Monday, December 29, 2014

Police issues

Question: How do you deal with mentally disturbed persons acting out with or without a weapon if you don't have the police on hand?

There is a chance that today's police will kill the person by gunshot or some 'less lethal' device on their tool belt. Behaviour perceived as violent and the presence of a knife or some other weaponised object indicates 'threat' and the nature of threats are compared against an increasing scale of force the in the situation assessment guidelines.  I suppose that works in a purely technical, quantifiable and thereby legally defensible sense, but people still die who don't have to. The unarmed should not die as a basic given.

Under these conditions, the preservation and protection of life, even the "subject's" life is not prioritised when police weapons become involved. The choice is effectively between lethal, and less-lethal, with death remaining distinct possibility in each case. Indeed, the latter is more like Russian roulette given the high degree of uncertainty regarding the way individuals will respond to Taser-type weapons and random variability with the power of the weapons themselves.

Indeed, I wonder if the presence of police themselves might be perceived by a person as a threat to their life. I think there's an assumption that the intimidation factor will cause the individual to submit. This is wrong. There's a fight or flight instinct, and some people will respond aggressively when they feel threatened. In fact, this perception of threat is what allows the police to use violence themselves.

People who deal with the mentally ill or disturbed in the course of their jobs, including nurses, social workers, and shelter staff often encounter violent incidents that do not result in death. The absence of weapons and the presence of calm voices and established means of assessing the context that does not involve a scaled threat-force matrix, and controlling the situation and prospect of harm to others tends to win the day. There is no available recourse to Tasers, firearms, mace, or anything like that. Life is preserved. 

In the past few weeks in the wake of incidents with police in the US, I've seen a few different internet discussions and posts on social media by police and others who go on about how none of these incidents would happen if people just 'complied' with police direction, inferring that lethal violence is justified in the wake non-compliance. Hello, Judge Dredd.  This isn't a legal argument and it assumes the police are of sound mind and bias-free judgement in the knowledge and application of their powers, so we should all just jump when ordered! 

By their very nature, they are a socially cohesive organisation, police are susceptible to groupthink and therefore unable to be biased, and are publically unable to recognise their own bias. Indeed, they are unable, except in very rare cases, to remove the idiots from their ranks. No organisation can function effectively if it cannot eject or rehabilitate the problem staff. The police effectively work against themselves because public trust them is eroded. If the public trust is eroded, the police will leave themselves exposed to policymakers intent on enacting reforms they really won't like.

In any case, the relationship between police and certain communities is not good and it is changing as police militarise, weaponise, and further insulate themselves from the public. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Stealthiness and the F-35, Harper style

Back here, Dave asked:
Why is the coward bearing the title "prime minister" so hell-bent on sole-sourcing the F-35? BECAUSE HE'S MADE A DEAL HE HASN'T TOLD YOU ABOUT. He's hiding something - he always is!
Now Bill Sweetman at Aviation Week asks the same after some delicate words regarding the results of the new fighter secretariat's review in the context of the Harper government's handling of the whole affair.
One way or another, it seems Canada’s fighter procurement is headed for the competition that Ross and others maintained in 2010 would be a waste of time. If the Harper government had started a competition then, it would have a decision by now, and that does raise an interesting question. If Harper and his colleagues thought the F-35 was so great, why didn’t they want to prove it through an open contest?
The F-35 could be a photo of an Airfix model by this point and the Harper government would still be gaming it from the cupboard.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sexual crimes in the military

I am completely unsurprised by the ordeal faced by this woman.
A former military corporal who said she faced reprisals after accusing a superior of sexual assault feels vindicated after the Canadian Armed Forces extended an apology and reparations to her. Stéphanie Raymond said the outcome will have positive repercussions, particularly for women as well as for some men serving in the Canadian military.
I haven't met a woman in the armed forces who hasn't faced assault or harrassment to one degree or another. It's been nearly 20 years since the military took steps following Somalia and other scandals to end this despicable kind of bullshit. However, little has changed and sexual assault and harrasment, overwhelmingly but not exclusively against women, is still an abject problem.

Women leaving the armed forces I've met in recent years uniformly cite this as their reason for leaving. Many have stories of a passively defective or an outright hostile chain of command when they've sought redress.  Some just get fucking sick of it.

The issue, perhaps, might be the very nature of the armed forces. It is a legacy institution, patterned and born of another era, organised in a rigid hierarchy, insular, with deeply embedded traditions and norms, very interested in protecting and perpetuating itself. Strong parallels, I think, between the armed forces and that other institution where sexual crimes are rampant.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

UKIP's quips

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

Friday, December 19, 2014

OK, cupboard

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

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

2. The RCMP trained him to hide.

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

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

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

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sydney cafe hostage: They called the army?

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

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

Truly bizarre. The aftermath?

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

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

Osama bin Laden couldn't have dreamed this.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

NEB: Rubber-stamping pipelines and boasting about it

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

Fascism. Now read this.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Con clumsiness

Oh for crying out loud.

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

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Out there, in the Harpercarnage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Talking tough

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

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

He ought to shut-up and tread carefully.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Soft targets and red herrings

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

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

Sunday, November 16, 2014


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

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

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

Canada and Australia, alone in the world

G20 Summit lead-up, 2020

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

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

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Putin and Ensign Teal

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

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

High noon in Châteauguay

Good lord.

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

Friday, November 14, 2014

Abbot and Harper: expended energy

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

BNP tries to do Remembrance Day. Fails.

This is hilarious.

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

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Diktats from the cupboard

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

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

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

Sectionable, he is.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Pay no attention to the liar in the cupboard

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

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

A little more for you.


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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Oil prices and the future of the middle-east

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"Straining" Kuwait? Really Canadian Press?

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

Leading from the cupboard

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Stephen Harper's Ottawa speech.

“We are also reminded that attacks on our security personnel and our institutions of governance are by their very nature attacks on our country, on our values, on our society, on us Canadians as a free and democratic people who embrace human dignity for all. But let there be no misunderstanding. We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated.” (Stephen Harper, 22 October 2014)
Our security personnel, eh? Try this. Or this. And this. This too. Note especially that on 1 March 2009 Stephen Harper publically declared the Afghan war unwinnable.  The FIFTY-ONE Canadian Forces members killed in Afghanistan since that date are effectively wasted lives according to his own logic. By that logic too, the only group that benefitted from these dead Canadian troops is the Taleban.

Our institutions of governance, eh? This. Or this. And this. Oh hell, basically all of this.

Trudeau, Mulcair, either of you want to call him out and actually own the narrative on this? Didn't think so. Instead, you're going to let him have it because unity in crisis and he gave you a hug or something. Oh, good luck with that there next 'election' eh, war PM and all.

The Ottawa attacks and ISIS: A strategy?

The following assumes ISIS is the motivator.

It is interesting that the attacks in St. Jean and Ottawa focussed exclusively on military and political targets, not specifically civilians (although two were apparently wounded yesterday).  Three times (pray not a third), and it's a strategy. I don't know what ISIS propaganda says about strategy, but if they're calling themselves the Islamic State and are the ones inspiring these attacks, then perhaps this is a sign they intend to fight like a state.  These attacks targeted the political leadership and the military of a state (Canada) presently at war with ISIS.

This is an interesting point to consider.

An attack on civilians like 9/11 or the train and tube bombings in Europe mobilises politicians and publics to send large numbers of soldiers to Afghanistan, or Iraq or anywhere Muslim and disfavourable because innocents are reprehensibly killed and the public is legitimately fearful. The response that sends large numbers of Western troops to works as an Islamist recruiting tactic. However, it is useful only to a point as so much military attention of a long period just inhibits the project of setting up a Caliphate or whatever the big actual goal is called. People don't exactly thrive under military occupation and attacking civilians in the West tends to encourage lots of military occupation.

However, attacking the political and military targets in the West doesn't provide a lot of public outrage that would fuel more war because it wasn't the public that was hit. I imagine that right now ISIS is looking at the growing number of forces arrayed against it and starting to wonder about its short or long-term survival. Perhaps it thinks that it is much harder for leaders to justify to Western publics military intervention in Iraq and Syria if ISIS can be seen to attack 'legitimate' wartime targets. Unlike terrorising the public, it is very difficult to logically justify risking more soldiers lives as some kind of vengeance for killing soldiers.  Maybe ISIS has two goals.

1. If ISIS can convince the West that it isn't interested in killing large numbers of Western civilians, maybe it thinks the US and other countries will fail to sustain interest in hammering ISIS.

2. It has also demonstrated that it can hit back in the Western countries that are now attacking it. In Ottawa, it got perilously close to the leadership in one of them.

In a few days, ISIS has also forced the entire Canadian military to adopt a defensive posture in Canada. It has forced them to conceal themselves in public against an enemy they can't see, right around the corner from Remembrance Day when they'd all be on display.  When that happens on a battlefield, it's described as denying freedom of movement and is a major tactical gain if it can be done.

That makes these attacks a helluva move. It's also how states fight wars with each other.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

At the going down of the sun...

With condolences and respect to the family and friends of Corporal Nathan Cirillo, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's), Hamilton.

Albainn Gu Braith

At the going down of the sun...

With condolences and respect to the family and friends of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, 438 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force.

Going Down

Sic Itur ad Astra

Friday, October 17, 2014

Where "decolonization" goes off the rails [updated]

In another venue, fellow inkypixelcreature Alison kindly drew my attention to some aspects of this case that escaped my initial vexatious outburst below. The case is clearly not settled, and the discussion is partly one of collective versus individual rights. The quotes are also from a neighbour, not the child's mother as I missed in my hasty misread.  As with most things, context is critical and this is an extremely complicated case involving the potential for the state to remove an Indigenous child from her parents. The residential school experience and intergenerational impact it left adds a hypersensitivity to this case that would otherwise be absent.

Should this hypersensitivity guide decisions that affect well-being of children or adults to the effect that a failure to act on the part of the state may also risk harm?  Should the state even be involved in Aboriginal issues when it comes to decisionmaking inside those communities that embrace autonomy and self-determination, including child welfare? 

I stand by my comments about the presently popular decolonization discourse and problems it poses.

This case is appalling. The judge, misguided. The parent, equally so. A child's life likely hangs in the balance because of a deeply flawed application of cultural relativism and the reluctance to challenge popular postcolonial and anti-oppression discourses.

The rationale goes a bit like this. European society created modern science and colonialism. Colonialism was bad because it suppressed and oppressed Indigenous peoples and purported a Eurocentric worldview. Modern science, which is also medical science, is bad because is the product of an epistemology that grew from Europe more or less at the same time as colonialism (although in reality the geneology of science goes back to antiquity). In order to "decolonize", or undo the influence of colonialism, Indigenous people must eschew historically Eurogenic ideas and practices, and "reclaim" or "rediscover" traditional practices and knowledge in order to "resurge" and become sovereign. Ok, nothing wrong with that on the surface if you're somone who holds your ethnic or cultural identity and community to be the defining feature of who and what you are. It's completely understandable if your ethnicity has been oppressed and marginalised for generations. But I'm insulting your intelligence if I assume you can't see the flaws in the reasoning that says traditional knowledge and 'science' are either held as equal and interchangeable epistemologies, or the latter is totally dismissed in favour of the former. However, to do this so uncritically is lethally dangerous. The quote by the child's mother neighbour is shockingly telling:
“There’s a fear of [aboriginal remedies] or denial of it. If things can’t be quantified or qualified, to them it’s irrelevant,” said Ms. Hill, as she shopped at Ancestral Voices Healing Centre Thursday. “Who are they [doctors] to say she will make it with their treatments. Just because they have a degree, that makes them more knowledgeable?
Yes, actually, it fucking does. That's why there is an emphasis on providing access to and improving education for Aboriginal people. I'm humourlessly reminded of Tim Minchin.

I suppose I could argue that the blinkered worldview that leads someone to possibly kill their child because she mistrusts doctors and white people is a result of colonialism's centuries abuse of Indigenous people, and so its not really her or the judge's fault. But then I'd be denying her and the judge's agency and intelligence - doubtful as they may be. I'd also be subverting the many Indigenous communities across Canada in perpetual and desperate need for healthcare workers and resources. Sadly the door is now may be opened to deny resources to these communities because they 'can just use their "traditional' medicine'.

Maybe now we will see a restraining or recalibration of the decolonization discourse as the bloody excesses of its internal logic are plain to see. Or not.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Canadian carbon bubble

Mark Carney, present Bank of England governor, former Bank of Canada governor thinks we're in a fossil energy price bubble. If the world reaches a global climate deal, fossil fuel reserves are "unburnable" and therefore pretty much valueless. Indeed, divestment is already fast catching on.

If this happens, the Tar Sands, Canada's single economic bet, becomes nothing more than icky oily sand of use to no one.

Tell me, if you're Canadian and Albertan governing party, do you think it's smart to gamble on the sustained value of your giant pile of toxic sludge? Kinda gives new meaning to the term "toxic asset".

We smugly thought we were awesome in Canada because we didn't have the over-leveraged banks due to stricter regulations when the US and much of the world shat themselves when they realised they'd invested in a US housing-debt bubble. It's how Mark Carney got his current job.  I don't know what the economists would say would happen to Canada if the price of Alberta oil fell through the floor, but I doubt it would be fun...

You know, the opposition parties could make this an election issue.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Top 5 small arms ammo suppliers to ISIS by sample

The usual suspects. [pdf]

1. China

2. Soviet Union

3. United States

4. Russian Federation

5. Serbia

Number six in the sample is Romania, at half as much as Serbia. Some ammunition is manufactured in Russia but marketed by a US company. Others seems to be the result of captured US or US-supplied equipment in Iraq. Soviet is obviously quite old but then that country made enough bullets to fight a world war and supplied a bunch of proxy countries and other states over the years. What's remarkable though is the new manufacture stuff that's barely a year old.

You could say western action against ISIS is like cops taking the easy route and targetting the addicts and not the dealers.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Fin de siècle . . .

WEALTH ACCRUES UNEVENLY. Always has, probably always will, as history shows. But things can get distorted and then there's a market 're-adjustment'. Sometimes such a re-adjustment turns revolutionary. 

When I was a child, there were Rolls, Bentley, Mercedes Lincoln and Cadillac plus the rare Ferrari or Maserati or Aston or Bristol or Alvis, and that was about it. Today, there are around 200 cars that are more than $100,000.

Perhaps owning a carwash might be a good idea. Because with Fin de siècle we might get Louis XV's and Madame Pompadour's prediction, "après moi le déluge" . . .

How bad is the disparity in wealth? According to Autoblog, the average Bugatti owner has 84 cars, 3 jets, 1 yacht. I got an old Pontiac. Newer than Fred's, but gaining antiquity.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Canada in Iraq: Suppressing fire

So Harper announces that he's sending six very old fighter airframes to Iraq (the desert is very hard on advanced fighter aircraft and takes years off airframe life), along with Aurora surveillance and other assets. These are essentially providing air support for local forces: (Kurdish, anti-Assad Syrian militia, Syrian army, Iraqi army, Iranian military, and whatever western and Gulf state special forces operators are milling about there. I know I know, we're not incursing Syrian airspace, yet. (Does the line between Syria and Iraq it matter given the large tracts of territory with an ISIS presence or control?)

He now has his own shiny hobby war of indeterminate duration and aim to milk for votes and flags. How much good the small numbers of strike aircraft are actually doing in a tactical scenario is an interesting question. If you read this Guardian piece, the RAF is dropping precision bombs on single machine gun positions and pick-up trucks. Iranians, Iraqis and the Americans have been bombing ISIS for quite a while now, but still that organisation is holding its own. Elsewhere, Juan Cole draws attention to an item where an Iraqi close support  aircraft was forced to withdraw due to ground fire.

These kinds of report may illustrate an interesting problem. ISIS controls vast tracts of territory but they are not a conventional army. They appear more like a mix of light infantry, Mad-Max gang, and guerilla force. While they have captured armour and artillery, they don't have the organisational structure or background to use these conventionally, making it difficult for high flying fast jets to find high value targets to bomb. These jets are instead seem to be hunting jeeps and machine guns, destroying them with bombs designed to wreck much more fortified and valuable targets. They can't get close because that would expose them to dangerous volumes of small arms and light anti-aircraft fire, like the Iraqi support aircraft mentioned above. It isn't meant to defeat ISIS because ISIS cannot be defeated by bombs and bullets alone. Here's why:

The Kurds in the North, and states like Turkey are only interested in keeping ISIS off their turf, holding their own borders. There isn't the will or numbers to sweep into Sunni/ISIS Iraq and Syria to destroy ISIS. The Shia groups in southern Iraq, including the army, would have to fight tooth and nail to push ISIS fanatics out, which would mean they'd be left holding large tracts of Sunni Iraq under a Shia militia control. Something tells me that would not lead to good things.

So it's a low intensity war of suppression, probably aimed at keeping ISIS from seriously expanding or consolidating its gains. Nobody wants to put large numbers of "boots on the ground" necessary to destroy ISIS because everyone understands that sort of action would mean (1) de facto support for Assad, (2) a lot of casualties and money; (3) the continuation of insurgency for a long time to come.

There's no solution but containment. Except you can't tell a voting public you're joining a war with no path to resolution. People don't get that, let alone political leaders. Now Canada is going to drop bombs on the infinite and indefinite in the desert until something else happens. What, exactly? Well, I suppose we'll know when it happens. Or we won't.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Night Moves . . .

SOME FOLKS REALLY EARN THEIR PAY. Like the pilot of that Harrier AV-8B landing at night on the flightdeck of amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island somewhere in the Arabian Sea. Do visit David Cenciotti's site, The Aviationist, which has fine pictures of aircraft and events from around the world, to see the video. Brave people.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pointers . . .

Speakers in Houses

Well, we've always suspected The Mouthpiece takes his orders from the Great Grey Glans. Mr. Mulcair finally called him out on it, and duly punished. On Iraq no less, where the Harper Regime has deployed Canadian troops but won't tell us anything else about it. Trudeau the enabler apparently changed the subject. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Baubles, RCAF edition

The news yesterday was about the RCAF (officers, mostly, save for 'aviators') joining the RCN and the Army (officers, entirely) in the back to the future schtick of reverting to pre-Trudeau unification ranks and symbolism.

Judging by the RCAF Facebook and Twitter comments, it is slightly controversial. Some pragmatists saw nothing wrong with the yellow-gold bars that were the norm until now and see this sort of exercise as a waste of money when, you know, wounded vets are being seriously fucked out of pensions and badly needed ships, planes, and trucks remain unrealised. Others wax wistfully about how some sort of 'honour' is now restored and recall with fondness the pre-1968 uniforms tucked away in closets. Still others are less than satisfied because this looks like a  compromise between the old RCAF of Wing Commanders and Pilot Officers* (because the last really big War, Commonwealth, at so on), and the post-Hellyer Majors, Colonels and Generals, with updated versions of the rank insignia of the former superimposed on the latter. To me, it seems like a very made in Canada solution where competing traditions were compromised. Former privates, who are most definitely not pilots, are now something called 'Aviator' which is meant to be a gender-neutral variation of the 'Leading Aircraftsman'  - nevermind 'aviatrix' I guess. (Will the army finally drop the weird MCpl rank/appt thing, and reinstate the lance jack? Unlikely.) I also don't quite understand why RCAF Air Commodores and Marshals Generals require TWO distinct versions of their rank insignia on their DEUs (seriously, why?).

The NCOM ranks haven't changed save for the lowest symbolised rung.  This stuff really is all about the officers (and politicians).

Yet, the RCN just officially lost FOUR of its most important warships, the RCAF's Hornet replacement is unknown, and the wounded are cast-off, and Canada quite literally just got sold to Chinese investors by the Harper government. Who this shiny back-to-the-future Canadian Forces are meant to serve now remains an open question.  Could get weird in ten or twenty years.

*CTV is reporting that maintaining the Army, sorry, uh, "Royal Flying Corps" officer rank titles is because a return to the RAF-type ranks (ahem, also in use in many other air forces!) is "too confusing". Not sure I buy that.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Scotland: No wins.

Massive 84.5 % voter turn-out.

Close finish at 55 % for No.

Verdict: Good result. Further devolved powers are clearly on the radar, democratic participation is renewed, and Scotland can now serve as an inspiration to serious constitutional reform in other parts of the UK, which could create more regionally relevant representation and governance.

If, if, if, the momentum can be harnessed and any sore feelings got-over by those who hold them. There are more than a few people 'blaming' on the web and in some of my circles blaming the trio from Westminster for their last minute devolution promises that swayed the vote. There's no proof they had an effect, and it is actually an act of indirectly blaming fellow Scottish residents. This country does not need division now.

More soon, but I have a pile of work to get through.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scotland: Branding exercises and the No

The final referendum result won't be known until breakfast tomorrow.

Someone mentioned today over coffee that Yes side scored a major PR victory by co-opting the Saltire, Scotlands blue and white flag, early on and using it as a de facto YES/SNP logo. That flag has sadly now become a biased political statement, rather than the neutral symbol of national unity and regional identity it ought to be.

The No side for some reason has gone with a weird colour scheme that involves yellow and purple, and reminds of UKIP every time I see it. There are also a lot less No signs around where I am. It is actually hard to voice scepticism about independence about this here, even for many Scots let alone poor expats. In my workplace, there are one or two quite vocal and jovial Yes supporters, and I've met some really upbeat and lovely people who are active Yes campaigners.  You end up feeling like you'd really hurt their feelings if you asked some harder questions, regardless of which side you were actually on.  Canadians are known for our apologetic politeness and this is where we get it from! No one ever wants to say no, instead people make declining mumbles or say nothing at all. Tricky business, this mix of culture and rhetoric. I haven't actually met a No campaigner, although I see them around. I wonder if that says something.

Questioning comments are sometimes uttered in quiet voices behind closed doors lest others be offended. There's a subtle unpleasantness to it all that I find myself more aware of in these closing hours.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dangerous delusions . . .

SOMETIMES, IT'S NOT WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW THAT'S DANGEROUS, it's what you believe true that isn't so.

This is a failing in all of us, but it seems to be most pernicious with the socially and politically conservative in societies, wherever they may be.
— HIV —
AlterNet is a fine site, with a thoughtful article by Cliff Weathers, “How Denial Caused One Major Health Catastrophe, and How It May Trigger More Crises”, which describes the costs of this mind-set with the HIV crisis in South Africa — and more important, perhaps, if you live in North America, the increasing vulnerability of all of us on this continent because of cutbacks to vaccination and other public health programs in states with GOP governments.
So, instead of administering the cocktail of HIV medications known to be effective, Mbeki had his health minister contrive alternative remedies for AIDS, including beetroot and garlic.
The results were devastating for South Africa. More than 330,000 people died prematurely from the disease between 2000 and 2005 due to Mbeki’s AIDS denialism, and at least 35,000 babies were born with HIV, infections that could have been prevented using conventional medicine, according to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health.
— Whooping Cough —
In the US, the challenge is a whole host of critters:
While there is no direct institutional denialism of conventional medicine here in the U.S., the denialist movement is active and spreading nonetheless. Vaccine denialism—especially in states with lax public-health laws—has already shown to have a negative effect on public health in some regional pockets, and it’s leaving those communities open to outbreaks of diseases that had been all but eradicated, including measles, polio, whooping cough (pertussis), and even smallpox.
In 2013, researchers confirmed that a 2010 whooping cough outbreak in California—the worst in the U.S. in more than 50 years—was spread primarily by the children of parents who received non-medical exemptions for school vaccinations from the state. The study showed that the outbreak was found exclusively in clusters where children were not vaccinated. There were more than 9,000 cases of the disease in California in 2010 and 10 deaths. In San Diego County, where there were about 5,000 immunization exemptions, there were 980 cases of whooping cough.
Meanwhile, some states were slashing programs for children's vaccinations. In 2011, the year after the whooping cough outbreak in California, Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott cut a state program that provided whooping cough vaccines for poor mothers of babies too young to get their first whooping cough vaccines. There has since been a whooping cough outbreak in Florida with a six-week-old boy dying from the disease. 
These whooping cough outbreaks have been followed by a measles outbreak that began in Texas this year, which is now spreading throughout the U.S.
Smallpox? Yikes!! They just don't get it, so now we're going to get it . . . and thanks to Stevie and his orcs and their anti-science attitudes, voting CON could be really, really dangerous to your health.

Tomorrow's Scottish vote

It's been a noodle-baker to be sure.

I've gone from a clear 'no' to a clear 'yes' to fence-sitting, to leaning marginally one-way or the other, to thinking that there are really no good options in front of me.

In practical terms, I don't think either side has made the case, because they can't. It is impossible to know the final terms of independence at this time and anything said is propaganda. Whatever the politicians and campaigners say now is meaningless. There will be a negotatiation period in the event of a Yes win during which the issues around currency, resource revenues, and the other nuts and bolts issues of divorcing states of are sorted out. There is a risk that this could get very nasty and disadvantageous indeed if a sentiment of 'to hell with Scotland for wrecking Britain' set in. In the event of Yes, I would prefer a second vote on the final terms but I don't trust this sort of thing to happen. 

I'm too much of a realist to trust the emotional resonance alone, which is what much of the Yes camp seems to be about. It's appeal may be in that Yes is a much more confident term than No (could give a new weight to the term yes-man!). The vision of some kind of Celtic Scandanavia (Orcadians and Shetlanders exempted) is very, very appealing, but again this is a fantasy until the final terms are known.

The Yes side does not acknowledge the people in the UK inside and outwith Scotland who rely on a stable pound and economy for their day to day lives. Some people without a vote may be deeply harmed through no fault of their own and they will resent Scotland for it and support a punitive approach to negotiations. The lack of clarity on such critical items like EU membership is also a major problem, and the Scottish economy could stumble severely should countries like Spain block membership. Recovery could be difficult without access to key markets and not enough people are interested in rapid alternative economic experimentation at a national scale to pursue that option. Even I think it's too dangerous. We may be in for a shock regarding just how deeply the relationships go between Scotland the rest of the UK, EU and the world when these are threatened and made visible.

I'm also aware that political moods change with each generation. Give it ten or twenty years, and it's possible that the appeal of independence will have waned, as with Quebec. 

In the same theme, the polling is pretty much 50/50 right now, and the terms are only a simple majority for a decisive result. This is a grossly unfair criterion and it is recipe for pretty vicious conflict because it will effectively leave a country divided. Without a very strong majority win for either side, barely half the country may well determine the future for the other half. I can't support either outcome under those conditions because it is flagrantly irresponsible democracy.

For me, the existence of such a close race starkly emphasises the need for constitutional reform across the UK and I think a No win would be guaranteed if this were put on the table by Cameron et al.  Peripheral regions like Scotland and the north of England haven't done well since Thatcher and there's a serious question of representation in and relevance to NewLaboCon run Westminster.

Then there's climate change and the way the world is heading. I don't believe that creating new borders is ultimately adaptive. There will be migrations of people to and within Europe as some regions become inhospitable and borders simply reinforce us-and-them dynamics that facilitate wars and conflict instead of cooperative, or at least tolerant problem solving and accommodation. The rest of the UK and Scotland may need each other rather desperately under these conditions. [Nigel Farage would probably blame and invade an independent Scotland under these conditions.]

What do I want then? I want options that aren't presently on the table. In the event of a no, constitutional reform. In the event of a very clear majority Yes, second a vote on the final agreed terms or a series of options.

Monday, September 15, 2014

FIPA 2025

14 January 2026
In retrospect, the US military occupation of the Tar Sands and northwest BC coast to Kitimat and Prince Rupert in 2025 was a little predictable. The confrontation with China over energy resources had been brewing for years.

The 2014 ratification of FIPA by then Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper placed Canada on US defence planners' 'potential adversary' list as it gave an economic and military peer competitor to the US a far more lucrative deal than NAFTA.

When Harper was finally ousted, the new Canadian coalition government attempted to shred the FIPA in the face of overwhelming pressure from the electorate, which in turn had largely sided with the massive anti-pipeline protests that culminated when 37 people were killed in related violence. China sued Canada under FIPA for obstructing its investment in the tar sands and pipelines. The risk of a Chinese win, which would have effectively severed the United States from Canadian energy suppliers due to the shear magnitude of Chinese investors' control of that supply, prompted the US annexation.

Chinese and US carrier battlegroups are presently in a tense stand-off in the North Pacific as negotiations toward peaceful resolution continue in Geneva.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Burger for Stevie . . .

Burger King Japan’s Kuro Pearl burger,
which has a black bun, black sauce and black cheese
in addition to black-pepper heavy beef patties.

ACCORDING TO SALON, Burger King Japan is re-introducing its pitch-black cheeseburger.

Goths will love 'em . . . 

If I ran any of the anti-Harper parties, I'd air-freight 400-500 of 'em from Tokyo. Put each one in a nice re-cycled cardboard box with Stevie's picture on it . . . hand 'em out to the Press Gallery and such . . . call it the Harper Tar Burger . . .

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

#indyref in Scotland

Simon is all over it. James Laxer gets it. The Westminster politicians of all stripes manifestly do not.  The Scottish independence referendum is not nationalist paranoia like Quebec, nor is it some reactionary anti-English 'decolonisation' movement rooted in Braveheart narratives of historical defeat, conquest, or exploitation (Canada, PLEASE take note!).  Instead, it is probably best viewed as a stark, inclusive, future-oriented challenge to the business-as-usual-usually-business approach parties take to contemporary parliamentary democracy that subordinates democracy and social and ecological justice to the whims and worries of economic fetishists and fascists. 

The fact that the Yes side is gaining much traction despite, or perhaps to spite, the dire predictions of economic luminaries like Mark Carney and Paul Krugman, to international financial institutions like Credit Suisse should worry these kinds of people, but for different reasons.  The power of economism is typically such that any progressive movement or policy initiative will fizzle to nothing the minute someone suggests that it could harm the economy. Scotland by and large has lost its fear of this threat. This is the first step in creating an environment where bold and progressive initiatives can be tried. It is without doubt supremely risky, but utterly necessary if the Scottish (and the rest of us) are really serious about creating a better future.

In this light, I agree with Will Hutton that the Yes votes potentially winning traction should be read as a failure of Britain's national government to ensure the well-being of all UK citizens, especially those most distant from London. #Indyref didn't happen by accident, and wouldn't be happening if the central government, beholden to US military adventurism and economism hadn't failed on such an epic level. 

Fascinating times.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Food for thought: Harper, IS and terror in Canada

Until now, Canada is not a country that has openly committed military forces to conflicts where the adversary uses terror attacks on our soil as a weapon. Yes, there have been the occassional half-arsed terror plots in the past decade or so, but unlike some European countries and the US, we've not had commuter trains, subways, airports, and buildings bombed by radicals.

The number of European and North American passport holders fighting with Islamic State (IS) means the organisation is capable of attacking countries in these regions through terror. By way of comparison, the Taleban are a regional tribal entity, not an international terror organisation or Caliphate-bound army, and therefore posed little actual threat to Canadians on our home turf. They merely hosted a terror group and were punished severely for it.

The undemocratic decision by the Harper government to commit Canadian military units and arms to fighting IS increases the likelihood that sympathisers and returning combatants will launch attacks in Canada and kill Canadian civilians. This is an enemy that can hit back.

We shouldn't be surprised. It's not like Canadian lives ever matter to these fuckers anyway.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

The fate of Conservative parties

Heh. It isn't opposition parties or alternative ideas and ideologies that move conservative parties into discombobulation, it's completely succumbing to the the blubbering reactionary encephalitis that most conservatives suffer from, but retain enough cognitive function to survive if not thrive in a complex political playscape.  It happened in Canada when Reform occurred. Now it's happening in the UK thanks to UKIP.

Monday, September 01, 2014

The Voters?

Where to begin.

The Globe is reporting Harper is resisting a NATO-wide call to increase defence spending to two per cent of GDP. He says it's our fault apparently because us voters wouldn't support such an increase in defence spending. Maybe so, but concern about what the voters think has never really stopped him from doing anything before. [Hmm, I wonder if the F-35 is actually now too expensive use?]  If he doesn't want voters to have an opinion on something, he tries to hide what he's thinking and doing.  Still, as a voter, I can't help resent being scapegoated by such a despicable little shit.

If you can't blame Trudeau (I or II) or Chretien, or Martin, blame the voters? Good luck with that.

Further, the same government that's been frothing like a rabid pitbull regarding Putin and Ukraine has shown itself to be nothing but a skittish barking lapdog.

I wonder how the NATO meeting in Cardiff will go?

Update: Or as Terry Milewski/CBC call it, Harper has a big mouth and small, uh, stick.  [wow, that's actually the headline.]

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Con Canuck cold warriorerness

Laurie Hawn must be feeling downright nostalgic these days, what with RCAF CF-18s in Europe squaring off against the Ruskies, again. He was there in the 1970s driving CF-104 Starfighters. In the linked Star piece, Hawn talks about being chased out of East German airspace by their MiGs. I thought this was interesting so I googled around and found a more complete account of Hawn's navigation moment that paints a less macho picture of events. Seems Hawn got lost and accidently found himself somewhere over East Germany where MiGs were scrambled to meet him. He turned around and zoomed back to West Germany only to be intercepted by NATO Phantoms. Read between the lines in the second, and you realise that he was likely nearly shot down by both sides.

However, for all the ridiculous swagger coming out of the Cons about the Russians, they're about as bad as it gets when it comes to defence spending. Take heart though because Canada's views and means matter little.

Where we used to have strength was in mediation and negotiation between adversaries.  At one point, we'd a lot of good thinkers and worldly people in our diplomatic corps. Peace was a national policy objective and something to be proud of, but for a few hillbillies in the hinterlands. Now Canada's got nothing but childish jingoistic hillbillies who will mouth off on Twitter (seriously!) about Putin and the Russians knowing they can scurry behind serious NATO members.

Keep this up, and the Germans, Americans, and British will tell Canada to keep its yap shut whilst they get on with the deadly serious business of avoiding a major war with Russia. Come to think of it, Hawn's experience may have been an uncanny foreshadow.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


Putin's Russia and the Islamic State are short-term distractions from the serious problems of climate change and resource depletion. We simply don't have time to fuck around with some new fangled Cold- luke-warm-War or to humour the Islamic State.

The global policy response should be robust, and aimed at walling off these two entities in every way possible so that we in the rest of the world can get on with the serious business of adapting civilisation to the worst crisis it has ever known.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gazonto . . .

Imagine if Stevie hammered the GTA like the Israelis have hammered Gaza? Toronto filmmaker John Greyson's efforts to give us a better and more personalized feel for how the bombing of Gaza would look, feel, and play itself out for all us ordinary citizens if it was happening right here in good old T.O. instead.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fantino lashes out at veterans ... once again.

It's hard to believe Julian Fantino's role is to champion Canadian Forces veterans at the Harper cabinet table. You can imagine how he describes those he represents to the national control-freak.

Deveryn Ross finishes him off. Fantino, whose service as a cop has always come with some questions, should be tossed in the gutter.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

America's Police State . . .

THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC has mutated into something ugly and carnivorous, not just in its policies with the rest of the world, but in the way it has turned on its poor. It's become a ghastly distortion according to Charles Stross*, who commented on his blog that American police have abandoned Sir Robert Peel's Principles of Policing. As you may know, the London Metropolitan Police was the first professional police force, created in 1829.

These principles are in stark contrast to what we have seen from Ferguson:
  1. To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.
  2. To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
  3. To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.
  4. To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.
  5. To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour, and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.
  6. To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.
  7. To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
  8. To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.
  9. To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.
If this is not re-introduced to American police, Charles sees danger: "even if you’re not a member of one of the cultures on the receiving end of the jackboot today, the fact that the jackboot exists means that it may be used against you in future. Beware of complacency and apathy; even if you think you are protected by privilege, nobody is immune. See also Martin Niemoller."

Martin Niemoller's famous warning:
  • First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.
  • Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
  • Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.
  • Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
*Charlie is one of my favorite SF writers; I recommend his oeuvre "The Atrocity Archives", the first in his delightful "Laundry" series. Set in a parallel universe, an Earth identical to ours, with one difference: in the early 30's, Alan Turing discovers that certain mathematical processes produce "magic". Problem is, this "magic" is brain-eating dangerous.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Harper's ideology now presented with "acceptable casualties" ...

Shorter Lisa Raitt
The deaths of 47 people, the devastation of an entire Canadian community and the subsequent years of horrendous nightmares are acceptable collateral damage in the Harper Conservative war on reality. No amount of losses or devastated lives can prevent us from moving forward with our dangerous and seriously flawed ideology.
This may be just as "sexy" as Raitt's drooling over people dying of cancer because of a radioisotope shortage perpetrated by the Harper government. 

Since Raitt likes sexy issues involving people being killed, she can wear this one.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A great artist . . .

MEL BLANC: The Man of a Thousand Voices is a delightful look at the man, the times he worked in — and all those wonderful critters. Enjoy. A great antidote for the depression of Harper Hell . . .

Comin' at ya . . .

WHEN THE JOBS DISAPPEAR it's going to be really tough on capitalism. This video is an accurate forecast without the hype of what kind of changes are coming for your children to deal with. The next thirty years are going to be so interesting . . .

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Adios, Mork . . .

EVERYBODY HAS their favorite(s), Moscow on the Hudson is one of mine. With the stress on our society and democracy, this clip is especially cogent. We are so lucky to have been blessed by Robin's genius.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Stop killing people

The talk of two-state solutions, displacement, borders, violent Zionism, violent resistance, bombed schools, shelters, houses, kibbutzim, the opinions of various persons both thoughtful and blinkered is maybe just a little teeny tiny bit ahead of the game.

The current war on Gaza, for that's what it is, highlights the baseline condition for any peace:

Stop killing people.

Stop killing people.

Stop killing people.

Forget the politics for a while. Simply get the sides to agree to not kill each other.

Once they do that, they've will have achieved the single basic condition of peaceful coexistence.

The details can take the next generation to sort out if need be but the preservation of life must be paramount.

Imagine what Palestine-Israel would look like if all parties forswore violence.