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


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.


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


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...