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.


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and source of the red and white No Deep Integration ribbon which has just disappeared off my side bar and been replaced by a little red x.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.

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.

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."

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.


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