Saturday, September 29, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Nuclear greenwashing and spinning

Dear Canadian media :
Please stop printing crap like this about Patrick Moore and nuclear power:

"A popular Canadian environmentalist said Tuesday it's silly for Saskatchewan to benefit from uranium exports but not from nuclear energy.
Speaking in Saskatoon at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Patrick Moore, former president of Greenpeace Canada and founder of Greenspirit, an environmental consultancy firm, said ..."How ridiculous is it for a province that supplies uranium to 441 nuclear plants around the world to have an anti-nuclear policy at home?"
Moore admits he was opposed to nuclear energy during his Greenpeace years, but changed his mind after researching the power source. The environmentalist hopes more people take a closer look at nuclear energy, saying general uncertainties about the fuel comes from concerns over nuclear waste, meltdowns and proliferation, all of which are not likely to happen or cause damage."

unless you are going to also follow the money and mention that Moore's speaking engagement at that Chamber of Commerce luncheon was hosted by two Canadian uranium mining companies, that Moore's current cross-Canada tour is sponsored by TEAM CANDU, and that Moore is being paid to support nuclear power by the US Nuclear Energy Institute.

Thank you.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The delicate art of sock puppetry

Reuters : "A speech that Afghan President Hamid Karzai delivered to Canada's Parliament a year ago, urging the country's continued military support, was nothing more than a "political stunt," written by Canadian defense ministry staff, an opposition party charged on Tuesday."
The President of Afghanistan selling the war to Parliament on behalf of the Canadian military.
Hey Bush, your lips are moving.
Yes, we are rather worried about that too.

Monday, September 24, 2007

SPP : Naomi Klein vs Tom Flanagan

Tom Flanagan, US poli-sci prof at the University of Calgary; Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute; and all-round 'eminence grease' to Stephen Harper, this Tom Flanagan, writes in Saturday's G&M : "In times of perceived crisis, a conservative party can win by positioning itself further to the right, as shown by the victories of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Ralph Klein, Mike Harris, and Goerdon Campbell."

G&M, Saturday Sept 8 :
 "In Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine : The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, she argues that an idea that began with Chicago School economist Milton Friedman has determined much of the course of recent history – that a time of crisis, whether a war or a hurricane, offers a strategic opportunity to overwrite the resulting “blank slate” with market privatization and corporatism."
She also argues that such a crisis can be a man-made destabilization of public infrastructure.

Flanagan also has a book out : Harper's Team : Behind the Scenes in the Conservative Rise to Power.
I'm guessing it isn't going to be "behind the scenes" enough for us though, so I thought we'd have a look at a 2003 policy paper from the Fraser Institute, the think tank where Flanagan is a Senior Fellow.

Mandate for Leadership for the New Prime Minister
  • Bank of Canada : Create a new currency—the amero—and a North American Central Bank for Canada,Mexico and the United States.
  • Convert existing dollars into ameros. 
  • Retain Canadian national symbols on notes and coins.
  • Exchange Rates : Remove the Bank of Canada’s power to set interest rates and leave as its main responsibility the convertibility of Canadian into US dollars at par.
  • Environment : Withdraw from Kyoto protocol
  • Allow export of water for use in non-irrigation projects.
  • Labour : Increase flexibility in labour market by, for example, introducing worker choice legislation for those covered by federal labour laws.
  • Int Trade & Foreign Aid : Remove Canadian regulations that restrict free trade (unilaterally if necessary), such as the Wheat Board.
  • Remove Canadian restrictions on foreign ownership of banks and other financial institutions; airlines and railroads; newspapers and electronic media.
  • Allow individuals and firms to sue provinces for damages if trade barriers remain in place.
  • Health : Repeal or change the Canada Health Act to remove limits on provincial autonomy over health care, as recognized by the constitution.
  • Allow competition in health-care delivery, including, private insurance, for-profit and non-profit hospitals, and private surgery and other treatment facilities.
  • Defence : Work for inter-operability with NATO and US for air, naval and ground forces.
  • Introduce biometric screening of travelers.  Share air passenger information with the United States.
  • Judiciary : Abolish the Court Challenges Program to discourage special interest groups from bypassing the political process to obtain special privileges.
  • Aboriginal Policies : Restructure aboriginal policy to empower the individual, not band elites.
  • Create a new overseas intelligence service to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts.
  • Abolish all policies related to “industrial strategy,” particularly regional economic development agencies.  In Atlantic Canada, the money saved could be used to virtually eliminate corporate taxes.
And skipping down a bit :
"When Canada did not agree to take part in the US ballistic missile defence (BMD) program, the US worked around it, locating the necessary radars in Alaska and Greenland. Space-based assets have made Canada’s geographic position less important than that of Poland or Rumania. 
All of these issues (and there are many others) must be addressed in the very near future. They all point in the same direction: Canada can preserve its sovereignty and its prosperity only by a closer relationship, particularly in military and security policy, with the United States."
Gosh, those all seem so familiar to us now, don't they?
From Flanagan and the Fraser Institute' lips to Harper's ear.
And he who has the ear of the king is more important than the king, yadda, yadda.

Actually the above disaster capitalism wish list is so complete a description of Harper's SPP policies, I'm somewhat disappointed to find no mention in it anywhere of his infamous jelly beans.

Link fixed : Mandate for Leadership for the New Prime Minister

Saturday, September 22, 2007

NAWL goes down

This is the Victoria BC office of the Status of Women Action Group. As you can see, it is a 7x7 foot storage locker. While they do have the use of a donated voice mail, they no longer have any federal funding. No swag for SWAG.
H/T to F-email Fightback who blogged about this back in July.
One year ago the federal Conservative government announced it would no longer fund women's groups that do polling, advocacy, lobbying or general research. Perhaps the most drastic change to the mandate and operation of Status of Women Canada was also dropping the word "equality'' from the agency's goals.
So it wasn't much of a surprise this week to learn that NAWL, the National Association for Women and the Law, an advocacy group promoting equal rights, pay equity, legal access and education, is closing its doors due to those very changes to the criteria for funding. Like the two women in the storage locker in Victoria, they will continue their work, but as volunteers.
At the time of the budget cuts, Gwen Landolt of REAL Women, the traditional-values group which has spent the last 25 years fighting against equal rights for women, explained that groups (like SWAG) are no longer needed because "women are equal now". I somehow doubt this line of reasoning would much impress the woman in the wheelchair working at the storage locker, given that a woman working full-time makes 73 cents as compared to the dollar made by a man in the same job. I also suspect this leaves little free time for advocacy but Gwen is unfazed : "If a group can't support itself and its lobbying activities across the country, then it just isn't a grassroots organization and shouldn't be funded by the taxpayer."
She is inordinately proud of the fact that REAL Women does not receive a single penny in federal funding and professes not to see why anyone else should, neglecting to mention that REAL Women has in fact applied for federal funding, but was delisted in 1999 for not having any actual programs that furthered the main objective of Status of Women Canada, which, as you will recall, used to consist of programs and advocacy for women. Gay bashing and anti-abortion propaganda evidently did not count as credits.
Gwen was interviewed on CBC's The Current yesterday.

Anna Maria Tremonti asked her if she didn't think that pay equity, paid maternity leave, and a national daycare plan were things that Canadian women wanted. Landolt explained that women were different from men and that if women had wanted a national daycare plan, they wouldn't have voted for Harper.

I do hope, women of Canada, that you are taking notes. You will recall that in an effort to appear to have outgrown his a nutty Reform roots, Harper campaigned on a promise not to attack funding for women. Nonetheless, Landolt, along with Charles McVety, met with Harper his very first day in office.

Landolt was also very exercised about Canada having been censured by the UN group CIDA for not having done enough to promote women's rights. CIDA attacked Harper, she explained, because of what the feminists told CIDA about him.
Do you really think that was what turned them off, Gwen? Or do you think it might have been that the office of your associate at REAL Women, Sharon Hayes, a Reform MP and also a board member of Focus on the Family, circulated a press release claiming that the Chinese perform ritual abortions in order to eat the fetuses? Just a guess here.

Josee Verner was also on The Current but mercifully the sound of her going round and round in circles blended so well with the sound of the washing machine that I only caught a couple of her cycles.
Roughly paraphrased :
JV : NAWL didn't get funding because they didn't apply for it.
AMT : What, given the new mandate, could they have applied for?
JV : Well they didn't apply. That's why they didn't get funding.
AMT, brightening up : So if they do apply now, could their funding be restored?
JV : Murmer, murmer. At just that point, Josee's spin cycle clicked in so I didn't hear a satisfactory answer.

Gosh, she's so nice though, isn't she? Really, it would be churlish to ask anything more from her.

Go listen to both of them, along with two NAWL advocates, here.
Heather Mallick on the value of SWC & LEAF, the perfidy of REAL Women
F-email Fightback : Amnesty International on NAWL closure
Also : Impolitical, and JJ, and Hope and Onions

Friday, September 21, 2007

MacKay, flypaper, and...The Battle of the Bulge?

Peter MacKay was in Washington yesterday to observe the annual Canadian Defence Minister's homage to Bush's flypaper strategy :
"If the job is not done in Afghanistan, if countries like Canada leave, the Taliban can follow them,'' MacKay told Canadian reporters here.

The tradition began in October 2004 when President Bush, aka Crusader Bunnypants, addressed reporters in Greeley, Colorado:
"We have defeated the Taleban..."
Wait, that's not it...just a sec...scrolling down...ah, here we go :
"We are fighting these terrorists with our military in Afghanistan and Iraq and beyond so we do not have to face them in the streets of our own cities." (Applause.)
Canada failed to observe the flypaper strategy ceremony in 2005 for some reason, but here's Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor in April 2006 :
"Fighting terrorists in Afghanistan is better than waiting until they show up in Vancouver, Montreal or Ottawa, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor told the Commons on Monday."

MacKay slipped in a small coda of his own yesterday when he added a reference to the US Battle of the Bulge, saying he wanted to "look into the whites of the eyes'' of other NATO countries to determine whether those nations truly appreciate the need to step up in Afghanistan and the impact on their countries if they don't :
"North America is not immune. Continental Europe is not immune. Nobody is immune.''

Canadian reporters were puzzled but they wrote it all down anyway.

And did I call this one back in July? Why yes, yes I did.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

SPP and "The Shock Doctrine"

Chet Scoville of Vanity Press, blogging at Shakesville :
"...the SPP is an especially dangerous example of the privatization of government that neoconservatism has been demanding and putting into place for a quarter of a century: the sort of thing Naomi Klein outlines in The Shock Doctrine. It's especially dangerous because, being multinational and happening as it is below the radar, it will be extremely difficult to undo once it's done."

Stephen Lendman in an excellent review of Klein's book at Mostly Water :
"The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" explodes the myth of "free market" democracy.

On Milton Friedman's Chicago School revolution of rapid-fire economic transformation he called "shock treatment" : " It's central tenets are structurally adjusted mass-privatizations, government deregulation, unrestricted free market access for foreign corporations, and deep cuts in social spending with repressive laws."

On "the whirling revolving door between government and business taken to a new level" :
"That's the whole idea in a get rich quick environment - get an impressive government title, stay in office long enough in a department handing out big contracts, collect insider information with market value, then quit and cash in. Klein calls public service now "little more than a reconnaissance mission for future work in the disaster capitalism complex."

"Fighting "terrorism" is big business. September 11 unlocked the potential, a huge new growth market was created, and protection from terror became more important than big brother watching.

Klein calls it "an unprecedented convergence of unchecked police powers and unchecked capitalism, a merger of the shopping mall and the secret prison."

The Security and Prosperity Partnership : a North American merger of the shopping mall and the secret prison.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"Zero Degree Turn", the Iranian Shindler's List

Remember this cartoon?

It was the winner of the International Holocaust Cartoon Competition, sponsored by the Iranian newspaper Hamshahri to answer the publication of 12 cartoons mocking/denigrating Mohammed in a Danish newspaper in Sept 2005.

Statement of the artist, Abdellah Derkaoui : "I want to express my total heartfelt sympathy with the millions of Jewish victims of the Holocaust who suffered the greatest crime against humanity under the Nazis. Nobody can deny that more than six million people were massacred during the second world war by the devil Hitler and his Nazi henchmen." Continued here.

At the time, many westerners were surprised that the winning entry was so sympathetic both to Jews and to the Holocaust. They are about to be surprised again.

"Zero Degree Turn" is an Iranian Shindler's List, a government-made miniseries airing on the Iranian state-run television. Based on a true story of diplomats in the Iranian Embassy in Paris in the 1940s who gave out about 500 Iranian passports to Jews to help them to escape, it is a fictionalized account of one of those Iranian diplomats who decides to forge Iranian passports for French Jews.

Reading about it, I was reminded that Iran was the only Middle East country on this list to hold spontaneous candlelight vigils for victims of the WTC 9/11 attacks this year, and I can't help wondering how many of them listen to their leaders on TV and think, just as we do, "I sure hope the rest of the world isn't basing its opinion of Iranians on what this idiot says."

From Cliff at Rusty Idols earlier today : "the biggest objection of the 'bomb Iran' crowd may be that the show doesn't fit the narrative of genocidal Nazi Iran."

Is Canada still "No Nukes"?

UBC Professor Michael Byers noticed a change in Canada's stated position on nuclear weapons at the government website, dfait.

Embassy Mag : Canada's Disturbing Change of Position :
"In January 2002, Canada's policy called for "the complete elimination of nuclear weapons...through steadily advocating national, bilateral and multilateral steps "

But recently, the same foreign affairs website has been amended to say that Canada's nuclear weapons policy is now "consistent with our membership in NATO and NORAD, and in a manner sensitive to the broader international security context." As Mr. Byers rightly points out, this clause strips Canada's policy of any real meaning."

Given NATO and the USA, yeah, it does.
In a search of dfait just now, I found the phrase "the complete elimination of " still in use up to Oct 2005.
After that, it only appears in archives. I guess the sixties really are over.

Rather touchingly, I see the moon is still off-limits though :
"The 1979 Moon Agreement – formally the Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies – reiterates the Outer Space Treaty's obligation that the Moon be used only for peaceful purposes."
Lucky moon. Maybe one day we can get something like that for Earth too.
"The Outer Space Treaty only explicitly forbids orbiting nuclear weapons or other WMD about the Earth, installing them on celestial bodies, or stationing in outer space in any other manner."
We're still good on that last one though, dfait, right? Right?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

SPP : Back to school edition

Hey teachers! Having trouble finding course materials that rebrand Canada as part of the North American Union?

Arizona State University is your one-stop go-to place to find everything you need to - what was that happy phrase the Independent Task Force on the Future of North America used again? oh yeah : "to launch an educational project to teach the idea of a shared NA identity in schools".

Just look at these handy course materials :

Teaching Modules: Backgrounders and Cases
Building North America Into Your Course
North American Economic Integration: General Overview
Analyzing North American Integration
Managing North America
North American Structures and ¨Sites¨of Integration
Continental Strategies of Selected North American Companies

Now I know what you're thinking. That it will all be written from a US point-of-view. Not so at all. They've got lots of Canadians on their link roster : Fraser Institute, C.D.Howe Institute, I Asper School of Management. Plus there's papers on many now familiar integration projects : Atlantica, the Pacific North West Economic Region, North America's Super Corridor Coalition (NASCO).

Here's a sample from a "teaching module" written by George Haynal, "Senior Fellow at the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University, Ottawa-based vice president of public policy at Bombardier, Inc., and former Canadian consulgeneral in New York" :

"The Next Plateau in North America- What's the Big Idea? Mapping the North American Reality" :

"The obligation to defend the North American landmass has become far more complicated now but defending ourselves and defending space that we share in North America still constitutes one inseparable set of obligations for both our countries. So we had better face up to the need not only to defend our territory but also to do it in a way that also constitutes a satisfactory contribution to the defence of the United States."

"We must ensure that the critical infrastructure that serves us and which we share with the United States is protected against threats from terrorism or criminality. North American security is a joint need; it should be supplied as a common enterprise."

and in a section on Canadian companies (Bold - mine) :

"Ownership rules intended to ensure that owners were obliged to be "patriots" seem almost quaintly archaic at a time when multiple citizenship is so available, including to global investors."

You'll recognize some other familiar faces at the Arizona State U site as well. Stephen Blank guided the Montreal-based North American Forum on Integration for Canadian students up here in April, while Robert Pastor, author of Toward a North American Community, was Vice Chair of The Task Force on the Future of North America and, yes, author of that phrase : "to launch an educational project to teach the idea of a shared NA identity in schools".

Get 'em while they're young, I always say.

H/T to ToeDancer at Bread and Roses for the Arizona State U. link

Friday, September 14, 2007

Back from lolling about at the lake all summer,

Ottawonk weighs in on
The Cons' Veiled Threats Against Elections Canada Non-Controversy with:
....[obl rulz lol !!! :P]...

They also award their coveted second annual prize for Federal Public Service Excellence in the Field of Speaking Truth to Retardedness™ :
“So the will of this committee is not the will of Parliament?” Mr. Lukiwski asked.
“With all due respect, I cannot accept the position that a committee can adapt and amend an Act of Parliament,” Mr. Mayrand answered.
You're not bored with laughing at this four party lunacy yet, are you?
Because CBCTV National News was still going on about it last night.
Sadly however they lack the editorial adroitness of Canadian Cynic.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tanking in Oz

I don't like the Canadian Senate...I don't like Elections Canada...I don't like the Canadian Press...I don't like the Kyoto Accord.....
In fact there's not much I do like about Canada...
Hey, I just noticed your flag is made up of stars and stripes - how cool is that!

Harper addresses the Australian parliament : "Because as 9-11 showed, if we abandon our fellow human beings to lives of poverty, brutality and ignorance, in today's global village, their misery will eventually and inevitably become our own," said Harper.

Of course invading their country and bombing and starving the shit out of them to further US colonialist corporate ambitions also works, he did not add.

Harper loves the Oz PM John Howard. Bush also loves Howard. But the Australians? Not so much : Cabinet revolt forces John Howard to say he will quit

Gosh, I wonder if there is a lesson in there somewhere.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Six years later, and counting

Why did Canada illegally render Algerian asylum-seeker Benamar Benatta to US authorities on Sept 12, 2001, where despite being cleared of charges of terrorism, he was illegally held and tortured for another five years?

Muslim - check
Knows something about planes - check
Applied for refugee status in Canada a week before 9/11 - check

On Sept 5, 2001, Benatta, an 33 year old Algerian air force lieutenant who had been in the US as part of a US/Algerian military exchange program, entered Canada from the US on an expired visa to claim refugee status.

On Sept 11, 2001, following the WTC attack, he was interviewed in Canada by the FBI.

On Sept 12 the RCMP drove him to the US border and handed him over to US authorities.

In November 2001, the FBI cleared him of any connection to terrorism and he was charged instead with carrying expired ID papers.

Five months later he received council, learning for the first time about the WTC attacks and why he was being held. Benatta speaks only French.

In 2003, the federal US magistrate hearing his case called it "a sham perpetrated by the FBI and INS to justify his rendition from Canada", and stated their explanations "bordered on ridiculousness". The magistrate recommended his immediate release from custody.
Benatta was then held for a further three years in another US prison, shackled in a cell with "WTC" written on the door. He claims to have been tortured by prison officials and other prisoners.

In July 2006, he was returned to Canada to continue with his Canadian refugee application, which is still pending.

Benatta appears to have spent almost five years in two US prisons because Canada handed him over to US authorities for being a Muslim who knew something about planes.
In April, Stockwell Day promised to look into it.

Benatta will attend a rally being held in Toronto at noon today to demand a public review.
How's everyone doin' with that "one security perimeter" concept?

h/t Mostly Water for rally details

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Six years later...

Just a couple of old war buddies, kickin' back, watchin' the game

Can't imagine how they once got along without each other....

And a very fine post from JJ

SPP : Water is "On the Table"

We need a national policy on water NOW.

"Both the 1989 Canada-U.S. Free-Trade Agreement and the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA, which includes Mexico) were supposed to settle the water question. It didn't happen. As an afterthought, the Canadian, Mexican and U.S. governments issued a joint statement in 1993 saying NAFTA creates "no rights to the natural water resources" of any trading partner. To this day, the statement remains unsigned."
The above is from "On the Table", a research report released yesterday at a one-day panel on water sovereignty at the University of Toronto's Munk Centre for International Studies.
One of the authors, Ralph Pentland, is a former director of water planning and management with the Canadian federal government, and he says Canada doesn't have a national water policy, leaving it up to the individual provinces to decide whether or not to begin the bulk water shipments to the US which would become impossible to stop, once started, due to NAFTA.
To date, Quebec, Ontario, and Newfoundland have made noises in that direction.

The good news is that the report is getting into the print media.

Edmonton Journal : Water exports to U.S. remain on table until we take them off
Ottawa must take clear stand against growing pressure
"Are Canadians ready for the next big trade issue -- a concerted effort by the United States to acquire Canada's fresh water, and a willingness by some influential Canadians to sell it?"

Ottawa Citizen : Down the river
"Despite claims to the contrary, water is on the table in trade negotiations -- we need to be clear with our neighbours that we intend to keep this precious resource"

Toronto Star : Canada's watershed moment: Let's take exports off the table
"National water policy should be based on stewardship, not commoditization"

This last was written by Tom Axworthy, notable for having been part of the Task Force on the Future of North America back in 2005 along with Michael Wilson, John Manley, and Wendy Dobson. They wrote that now infamous study sponsored by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the US Council on Foreign Relations - you know, the one which recommended one currency; one passport; one foreign policy; one set of environmental, health, and safety standards; one immigration policy; one security perimeter; and a North American brand name to be introduced in schools.

Odd how far along we are on all those now thanks to the SPP, huh?

To his credit, Axworthy appended a dissenting opinion on the security perimeter and the inclusion of water resources before he quit that committee. Interesting to read an insider's alarm on this issue.

Unlike say - John Baird, Peter MacKay, Jim Abbott and Int Trade Committee Chair Julian Benoit.
Prodded in June by NDP MP Peter Julian who rightly connects water rights with the SPP, all three opposition parties requested a note be sent to Mexico and the US asking for a clarification of their positions on the unsigned NAFTA afterthought statement. Baird, MacKay, Abbott and Benoit reacted as if an ugly family secret was being aired in public.

Baird said water was not a trade issue and thus didn't bear discussion and it was silly to even bring it up, while Abbott said it would be folly, even dangerous, to open the NAFTA can of worms and then try to close it up again.
OK, so the Con position is that it's both too insignificant and too explosive an issue.

And MacKay.....MacKay's response was interesting :

"On the issue of bulk water export, the government has no intention of entering into any negotiations behind closed doors, or otherwise, regarding the matter of bulk water exports."
Sounds pretty definitive, Pete.
How about provincial govs? We already have a Chapter 11 compensation court case going on since 1997 here in BC over the BC gov reneging on a water contract with Sunbelt in California. Does that count?
A US water bottling company has just bought the rights to a lake and its tributaries in Quebec. And what about US corpses with contracts to use massive amounts of water in Alberta tarsands operations? Does that count as opening the door to foreign ownership? Will we ultimately have to compete with US corpses on Canadian soil for our own water?

When the roguing of parliament is finally over, we have got to hold the GnuGovs hoofs to the fire on implementing a national water policy. And they are welcome to go on about '13 years of Lib misrule' as much as they like on this one as far as I'm concerned. We've already lost sovereignty over our oil and gas. Let's try and at least keep stewardship of our water.

Endnote : Like a family member you take entirely for granted, the Council of Canadians somehow never winds up being quoted or credited on this blog for their stellar work on bringing the vulnerability of our water into the public eye. Consider it done here - The Council of Canadians Water Page.

Monday, September 10, 2007

About that word "consensus"

When I use a word, Humpty Harper said in a rather scornful tone, it means just what I choose it to mean.
June 22, 2007 Macleans : Harper won't extend Afghan mission without consensus among Canadians
"Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he wants a consensus among Canadians, not just parliamentarians, about the country's future role in Afghanistan."
Sept 9, 2007 G&M : Tories willing to wait for Afghan consensus
"Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he will delay a vote on extending the Afghanistan mission will until he is sure that Parliament will agree to keep Canadian troops in the war-torn country past February 2009.
“But I don't see a necessity of rushing into a vote, unless we're able to have a situation where a vote would be successful, where there would be some agreement among at least some of the opposition parties that would carry the day and would give a mandate to our armed forces,” said Mr. Harper."
Sept 9, 2007 CNews : "Harper said he's still seeking a consensus, but a government official later said that consensus has to be in line with the government's wishes.
The official said that "consensus" means 50-per-cent plus one MP in a parliamentary vote."
The question is, said Humpty Harper, which is to be master - that is all.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Steve, talkin' trash

Impolitical asks : Why do Conservatives think it's OK to trash Canada's reputation while abroad?

Steve at APEC, 2007 : "Ladies and gentlemen, let me conclude by noting that one of the top priorities of our new government has been to restore Canada’s stature and influence on the world stage."

Well, Impolitical, it's actually sort of a timeless Con tradition :

Steve to US Council for National Policy, 1997 : "Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it."

Plus ├ža friggin' change...

War... What is it good for?...Absolutely boatloads of money

The Globe and Mail has a four page excerpt from Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine :

"In December, 2006, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group fronted by James Baker issued its long-awaited report. It called for the U.S. to “assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise” and to “encourage investment in Iraq's oil sector by the international community and by international energy companies.”

The Bush administration immediately pushed ahead by helping to draft a radical new oil law for Iraq, which would allow companies like Shell and BP to sign 30-year contracts in which they could keep a large share of Iraq's oil profits, amounting to tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars – unheard of in countries with as much easily accessible oil as Iraq, and a sentence to perpetual poverty in a country where 95 per cent of government revenues come from oil."

"Explaining why it was justified for such a large percentage of the profits to leave Iraq, the oil companies cited the security risks. In other words, it was the disaster that made the radical proposed law possible."

Naomi Klein's husband, Avi Lewis, interviewed James Baker for his CBC show On The Map. Only one in twenty Iraq MPs saw that oil law before it was passed. And then there are the profits to be made from the privatization of war. Klein :

"Associated Press put the number of contractors in Iraq at 120,000, almost equivalent to the number of U.S. troops. In scale, this kind of privatized warfare has already overshadowed the United Nations. The UN's budget for peacekeeping in 2006-2007 was $5.25-billion – that's less than a quarter of the $20-billion Halliburton got in Iraq contracts, and the latest estimates are that the mercenary industry alone is worth $4-billion."

In a book interview on CBC's TheCurrent this week, Klein remains obstinately hopeful. Canadians have been fighting "disaster capitalism" for decades, she says, with their continued support for public infrastructure and medicare. The best insurance against being "shocked" into accepting any colonialist corporate agenda is to be ready for it by being informed. Go, Naomi.

Immediately following Klein's CBC interview, Greg Palast and Aurel Braun from Trinity College heatedly discuss the book. Aurel Braun gets the phrase 'conspiracy theory' out a couple of times before Palast puts the ideological boots to him. It must really bite Brown's ass that Palast, who actually studied under Milton Friedman and the Chicago boys, can so easily one-up a Friedman apologist like Braun, who didn't.

Go on - treat yourself.


Friday, September 07, 2007

"The Shock Doctrine" on YouTube

"Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around."—Milton Friedman
The Shock Doctrine is the secret history of the "free market" and how it came to dominate the world.
"Like the terrorized prisoner who gives up the names of comrades and renounces his faith, shocked societies often give up things they would otherwise fiercely protect."
~ Naomi Klein
Naomi has a short 6 minute vid up on YouTube entitled The Shock Doctrine
YouTube courtesy of Skdadl at POGGE via Bread and Roses.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

"Raising Canada's leadership role, once again, in the UN"

Well, Canada's status as a rogue nation anyway, courtesy of the Cons.

Macleans :
"The United Nations is set to adopt a new Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People despite what critics say was aggressive opposition from Canada.
Supporters say the declaration is a long overdue step toward limiting the abuse and murder of indigenous peoples around the world.
Observers close to the process say Canada supported the declaration until soon after the Conservatives took power.
They say the new government aligned itself with the U.S., Russia and Colombia in a well-financed bid to derail the declaration.
The Conservatives say the document could undermine Canada's Constitution and harm existing land deals.
Supporters say Canada's position makes no legal sense because the declaration is non-binding and would not override Canadian law."

We can put that one with the other UN resolutions Canada has seen fit to obstruct or abstain from or vote against since the Cons took power :
~ Kyoto Accord
~ The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination
~ That Israel be urged to join a nuclear non-proliferation treaty
~ Humanitarian aid to Palestinian women
~ Moratorium on bottom trawling the ocean floor
~ The Right To Food - Sept 16, 2006

The last one is especially galling in light of the fact that two days later on Sept 18 2006 Harper boasted the Cons were "certainly raising Canada's leadership role, once again, in the United Nations and in the world community."

Of couse he was talking about war at the time.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Harper plans to recall Parliament on Oct 16

Hell, I can recall Parliament right now - it's that Gothic Revival building down in Ottawa where politicians spout inanities and bullshit, often in the same sentence :

In explaining why he prorogued Parliament, Harper said he was "pleased to report that Canada is united, our government is clean and our economy is strong. Now it’s time to launch the next phase of our mandate."

Evidently we've moved on to Getting Things More Doner...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

SPP : Jelly beans and the DHS

At the Montebello press conference, a reporter asked Harper, Bush, and Calderon point blank whether the SPP agenda on border security, energy, and streamlining regulations was a prelude to a North American union and hey, what about that NAFTA highway?
Harper :
"Is the sovereignty of Canada going to fall apart if we standardize the jelly bean? You know, I don't think so."
Bush twice said he was "amused by the conspiracy theories" and "It's quite comical, actually, when you realize the difference between the reality and what some people are talking on TV about."

Jelly beans and Bush's particular take on reality vs TV. OK then.

The above letterhead is from one of the only internal government documents we have to date on the SPP. Obtained via a Freedom of Information request from the US government watchdog group, Judicial Watch, it is a memo from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, this Michael Chertoff :
"I want to take this opportunity to thank you and your respective staffs for your support of the SPP up to this point. The components involved in the development of the SPP implementation report substantially advanced our homeland security agenda with Canada and Mexico." 
"DHS-led U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico groups already in existence will take on the SPP actions within their scope. That said, the SPP has, in addition to identifying a number of new action items, comprehensively rolled up most of our existing homeland security-related policy initiatives with Canada and Mexico, and ongoing action and reporting in the various U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico working groups led by DHS should now be driven by a single agenda : the SPP."
We now return you to your regularly scheduled coverage of jelly beans and Bush's take on reality.

Monday, September 03, 2007

MacKay announces surge in GnuGov bullshit

Sunday New York Times Front Page :
Afghan Police Suffer Setbacks as Taliban Adapt
"A year after Canadian and American forces drove hundreds of Taliban fighters from the area, the Panjwai and Zhare districts southwest of Kandahar, the rebels are back and have adopted new tactics. Carrying out guerrilla attacks after NATO troops partly withdrew in July, they overran isolated police posts and are now operating in areas where they can mount attacks on Kandahar, the south’s largest city.
The setback is part of a bloody stalemate that has occurred between NATO troops and Taliban fighters across southern Afghanistan this summer. NATO and Afghan Army soldiers can push the Taliban out of rural areas, but the Afghan police are too weak to hold the territory after they withdraw."

Sunday CanWest News :
"At least 30 Canadian soldiers were killed, and dozens more wounded, during operations last year to kill and root out insurgents from the districts around Kandahar. Canada and its allies therefore rely on Afghan police to hold strategic areas. But the Afghan police are notoriously unreliable, underpaid and poorly trained and equipped."

Sunday CTV Interview with Peter MacKay :
"Canadian sacrifices in Kandahar “have paved the way for incredible progress,” he said. “We’re seeing an Afghan army and Afghan police force able to participate in a more fulsome way in the defence and security of their own country.”
MacKay’s comments signalled the start of a new public relations campaign by the Conservative government on the home front this weekend, designed to highlight the successes of the mission and sell the war to Canadians.
“I think you’re going to see a more concerted effort to make those statements and demonstrate the progress that has come about because of the work of our military,” MacKay said on Sunday."

h/t Rambling Socialist

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Labour Day

April Reign : Revolution
"If we continue to allow our truths to be substituted with bigotry, prejudice, half truths and downright lies, we allow ourselves to just follow orders. We allow ourselves to see our fellow human being as less worthy, as less important and as less. We trade our humanity for the crumbs that fall from the masters table and the dangled suggestion that one day we may sup there.
Now is the time for truth. Now is the time for revolution."

Dawg's Blawg : Peace, Violence, and Activism
"...we all clapped politely and made our way to the exits and the rest of our lives. Another day of peaceful protest. Thank you, First Nations. And thank you, labour movement, environmental movement, anti-war movement, for not really upsetting us or inconveniencing us or challenging us in any way. You behaved yourselves. And so you'll have our support and even our respect, and your decorum will be noted in news stories, columns and editorials. Just don't go trying to change anything. "

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Poem for Iggy

The puffin is a noble bird
It buries its own crap
Its favorite mode of landing
Is arse-over-teakettle asap.

Unlike those dodgy penguins
With their "family values" rap,
A puffin lays an egg just once a year -
Which is a lot less often than a certain aspiring Liberal Party leader chap.

Link : Excrement-hiding bird championed as Liberal symbol
But for the record? I think Ignatieff was just goofing around.

LOL !! : See Mes Amis' poem in the comments

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