Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cons Steal a Page From Nixon's Playbook

When Daniel Ellsberg leaked the now infamous "Pentagon Papers" in the 1970s, the Nixon gang decided to go after him with a vengeance.

Via Wiki:

As a response to the leaks, the Nixon administration began a campaign against further leaks and against Ellsberg personally.[17] Aides Egil Krogh and David Young under John Ehrlichman's supervision created the "White House Plumbers", which would later lead to the Watergate burglaries.

In August 1971, Krogh and Young met with G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt in a basement office in the Old Executive Office Building. Hunt and Liddy recommended a "covert operation" to get a "mother lode" of information about Ellsberg's mental state to discredit him. Krogh and Young sent a memo to Ehrlichman seeking his approval for a "covert operation [to] be undertaken to examine all of the medical files still held by Ellsberg’s psychiatrist." Ehrlichman approved under the condition that it be "done under your assurance that it is not traceable."[18]

On September 3, 1971, the burglary of Lewis Fielding's office, titled "Hunt/Liddy Special Project No.1" in Ehrlichman's notes, was carried out by Hunt, Liddy and CIA agents Eugenio Martinez, Felipe de Diego and Bernard Barker. The "Plumbers" failed to find Ellsberg's file. Hunt and Liddy subsequently planned to break into Fielding's home, but Ehrlichman did not approve the second burglary.

The break-in was not known to Ellsberg or to the public until it came to light during Ellsberg and Russo's trial in April 1973.
Fast forward to this century and have a look at the case of Sean Bruyea:

OTTAWA – Confidential medical and financial information belonging to an outspoken critic of Veterans Affairs, including part of a psychiatrist’s report, found its way into the briefing notes of a cabinet minister.

Highly personal information about Sean Bruyea was contained in a 13-page briefing note prepared by bureaucrats in 2006 for then minister Greg Thompson, a copy of which was obtained by The Canadian Press.

The note, with two annexes of detailed information, laid out in detail Bruyea’s medical and psychological condition.
It's no secret that the Stephen Harper cabal will go to almost any lengths to stifle dissent - from muzzling Conservative MPs and ministers to firing scientists and calling opposition members traitors and terrorist sympathizers - but this has to be a new low.

So, how did Harper react to this situation? By doing what he always does: blaming the previous Liberal government. But there's a very obvious problem with that little tactic:

The New Veterans Charter was an initiative that straddled the transition between Paul Martin's Liberal government in 2005-2006 and Mr. Harper's Conservatives, who assumed power in late January, 2006.

A briefing note prepared for former veterans affairs minister Greg Thompson in March, 2006, was laced with private medical and financial information about Mr. Bruyea, including a quote from a psychiatrist's letter.

Experts called it a flagrant breach of the country's privacy laws and an attempt to destroy the former military intelligence officer's credibility.

The note was prepared for Mr. Thompson in advance of a meeting he had with Mr. Bruyea on March 28, 2006.
From Bruyea's site:

The document path even went as high as the Prime Minister’s Office when on March 21, 2006, a mid-level staffer called Bruyea and urged to him call off a news conference slated for that day where he publicly urged the Conservatives to hold off enacting the charter.
Harper now claims his government will cooperate fully with an investigation. When have we heard that before?
 

Suck it up, long-gun owners...

The people have spoken. The Cons lost.

Motion: Not to proceed further with C-391 (repeal of the long-gun registry)

Yeas - 153

Nays - 151
 

Monday, September 20, 2010

House-a-palooza

I did my impression of an "average" Canadian this summer i.e. I paid very little attention to the boring shenanigans of the federal pols - and it's obvious I didn't miss much.

I heard about a poll not long ago - see how much I wasn't paying attention? - that said only 9% of canucks follow the daily goings-on in Ottawa. No need to wonder why and I'll get back to joining my fellow 9 percenters now that the house in back in session, but...

First of all, I'm absolutely sick and fucking tired of hearing about the long gun registry. Sick.and.fucking.tired of it. And even with the vote on the Lib's amendment to save it coming up this week, which apparently now has enough NDP support to pass, Harper has vowed that they'll have to take that issue away from his cold, dead hands in the drama-queen, authoritarian way only a petulant, sweater-vest wearing, dictator-wannabe, black and white thinker can.

Memo to long gun owners: Get over it. If you can register your damn cars, you can register your damn guns. End of story.

Next?

Michael Ignatieff's summer road trip? zzzzzzzzzz...

Next?

The manufactured crisis over the mandatory long-form census? Jack tried to get an emergency debate about that on Monday. The Speaker refused. Statisticians and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney be damned. Tories don't need no stinkin' accurate numbers for anything! They're psychic, apparently.

Spending billions on fighter jets in a contract the air force thought would be competitive during a time when we're aiming to wind down our participation in Afghanistan? Just plain stupid. And the Cons are acting as if our nation's very security depends on this sole-sourced defence industry welfare. Pants-wetters. The lot of them. They'd do better to invest in bulk sales of Depends for their caucus. (But not with taxpayers' money).

Other bits of tid:

I was looking for info on Canada's medical marijuana program the other day (no, not for me) and found this story: Accused has expired medical marijuana card.

When he learned police had raided his room, seized his pot and charged him with producing and possessing marijuana, Les Petherick said he was stunned.

"I didn't actually believe it. I thought I was safe as I could be," he said.

The 46-year-old has been a licensed medical marijuana user since May 2009. He's allowed to grow up to 15 marijuana plants, store 1,500 grams and possess 120 grams.

He consumes it as medication for a serious back injury that causes him constant pain.

But since his card expired in May, with each licence being good for one year, Petherick says he has been waiting nearly four months to receive a renewed card.
This isn't one of my pet issues but as someone who lives with chronic pain daily (and who can't smoke pot for it because a) I'm a recovering addict - 23 years clean and b) the smell now nauseates me - even though I did smoke it daily for years), I support its' use for anyone it might help. Dog knows that relying on pharmaceuticals is risky and not at all helpful for the most part anyway.

So...I thought the fact that Health Canada is dragging its' heels on these renewals ought to be getting more eyeballs. The Cons SAY they're opposed to jailing innocent people (20 times a day when they yap about the gun registry) but I haven't heard any of them comment on this situation. Of course, the fact that this is about Reefer Madness probably has a lot to do with that.

And one last thing since I've jumped back into the blogging fray now: I don't live within Calgary's city limits so I can't vote for the new mayor/council. They're going to elect yet another center-right, business-friendly administration that continues to minimize the needs of the poor anyway, so...
 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Disgust

Well, I suppose I've put this off long enough.

There's one word that sums up why I haven't been blogging lately: disgust.

It crept up slowly and finally and reached a crescendo with an exclamation point at the beginning of the farce of a Gitmo "military tribunal" for former child soldier Omar Khadr - an expression of the moral bankruptcy of the American Empire™ and our own minority Conservative government which, despite a Canadian Supreme Court ruling stating that his charter rights were violated, has refused to lift a finger to help Khadr.

His "trial" has now been postponed for one month while his military lawyer recovers from an apparent gallbladder surgery-related illness.

Let me share an interview transcript with you that exemplifies why I've reached the point of disgust.

On July 26, 2010, CNN's Larry King interviewed Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and Daniel Ellsberg, leaker of the infamous Pentagon Papers.

ELLSBERG: You know, the people who put U.S. forces in harm's way, 100,000 men and women are -- in Afghanistan, are the last two administrations, but particularly this one -- the last administration, particularly this one, with a decision to escalate the war. It's -- I think it takes a lot of -- I don't know what to say, chutzpah (INAUDIBLE) for people who made the reckless, foolish, and I would say, irresponsible decisions to escalate a war that I'm sure they know internally is as hopeless as these new revelations reveal it to be.

And yet, they're preferring to send men and women into harm's way to die and to kill civilians and others -- in a war that I think they perceive is endless and hopeless, rather than to face the accusations of generals that they have, these politicians have lost a war that the generals claimed is winnable, they claimed that very foolishly.

I'd say that was exactly the same as the boss I served in 1965, Lyndon Johnson. He didn't want the General Johnson, the chief of staff of the Army, and others to resign if he didn't give them enough of what they were asking for. I think President Obama has made the same terrible error.


***

KING: Daniel, do you understand why Mr. Gibbs, representing the president, is so upset?

ELLSBERG: Well, he's very upset in part because he's working for a president who has indicted more people now for leaks than all previous presidents put together. And two of those people -- Thomas Drake and Shamai Leibowitz -- have been indicted for acts that were undertaken under Bush, which George W. Bush administration chose not to indict.
Powerful, indisputable facts.

But then came this:

ELLSBERG: So this is an administration that's more concerned about preventing transparency, I would say, than its predecessor which I'm very sorry to hear. As somebody who voted for Obama and expect to vote for him again, despite all this.
So, why should I care how Ellsberg votes?

The point is that this isn't about him.

It's about citizens who, in the face of horrendous human and civil rights violations, continue to support the perpetrators as if they have no other choice.

It's about citizens who surrender their power to an oligarchy whose only function is to sustain itself - rights be damned.

It's about citizens who think that believing in The Goodness of a leader trumps the very real and destructive actions of that leader.

It's about people who put the survival of political parties before the principles those parties are supposed to stand for.

It's about people who would rather "move forward" and not do what the law and international treaties demand: prosecuting government war criminals - a festering wound that has now been re-opened with this little parade of the so-called "last combat brigade" leaving Iraq this week - book-ended by the spokesman for US forces in Iraq, Maj Gen Stephen Lanza, (in an interview with Rachel Maddow) declaring that it's not a "war" anymore. The only thing missing was a "Mission Accomplished" banner for Obama to stand in front of.

It's about a dangerous subservience to governmental and corporate authority.

It's about an addiction to money and the supposed promise it's believed to fulfill.

It's about media more interested in maintaining access and survival than credibility.

It's about focusing on contrived political issues when the fundamentals of our very lives are at stake.

It's about disgust.

And it's about damn time more people woke up. Or maybe living in a suspended state of ignorant apathy is the best most people can do. Is that it? If it is, count me out. I refuse to live my life cowering in fear of my supposed "betters" when they have done nothing to earn my trust, respect, support or vote. You don't get to trample on peoples' rights and expect anything but disgust in return.
 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Olbermann: "Let Obama be Obama"

Olbermann: The witch-hunt vs. Sherrod, and those who made it possible

To paraphrase President Reagan's Secretary of the Interior, James Watt — Mr. Messina, and Mr. Emanuel, and everybody else in this White House who is gradually remodeling this President into something generic and safe and electable in 2012 by the slimmest of margins on the strength of being as media-circus-free and better suited to "this atmosphere" as possible.

Let Obama be Obama! And that advice must be heeded by one man above all others.
Let Obama be Obama?

Breaking news for you, Olbermann. This is Obama being Obama. Mr "No Drama" Obama who avoids confrontations at all costs until his back is against the wall and he has no choice but to respond.

What I find interesting here is that Olbermann is saying that Obama is simply a political puppet of stronger forces like Jim Messina and Rahm Emmanuel. So, I guess when he said, "The buck stops with me", he really meant that it stops with him after he's been directed by his advisors about what to do with it.

I suppose Olbermann had to include some excuse to cover for Obama in this shameful incident that saw a useless WH political machine throw yet another African-American under that now infamous bus to keep his Obama-loving fans happy. I doubt they even realize that Olbermann said Obama's presidency is being managed behind the scenes just as Dubya's was.

To top it off, Olbermann apparently believes that "Fired up?" was more than just some catchy campaign slogan.

The question used to be "fired up?" - and the answer: "Ready to go!" The question now is "fired up?" - the answer now is: "Not ready, because we cannot afford the impression of not looking sufficiently presidential and neutral and inviting a media circus in this atmosphere."
And he doesn't seem to realize yet that "hope" and "change" meant that starstruck fans like him would be hoping Obama would change all through his presidency to become this flaming liberal he never was during his campaign. That was blatantly obvious to anyone who was paying attention without fanboy blinders on.

There has been no gradual remodeling of Barack Obama during his presidency.

Obama is being Obama.

By stating, "Let Obama be Obama", what Olbermann is asking is that he be anyone but who he really is. And that is obviously not going to happen.

As for what happened to Shirley Sherrod, the Leave Obama Alone! crowd which has insisted he had no part to play in this travesty and who didn't think he owed Mrs Sherrod a damn thing because of that will now have to live with the fact that he has finally personally apologized to her - because he was ultimately responsible for the actions of his government.

Too little, too late considering just how quickly his administration jumped to get rid of her in the first place after (yet again) foolishly believing that right-wing nuts actually tell the truth. Some of his defenders even tried to claim that Vilsack wasn't a part of the administration. Apparently, they don't either don't know how government is structured or they were just grasping at any excuse to place distance between Obama and Vilsack. Either way, it's been quite the pathetic display of refusing to hold those responsible accountable.

Those defenders - comparable to Bush's 20 percenters - truly believe he is not responsible for anything that goes wrong in his administration while heaping praise on him for absolutely everything that goes right. They gaze at pictures like him as if he's some sort of teen idol - a phenomenon I never saw any Bush supporters engage in. Can you imagine the ridicule from the left if some right-wing blog had posted that kind of propaganda week in and week out during Bush's presidency while adding only Good News™ about what their dear leader was up to because they couldn't deal with reality?

That's why they cannot fathom any criticism being lobbed Obama's way. "Brand Obama", as described by Naomi Klein,  is too big too fail and must be bailed out continually at all costs:

Klein: One of the things in this-you know, a large part what I write about in No Logo is the absorption of these political movements into the world of marketing. And, you know, the first time I saw the "Yes, We Can" video that was produced by Will.i.am, my first thought was, you know, "Wow. A politician has finally produced an ad as good as Nike that plays on our, sort of, faded memories of a more idealistic era, but, yet, doesn't quite say anything." We think we hear the message we want to hear, but if you really parse it, the promises aren't there, it's really the emotions.

And, you know, I think that that explains in some sense the paralysis in progressive movements in the United States where we think, Obama stands for something because we-our emotions were activated on these issues, but we don't really have much to hold him to because, in fact, if you look at what he said during the campaign, like any good super brand, like any good marketer, he made sure not to promise too much, so that he couldn't be held to it.
Political consumers.

That does not bode well for a democracy that is supposed to be based on reason. And we're watching as the results of that marketing are being played out while dignified people like Shirley Sherrod become victims of that emotional consumption engaged in by the right, the left and all of those in between. It has produced the same outcome as unchecked capitalism: moral bankruptcy.
 

Monday, July 12, 2010

C'est dommage...

So, I had promised myself that I would finally get around to writing a new blog post today since I've been on a bit of a hiatus lately working on my little vegetable garden and then taking painkillers, naps and physio treatments to deal with the pain. Gardening with lupus, fibromyalgia, scoliosis, degenerative discs, bad feet and burning hips makes this effort a definite labour of love.

Just as I feared, however, after years of not having space to plant a garden and now actually having achieved that feat it was devastated by hail this afternoon. Not sure what there is to salvage yet besides some potatoes that look like they'll survive and perhaps a few garlic plants. I also managed to move some flower pots in time to save them from the storm but certainly not all of them, as you can see in the photos. All of this after having to wait through a very wet spring until the first week of June to actually plant anything. Murphy's Law as far as my life goes.

On top of that, I'm off to see my doctor on Wednesday after getting new x-rays of my hips and back last week which he would now like to discuss with me (code for: he saw something that concerns him.) Because I need yet one more thing to go wrong with my body. If he actually has a clue how to fix my back though, I will be grateful.

This week sucks so far... c'est dommage (literally).

Yes, it could be worse and, yes, others are suffering much more than I ever will. But - every now and then - it's okay to wallow just for a little while.
 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

G...

Questions for the Cons:

Do you understand now why holding the G20 summit in downtown Toronto was a huge fucking mistake?

Did you really think these summits would boost Ontario tourism? Really?

Care to comment on how at least 3 cop cars were torched after apparently being left unattended?

How about the report about a journalist who was punched in the face? Got anything to say about that?

And this one? Emomotimi Azorbo charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, but friends say he couldn’t hear and follow police instructions. He is deaf.

Can you tell us why the TO police chief says he's "shocked" by the violence? "Shocked"?

Seriously, if you Cons thought Canadians were outraged at the $1 billion security tab you racked up for this farce, just wait until the fallout from this really hits the fan.

And Saturday nite has only just begun...

And while you try to blame what's going on on a bunch of anarchists, more than a bit of self-reflection about this absolutely bone-headed, politically-motivated decision you made about the location of this clusterfuck will definitely be in order.

I'll tell you what: next time you guys want to get together, do the rest of us a favour and try Cuba. I hear Gitmo has damn good and cheap security. And that pesky "free speech" thing won't even be an issue.
 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Generally Speaking - About Afghanistan

There's obviously no need to rehash what was written about General Stanley McChrystal and his aids in the now infamous Rolling Stone article that shook DC more than the very real earthquake that rattled Ontario and Quebec today.

McChrystal is out. A political no-brainer for Obama.

The other shoe that dropped, however, is that Petraeus is in.

And what did candidate Obama have to say about the man he just nominated to head the ISAF surge?

Obama Gives Petraeus Remarks Low Marks

By ELI LAKE, Staff Reporter of the Sun | September 11, 2007

WASHINGTON — Senator Obama, the Democrat from Illinois seeking his party’s nomination for the presidency, is giving the Iraq progress report of General David Petraeus low marks, going so far as to claim the one clear success in Iraq in recent months — the rout of Al Qaeda in Anbar — has nothing to do with the military surge the general in Washington is defending.

“I’m not sure that the success in Anbar has anything to do with the surge,” Mr. Obama said today at the first of two hearings featuring General Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. “You yourself said it was political.”
And yet president Obama bowed to McChrystal when he publicly shamed him to send tens of thousands more troops to Afghanistan for yet another military surge that's bound to end in failure - something even McChrystal now acknowledges.

Obama today:

He urged the Senate to confirm Petraeus swiftly and emphasized the Afghanistan strategy he announced in December was not shifting with McChrystal's departure.

"This is a change in personnel, but it is not a change in policy," Obama said.
That policy is killing record numbers of soldiers.

That policy may well slow down the withdrawal of US troops while painting a rosy picture that counts on collective amnesia about just how "successful" Petraeus' surge strategy was in Iraq.

Same war. Different commander. Same policy. Different outcome?

Not likely.

It wasn't McChrystal's policy implementation that Obama had a problem with. It was his insubordination.

Candidate Obama would have told president Obama not to have nominated McChrystal in the first place considering his track record. But candidate Obama and president Obama are two very different people - as we all know by now.
 

Monday, June 07, 2010

Control Freak Steve

It's no surprise that Father Knows Best Harper has been using a tightly controlled message strategery to muzzle his ministers and anyone who represents his government or that they've tried for years to cloak the Canadian involvement in the Afghanistan war as some sort of peacekeeping mission. (See also: 2007: Canadians Will Not be Fooled by War Propaganda).

What is surprising is that they actually allowed this access to information request that uncovered the MEPs to go through considering their blatant contempt for free-flowing information. ("Attack dog" Marleau retired not long after that. We'll see how the new czar does under this repressive regime.)

Anyone who watched question period the past couple of weeks saw the MEP talking points about the Cons' G8/G20 billion dollar security cost boondoggle following Steve's Bouncing Ball of Bullshit as the excuses rolled out day after day:

"We don't want to spend this money. We have to."

"9/11."

And today's rendition after being confronted with the "fake lake" controversy:

"We're proud of Canada."

"Tourism."

The message has been clear: if you oppose spending a billion bucks on security for a 72 hour gabfest, you:

1. Hate Canada.

2. Hate security and the security forces.

Just more of the typical fear-mongering that Conservatives are infamous for.

Poor Steve.

And he wonders why his party can't muster enough support to actually form a majority?

Look in the mirror, honey.

Transparency: a word in Steve's dictionary that comes between tragedy and treason.
 

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Quote du Jour: Today's Parliamentary Food Fight

After QP today, BQ member Michel Guimond, while being heckled during a point of order about repeated accusations by the Cons who have said the party does not support children and that it sides with criminals, responded with this little swipe about Shelly Glover, MP for St Boniface (a former police officer who is a staunch supporter of scrapping the long gun registry and the Cons so-called "tough on crime" agenda):

Mr Speaker, please tell Calamity Jane to go play with her revolvers outside the house.
Outrage ensued, of course.

Shelly Glover: such a beacon of fairness and democracy - as evidenced by this member statement made on May 14, 2010:

Mrs. Shelly Glover (Saint Boniface, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, the Russian online newspaper Pravda had an interesting story yesterday about the leader of the Liberal Party entitled, “Russian Duke Craves Power in Canada”. Many Canadians probably do not know that the Liberal leader admitted on a Canadian television program to being flattered when addressed using the aristocratic and hereditary term “count”.

They also probably do not know that the Liberal leader admitted that his aristocratic and hereditary title was useful for social advancement in the United Kingdom. We do know that the Liberal leader is a self-identified cosmopolitan who admits to being “horribly arrogant”. It is no wonder the Liberal leader wants to raise taxes that will hurt Canadian families by killing jobs. Clearly, in his mind—

The Speaker:
We will move on to the next statement. I think that is out of order.
Yes, she quoted Pravda.

Case closed, I'd say.
 

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

All Hail the Oligarchy

Yes, of course it's obscene that the minority Conservative government is going to spend an estimated $1 billion for security for the upcoming G8 and G20 summits as a result of political grandstanding (remember 9/11?!) and in the shallowest attempt to highlight one of the Cons' ridings (which those attending the summit won't see anyway because, apparently, it's too scary out there!). But let's get real here: the opposition won't vote against this spending (inflated from the original estimate of $137 billion in the budget documents - did I say "inflated"? Try "blown right out of the water like BP's Gulf Gusher"). To vote against the budget would be a vote of non-confidence which would trigger an election which none of the parties currently want because all over their numbers guarantee yet another (probably Conservative) minority government. (Don't let all of this resurrected "coalition" talk fool you. Ignatieff thinks being the next PM is, laughingly, his destiny.) And, of course, none of these political puppets (except the Bloc Quebecois) wants to "embarrass" Canada on the "world stage" (compliant actors that they are) by causing a domestic ruckus before the meetings even take place.

And what of these meetings with these leaders and their entourages of thousands? The very fact that they think that spending $1 billion of taxpayers' money on their security - not to mention the numerous other expenses that go along with these quickie tete a tetes that could just as easily be handled via Skype - while a global recession is going on and while claiming that it's their humanitarian mission to help the poor with yet more promises of aid that either never materializes or is so wrought with restrictions based on ideology (no abortion funding for you dying women in Africa!) is just another slap in the face to we powerless peasants living in these so-called democracies whose only voting choices include picking a) Party A that panders to Big Business b) Party B that panders to Big Business or, at least in Canada since we have the New Democrats c) Party C that goes along with parties A & B while they pander to Big Business (although they do have showboating tantrums along the way to try to convince the rest of us that they're really different when they're not).

Look, we have a massive clusterfuck of an oil spill in the Gulf courtesy of British Petroleum. Former BP chairman Peter Sutherland who left the company this past January is now the managing director of Goldman Sachs International. That's right - the same Goldman Sachs involved in bringing down Greece's economy. The same Goldman Sachs whose officers were welcomed with open arms into the Bush and Obama administrations. The same Goldman Sachs that's currently trying to cut a deal with the US government to avoid fraud charges for contributing to that same global recession I mentioned above. The Obama administration sent their AG Holder down to the Gulf to make it look like he's actually going to pursue criminal charges against BP. Any idea how long that would actually take in court? Expect yet another deal where BP ends up paying some small fine (in proportion to its ridiculous amount of profits). Oh - ironically - the cost of the cleanup efforts etc to this point in the Gulf equal - wait for it - the same amount projected to be spent on security for those "G we're trying to look like we're doing something" summits (almost $1 billion). Chump change for a corporation like BP. Hardship for the taxpayers of Canada who will pay for these clowns to get together and talk about how they can keep pandering to monster corporations like BP and Goldman Sachs (offering them every possible legal protection they can) while the rest of us pay for their corporate crimes for decades.

This isn't just about BP, obviously. But BP is symptomatic of a much larger problem: we can't get any decent action to deal with climate change and the horrific damage these corporations are causing because the oilgarchy listens to money. They're Money Whisperers. Let's stop pretending that these guys get together to discuss anything resembling The Common Good unless by "Common" you mean those sitting in corporate boardrooms figuring out even more ways to buy more government officials while getting every possible regulation watered down to the point where it does about as much "good" as trying to get we peons to believe that if we all just switch over to compact fluorescent light bulbs, monstrosities like BP wouldn't have to drill 5,000 feet under water just to satisfy our greedy need for more oil. (Let's forget about the fact that corporate America was busy killing innovations like electric cars and that now that they are available, we can't afford them because they're "too new". See how that works? It's all your fault.)

And the latest crime by Israel? Does anybody realistically believe that will even be on the agenda? Of course not. Perpetual war and occupation is good for business. (See: Wars, Afghanistan, Iraq). What does this Con government plan to so with its' so-called "Maternal Health Initiative" in Gaza? Ooops, sorry. That's off the table. They wouldn't want to insult the Israeli government, after all. Look over there! Iran!! Nope. Israel won't even get a "sternly worded letter". The Cons (and the Obama administration) know where their bread is buttered when it comes to campaign donations. Money Whisperers...

So, what's the point of all of this, really? I'd suggest that these so-called leaders could just meet on a cruise ship in international waters somewhere but then they'd run the risk of the Israeli government mistaking it as a humanitarian mission to Gaza and we all know how that would turn out. So they'll descend on Canada for some 72 hours for photo ops while crowing about the "good" they're doing for various and sundry serfs and we'll be left holding the bag for the most expensive meeting of its kind ever. But don't complain. Just get out there and buy a few light bulbs and the order of the world will remain as it should be.

Never before have so many been bought off so much by so few. All hail the oligarchy.
 

Monday, May 31, 2010

Justifying Murder on the High Seas

Once again the ugly specter of Israel's collective punishment of Palestinians in the Gaza strip has been brought to the forefront of the world's attention and, this time, it wasn't just the actions of activists (who have largely been ignored) that has drawn the laser-like focus and condemnations of nations far and wide. This time, it was the IDF's commandeering of a humanitarian aid flotilla ship in international waters - causing the deaths of 9 activists (that we know of so far) and the wounding of dozens of others - justified as "self-defence" by the Israeli government that has quite rightly been met with scorn by the UN security council (although the wording of the specific condemnation has yet to be agreed on. Typical.)

As Amnesty International noted this past January, "Israel's [Illegal] Gaza Blockade Continues to Suffocate Daily Life". There is no legal or moral justification for this blockade to continue.

Israeli government propagandists and apologists are out in full force spreading their version of the ship boarding - even going so far as to claim that the activists tried to "lynch" their soldiers. Before this display of disproportionate violence, Israeli foreign minister Lieberman made the ludicrous assertion that "there is no humanitarian crisis in Strip" and called the flotilla "an attempt at violent propaganda against Israel". Ships peacefully headed for Gaza with humanitarian aid are "violent propaganda"? Extreme Zionist hard-liners like Lieberman will stop at nothing to excuse the Israeli government's continued crimes against humanity.

The Palestinians can't count on the Canadian or US governments to do anything but support Israel's ongoing inhumanity, as they've done for decades. And while there are reports that Turkey's government has stated it will send navy ships along with the next Gaza aid convoy - a move that could potentially set off a larger conflict - the toothless UN which has issued decades of resolutions condemning Israel's actions cannot be expected to do anything but let this opportunity for real action pass once again. Collectively, and because the US has veto power on the security council, they prefer the status quo to any challenge to Israel's power-mongering.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian people continue to suffer.

Netanyahu, who cut short his visit to Canada to return to Israel to deal with what's happened, has asserted that the only path to "peace" is to 1) have the Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist and 2) agree to the demilitarization of Palestine. The second condition is unthinkable considering Israel's propensity for using military force at the slightest provocation (or what it perceives to be provocative.) As it has just shown, if it feels threatened by ships in international waters and feels justified launching a thuggish pre-emptive attack as it did this weekend, how can the Palestinian people ever feel secure living in a demilitarized zone? That would be madness.

Those aboard the ships are currently detained in Israel and have not been allowed to speak freely, giving the Israeli government ample time to try to win over public opinion. As far as I'm concerned, they've failed. They can claim alleged ties to "terrorist groups" or "Iran" or say that the activists had no right to defend themselves against IDF soldiers armed with guns (one Israeli mouthpiece actually said the soldiers were at first armed with "paint ball guns") but there's no escaping the fact that they forced themselves onto ships in international waters and there's no justification for that. None.

What, exactly, has to happen before there are actual consequences for these crimes? How many more people have to die?

Related:

Free Gaza
Robert Fisk: Western leaders are too cowardly to help save lives
UN Security Council members urge Israel to lift Gaza siege
Several Israeli Arab protesters arrested in mass rallies over Gaza flotilla deaths
US activist loses eye after being shot in face with tear gas canister
 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Confused about the Guergis/Jaffer Affair?

Here's the bottom line: Nobody is taking responsibility for anything (which pretty much sums up everything you need to know about government as well).

And if you're really into making your head explode, you can watch Snowdy's testimony here.
 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Memo to Helena Guergis

Memo to Helena Guergis: If you want to be believed, try telling the truth. Don't rely on crocodile tears about how Stephen Harper isn't your BFF anymore; what a good Christian you supposedly are; tales about how you were working so hard that you had absolutely no idea what was going on in the rest of your life; how you "never" tried illegal drugs - oh, except for that time when you did; faux tantrum explanations like how you actually think airports are "hellholes" - not PEI (even though that's what you apologized for); lies (and there are documents to prove they are lies, Helena) about how your husband never used your office or your e-mail address for his business affairs; stories about how nobody told you why you were turfed except that you admit it had something to do with drugs and the TO Star story (allegations you denied after saying you didn't know what the allegations even were).

Need I go on?

Oh - one more thing: only a fool believes that their spouse would never do anything to hurt them. Happens every day. Wake up and smell reality.

And you don't get to use your tiny mouse child voice (hint: that annoying Meredith character on Grey's Anatomy is not a role model for strong women) to try to win sympathy - not when we know just how vicious you can be when you really want to. You're not fooling anybody who's ever paid any attention to your career.

But, let me add this (and this part is important): you keep fighting it out with Harper and his cronies in the press, in your riding, in the courts - wherever you feel like it - because politojunkies like me have stocked up on popcorn and will keep on munching as long as the Cirque de Helena and Rahim is in town.

Next act: PI Derek Snowdy testifying in committee on Wednesday. I may have to pile on extra butter for that one.
 

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Baird Accuses Liberal MP of Lobbying

Bully Boy John Baird launched a scathing attack against Liberal MP Derek Lee today - going as far as accusing Lee of lobbying on behalf of (scary-sounding) "foreign organizations". From what I can gather, Baird was blustering about Lee's bio on the Sun & Partners site - a firm he joined in 2007.

Mr. Lee's valuable contributions to our clients include acting for foreign and offshore organizations in obtaining operating licenses, securing regulatory and governmental approvals for mergers and acquisitions, reviewing policies and conduct of Canadian Security Intelligence Services, advising government bodies on international issues regarding cross border tax collection, antidumping issues, and lobbying government on policy issues as well as facilitating inter-governmental relationships.
You'll remember Derek Lee as being the opposition MP who had the audacity to call for a point of privilege in parliament over the Afghan detainee document issue - a ruling he won.

These Cons will do everything they can to smear anybody who threatens their supremacy.

We'll see how this plays out...

Update:

The web site text has changed since this story broke. Lee says it was inaccurate wording, done without his knowledge, and that he is going to meet with the ethics commissioner to discuss this.
 

This week in Conservatives behaving badly...

- The Cons have stripped Helena Guergis of the chance to run in her riding without, she claims in a letter to the party, providing any reason for the decision. She is also scheduled to testify, along with her husband Rahim Jaffer, at the government operations committee on June 9th. The Cons have been crowing about how the Liberal party has apparently subverted "democracy" by whipping the upcoming vote on the long gun registry (because they've never whipped a vote, now have they?) and then they turn around and refuse to allow the people of Guergis' riding to decide whether she should represent them? Hypocrites.

- Calgary Northeast Con MP Devinder Shory has been named in a suit by BMO alleging "massive mortgage fraud". Will the Cons kick him out of their caucus too? Stay tuned. (Update: the answer to that is no. Shory gets to stay on.)

- "Shut the fuck up" - advice given by Con senator Nancy Ruth to womens' groups. It's not that the Cons actually hate women. It's just that they abhor anything resembling equality for women - especially poor women. They rebooted the culture war over abortion and now they claim that they don't want to talk about it. During the last two weeks, the Cons have cut funding to 24 womens' groups. They should change their party slogan to "Barefoot and pregnant - that's how we like our women". It isn't just a "culture of deceit" being propagated by the Cons - it's a "culture of conceit".

- So, what do the Cons do when they've been caught with their pants down running circles around their own "accountability" law? They blame Liberals, of course - the same Liberals who introduced a motion which passed unanimously in the house on Wednesday to fix the Cons' mistakes. They're like kids who get caught with their hands in the cookie jar and then blame their sister. And that's exactly the image to keep in mind when you watch John "Bully" Baird trying to bluster his party's faults away daily during question period by moving the goalposts whenever an opposition MP points out the Cons' hypocrisy. One would think that anyone who had any actual integrity would refuse to be the token party bouncer but Baird obviously subscribes to the "STFU" policy of his daddy, Stephen Harper.

- "Steeping His Ass Off" Gate.
 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Snow Day

It's crazy spring snow storm time in Alberta. The wind is finally starting to die down and the rain and snow have passed. Lost my internets connection Wednesday afternoon which almost forced me to actually do housework - almost. Lost power for a while off and on but everything seems to be up and running now.

Trying to catch up on a variety of happenings.

I did manage to watch Nazim Gillani's testimony on Wednesday. It looks like Rahim Jaffer has a lot more explaining to do - as do officials in seven government departments now (that we know of).

It looks like speaker Milliken's ruling about the release of the Afghan detainee documents is going to be a problem for all of the parties. Harper left the distinct impression the last couple of days that his government intends to play hardball in any way his lawyers can come up with. This should be interesting...

I've seen rumours of a possible attempt for a plea bargain with Omar Khadr (which was turned down) and now there are questions about him wearing "goggles"? Obama needs to stop this farce of a so-called trial of a child soldier and needs to place some serious pressure on Harper's government to have Khadr repatriated to this country. Enough is enough.

And, speaking of Obama, how's that decision to push for more offshore drilling working for you? (Halliburton's being sued too? Karma, bitches.)

And don't you Catholics have something more important to focus on than an art exhibit? You have the nerve to refer to "dignity"? Really?

Oh, look - yet another Taliban leader the US claimed to have killed has apparently come back to life. (Queue Monty Python "Bring out your dead" skit...)

April 30, 1975 - Saigon’s Fall, 35 Years Later
 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Afghan Documents: The Speaker's Ruling

After providing an exhaustive review (45 minutes of background, precendents and rulings) of the case of whether Harper's government had breached parliamentary privilege by censoring and delaying the release of the documents related to questions about whether Afghan detainees handed over to Afghan officials have been tortured, speaker Milliken ruled against the government.

Milliken gave the government 2 weeks to come up with a compromise acceptable to the opposition on dealing with the handling of classified documents. If they can't, the speaker will intervene again and may accept a ruling of contempt of parliament - a very significant warning which could ultimately bring down this government.

He stated that it was not acceptable (and, paraphrasing, was basically insulting) to suggest that elected members of parliament should be seen as threatening national security by having access to those documents.

He also ruled that McKay's office did not intimidate possible witnesses by penning a letter, via the justice department, outlining their duties. However, he said that if a case is presented that shows that an actual witness did feel intimidated, he will consider it.

Regarding the government's excuse that handing former justice Iacobbuci the job of deciding which documents should be released, Milliken ruled that since that is a parallel process to the house and committee work, it cannot be construed as being an acceptable workaround to the motion the house passed in December to turn over all of the documents.

The government now has 3 choices. It can either comply with the ruling, appeal to the Supreme court or call a snap election via forcing a non-confidence motion.

More:

Afghan detainee records order 'clear': Speaker
Tories have two weeks to release Afghan files
 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Jaffer - The Victim

Rahim Jaffer, appearing in front of the government operations committee this afternoon - choking back crocodile tears while proclaiming what a victim he is - claimed that he has never lobbied the government on behalf of his business, Green Power Generation Corporation [link to conveniently scrubbed web site], and, speaking about his arrest last fall said, "I have never partaken in any illegal substance" - nor does he endorse it. (Makes you wonder what that cocaine was doing in the car with him then, doesn't it?)

Harper and his cronies continue to insist that it's not really influence peddling if you don't end up getting any government money or contracts. They are, of course, wrong. And if they actually read what's on their own justice department web site, they'd know that.

The Criminal Code prohibits influence peddling not only by government officials but also by anyone who has or pretends to have influence with the government or with a Minister[28]. The application of this provision is limited to those who have, or pretend to have, a significant enough connection to government so that they can affect a government decision, such as the awarding of a contract[29]. The key factor is that the individual offering his or her influence does so in exchange for a benefit, either for himself or for some other person, as consideration for the exercise of influence. Anyone convicted of influence peddling is liable to imprisonment for up to five years[30]
Jaffer got his wrist slapped for using the Conservative party logo on his site long after he was no longer an MP - a tactic clearly meant to show that he had influence with the party. And he insists that any meetings he's had with government officials have been social in nature - "catching up with friends", he says. Sure...

It was also recently revealed that his wife, Helena Guergis, sent a letter to Simcoe county allegedly on behalf of her husband.

Liberal MP Mark Holland demanded to know what the government has done in response to the Star article revealing that Guergis sent a 2009 letter on her MP’s letterhead to senior Simcoe County officials promoting the waste technology products of Wright Tech Systems.

At the time, Jaffer and businessman Nazim Gillani were involved in a plan to take Wright Tech public in a $1 billion deal, the Star reported.

Guergis issued a statement on Friday denying any impropriety in the 2009 letter to Simcoe county officials and asserting that Jaffer had no business ties to Wright Tech.
Ethics complaints. Lobbying allegations.

Also appearing at the committee with Jaffer is his business partner, Patrick Glemaud, who's also under fire.

In question period, Liberal MP Frank Valeriote (Guelph) said that Jaffer’s business partner, Patrick Glemaud, met with a senior aide for minister of state for science and technology Gary Goodyear last fall, seeking federal funding for four projects.

Valeriote said that Glemaud, who is due to appear with Jaffer Wednesday, was working with an Ottawa-based firm called Sustainable Ventures Inc. that was hoping to tap funding from the Southern Ontario Development fund.

Goodyear said it was three projects and that none of them received funding, adding, “This government does not give funding to projects that do not qualify.”

In an e-mail, Anjali Varma, managing partner of Sustainable Ventures said that while they did attend a meeting with Glemaud and the minister’s staff, her company has not been engaged “in any matters” with Glemaud.

Glemaud also stated in committee that he's going to take "legal action" against Kevin Donovan of The Toronto Star.

May they all sue each other for years to come to keep this little story on the front pages.

More to come as the hearing continues...if there's anything worth noting.

Pat Martin (NDP): "You know what I really hate, Rahim? That you're making us all look really bad". "It's a little rich for you to be lecturing us today about raising ethical standards."

Ouch.

Watch online: CPAC

Live blogs:

The TO Star on Twitter.
The CBC: Kady O'Malley
The Globe and Mail: Jane Taber
 

Monday, April 19, 2010

On my mind...

Somebody needs to explain this to me: how can anyone on the left who calls themselves a "liberal", "progressive", "socialist" or even "independent" throw their support behind the leader of a country who kills people?

Continuing drone attacks in Pakistan - a sovereign country that the US has not declared war on.

Targeted assassinations of Americans abroad.

I've read all of the supposed justifications:

- Obama is smarter than the rest of you.
- He needs to prove he's tough on "terrorists" or the right-wing will eat him for dinner.
- His presidency has to succeed regardless of what he does because he's 1) a Democrat; 2) the first black president; 3) better than a mythical president Palin; 4) "good hearted".

On and on it goes.

But nothing - nothing - can convince me that excusing the American president by sidestepping ones' conscience for the sake of hyper-partisanship or any of the other myriad of rationalizations makes any rational sense to people who genuinely believe in human rights and justice - that they could lead one to dismiss these actions as minor concerns because he has a political agenda to be concerned about.

When you place politics above the law, you lose - every single time.

And when you give up your conscience for the sake of politics, in this case you condemn others to die without even a second thought.

Somebody needs to tell me how that's "progressive".

And, somebody needs to tell me where the opposition from the so-called left is about these unitary executive extra-judicial killings.
 

A Fine Mess

It's stuff the caliber of a CTV Movie of the Week. A "B" movie - the saga of Helena and Rahim. Shady business characters, "busty hookers", a former MP found with cocaine in his car, an abrasive tory cabinet minister turfed from her post and caucus allegedly based on revelations brought forward by a card-carrying Conservative private investigator with money problems who claims he never saw the political "snowball" coming because he was focused on snooping into the affairs of Nazim Gillani at the behest of investors who felt ripped off.

Intentional or not, that "snowball" continues to grow as Canadians look more suspiciously at the actions of Stephen Harper and his merry band of denialists who claim to stand for those much overused buzzwords: accountability, transparency, and justice - concepts right-wingers like to pretend they stand for in order to get elected. When the rubber actually meets the road though...well, we know how that story ends all too often.

And Steve, who is infamous for his need to control everything that emanates for his party ranks, seems to be content to have this whole sordid tale play out in the media. Allegations followed by retorts from Guergis through her lawyer. Allegations followed by retorts form Nazim Gillani. Allegations followed by retorts from PI Derrick Snowdy. Allegations followed by retorts for the PM and his toadies that the RCMP and the ethics commissioner are now on the case (even though the ethics commissioner has stated that she didn't get a formal request for an investigation and is learning what she can from the media).

Some political strategist in the PM's office is obviously gambling on the idea that the story will wear itself out and that, automagically somehow, it won't taint the party or the PM. Let's hope that person stays out of Vegas for their own sake.

This is the same strategery they've used to attempt to make the Afghan detainee scandal disappear too. And how's that working for them?

There'll be no proroguing this time, Cons.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The TO Sun Calls Guergis a "Dog"

Politics, Re-Spun has the cover photo (which I won't post here because I don't have the rights to it).

A right-wing rag calling one of their own a "dog". Nasty.

Of course, the fact that Conservatives think women are "dogs" isn't new. Norm Spector called Belinda Stronach a "bitch" back in 2006 in response to Peter McKay referring to her a a dog during Question Period.

Nothing like dehumanizing women to get them to fall in line, right guys?

And we're supposed to believe that you want equality for women why, exactly?

You can contact the TO Sun's editors here.
 

Friday, April 09, 2010

See you later, Helena

I think it's safe to say that we will soon be informed that airport tantrum queen Helena Guergis' stint as minister of state for the status of women has come to a much-anticipated end.

The Toronto Star has published a telling account of the nite her husband, Rahim Jaffer, was arrested for speeding, DUI and cocaine possession (charges he skated on with a slap on the wrist a few months later). It seems Mr Jaffer thinks he has a lot of influence with the tories to secure government grants for people like the rather nefarious character, Nazim Gillani - even though Jaffer is not a registered lobbyist.

Forced to remove the Conservative party logo from his site over these revelations, the PMO has also had to weigh in with a denial - a move that only moves Guergis' ministerial career closer to the abyss.

That denial, as are most things that come from the mouth of Dimitri Soudas, is laughable:

“Any accusation that the PMO has opened doors for Mr. Jaffer or his business associates is false and it is also absurd,” PMO spokesman Dimitri Soudas said in an interview Thursday. “I can tell you that the doors to the Prime Minister’s Office are padlocked to anybody who wishes to peddle influence.”
Adding on to the pile-on, the Ottawa Citizen is raising questions about some of Guergis' election expenses. Add that to previous stories about her staffers sending off supportive letters to various newspapers and reports that virtually no one in the Conservative caucus is willing to defend her anymore and I'd say political death by a thousand newspaper cuts is a fait accompli.

The fat lady has sung, Helena.

Related:

Tory MPs snubbed Rahim Jaffer in row over petty cash, sources say
First a plea bargain, now a tax break for Rahim Jaffer
Liberals want Guergis's mortgage probed
Guergis Attacks Dead Student's Mother

UPDATE:

Guergis resigns, now faces RCMP probe

"Last night my office became aware of serious allegations related to (Guergis)," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper Friday, before adding he has referred the allegations to the RCMP and the federal ethics commissioner.
[...]
“Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson has confirmed receipt of a letter from the Prime Minister’s Office about the conduct of the former Minister of State for the Status of Women, Helena Guergis,” her spokeswoman Jocelyne Brisebois wrote in an emailed statement Friday. “The Commissioner is currently reviewing the letter.”
She's being replaced by another tory loser - Rona Ambrose
 

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Is the pope too big to fail?

In a word - no.

So, why is that so many Catholics seem to believe that he should not be held accountable for the sexual molestation of children that he aided and abetted? And what is it about forgiveness that they don't get? That you can forgive someone and hold them legally responsible at the same time?

In true Catholic victimhood style, after trying unsuccessfully to blame the media for exposing the latest child abuse scandals, the pope's preacher - on Good Friday, no less - compared the criticisms of the pope to the horrors suffered by Holocaust victims. Just another attempt at guilt-inducing behaviour in order to justify its actions - a tactic the church is infamous for.

At a Good Friday service in St Peter's Basilica in Rome, the Preacher of the Pontifical Household compared criticism of the Church over abuse allegations to "the collective violence suffered by the Jews".

Fr Cantalamessa said he had been inspired by a letter from a Jewish friend who had been upset by the "attacks" against the Pope.

He then read part of the letter, in which his friend said he was following "with indignation the violent and concentric attacks against the Church, the Pope and all the faithful of the whole world".

"The use of stereotypes and the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism," he quoted the letter as saying, as the Pope listened.
Note the insidiousness there: the priest invokes some anonymous Jewish friend. Ergo, it must be okay to compare what's happening to the pope to what's happened to Jews.

How anyone can compare free speech to "violent" attacks is beyond me - especially when the real violence was perpetrated by Catholic priests against helpless children.

And there is absolutely no doubt that the Catholic church hierarchy must be held collectively guilty for what has occurred because it established policies to shield child-molesting priests from prosecution.

This is not remotely similar to "anti-semitism". This is about holding the institution of the church responsible for its crimes. And I doubt anyone needs to be reminded of the history of the church's real anti-semitism to understand what an absolutely farcical comparison has been made by this priest.

One would think that the pope and his minions would be asking themselves What would Jesus do? at a time like this.

I don't think that answer would be to blame the media or to accuse the accusers of anti-semitism. It seems to me a little humility would be in order.

I left the Catholic church as a teenager decades ago during the womens' revolution when I realized that it treated women as second-class citizens - long before all of these sex-abuse scandals saw the light of day. My philosophy is atheist/buddhism now. I have no need for gods or god-figures. I don't worship anything or anybody. I have no use for "organized" religion and crimes justified by religious dogma. How any Catholic can continue to have faith in the institution of the Vatican - which is not supposed to be what the religion is about anyway - is beyond me.

I have a 'live and let live' attitude towards peoples' personal spiritual choices. That does not extend, however, to withholding criticism when the institution they attach themselves to is corrupt - especially when the practices it endorses (officially or unofficially through the tenets of its leaders) are intended to cause personal harm to other human beings. Tolerance ends where abuse begins. That's pretty simple.

This pope is not too big to fail. And he has failed - massively. The only question left is what the consequences will be. He needs to get himself out of the way - or someone needs to force him to do it - so the focus can be placed where it belongs: on the suffering and healing of the victims.

Related:

Stuff Catholics Have So Far Blamed for the Church's Pedophilia Scandal
 

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Drill, Barack, Drill

Barack Obama:

- Against offshore drilling before he was for it.

- For "use it or lose it" before he was against it.

Look, when you have Repub Mitch McConnell saying this is "a step in the right direction", you know the planet is in trouble.

Barack Obama - never met a triangulation he didn't like.

Apparently, he thinks "negotiating" means giving away the farm (or the oceans, in this case) before you even sit down at the table. And, once you've done that, you give away even more - all in the spirit (choke choke) of "bipartisanship". That's what he did with the health insurance "reform" bill which garnered him no Republican support despite the fact that it's basically a Republican idea-filled piece of legislation and a massive giveaway to Corporate America. That's what he can be expected to do with every issue he intends to tackle during his presidency since he doesn't seem to understand that, no matter what he does, the Republicans will never be his best buddies. They don't have to steal his lunch money - he gives it to them willingly.

Some on the so-called American left seem to think this strategy is "brilliant" - that his "biggest problem is being decades ahead of the country he leads". Right. Because selling out every single "progressive" idea you have to the moneyed powers that be must be the brightest thing a US president has ever done! If only the rest of the serfs would catch up and recognize his audacity of wow.

The American left means nothing to this man - the real American left, not the online conservative Democrats who now call themselves "pragmatists" and defend absolutely every decision he makes as they contort themselves into believing that they really don't subscribe to the Daddy Knows Best philosophy of peons who let their leaders walk all over them. Obama lets the oligarchy trample on him, ergo, that must be the right thing for them to do too. Somehow, that translates into "progressivism". Neoliberalism - it's what's for dinner - and they eat it up.

But, don't forget to Send Money Now! to the Democratic party. Because, really, there is no other choice - is there? (And how dare anyone even ask that question!)
 

Iggy Accuses Guergis of Lying

Airport tantrum queen Helena Guergis is in hot water again. This time, she's being accused of lying about not knowing that her staffers have been sending "glowing letters about her to newspapers while posing as regular voters.".

CTV's Robert Fife has the latest.

Fife: "There's nobody in the Conservative caucus that supports her. They're all shaking their heads."

See you later, Helena.
 

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Detainee Document Dump: Explosive Allegations

The Canadian Press has begun reviewing the 2,000+ heavily censored pages that the Cons unceremoniously dumped on parliament on Wednesday and have already discovered startling new allegations - including reports of summary executions of transferred detainees.

You can read what they've found so far here.

Further proof that a public inquiry is the only legitimate vehicle for uncovering the truth.
 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Afghanistan: Obama Wants Canadian Troops to Stay

Via the Globe and Mail:

The U.S. government will ask Canada to keep as many as 500 to 600 troops in Afghanistan after this country’s military deployment in Kandahar ends in 2011.

Sources inside and outside the government say the formal request is expected toward the end of this year through NATO. The troops would act as military trainers and would most likely be located in Kabul. The deployment would not involve putting Canadian troops in harm’s way, but could nonetheless set off a rancorous national debate among Canadians and especially within the Liberal Party.
If Obama thinks he needs a few hundred troops to train the Afghans, let him send Americans.

We should not be responsible for fixing the United States' government's perpetual training mistakes.

Canadians need to make it crystal clear to the Liberals that we will not support this extension.
 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Liberals' Family Planning Vote Fiasco

It should have been a simple thing: present a motion to force the Cons to take a formal stand on supporting maternal health initiatives (ie. contraception) in advance of the upcoming G8 meeting - a reaffirmation of Canada's foreign policy stance for the past 25 years.

But the Liberals, who introduced the motion, managed to defeat their own motion.

This, after catching the Cons in their own roller coaster of confusion over the policy last week and on the heels of Bev Oda laughingly calling the policy "anti-American". (Apparently, being against former and regressive Bush administration policies equals anti-Americanism to the spectacularly dull and ineffective Ms Oda).

And the Cons also believed that even talking about contraception was some sort of slippery slope to re-opening the debate about abortion - which wasn't even on the table.

Yet, the Liberals still managed to embarass themselves.

There were 3 "no" votes from members of their party and a number didn't even show up.

On top of that:

The Liberals' problems were compounded when a handful of members proceeded to get confused about how they were to vote on the next measure and accidentally voted in favour of the supplementary estimates attached to the budget. Once they realized their error, the MPs tried to vote against it. Finally, Speaker Peter Milliken allowed the MPs' nay votes to be counted.
If the upcoming speaker's ruling on the Afghan detainee document issue prompts an election call, as Chantal Herbert speculates, the disorganized Liberals had better hope that their little "thinking conference" to be held this week generates some way to make sure they're all on the same page. Of course, not inviting your own MPs to actually be there in person might make that just a tad difficult since Ignatieff doesn't even appear to want to have his party members in the same room. Maybe they should just hold their future caucus meetings via Twitter.

Update:

Ignatieff: dissenters face 'internal discipline'

I'm sure they'll get a sternly-worded letter...
 

Friday, March 19, 2010

This week in Conservatives behaving badly...

- You'll take Jean-Pierre Blackburn's tequila from his cold dead hands. And if you're airport security, he's going to make sure you pour it out in front of him just to make sure you don't drink it!

The NDP's Comartin thinks Steve needs a "code of conduct" for his increasing number of unruly cabinet ministers. Yeah. I've got your code, tories - right here.

Just as an aside, the tequila reminded me of the infamous 'Tequila Sheila" comment from days gone by. Searching for it, I found this helpful page on the CBC's site: Political insults: a short history of personal attacks.

When you look at the larger picture, should it be any surprise that Harper cabinet ministers are acting out illegally when their daddy continually flaunts the laws of parliament?

- They were against contraception for poor women this week before they were for it.

Facing a squall of condemnation from aid groups and opposition politicians, Prime Minister Stephen Harper disavowed his foreign minister Thursday, promising that the federal government would include contraception programs in its maternal-health foreign-aid initiative.

“The government is seeking a dialogue with the countries of the G8 to save the lives of mothers and children all over the world,” Mr. Harper said in the House of Commons. “We are not closing the door to any option, and that includes contraception, but we do not want a debate, here or elsewhere, on abortion.”
Dictator Harper strikes again. What's there to "debate"? If women don't have access to necessary abortions, they can die. Of course, those "pro-life" Conservative types don't care one bit about that so they don't want to hear about it. Debate closed.

As Antonia Zerbisias notes: Bible, not medical texts, guide Harper

- Dimitri Soudas: punked on Facebook.

A Quebec television show has exposed an embarrassing hole in the personal security of prime ministerial communications director Dimitri Soudas.

Soudas, who is Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief spokesman, took down his personal Facebook page on Friday, shortly after learning he had been the target of the Radio-Canada show Infoman. A message posted on the show's site Friday said, in French: "Here's hoping that he has learned his lesson and that he will be more careful in choosing his friends."

Using the name Christopher David Meer, the show sent a friend request to Soudas, who accepted the overture and gave "Meer" access to his personal Facebook site, which displayed photos of himself, his family, his friends and his home.

However, a quick Google search would have revealed that Christopher David Meer is being sought by the RCMP in connection with two 2007 arson cases in Alberta.
Poor Dimitri - such a serial dupe.
 

Margaret Wente There

According to Margaret Wente, I'm a man. And all of these bloggers apparently suffer from "Male Answer Syndrome" (MAS) too.

Who knew?

And that's about all you need to know about Margaret Wente. Except that she doesn't mind being called an "idiot". (I wonder if sexist idiot is out of bounds.)

Regardless, with all of this raging testosterone and adrenalin now coursing through my system, I have to hurry up and finish this post because after I'm done scratching my (imaginary) nuts, I'm going to rush out to shoot and skin a deer for my (imaginary) little woman to cook up for supper. And, of course, after that I'll force her to stuff the (imaginary) dead deer's head so I can mount it on the wall. Because that's just the kind of (imaginary) manly man I am!

Blog on!

Buuuuuuuuuuuuurp.

Update:

The little wimmens speak out. You can join the live debate with Wente at 12pm ET today - or not.