Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Mighty Wind is still blowing : CBC still blows

Heather Mallick : "I am immensely attached to the CBC. You try living outside Toronto and trying to understand the country you live in without having the CBC on TV, on the radio or online. It can’t be done.
If Stephen Harper wins the next federal election, the CBC will be no more."

Link round-up on the CBC's censure of Heather Mallick and her article "A Mighty Wind blows through Republican Convention" and their promise to get more 'fair and balanced' real soon :

Heather's column, reprinted at her website - the one the CBC pulled.

CBC Ombudsman's Review

CBC News Letter from Publisher John Cruikshank:
"We erred in our judgment" You can leave comments!

Blogger round-up :

Creekside : A Mighty Wind blows up the arse of the CBC
here and at The Galloping Beaver

Canadian Cynic : Who's your daddy, CBC?

Unrepentant Old Hippie : CBC - Canadian Butt-kissing Corporation

The Gazetteer : Ask Not What the CBC Can Do For Our Heather...

Canadian Cynic : CBC Gutless, Cowers Before Freepers

CathiefromCanada : Does anyone think Palin's a good choice?

Dawg's Blawg : Dear MotherCorp

Designated Driver of North America : CBC panders to Fox News, the National Post, and a right-wing astroturf campaign

This is our publicly owned CBC pandering to privately-owned right-wing pressure talking points. Fox News was offended? Please. If you don't want to see some variation of CBC Guest Columnist Ann Coulter any time soon,
let them know.

Now RossK has an idea .....

If I missed you in the round-up, let me know in comments.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A mighty wind blows up the arse of the CBC

CBC caves on Heather Mallick's column; promises more rightwing talking points real soon
Jesus freaking baby momma o' god.

The CBC Ombudsman reviews Mallick's column on VP Embarrassment-in-Waiting Sarah Palin, "A Mighty Wind Blows Through the Republican Convention", and cites this quote :

"It’s possible that Republican men, sexual inadequates that they are, really believe that women will vote for a woman just because she’s a woman. They’re unfamiliar with our true natures. Do they think vaginas call out to each other in the jungle night?"

Great line that last one, wasn't it? Here's the ombudsman's response:
"Ms. Mallick’s item generally stays in the opinion column but she does offer some flat statements that appear to offer "facts" without any backup. For instance, there is no factual basis for a broad scale conclusion about the sexual adequacy of Republican men."
Yes, there really is nothing more ridiculous than a prissy serious pants deconstruction of snark, is there?
The ombudsman notes, apparently without irony, that Natty Post writer Jonathon Kay "urged readers to write to complain", and gets skittish on the topic of the CBC being "government-owned":

"I even received a phone call from the Fox News web outlet inquiring whether the views expressed represented the position of Canadians and "the Government of Canada."
Oh dear, the Fox is among the chickens again. And speaking of Fox :

"On CBCNews.ca, there does not appear to be a wide range of "pointy" views. For instance, many of those who complained claimed that there is no one of an opposite ideological viewpoint readily apparent on the service. Unfortunately, this appears to be true."

Uh-oh. Cue CBCNewshead John Cruickshank : We erred in our judgment

"Mallick's column is a classic piece of political invective. It is viciously personal, grossly hyperbolic and intensely partisan. And because it is all those things, this column should not have appeared on the CBCNews.ca site …
We failed you in this case. And as a result we have put new editing procedures in place to insure that in the future, work that is not appropriate for our platforms, will not appear."
He also notes the Fox censure, then :

"Ombudsman Carlin makes another significant observation in his response to complainants: when it does choose to print opinion, CBCNews.ca displays a very narrow range on its pages. In this, Carlin is also correct. This, too, is being immediately addressed. CBCNews.ca will soon expand the diversity of voices and opinions and be home to a diverse group of writers with many perspectives. In this, we will better reflect the depth and texture of this country."
Uh huh. CBC : "Fair and Balanced".
Good. In that case I expect to hear a good deal more from the poor, the left, the disabled, prisoners, feminists, First Nations, and people who don't live in Toronto.

And is this the "great wind" of a possible Con majority you're feeling here, CBC?
The ombudman wrote that "Liberty is not the same as license"; maybe Cruikshank is hearing "Liberty is not the same as having a licence."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

SPP - Canada Election 08

Paul Manley, the guy who shot this footage of police provocateurs attempting to start a riot at the Stop the SPP protests in Montebello Quebec, is working on a documentary about the SPP.
In the meantime he has produced this short vid about all the questions not being asked in this election about issues related to the Security and Prosperity Partnership and Canada-EU Free Trade Ageement. An excellent short history.

Why isn't this an election issue?

Go Nanaimo Blog!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

9/11 changed everything about Steve's election campaign

"He does little mainstreeting, invariably makes announcements before small, hand-picked groups and addresses political rallies where every person in the audience has to register with officials from the local Conservative party organization."

Yesterday Harper explained why : "...when we're dealing in an era of global terrorism and these kinds of things, there are a disturbing number of threats to the country and specifically to whoever occupies the office of prime minister. This is unfortunate but it's reality."

RCMP spokesperson : "The RCMP will respond to any situation that could potentially jeopardize the safety and security of the Prime Minister of Canada."

Why just last week Steve had to call on the RCMP to protect him from security risks hiding in reporters' questions.
Also at risk are all Con candidates who are approached by national reporters - particularly Dona Cadman, whose mouth is apparently under house arrest for her own safety - and several Con candidates who are unfortunately unable to participate in candidate debates , even in their home ridings.

Man, does this Obama guy not get the whole 9/11 security thing or what? :

Friday, September 26, 2008


Election time and we're all about the framing but when someone busts through that frame, suddenly we're paying attention.

Elizabeth May : "May urged Canadians to do all they can to throw Prime Minister Stephen Harper out of office, including strongly suggesting they shouldn't vote Green if another candidate has a better chance at defeating a Conservative.

"We are too close to the edge of a global apocalypse," May said in an interview. "We have got to grab the opportunities we have. And, clearly, the contribution Canadians can make to a global solution is to get rid of Stephen Harper."

"I'd rather have no Green seats and Stephen Harper lose, than a full caucus that stares across the floor at Stephen Harper as prime minister, because his policies are too dangerous," she said."


Michael Byers, NDP - Vancouver Centre :
"We need to go after the big polluters, we need to shut the tarsands down."


Canada's first anti-terrorism act conviction

Yesterday the first person in Canada was found guilty of "participating in terrorist activity" under Canada's new anti-terrorism laws. A teen at the time of his arrest, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

G&M : "Despite the fact there was no evidence that he planned, or even knew about, any specific plot, he was found guilty of participating in a terrorist group.
Despite the marginal nature of the case, Canada's security agencies are buoyed that a terrorism conviction is finally on the books. “All of the folks on this file are really breathing better on it ... It's a big confidence builder,” said Senator Colin Kenny, who heads a committee that probes national-security agencies.

Experts added that the weaknesses in the case illustrate how strong the law is.
"The ruling may indicate that ‘participation in terrorism' becomes the favoured charge, much as ‘material support for terrorism' has south of the border,” University of Toronto law Professor Kent Roach said of a charge laid in dozens of U.S. cases."

After the ruling, the prosection's main witness, Mubain Shaikh, spoke to reporters.
As the RCMP mole who was paid $77,000 to set the group up for arrest, later demanding a further $300,000, Shaikh provided the group with its only weapon - a 9mil handgun. He convinced our reluctant teen to attend the training camp by telling him it was a religious retreat:
"I don't believe he was a terrorist," Shaikh said. "I don't believe he should have been put through what he was put through. But that's our system." Shaikh said he did not believe that the defendant was aware of the group's violent plans."

At the trial : CBC : "Shaikh said the accused was invited to the training camp under false pretences.
Having recently converted from Hinduism to Islam, the accused was eager to learn. So Shaikh told him the camp was a religious retreat where he would learn about the faith and also test physical skills, as laid out in the Koran.
Shaikh said the accused never heard a word of alleged plans to blow up buildings or behead the prime minister."

As Hysperia put it: "Charged for something that someone else might have been doing without your knowledge"
No matter. Finally we have our first anti-terrorism act conviction in the war of terror.

Under the CTV story reporting the ruling, there are 105 comments. Eight allude to some aspect of the case. A few take the opportunity to proclaim this proves we should vote for Harper on Oct. 14. Among the remaining 90 or so are the following suggestions :

~Who paid for the defense?He should also have been charged with treason and lose the Canadian citizenship."
~now we can take back our nation from the criminals.
~Send him to Gitmo
~Lock him up for life in a 8x6 ft. cell for 23 out of 24 hours each day
~Its a shame that taxpayers' money is wasted on trials like this. if a person is found doing this they should be put away without the trial.
~get this guy's name out
~this does make it tough to be critical of the liberal appointed judges though. We will have to come up with some other way of discrediting them.
~In simpler days, they would have been dealt with by a length of rope.
~they should all be tried under a war tribunal and not the civilian courts.
~tie them with a steel chain in the middle of Lake Ontario.
~Under our terror act we should name names
~it's time we stopping letting just anyone into the country.
~see how the fellow in-mates treat them. I think we all know it wouldn't be a warm welcome!
~Youth or not all of their faces and names should be plastered all over this country.
~Free, law-abiding citizens have rights -criminals give them up when they commit crimes
~What would scare these type of people is to strip them of their natural citizenship
~he was probably born in Canada so he gets to stay. If not, deport him after the time served or better yet deport him to serve time in the cushy Middle East jails, if they would actually do this.
~10 years!? I'm speechless. Why is he not looking at 100 years?
~I think it's about time we stopped letting people from other country's into Canada.
~the Charter of Rights has left us good law abiding citizens the shaft and the criminals all the breaks
~you are released from jail into a body bag or coffin.
~I like the idea of that prison in Colorado?, virtually inaccessible, prioners in complete isolation, with 1 hour out by themselves, no phone TV or visitors for the rest of their lives.
~His whole family should be deported.
~what happened to hanging?
~Treason/High Treason in Canada should result in a pubic hanging on Parlament Hill of the accused

All in all I'd say Canada's war of terror seems to be progressing quite well.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

VANOC trademarks "with glowing hearts"

G&M : "Earlier this month, VANOC quietly applied to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office for trademark rights to the phrase "with glowing hearts," part of the well-known refrain in O Canada: "With glowing hearts we see thee rise, the true North strong and free."

Presumably the phrase will be added to their previously trademarked "winter, gold, silver, bronze, sponsor, Vancouver, Whistler, 2010, tenth, medals, and games", all of which are off-limits to businesses which have not paid for the privilege of becoming a Five Ring Circus sponsor.

So if you were just about to launch "Laundry Bleach With Glowing Hearts", or "With Glowing Hearts Diesel Fuel", or "Dietary Supplements With Glowing Hearts and Edible Fats", you're shit out of luck.
Ditto : "With Glowing Hearts Beer Blogs and Bathrobes"

I'm already starting to regret missing out on that last one.

Almost Anybody But Conservative

Vote For Environment is an online campaign to prevent the centre to centre-left vote-splitting that resulted in a Con victory last time round in our crappy first-past-the-post voting system.

The site looks at 63 key ridings in which a united vote to defeat the Cons would have been successful in 2006 if at least one-third of those parties' supporters had voted for the leading opposition party in their riding instead of voting their individual conscience.
Entering your postal code takes you to a map of your riding and a dropdown box of the most recent election predictions from VFE, Ekos, Nanos, and Decima, updated daily.

Of the 63 ridings, the Vote For Environment strategy would see 44 seats go to the Liberals, 11 to New Democrats, seven to Bloc candidates and one to Elizabeth May of the Green party.

Co-creators Kevin Grandia of the excellent De Smog Blog and Alice Klein of NOW mag are indeed both Libs and while they strive mightily to be party-neutral in their endorsements, dippers will certainly be disputing some of their calls, if not the entire notion of strategic voting.
It's early days yet.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Strategic voting - a Liberal Con

Snagged from Paulitics : this great graphic of 12 months of polls in BC.
Greens and Cons are up, while the Libs show every indication of coming dead last among the four parties.

Cue a little chat about strategic voting from Liberal Bob Rae at Team BC :
"Former NDP Premiers Bob Rae and Ujjal Dosanjh teamed-up Friday to deliver a message to progressive voters: to fight for British Columbia and stop the conservatives, the only choice for progressive voters is the Liberal Party of Canada.

Rae said that he returned to federal politics to stop Stephen Harper and said he’s determined to do just that, describing this last parliament ... as the house that Jack built."
And this is the guy the Libs have sent out to talk us into strategic voting ?
Suck on this, Bob :

Strategic voting is a horrible horrible horrible and sometimes necessary choice, depending on what's going on in your individual riding. I've done it.

But somehow the Lib call for strategic voting always amounts to "Vote for us or the Cons will get in!", even when, as in BC, it's obviously the worst possible available strategic choice to get rid of the Cons.

As Thwap said at Pogge's : "Rae, you miserable ignorant slut."

"Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion flatly rejected forming a coalition government with the New Democrats today on the heels of hints from NDP Leader Jack Layton that he'd be open to the idea.
Mr. Dion, speaking after an address to a Vancouver-area business crowd today, said he could not work with Mr. Layton in this way because the NDP leader wants to hike taxes on business."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Will the Canada-EU Free Trade Agreement out-NAFTA NAFTA?

Be careful what you wish for.

Melvin J Howard, CEO of the Arizona-based Centurion Health Corporation, is in the process of filing a NAFTA Chapter 11 complaint against Canada's public healthcare system. Although our government has repeatedly assured us that Canadian healthcare is protected under NAFTA, recent tinkering with P-3s and privatization by the Quebec, BC, and Alberta governments has led Mr. Howard to believe he has a case, as argued on his blog :

1. Canada claims to have exemptions on their public health care system.
2. Canada has registered health insurance at the World Trade Organization as a financial service.
3. The World Trade Organization allows governments to exempt any service provided "in the exercise of government authority," as long as such services are not also available commercially.
4. Canadian private companies are already in the health business in Canada.
5. NAFTA dictates that Canadian, US, and Mexican businesses must have equal opportunities in all three countries.
6. Centurion has been barred from having the same investment opportunities private Canadian companies enjoy because it is based in the US.
7. Enter Chapter 11.

Mr. Howard is claiming $4 million in expenses and an additional $150 million in lost profit after a failed attempt to invest in the BC health care system. Although he has put his claim on hold until after the Canadian election, he states his intention to proceed "after the new Government is installed" if private negotiations with the federal government do not satify him.

Yesterday Red Tory was rather amused at my post on Harper's insistence on keeping his upcoming secret squirrel Canada-EU Free Trade Agreement negotiations out of the public eye till after the election. A "yawning non-story" and a "conspiracy theory", he said, despite the fact that the EU negotiators have already pressured Canada into accepting, as a precondition of their participation, a stipulation "which would require that Canadian governments allow European companies to bid as equals on government contracts for both goods and services and end the favouring of local or national providers of public-sector services."

I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this.
After, say, a company in Liechtenstein wins the bid to run the CBC on a for-profit basis, how long do you think it will take Fox News to file a Chapter 11 complaint at the WTO? An extreme and unlikely scenario to be sure, but I submit it to all of you who take comfort in the idea that a free trade agreement with the EU would naturally provide a much-needed corrective balance to NAFTA and our trade dependence on the U.S. Under the corporate-friendly conditions Canada has unfortunately already agreed to so far in the EU talks, I see no assurance that the balance will necessarily tip in our favour.

And Harper doesn't want to talk about it.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Japan agriculture minister quits over tainted rice

"Japan's agriculture minister resigned Friday in a widening scandal over rice contaminated with mold and pesticide that was sold as food for thousands of people, including schoolchildren and nursing home patients."

Resigned voluntarily.

Just sayin', Gerry.

Canada to integrate with the EU?

"Welcome to the official Web site of the Mission of Canada to the European Union", says the Government of Canada Canada-EU website.

Canada-EU trade proposal rivals scope of NAFTA
"Canadian and European officials say they plan to begin negotiating a massive agreement to integrate Canada's economy with the 27 nations of the European Union, with preliminary talks to be launched at an Oct. 17 summit in Montreal three days after the federal election."

"an effort to begin what a senior EU official involved in the talks described in an interview yesterday as “deep economic integration negotiations.”

"The two governments have completed a detailed study of the proposed agreement that will be unveiled shortly after the election, should the Conservatives win."

Deep economic integration? Should the Conservatives win?
How come we haven't heard about this before?

"European officials said Prime Minister Stephen Harper decided not to release until after the election..."

Yes, let's not risk having a summit on deep integration spoil the election.

"Because of the election, Mr. Harper appears to have decided not to unveil a full text of the proposed agreement, but instead to use the summit to inaugurate the trade talks with the launch of a “scoping exercise” that will quickly set the goals of the pact and lead to formal “comprehensive trade and investment negotiations” to begin in “early 2009”, according to communications between senior Canadian and European officials examined by The Globe and Mail."

You know, maybe this could be a good thing - diversify and increase our markets and all that.

"Proponents, including all of Canada's major business-lobby organizations, are in favour of the deal .."

I see. So the electorate is not to be included in the information loop yet, but the Canadian Council of Chief Executives has already given its stamp of approval. If it's anything like the SPP, I'll bet they wrote it, and if I go over to their website, they'll be bragging about it already.

"The proposed pact would far exceed the scope of older agreements such as NAFTA by encompassing not only unrestricted trade in goods, services and investment and the removal of tariffs, but also the free movement of skilled people and an open market in government services and procurement – which would require that Canadian governments allow European companies to bid as equals on government contracts for both goods and services and end the favouring of local or national providers of public-sector services."

"Ottawa officials say they have overcome what they see as their biggest hurdle: the resistance of provincial governments to an agreement that would force them to allow European corporations to provide their government services, if their bids are the lowest.

So it's a Canada-EU TILMA then.
But why now?

"With the breakdown of World Trade Organization talks in July, European officials have become much more interested in opening a bilateral trade and economic integration deal with North America. A pact with the United States would be politically impossible in Europe, senior European Commission officials said."

Yes, you can see why Harper might not want this to come up now, just before the election.
The theme of this Sunday's Cross Country Check Up on CBC is the economy.
Their phone number is : 1-888-416-8333.
I think more people should know about this before the election whether Steve likes it or not.


Christie Blatchford wishes everyone would just shut the hell up about AgMin Gerry Ritz's appalling remarks about the listeriosis deaths:
"He wasn't speaking publicly. He was at work ... He was having what he assumed was a private discussion."
Besides, she explains, "It was perfectly normal human behaviour", just like the newsroom she once worked in that "had a pool guessing the date Terry [Fox] would die."
Well, she's Blatchford, isn't she?

RossK at The Gazetteer has his own concerns about all this concentration on Ritz's "death jokes".
In "Are The Media Dropping The Ball To Follow The Shiny Ritz?" , he notes that media attention on the jokes and who leaked them obscures the more important original question of

"who was involved in crafting changes to CFIA policy that led to the removal of government inspectors from meat processing plants after Nov 2007?"
"It is the identity of the person or persons who made that public health policy decision regarding self-regulation, not the identity of the person or persons who squealed on a Minister"
that is important here, says Ross.

Well, exactly.
Ross put the question to hard-working Hill reporter David Akin, whose response raises a whole load of other important issues about the difficulty reporters face in posing any questions to Harper at all. Or anyone else the PMO doesn't want them to talk to.

My take on the unfortunate media concentration on the "jokes" goes like this : People like Blatchford will remember some off-colour remark they made at work and how they didn't get fired for it so why should Ritz?
End of listeriosis issue. End of accountability for 18 deaths. Next.
Till the next Ritzeriosis privatization disaster.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Toronto 18/Paintball 11/Tim Hortons 10 video footage

Footage of the Toronto 18/Paintball 11/Tim Horton's 10 has shown up on a US anti-terrorism website. It is presumably the same footage the Canadian judge declined to release to the media.
Now admittedly I haven't seen many terrorist promotional videos before - ok, none actually - but it's difficult to imagine that recruitment numbers sky-rocketed after watching this jolly bunch perform wheelies in a Canadian Tire parking lot and fall down in the snow.

"The NEFA Foundation has obtained exclusive footage of a would-be "terrorist training camp" that took place in a rural section of Canada in 2006. The camp, directed by CSIS confidential informant Mubin Shaikh, included members of the alleged “Toronto 18” terror cell, who are accused of conspiring to carry out a large-scale terrorist attack in southern Ontario, including plans for truck bombings and storming local buildings such as the Canadian Parliament and the headquarters of the CSIS. The video features footage of the men receiving instruction on the use of handguns, sniper tactics, and basic calisthenics. Crudely edited by its creators to include nasheed music, the video also shows the men practicing evasive driving maneuvers at night in an abandoned parking lot."

In reporting on the footage, the CBC at least notes that the weapons are paintball guns but neither CanWest nor CBC bothered to include the information that the lone handgun was provided by the first RCMP mole
who was paid $77,000 to set the group up for arrest, and who went public on July 13th to declare that he was owed a further $300,000.
Nor do they mention the role of the second RCMP mole, a former CSIS informant, who was paid $4.1M to arrange the purchase of ammonium nitrate on his credit card to be delivered to a warehouse he had rented conveniently located a hundred yards from the RCMP station. $4.1M seems like a lot of money, I know, but at least the RCMP whittled him down from the $16M he had originally asked for.

At the time of the arrests, Parliament was in the process of reviewing the new powers granted the police and security forces under the Anti-Terrorism Act which would allow prosecutors to conceal evidence from the accused and their lawyers on the grounds of protecting national security. Prime Minister Harper personally thanked Bush in a telephone conversation the following Monday for the help provided by US authorities.

A verdict in the trial is expected next week.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The big blue sweater vest gaffes

Our story so far...

1) Cons air campaign ad of a puffin shitting on Dion

2) Communications director Ryan Sparrow publicly questions the motives of a grieving father whose son was killed in Afghanistan.

3) AgMin Gerry Ritz jokes about nine listeria deaths - "a death by a thousand cuts - or should I say cold cuts", and responds to a new death : "Please tell me it's [Lib Ag critic]Wayne Easter."

4) Assistant to Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon disses First Nation protesters : "If you behave and you're sober and there's no problems and if you don't do a sit down and whatever, I don't care."

Steve's response to 1 through 3 : Not me - someone else's fault.
#3 was a bit of a stretch in blame-shifting but eventually Steve settled on the bureaucrats who leaked the remarks. #4 has not yet been assigned.

Harris-Decima polling results - Cons drop 6% points in twelve days, from 42% to 36%.
The big blue sweater continues to unravel...

Happy Working for Free Day!

September 17 is 71% of the way through the year.
Due to the 29% gender pay gap, the average woman will now spend the rest of the year working for free compared to her average male counterpart.

We apologize for failing to note Happy Aboriginal Women Working for Free Day, which roughly coincides with Canada Day each year.

h/t Gigi at Bread and Roses

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Carrying water for elephants

The elephant in the room of this election has been the US market meltdown courtesy of the Republican elephant.
Yesterday Steve took time out from pretending to ignore it altogether to express his concern that we might not let him carry water for Uncle Miltie's neo-liberal fantasy economics any more :
"In a time of economic uncertainty, I do think the country needs a strong government that's able to govern," Mr. Harper told journalists in Toronto. "My concern is that obviously, going forward, that we have a government that's going to be sabotaged by a bunch of parties who don't want our economy to be successful."
Yeah, that's it, Steve, you prat. They just want to sabotage Canada.
Speaking of sabotage, Steve, as an economist PM, you have implemented de-regulation of food and airline safety and the abandonment of independent Canadian regulation and testing of pesticides and drugs. In fact your singular economic achievement since taking office has been to turn the $13B surplus you inherited from PM Martin into $60B in corporate tax cuts.
Decent short article on economic cycles : Teetering between Keynes and Friedman :
"When the pyramid starts crumbling, taxpayers must step in to refinance the banking system, revive mortgage markets and prevent economic collapse."
I'm guessing a surplus would be more useful here than a pledge to continue carrying water for Uncle Miltie's Republican elephant.
Cue the hilarious How the markets really work one more time.
Image from Banksy

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Steve and Kory woo teh wimminz

In their efforts to humanize Steve for resistant women voters, the Stephen Harper Image Team (S.H.I.T.) have been working really hard on his fuzzies, seeming to lift all their moves from Bill Murray's desperate and cynical courtship of Rita in the movie "Groundhog Day". But we've been here before and we won't get fooled again.
In their efforts to humanize Steve for resistant women voters, the Stephen Harper Image Team (S.H.I.T.) have been working really hard on his fuzzies, seeming to lift all their moves from Bill Murray's desperate and cynical courtship of Rita in the movie "Groundhog Day". But we've been here before and we won't get fooled again.
In their efforts to humanize Steve...


Apart from the Greens, the numbers are the same as on Election Day in 2006.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Why are we in Afghanistan?

US airstrike that killed 90 Afghan civilians based on false tip
"Afghan police arrested three people and accused them of providing the false tip that led to last month’s disastrous US air strike in Herat Province which a UN investigation determined killed at least 90 civilians and strained ties between NATO forces and the Afghan government.

The US claimed to have targeted and killed a known militant commander in the strike along with 30 militants, but villagers insist that the information that led to the strike was provided to the US by a rival tribesman named Nader Tawakil, whom the US has placed under protective custody.

After the incident, the United States denied that civilians were killed and accused villagers who spoke of the higher death tolls of spreading “outrageous Taliban propaganda“. They continued their denials well after both the United Nations and several investigations by the Afghan government all found similar numbers of slain civilians, but promised to “review” its initial claims after a video emerged showing a large number of dead civilians in the village mosque in the wake of the attack."

NYTimes : "The operation, conducted by U.S. Special Forces and Afghan soldiers, targeted Afghan employees of a British security firm and their family members."

This sad story serves as a microcosm for the whole Afghanistan adventure - the invasion of a country based on a pretext, lies about military success amid the mounting civilian casualties, the reframing of the invasion as a mission of peacekeeping in which the recipients of our largesse refuse to co-operate.

Remind me, why are we in Afghanistan?

Whitehouse press conference, Sept 10, 2008 :
Q But Osama bin Laden is the one that -- you keep talking about his lieutenants, and, yes, they are very important, but Osama bin Laden was the mastermind of 9/11 --
MS. PERINO: No, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the mastermind of 9/11, and he's sitting in jail right now.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

War is a racket

NYTimes : "The U.S. Department of Defense has agreed so far this fiscal year to sell or transfer more than $32 billion in weapons and other military equipment to foreign governments, compared with $12 billion in 2005.
The trend, which started in 2006, is most pronounced in the Middle East, but it reaches into northern Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and even Canada.
"This is not about being gunrunners,” said Bruce S. Lemkin, the Air Force deputy under secretary who is helping to coordinate many of the biggest sales. “This is about building a more secure world."
Deliveries on orders now being placed will continue for several years, perhaps as one of President Bush’s most lasting legacies.
In that booming market, American military contractors are working closely with the Pentagon, which acts as a broker and procures arms for foreign customers through its Foreign Military Sales program.
About 60 countries get annual military aid from the United States, $4.5 billion a year, to help them buy American weapons. Israel and Egypt receive more than 80 percent of that aid.
Mr. Lemkin, of the Pentagon, said that with so many nations now willing to sell advanced weapons systems, the United States could not afford to be too restrictive in its own sales.
"Would you rather they bought the weapons and aircraft from other countries?” he said. “Because they will."
U.S. and presumably also Canadian Armed Forces will be facing those "tanks, helicopters, fighter jets, missiles, remotely piloted aircraft, and even warships" on Steve's "world stage" for decades to come. Bastards.
War is a racket.

Two reports zap TASER™

but first let's look at one that doesn't.

Two weeks ago the Annual Canadian Conference of Chiefs of Police, sponsored in part by TASER™, wisely decided not to release the Canadian Police Research Centre's "2008 Conducted Energy Weapon Report" on TASERS™ pending further peer review. However as of July 31, excerpts from it were available from 2008 TASER™ Int. who were already using it as a marketing tool :

Two-Year Study by Canadian Police Research Centre Finds TASER Devices a SaferUse of Force
TASER International, Inc.(Nasdaq:TASR), a market leader in advanced electronic control devices (ECDs)issued the following NEWS ALERT:

"A two-year study by the Canadian Police Research Centre found that TASER(r)Electronic Control Devises (ECDs) "scored high" in safety for both suspects and officers in Calgary. The 14-page report examined 562 cases in which Calgary police used TASER ECDs, pepper spray, batons, unarmed techniques, and chokeholds against people resisting arrest. Of those cases studied, nearly half were detained with a TASER device and one percent of those suspects resisting arrest ended up Hospitalized and 87 percent sustained either minor injuries or no injuries, according to the report.
The study stated "the commonly held belief" that TASER ECDs carry "a significant risk of injury or death... is not supported by the data."

Yesterday the Star reported on a different independent study ordered by RCMP Commissioner Bill Elliott and obtained Thursday by the Star under Access to Information (and why was an AtI necessary?) :

RCMP didn't study Taser use enough: Report
Hard-hitting review says force relied too heavily on manufacturer's input

"The RCMP did not do "due diligence" when it approved the Taser stun gun for use as a less-than-lethal weapon by its officers, a hard-hitting independent review concludes.

The review says the RCMP relied too much on the advice of the Taser's American manufacturer in developing its policies and training, did not consult widely enough with medical and mental health experts about its impact on people, and did not treat the weapon as a "prohibited firearm" – its proper legal classification.

"Excited delirium" is not a recognized medical diagnosis, but a term sometimes used by emergency room doctors or coroners, the report says. However, its use by police amounts to "folk knowledge" and it should be eliminated from the RCMP's operational manual unless formally approved after consultation with a mental-health policy advisory body, said the review."

Via the Star :
RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon(CEW) Final Report. Excerpted :
"The Commission knows that CEWs have been deployed or threatened to be deployed a minimum of 4234 times and that over the years the number of usage reports has increased."

"The main finding within this report is that the quality of data in the CEW usage database is so poor that any of the policy shifts following the 2001 introduction of the weapon cannot be factually supported. Supervision to ensure proper CEW deployment reporting is faulty and in some cases may be non-existent."

"The number of members present at a scene is also significantly related to the use of the CEW. More precisely, the two increase together. When only one member is present, the CEW is deployed in 71.4% of incidents. However, when two (2) or more members attend, the rate of deployment goes up to between 79.1 and 87.7%. So, if more than one member is present, the likelihood that the CEW will be deployed is increased."

"The command -Police stop or you will be hit with 50,000 volts of electricity! -is actually given prior to engagement in fewer than 40% of cases."

"RCMP training teaches that “excited delirium” is a medical emergency wherein gaining control of the individual for the purpose of treatment is paramount and where the CEW is viewed as the best option to gain that control."

Most importantly, the report also focuses on overall changes in police policy exacerbated by the use of CEWs (italics mine) :
"It is a harbinger of a new model of policing in Canada, one in which the police are a group distinct from the public and whose decisions are the preserve of public safety experts. It is a model in which officer safety takes precedence over that of the general public and where the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is significantly undervalued.
The cumulative effect of these trends over time may reduce the degree of co-operation of the public that is essential to public safety in Canada."

Yes. Stockwell Day, the man nominally responsible for public safety in Canada, has the reports. We'll see which one he goes with.

See also Cathie from Canada and A Creative Revolution.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Elizabeth May to throw Green votes to Dion

says LaPresse : May prête à tout pour battre Harper

At least I think that's what this article says.
Ok here goes my truly terrible French translation :

The leader of the Green Party, Elizabeth May, will ask her troops in the last sprint of the electoral campaign to put all their political weight behind the liberal candidates of Stephan Dion in certain districts where the fight is tight in order to block Stephen Harper's Conservatives.
This forms integral part of the non-aggression pact concluded between the leader of the Green Party and the Liberal leader Stephan Dion in April 2007, LaPresse learned yesterday

OK, we knew that, but :

But this pact also provides that Mrs. May possibly decides in favour of the election of Stephan Dion for Prime Minister in the last days of the electoral campaign. This electoral strategy had never been revealed up to now.
"The idea of the agreement, it is like a non-aggression pact so that the day before the vote, the environmentalist forces in the urban centres join Stephan Dion. In the discussions with Mrs. May, it was implicitly understood that she will launch a call in favour of Mr. Dion. That was always the spirit of the agreement", affirmed a liberal source well acquainted with the talks between the Liberals and the Greens.

Wow. If someone more fluent in French can give me a less clunky translation, I'd be grateful.

Update : "May says there is no deal between her party and the Liberals beyond what she called the leaders' "courtesy arrangement" of not running candidates in each other's ridings.
"There's no truth to it whatsoever," May told reporters at a campaign stop in Toronto.

During the 2007 Green leadership contest, rival David Chernushenko accused May of having actually asked some Green candidates to consider withdrawing from the 2006 election to avoid splitting the centre-left vote and thus helping the Tories.
May rejected Chernushenko's characterization of her actions but acknowledged that she did speak to some Green candidates a week before the 2006 vote.
"I was calling them in desperation to say: What could we do? Could you for instance interest the Liberals if they were interested in talking about proportional representation? Was there room for a coalition there?"

Harper takes Afghanistan off the election menu; MacKay puts it back on

G&M : "Mr. Harper pledged Wednesday to withdraw Canadian troops in 2011 from not just Kandahar, but all of Afghanistan, leaving no room for transfer to a safer region of the country."
CP : "You have to put an end date on these things," Harper said. "We intend to end it."

This new pull-out pledge should appeal both to women voters and to anti-war Quebec, where Harper must make inroads to get his majority.

But won't it also piss off the Con war supporters right before the election?

G&M : "Canada will continue to play a role in Afghanistan even after the military mission ends in 2011, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Thursday. "We're there in numerous roles."

MacKay went on to cite the Canadian International Development Agency, diplomats in Kabul, "a significant number of civilian police trainers and military trainers", and NGOs, all of whom "will continue to support the effort to rebuild Afghanistan."

Well ok then. As you were.
A lot can happen between this election and 2011.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Gordo extends summer vacation to February... again

On a Friday afternoon on the opening day of the Beijing Olympics attended by BC Premier Gordon Campbell, it was announced that 100 senior BC bureaucrats would receive wage increases of up to 43% at a cost to the province of $4M a year. Gordo's deputy minister now makes just under $1000 a day. In June 2007, Gordo awarded himself a 54% pay hike.

Yesterday Gordo cancelled the fall session of the legislature, scheduled to run from October 6 to November 27, just like he did in 2006.
They will not reconvene till Feb 2009.
This means in 2008 they sat for a total of 47 days.

Meanwhile the minimum wage in BC has been locked at $8 per hour since 2001. Someone working for $8 an hour will have to work for 20 years to make what Gordo's deputy minister makes in a year.

Lazy arrogant Socred/Reform Party scum.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

War of the Family Guy ads

G&M : Pre-election ads portray Tory Leader as family guy
"The sale of a warm and loving Stephen Harper launched yesterday with a series of pre-election ads designed to give feeling to the Prime Minister's steely image.
One of the 30-second spots, entitled "Family is everything," portrays Mr. Harper as just an ordinary guy who loves nothing more than spending time with his kids."

G&M : Liberals show 'another side' of Dion
"The Liberal Party will unveil today a website profile of leader Stéphane Dion as an outdoorsy, passionate, family- and dog-loving man with rugged interests welded to the Canadian mythologies of nature and the North."

Evidently we are all morons.

Elizabeth May wins the leaders' debate

Some years ago on the little island where I live, an election campaign was in progress to send a local representative to the Islands Trust, the political body that represented us at the time. A local non-partisan group, led by a very nice progressive man, organized everything : the debates, the campaign literature, all the tedious underpinnings of democracy. They hired me to photograph the candidates.

I was setting up to shoot the obligatory family shot of Iain Benson - lawyer, christian, anti-abortion social conservative, and generally a guy who I disagree with about almost everything, when he asked if we were also going to do a nice family shot of Candidate X, local redneck yahoo who had recently made some rather unflattering and distinctly not worksafe public remarks about Iain being, um, an intellectual elitist - let's just go with that.

"We'll look into that," said nice progressive man.
"Could you look into it now?"asked Iain politely.
"For fuck's sake, Iain," says I, realizing he was actually going to refuse to be photographed unless his rival was included.
"Well wouldn't you say Candidate X has a legitimate constituency here that deserves the same consideration you're extending to me?"
Nice progressive man points out the other four candidates might not agree.
"That's ok," says Iain, "we'll call them up."

Look, I know how annoying this story is. Personally I never want another lesson in ethics or civics from a SoCon ever again but he was right : It isn't about the candidate and whether you like them or not or whether they would do the same for you; it's about their constituency, their supporters - whether you agree with them or not.
May has a constituency running at somewhere under 10% in the polls. I imagine by this time tomorrow the reaction to her being shut out of the leadership debate will have driven it a lot higher.

Losers in the leaders' debate : Harper, Layton, Duceppe. And because of their hypocritical anti-democratic actions, the rest of us too.

What Greg said.

And while we're at it, how about taking final say on what happens in election debates out of the hands of the media!

"Goebbels was in favor of free speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you're in favor of free speech, then you're in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise. Otherwise, you're not in favor of free speech." ~ Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent

We also have an obligation where elections are concerned to ensure that free speech is heard.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Steve's comfy sweater election ads

I see all of Steve's latest comfy sweater election ads feature the tag line :
"Canada. We’re better off with Stephen Harper."
They left off the last word so I fixed it for them.

More helpful election Con ads here.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Off to the polls

Most recent polls above from yesterday's Globe & Mail.
Take a good hard look.
The Cons currently hold 127 of the 308 seats in Parliament, the Libs have 95, Bloc Quebecois - 48, the New Democrats 30 and the Greens have one. Three seats are held by independents, and four are vacant. Harper needs 28 more seats to get his majority.
Coverage from away :
Xinhua from China : Why Canadian prime minister calls early election
"Dragged by a slowdown in the U.S. economy and the high energy cost, Canada's economy has been sluggish this year and may plunge into a recession in 2009. An election campaign next year would be a nightmare for Harper because crabby voters tend to blame the sitting government for the bad economy and punish it by their ballots.
Harper chose to launch the election campaign on Sept. 7 also because he wanted to avoid three by-elections scheduled on Sept. 8. The Conservatives are very likely to lose in all three of them, further reducing their lead in parliament over the Liberals."
CNN : Canadian PM employs loophole in potential power grab
"Robert Bothwell, director of the international relations program at the University of Toronto argued the move was political.
"Harper is going for a majority government. That's really the only issue," he said.
Observers also say Harper wanted a ballot ahead of the U.S. election. Bothwell said if Democrat Barack Obama surges in the next month in the United States, it will help Canada's opposition Liberal party."
Back here in Canada Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe doesn't sugarcoat it much :
"The Conservative Party stands for big oil, guns and a right-wing American-style ideology that threatens women's right to abortion. Like George W. Bush, Stephen Harper has done everything in his power to sabotage the Kyoto Accord [to reduce greenhouse gas emissions],” Mr. Duceppe said."
So we're getting our 5th general election in 11 years and the 3rd in just over 4 years.
Aren't you glad we still have our antiquated undemocratic first-past-the-post system and not one of those notoriously unstable types like STV or MMP which result in frequent elections?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Shorter Pete : Vote Con or the Taliban wins

Responding to an amazingly leading question as to "whether he thought the Taliban would target Canada's military in an attempt to influence the election outcome", Peter MacKay takes the bait :

"I sure hope not," he said. "All I can tell you is the challenge is there, it's real. We've seen the tactics of the Taliban. ... Their tactics know no bounds, know no rules of engagement."

He said the government is aware the Taliban is not just “living in caves and attacking soldiers” and is informed about what is happening in Canada and other parts of the world through the Internet, which also helps them wage their own propaganda war.

"We're mindful of that, we're not deterred by the intimidation and we're going to continue our important work there to the benefit of the Afghan people," he said."

Apparently it's vote Con or the Taliban wins./P.S. Fuck the troops.
Pete then went on to say he doesn't give a rat's ass what Canadians think when asked about "a recent poll that suggested 61 per cent of Canadians believe the cost in lives and money is too high."
Nor does he much care for the opinions of the Afghans apparently
.AP : "A strong sense of frustration echoed through dozens of interviews by The Associated Press with Afghan villagers, police, government officials, tribal elders and Taliban who left and rejoined the religious movement. The interviews ranged from the capital, Kabul, to the rural regions near the border with Pakistan.
The overwhelming result: Ordinary Afghans are deeply bitter about American and NATO forces because of errant bombs, heavy-handed searches and seizures and a sense that the foreigners do not understand their culture. They are equally fed up with what they see as seven years of corruption and incompetence in a U.S.-backed government that has largely failed to deliver on development. Even with more foreign troops, Afghanistan is now less secure.
"It certainly is a mess. Security is the worst that it has been for years. Corruption is out of control. It impacts every single Afghan," says Doug Wankel, a burly 62-year-old American who coordinated Washington's anti-drug policy in Afghanistan from 2004 until 2007 and is now back as a security consultant. "What people have to understand is that what ordinary Afghans think really does matter."
Not to our Pete.
Halifax Chronicle Herald : "It does come at a huge sacrifice," Mr. MacKay said. "The human cost is enormous but the benefits that flow to our country, certainly to Afghanistan and to our allies, are huge."
Huge. I'll tell you what's huge, rat-face.
AP : "It is now so dangerous outside the capital that Afghans are afraid to travel hundreds of miles of newly-paved roads, and most international aid groups have forbidden their staff to do so altogether. Truck drivers who have no choice often say thieves and thieving police are a bigger worry than the Taliban.
An air strike in Herat province about two weeks ago killed dozens of people. A U.S. investigation concluded that most were Taliban, but the Afghan government and the United Nations say up to 90 civilians died, including children.
"There is a contradiction between wanting to minimize Afghan civilian casualties and minimizing U.S. military casualties," says Robert Oakley, a former U.S. ambassador and National Security Council staff member. "For the former, we should go on the ground. For the latter, go in from the air."

AFP : Major General Jeffrey Schloesser, who commands US and international forces in eastern Afghanistan, said Friday he needs more troops to counter growing insurgent violence in Afghanistan.
"The number of insurgent attacks has grown by 20 to 30 percent in the first eight months of this year in the eastern sector along the border with Pakistan, compared to the same period last year, he said. Roadside bombs are up 30 percent over last year, while attacks on such "symbols of governance" as district centers are 40 percent higher this year than last."
Peter MacKay made his remarks at a military trade show.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Fiscally conservative at $3.9-million an hour

"From June 2nd to September 4th, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) tracked 293 pre-election spending announcements totaling $8.8-billion made by Stephen Harper’s Conservative government. That is roughly $94-million a day or about $3.9-million every hour."

The CTF, formerly Steve's very good friends, have been pissed with him for some time now and have published this handy chart of spending gems from which to more accurately get your hate on. My personal fave has to be the admittedly rather smallish grant to create a festival in Shag Harbour, N.S., to commemorate a 1967 UFO sighting. According to their website, someone will be on site painting aliens on rocks.

Meanwhile, amidst all this largesse, the Attawapiskat kids in northern Ontario are expected to wait another eight years before they can have a school. Maybe they should start looking around for some UFOs.

h/t Challenging the Commonplace

Soldier chic

Sears has signed a deal with the U.S. Army to launch the All American Army Brand's First Infantry Division clothing collection - "the first time the U.S. Army has officially licensed its marks and insignias."
The collection, slated to launch nationwide in October, will be made up of "authentic lifestyle reinterpretations".
The Army will also be test piloting an "Army Experience Center" in a mall in Philadelphia "to help visitors virtually experience aspects of Army life" and to build recruitment.
Well, hell, son, you're already wearing the uniform...
Still, you have to feel sorry for the poor "U.S. Army spokesperson" who was made to 'wear' this :
"By incorporating the Army's timeless traditions with iconic styling and unparalleled standards for performance, fit and function, consumers can wear the pride they feel for our troops."
And may I suggest a nice pump to go with that, sir? No? How about a tour in Iraq?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Big "Collaboration Conference" in Banff

The theme of the 8th Conference of Defence Ministers of the Americas being held in Banff, Alberta this week is "Confidence Building through Co-operation and Collaboration".

So how is all that "collaboration" coming along?

US Defense Secretary Robert M. Iran Contra Affair Gates addressed the conference yesterday :
"We have a collective dream: a free, prosperous and secure hemisphere,” he said. “By working together, we can transform that dream into reality and embrace the great promise and potential of the Americas."

Canadian Defence Minister, chief collaborator, and host of the conference Peter MacKay :
"Now more than ever, we are all connected and need to cooperate to achieve the security, democratic development, and prosperity we all desire."

Col. John Cope, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, spoke at a conference pre-meet back in August sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies :
"The lack of operating procedures causes redundancies that could be avoided with greater coordination in the region to streamline efforts. If the Americas can achieve a successful system for disaster response, Cope argued, this will build confidence in regional cooperation and increase countries’ willingness to collaborate in other areas."

Naomi Klein would probably call that "pre-disaster capitalism".

(Speaking of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, also known as CSIS-no-not-that-CSIS-the-other-CSIS, and "collaborating in other areas", whatever happened to their North American Future 2025 Project, conducted in collaboration with the Conference Board of Canada, to draft a blueprint for economic integration of the continent : "the overriding future goal of North America is to achieve joint optimum utilization of the available water."?)
Ok, back to the conference:
US State Department : "Sub-themes for this year's gathering include generating military assistance for regionally or nationally hosted events like the 2010 Winter Olympics in Canada and peacekeeping support in places like Haiti. CDMA's final communiqué may address the need to create a multi-nation disaster task force."

A multi-nation disaster task force? Mutual military assistance for the 2010 Games? That's TOPOFF 5, isn't it? Say, how is TOPOFF 5 coming along anyway? Military contractors still doing both the writing of and bidding on government proposals for the U.S. of A.'s largest counterterrorism exercise next year? Now there's a collaboration for you.

CP : "MacKay says the size of the [hemisphere] makes it challenging to co-ordinate efforts.
He says the ministers will discuss how to co-operate on providing armed security during natural disasters such as hurricanes or major national events like the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver."

Yeah, there we go. The 2010 Games as a natural disaster. Go, Petey!
America.gov : "[Conference delegate] Carlo Dade, executive director of the Canadian Foundation for the Americas in Ottawa, told America.gov that hemispheric military police relations are a subject of special interest to Canada."

Canadian Foundation for the Americas, better known to us as FOCAL, a quasi-government booster of free markets and private enterprise for Latin America, published this in June :

"The oil sands hold the promise that both North and South America can rely on Alberta and its energy resources for decades to come, as trade within the Americas grows and Canadians become more fully integrated into pan-American economic and cultural streams."
Collaboration boosters scorecard :
Water - check.
Oil - check.
Military integration - check.

And you all thought the SPP was dead. Oh, ye of little faith.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I know you know all this already

but it's still rather satisfying to see it neatly laid out in a national newspaper :

Parliament's record undermines Harper's rationale for election
"Parliament has been working very well for Mr. Harper. He has had one of the longest minority tenures that we have seen. He has been able to get all of his policies through ... I don't know what he is complaining about," New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton told reporters yesterday.
"It boils down to he is quitting his job," Layton said.

If the New Democrats had had their way they would have brought down the Harper government a year ago, but it was the cash-strapped Liberals, not wanting to force an election, who kept the Tories in power well past the average lifespan for a minority.

Harper has complained the committee system is in turmoil with partisan bickering overshadowing the business of Parliament, but what he doesn't mention is that his MPs are largely responsible for the mischief-making.
In fact, it was the Conservatives who last year produced a 200-page manual for MPs on how to disrupt and derail parliamentary committees and slow things down in the Commons and the Senate.

By pulling the plug on their government, the Tories avoid a Commons committee investigation into a controversial financing scheme they used in the last election campaign. The so-called in-and-out scheme has been declared illegal by Elections Canada.

Also, it will delay at least for now opposition demands that a committee investigate the Chuck Cadman affair following allegations the Conservatives tried to bribe the late independent MP in order to get his vote to bring down the Martin government.

"Having Harper claiming the House is dysfunctional ... is like the proverbial man who has murdered his parents pleading with the judge for mercy because he is an orphan," Green leader Elizabeth May said."

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

"Lethal, survivable, supportable, affordable"

That's what it says on the Joint Strike Fighter logo which I'd normally post up here but for this advisory on the JSF website : "Note, individuals utilizing the JSF logo for purposes other than that which is determined to be in the best of interests of the program may be prosecuted."***

Via Paul Graham, who isn't happy about it :
"The big news in the Peg this afternoon is the federal government’s $43.4 million loan to Bristol Aerospace of Winnipeg, part of a $120 million upgrade that will allow Bristol to help develop the F-35 Lightning II fighter jet. According to the Winnipeg Free Press, this investment could yield $3 billion in revenue over the next 25-30 years."

Bloomberg : "The U.S. and eight countries are collaborating on the development of the aircraft in the largest international weapons program ever."

The largest evah! Vroom, vroom!

Dept of National Defence in 2006 : "The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program is a United States-led multinational effort to build an affordable, multi-role next generation, stealth fighter aircraft.... There are defined needs for more than 3000 aircraft over the course of the program with an estimated value of over US$276 billion. An additional 3000 aircraft could be sold to other allied buyers."

"In 2001, the U.S. Department of Defense selected Lockheed Martin as the Prime Contractor for the JSF Program. Pratt and Whitney US and General Electric have been selected to design and develop engines for the JSF.
Canada's $US160 million contribution to JSF includes funding from both the Department of National Defence and Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC). TPC promotes the participation of Canadian firms, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.
As a result of Canada’s participation in the JSF program, 54 Canadian companies, universities and research institutions have won 154 contracts to date valued at approximately CDN$157 million."

So what is Canada's current rank in the echelons of world arms dealing? Still sixth, are we? Or has this latest investment rocketed us into the Top 5?
And are our pension plan contributions still being invested in these arms dealers? Yup, there they are at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board website, who report a good return last quarter.
War is a racket.
***JSF do however permit the logo to be used as a nice screensaver, if you're interested.

101 Reasons to have an election

Feb 12, 2007 House leader Peter Van Loan :
"As I indicated we have passed Bill C-16 on fixed election dates. Never again will the government of the day be able to play around with the date of an election for its own crass political motives."

Aug 25, 2008 Stephen Harper :
"All the opposition parties are clear. They will not support this government going to October 2009. In the lack of certainty about an election date, it falls to the government to create that certainty."

Sept 1, 2008 Harper spokesweasel Kory Teneycke :
"The fixed election date law provides for this exact situation. It's not a violation of that law."
"If Mr. Dion wanted to avoid an election date … he would give some assurance that the government could survive until [2009]."

We'll just add that one on to the list of 100 Reasons to have an Election :
Afghanistan, Cadman tapes, Bernier affair, in and out scheme, attacks on wheat board, Naftagate, dirty tricks manual, Kyoto accord, gutting public service, cancelling Court Challenges Act, Omar Khadr, Toronto 18/Paintball 11, nuclear watchdog fired, listeriosis, C-484, AIDs conference snub, arts and culture funding cuts, Status of Women gutted, war resistors deported, war branding for Olympics, softwood lumber deal, Insite, cuts to mad cow testing, NorthComm pact, deregulating Canada Post, two-tier healthcare push, Abdelrazik, tar sands, ethanol grants to agribiz, Oily the Splot, extraordinary rendition, Canadian prisoners tortured, refusal to protect lakes, Lougheed Martin census, obstructing HoC committees, conditions on FN reserves, mail-outs from defeated Con candidates, rewriting/deleting research on government websites, Colombia free trade deal, Canada First - not, copycat crime bill, militarization of arctic, Bill C-537, Bill C-10, NACC, Server in the Sky, Canada-Israel homeland security pact, TOPOFF 5, government scientists muzzled/fired, support for Guantanamo, RCMP whitewash, TILMA, Chalk River, no-fly list, biometric passports, CIA access to banking records, Benamar Benatta, North American Forum, red fridays, Bali conference, Commonwealth climate change talks, undermining nuclear disarmament, Question Period a shambles, Independent Panel on Canada's Mission in Afghanistan, war on drugs, lowering pesticide standards, Montebello, deep integration. meeting in Banff, "staying the course" in Haiti, DND funding in universities, 600 Canadian companies gone to foreign ownership, support for Wolfowitz at World Bank, Smart Borders, dissing Louise Arbor, P-3 security forces in Afghanistan, attacks on Dion for having a French mother, faking up law and order hysteria, nukes in the tarsands, Accountability Act, UN vote against Palestinian women, "Support the troops", Adult Learning and Literacy Program - eliminated, Health Canada- $28M reduction, Medical Marijuana Research Program- eliminated, Law Commission of Canada - eliminated, Museum Assistance Program - funding cut, One Tonne Challenge - 40% budget cut, Stats Can- budget reduced, Status of Women policy research and lobbying - banned, CMHC - funding reduction, Canadian Heritage Centre - eliminated, Canadian Volunteerism Initiative - eliminated, Canadian Labour Business Centre - eliminated, Canadian Policy Research Network - eliminated, Community Access Program - eliminated, privatization of airline safety, sale of federal buildings, isotope "crisis", GHG "intensity targets", Clean Air Act, reversals on aid to Africa, blocking access to public documents, revolving door between Con polis and industry front groups, prominence of Mike Harris Mps in Harper cabinet, muzzling Con MPs and candidates, and of course, enthusiastic and unstinting support for deep integration with the US.

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