Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The pope does Auschwitz

and asks : "God, why did you remain silent? Where was God?"

(...ring ........ring..)
"You have reached the Offices of Sky Wizard* and Son.
There is No One available to take your call right now but be assured your call is important to Us.
If you know the extension of the Person you are attempting to reach, enter the two digit number now.
For Holocaust and Other Genocides - Press 1
For Natural Disasters - Press 2
For Disease, Famine and Pestilence - Press 3
Please note that the Office of the Problem of Evil is temporaily undergoing restructuring and is not available to the public at this time.
If this is an emergency, please stay on the line as your call will be answered faster than if you hang up and dial again. Our First Available Operator will be with you shortly."
(....from Ipanema goes walking and as she passes each one she passes goes ahhh...oh, but he watches so sa...)
"Thank you and have a nice day."

* "Sky Wizard" TM - Dave's Random Snarky Northern Canadian Gibberish Blog

It isn't a war, so the rules of war don't apply

The Ottawa Citizen, April 10 : Canadian soldiers may be subject to war crimes charges., May 31 : Canada not at war in Afghanistan : O'Connor

The Globe and Mail, May 31 : Troops told Geneva rules don't apply to Taliban

In April, UBC international law professor Michael Byers and University of Ottawa Prof. Amir Attaran, a constitutional human rights law specialist, said that the International Criminal Court could charge Canadian soldiers with war crimes because they transfer prisoners into Afghan custody where even the Afghanis state the prisoners are regularly tortured.

But O'Connor says we're not really at war.

So Lieutenant-General Michel Gauthier, who commands the Canadian Expeditionary Forces Command and all Canadian Forces deployed abroad, says because the regulations only apply in an armed conflict between states, and what's happening in Afghanistan is not an armed conflict between states, therefore there is no basis for determining whether or not individuals are prisoners of war.

It isn't a war, so there are no POWs and therefore the Geneva Conventions don't apply to us.
Just like the US.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Day on Da Vinci

From the Ottawa Sun :
"Public Security Minister Stockwell Day says Christians shouldn't get too upset over Dan Brown's controversial book The Da Vinci Code and the hit movie based on it.
Day, a devout Christian, told a prayer breakfast in Edmonton last week that Christianity is up to the challenge posed by a plot that debases the very tenets of the faith.
He noted that even though the book suggests "Jesus was a fraud and that everything he stood for is absolutely not true" it's an admitted work of fiction."

Yes, an admitted work of fiction that is gospel to 22% of people polled in Alberta.
Anyway, Doris, I don't think you want to go delving too deeply into the whole "fictional" aspect here.
Uh, too late, there he goes...

"Day said he discovered that while there are only about a dozen ancient documents that relate the life and times of Julius Caesar, there are a thousand times more that document the life of Christ."

And still a millions times more that document the life of Mohammed.
Speaking of Mohammed...

"In an apparent reference to the violence sparked by recently published cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, Day noted Christians have been restrained in their opposition to Brown's debunking of Christianity.
"I haven't seen the clerics order that the movie studios be destroyed or that the newspaper places be burned down," he said. "Isn't it great that the message of Jesus Christ is one of love and tolerance?"

Yeah, those stupid gullible Muslims. To think anyone could be manipulated into a hysterical warmongering frenzy just at the sight of some pictures in a newspaper.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Twas brillig, but for slithy Toews

Further to yesterday's post below in which Justice Minister Vic Toews is quoted as saying :
"I don't think that anyone can seriously say that our streets today are as safe as they were 20 years ago",
here's some more research from the Ministry of Justice, the place where, you know, he works now.

Worse than 20 years ago? Not so much.
There are certainly some horrendous local disparities on the ground to be addressed:

but nothing to suggest a reason why most of Canada shouldn't continue on with whatever it is they are obviously already doing right.
And while we're at it, perhaps Mr. Toews can find time within his busy Jabberwocky Crimestoppers Tour to address this one :

Callooh! Callay! and a frabjous day to Dave at Galloping Beaver for the link.
More on this from The Woodshed, Jacob's Super Patented Brain Thoughts, and A BCer in Toronto

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Toews Town Hall

From CTV :
"On Wednesday night in Calgary, Justice Minister Vic Toews insisted all questions be screened in advance during a town hall discussion on the government's get-tough-on-crime bill."
Well how terribly Bush of you! And at a "town hall" too.
OK, what have you got?
From CBC :
"Federal Justice Minister Vic Toews outlined the Harper government's justice initiatives Wednesday night at a town hall meeting in Calgary.
"I don't think that anyone can seriously say that our streets today are as safe as they were 20 years ago," Toews told about 150 people at the meeting in the riding of Calgary West."

Really? How about compared to 10 years ago?
That would certainly qualify as a trend, wouldn't it?

From Statistics Canada :

OK, so we can seriously say that our streets are safer than they were 10 years ago.

"Toews concedes the government has estimated its prison budget might increase by up to $300 million, but he says it's worth the cost."

Even Bushier!
While looking for statistics on violent crime, I ran into this page from the Corrections Service of Canada, dated Sept 2000. There's a lot of interesting data there but their conclusion seems particularly pertinent here :

"American politicians have often found it in their self-interest to use fear of crime as a strategy to win elections, by promising to wage war on crime.
It is ironic that in the United States, as in Canada, crime rates have been declining since 1991. However, by waging war on crime they have managed to double their prison population without making the United States a noticeably safer society than Canada. We would do much to advance the public interest if we can better manage the fear of crime than our American neighbours."

No comment.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Close your eyes...ok, now imagine they're poor.

Eagle Ridge Bluffs protest ends in 23 arrests on Day 38.

Yeah, I know, it was almost impossible not to be amused by this protest. I know I was.

Rich, white, NIMBY conservative protestors who were huge fans of both the Olympics and unfettered free-enterprise. At least they were right up to the point where they heard a P3 would be blasting a new piece of highway smackdab through their backyard to Whistler - where, it must be said, some of them also own cottages and condos.

They were rich and they were outraged.
They were hopping into the Lexus to drive a few hundred yards to Starbucks to buy lattes for the reporters.
They were very outspoken about being primarily "professional people".
Their tent city sported some of the very finest in available camping gear.

Did I mention they were rich?
Because God forbid we should get over our own class envy long enough to support environmental protestors just because they're rich.
God forbid we should realize that being a NIMBY is actually something to be proud of, as long as you aren't forcing some other backyard to accept what you reject for your own.
And God forbid we should recognize that those elderly local residents who had recently had hip-replacements and knee operations but were willing to sleep out in tents for an environmental cause they passionately believe in do not conform to anyone's definition of "hypocrite".

Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon dismissed this protest as "a small group of neighbours", saying they "have failed in the courts, they have failed in the election and they have failed in the public relations campaign."
David Emerson and Premier Cambell wouldn't return their calls.
The Squamish Nation, very big supporters of the Olympics, were quick to distance themselves from Squamish elder Harriet Nahanee, one of the first to be arrested, saying "she does not represent the Squamish Nation".

Starting to feel sorry for them yet? That wealth starting to matter a little less here?
Their relative wealth had insulated them for years against any realization that the Campbell government doesn't represent them any more than it does the rest of us if they don't play along.
OK, I think they get that now.
I intend to pitch my tent with these rich guys in the next go-round if they get one.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Accountability Act and throwing babies out of incubators

From Public Eye Online, we learn that PR giant Hill and Knowlton Inc will be joining the C.D. Howe Institute in co-hosting a private roundtable with Treasury Board president John Baird to discuss the Accountability Act -legislation that is supposed to toughen up the rules around lobbying.

Public Eye Online finds the addition of Hill and Knowlton Inc. 'odd'.

C.D. Howe's Duncan Munn explained Hill and Knowlton's presence.
"They're a registered lobbyist. They have different aspects to their business - including media relations and communications and things like that. So, from our perspective, we're operating above the political fray. And the whole point of the exercise is to educate people about the Accountability Act and what's involved."
Ah yes - Hill and Knowlton, the great public educators.
Didn't CBC do a nice little doc - "To Sell A War" - on how they sold the first Gulf War to the American public?

From PR Watch :
"Hill & Knowlton, then the world's largest PR firm, served as mastermind for the Kuwaiti campaign. Its activities alone would have constituted the largest foreign-funded campaign ever aimed at manipulating American public opinion."
Hey, remember this terrific Hill and Knowlton video news release?

"A 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl, known only by her first name of Nayirah. According to the Caucus, Nayirah's full name was being kept confidential to prevent Iraqi reprisals against her family in occupied Kuwait. Sobbing, she described what she had seen with her own eyes in a hospital in Kuwait City. Her written testimony was passed out in a media kit prepared by Citizens for a Free Kuwait. "I volunteered at the al-Addan hospital," Nayirah said. "While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where . . . babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die." 
Three months passed between Nayirah's testimony and the start of the war. During those months, the story of babies torn from their incubators was repeated over and over again. President Bush told the story. It was recited as fact in Congressional testimony, on TV and radio talk shows, and at the UN Security Council. "Of all the accusations made against the dictator," MacArthur observed, "none had more impact on American public opinion than the one about Iraqi soldiers removing 312 babies from their incubators and leaving them to die on the cold hospital floors of Kuwait City."

At the Human Rights Caucus, however, Hill & Knowlton and Congressman Lantos had failed to reveal that Nayirah was a member of the Kuwaiti Royal Family. Her father, in fact, was Saud Nasir al-Sabah, Kuwait's Ambassador to the US, who sat listening in the hearing room during her testimony.

The Caucus also failed to reveal that Hill & Knowlton vice-president Lauri Fitz-Pegado had coached Nayirah in what even the Kuwaitis' own investigators later confirmed was false testimony. If Nayirah's outrageous lie had been exposed at the time it was told, it might have at least caused some in Congress and the news media to soberly reevaluate the extent to which they were being skillfully manipulated to support military action. Public opinion was deeply divided on Bush's Gulf policy. As late as December 1990, a New York Times/CBS News poll indicated that 48 percent of the American people wanted Bush to wait before taking any action if Iraq failed to withdraw from Kuwait by Bush's January 15 deadline.

On January 12, the US Senate voted by a narrow, five-vote margin to support the Bush administration in a declaration of war. Given the narrowness of the vote, the babies-thrown-from-incubators story may have turned the tide in Bush's favor.

Following the war, human rights investigators attempted to confirm Nayirah's story and could find no witnesses or other evidence to support it."

Selling the Accountability Act to Canada should be at least as easy as throwing imaginary babies out of incubators.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Iran eyes transparent badges for atheists

Yeah, I was just leaving anyway....
But first here's a round up of some great new posts on the National Post's contribution to the mighty Let's-invade-Iran neo-con wurlitzer :

Galloping Beaver
The Gazetteer
Lenin's Tomb
Unqualified Offerings has two

Who'd I miss? Leave a link in comments and I'll add them to the list.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Focus on the fetus as a "protection" racket

From Focus on the Family :
"And at least one of the pro-life MPs who was at the [May 11 March For Life] gathering is not ruling out some initiative, such as introducing a private member’s bill, as a way to try to reignite the debate in Canada over abortion :
“There are always options for members of Parliament to put forward good initiatives on a range of subjects,” said Conservative Maurice Vellacott, the Globe and Mail reported."
shortly before he explained that women need to be protected from abortions because they cause cancer.

Oh look, here's one of those "initiatives" already :

From the Toronto Star :
"Aims to protect unborn from violenceTory could reopen abortion debate.
May 22, 2006. 01:00 AM
Ottawa : A Conservative MP has introduced a private member's bill that would make it a separate criminal offence to harm an unborn child in cases where a pregnant mother is assaulted or murdered.
The bill that pro-choice advocates say has implications for the abortion debate in this country "is not an abortion bill," says Alberta Conservative backbencher Leon Benoit, who describes himself as "pro-life."
But Benoit says this is all about providing more protection for women, especially pregnant women, who statistics suggest are more vulnerable to violence."

Because you can just see some guy pausing before he whacks some woman to consider whether it's worth doing the extra time for the fetus as well.

And just for the record, here's a list of the more than one third of the cabinet who are on record as "pro-fetus" :
Jim Flaherty - Finance Minister
Chuck Strahl - Agriculture Minister
Vic Toews - Justice Minister
Loyola Hearn - Fisheries Minister
Monte Solberg - Citizenship and Immigration Minister
Rob Nicholson - Minister for Democratic Reform
Stockwell Day - Public Safety Minister
Gary Lunn - Natural Resources Minister
Carol Skelton - National Revenue Minister .
plus Jason Kenney as Harper's parliamentary secretary

Oh just stay dead already!

Say, isn't this the exact same Amir Taheri article that sparked all that hysteria over at the National Post four days ago? The one that states "Jews would be marked out with a yellow strip of cloth sewn in front of their clothes".
Why, yes it is, and with nary a mention of the thorough debunking it received in the meantime.

A number of blogs linking to it are claiming that it having been republished after the National Post retraction means that it must be true after all.
No it doesn't. It just means Taheri is still a liar.

by Amir Taheri
Benador Associates May 22, 2006
Regarding the dress code story it seems that my column was used as the basis for a number of reports that somehow jumped the gun. As far as my article is concerned I stand by it."

Jumped the gun? Jumped the gun?
More like jumped the shark.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Certificate of Hitlertude

Now that NaPo and Harper (see post below) have made comparisons to Hitler all the rage again, you may well find yourself needing to fill in and award a number of these over the next few days.
Via uncyclopedia, the Certificate of Hitlertude comes with a handy rating chart.
Please note that while comments such as "I seem to have misplaced the keys to my Mercedes" may indeed have been said by Hitler, they don't really merit a certificate.

Are we done with this yet?

No, as Canadians we are not done with it.
Not by a long shot.

National Post is certainly done with it of course. They pulled the online version of the story after it was roundly debunked, and issued the most tepid of retractions, without any apology for having been used as a psy ops dupe. Except they still have their NaPo Sound Off! page up, featuring the question : "Is Iran turning into the new Nazi Germany?"
No word on how their bullshit editorial from neo-con Amir Taheri featuring the now discredited line : "Jews would be marked out with a yellow strip of cloth sewn in front of their clothes" became a front page news photo of Hungarian Jews in WWII above copy referring to the Holocaust.

Harper is also done with it, having used the occasion to strike an entirely inappropriate tough guy pose :
"The prime minister couldn't vouch for the accuracy of the newspaper report, but he added that Iran was capable of such actions and compared them to Nazi practices.
"Unfortunately, we've seen enough already from the Iranian regime to suggest that it is very capable of this kind of action," Harper said."

Ah yes - 'Holocaust capable' even if they're not yet currently manufacturing holocausts.
Now where have we heard that phrasing before?
Harper continues :
"We've seen a number of things from the Iranian regime that are along these lines . . .
"It boggles the mind that any regime on the face of the Earth would want to do anything that could remind people of Nazi Germany."

You mean like arbitrarily running a front page picture of Jews wearing yellow stars? That sort of thing?

But here's why we aren't done with it. Despite NaPo's tepid apology-free retraction, the following papers are choosing to run the story anyway : The New York Post with an edited and even more inflammatory version, the Washington Times, the Sydney Herald, the St Petersburg Times, and numerous smaller papers. The Jerusalem Post has posted a retraction to theirs, but as of this writing, the Canadian Jewish Congress still has the original NaPo story up, sans picture and NaPo retraction.

So out it goes into the world, where weeks from now when Bush is ramping up support to invade Iran, he can make some oblique reference to Iran and the Holocaust in the same sentence, and readers of these and other papers will nod their heads and say, "Yes, Iran is Holocaust-capable, I read about that somewhere".

No, unfortunately we aren't done with it. And because it will undoubtedly disappear soon, here's the text of the original story >>>

Iran eyes badges for Jews by Chris Wattie
Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims.
"This is reminiscent of the Holocaust," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. "Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis."
Iranian expatriates living in Canada yesterday confirmed reports that the Iranian parliament, called the Islamic Majlis, passed a law this week setting a dress code for all Iranians, requiring them to wear almost identical "standard Islamic garments."
The law, which must still be approved by Iran's "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenehi before being put into effect, also establishes special insignia to be worn by non-Muslims.
Iran's roughly 25,000 Jews would have to sew a yellow strip of cloth on the front of their clothes, while Christians would wear red badges and Zoroastrians would be forced to wear blue cloth.
"There's no reason to believe they won't pass this," said Rabbi Hier. "It will certainly pass unless there's some sort of international outcry over this."
Bernie Farber, the chief executive of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said he was "stunned" by the measure. "We thought this had gone the way of the dodo bird, but clearly in Iran everything old and bad is new again," he said. "It's state-sponsored religious discrimination."
Ali Behroozian, an Iranian exile living in Toronto, said the law could come into force as early as next year.
It would make religious minorities immediately identifiable and allow Muslims to avoid contact with non-Muslims.
Mr. Behroozian said it will make life even more difficult for Iran's small pockets of Jewish, Christian and other religious minorities -- the country is overwhelmingly Shi'ite Muslim. "They have all been persecuted for a while, but these new dress rules are going to make things worse for them," he said.
The new law was drafted two years ago, but was stuck in the Iranian parliament until recently when it was revived at the behest of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
A spokesman for the Iranian Embassy in Ottawa refused to comment on the measures. "This is nothing to do with anything here," said a press secretary who identified himself as Mr. Gharmani.
"We are not here to answer such questions."
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has written to Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, protesting the Iranian law and calling on the international community to bring pressure on Iran to drop the measure.
"The world should not ignore this," said Rabbi Hier. "The world ignored Hitler for many years -- he was dismissed as a demagogue, they said he'd never come to power -- and we were all wrong."
Mr. Farber said Canada and other nations should take action to isolate Mr. Ahmadinejad in light of the new law, which he called "chilling," and his previous string of anti-Semitic statements.
"There are some very frightening parallels here," he said. "It's time to start considering how we're going to deal with this person."
Mr. Ahmadinejad has repeatedly described the Holocaust as a myth and earlier this year announced Iran would host a conference to re-examine the history of the Nazis' "Final Solution."
He has caused international outrage by publicly calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map."
Iran does not yet have nuclear weapons, but Tehran believed by Western nations to be developing its own nuclear military capability, in defiance of international protocols and peace treaties.
The United States, France and Israel accuse Iran of using a civilian nuclear program to secretly build a weapon. Iran denies this, saying its program is confined to generating electricity.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Guerilla gardening

Wing Sun on wing wall.

Next time you're pulling into the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal, have a look down between berths two and three right where the ferries dock and you'll see a lovely little garden behind the 'Employees Only' fence. For the past 30 years, BC Ferries employee Wing Sun has spent his coffee breaks on the little concrete ledge called a wing wall - starting seeds in pots, sifting manure, watering, transplanting, and deadheading - as ferries pull in and out on either side of him. That's one just coming in behind him above.

For years I'd seen five gallon buckets with plants in them stashed here and there around the terminal during renovations, but what I hadn't realized was that this garden is the unpaid work of one man on his coffee breaks.

Stone planters carrying symbolic inscriptions and made from rocks off the beach, little bugs fashioned out of nuts and bolts found lying around the terminal, a driftwood arch, and his paintings such as this one on the side of his potting shed:

If you stop by when he's on a break, he'll give you a life jacket to wear in case you step off into the drink and take you on a tour.

Chickenhawk Howard

From the Globe and Mail :
"Addressing the Canadian House of Commons yesterday, Australian PM John Howard described the US as a "remarkable and powerful force for good in the world," adding that Canada, Australia and other nations should deeply appreciate "the decency and hope that the power and purpose of the United States represents to the world."
He referred directly to the previous Liberal government's opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq"

Oh yeah, Canada is sure sorry about missing the boat on Iraq.
What were we thinking?
And weren't you the little prick who publicly claimed to have seen the US evidence of WMDs in Iraq?

And from NaPo : "As for those massive uranium reserves shared by Canada and Australia, Howard warned that a proposed Global Nuclear Energy Partnership - while "laudably" seeking to curb nuclear proliferation - must not "work against the interests of countries such as Canada and Australia." "

By "interests", Howard presumably meant the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, where he later went for dinner.

Harper greeted Howard with full military honours.
This is the way we always greet those heads of state who are very big on war now but who previously declined to serve in the Viet Nam War when they had the chance.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Maurice Vellacott - unplugged

First, a little recap.
Remember that bizarre non-apology Maurice "unplugged" Vellacott gave when forced to resign the post Harper gave him as Chair of the Commons Aboriginal Affairs Committee? He had made shit up, attributed it to a Chief Justice when in fact she said the opposite of what he claimed, and then resigned with a statement which included an entirely unrelated reference to his right to "defend women and the rights of the preborn".

On Wednesday, there he was defending women again - this time holding a press conference with American anti-abortion activist and breast surgeon Angela Lanfranchi, whom he had invited up to Canada to inform us there has been a 40-per-cent increase in the incidence of breast cancer in the last 30 years.

Angela Lanfranchi :
"It's the women of the Roe v. Wade generation that account for most of this increase. Dramatic lifestyle changes brought about by the sexual revolution and the women's liberation movement are largely responsible for the rampant breast cancer we see today."

So, according to Lanfranchi, breast cancer is caused by abortions which are caused by feminism - a theory also also known as 'it's your own fault, bitches'.
Lanfranchi was referring to the "research" of born-again anti-abortionist Dr. Joel Brind, discounted ten years ago by the National Cancer Institute in the United States, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (and their U.S. counterparts), as well as the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Breast Cancer Network, as being entirely without merit.

OK, we're up to speed now.
Undeterred by this refutation from their colleagues, Brind and Lanfranchi have launched a website called "Breast Cancer Prevention Institute". The home page states their mission :
"Our website is dedicated to providing the most up-to-date and accurate information to medical professionals and the general public on how to prevent breast cancer. Our on-line publications, as well as our list of other resources, are all designed to provide you with knowledge of practical, risk-reduction strategies."

Mostly consisting of abstinence and the rhythm method.

But then rather puzzlingly, after an ad for a fundraiser for the site, the entire rest of the main page - and I mean the whole rest of the main page here - is devoted to a plea from Dr Joel Brind to help prevent the passing of anti-lobby legislation currently before the US Congress. He urges the reader to visit to see what you can do about it. So I did.

LobbySense states that free speech and the rights of lobbyists are at risk if this legislation requires them to have to register as, you know, lobbyists.

LobbySense is outraged that Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska is supporting this anti-free speech legislation after all the help they have given him in his bid to open up Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling :
"In the ultimate attack of irony, just yesterday, a coalition of organizations (some of whom are members of the LobbySense coalition) sent a comprehensive letter to House and Senate leadership outlining reasons to open ANWR to drilling."
Later on the same page they report that Senator Stevens has come around to their way of thinking.

LobbySense lists its members : Grover Norquist, Paul Weyrich of "Coalitions for America", Gary Bauer of "American Values", Phyllis Schlafly of "Eagle Forum", and a dozen other high profile right-wing life-hating assholes.

Last week, Vellacott countered a rebuke for lying about a chief justice with some completely unrelated codswallop about his mandate from his sky monster (TM - Dave's Random Gibberish) and the rights of the preborn. I can hardly wait to hear what grand non sequitur he will use to defend his right to be duped by a front group for rightwing American extremists.

When LobbySense member Grover Norquist famously quipped, "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub", he made no provision not to throw the baby Jesus out with the bathwater.
Vellacott might want to think about that.

Friday, May 12, 2006

What a difference a Day makes

From the Department of Doris - Expanding My Empire Division :

" The federal government plans to do more spying abroad, but has yet to decide whether Canada needs a new foreign-intelligence agency, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day says.
Amending the CSIS Act, a legislative change that would involve changing only a couple of words in the law, is one approach, he said."

From the General Counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association :

"The difference one word would make to what CSIS does
It is widely assumed that, if the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) did, in fact, spy on law- abiding postal workers, it would have violated its statutory mandate. This assumption is questionable.
Under the Act, CSIS is allowed to investigate "activities ... in support of ... serious violence ... for the purpose of achieving a political objective within Canada". In the past, the RCMP security service spied on many radicals simply because their ideology was hospitable to revolutionary violence. Yet numbers of these radicals could not organize their laundry, let alone plan serious violence. But, since their ideology made violence acceptable, the RCMP felt justified in snooping on them, even if no violence was being planned at the time.
Despite the urgings of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the government of the day refused to insert the word "unlawful" before the word "activities" in this part of the CSIS mandate."

Which would have made the CSIS mandate : "investigate unlawful activities in support of serious violence for the purpose of achieving a political objective within Canada".

I'm guessing inserting the word "unlawful" is not part of the "changing only a couple of words in the law" that Doris has in mind.

OK, enough of all this. I'm off to organize my laundry really really neatly.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Conflict resolution is...

1. the theme of the Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie to be held in St. Boniface, Manitoba, on May 13 and 14, at which Canada will host Secretary-General Abdou Diouf of the International Organization of La Francophonie and several delegations led by foreign affairs ministers from the countries of La Francophonie.

2. what Canadian International Co-operation Minister Josee Verner will be doing tomorrow with Quebec after Secretary-General Abdou Diouf of the International Organization of La Francophonie and former president of Senegal was body-searched upon landing in Canada since no one from the Canadian government showed up to meet him.

Dave's Random Gibberish

Great gibberish from Dave in Yellowknife on Vellacott, the sky monster, Frank Luntz.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006


"Accepting gifts, including free Ottawa Senators playoff tickets in luxury corporate boxes, continue to be acceptable for Conservative MPs in Stephen Harper's government, despite criticism of the practice when the Tories were in opposition." ~ National Post story

We don't give a shit that Bell Canada gave some Connie civil servant free tickets to some friggin game.
We don't care that his office says the ethics commissioner said it was OK.
We don't even care about what that says about Harper's bullshit Accountability Act.

That isn't the story.
This is the story :

Bell Canada made $2.9 billion in profits last year.
Bell Canada announced it will be laying off 3000 to 4000 Canadian workers this year.
Bell Canada has outsourced its call centres to India.
The Canadian government has done fuck all about it.
The Canadian government is Bell Canada's biggest client.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

May Poll

In a Strategic Counsel poll of 1000 Canadians taken in the two days after the budget speech, a combined 6% increase in approval rating was given to those parties to the left of George Bush.
The Greens, with neither a leader nor any hope of forming the opposition : up 2%.
The NDP, who royally pissed off their base by bringing down the Libs and saddling the country with the Cons : up 2%.
The Liberals, disgraced former government also with no current leader : up 2%.
The Cons, a day after presenting a budget that promised $1200 a year per child : down 4%.
The Bloc, new best friends to the Cons : down 1%.

The big news here is that despite promoting a climate of autocratic secrecy, appointing an unelected campaign manager to the Senate and 'selecting' a Lib MP for his cabinet, pissing off the press, gutting accountability and funding for the environment, blowing off the Kelowna Accord, refusing a vote on Canadian troop deployment in Afghanistan, not meeting the coffins of soldiers and making flag masting an issue, screwing with our tax credits, and selling out to the US on soft wood lumber, Harper's public approval rating is still slightly higher than that of George Bush.
So he must be pretty happy with that.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The return of the Krarks

Pensions and landmines

When I'm old, my cats and I do not want to be living on catfood purchased with landmines.

More than half of the $90 billion in assets controlled by the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board is invested in over 1800 companies, including such arms dealers as Halliburton (in whom we invested $8 million), Raytheon ($4 million), Northrop Grumman ($5.4 million) and General Electric ($323 million).

I was prepared to overlook the $8 million to Monsanto, the $19.5 million to WalMart and the more than $90 million the CPP Investment Board has invested on our behalf in the tobacco industry, but I really do have to draw the line at the $5.5 million we are giving Lockheed Martin to make more landmines and cluster bombs.

Lockheed Martin - counting some people, blowing other people up.

On April 27, 2006, the CPP Investment Board announced that it had signed a global set of Principles for Responsible Investing published by the United Nations Environment Programme Financial Initiative (UNEPFI).
You can contact CPPIB here and ask them how this will affect their policy of investing in warmongers.

Slowgirl provides a link to the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade, or COAT, where you can follow the money from the CCPIB to the arms dealers and back to the politicians, and sign the petition.

And if you're wondering how your Canada Pension Plan shares are doing in Exxon or McDonald's or Nike or Dow Chem, the CCPIB site provides this handy list from March 2005.

The futures are so bright, we gotta wear shades.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Media is the Massage

Flag by Scout over at Harper Valley
Great, isn't it?

Would be a good backdrop for the magic act appearing in the (I kid you not!) 'Grand Scheme Ballroom' tomorrow.
American NeoCon funnyman Frank Luntz will be up in Canada teaching a select group of Canadian Con polis and Con media how to perform his Newspeak dog and phony show, aptly titled
"Massaging the Conservative Message For Voters".

Some highlights from his previous shows down south :

"September 11 changed everything. So start with 9/11….Without the context of 9/11, you will be blamed for the deficit….The trick is then to contextualize the deficit inside of 9/11."
"No speech about homeland security or Iraq should begin without a reference to 9/11"

and who could forget : "Never say 'drilling for oil', say 'exploring for energy'."

"Hotter Than Hell" quasher Rona Ambrose is already retelling her own version of this one :
"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."

Some of his older stuff, like "Contract With America" which he co-authored with Newt Gingrich, has gotten more than a little stale, but tomorrow the Cons will be learning how to retell those old jokes in their own inimitable comic style.
I can hardly wait. I'm sure I won't have to.

More reviews at Public Eye Online, The Galloping Beaver, and The Gazetteer

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Iraq Good, Canada Bad

"Terrorists have capitalized on liberal Canadian immigration and asylum policies to enjoy safe haven, raise funds, arrange logistical support and plan terrorist attacks," the [US] State Department said"

in its annual Report on Terrorism. Yeah, the one I wrote about on Sunday here. The report with the audacity to use the Maher Arar case to beat Canada over the head with.

But I missed this bit from The National Post (warning - a Cadillac Escallade will drive all over what you're trying to read, and bold - mine) :

"The State Department's harsh language on Canada contrasted with its statements in the report of Iraq, which it said was "not currently a terrorist safe haven" despite the continued attacks carried out by al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi and other groups in the country."

These fuckers will say just about anything for propaganda purposes, as already pointed out, albeit with more restraint, by Dave at Galloping Beaver.

Oh, and this bit was good too :

"Last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation accused two Muslim youths from Georgia of traveling to Toronto in 2005 to plot attacks against American military bases and oil refineries. The arrests were part of an ongoing FBI investigation into Islamic terror cells in Canada, the agency said."

Damn, did Timothy McVeigh also ever spend a weekend up here?
Because we'd really be in the shit then.
We better ourselves get under that US umbrella of terror while we still can!

Monday, May 01, 2006

May Day

Beltane here on Bowen a couple of years ago.
And International Workers Day, everywhere but Canada and the U.S.
Apparently Bush decided this year to change the official name from Law Day to Loyalty Day .
Also known as La-La-La-I-Can't-Hear-You Day.
Seems all those May Day protesters in the US today didn't get that memo.

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