and had their strategic clocks cleaned. The Communists outright won in Vietnam. Iraq eventually through the Americans out and is still in the throes of factional violence. Afghanistan is a decade old now has actual "fighting seasons" as its NATO trained national army slow disintegrates, US allies make for the exits, and the politicians are still killing Taleban and remaining NATO soldiers on the same roads they were killing them half a decade ago. 

The Western military-industrial complex and its subservient politicians and generals has produced people who know how to organise militaries and deploy and coordinate advanced weapon systems in deadly fashion. It has produced operational technologists and technicians, but it has not produced strategists and artists who know the limits of their tools and thinking. Great military men indeed, but none simply great.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Land of the free . . .

ACCORDING TO ZERO HEDGE'S George Washington, "Americans Have Less Access to Justice than Botswanans … And Are More Abused By Police than Kazakhstanis", America is now Amerika with State Security.

Genetic patents . . .

MONSANTO'S MONSTROSITIES? Seems that Monsanto has been really pushy about patents, with the result that WIRED reports "Supreme Court to Rule on Patents for Self-Replicating Products", as people have resisted Monsanto's demands for payment because some of their patented seeds have spread to their crops.

The Supreme Court is weighing in on the soybean patents, agreeing to hear an appeal by a Knox County, Indiana soybean farmer who was ordered to pay $84,456 in damages and costs to Monsanto in 2009 for infringing those patents.

Farmer Vernon Bowman’s dirty deed? The 74-year-old bought soybean seed from a local grain elevator that was contaminated with the patented seed, which he used to produce beans on his 299 acres.

There's a lot at stake here, for Monsanto and other corporations, including Big Pharma.


And maybe even more important, because according to WIRED, "Supreme Court to Decide if Human Genes Are Patentable". That could mean that you might not own some part of what makes you you.  Given Monsanto's track record, that's not impossible to imagine. Could be worse, though, like Orson Scott Card's "I Put My Blue Genes On" or the genetic slavery envisioned by SF authors like Frank Herbert or Eric Weber.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Syria squeeze

NATO SAM batteries in Turkey, near enough to the border to knock down Syrian aircraft operating there, US talk about chemical weapon redlines, hints of troop deployments mean something is shifting in the West's approach to the Syrian government. No, I don't think it will be full on Iraq-type invasion but or a Libya-style air campaign. Syria is bigger and badder and actually has chemical and biological weapons which mean the potential for massive casualites among NATO troops should they get involved.

However, placing surface to air missiles in range of Syrian air force operations can have a dampening effect on those strikes. What I suspect is happening is a policy of forceful nudges with an aim to decisively tip the conflict in favour of the rebels.

Didn't see that coming...

Watching events around the new Observer status granted to Palestine at the UN it struck that only real international ally the Israeli rightwing has is the Canadian government. Sure the US continues to provide the Israel material support, but the Obama administration is also frustrated by the petulence of the current Israeli government.

Peace between Palestine and Israel is ultimately in the US interest and the US will begrudgingly support Israel when it acts unilaterally.

Baird and Harper on the other hand, are star-struck teenagers. I'm left wondering just what they'd do if Israel voted in a more liberal government?

Unfriend them on diplomatic facebook? Whimper into their pillows?


Saturday, December 01, 2012

Cybercrime . . .

BANK ROBBERS FOR HIRE. According to KrebsonSecurity"Online Service Offers Bank Robbers for Hire", these are North American operations.

The service, advertised on exclusive, Russian-language forums that cater to cybercrooks, claims to have willing and ready foot soldiers for hire in California, Florida, Illinois and New York. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

The World Stage

Canada's response to most of the world voting for the Palenstians and not clapping when ol' JB climbed into the pulpit to preach?

Hissy fit.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Guns and college

Much head-scratching going on in certain quarters down south over this one, I'm sure.

via LGM.
Since the University of Colorado's Boulder and Colorado Springs campuses began segregating dorms for students with valid concealed-carry permits this year, not a single student has asked to live where guns are allowed.
On Aug. 16, CU announced that both campuses would establish a residential area for students over age 21 with a permit to hold a concealed handgun. In all other dormitories, guns are banned.

Read more: No students move following CU dorm segregation for gun owners - The Denver Post|met:0000300|cat:0|order:23&%2F%3Fsource=dailyme#ixzz2DNxPO5kk
Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content:
Since the University of Colorado's Boulder and Colorado Springs campuses began segregating dorms for students with valid concealed-carry permits this year, not a single student has asked to live where guns are allowed.
On Aug. 16, CU announced that both campuses would establish a residential area for students over age 21 with a permit to hold a concealed handgun. In all other dormitories, guns are banned.
"So far, no one has moved," CU spokesman Ken McConnellogue said.

Read more: No students move following CU dorm segregation for gun owners - The Denver Post|met:0000300|cat:0|order:23&%2F%3Fsource=dailyme#ixzz2DNxDG8XI
Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content:

Read more: No students move following CU dorm segregation for gun owners - The Denver Post|met:0000300|cat:0|order:23&%2F%3Fsource=dailyme#ixzz2DNxDG8XI
Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content:

Since the University of Colorado's Boulder and Colorado Springs campuses began segregating dorms for students with valid concealed-carry permits this year, not a single student has asked to live where guns are allowed.
On Aug. 16, CU announced that both campuses would establish a residential area for students over age 21 with a permit to hold a concealed handgun. In all other dormitories, guns are banned.
"So far, no one has moved," CU spokesman Ken McConnellogue said.

Read more: No students move following CU dorm segregation for gun owners - The Denver Post|met:0000300|cat:0|order:23&%2F%3Fsource=dailyme#ixzz2DNxDG8XI
Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content:

Ford fall, Blatchford does not like

As we might expect with today's news from Toronto, the media pundits are starting rejoice or lament.

Christie Blatchford is a lamentator:

So, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been given the boot from office because an opportunistic citizen hired a smart and politically savvy lawyer who found a club of an arcane statute with which to tie the hands of a judge who was willing to play ball.
I didn't know you could tie hands with clubs, but somehow this painfully bound and bludgeoned metaphor seems to fit with the overall nature of Ms. Blatchford's reasoning. I mean its pretty clear she's upset. Ford, after all is, or was, a man of the people who like all men of the people, benevolently and selflessless wills the use [public] funds and assets to help the people, no matter how small or large the amount and all the more noble if directed at his personal hobbies causes.

Later, her metaphors improve a little in the sense that the image of a bound and ball-gagged Ford being beaten by men in judge and lawyer's robes she placed in my head is replaced by the thankfully much less disturbing image of a cartoon blunderbuss splattering a small insect. But her argument remains the same, namely that citizens, advocates, and judges really should not have the right to apply the laws of the land to test ranking politicians (the ones she likes at least) who appear to have broken them.

Thus did the judge join Paul Magder (the citizen who complained) and Clay Ruby (Mr. Magder’s lawyer) in using an elephant gun of a statute on a flea of a misdemeanor.
In the post-Charter of Rights and Freedoms world that is the modern Canada, citizens have grown accustomed to taking their laws as much from the courts — the Supreme Court and Superior Courts all across the country — as they do from the Parliament. Indeed, it is often celebrated when the courts overturn laws made by the federal government, especially the Stephen Harper government.
On Oct. 25, 2010, 383,501 Torontonians voted for Rob Ford, 93,669 more than voted for the runner up, George Smitherman, and just 1,813 fewer than all of those who voted for third-place finisher Joe Pantalone.
Not a one of them voted for Mr. Magder, Mr. Ruby or Judge Hackland.
All legal challenges, in my read of Blatchford's point, should be put to either popular vote or to the Stephen Harper Parliament of Canada. Not a present-day vote mind you, but in the sense that margins of the immediate past election victory should retroactively absolve present-day Fords of any wrongdoing when they engage in questionable ethical or legal practices. We all know how the SHPoC works. The courts should be done away with too as a matter of principle, but especially when they dare uphold the laws crafted by parliament and other duly recognised legislative bodies, and even more so when they dare apply those laws to the lawmakers themselves.

Ah, her use of the term "post-Charter" is starting to make sense.

Blatchford, Ford? Where do we find these people?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The spark . . .

FABIUS MAXIMUS has a thoughtful site, worthy of your perusal. "Attention Americans: the Revolution has begun. You must choose a side." is a post that discusses how important WikiLeaks has been to the resistance to America's fascists.

The first sparks of Revolution are invisible to the Proles and considered insignificant by the Outer Party. Only the fierce reaction by the government reveals their importance. The combination of power and ambition gives senior government officials a clarity of vision we lack. Watch these sparks. The opportunity to take sides might not last long, before they get snuffed out. 
• • •
You might sneer and laugh at Wikileaks and Anonymous as quixotic — foolish and vain efforts. But the government knows better, and devotes great effort to stamp out these sparks. Without wider support our ruling elites will successfully suppress these movements. With our support these can mature into powerful engines of reform.

Fabius also has another post you should check out: "On Counterinsurgency: How We Got to Where We Are", which looks at the history of repression and suppression.

The greatness of a nation depends as much on its ability to learn as much as its power. Failure to learn can prove fatal. As with German’s refusal to learn from its defeat in WWI, substituting resentment for wisdom. As with America’s refusal to learn from its defeat in Vietnam, and belief that the doctrines of counterinsurgency could win if tried again. This required ignoring clear analysis showing the folly of this, explaining the inherent flaws of foreign armies fighting entrenched local insurgencies.

Hanging Insurgents at Cavite,
from the Philippines War circa 1900
As the first phase (Iraq, Af-Pak) winds down of our 21st century mad foreign wars — and the second phase expands — we can still learn and turn from this path. So today we look at one such analysis, by Martin van Creveld — one of the West’s greatest living military historians.

The most astonishing aspect of this paper is that after 60 years of failed counterinsurgencies by foreign armies, ten years into our second wave of failed counterinsurgency, it lists simple facts that remain unknown to so many Americans — including a large fraction of our geopolitical gurus.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Good things still happen to Canada

West End Bob, one the Ink-stained Wretches here at the Beaver and other places in the interwebs just officially became Canadian.

I mean it isn't like we didn't already think of him as one, but it is definitely nice to make it official!

Congratulations Bob!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Get angry . . .

KUDOS TO THE SIXTH ESTATE, for going to all the cerebral effort to post "Inside Elections Canada’s Whitewash Report on Election Fraud: Armwaving, Cynicism, Red Herrings". If you missed it, you must read it — and get very, very angry.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Stay tuned . . .

THE MARS SCIENCE LABORATORY believes it has discovered something "earthshaking". Exactly what that something is, they're not saying right now. Check out Nancy Atkinson's account on io9, "Scientists claim to have discovered something “earthshaking” on Mars".

In an interview on NPR today, MSL Principal Investigator John Grotzinger said a recent soil sample test in the SAM instrument (Sample Analysis at Mars) shows something "earthshaking."

Apparently, after an initial discovery of methane was found to be Earth atmosphere that had been trapped within the rover, the scientists are being extra cautious. Religious fundamentalists are probably going to freak out, which is good.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sacred words


Culture is a system of values, beliefs, norms, and narratives. Held in the minds of people it is the glue of shared identity and description. Never quite static and changing slowly over time, it forms the unique corpus of a society. Like a body it can be infected with pathogens. Some are cured, some merely go into remission.

The Holocaust, passed on as the product of different cultural pathogen, re-emerges like a cancer. There are not enough tears in all of history to lament the tragedy that is the Nazi victory.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gaza ghastliness . . .

SAD IRONY: children who were abused have a propensity to become abusers, and thus the misery proceeds into the future. Similarly, the survivors of the Holocaust have been working over the poor Palestinians in Gaza. The Israelis have been mendacious, to say the least, and today's web allows spin creation that's never been seen before.

The Iron Dome defense system fires
to intercept incoming missiles
from Gaza in the port town of Ashdod.
Juan Cole has a site, Informed Comment, where he lists the Top Ten Myths about Israeli Attack on Gaza, which sums up the state of things. The Israeli response to the Palestinian rocket attacks will fail in the long term, if only because the Israelis are seen as oppressors, because the Palestinian rocket attacks seem puny in comparison to the Godzilla-level Israeli response. Sorta like the Kaiser's feldgrau going through Belgium in 1914 got bad press. It's a 2GW solution to a 4GW problem, which means it's no solution.

Perhaps Egypt can make something happen within the next 72 hours, in the way of a cease-fire. Hamas might be ready to deal, as the imminent demise of the Syrian régime might result in a severe reduction in the supply of money and arms.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Con v. Internet

Oh, Conservatives! Threatening Teh Internet? Good luck with that.

It's easy to understand why they're afraid of it though. It's bigger than them by (heh) googols, and stands in ideological opposition to them in form and function. The internet has allowed governments to topple and revolutions to manifest.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Only a Conservative...

...would find joy in putting large numbers of people out of work.
"We said we would eliminate 19,200 positions within the federal government and we are doing what we promised to do. In just six months, we have already achieved more than half the reductions set out in the budget. A leaner, more affordable government is good for taxpayers and it's important in terms of our ability to return to balanced budgets."
- Tony Clement

Res Ipsa Loquitor

Actual screen capture. To say anything further would be superfluous.

(an actual crossposting from the actual Woodshed, actually.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The turnaways . . .

WOMEN AS SLAVES: a woman who is denied freedom of choice is as much a slave as those unfortunates in the slaver holding pens of 200 years ago, who were bred at the whims of their owners. And as we have seen, the GOP likes it that way, and American conservatives have made every effort to make abortion illegal.

Their efforts mean that, in the US, way too many women are denied access to abortion. These unfortunates, known as "Turnaways" have been the subject of a medical study, according to Annalee Newitz' article in io9, "What happens to women denied abortions? This is the first scientific study to find out."

Public health researchers with the UC San Francisco group Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) used data from 956 women who sought abortions at 30 different abortion clinics around the U.S. 182 of them were turned away. The researchers, led by Diana Greene Foster, followed and did intensive interviews with these women, who ran the gamut of abortion experiences. Some obtained abortions easily, for some it was a struggle to get them, and some were denied abortions because their pregnancies had lasted a few days beyond the gestational limits of their local clinics. Two weeks ago, the research group presented what they'd learned after two years of the planned five-year, longitudinal "Turnaway Study" at the recent American Public Health Association conference in San Francisco.

We have found that there are no mental health consequences of abortion compared to carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term. There are other interesting findings: even later abortion is safer than childbirth and women who carried an unwanted pregnancy to term are three times more likely than women who receive an abortion to be below the poverty level two years later.

There are many other consequences of denial of access; click on the link to find out more.

Vic Toews' Guns 'n' Logic Show

CBC's Power 'n' Politics, is quoting a release by Vic Toews on deregulating gun shows and then demonstrating that, in fact, not all gun show participants are lawabidinggunowners:
"Repealing the unnecessary gun shows regulations shows our government is focused on protecting families and communities
[Yes, your brain really did just trip a breaker, but read on.]
and not pushing administrative burdens on law-abiding gun owners,"
But in an undated briefing note, obtained by CBC News's Power & Politics through an access to information request for documents that were sent in February 2012, the department's deputy minister issued Toews a warning.
"The CFO (Chief Firearms Officer) community has noted unsafe display of firearms across the country. CFOs have also noted incidents where exhibitors were criminally charged in relation to the trafficking and unauthorized possession of firearms at gun shows."


Monday, November 12, 2012

Meanwhile, elsewhere...

...some famous US General-turn-spymaster just did himself in over an affair with his [latest] biographer.


It isn't like having some young highly intelligent, high achieving, highly attractive person of your sexual preference feed your ego by following you around for ages endlessly asking about your thoughts on things s/he can put in a book all-about-you doesn't have DANGER written all over it in big fat adulterous letters.

Power is bizarre. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Stevie's gonna freak . . .

THE WASHINGTON POST SAYS: "The president can start by rejecting the Keystone pipeline." (Actually, those words are not, as written, in the editorial, "What Obama should do now: Tackle climate change", they exist in the html file header that describes the page. Just so's ya know.) Check it out.

It will be painfully easy to tell if President Obama is going to take a serious stab at doing something about climate change in his second term: The purest, starkest test he faces will be the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from the tar sands of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

The politics of food . . .

FAMINE CAN BE A WEAPON, or it can be the consequence of systemic bungle, but either way, the results are catastrophic. THE Nation. is a thoughtful site, with an article by Samuel Moyn, "Totalitarianism, Famine and Us" that is worth pondering. The Chinese debacle is truly disturbing. With climate change in Africa and its droughts, the future has challenge.

After studying the Bengali famine during World War II, Nobel Prize–winning economist Amartya Sen famously concluded that democracy is an antidote to famine, because it breaks the information control and accountability vacuum that often impede getting available food to those who desperately need it. Of course, the great Chinese famine provides a vivid illustration of how ruinous and deadly policies occur as much because closed regimes correct their policies too slowly as because they target their populations for terror.

Lest we forget . . .

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Blade is or was a slang term used in Canadian Forces to describe someone who throws their fellow soldiers, sailors, or flyers under the bus. I'm sure labour unions and other organisations dependent on cohesive and selfless teamwork have similar terms.

It is often used in jest, but when it isn't it is one of worst criticisms you could level or receive.

That's why I find these two CBC items so interesting.

In the first instance, the CBC discusses the proportiono MPs with military experience and finds there are a number, and they are not all Conservatives.

The second item describes unprecendented protests by decorated and wounded veterans, and the widows of others.

The difference, the fundamental ideological difference between the Conservatives and all the other parties, is that the other parties, one way or degree or another, attempt to maintain care and seek justice for the disadvantaged in Canadian society. If you are or become poor or jobless, if you are or become ill or disabled, aged, if you are a veteran or a caregiver to one, the Bloc, the Liberals, the NDP, and the Greens all support you. By and large they understand that society exists, and that it functions best when everyone is looked after. Some even believe in the idea of responsible government.

The Conservatives on the other hand have no such conviction and actively work against maintaining such obligations of the state. It's why they have their Veterans Charter, and their anti-Roma policy, and their torture policy, etc ad nauseum. They don't believe society exists, they believe only in individuals (defined as homo sapiens sapiens or a corporation) and if you were dumb enough to volunteer to fight in their wars, you understood the risks, and they have little obligation to you besides basic and begrudging life and limb insurance. Despite the pro-military rhetoric, veterans, in their eyes, are little different that someone who is injured in a civilian workplace accident (in a better country we'd all have good vet-type support for workplace accidents).

Your bodyparts have price tags and you are compensated "accordingly" should you find yourself wounded. The evidence is their actions. If they really "supported the troops" they'd not have dreamed of creating a system of double standards and caveats.

If you're a veteran who vigorously supports the Conservatives, you need to justify to your fellows just why you are stabbing them in the back. You're out of excuses.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Temporary Foreign Workers

A decade ago I was effectively an itinerant farm worker in Australia. The Australian fruit and vegetable harvest industry relies heavily on a large army of 20-something year old international travellers on working holiday permits to pick and pack produce. Take away the backpackers and the fruit rots on the trees. I was able to save money and continue travelling around the world after I left Australia. With a few notable exceptions, my Australian employers paid me well and would sometimes even ask whether my colleagues and I were being paid enough to live on! Even the exceptions were still bound by law to pay me according to specific rates. While much of the work was piece-rate, the hourly wages were mandated at about $12/hr. It was really easy to save enough to hang out in Asia for months and months.

I came back to Canada and started working in our harvest industry thinking it would be a quick way to save some cash. No such luck here. Canadian farmers paid minimum wage and provided minimal facilities. I actually lost money working in a Canadian orchard and ended up living under a tarp. Canada now has an ever expanding guest worker program that allows them to pay their workers even less than Canadians.

It doesn't surprise me to read that the Vancouver Canada Line skytrain builders from Latin America were paid less than their European colleagues. It doesn't surprise me at all to read that lawyers for SNC Lavalin and Seli are arguing this is somehow fair despite a human rights ruling against them.

The Aussie ideal of the 'fair go' is missing in this country.

In graduate school, I found the faculties basically ignored the Collective Agreement covering how employed students were to be paid and their working conditions.

It's cultural, I think. Maybe a holdover from our European feudal origins, and its legacy of dehumanising the working classes. Maybe there's a subtle inheritance from the history of natural resource exploitation, the wealthy corporations that produced, and the willingness to build that wealth on the backs of the "other".

Whatever the case, there's a prickishness in this country that I sense is less visible elsewhere. Maybe that's why we need things like the Charter and Human Rights Tribunals. Maybe that's why Harper is so damned appealing to a third of the voting public.

Copy copy copy . . .

MICHAEL GEIST has been trying to keep Canada as free as possible, as a place where we can enjoy our digital entertainment. According to him, as of today, we have new copyright laws in effect. Check out his post, "Canadian Copyright Reform In Force: Expanded User Rights Now the Law".

This morning, the majority of Bill C-11, the copyright reform bill, took effect, marking the most significant changes to Canadian copyright law in decades. While there are still some further changes to come (the Internet provider notice-and-notice rules await a consultation and their own regulations, various provisions related to the WIPO Internet treaties await formal ratification of those treaties), all the consumer oriented provisions are now active.

IMHO, one positive aspect is the limitation on penalties for "piracy": if it's non-commercial "piracy", the max penalty is $5,000, unlike those horrific American judgments where some teenager gets a gigantic penalty, often over hundreds of thousands of dollars.