Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Rotten to the core

BC premier Christy Clark is not known for honest dealing. She and Harper work out of the same playbook and regularly employ the same people to work the sewers of a political system rife with cronyism and putrefied by secret back-room deals and political corruption.

This time, a judge has just handed Clark her ass. She violated the constitution when she was education minister and then did it again, on the same education issue, as premier. The stench emanating from her overly-expensive waterfront Vancouver office is palpable. Clark is as dishonest as the liar she replaced. Families first? Not yours. (Bold mine)
... a tale of a government secretly wanting to provoke a strike that year for political reasons. There are always cynics who read political motives into big public labour disputes. But it’s startling to see a judge blame months of disruption in schools firmly on the crass political motivations of a government.
Justice Susan Griffin, who has been dealing with the differences between the government and the BCTF for a number of years, concluded “the government did not negotiate in good faith .... Government representatives were preoccupied by another strategy. Their strategy was to put such pressure on the union that it would provoke a strike .... The government representatives thought this would give government the opportunity to gain political support for imposing legislation on the union.
... she was the premier of a government that, according to the B.C. Supreme Court, ran a lengthy con on parents and children to engineer some dim political advantage...

PMSH 24 Seven.

Stephen Harper Twenty-four Seven. Seriously. 

JobScam. An idea without a plan ...

... is nothing more than a dream.

That's what the weasel in a prime minister's suit is now trying to peddle to you. Having spent $2.5 million in advertising on a program that did not exist, this is how he explained it away. (From Aaron Wherry and you really need to read the whole piece).
“Mr. Speaker, I noted that the Canada Job Grant was in fact very well received by those in the marketplace,” Mr. Harper enthused, “by people who want to upgrade their skills, want to receive more training, want to gain jobs and, by pluralism, want to create jobs.”
Well, that just makes you all squishy thinking about all those happy people dreaming about the imaginary jobs they're going to get when the Harper government finally gets off their collective asses and actually negotiates a deal with the people who will be providing the access to training. Someday. Maybe. Would you like a sparkle pony with that elephant turd pie?

We may well have known a lot less about this fiasco if we'd relied solely on the information provided by Advertising Standards Canada. It took a leak for us to find out that ASC had forwarded fraud complaints on the expensive advertising and that the Harper government quickly removed them. The ASC, because the Harperites hauled their ads immediately after the complaints started piling in, won't identify the public abuser because they "withdrew" before the council could adjudicate. The only identity you'll see on the ASC website is Service Provider, buried amongst the restaurant, used-car and cheap air fare scams. 
The council publicly posts complaint reports, but there are two different ways of handling the disclosure, she said. Some transgressors are identified, others are not.
If an advertiser pulls or changes an ad after people complain to the council, they don't get publicly identified.
"If the ad was not withdrawn or amended until after the council decision, that's when the advertiser is identified," said Feasby.
And so it is that a posting on Advertising Standards Canada's website shows that a "service provider" with a national television campaign advertising "a new program of services" attracted 22 complaints last year.
"To the council, the commercial conveyed the general impression that the services were universally accessible," says the posting. "In fact, they would not be accessible for some time."
That's Janet Feasby. She won't tell anybody who the identity of the Service Provider is because the explicit rules say so. However ... back in August she wrote this about the Harper scam:
"In reality, the implementation of this program is not imminent, and the process of obtaining such agreement may well take a considerable length of time if, in fact, an accord with the provinces and territories (on the grant proposal) is even possible," said the letter leaked to Global.
And that one did identify the Harper government and it did make the point that the whole program, top to bottom, was blatantly fraudulent.

But yesterday, Harper told the country that everybody just loved it. He tells you all kinds of things. Most, if not all of them, are untrue. Yesterday's attempt to put lipstick on a pig shows a level of desperation in that he, and his cohort of thugs, have no amount of hesitation when it comes to insulting the intelligence of Canadians ... and spending your money to make themselves look good.

And when he tells you that they are the most fiscally competent herd in the field, keep in mind that they have yet to demonstrate anything resembling competence at anything. Clearly management and organization are absent with this crowd and without at least those two things, you don't have a government.

Harper couldn't organize a one man rush to a three hole outhouse ... but he can dream about it.


About those photo-ops...

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Two things ...

There are two things Harper isn't: an economist nor a statesman.

Be clear on one thing. Everything Harper is doing now, on any file to which he actually pays attention, is for a single purpose - to retain power at all costs. And he will pursue any cynical course to make that happen, including the destruction of the Canadian middle-income sector.

Harper has mismanaged the economy to the point of ruination. With Canadians reeling at rising unemployment levels and shrinking wages, Harper touts himself as the only true financial manager on offer. Worse, there are media types who actually swallow that and regurgitate as though it is somehow true ... because Harper's spin machine said so.

Yet, by any metric, Harper's performance on the economy has been a dismal failure. With paltry job growth and a December 2013 loss of 60,000 jobs, Harper's claims become evidence of self-delusion.

The Canadian dollar is being intentionally weakened, not because it benefits the country as a whole, but again, it serves Harper's purposes. And, yes, they're lying about it.

Harper will stomp the economy to the ground if it means he can produce a 2015 budget that appears "balanced" or better yet, has an imaginary surplus. To achieve this goal he will ignore the economic wisdom of the better-educated and wildly more experienced and follow a course which has crushed much more robust economies than Canada's.
For years, the government’s strategy has been to cut the deficit it created and hope that exports and investment would fill in the gap. This hasn’t worked.

Despite this, Mr. Flaherty’s still believes the answer to insufficient aggregate demand is to eliminate the deficit by 2015-16. Even the International Monetary Fund thinks he’s wrong. It has recommended that, in the absence of a strong recovery in growth and job creation, the date of deficit elimination could be delayed.
Which economies have succumbed to amateur processes followed by the Harper/Flaherty lot? Owen has the answer to that.

As for Harper's statesmanship, aside from the groin rub he shared with Benjamin Netanyahu, there will be no awards arriving on his desk. Harper gushed all over Netanyahu in an embarrassingly unprofessional and unstatesmanlike manner. It became clear to everyone watching, in Canada and around the world, that Harper had stepped into something personal and was not speaking for Canadians. He was speaking purely for himself and the entourage of select right-wing religious freaks that you paid to go with him.

Why would he do that? Again, an attempt to retain power. Whether Harper is a true believer or not, his performance was intended for his right-wing religious base. It's right out of the Karl Rove playbook.
The Harper entourage was the largest such travelling road show that anyone can remember. The group nicely reflects core elements of the coalition that Harper has built with the intention of placing him in power and keeping him there. Key to the religious wing of that coalition is a collection of socially conservative evangelicals, Jews and conservative Catholics. Mainline Protestants and progressive Catholics need not apply and they were not represented on the junket.
Harper will blather on about this trip for months, as he blathers on about the economy. In the end he hopes that, on election day, you stay home, (or go to a non-existent voting place), while his energized Christian Zionist, Rapture seeking base swamps the polls.

On the economy he'll continue to paint a false picture of astute economic wisdom by presenting a "balanced" budget in 2015. (Whether it actually balanced or Flaherty had to diddle with the finance projections the way he did in Ontario). With that, the mysterious "risk" the Canada Revenue Agency says exists awaiting the decision of the prime minister in summer 2015 will become obvious: Harper will attempt to buy your vote with the offer of "income splitting".

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Climate change is as much a threat to the safety and security of countries and regions as a massed army on the border. When armies start to mass on borders, the intelligence services of the threatened state go to work analysing the opposing force's capabilities and intentions.

Yet, now, in Canada (and other places) the intelligence services at the behest of politicians are actively supporting those industries most responsible for climate change and other environmental risks.

This effectively pits them against the majority of citizens who pay their salaries and represents a total abdication of their responsibility in the face of the most dire environmental threat civilisation has ever faced in recorded history.

In the long-term, everyone loses, from Enbridge to the seagulls and starfish. In the short-term, they become complicit in destroying everything beautiful about the Canadian landscape, seascape, and people.

This could mean blackened Pacific coastline and a poisoned sea and fracked lives and livelihoods.

It could also see the mass imprisonment or police shooting of local residents who daring to raise placards in objection to the destruction of their home and planet, BECAUSE THIS IS WHERE FASCISM LEADS. 

Which will be interesting to see in Canada. We don't really have massive ideological divisions in society like Italy or Spain that can be exploited by the fascists. Your middle-class neighbour's kid who did so well at university and helped old ladies on weekends was subcontracted to Enbridge by the big dumb animal who just went to Israel with a plane-load of crazy people. He reads your emails because you live on a proposed tanker route and wrote a letter to the editor about why this is bad. The intel he collects is then passed to police and the corporate security people, who, when the protests start, end up doing awful things to you because they are also big dumb animals (they herd, you see).

You won't know what hit you. And neither will your neighbour's bright but naive kid who loves Canada, Ottawa lattes, trips to Langley and London, and the hard-on that comes from dealing in secrets and lies.

Because this is where fascism leads.

“It’s the re-election! This is the million-dollar shot.”

If there was ever a question as to the purpose of Harper's lavish pilgrimage to the lap of Bibi Netanyahu, this should put it to rest.

Harper is blatantly misusing your tax dollars for a re-election photo op. I wonder which senator he learned that from? Oh, right. I forgot. The Conservative Party bag-man, and Harper-appointed senator, is along on the junket.

Added: Alison provides some entertainment value. Make sure you read her comment.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Harper Enemies Up

As one of the nastiest people a minority of Canadians have ever delivered to the office of prime minister, Harper continues his royal progress through Israel in an effort to secure his seat on the Rapture Bus. Harper's speech to the Knesset should leave critical-thinking Canadians reeling. While Harper's over-the-top rhetoric may play well with a large segment of the Israeli population, it's rotting fish to a majority of Canadians and it demonstrates an unbelievable level of ignorance on the part of Harper and his mindless sycophants.

The embarrassing love-fest between Harper and Netanyahu might seem a little strange, but one should keep in mind that these two have something very much in common. They are both under deep suspicion of being incredible liars on a national and international scale. Although Netanyahu may be winning the international competition in that area and simply sees Harper as an amateur and a useful idiot.

Harper's assertion that any and all criticism of Israel is antisemitism is, of course, based on the fact that about the only thing he knows of Israel is the highly sanitized Netanyahu version of everything. The other stuff he neither knows nor is he possessed of the requisite curiosity expected of a critical-thinking junior statesman. Harper's pronouncement has been fed to him: by his own rapture-seeking religious head; by his various accompanying rabbinical plants; by his political predecessor and reality-challenged, Stockwell Day; and quite clearly, Netanyahu himself. And let's not mince words here. The danger in Harper's pronouncement should in no way be minimized because what he's actually saying is that any criticism of Netanyahu's unacceptable behaviour is transmuted to mean criticism of the nation-state of Israel and then corrupted to mean criticism of the all Israelis onward to become Hitlerite antisemitism. It's how Harper thinks and he's demonstrated it at home when he loudly labels his own detractors as "un-Canadian".

So, if you were to call Netanyahu an asshole, (which he is), Harper simplifies the argument by making you "officially" the hater of all things Jewish ... thus, one of Harper's enemies.

Now, let's take a look at a situation of Netanyahu's own making. It's called Firing Zone 918. When Gerald Caplan referred to the treatment of the residents of Hebron by the Israeli Defence Force executing Netanyahu's orders he wrote this:
... the small Palestinian city of Hebron, just south of Jerusalem, where fewer than a thousand Israeli extremists, protected by the might of the Israeli army, have been allowed to make life a misery for the city’s 170,000 Palestinians. Hebron is a shameful development that needs to be seen to be believed, and even then it’s barely believable.
That isn't the half of it. The residents of the South Hebron Hills, in the Israeli-occupied west bank is now a hell hole. People who have lived as nomadic tent-dwellers and in the caves of the hills for generations going back two centuries are being expelled. The IDF declared 30,000 acres of private farmland a military training area and has been in a legal fight with the Israeli Supreme Court since 1999 - the High Court agreeing with Palestinian residents that the IDF has no right to expel them.

So what Netanyahu approved methods are used to get them to move? How about flashbangs tossed into the family dwellings of farmers. Israeli settlement, which Netanyahu accelerated, has brought evictions and increased harassment. If the long-time Arab residents complain to the civil authorities of illegal settlements and trespass, the IDF raids them - the Arabs; not the Israeli settlers. Whole olive groves have been ripped out by the roots. 

It is, by any descriptor, an ethnic expulsion. This despite the fact that the UN recognized Israeli occupation means that the residents are defined as "protected persons" under the Fourth Geneva Convention and their removal is illegal.

So, Harper can bluster on all he likes. Benjamin Netanyahu is an asshole who Nicolas Sarkozy correctly labelled a liar and whose illegal actions on the west bank earned him this.

Harper might remember, having labelled a wide swath of people who simply expect the Israeli government to behave like a responsible member of the global community as antisemitic, that he doesn't really need any more enemies. The one's he's already made are patiently awaiting his return. And we still want to know what he knew and when he knew it.

Added: Bene Diction has looked at the list of religious "leaders" accompanying Harper and makes an interesting observation.
I don’t see Catholic, Methodist, United, Anglican, Lutheran, Mennonite, Presbyterian, and moderate Baptist delegates.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The List

Thanks to David Akin we finally have a list of the entourage Harper hauled along, on your tax dollars, on his pilgrimage official visit to Israel. Read it closely and discover the delightful people who will dine on your dime, while Harper closes research libraries, labs and facilities. Rejoice that Stockwell Day, supposedly retired, is still sucking up your money because, after all, there is no more self-entitled an individual than a right-wing religious freak jamming austerity down your throat.

And there's more. Dr. Dawg has some of the more poignant details and a must-read

If this trip had happened when Harper was in opposition he would have been standing on his commons desk screaming.

At the time of writing, Harper is addressing the Knesset. (Live broadcast). Not surprisingly, over half the members of the Knesset are absent, but the public gallery is standing-room-only. Of course, when you have 223 boot-lickers traipsing behind you, not to mention all the administrative and security staff, plus the media train, you can pretty much bet that virtually every public seat was taken up by members of Harper's royal progress.

And as Harper and Bibi spend the day rubbing each others' groin and making embarrassing public statements about their love for each other, there is at least one media outlet in the world making it clear that Harper is full of shit.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Ineffably Stupid

That is how an analyst once described the writing of Rex Murphy. Murphy, in his latest pronouncement on Neil Young's position on the tar sands, proves nothing has changed.
In the immortal words of Homer Simpson: Rock stars, is there anything they don't know?
That's just the start of Murphy's diatribe and you could probably quit reading right there. Murphy, who regularly expounds on topics on which he is bereft of education and without a scintilla of fact, just used the words of an imaginary cartoon character to call out Neil Young for having no knowledge.

However, Murphy is well-known for being welcome at the campfire of Big Oil. He shills for them with great regularity and even performed for them at the University of Calgary where he presented an uninformed, uneducated, deceitfully headlined speech called Climate Change 101. (A subject in which Murphy has no expertise and presented without a single actual credible scientist in the room).

So, let's compare Murphy's criticisms of Neil Young with Murphy himself.

Homer's truth rang out again when I heard Neil Young — expatriate, now California-based rock immortal — staggeringly claim that the Fort McMurray oil site reminded him of atomic-bomb-blasted Hiroshima.
OK, we get that Murphy is a Homer Simpson fan, but the fact that a Canadian lives in California is relevant, how? Murphy is trying to make a point that if you don't live north of the US border that, even if you visit the tar sands, you can't actually see them. And what is just so staggering about a vast manufactured wasteland which is visible from the International Space Station being compared with a similar, but much smaller, level of devastation?
Now, we can forgive minor sins in any propaganda war — and there is a propaganda war circling the oil sands. But to offer an equivalence, and repeat it, with the horror, mass obliteration and deaths of Hiroshima, goes so far outside all boundaries of good taste, truth, judgment and proportion as to be unfathomably irresponsible.
Unfathomably? Remember when Murphy wrote this? He tore into Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins for being "angry". He even invented words to describe their very thoughts. The only problem was, Murphy had never interviewed them. And it was a subject with which he was utterly uninformed because it dealt with the counselling of soldiers in combat. It wasn't even a Canadian issue; it dealt solely with the U.S. military. All told there were at least three subjects on which Murphy had no knowledge, either directly or via competent research, yet he opined at length on the pages of a Canadian daily. Irresponsible? Many American commentators suggested that and much more. And as for "propaganda", Murphy should remain silent on such pointed utterances of the word when referring to anyone but himself.
... one-sided and over-toxic condemnations amplified by the voice of a rock star are not that discussion. Mr. Young has failed to be fair, and thereby he fails also to be persuasive.
The master of uninformed, one-sided, over-toxic condemnation so says. And once again Murphy highlights Neil Young's legacy of fame as having no value. So, how does Murphy stack up? Not well.

Murphy is a three-times failed political candidate and an apparent opportunist. He has run for both Progressive Conservative and Liberal parties in Newfoundland and was rejected by voters. He speaks and writes at length on the evils of climate-change science vociferously claiming he is not a denier, but a skeptic, without the benefit of having ever actually having read the science or having demonstrated any ability whatsoever to do any of the basic math associated with climate science. Still, university chancellors have tripped over their own gowns conferring honourary degrees on him for whatever reason and Murphy gains access to university audiences to speak on topics completely beyond his realm of education.

That would make him that much more special than Neil Young if it weren't for one small fact: Neil Young has honourary degrees too.

More than one reviewer of Murphy's downward spiral has suggested that he attempts to cover his irrelevance with polysyllabic gobbledygook. One of them, Robert Miller, struck home when he inferred that Murphy's so-called eloquence is actually little more than a poor attempt at imitating Mark Twain ... and Mark Twain would not be pleased. (Read Twain's 19 rules, but read 13 and 14 particularly closely).

I can sum this up with a quote directed at Murphy, once again from G. Robert M. Miller:  ...you’re too juvenile and too poorly read to write on this subject, and so you shouldn’t. At the very least, Murphy is in no position to pass critical judgement on a host of subjects in which he proclaims, but cannot substantiate, superior knowledge. That includes tackling Neil Young.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Harper salutes coastal British Columbia ...

With a sneer and a raised middle finger.

The Harper government spent $26 million of your tax dollars investigating the reasons for the collapse of the 2009 Fraser River sockeye run. The Cohen Commission Final Report (PDF) was delivered to the Governor in Council on 31 October 2012 after 18 months of hearings and investigation. During that 18 months, scientists conducting studies into the collapse of Pacific salmon stocks made it clear that the Prime Minister's Office had interfered with and effectively gagged those scientists making any kind of public statement as to their findings and their published research. In short, the PMO was not going to let any government scientist say anything which could even be slightly construed as bad about ... fish farms on the BC coast.

The Cohen Report contained 75 sweeping recommendations to Government with deadlines and benchmarks if the Fraser River sockeye stock was to be given any chance of continued survival. And that's just about where things ended. Almost all of the recommendations have been ignored with deadlines having expired on many and other actions simply put on "hold".

Now, this. (bold mine)
The Harper government has quietly opened the door to a major expansion of B.C.’s controversial fish farm sector despite warnings by the 2012 Cohen Commission about the effects of net-based farms on wild salmon.
The decision, revealed to fish farmers by Fisheries Minister Gail Shea in October, was laid out in letters to several B.C. First Nations last week.
An official in Shea’s department said Wednesday that Ottawa has already received 11 applications for expansions or new farms.
Take clear note of how that was done. Shea told the fish farming industry back in October, 2013, that expansion of Atlantic salmon open-pen feedlots in Pacific coast waters would be approved. She informed the affected BC First Nations last week.

So much for the "duty to consult" and so much for the coast of British Columbia.

As for the Cohen Commission Report and the outstanding items. Well, the Honourable Bruce Cohen has never been invited to sit down with anyone from government to discuss his report.  The outstanding deadlines, (almost all have which have expired), will never be met. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will continue to be in a blatant conflict of interest with a mandate to regulate and preserve wild fish stocks while at the same time promoting domestic open-pen feedlots, virtually all of which are owned by European companies.

Harper just showed British Columbians what he thinks of them. And all Canadians actually. It's your $26 million he wasted on an inquiry, the recommendations of which he had no intention of reading.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Well, kudos to the kid at YEG...

...for pointing out a massive hole in Canadian airport security. .

What does CATSA, the last stage before the departure gate, do with an actual bomb?

Sigh. Well, thankfully the young man wasn't shot or tased.

Just wait for the new security surcharges and second set of scanners common in  other countries.

Oh good lord. (update 17 January)
Sources in Ottawa told CBC News that Murphy arrived at the airport with the pipe bomb wrapped in a bag from a "head shop" that sells drug paraphernalia. The bag had pictures of marijuana leaves on it. The wrapped bomb was inside the camera bag.
After the pipe bomb was caught by the scanner, the security screener looked at the images on the bag and assumed the pipe bomb was some kind of drug pipe. The inspector then swabbed the pipe bomb for drugs, but not for gunpowder. It tested negative for drugs.
Souces say the pipe bomb was reported the same day to the management of Garda, the security firm hired by the Canadian Transport Security Authority (CATSA) to screen passengers at Edmonton International Airport.
You couldn't even propose this as a training scenario. This is Python-grade.

I have some thoughts on why this happened:

- something  to do with the mundane nature of the work;
- familiarity with explosives being outside the range of experience and inference of almost everyone especially subcontracted airport screeners;
- or the simple fact that when faced with an actual bomb, a kind of cognitive dissonance happened on the part of the screeners who forgot everything they were supposed to do and/or could not acknowledge the reality before them.

But still. Holy shit. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Can you hear me now?

Most of you have seen this:

This is just a part of the latest $9 million advertising campaign embarked upon by the Harper government to convince you that they are wrapping their loving arms around you and are going to give you everything you ever wanted on your smartphone for a whole lot less money than you pay now.

But, as with all things Harper, it is an ad campaign about nothing. You will not have more choices, you will not get lower prices and you will not have better service.

The strategy, (if you can call something so poorly conceived and managed a "strategy"), set forth by the Wii-generation occupants of the PMO, was to lure in new telecommunications companies by auctioning off the 700 mHz frequency spectrum. The idea was that this would allow a fourth major player into the game of "long term evolution" (LTE) and the market pressure of competition would give you more choice, lower prices and, along with sparkle ponies and rainbows, service even in the deep woods.

The problem from the outset is that the pack of wise-asses in Ottawa who dreamed up the idea have the attention span of a two year-old and the research acumen of a kindergarten class. In the last sell-off of spectrum they watched small companies buy in and then within a year attempt to sell themselves to the big three telecoms. That should have taught them something. It didn't.

In order for a fourth player to enter the wireless market it first needed a banker. Wind Mobile had one, but things went kind of badly. The Dutch company which was to be funding Wind Mobile's expansion wanted something in return for their investment. Something like ... financial and corporate control. That spawned an investment review by the federal government and then the serious people from down the street dropped their bombshell. The Dutch company was controlled by Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman who is busy fighting off Russian courts over some shady deals with the Russian government. If the brats advising cabinet had done more than 30 seconds worth of research they would have known this from the beginning and would have been fully aware that their so-called plan was doomed. Not to mention that Wind uses equipment provided by a Chinese "private" company which has raised security concerns in the U.S. (Huawei has been labelled a "Security Threat" by more than one country). That too, should have been readily apparent to the short-pantsers.

So, as the 700 mHz spectrum is put up for bids today the Harper government will allow the same old companies to swallow up your property and charge it back to you for the same old rates with the same level of gouging. Wind Mobile pulled out.

As Michael Geist points out, this whole effort having resulted in total failure, the only option left is to impose regulation on the wireless industry in Canada. Good luck with that. It's not going to happen.

This is just the latest in a stream of propaganda. Lots of advertising, costing lots of money and resulting in absolutely nothing. More vacant activity from the phoney who pretends to be a leader.

Harper's Army

Scenario. The Army is faced with two challenges. First, post-Afghanistan everything, from burnt out kit to burnt out troops. Second, the Army is still afflicted with a Harper, which effectively means being tarted-up for parades and photo-ops but having the very basics like new trucks and post-service welfare denied like some trophy partner shown off in public but beaten and starved at home.

The Army solution, as reported in the media, is for the commander of the Army to say from on high unto the troops, "Complain, and I'll fuckin' charge ya!"

This is what is "hurting the army".

IF, and a big IF, this isn't part of some overall strategy (clearly off to a roaring start) aimed at consolidating Army morale and cohesion in the face of the aforementioned challenges, it's a problem and a serious one. Some officers and non-commissioned types have a Pavlovian tendency to mindlessly "lead" by threat. There is no problem too great or complex, apparently, that more "discipline" cannot solve. In fact, they never ever want to hear of any problem of any nature, so when someone raises an issue even when asked, they flip and threaten that person instead of dealing with the issue. Beware anyone suggesting that conditions are anything but rainbows and lolipops. 
There's few things more toxic for morale and motivation than a leadership style that is based solely on this raw prerogative to punish. However, the troops aren't stupid and ours is a volunteer army. Many soldiers have one, two, three combat tours behind them. They aren't afraid of charges or Club Ed and their BS detectors are state of the art. Too much of this bullshit, and they will exit, voice themselves louder, and find ways of undermining a clueless leadership.

Troops going to the media about conditions in the Army indicate a leadership failure. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

An absolute phoney

Harper is at it again. In a trick stolen from the Christy Clark manual of "quick wins", The Great Pretender is now holding secret press conferences.
Last week, while members of the English media were blocked from questioning Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a Lower Mainland visit, he held an event to field queries from a select few members of the ethnic media.
Some of the chosen few who attended the Jan. 6 event told 24 hours that Conservative MPs Wai Young, Nina Grewal and Alice Wong were also in attendance.
One reporter said journalists were allowed to ask Harper one question each and were given a chance to have their photo taken with the prime minister.
It was not on his announced agenda and no one knew there was any kind of public session. Oh! Wait. It wasn't public. It was exclusive. Let's end it right there. End of story. Sure there's more but who ... fucking ... cares?!

Every one of those reporters was subject to a PMO clamp before they ever walked into the room. They had to submit their questions in advance and they had to stay on the PMO topic. Ask your question, get your pic with the turd and get the fuck out.

Would the PMO choose to challenge me on any of that? Feel free to grace the comments section ... at your own peril.

So what else is this phoney sonofabitch up to? Well, how about denying the facts about unemployment; how about failing to address corruption in a senate scandal HE created; how about failing to address the needs of veterans HE sent into combat; how about overseeing the destruction of this country's accumulated knowledge?

How about it, Harper? Where are you on the things that are starting to bore into the guts of all Canadians?

Here's where.

Nowhere. Instead he feeds you propaganda and, oh, sister, Joseph Goebbels would have had a hard time pulling this one off. He fed you one that didn't even exist. It's some weird daydream and a dream without a plan is never a goal.
“The Canada Job Grant will result in one important thing – a new or better job,” said the reassuring voice-over in the TV ads.
The problem: The program was never launched and is still on hold. The job grants were announced in the 2013 federal budget, but it called for an agreement with the provinces, which have so far refused to buy in.
Employment and Social Development Canada spent between $2.5 million and $2.6 million on the ad campaign. That figure excludes radio ads funded by the Finance Department.
 Don't believe me? Go to any community college or vocational school and ask them. There's nothing

[The] cash came from an $11-million fund set aside last year for Employment and Social Development Canada to promote the government as a job creator.
Before the Canada Job Grant TV ad went to air, the government paid Environics Research Group almost $70,000 to conduct market research. Focus groups saw a near-final version of the commercial.
Environics concluded: "The main message was consistently seen as positive and one that inspired hope…. In light of seeing the new ad for the Canada Job Grant, most now believe the Government of Canada is on the right track regarding skills training and the job market in Canada.”
 Shall I translate that for you? Sure. It's called bullshit. They had nothing, they fed you a line and in the end you get absolutely nothing. Stephen Harper set aside $11 million to feed you a line of bullshit. There is no job training program and there are no jobs.

He's lying to you ... in your face. And he's doing it to you with your money.


Power. Harper, never known for being able to think on his feet, likes all the perks of power and he is quite willing to lie to hang onto it.

The economy of this country is tanking ... fast. The central bank has so much as said so. While the Bank of Canada would like to raise interest rates to keep the currency stable, Harper and his cabinet idiot, Flaherty, are pursuing a course which will drive the Canadian dollar to 68 cents on the US dollar and full-time unemployment to record levels. In the end there will be a dazed population wondering what the hell hit them.

I can hardly wait for his memoirs.

Harper is a phoney. He can't deal with open questions from the media; he leaves questions asked of him in parliament to the daily-appointed crippled moron with a government title; he lies to you over and over and over and then he has it paid for with your tax dollars.

Get this guy in the open, without the screen of protection he has built around himself, and he can be devastated in 30 seconds. Without a script he is reduced to a mail-room clerk.

Stephen Harper is a phoney, a liar and he's costing us our country.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A scheduled Harperectomy . . .

People like the Koch brothers, Stevie and Rob Ford are actually mentally-ill from the POV of rational humanist social norms.

By their lights, though, their greed is 100% rational and desirable, regardless of cost to others. The sad truth of history is that other people who think like that have managed to do a lot of damage before they were stopped.

Unfortunately, the Koch brothers stubbornly persist, but Canada is scheduled for a Harperectomy in 21 months or so, may the patient survive.

For pre-op conditioning, we've got to think nationally but act locally. Your vote is your blade.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The shift that froze your butts off

OK, enough. We've watched the extreme cold weather overtake most of Canada and a huge chunk of the US. That has the climate change deniers going nuts and the likes of SunNews Network and Fox talking heads interviewing everything except a climate scientist to confirm that it's colder outside than anyone can remember... therefore global warming is not happening. The problem with that lot is that among them you won't find an earth-science degree nor a person who's read so much as an abstract of a scientific report nor anyone who could even recognize, much less do, the math. And while they're screaming from the rooftops that there's ice on the rooftops they conveniently and purposely ignore that it's warmer in Alaska and the Yukon than it's ever been during this season.

While I never call myself a scientist, I do have a graduate degree in an earth-science and I can hold my own amongst the formulae and logic from which global warming forecasts are derived. Deniers who try to label themselves as "skeptics" simply aren't. They have no basis for their position and you have never met a greater skeptic than a scientist who requires proof for every conclusion and research into every hypothesis. So, by definition the scientists are skeptics and the deniers simply have their heads up their asses.

Now, something you will never see in Canada, (since the retirement of Dr. Arthur Carty and the abolition of the National Science Advisor position he held until 2008 by the flat-earther-in-chief, Stephen Harper), is scientific information coming from the head of government to bring the population up to speed on what's happening, using easily understandable terms. In the US, however, it gets treated as freely available information in a two minute explanation by the National Science Advisor to the President. (Hat tip Lorne).

Right, that's all good. I'm going to add to that since my discipline deals with the ocean.

As the majority of the globe warms, (which is exactly what it's been doing), particularly in the tropics and the sub-tropics, all the warm, buoyant air from that region rises, cools and then, after diverging at the edge of the stratosphere, falls. It comes down as cold, dry air. When there is rapid warming at the equator, the air rises faster, cools and drys faster and comes crashing down like a lead weight as high pressure.

The forcing of that pressure moves the boundaries of the three hemispheric cells which make up the pressure regions of the Earth's atmosphere. In the Arctic, when winter brings less or no sunlight to warm the surface, the air becomes dense. As high pressure it also creates a surface forcing. The Polar cell in the Arctic pushes against the Ferrel cell in the mid-latitudes and a vortex is created aloft - the Polar Jet. In a perfect world, this would work its way around the globe at roughly the same latitude.

In an imperfect world the dense polar air pushes outward toward the equator over the frozen landmass. When the Hadley cell has more warm air than normal it squeezes poleward overriding the Ferrel cell, bending the Subtropical Jet and the Polar Jet starts to buckle ... badly.  It's called a Rossby Wave, which was identified in the June, 1939, Journal of Marine Research*. So, this is neither a new nor confounding concept.

Add to all this the fact that the Arctic air temperature is a full 2°C warmer now than it was in 1960. In the eastern Arctic water temperatures, as a result of rapid melting of sea ice, were a full 5°C warmer by the end of summer 2013 than they were over a 30 year average measured from 1977 - 2006. That's huge on any atmospheric/oceanographic scale because salt water requires a great deal of absorbed solar energy to produce a rise in temperature and once it's there it retains it for longer than almost any other substance on Earth. That tells us that the Arctic got warmer, a lot warmer, and it's going to retain much of what it absorbed due to the high specific heat capacity of the Arctic Ocean. (Aug 2013 sea surface temps. Redder is warmer than 30 year average; Bluer is colder than 30 average)

What this specific heat capacity does is upset the feedback loop of atmospheric circulation. Instead of dense, cold, Arctic air spreading evenly over the pole, the eastern side warmed the air, expanding it and making it more buoyant. This is the same as inflating a balloon in a bucket of water. Eventually warmer eastern Arctic air spreading forced the dense air over the ice cap onto the colder landmass of the western hemisphere.

In simplistic terms, the atmospheric centre of the Arctic air mass, (call it the atmospheric north pole), was shoved off the ice cap and the centre (which should be near the North Pole) moved over northern Canada. The entire air mass moved south and the characteristics of that entire air mass,  moved with it, south. While southern Canada and the continental US were undergoing the coldest temperatures ever remembered, Siberia, one of the coldest winter environments in the northern hemisphere, was recording temperatures above freezing with rain.

Is this a result of global warming? A single event cannot be attributed to climate change. However, what happened so far this winter is directly attributable to the conditions I have just described above and all of those things combined suggest this is just another of a long string of events which are symptomatic of increased warming of the planet. It is another extreme weather event which was forecast in warnings issued over a decade ago and modeled in 2006 by the US National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Here's the kicker: It's happening more quickly than forecast (not by much on the Big Bang scale) and with each advance of changing conditions it accelerates the process exponentially. In short, get used to more flooding, more ice storms, more droughts and get used to them now. They are not going away. If Stephen Harper thought changing to a "green" energy policy was too expensive, wait until he sees what it's going to cost to deal with the damage that's about to come because he didn't listen. And yes, your property insurance premiums are going to skyrocket. And whenever I say or write that, I think of this old ad.

Local Policy: Alright then, whenever I write something about this subject the comments section gets invaded by an army of right-wing, flying monkeys who learned their science from unscrewing beer-bottle caps. Most have never opened a textbook and wouldn't recognize basic algebra, much less solve a problem. So, be aware:
1. This is not a free-speech zone. If all you intend to do is fling insults, you'll be deleted and permanently banned;
2. If you are making an opposing or alternative argument, support it with evidence. Failure to do so will bring about the actions of item 1;
3. If, as has happened twice now, the disciples of some half-educated, over-paid pundit come in en mass, I will close comments on this post.
* The reference, I am told, has been removed from some Canadian government departmental libraries. I have my own copy.

You aren't going to believe this one UPDATED

But it's on YouTube. And YOU are paying for it.
... this latest initiative is more in-depth and appears to be another effort by the Conservative government to bypass the mainstream media and communicate its message directly to Canadians.
Wanna see? Don't bother with the popcorn, but you might want a spew bag handy.

Wow! The same guy who is destroying the Canadian Coast Guard by underfunding it, won't fix the Canada Pension Plan because it's too expensive, has an "enemies" list, has laid-off so many public servants that the government is operating in crippled mode ... all in the name of austerity ... is wasting millions of your tax dollars having a documentary of himself produced.

It's eerily North Korean.

Honestly, propaganda should at least hold your interest. This is just sad. If it wasn't so expensive.

A grade 11 art class could do a better job ... for a whole lot less money. In fact ...

Montreal Simon has more, more, more.

Take note of something else: The comments section in the Harper YouTube are CLOSED. Guess they didn't want, you know, citizens offering their appraisal of the bullshit they've just paid to watch.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Interlude. A screen capture to divert you from your search

I regularly make the mistake of goggling away to engineer my way onto a lot of websites. Part of the reason is that I don't bookmark them and I can't be bothered to scroll through my browser's history. I'm not lazy ... really. I'm just a little disorganized, and I like it that way.

So, when I was looking for The Daily Show recently, I had forgotten that the U.S. site rejects video requests from anything that isn't a U.S. address. Silly me ... but it was worth the few seconds I spent there. (Click to expand)

It's so nice that Canadians get acknowledged! Or could it be ... nah!*

Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, this really should be fixed. Since The Daily Show's Most Senior Correspondent is proudly Canadian, don't you think we should be given special status when it comes to watching your stuff?

Hmmm. You may now resume your search.

* Is it possible that everyone visiting that site from outside the U.S. has free healthcare?

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Look at what lane closures in New Jersey have just wrought (updated)

Read this very, very closely.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie was ensnared in a billowing political furore on Wednesday when newly released emails connected one of his top aides to a decision to block lanes on the approach to a busy bridge, causing traffic chaos, apparently in an act of revenge against a political enemy.
 So what, you say. Dirty U.S. politics. Meh! Read a little more.
The suggestion that his top staff might have been actively involved in a vindictive move against a Democratic small-town mayor that caused grief for thousands of New Jersey residents could be toxic for the governor, who is trying to position himself ahead of 2016 as a new-look Republican able to reach across the aisle to Democratic and Independent voters. Even more problematic could be evidence, if any emerges, that the governor’s office took part in a cover-up of its involvement.
Christie has consistently denied that his staff had anything to do with the lane closures and the ensuing traffic snarl up, and insisted that the events on the bridge were instigated as part of a traffic study of the flow of vehicles over the bridge.
Already two heads have rolled: Wildstein resigned on 6 December and was followed soon after by Bill Baroni, Christie’s appointee as deputy director of the Port Authority, who is also copiously referenced in the new email chain.
Does any of this, any of it at all, sound remotely similar to anything happening in Ottawa? If not, let me provide you with the statement New Jersey governor Chris Christie released this afternoon:
"What I've seen today for the first time is unacceptable. I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge. One thing is clear: this type of behavior is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better. This behavior is not representative of me or my Administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions."
Now, it's starting to sound vaguely like the Harper/Duffy/Wallin/Wright cover-up scandal, $90,000-gate, coming out of every Conservative political baseboard on Parliament Hill. The lack of any form of personal accountability or apology is stunningly familiar.

Lane closures? Not even in the same league, you might say. Fraud, bribery, not to mention voter suppression, would surely be considered a thousand times worse than playing jiggery-pokery with traffic on the George Washington bridge.

You'd be wrong.

The New Jersey "bridge-gate" scandal has just killed Christie's 2016 bid for the Republican nomination for President. He must be in awe of Harper right now.

(If I can get the show opening monologue from tonight's Jon Stewart, Daily Show, in which he shreds Christie, I'll post it here as an update).

Got it! Right here.

Conservative Senator wants heads to roll ...

Harper-appointed senator, Bob Runciman got all pen-to-paper-like today and went into a Duffy-style rant over political message carriers walking into the anointed one's private hob-knob session in Vancouver.
Former Ontario solicitor general Bob Runciman is questioning why two activists who got to within an arm's-length of the prime minister this week were allowed to "walk away scot-free and smiling" — and he says he'll use his Senate seat to bring in new laws to deter similar future protests.

"People who sneak into these kinds of events, using phony ID, impersonate others, or conspire with others to do the same, should face indictable offences with serious fines and/or imprisonment," said Senator Runciman in a written statement sent to the parliamentary press gallery.
He then blathers on to say he's going to do something about it and intends to abuse his cushy position by introducing legislation just like, you know, an elected representative to Parliament. He also elevates the position of Prime Minister to something it is not, in a constitutional sort of way.

That's OK. Harper appointed senators don't hold much stock in this neck of the woods. (I'm trying to think of what I would say to this gas-bag if I had the opportunity to meet him face-to-face. It has something to do with "the troops" but it escapes me now).

Loud mouthed, Conservative, Harper-appointed, public teat-suckers should really be careful what they wish for.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014


Curious word, that.

Once upon a time spy agencies were tasked with monitoring legitmate defence-related threats, say the Soviets and their allied and proxy forces, armed insurrectionists in Canada and abroad (e.g. FLQ, armed Aboriginal groups, Islamist terrorists), or Canadians in the habit of trading defence secrets to enemy powers. Part of how this game was played would have involved adherence to Canadian and international law. An allowance might be made for rare but ultra-secret and calculated breaches because that's also part of how the game was played. Don't get caught.

Since 9/11 the spooks have gone from a small and more or less under the radar business to a Five-Eyes multinational corporation complete with a shiny massive campus-style corporate HQ. The very serious business of protecting Canadians and our interests, which normally involve preventing global nuclear war or stopping Quebec nationalists from blowing up parliament or some radical Islamist a GO train, has swelled into a Walmart operation of cheap snooping on everyday citizens and residents. People, as it happens, with no interest in anything other than maybe objecting to the idea that their coastline and oceans might be slimed in Alberta bitumen bound for China because some helmsman at the wheel of gargantuan ship turned too late coming out of Kitimat and sailed into an island.

The spies are fat and dumb. 9/11 changed it all, I suppose. It consolidated the Anglosphere allies to the point where their military forces and spy agencies are effectively the same organisation. Snowden revealed the intelligence sharing between them is virtually seamless. The British and the American military and security forces are now so identical that even their troops (probably soon ours too - ahem CSOR) now wear the same corporate trademarked camouflage pattern. This isn't the quaint-sounding "interoperability" often spoken of. This is a full-on corporate merger.

Their mandate, at least in Canada, has also considerably expanded. As I stated in my last post the next merger, now well and truly advanced, is between the Conservative Party, the corporate [energy!] sector, and the security services.

Further, the careful, calculated, truly incidental rule-breaking of yesteryear is now a routine tactic to get around domestic law in cases where outright lying to the courts or Odaing a warrant or document won't do. Simply pass it off to another 'department' (GCHQ, NSA, etc), law be flouted. Like all massive mergers, the resulting organisation loses the unique skills each agency had as the the talent pool becomes diluted and conformity for "interoperability" reasons is stressed (F-35, anyone?). High-grade alloy gets replaced with cheap plastic and work is outsourced. Incestuous group-think sets in. Dissenting voices are discouraged and careerism is emphasised, to the point I'm sure where none will notice when the bit about allegiance to "Queen Elizabeth the Second and all her heirs and successors" is replaced with the "Conservative Party of Canada and all its now and future designates and manifestations" in their swearing-in oath.

So where does this spy-drama lead, incidentally?

In Canada, it effectively conflates a political party, the intelligence services, and the corporate sector and positions them at odds with a potential majority of Canadians. Today's data gathering capabilities the intelligence services, as the Snowden files reveal, would make the most skilled Stasi analyst weep and twitch with envy. No good has ever come from this kind of thing and a lot of good people end up suffering.

Abroad, it situates Canada well within the far-flung anglosphere, which in turn is pitted against heretofore friendly states such as Germany and Brazil that were subject to unprecedented intimate spying by the USA and it its allied toadies. The long-term implications of this remain to be seen, but could very well lead to new security and perhaps economic alliances between non-UK Western European states and those in South America. After all, Canada spied on the Brazilians too, mostly for Bombardier and giggles it seems.  Give it ten or fifteen years, and without a course change, the world will see a Euro-Latin American power centre in addition to China and Russia, and an untrusted heap of English-speakers congealed around a morbidly dysfunctional USA to which Canada is petro-state worked by the cheapest available labour from around the globe.

The USA, Canada, and now thanks to Abbott, Australia, are also some of the highest per capita emitters and most intransigent when it comes to addressing climate change. Not that this matters. Incidentally.

"It wouldn't be B.C. without it"

The words issued by the so-called prime minister of Canada when a protester managed to breach his security yesterday.

Wouldn't it now?

In other words, Harper expects to come to BC, (as little as possible), and be faced with people who vocally express their displeasure with his wrecking-ball policies, his smear politics, and his lying, cheating performance behind the doors of his office.

The only reason Harper is in BC is to try and beat the bushes in redrawn ridings and to generate support among well-to-do conservatives gathered at their mahogany hog-troughs. And the only comment he has when his insular bubble is burst by a single, momentary event is ... it's typical British Columbia.

Nice! Between insulting British Columbians and ignoring every major natural event east of Brandon this guy is showing he's truly a god-king. Stephen Harper, better than all others.

Well, Harper, here's another thing it wouldn't be BC without. As you hunker down in rich-kid country there will be some noise at the gates. (I hope the organizers of this thing realize there is more than one way in to snob central).

Oh yes, a little reminder of what we think of you. It wouldn't be Harper without these.

Monday, January 06, 2014

In Canada

The rise of the Harper Government, means that it can now be said that "Canadian" spy agencies (CSIS, CSE, etc) work for private industry.

Now, should Enbridge or some other corporation decide that a pipeline or a shopping mall would look good in your neighbourhood but you don't, the spies may well have a look-see at you, your life, and the people you associate with.

The cooperation of the National Energy Board with the spies who are in turn cooperating with private industry means that the hearing process for proposed projects is deeply and terminally corrupt.

The implications of all this are profound and terrifying. If the spies are so in bed with the ideological agenda of the ruling party on this matter, toward what other matters have they whored themselves?

Killing Canada

Years ago I blogged here about the motivation behind Harper being one of absolute loathing for the country he happened to exist in. I can't seem to locate that post now, but I still think I have a point. Harper's goal is to destroy the Canada that you and I know and love, which is to say he aims to destroy Canada. Piece by piece, like some twisted Dark Age torturer with his victim.

Think of the end games. Ask, where does all this lead?

Replacing Canadian workers with cheaper foreign replacements without the same protections as Canadian workers, residents, and citizens.  Ultimately, this destroys the middle-class wages that sustain the collective wealth and economic health in the country. What is left is a nation of low-paid serfs, stripped of rights, and living in poverty. Manufacturing jobs will return to Canada under these conditions, but they will be what we now call sweat-shops. I shit you not.

It's already started in the Tar Sands and wait five or ten years and those young men with the six-figure jobs and oversized pick-ups and hangovers up there will be a distant memory.

The Canadian Forces will exist as a colonial armed forces deployable on whatever misadventures the politicians in the Five-Eyes Coalition of the Gullible think of next. Veterans will receive no benefit or care because the state, to a Harpermind, has no obligation to them. They volunteered, after all. So fuck them and their families if they get themselves killed or wounded. There'll be no shortage of recruits in our poverty-stricken land.

Science (environmental).
Year Zero. No baseline data, no knowledge. No firm evidence upon which to challenge government policy. So what, when a supertanker ruptures on a rock in BC coastal waters. So what, when a ruptured tailings pond kills every river and lake in Northern Alberta. They don't give a damn if the entire country is rendered toxic. They are too clever not to know what the impacts are. They just do not care. The bucks will be made by the 'right' people and Canadians will writhe in misery and solastalgia, happy days.

The useful idiots who vote Conservative are not exempted.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

His Immenseness will come out of his hole in ... Mill Bay, B.C.

... And then he'll make sure he's securely insulated from anything British Columbia by hiding behind the locked gates of a conservative bastion for the wealthy, Brentwood College School.
Prime Minister Harper visits Cowichan on Tuesday for a private Tory party event at Brentwood College School.
The 1 p.m. gathering, hosted by members and donors of the Conservative Party of Canada, promises to be popular among party faithful wishing to hear the PM's speech.
Wow. One would have to wonder what brings a self-serving bastard like Harper to Cowichan. It's not, you know, in a big, important area code. And one thing is absolutely certain: he wouldn't bother with the place unless it was to his personal advantage.

Ahhh. This.

Harper thinks he has a chance at a Reform Conservative win in a newly drawn riding.

You just knew he wasn't here to see the people.

Killing the Canadian Coast Guard. One massive hack at a time.

You would naturally believe that Harper and his hillbilly cohort would be strengthening the Canadian Coast Guard for several reasons, not the least of which would be to strengthen any claim on the Arctic with positioned Arctic escort ships, search and rescue and just plain hanging a flag. Another reason would be the woefully inadequate CCG resources to deal with the upcoming traffic jam in Douglas Channel. Given that Harper's national shipbuilding fantasy includes a bevy of new ships for the Coast Guard you'd expect them to be viewed as essential, and thus insulated from Harper hatchet work.

Not so, it would seem.
The ongoing gutting/changing of budgets and services at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Canadian Coast Guard are beginning to defy logic.
The bulk of the cuts are expected to come within the Canadian Coast Guard, where the story said $20 million will be shaved off and as many as 300 people could be shown the door.
Many insiders knew the axe was going to fall, but I would hazard to say few people expected it to be quite this dramatic.
Ah yes. Harper didn't get his extreme austerity when he had a minority government. Given that it is the lone tool he knows how to use after being trained as second-rate economist, he intends to tell you in 2015 what a wonderful manager of the economy he is and kindly ignore the fact that our SAR resources don't sail, our aids to marine navigation have rotted on their cables and vessel traffic control in congested areas simply doesn't work. Oh yes, you might also want to ignore those 300 unemployed seafarers.
One of the more stunning elements could come in the form of what looks like a major reduction - a $4.2 million budget cut and 23 job losses - in Canada's offshore surveillance of foreign fishing vessels. That would mean less monitoring of foreign vessels fishing outside Canada's 200-mile limit. 
What's more perplexing than the decision is the rationale for it.
The powers-that-be suggest they've done such a good job of reducing "serious" (a word DFO has worked very hard to cut out of its list of fishing citation reports in recent years) foreign overfishing infractions in the last while that we just don't need as much monitoring any more.
I won't ramble on about the rationale, only to say it's comparable to firing the cops because you haven't had a serious crime in a while.
Bingo (I say in a singing voice).  This is the tough on crime bunch who, despite plummeting crime rates, spent billions and forced the provinces to spend billions to lock up more people than ever because they knew there was more crime out there than we could actually see ... or that we reported. You'll recall Brother Stockwell lying through his teeth to convince you that spending billions of dollars on crime prevention was worth it, if only because he loves watching people who make him feel icky, suffer. But when illegal fishing, particularly off the Grand Banks and the Flemish Cap gets curtailed ... (well, not so much curtailed as reported using different language to make it look like there are fewer violations) ... that's cause to dismiss your patrol force and the unique experts who staff it.
What is particularly interesting about this investigative piece is that it noted top bureaucrats in the department - including the deputy minister - have advised against making the cuts and have recommended spending be increased - not slashed.
If the federal government is making these cuts in spite of what their own top people are telling them, then why are they doing it, and where is that information coming from?
Ah, yes. The $200 million question. Where is their information coming from?  How about ... the PMO? The frat boys in short-pants don't know a coast guard from cattle dung. If it isn't important to them, to hell with advice.

And let's not forget the court jester running the Treasury Board. Tony Clement, a refugee from the Ontario Mike Harris fiasco, a man who never saw a tax dollar he couldn't spend on himself, simply told DFO to lose a few hundred million of budget line items. It doesn't matter what they are because this whole coast guard thing is way too expensive and anyway, they have no presence in Muskoka except to harass people about their boat operator cards.

It also demonstrates the weakness of Gail Shea, so-called Fisheries Minister. Clearly she has about as much influence at the cabinet table as Flaherty's pet cockroach. This wouldn't be happening if she'd threatened to resign, which makes her another Harper knob polisher.
(O)ne minute a bottle of champagne is being broken against a new Coast Guard ship or a brand new station is slated for construction.
The next minute, people who work on those ships or in those stations are getting their Records of Employment (ROE) and being shown the door. 
Government logic. Certainly an oxymoron.
No, not actually. What it shows is two things, both of which highlight the fiscal and administrative incompetence of Harper and his chosen ones. No logic, but worst of all no plan

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Libricide. The Harper Government's Plan to Murder Science.

How close to home does Harper's plan to transform Canada have to get before it arrives like the grim reaper on your doorstep?

It has arrived on mine.

Stephen Harper is destroying our scientific libraries.

Years ago this country thought well enough of me to end my combat service and to send me off to become a scientist. Admittedly there was an ulterior motive. I would become one of the few who could find and provide the solution to kill enemy submarines.

I was very good at it. In fact, if one brushed off the rust, I probably still am.

Over the course of four years of study and application I read more books on oceanography than you can possibly imagine. I devoured them. I simply loved them. Every single book provided the clues to the mystery I was attempting to uncover. Some of those books were old. Very old. In scouring those arcane pages a hint of something would arise and send me searching. Ancient knowledge, well documented, provided avenues to further research.

The oldest book I could find related to the subject of killing 20th Century Soviet submarines was written way back in 1785 entitled Sundry Maritime Observations. The author was one Benjamin Franklin. When I ordered it from the NOAA library no one objected. I had a reprint edition within the week.

That book put the Gulf Stream into an older perspective. It was a starting point for another probe which would open a whole new set of question in the research group with which I was working. That group created something which didn't just find a new way to detect submarines, it actually advanced medical science.

So, when Harper starts to burn the historical research, a treasure, that this country has developed and stored, he's on my doorstep.

Stephen Harper doesn't want you to know anything that would make you smarter than him. Science, and the advance of science, is sedition. The dumber you are, the more likely you are to vote for him and the knuckledusters who swear fealty to him. His future is secure if you are stupid. He relies on that.

So, there is only one reason why this is happening.

Harper is destroying historical, scientific publications.

When I asked if EVERYTHING was being digitized and recorded, the answer was NO. A culling of "non-relevant" publications was the answer.

In other words, publications which somebody, the PMO included, decided had no scientific value, was being destroyed.

How do they know? Which book has the buried secret of a scientific discovery?

The hints, the line that could lead to further discovery, is probably in one of those destroyed books. And Stephen Harper has just made sure that you and future generations will never find it.

Who burns books but one who is afraid of what is in them?

Update: Just in case you don't read the comments, Alison has provided two exceptional links which after you've read them should leave you shattered. Many thanks Alison!

 Confessions of a Science Librarian:The Canadian War on Science

 Scientists for the Right to Know

Friday, January 03, 2014

The Harper Government's latest Big Lie

Well, it has a bag-load hauled out at those times when it is tactically expedient. This one however, is a slam-dunk.

Remember Jason Kenney telling us all how the rules on foreign workers were going to be tightened up? Well it turns out they were ... and they weren't. Canadians now go to the head of the line for non-union sex-work. For anything else, you wait until the union's busted by flooding the market with slave labour.

Go read Simon.  

Update: Not to be missed, Alison weighs in.

You must be dreaming

I read this with my jaw on the desk.

Would this turkey, a man who was first elected on a backlash vote, actually quit?

Are you smoking crack?

Stephen Harper believes in one thing - Stephen Harper. The man is not your run of the mill sociopath. He believes that we, a nation of peace seekers, truly want everything to be exactly as he learned in five semesters of economics and the wisdom he developed running an organization that was developed to hate government. He hates you, he hates me and he hates anyone that is not totally and unequivocally in 100% agreement with his view of the world. Period. Full fucking stop.

Do you get that? Really. Do you? Because if you don't let me clear it up a little. Stephen Harper doesn't care what you think, do or otherwise believe. It's his way or the highway. He's the only one who could possibly be right on any subject and if you don't believe me, ask him! I'm sure he'll set you straight. 

I'd pity his wife, if she wasn't a willing and active accomplice. I'll give quarter when quarter is due and she deserves none.

Stephen Harper's view of you is very simple. You work your ass off for at least five days a week (at a wage that just barely gets you by), you get supper at 5 o:clock, you get hockey on TV on Saturday night and you fuck your wife on Wednesday and Sunday. What else could you want?

Are you the wife? Change your name, make supper for 5 o:clock, watch the hockey game and keep Wednesday and Sunday free for the Harper Nation. 

Do you have an interest in foreign affairs? Too bad, he'll handle it. It is so far beyond your basic understanding of things complex. Harper's got that ball and he isn't going to let your instinct to create a better world interfere with him hanging onto it. Donate to a charity. Build a well somewhere. Your tax dollars will only be spent where we can get something - nickle, bauxite, light sweet crude. If it destroys far flung communities outside your six-pack view, what do you care?

A "walk in the snow"?

Give it a rest. Harper would be hard pressed to dress himself for such an event without a multitude of staff to make sure the idiot strings were threaded through a parka. And then he'd claim he didn't know why they put the thumbs the wrong way up.

Ain't gonna happen.

As much as I thought Trudeau was an asshole, I learned that he still believed there was a point where he was doing nothing to advance us as a nation. He took the honourable route to retirement.

Stephen Harper has no such inclination. He is an unrepentant sociopath who will always believe that he alone, despite the counsel of thousands, has the vision to guide us to greatness.

As if we had not already achieved that stature in the world decades before his name had ever been spoken on a high-school home-room roll-call.

Stephen Harper will never leave of his own accord. He, in his own mind at least, is anointed. He wasn't elected; he was sent to us. Ask him.

We'll know when Stephen Harper is resigning. He'll have put a torch to the earth.