Sunday, December 31, 2006

Gangsta wrap

I had an idea for a mafia gangster story today. Tell me what you think.

The story opens as the big mafia bosses are looking to expand their empire.
They take on a new guy - let's call him Vinnie - who's running his own small-time operation and set him up in business raiding a mutual foe. Now Vinnie is a vicious bastard, killing off civilians on his own turf as he pleases, but hey - business is business say the big bosses, who don't much care who else he knocks off as long as he gets the job done.
Unbeknownst to Vinnie, the big bosses have another agenda. Their optimum business advantage comes from keeping all the smaller bosses like Vinnie at each others' throats, so they not only arm Vinnie, they also arm the very foe they sent him out to raid.
When he discovers he's been double-crossed, Vinnie goes ballistic and starts shooting his mouth off that he's been set up. The bosses take over his turf, shut down his operation, kill a ton more civilians, and kidnap him.
To make their takeover of Vinnie's turf look legit, the Big Bosses have a show trial in which they accuse him of the one crime against his own people that they didn't directly finance. His defense lawyers get taken out in a hail of bullets and eventually Vinnie gets handed back to his own turf for a revenge killing and they hang him.

The story ends with the Big Bosses' mouthpiece saying some bullshit while everyone else looks around trying to guess who's being set up to be the next Vinnie.

So whaddaya say? A bit hackneyed? Too predictable?

In an unlikely coincidence, the same picture for this story ran on the front page of most Canadian newspapers.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Top 10 Searches of 2006

1. Britney Spears
2. Britny Speers
3. Brittany Spers
4. bretni speres
5. Briteny Speirs
6. britainy spiers
7. briteni speares
8. Briterney Sprees
9. brittny speires
10. briteni Spries

Link

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Canadian sharecropping

And here I thought sharecropping was supposed to be a bad thing.

The story so far :
A timeline of the Cons attack on the Canadian Wheat Board, a Canadian monopoly which brings in $800 million to the prairies by controlling 20% of the global grain market.

July 27 Canadian Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl tells the press his government will not be bound by the Canadian Wheat Board Act which prohibits any changes to the marketing of grain that is not supported by the grain producers.

Oct 5 Strahl imposes a gag order on CWB to prevent directors and staff from defending its position as a single desk seller of Canadian wheat and barley, despite the fact this monopoly was formed to provide growers with the most stable price for their crop on the world market.
Strahl removes two of the five directors of the CWB for their support of the CWB and replaces them with two directors who are anti-CWB.

Oct 17 In the middle of a CWB election, Strahl removes 16,269 farmers - or 36% - from the voters' list. Farmers who did not sell grain through the CWB in the previous 15 months due to being the victims of flood or drought are struck off.

Oct 25 Bill C-300, a private members' bill to remove the CWB's single desk (monopoly), is put forward by the Chair of the Agricultural Committee. It is defeated.

Dec Strahl fires Adrian Measner, the 32 year veteran and president of the CWB because he insisted on representing the people who elected him instead of the federal government.

Dec 19 Strahl replaces Measner with Greg Arason, a former CWB CEO whose new condition of employment is not to speak out against the federal government.

Dec 21 Arason hands out $1000 bonuses to CWB employees.

So who doesn't like the CWB?

Well, there's Monsanto, who were blocked by the CWB from Canadian registration of RoundUp Ready Wheat.
And the US who have taken Canada to WTO court umpteen times over this monopoly which is exempt under the rules of NAFTA and have lost every time.
The Western Growers of Alberta who comprise 1% of the CWB membership.
Oh yeah, and free market fundamentalists like Harper and Tom Flanagan who don't like labour-based aggregates of any kind. And their deluded admirers.

Are the rest of us too stupid to protect the people who grow food from these assholes?
Because if we are, here's what will happen :

Some farmers will privately get a better price from another grain buyer, say - because they live close to the US border and so their transport costs would be lower than that of more northern farmers.
More farmers will switch to this new buyer.
CWB loses power and folds.
Individual farmers are pitted against each other and the price of wheat falls.
NAFTA says no new CWB can be launched.
Farmers have to sell out to whoever is big enough to survive the price drop, ie agribiz.
Farmers become sharecroppers on what was formerly their own land.

The big buzzword being bandied about by Strahl et al is "choice". The farmers should be allowed "choice".

Hey Stahl, they've already made a choice. They have chosen to retain their way of life and their farms by voting for a strong single marketing board. You are merely giving them the choice of becoming sharecroppers.

And Harper. You're a speck of flyshit due to be blown away in the next election. Try to spend your limited time with us not screwing with our food or our farmers.

For the real stuff : Economist and agrologist Wendy Holm.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Batman lives...


President Vladimir Putin pauses to admire the logo gracing the floor of Moscow's new intelligence HQ.
Bruce Wayne - playboy, wealthy philanthropist, and head of the GRU.

BBC via Dominion Weblog.

The art of forgetting

There's a reason why we reward selfless acts of public service with a commemorative statue in the park or the naming of a ship, as opposed to, say, giving the hero a nice gift certificate to Bed and Bath. It's because we wish as a community to show our gratitude by honouring and remembering them.

Last March the people of Hartley Bay went out in their fishing boats in the middle of the night and rescued 99 people off the sinking Queen of the North. Immediately popular opinion called for the replacement ferry to be named Spirit of Hartley Bay. Good idea. The people of Hartley Bay liked it.

A couple of days ago I heard the president of BC Ferries David Hahn announce on CBC that the new $51M ferry would not be called Spirit of Hartley Bay after all. We gave the people of Hartley Bay a new dock and some fire-fighting equipment instead, explained Hahn, and we're naming the new replacement ferry Northern Adventurer. It was "purely a marketing decision", he said.

I'll fucking bet it was.
It was a marketing decision to fire the BC Ferries safety inspector before letting him investigate the crash, a marketing decision to shred all documents related to the Queen of the North five days after it sank, and a marketing decision to destroy the all the crew operation manuals.

Hahn would just like this whole thing to disappear. And thanks to P3remier Gordon Campbell quasi-privatizing the corporation three years ago, he will probably get his wish. According to the Deputy Auditor General, BC Ferries is no longer answerable to government as a shareholder.while still being a risk to the taxpayer.

The Czech novelist Milan Kundera once said the fastest way to rewrite history is to change the street names - that way no one will remember what the old street names stood for.

I guess not naming them after anything in the first place is even faster.

Friday, December 15, 2006

No Mars, bitches!


Now what on Mars could Steve possibly have against this?
It's something Canada is already very good at.
It doesn't require any additional funds to be allocated to Canada's space program.
It offers the opportunity for scientific research and development.

Of course it is a robot.
Maybe Steve just didn't care for the competition.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Who is it playing political games here?

As Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe threatened to bring down the Cons with a non-confidence vote in the spring if the Afghan mission is not "rapidly and profoundly" retooled to focus more heavily on reconstruction instead of fighting, Harper stood in the House of Commons on Tuesday and said :

"The only problem here is the political opportunism of the leader of the Bloc Quebecois . . . He's just playing political games on the backs of our soldiers.''

Really? Remember this?

Harper on CBC- TV Sept. 18 2006 :
"I can tell you it's certainly engaged our military," the Prime Minister told CBC. "It's, I think, made them a better military notwithstanding — and maybe in some way because of — the casualties."
Harper added that Canada's current role in Afghanistan is "certainly raising Canada's leadership role, once again, in the United Nations and in the world community."

Busted, Steve. Buying yourself some world class prestige - on the backs of our soldiers.

And then we get this complete red herring, given that Duceppe is calling for more construction, not less from International Co-operation Minister Josee Verner with her little school girls routine :

"I'm thinking especially about the women. It's out of the question for me to return them to the darkness. We know what sort of horrific regime they lived under.
Little girls go to school today -- which they could not do when the mission started in 2001."

Newsflash, Josee :
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on March 6 2006 International Women's Day, :
"From fear of terrorism, from threats of the enemies of Afghanistan, today as we speak, some 100,000 Afghan children who went to school last year, and the year before last, now do not go to school."

And Karzai is a guy heavily invested in having us stay.
See, no one's asking you "to return anyone to darkness", Josee. We'd just like to stop propping up whoever is bombing the shit out of them.

Malalai Joya, 28 year old female Afghan MP addressing students at McGill this past September :

"Canada must have its own policies in Afghanistan, and stop supporting fundamentalist warlords."
Canada, said Joya, must "prove that it is a friend of the Afghan people." To do that, it must "act independently of US war policies," she said, adding that, "as long as Canada cannot act independently of the Pentagon," it will be inevitable that Canadian troops will die."
According to Joya, "the US is not concerned with the major causes of terror in Afghanistan--that is why my people do not consider them as liberators."
"All justice-loving people are calling for trials for the warlords," she said, noting that the Karzai administration--with US approval--"promotes war criminals to higher posts,” most recently the police force. The majority of seats in Afghanistan's parliament are occupied by "some kind of warlord," who is "doing crimes under the name of Islam."

Duceppe : "What we need is a rebalancing so that in three years we don't end up with a Baker report on Afghanistan, like we've got for Iraq now.''

Exactly.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Canada says torture flights "lawful"

From Macleans :
"Extraordinary rendition, the U.S. practice of shipping terrorism suspects to foreign prisons, may be legal in some cases, says the Foreign Affairs spokesman Rodney Moore :
"Whether any particular rendition is lawful would depend on the facts of each individual case." "

But hey, not to worry because :
"The government said earlier this year a review of dozens of alleged CIA aircraft landing at Canadian airports uncovered no evidence of illegal activity."

Even though :
"Alex Neve of Amnesty International Canada accused Ottawa on Monday of failing to "launch a thorough and comprehensive probe" of the possible use of Canadian airstrips by planes involved in extraordinary rendition.
"Some of those same planes implicated in the European cases are known to have made use of Canadian airspace and airstrips," he said."

Alleged CIA torture flights in 2005 : UK-210, Gemany-437, Canada, um, 0

At the same time this secret Foreign Affairs/Justice Dept report was being prepared last November, Condi Rice was jetting around Europe telling everyone to just shut up shut up shut up about torture flights.

Times-Online Dec 6, 2005
"Rice challenged European leaders to back controversial American anti-terrorism tactics yesterday as she robustly defended the CIA’s extrajudicial seizure, transportation and interrogation of thousands of suspects.
Dr Rice said that she expected American allies to co-operate and keep quiet about sensitive anti-terrorism operations....she pointedly reminded European governments that they had helped the US for years in a “lawful” policy of rendition — the removal of suspects to third countries for interrogation."

Ah, there we go - "lawful".

Monday, December 11, 2006

Young women vote Venus; old guys vote Mars

Federal voting intentions : gender and age
Question : If a federal election were held tomorrow, which party would you vote for?


From a sampling of 1022 interviews conducted on Dec 5 & 6.
The complete EKOS poll on other voter trends by issue and by region are here, but may I say - Go, young women!

So two Polls walk into a bar...



Plus/minus percentages refer to changes from same polls taken at the time of the January election.
EKOS poll Ipsos Reid poll

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Jupiter Mercury and Mars, bitches!


On Sunday morning 45 minutes before sunrise, Jupiter, Mercury, and Mars will cluster less than one degree apart from each other just above the horizon in the southeastern sky.
It won't happen again till 2053.
This beautiful image of Mars was taken by the Hubble telescope in 2001. An even closer image can be seen here.

Zack takes one for the team

Two years and a $15 million investigation later, we better be looking at more than just a petard protruding from between Zaccardelli's shoulder blades.

Zack : "I had no choice -- I have never had any choice -- but to tell the truth."

Yeah sure, ok, whatever.

Back in October, Zack held a press conference to reassure us that debacles like the Arar case would not be repeated becaue he had initiated safeguards like vetting what "paper documentation" on Canadians is given to US authorities. Meanwhile Evan Dyer was reporting on CBC that FBI agents are in fact physically present at Canadian Integrated National Security & Enforcement Teams(INSET) meetings where said intelligence on Canadians is discussed. As I said at the time, the FBI are probably quite capable of taking their own notes.

Obviously we have bigger problems here than how soon Zack begins collecting his pension and whether that stationery used to share information about Canadians with the FBI originates here or in the US.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Freedom fries - Canadian edition

So that's it? That's your whole game? That Dion's mom is French?
That Canadian-born Stephane Dion has dual-citizenship by virtue of his mom being French?

Nutter Ezra Levant in the Calgary Sun : Question of loyalty
"When it comes to making decisions about the war on terror, and Canada's role in Afghanistan, will Dion be unduly influenced by France....?"

NDP MP Pat Martin :
"What if there is a trade dispute between France and Canada? Would he have to recuse himself?"

NaPo : Dion's insult - to France
"Parliament is Canada’s legislature. It is not an airport departure lounge, nor a multilateral feel-good society."
NaPo goes on to disingenuously inquire whether Dion's dual citizenship is fair to France!

Macleans : Divided loyalties?
"The leader of the opposition is French! Or at least, he's entitled to a French passport. But he claims not to have one, and never to have voted in a French election. So what are Canadians going to do about it?"

We don't mind, says Macleans, but other people might.

Lame, guys. Really really lame.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Same old sex marriage debate


"That this house call on the government to introduce legislation to restore the traditional definition of marriage without affecting civil unions, and while respecting existing same sex marriages."

Yawn. Ok, so what is this about really?
It's about Steve forcing his so-con base to lose the very issue they've staked all their chips on.
Afterwards, he can stop taking their calls and finally get to work on that moderate image.
They will be pissed but really - who else are they going to vote for?
Losing this one will be a big gain for Steve. It's perfect.
"Debate" to start on Wednesday.
Image courtesy The Brick Testament.
UPDATE: Defeated 175 to 123. 13 Libs and 13 Cons, including Peter MacKay and Jim Prentice, voted against party lines.
Ottawonk called it a year ago.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Liberal leadership analysis

This is Creekside, live-blogging the first ballot results of the Liberal leadership race as they are announced on CBC TV.
We now take you !live! to Peter Mansbridge, sitting behind a desk in the empty and cavernous convention hall. He has just announced the results will be in momentarily....he is looking them up on the internet....and now he is reading them aloud to the TV viewing audience.
Borg - 29.3%....Rae - 20.3%....Dion - 17.8%....Kennedy - 17.7%
This has been Creekside, live-blogging CBC coverage ...

Of course all the really important work is done behind the scenes.
For instance, 2,000 bright red condoms bearing the Young Liberals of Canada logo will be given out throughout the weekend [Ed. note : Surely that isn't going to be enough] and a resolution to lower the age of consent for anal sex from 18 to 16 was debated at the social policy workshop. [Ed. note : Surely they won't get it through on time.]
You think I'm making this up. Nuh-uh, here you go.

Unfortunately, although it passed, the anal sex resolution did not make it onto the list of the big three priority issues to be debated by the entire convention. What a shame. I was so looking forward to seeing the approving delegates leaping up and down and waving their placards and cheering enthusiastically in an anal attentive sort of way.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ignatieff or Ffeitangi?



Michael Ignatieff reverses himself once again.
UPDATE : No, not photoshop. Photo link at Toronto Star

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Canada, a nation within the United States

From the Glib&Mall :
"The Conservative government is floating plans to block takeovers and investment from foreign state-owned firms should it detect a threat to Canada in the transaction, a move triggered by China's global prowl for acquisitions."

Well, I've certainly argued for this, although I wouldn't have singled out China or bothered with delicate distinctions between foreign state-owned firms and firm-owned states. (Firms? Who says firms any more?)
But look at the assumptions in this next bit :

"Greater Chinese inroads into the oil sands would certainly unnerve American policy makers, who always include Canada's tar-rich deposits in the equation when they discuss how the United States could achieve energy independence."

So Canada is now voluntarily initiating policy to facilitate a smoother US takeover of our resources?
When did the US cease to be a foreign power?
Yeah, I know, but it bugs me the G&M just takes it for granted.
The list of 'unfriendlies' is interesting : Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran or Venezuela. What - no North Korea?

The Cons - protecting the national interests of the US.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Iggy claims he has "joementum"

"It's huge, absolutely huge," Mr. Ignatieff said of the [poached] Dion delegates' arrival. "If you want momentum, that's momentum."

Actually, Iggy, we call that Joementum now, after the rightwing American politician who pretends not to be one.

"Denis Coderre, national co-chairman of the Ignatieff campaign, boasted yesterday that he has "dozens of others" ready to abandon Mr. Dion. "I believe there's an Ignatieff-mania in Quebec," he said."

Mania...mania...that rings a bell ...gosh, wait a minute, I almost had it.....naw, it's gone.

Link

Anyone seen Vive le Canada?

As in Long Live Canada, the site dedicated to protecting Canadian sovereignty and democracy in the era of corporate globalization, and source of the red and white No Deep Integration ribbon which has just disappeared off my side bar and been replaced by a little red x.
They've disappeared for a day before but they've never taken their little ribbons with them before.
Cliff, Ross K: Yours are missing too.

Anyone?
I have to go to work now and I can't show up wearing this ridiculous little tin foil hat.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Iggy : Insert head here


Time for Iggy to go Canada goose-hunting and get photographed with someone else carrying out his kill for him. Anything to put him out of our misery.
Following Iggy's fierce lobbying on behalf of continuing the war in Afghanistan, Harper crossed the floor to shake his hand. Now that Harper has propped up Iggy's stand on Quebec/Quebecois as a nation, will Iggy cross the floor to shake Harper's hand?
Good going, fellahs. Yes, I know you said Quebecois nation and not Quebec state but what are the separatists going to hear? Am really looking forward to also hearing from the Alberta Nation, the Atlantica Nation, the Family Nation....hell, Alien Nation and Fast Food Nation too. IndIggNation. Damnation.

UPDATE : Good round-up of reactions at My Blahg

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ceasefire petition


Petition for a diplomatic solution led by the international community and the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
Ceasefire is looking for 100,000 signatures worldwide in the next 48 hours.
I think we can do better than that. Go.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I wandered lonely as a ...


Glassmarcus sent along a link to Strange Clouds, a collection of strange and beautiful cloud photographs.
Wordsworth originally wrote "I wandered lonely as a cow", but his sister, as sisters are wont to do, told him that just sounded dumb. No, really.

Monday, November 20, 2006

"Butterfly effect" diplomacy

Earlier today :
Peter MacKay said Canada received assurances that China won't execute Chinese Canadian Huseyin Celil, who's being held on suspicion of terrorism.
"We've already received a guarantee that (China) would not pursue the death penalty,'' the minister said outside the House of Commons.
Mackay added that the guarantee was evidence Canada was making headway with the Chinese government.
"So already we've made incremental progress in protecting this individual."

Later today :
However, a spokesman for MacKay later said Canada never received a direct assurance from China, but that the minister meant Beijing would live up to a commitment it made to Uzbekistan when it asked that Celil be sent to China.
"Canada considered China's assurance in September to the Uzbecks to be an international obligation and expects it to keep its obligations,'' said Dan Dugas.
"China assured Uzbekistan when it asked for him to be turned over that it would not execute him."

Sorry, when did Uzbekistan turn Celil over to China? Last May was it?
Some of MacKay's "incrementals" seem to be missing here.
Like how Harper's current 15 minutes of human rights fame is based on an agreement made between two other countries six months ago.
Link

To boldly blow where no man....


Steve auditions for the part of expendable inter-galactic plenipotentiary plot-device who will not be returning after the first commercial.
Red alert, shields on maximum, kindly extinguish all cigarettes and return your government to an upright position. Engage!

Photo : Reuters

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Oiling the denial machine

CBC's Fifth Estate will be repeating "The Denial Machine" tonight, a great doc exposing how Exxon funds and fuels global warming denying scientists, some of whom also performed the same services for Big Tobacco.

GOP spindoctor and bullshit artist Frank Luntz, yes that Frank Luntz, orchestrated the framing of the denial message down south :

"Instead of using the term "global warming," substitute "climate change" because while global warming has catastrophic communications attached to it, climate change sounds a more controllable and less emotional challenge."

Then he came up here in May and performed his "Massaging the Conservative Message for Voters" show for our own newly annointed Cons. Were you there, Rona? Coz Frank's message pretty well sums up your whole policy.
I mention this because "The Denial Machine" ends with Frank telling us that he now believes it possible that global warming is an immanent catastrophy.

Frank is a bullshit artist so he can say whatever he likes.
What's your excuse, Rona?

If you prefer, you can watch it online here.

Steve and Sandra and MiniTrue


Globe&Mail :
"Sandra Buckler, the communications director for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has asked that staff working for Conservative cabinet ministers secretly provide her with assessments of their bosses' communications skills."

Friday, November 17, 2006

Rights and wrongs

United Nations Vote on Right To Food - Sept. 16, 2006
Noting that every five seconds, a child under the age of five dies from hunger or hunger-related diseases somewhere in the world and the world already has the capacity to feed twice its current population, the resolution called for a response to food crises across Africa.

In favour - 175 countries
Against - The United States.

The U.S. representative explained that he had difficulty with the concept of food as a right.

So. No problem figuring out the right to engage in colonialist wars, or the right to extra-judicial executions, or the right to torture, or the right to spy on your citizens, or the right to rape the environment, or the right to meddle in elections of other countries or stop a recount in a US election, or the right to arrest and detain people without trial, or the right to erode freedom of the press, or the right to deal arms to nations with seriously fucked human rights records, or the right to abandon your troops to incompetent leadership, or the right to support corporate interests over those of the people, or the right to undermine those small and important legal victories which form the core of what it pleases us to call civilization.

But the right to food? That's a problem for you.

Oh yeah. And Canada abstained from recognizing the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, making this the first time Canada has not supported the resolution.
The vote :
In favour : 162 nations
Against : 4 - Israel, US, Micronesia, Palau. (formerly known as "the coalition of the willing")
Abstaining : 4 - Canada, Australia, Georgia, Haiti.

U.N. link

Correction : That would be November 16, 2006. Duh.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Yard sale


This map tells you everything you need to know about why Harper is having the word "innovation" expunged from Industry Canada.
Click here for an enlarged interactive version of it.
Of the top 300 Research and Development companies in the world, Canada shows two for a total of $2.18bn last year. And the second one, ATI, was just sold off to a foreign investor so now we're down to one at $1.86bn.
Instead of investing in innovation, we're having a yard sale.

From The Star :
"In the past two years, more than a dozen of Canada's largest corporations, with total assets of more than $57 billion, have been swallowed by foreign predators. And the response has been ... well, there really hasn't been a response."

In the 70's, Trudeau responded to public outrage over the selling off of Canadian companies by creating the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRA) and two Crown corporations — Petro-Canada and the Canada Development Corp. — to repatriate foreign-owned industry.

Today we have NAFTA, and the ubiquitous Wendy Dobson, former CEO of C.D.Howe, one of the authors of the original deep integration Task Force on the Future of North America and an attendee at the recent secret Banff conference, saying :

"We shouldn't be concerned about who owns the corporations."

Evidently it is of no concern to her that last year Hudson's Bay Co., Falconbridge, Molson's, Fairmont Hotels, and Sleeman Breweries all became branch plants of absentee landlords.

Peter C. Newman is concerned : "We're becoming a kind of Manchuria, supplying raw materials to the more mature world."

Yard sale.
Investment Canada, the successor to Trudeau's FIFA, has a mandate to ensure that these deals have a "net benefit to Canada". Time for them to get out there on the lawn and start hauling our stuff back inside.

UPDATE : Great piece from Galloping Dave on how Harper is banning words like innovation to reframe the message.
Broken link to The Star fixed.

An important safety announcement

*Ding, dong* "Welcome aboard BC Ferries. This is an important safety announcement. Please take a moment to review the following safety procedures".

Um, ok.
What important safety procedures do you follow, BC Ferries, when one of your ships sinks?
Say, the "Queen of the North".

March 22 log of the corporate operations center :

I) Arrange for the first plane to fly in 1)BC Ferries top lawyer, 2) the manager of security, and 3)a TV cameraman

II) Arrange for a second plane to fly in 4)the president of BC Ferries and 5)the premier of BC who privatized BC Ferries.

III) The next afternoon, arrange to fly in - in 6th spot - the BC Ferries safety inspector whose job it is to investigate the sinking.

When the safety inspector wants to interview the crew members, explain to him that the lawyers will be doing that.
When, realizing that he is merely decorative and not going to be allowed to do his job, the safety inspector quits, trash him in the press.

"This has been a BC Ferries public safety announcement. Thank you for sailing with BC Ferries.
We hope to see you again soon."

Link.
Note : BC Ferries is Ross K's beat. I'm sure he'll be back any time now to post something that involves, you know, actual investigative journalism.

Monday, November 13, 2006

And now, a word from our sponsor...


No, not - as one might naturally assume -Steve's personal website.
This is the Government of Canada website.
With what appears to be an ad for a truck right under "Getting things done for all of us"TM.

The rest of the page, which you can see here, is actually about not getting things done because of the "unelected senate" and the opposition - "why are you opposing accountability and tough measures against crime?”

But what is that cobwebby looking white stuff in the background?
There it is again in the blue sidebar.


Is there a microbiologist in the house?
Because either that's a repeating picture of a maple leaf turned face down and spray-painted Tory blue, or some sort of blue pondscum has invaded the Government of Canada website.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Steve and Sandra get things done


The ubiquitous slogan : "Getting things done for all of us"
Shorter : "Getting things for us" and "Things done for U.S."

Steve's communications director Sandra Buckler fired off several rounds of bucklershot yesterday not explaining why London North Centre Con candidate Dianne Haskett is not permitted to speak to the media [Ed. note - Gays! Guns! GOP! God!] as part of her campaign.

Sandra finished with a new variation on the theme :
"Vote for a candidate that will be a part of a government that gets things done for families and taxpayers."

Whoa, Sandra. Waaay too long, girl.
Try these instead : "Vote for Families" and "Things for Taxpayers".

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The man that time forgot

Atlantica, Cascadia, and presumably also Pointsinbetweenica* will soon be getting a boost as a replacement for Canada, thanks to the appointment of right wing free marketeer Brian Lee Crowley to a position as senior policy adviser to the federal Finance Department.

Crowley is the founding president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, created to promote Atlantica as the economic union of the Atlantic provinces with the New England states. He's also a big fan of NASCO, the ten lane corridor almost a quarter of a mile wide with gas, oil, electricity, and water pipelines running up either side, which is being proposed to link Mexico, with her non-union truck drivers, directly to Winnipeg.
The Canada/US border, according to Crowley, is merely an impediment to "continental integration" :

"The east-west axis for development of North America is being supplemented by a drive to stitch back together the old north-south trade routes that had flourished across the continent before 1867."

Ah yes, the goode olde dayes.
Other concepts from before 1867 that win Crowley's approval are lack of pay equity for women, lack of regional development funding, lack of EI and welfare, and lack of government interference in the glorious free market.

He should fit right in.

*Pointsinbetweenica : TM - Havril

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

We'll always have Firewall

From NaPo :
"A new poll suggests Alberta is the only remaining bastion of federal Conservative party support, with the leaderless Liberals leading in every other region of the country.
Tory support in Alberta remains sky high around 65 per cent, he [Anderson from Decima] said. But the Liberals lead the Tories by an average of three percentage points in the rest of Canada, including positive margins in every region, including British Columbia."

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Zero tolerance

The Sun : Harper vows to protect minority religions groups
Tories eye fund to shield schools, places of worship against terror, hate crimes


"The money would help groups train staff, construct new fences and install security cameras."
"After 13 years of Liberal inaction, Canada's new government is committed to ensuring the safety and security of all Canadians," [Stockwell] Day spokeswoman Melisa Leclerc said in her statement.
[Ed. note : Yawn]
"This government has zero tolerance for any hate crimes ... "

Really? You mean zero tolerance for this sort of thing?
"...there is acknowledged uncertainty about the rights of individuals ... to take out advertisements that quote scripture demanding that homosexuals be put to death... "

I'll bet the Buddhists and Taoists are relieved to be finally getting some of this much needed protection.
They probably don't qualify though. They aren't funding and cheering on imperialistic wars in other countries, or calling for their sky monster to rain down death on non-believers, or lobbying for the right to take out ads demanding some people to be put to death.
In fact, they don't seem to be in any need of guards and fences and security cameras.
Funny thing, that.

LOL Update : I previously missed this post from The Upper Canadian, in which he links to a story (albeit American) on the Christian alternative to a Hallowe'en haunted house. The Godly House of Horrors includes a young girl getting an abortion of course, plus
"a pedophile trolling the Internet for a young victim, a meditating Buddhist, and two mincing young men wearing body glitter who were supposed to be homosexuals."
A meditating Buddhist?
You've got room in your pantheon of people-going-to-hell Godly House of Horrors for a meditating Buddhist?
That must have been a pretty dull exhibit.
Probably next year it will be replaced with something more exciting - say, an evangelical leader and a gay prostitute getting it on and doing meth in a hotel room.

Bottom feeders

So why doesn't Canada and her Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn support the UN moratorium on dragging the ocean floor for fish in international waters?

Here's a clue :
"Bottom trawls represented 28 per cent of the total landed value of fisheries in eastern Canada, about $500 million, in 2001."

Only 40% of the Eastern Canadian sea floor has not been subjected to bottom trawling, while other areas are dragged repeatedly.

CTV : "While bottom trawling occurs largely unregulated in international waters, internal documents show that federal fisheries officials are concerned that a high seas moratorium could make its way into Canadian jurisdiction.
"While Canadian fishers engage in almost no bottom trawling on the high seas, bottom trawling is regularly practised within Canada's (exclusive economic zone) and there is significant concern domestically that any international action would be applied in Canadian waters,'' say internal briefing documents obtained by The Canadian Press using access to information legislation." Dec. 29, 2005

Yesterday Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn, who although on record as not liking bottom trawling, says "Canada is on the right track".

The Fisheries Council of Canada, which represents fish processors and marketers, said it supports Hearn's "responsible, pragmatic and effective" approach to bottom trawling.

A research report released yesterday stated that 30 per cent of commercially fished species have already collapsed due to overfishing and predicts the total collapse of world wide fish stocks by 2048.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

2050 is the new 1984

2050AD is our new scary date, the date by which :

1) all current fish and seafood stocks will disappear unless immediate steps are taken to halt overfishing.

2) the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free in summer.

3) Rona pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero, happily coinciding with -

4) fossil fuels in Alberta ceasing to be commercially viable.

5) "Newspeak" replaces all other language in Orwell's appendices to "1984".

Marvelous work on #5, Rona, - you're way ahead of schedule there - bringing a work of fiction to life.
Now about numbers 1 through 4...

Oops : #3 Make that "zero increase"

Steve and Sandra send regrets


Globe&Mail : "Stephen Harper has surprised and annoyed European Union leaders by cancelling a planned Canada-EU summit, where he was going to be criticized for abandoning this country's commitment to the Kyoto Protocol on global warming."

Friday, November 03, 2006

Happy birthday, kiddo


Beloved brother, wonderful human being, and a snappy dresser to boot.
Thinks he's Hobbes; he's always been Calvin.
With love.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dreaming of a White P Christmas

Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay downplayed the experience of the 15,000 Canadians evacuated from Lebanon this summer, comparing it to "the same kind of chaos at a shopping mall at Christmas near closing time."

Yeah. Standing in line at the check-out at 5 to 9 with your kids and your arms loaded down with stuff, thinking, "Man, these white phosphorus bombs really suck."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Spy spiel

Jim Judd, Director of CSIS, said it had done nothing wrong by accepting as genuine the confession of a Canadian man who was secretly and illegally bundled off to a prison in Syria where he was held for a year.

"It does not necessarily follow that because a country has a poor human rights record that any information received from it was the product of torture," Judd told Parliament's public safety committee on Tuesday.
"The information could have emerged from a communications intercept or been provided voluntarily," he said.

Possibly tea and biscuits were involved, he did not add, or the offer of a Kamloops/Damascus time-sharing opportunity. Maybe Arar had a couple of drinks and was trying to impress a girl.
Why, the possibilities of how information could be obtained as a result of extraordinary rendition are practically too numerous to mention.

Being Canadian, CSIS was probably too polite to ask, and rather than risk any further embarrassment, they just didn't want him back.

Link

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"God is my Spin Doctor"

is the name of a play about Diane Haskett, the controversial former mayor of London, Ontario who was fined $10,000 for refusing to declare Gay Pride Week. She did participate in the Jesus March though.

Now she's the controversial Con candidate for London/North running against the Greens' Elisabeth May. Haskett was parachuted back into Canada last week from her six year stint as a communications consultant for US Republican Elizabeth Dole.
Cerberus noted how all her scheduled media interviews were immediately cancelled by the Cons.
My Blahg links to Garth Turner, who published an internal Con memo soliciting campaign help for Haskett from Parliament Hill staffers, who we do not pay to ply partisan politics. Rob Edger has even more links.

But it was this bit in the Sun that caught my eye :
"Dianne Haskett, the former mayor of London, Ont., was a board member of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, a Washington-based, interfaith organization" which seeks to "elevate the consideration of religious factors in foreign policy" by attaching American religious leaders to embassies in the Arab world, Asia, Africa and Latin America."

What an absolutely capital idea. I imagine there are still a few people left in some of those countries who have yet to be convinced that the West's bombing the shit out of them and/or hoovering up their resources is not some kind of nutbar religious jihad on our part. Attaching evangelists to foreign embassies ought to clear that right up.

The Spin Doctor is certainly going to have His Hands full on Nov 27.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Pumpkin Gospel


Ross at The Gazetteer points out that the annual crapfest about the so-conned War on Christmas is already under way.
Is it just me or does the War on the War on Christmas start a little earlier each year? Used to be it didn't officially get underway until right after the annual War on Hallowe'en was over.

Say, are they still freaked out about pumpkins?

"How is the stuff we pulled out of the pumpkin like sin in our heart? (They’re both yucky; sin is inside us; it’s sticky and smelly.)
Draw a happy face on the pumpkin, then use the sharp knife to carve it out. When you are finished, read aloud 2 Corinthians 5:17 and/or Ephesians 2:10. "

Yup. Guess so.

Here at Creekside, we note that many churches are failing to festoon their windows with the traditional witches, bats, and skeletons of the Hallowe'en season. Black cats are nowhere to be seen. This scandalous omission strikes at the very heart of our right to impose ourselves on other people's good manners. Such slights must not be tolerated in a free society.

But it will take money. Lots and lots of money.
Smooth operators are standing by. The first 100 lucky donors will receive a free copy of our Defense of Irreligion Act, lovingly inscribed using a stick dipped in your choice of either fake blood or chocolate. Plus a "Black is the new black" bumper sticker.

So act now. And remember - it's not enough for just you to dress up like a slut and stuff yourself with candy. No, everyone else must do it too.

This public service announcement paid for by grants from Focus on the Fetish and the Institute for Marzipan and Familiars.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Dog bites man

The National Post enthusiastically humps Peter MacKay's leg :

"Even if MacKay said what he's accused of, so what?
Dogs are celebrated animals in our society.
Indeed, Canada was settled in part by British WASPs-of-the-manor, whose affection for their dogs often rivalled (or surpassed) that shown to their wives.
Is it any wonder that our society's most iconic painting is that of dogs playing poker .....?"

"British WASPs-of-the-manor" who consider "Dogs Playing Poker" to be "iconic".
The very definition of the NaPo target audience.

During Heckling Period in the House on Wednesday, MacKay traded in his previous jackass status for that of bald-faced liar, denying that he had said anything or made any gesture whatsoever that everyone has been watching on the internet all week.

Tomorrow NaPo will leap on this denial and lovingly toss it around like a throw toy, thereby inadvertantly burying MacKay in contempt of the House. Good boy, NaPo, go fetch!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Getting things done

"Way of the metal fist" from Ottawonk

~ a gnu-gov memo from a blunt metal object

You so totally already have her

The Conservative Reform Alliance Party (or C.R.A.P.) trotted out MP Helena Guergis today to vouch for Peter MacKay's integrity and respect for women.

From the Globe&Mail :
"Ontario Tory MP Helena Guergis was set to issue a press release yesterday morning reaffirming her support for the anti-floor crossing legislation. However, Mr. Harper made her parliamentary secretary to Mr. Emerson yesterday afternoon, and the press release was not issued." Feb 8, 2006

Oh, sorry - wrong press release.
Ah, here we go :

From the Toronto Star :
"She [Helena Guergis] defended MacKay as "a gentleman, in every sense of the word (who) has always treated me with the utmost respect."

Unlike, say, your party.

Oh, and Globe&Mail? You already have her.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Let's take just a moment to review shop safety

Aug 29 : Canadian Defense Minister Gordon O'Connor visits Afghanistan.

Sept 22 : A senate committee investigating, among other things, "questions over reconstruction spending" in Afghanistan is denied entry into the country by Chief of the Defence Rick Hillier on the grounds it is too dangerous :
"For reasons of personal safety, the committee would no longer be able to travel to Kandahar."
My Blahg covered the subsequent deliberate trashing of the senators in the press.

Oct 23 : Canadian Minister of International Co-operation Josee Verner arrived in Kandahar today before flying to the capital Kabul, where she announced money for two new projects. $14.5 million for a girls' education project, plus $10 million for other ongoing reconstruction projects.

Safe, not safe, then safe again. Got it.

UPDATE : A better post on this from Accidental Deliberations .

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Five things Peter MacKay has done for feminism

1) Highlighted why the gnu-ly expunged "equality" mandate of Status of Women Canada should be restored.

2) Reminded us that when a woman is vilified on the basis of her sex, the attack will be construed in much of the press as being somehow her own fault.

3) Provided us with the sight of opportunistic moral grandstanding from the party which failed to provide something as basic as a daycare plan for women when it was in power.

4) Reminded us that, while attacks on women and feminism are primarily the stock in trade of bottomfeeders ,

5) conflating sexual slurs with feminism is not solely the perogative of the right.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The traditional nine month anniversary gift : Zoloft

Does this poll make my ass look big?
Feb 9, 2006 SES Poll :
:

Yup, you could park a truck in the shade of that butt.
Oct 15, 2006 Strategic Poll :


Well isn't this all very plus ca change?
Nine months later and the leaderless Libs and the Cons are again at a draw.
Perhaps we could quit running those editorials asking whether "Stephen Harper's honeymoon with Canadian voters is over" now.
I mean - what kind of honeymoon clocks in with a 32% approval rating?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The URL According to Garth

Garth Turner, outspoken maverick Conservative MP with a blog on which he is frequently critical of "Hats and Horses" Reform/Alliance positions, has been kicked out of the Ontario Conservative caucus. He will sit out the remainder of this term as an independent. His chair has already been moved to the other side of the House.

"Why now?" he asks in an elegant 3 minute farewell on his blog.

Good question.

Garth Turner's blog Sept 13 :
"This was the first time I met Charles McVety in person, and seriously hope it will be the last. Amen."

Garth Turner's blog Sept 17 : [bold : mine]
"I came home to an email blast from the man who would save us from ourselves, Charles McVety. He's now on a rant about some pro-homosexual manual allegedly published with taxpayer dollars by some deviants in Toronto and aimed at children. Fine. The world is full of ugliness, and he's welcome to wallow in it.
"But what was interesting was McVety's email distribution list, which happens to look a lot like our local internal Conservative Party membership, according to the response that has come flooding in to me this morning. There is only one place he could have plugged into that, and it reminds me I may yet be at war with my own party establishment. Hmmm."

Globe&Mail Sept 18 :
"McVety noted that large numbers of Conservative supporters actively campaigned to get out the vote in the last election for Tory MPs who oppose gay marriage, which he said contributed to a higher voter turnout and a Conservative victory.
"If they abandon those voters, they won't come out. And if there is not a high voter turnout, there will be no majority [Conservative] government," he said."

CTV : "The PMO has made it clear Turner's suspension was not Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision, and he was just as surprised as anyone else."

Note to Steve : No one else was all that "surprised".
We saw this one coming.

One other consideration on "Why now?" :

CTV : "the final straw for many Tories was [Garth Turner] using the blog to say kind things about Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. The Conservatives' Clean Air Act is to be tabled on Thursday."

THURSDAY UPDATE : From Montreal Simon :
"So that's it. Harper has been throwing a lot of bones recently at the wingnut base of his party. He threw them another chance to kill gay marriage. He threw them the Court Challenges Program. And the Status of Women cuts. He dangled the promise of a so-called Defence of Religions Act over them like a big bloody bone. He wanted to get rid of that thorn in his side. And get political capital in return. So today he threw them Garth."

AFTERTHOUGHT : If Garth crossed the floor to the Greens now, it would give them a voice in the House.
I know he was very critical of Emerson's crossing, but Emerson was headhunted, not ejected.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Steve and Sandra and the faith-based thing


Amid stories of the no longer secret Republican derision of fundies down south, comes this quote from Harper in his Reform days, as reprinted in The Star:

"In the United States, this (social conservative) element of the electorate has been critical in the development of the Republican coalition. It provides workers and funds disproportionate to its size as a voting bloc."

Sunday, October 15, 2006

My Pet Zombie


President Harper, who recently made a 28 million dollar cut to literacy programs, is seen here reading to schoolchildren from the book "The Zombie Zone".
There's a cheap shot in here somewhere -- I just can't quite put my finger on it...

Link

No man is a peninsula

"Peter MacKay, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, might want to bone up on his geography. In remarks to CTV about the nuclear threat from North Korea, he said:
"I think it will take a great deal of focus around the island."

Link

Friday, October 13, 2006

Canadian Forces recruitment poster?


No, not the guns, fool. The foliage!
Click to inhale.
Lifted from the Canadian National Defense site.

UPDATE from Raw Story
"the crew of at least one armored car had camouflaged their vehicle with marijuana."
Heh.

Vote McCorp for a better world!

To be eligible to vote in a BC local election, you have to be a citizen, you have to be 18 or more, and you have to have lived in BC for 6 months and your district for 30 days.
Did I leave anything out?
Oh yeah - you also have to be a person.

Some people aren't so keen on that last qualification and they want to change it :

"WHEREAS corporations contribute to the operation of local government but have no representation.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Union of BC Municipalities request that the Provincial Government review local government election legislation and amend it accordingly to permit corporations the right to a vote in local government elections."
Submitted by Lumby

Ha! Good old Lumby, eh? This year's 'useful idiot' municipality.

Resolution B76, as it is called, will be debated at the Union of BC Municipalities convention Oct 23 - 27 in Victoria, and will presumably be defeated like it always has been before.

As if we don't already have enough trouble with the Council of Chief Executives writing Canada's energy and foreign policies.

But I'm most curious about the proposed logistics here.
Would corporations be required to provide documentation that they are 18 years or older and Canadian?
Because currently, our human U.S. relatives up here on holiday don't get to vote.
And if they break the law or act like social psychopaths while they're here, they get deported.

Meanwhile, the appliances in my kitchen are both Canadian and well over 18. Just sayin'.

Link from Peace Earth & Justice News

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Enter At Own Risk


"You may be subject to arbitrary detention or arrest and torture"

One person's actions against the lawlessness of the U.S. government.
Performed at the Peace Arch border crossing on Thanksgiving
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoJ_ua7vTjs

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Pray For Clean Air Act


Canada's Gnu Government :
Stephen Harper today announced that the government will introduce a Made in Washington Clean Air Act, which will set in motion the country's first comprehensive and integrated approach to tackle air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions...will spend a year consulting extensively with industry first...no targets yet...no details as yet....will make an announcement about another announcement later on in the week perhaps....

[Gnu official statement and logo - both edited for clarity]

Monday, October 09, 2006

Giving thanks for love and guts

Thanks to Ross at The Gazetteer for a wonderful link to the one-man Free Hugs campaign. For two and a half years, Juan Mann has been holding up a sign in Sydney Australia that says "Free Hugs". And freely giving them. When advised by Sydney council that he would have to post a $25 million public liability insurance bond to be allowed to continue, he gathered 10,000 signatures of support and Sydney council backed down.
So - 10,000 signatures trumps $25 million then.
The YouTube counter shows over 2 million hits so far, with spin-off Free Hugs campaigns in Tel Aviv, Taiwan, Toronto ... All from a one-man campaign.

We all have the power - we just have to use it.

Sven certainly did when he made this bold one-man protest at the Peace Arch : Enter at Own Risk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoJ_ua7vTjs

So do the more than 1600 Israeli Refuseniks, soldiers who selectively object to military operations on the West Bank and Gaza.
"The time I spent in jail was the most important time I served for my country, for my friends in my unit, for my family, for the security of Israel." - Major Chen Alon.

Tomorrow and Thursday, "Raised To Be Heroes" by islander Jack Silberman with cinematography by Rudi Kovanic is showing in Vancouver as part of the Vancouver Film Festival.

Thanks to Silvaine Zimmerman, International Green Party Rep, for the heads up.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Steve and Sandra - NAU you see it, NAU you don't


NDP Trade Critic Peter Julian has raised the question of the secret conference at the Banff Springs Hotel organized by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. He will be making access to information requests.
Good for him, but he will be up against these guys.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Thank you, Stephen Harper

Canada will officially protest the U.S. treatment of Arar and Canadian officials.

"What I would like to see is obviously the United States government come clean with its version of events, to acknowledge … the deficiencies and inappropriate conduct that occurred in this case, particularly vis-a-vis its relationship with the Canadian government," Harper said.
Canada wants to hear that "these kinds of incidents will not be repeated in the future."

Thank you, sir.

Link

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Federal Bureau of Integration

FBI agents are carrying out investigations in Canada without the approval of the Canadian government.
Yeah, I know - quel surprise.

But there's an interesting bit of vid up on CBC about it here : Video - Evan Dyer.
I know you hate the clicky/linky thing so here's the gist of it.

RCMP Commissioner Zaccardelli assured Canadians that no effort would be spared to avoid a repetition of the Arar debacle, and he has since put in place procedures that centralize and properly vet "paper documentation" going to U.S. authorities.
However Evan Dyer reports that this means doodly because members of the FBI are in fact physically present at those very meetings of the Canadian Integrated National Security & Enforcement Teams where ongoing cases are discussed. Ongoing, as in unproven.
INSET handled the intel on Arar and the Toronto 17.

Dyer further points out that this is particularly troubling given the recent passage of the U.S. Military Commissions Bill, which allows the U.S. to prosecute foreigners, including Canadians, on hearsay evidence.
I'm guessing despite Zac's concern about vetting "paper documentation", the FBI will probably manage to take its own notes at those meetings.
"When asked about the report during question period, Day said Canadian security forces work with Canada's allies, including the U.S, and have agreements in terms of information sharing."
Shorter Day : It's ok if the FBI doesn't ask our permission first because we already said they don't have to.
Shorter me : Isn't this where we came in? Stockwell Day has Stockholm Syndrome.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Senate endorses leaky umbrella



A senate defence committee report released Thursday says Canada should sign on to the U.S. ballistic missile defence program.
Because signing on to a program that can't even pass its own tests on a good day under ideal conditions in that sink hole of escalating pre-emptive militarization and weaponization of space that is the flagship of U.S. diplomacy just seems like the right thing to do.

Here's a better test of Canadian security for you - How many Canadian students travelling abroad sport a US flag on their backpacks?

To be fair, the Senate Defence Committee also advises doubling the amount of money we assign to foreign aid :
"The likelihood of reducing world turmoil through military responses is a mug's game. Force won't work on its own."

Yeah, well, they got the first sentence right.

Link. Much better coverage of this at No BMD, eh?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Defense of Religions Act

Yeah, you go for it, Steve ...

From the Globe&Mail :
"...there is acknowledged uncertainty about the rights of individuals to publicly criticize homosexual behaviour, to take out advertisements that quote scripture demanding that homosexuals be put to death..."

Why yes, there is an "acknowledged uncertainty" there, isn't there, Steve?
That thin delicate ill-defined line separating religion and death threats.
That illusive boundary between belief and hate speech.
Clearly the whole country, indeed all of humanity, will greatly benefit if you can finally clear that one up for us.

UPDATE : Although the G&B are standing by their story :
"Justice Minister Vic Toews confirmed the government plan to The Globe Tuesday but refused to discuss specifics",
today finds Steve backing away from this odious little trial balloon, saying he hasn't seen the bill and referring to it as "speculation".

No matter. The important thing is that all the right wing lobby groups with "Family" or "Marriage" or "Values" in their titles now have a launching platform from which to propel their talking points into the national press.

"Institute for Canadian Values" executive director Joseph Benami gives it his approval :
"There are strong non-theological arguments on both sides of this"

and "Institute of Marriage and Family Canada" executive director Dave Quist says :
"It's important to recognize the church has a right to protect its freedom of religion. I think we're at a time in society where we want things spelled out specifically."

Allow me to help out with the spelling here: B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T !

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

CSIS didn't want Arar returned to Canada

From The Hill Times (bold-mine) :

"In May and June 2003, the Canadian government intended to send a letter to Syria indicating that it spoke with "one voice"–seeking the powerful support CSIS and the RCMP–to call for Mr. Arar's release. But according to Justice O'Connor's report, CSIS "was uncomfortable" with a statement in the letter that there was "no evidence" that Mr. Arar had links to al-Qaeda. The agency argued "very strongly" against a letter that it saw as sending the wrong message to U.S. authorities. "CSIS wanted to make it clear to the Solicitor General that there was 'political jeopardy' in signing a joint letter and that bringing Mr. Arar back to Canada was going to be a political 'hot potato' with American authorities," Justice O'Connor wrote in the report, which cleared Mr. Arar

Justice O'Connor also revealed in his report that CSIS, "for reasons of its own, preferred that Mr. Arar not return to Canada." While DFAIT [Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade] drafted its letter to argue for Mr. Arar's release in June 2003, Jack Hooper, assistant director of operations for CSIS, called an assistant deputy minister at DFAIT to explain why it opposed the return of Mr. Arar. CSIS feared that if Mr. Arar returned with a public story of torture it could "impair" deportations from Canada to Syria, according to the report."

Bastards.

"It remains unclear why the RCMP and CSIS together resisted–as Justice O'Connor documents–the attempt by the minister of foreign affairs to send a letter to Syria saying that there was "no evidence" that Mr. Arar was linked to al-Qaeda."

Go read it. There's a lot more there and a lot more yet to come out regarding this.

For instance, Stockwell Day has stated there will not be a full-fledged public inquiry.
"He also denied the Tories backed away from another of the judge's recommendations - filing a formal diplomatic protest with the United States over Arar's treatment - for fear of angering the Bush administration in Washington.
Day has sent a letter to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff saying Arar's name has been removed from terrorist watch lists north of the border, and urging the U.S. to delete him from its lists as well."

That's it? That's fucking it? A letter about a no-fly list?
The US kidnaps a Canadian citizen, albeit with lots of help from the people whose job it is to protect Canada and Canadian citizens, and the best Stockboy can manage in the way of protest is a letter about the no-fly list?

Well, no, that's not quite it, actually. There's also this :

"Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay has also discussed the case with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but has stopped short of an official protest."

It seems Sockboy and MacKay, like CSIS, are also "uncomfortable" about "sending the wrong message to the U.S authorities" about a "political hot potato".

UPDATE Oct 6, 2006 : Thank you, Stephen Harper

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Steve and Sandra and the lighter side of torture


US Congress, with the help of 12 Democrats, has suspended the right of habeas corpus. Bush is now officially in the business of disappearing people without trial, and authorizing interrogation methods the UN considers illegal. In addition, immunity from prosecution is now retroactively granted to the perpetrators of all previous abuses.

In a story in the Toronto Star regarding Canada's ongoing complicity in the Arar case, there is this tragic little sidebar, with a quote from a State Department official regarding their decision to send Arar to Syria.
It reads in part :

"there were assurances that [Arar's] treatment would meet the standards of the Geneva Conventions," he told a briefing. "We had to have a reasonable expectation that he was not going to be tortured or maltreated. We were able to assure ourselves of that."

Not any more.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Creeping things...


1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Well, so much for the biblical position on the environment.

But speaking of creeping things, Public Eye Online reports that Darrel Reid, former President of "Focus on the Family" and former Chief of Staff for the Reform Party, has just been named Rona Ambrose' Chief of Staff. Although his anti-SSM, anti-abortion, anti-evolution, anti-stem cell research opinions were deemed too fuckwitted to get him elected to office in Richmond in the last election, there is evidently a home for them in the Ministry of the Environment.

Says Dr Reid : "I think every Christian's under an obligation to change laws to reflect biblical values."

Sure. Whatever.
I think we can all guess what God's position on the sacredness of the Alberta oil sands is going to be. And it seems unlikely that God's love for the little sparrow will be extended to the 17 remaining spotted owls in BC any time soon.
But this is just a patronage position for Dr Reid, right?
It's not exactly the inauguration of the Ministry of the Environment - End Times Division.

In an offline email, Corinne from YaYaCanada is not so sure and she provides this link to Marci McDonald's article in The Walrus Magazine - Stephen Harper and The Theo-Cons.

Picture courtesy of The Brick Testament.

2010 mascot

The Vancouver Olympic Committee is calling on all Canadians to go to the 2010 website before Nov. 1 to submit a proposal for what the 2010 mascot should be.
Here's my entry.
Sadly, this means there's no point in any of you other guys even trying now.

Link

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Steve and Sandra play to their base

Steve : Whoa! What, no cartoon this time?
Sandra : We seem to be the victims of a program funding cut here, sir.

Steve : Hey, how are our own cuts playing to the base?
Sandra : Excellent, sir. They clearly demonstrate we don't like research or drugs or uppity women or gays or aboriginals. But that isn't even the best part....

Sandra : No, the best part is how they're reacting to the big cheque moment. They think you invented it, sir. Many of them don't realize that the $13 billion surplus was accrued under the Libs or that it must be applied to the debt every year by law or that the Libs paid down $82 billion in the last decade alone.

Steve : Yeah, well, it's all about optics. Speaking of which...Sandra, what are you wearing?
Sandra : Why, sir....this is rather unexpected...my red power jacket. Why?

Steve : Because it's Wednesday, Sandra. Wearing red on Wednesdays is not supporting the troops.
Sandra : Sorry, sir. I was wearing red in my spare time. Won't happen again, sir.

Memorize this quote

because we're probably going to be needing it again pretty soon.

"I just don't think it made sense for the government to subsidize lawyers to challenge the government's own laws in court," Treasury Board president John Baird said."

This is John "Workfare" Baird's justification for cutting funding to the Court Challenges Program, which funded litigation in the name of equal rights for those who could not otherwise afford it.
A Charter of Rights that cannot be accessed by everyone is not exactly a Charter of Rights then, is it, John?

The Court Challenges Program is on the same chopping block as funding for adult literacy, museums, future admin costs at Status of Women, medical marijuana research - you can read the whole sorry list for yourself at the Treasury Board of Canada website.

And about that quote : How long do you think it will be before Canada's Gnu Government will have occasion to "subsidize lawyers to challenge the government's own laws in court" ?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

McVety to Harper : Pwned!

"The bible interprets itself" said blowhard buffoon Charles McVety, president of the Canada Family Action Coalition, to howls of derision from the audience on CBC's "The Big Picture" tonight.

Other recent McVety quotes are not so easily laughed off.

Globe&Mail :
"McVety noted that large numbers of Conservative supporters actively campaigned to get out the vote in the last election for Tory MPs who oppose gay marriage, which he said contributed to a higher voter turnout and a Conservative victory.
"If they abandon those voters, they won't come out. And if there is not a high voter turnout, there will be no majority [Conservative] government," he said."

Shorter McVety : The Cons only need 4 out of 10 voters to attain a majority government in Canada. Right now they have 3 1/2.

So how is McVety gonna own Steve?

The Hill Times :
A "15-point lobbying campaign" costing "tens of thousands of dollars" which includes "prayer rallies in front of Member of Parliament [constituency] offices across the country" to be launched Sept 18.

Oh, lovely.
Just how many of those MPs do you think will be tough enough to stand up to McVety's flying monkeys in the media spotlight? Regardless of how they regard him in private, some of them might just be willing to cave rather than risk being painted as "godless" in an election. Just a few. Say, 10 or 15.

And suddenly we're looking at a Con majority owned by a few Christian whackos.
So yuck it up, my lovelies, because McVety certainly deserves it.
Just don't nap off here.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Wear red every Friday


and show support for our troops.
"let's make the United States on every Friday a sea of red"
Link

UPDATE : Great post on this from Dave at TGB.
And scanning through the major papers today - nary a word on the origins of this thing.

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