Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Disenfranchised Canadians abroad

Much has been made about the 5 year limit on voting in Canadian elections for citizens living overseas. However, the bolded section below seems much more insidious. It strips me of my right to vote in this election because I simply cannot know the date upon which I shall return (without invention), nor I suspect do most Canadians living overseas, which are likely to be determined more by life circumstances (available work, etc) than anything else.

Elections Canada:

On July 20, 2015, the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned an earlier ruling regarding voting by Canadians abroad. As a result of this decision, electors who want to be on the International Register of Electors and vote by special mail-in ballot from abroad must demonstrate that they meet two additional criteria:
  • They must confirm that they intend to return to Canada to reside by providing the date on which they intend to resume residence in Canada, and  
  • They must confirm that they have resided abroad for less than five consecutive years, or provide proof that they fall within one of these exceptions to the five-year rule:
    • They are employed outside Canada in the federal public administration or the public service of a province – or live with someone who is;
    • They are employed outside Canada by an international organization of which Canada is a member and to which Canada contributes – or live with someone who is; or
    • They live with a member of the Canadian Forces or with a person who is employed outside Canada by the Canadian Forces as a teacher in, or as a member of the administrative support staff for, a Canadian Forces school.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Ibbitson and Harper

John Ibbitson has an interesting take on the birth of the current prime minister.

Reading through it, I can't help but think of Harper's personality being identical to those of the assorted black-shirted school shooters in the US.

Ostracised by choice or group-think from their peers, nursing a pathological grudge against them, directionless. A feeling of alienation that finally culminates in a murderous rampage for those with access to firearms and a school.

Shift the context, and a young and shiftless proto-PM encounters a perceived UofT hazing (not entirely sure about this), and the Toronto-Montreal core of Canadian intelligentsia, and his response is reactionary. In Canada, this is a small cohort. I've brushed against it here and there to know that one is not more than two or three degrees from Atwood, Rae, a Trudeau or two, CBC notables, some key members of the professoriate, and so on. Intensely intelligent, capable, educated, politically aware, very liberal people who have defined Canadian culture internally and globally for a long time.

They are the Canada, for example, that imprinted the recently passed Mary Catherine Finn with her views on Atwood (overrated) and Laurence (underrated). I knew the latter as child, in as much as child can know someone. Her voice still rings in my head and the scent of her cigarettes in my nostrils; you cannot encounter someone like that and not have them embed in your psyche.

It is people of that realm that Ibbitson's Harper encountered and immediately reacted to. He feels a visceral dislike, and somewhere in there begins to seek vengeance for the perceive sin of their existence.  Skip a few decades and he is prime minister, with a goonsquad of misfits and fanatics who couldn't tell a Margaret from margarine, hell-bent on machine-gunning that liberal Canadian society they sense but never understood or were a part of. 

Maybe it's the intelligentsia's fault for not understanding the threat to the country posed by the mix of the a-cultural, brimstone-faithed, ubermasculine, and nouveau riche types inhabiting an oil rich Alberta.* There was a warning shot with the 'freeze the eastern bastards' national energy plan business in the 70s, but that didn't quite register.

Now, we've had nine years of indulging a spiteful and angry teenager killing the family pets, savaging his siblings, and setting fire to the couch. There's enough left to salvage now, but give him another five, and there simply won't be a house left.

The never-married parents, Tom and Justin, haven't realised that they (well, their class) birthed him. They've not clued-in that their kid is psychotic enough to kill them and so should work together to put him into care as soon as possible.

What gives me hope is the anger in the land. Canadians don't get angry, but I see them angry now.

Pay attention, Tom and Justin.

 *By the same token, that Alberta cohort has failed to appreciate that an long economic boom would flood the province with educated young professionals from BC and the East who would have babies, make Alberta home, and, well, vote in elections...


Losing your right to vote in your own country's election, when that country is Canada...there are no words.

He's finally gone to the GG and picked his fight with the electorate.

Those of you still with votes, please do your utmost to evict him "from office, right out of the country, and into the deep blue sea if possible."

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Another Day of Mourning.

Maybe we'll get lucky and Johnston will prove to have a backbone made more from democratic convention than autocratic opportunism.

Who am I kidding?

Johnston will probably be prevailed upon to actively campaign for Furious Leader. If he did we don't have a media that would tell us it was inappropriate - largely because much of the media probably doesn't know or care.

Another Harper majority about to be served up the middle between two parties too arrogant,  self-delusional and grand to think the well being of the country should be more critically important than their own egos.

Very sad day.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Gabrielle Penney, 20, and Kyle O’Neill, 26

These two troglodytes decided that it would be cool to go on vacation and leave a 9 week old puppy locked in the bathroom of their apartment - for 2 weeks. 

Here's the thing.

At some point in the future one or both of them are quite likely to become parents. In a perfect world not together but still...

What does some poor unsuspecting human child have in store ?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Fighting fit opposition for election 2015? Unlikely.

Alison draws attention to the very, very slick Conservative election winning machine that we are up against now. These folks, an international political conspiracy if there ever was one, have their game worked out down to fine detail. It may even be enough to overcome the low polling numbers of the Conservatives and create a perverse second majority. They are cornered in the polls and will fight like mad dogs.

The opposition in Canada has nothing, nothing like it (unlike, say, Obama's crew south of the border!). We are instead crippled at the political and public levels. At the political level, we have the two major political parties unwilling to work together, each leveraging for the possible delusion their own decisive win against the Cons.

At the public level, we have what I see as (1) a grey old left-guard nostalgic for Douglas and Trudeau I; and (2) an highly educated youth movement that could be a potent force if it weren't so  preoccupied with the fad-mob of narcissistic, critical, victimhood-based identity politics that leaves it empty of any sort of collective vision other than endless bloody rhetoric policing, and infighting, or "powerful" emotional outpourings of one's deeply personal experience of victim-ness.

If we have an election this year, and we lose, it could well be our last.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Higher Education For Your Ass

I think I've mentioned before that I am of the opinion that modern western universities bear a certain portion of responsibility for the mess the world finds itself in.

Highly educated chemists work for Monsanto and are actively involved in developing products that are rapidly decimating the pollinators of the planet.

Highly educated geo scientists are busily seeing to the destruction of groundwater capacities throughout the world.

Highly educated MBA graduates oversaw the near destruction of the global economy in 2008 and many of them made millions of dollars speculating on just how extreme the damage would be.

No need to get into the armaments industry which I'm fairly certain isn't a high school diploma kind of activity. 

On and on I could go.

Universities have demonstrated that they don't concern themselves with whether or not what their graduates go on to do in life enhances the life of the planet or diminishes it.

As Humanities departments have been eliminated so too have operational ethics and morality in even the most august institutions.

And now U of T is demonstrating that medical science needn't enter into the conversation when it comes to teaching about vaccination.

And that nepotism is alive and well in academic circles. 

Sunday, July 05, 2015

The Adrian Dix Playbook

Shorter Mulcair and Trudeau: "We like the way the BC NDP and Adrian Dix did it and that's how we're going to do it too."

Oh goody.

Why can't some adults take over for these little boys.

They're on their way into a gun fight armed with an all day sucker.


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

F-35 stories

There's a story circulating about a report by a F-35 driver on a close-range mock dogfight between a F-16 and F-35.

The F-35 apparently failed completely in this most fighterly of fights.

If true, then any air force wishing to maintain an air-to-air capability should not replace its entire fleet with this aircraft.

In the air-to-air role, it is actually an air defence weakness that an enemy could exploit, especially if said can find a way to surprise patrolling F-35s or get in under missile/detection ranges, which it will.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Grope and Flail Editor in Chief David Walmsley Answers Your Questions

This lickspittle's name is David Walmsley and a couple of days ago I noticed he was going to be made available on the website to answer questions from the public, please submit your questions in advance. Just like a true Harperian.

Well, I thought...

So I typed in a question.

I asked him whether his answers were going to have to be vetted by the asshole Phillip Crawley.

No answer yet.

And no evidence that the web Q&A actually took place either.

Brave new world that has such quaking cowards in it. 

Canada Day 2015

Not very much to celebrate is there?

We still have a Supreme Court...that's pretty good.

National Medical Care Insurance isn't completely decimated yet. There's something to celebrate somewhere in that.

Harper hasn't fully stacked all of the courts in the land with 'originalists', bigots and homophobes but he's made it clear that he plans to-somewhere in there is a moment of something other than despair, although I hesitate to call it celebratory.

The political alignments and alliances that created the nation formerly known as the best country in the world have decayed and disintegrated and show no signs of resuscitation. Nor does there appear to be any political will to attempt to revive them. No celebration there.

The RCMP have not yet begun to spirit the opponents of the Harper junta off the streets.  So far and as far as the captive media are willing to inform us. That's worth a quiet, careful, secret smile at least.

I suppose I might permit myself a circumscribed note of celebration in as much as several of Harper's cabinet members and more of his caucus are abandoning his ship in favour of the pensions so many of them once disparaged as the work of satan.

And yet I still see no determination to rid ourselves of the fatal plague that is this man named Harper.

There are just factions fighting amongst themselves, like snotty nosed, red cheeked children in a noisy schoolyard, slapping the other while claiming themselves to be the brightest, the strongest, the most worthy successors. Soon they will be exhausted from scrapping with one another. They won't have the energy or jam to stand up to the bully that is their real enemy. And then they will find that through scorn, ridicule and outright abuse they have alienated any possible allies.

So...Canada Day 2015...

Nothing to celebrate as far as I'm concerned.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

"Biologically wired" General Lawson

General Lawson makes mealy-mouthed excuses for sexual misconduct by the people under his command. Don't believe me? Look at this.

This isn't leadership, this is a fucked-up mix of management-speak and personal pop-theory about human nature and organisational behaviour resulting in a can't-do attitude to a difficult problem because it might be hard or something. Another name for that sort of attitude is 'cowardice' and militaries used to punish it severely. Look at him: he looks scripted by spin-masters and not even angry or embarrassed!

If Mansbridge was a journalist and not a celebrity, he'd have smelled blood and gone for the jugular, asking Lawson where his theories come from and whether this meant he'd not enforce military law against sexual transgressors. WHEN Lawson stumbled, he'd have pressed him until he found himself so deep in a hole he'd be retired before the end of the week.

Compare him to the Australian Army commander's thinking. It's beyond embarrassing.

General Lawson has the power, authority, and duty to set the standard of behaviour, attitude, and discipline across the armed forces and remove people who fail to meet that standard. He has demonstrated an attitude far short of that mark that would lead to a disciplinary hearing or dismissal in any other self-respecting workplace.

Lawson should resign or be removed immediately.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Columnists Working to Rule.

According to this asshat at the Toronto Star columnists are going to work to rule.

Hallelujah is all I can say though I'm surprised to hear there's some sort of rule regarding columnists. 

The only constant I've ever been aware regarding columnists in Canada of is that Margaret Wente will always know something particularly damning about anyone who ever occupies the publisher's office at the G&M.

I'm pretty sure this pair of spectacles at The Star only means himself but one less mysteriously entitled shouty bugger on someone else's media soapbox is still something to celebrate.

If he could get them all to shut up that would be fantastic but I'm pretty sure that's not on.

Maybe it would be if there were any way of ensuring that what we read on the journalistic side of the broadsheets/tabloids/shitrags was in any way reliable/trustworthy/true but, hey, wanna buy some river front land in Arizona - I can get you a great deal.

Ta Da...rivers all dried up.

Don't blame me.

You shoulda asked. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Kelly McParland is a Fascist Asshole

This asshole appears to think that the Constitution of Canada is just a piece of paper that should have no legal meaning or force. That the Harperium should be able to pass any old law they like about anything at all and the Supreme Court should not be able to do a damn thing about it. That the Supreme Court has an agenda other than simply upholding the Constitution and Charter.

Thus the title of the post.

The prick works for the Notional Pout so I suppose I oughtn't be surprised. 

Go look for why I say this if you want. I'm not linking to the shit rag or to anything with the fascist prick's byline.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Future Planning

 At what point do we begin to consider whether there is anything in the history of human civilization worth preserving for some future species that may either evolve here or arrive from elsewhere?

What would be worth preserving? How? Where? When should the planning and fund raising begin? Who should lead the effort?

Should we include a narrative of global history of some kind? Should we tell the truth about who we were or should we prevaricate? Are we capable of telling the truth about the collapse of our civilization?

Did we, among our various cultures and throughout our history on this planet, produce anything that would be worthy of long term preservation and that would be of interest to or informative for future species?

Or did we not? Perhaps we didn't when it comes right down to it and there's nothing to be done but wait and enjoy what can be enjoyed.

 It's an interesting question.

Of course, we'll probably do no such thing. We'll just accelerate the destruction of the bio-sphere and count ourselves lucky to be so rich.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Return of the Muldoon.

Lyin' Brian emerges from under his rock to smarmily declare that an underfunded, over-stretched, demoralized armed forces, a draconian Stalinist security bill that will have Canadians reporting on their fellow citizens for not revering Don Cherry enough and the highest federal debt that Canada has ever seen are the advantages Harper carries into the next election.

Well, not in those exact words but that's what it comes down to.

Go somewhere and expire Brian. Preferably alone. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

RMC misogyny continued

It just goes from bad to worse. First we hear about about massively disrespectful and insubordinate jeering that Julie Lalonde got from Officer Cadets (rank given to officer trainees) at RMC. Next we find that her received mistreatment and abuse continued on Twitter in the months after the event, including the belated apology letter from the Commandant. Further still, the 'disciplinary action' taken against some cadets may have amounted to 'remedial instruction', which is an euphemism for 'told them not to do it again' when a charge should have been laid.

I fully agree with Harebell that this is a major discipline failing that should not have happened, and if it did, should have been dealt with much more severely from the level of Commandant on down. A few more thoughts:

1. RMC trains the bulk of the Canadian officer corps, the future leadership of the RCN, Army, and RCAF. The other week, a major report was released detailing the "endemic" levels of sexual misconduct mostly towards women across the military. The scale of the problem means that any officer will very likely have to deal with incidents involving their subordinates, peers, and superiors. Failure to understand the problem, the civilian and military law around it, and the appropriate ways of dealing with it means that officer is likely to poorly address it when it happens. In practice, failing to address the problem effectively could mean anything from exacerbating the harm already caused toward another member, protecting a sexual predator, to bringing scandal and embarrassment to the military. Well, the cadets have done this last one already - RMC and the CF leadership don't seem to get this.

2. RMC and the male cadets in question have now loudly telegraphed to every serving woman that they will not take sexual misconduct issues from them seriously because they are women. This is saying women will not be considered equal members of the military in their eyes and that they will not adhere to the standard of duty and care required of military leaders when it comes to their welfare. It is also likely, given the nature of war, that they shall encounter and have to investigate sexual crimes while deployed.  Their misogynistic lack of discipline on this issue can only foster mistrust and undermine teamwork in any unit they command, and thereby compromise its effectiveness and thus their own leadership.

3. Dave once commmented here that some of the leadership failings in the Canadian military stem from officers being taught about leadership whilst they were at "too young a mental age". This point couldn't be truer as evidenced by recent events.  Perhaps the recuitment, instruction, and discipline at RMC be revised. The attrition rate doesn't seem to be high enough, and the standard is poor.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Harper Chooses To Remain in the Closet

The coward has again repeated that he will not participate in a national English language leader's debate.

It  appears he really, really likes the closet.

Now we get to see if the media consortium or the other national leaders have any courage left.

Sexual problems in the Canadian Forces

So the recent unforunate news this the completely and utterly unsurprising finding by former SCC Justice Marie Deschamps that grossly inappropriate sexual behaviour mostly toward women is "endemic" in the Canadian Forces.

Let's define endemic (OED):
  1. 1
    (of a disease or condition) regularly found among particular people or in a certain area.
    "complacency is endemic in industry today"
  2. 2
    (of a plant or animal) native or restricted to a certain place.
    "a marsupial endemic to north-eastern Australia"
Lord, nothing has apparently in changed in since the last time the military had it's attention drawn to antisocial behaviour in its ranks. There was SHARP (Sexual Harassment and Racial Prejudice) "training" to try to mitigate these kinds of problems following Somalia and other incidents. Nobody openly took it seriously.

Fastforward almost 20 years, and Deschamps' report basically finds that sexual harassment is still normal and routine occurance in the CF. This means that it is safe to say to any woman joining the military that they are highly likely to face harassment and possibly assault of some form in the course of her duties. The report is saying that this behaviour is an integral part of the institution as it now stands.

Deschamps, as per her mandate, has handed the military a list of ten recommendations for remedying the problem.

The CDS Gen. Tom Lawson accepted two of them and eight in principle in a serious sounding presser. He sounded unpassionate to me, suggesting only that the military will "to the greatest extent possible" try for a solution to the problem and mumbled something about how it is possible to change cultures.  OK, then. Not exactly inspiring leadership there. Potentially disgraceful really, if this report is accurate and Lawson decided to ignore the Deschamps recommendations anyway. (That his go-to on this issue MGen Christine Whitecross appeared surprised to learn of Lawson's instructions...bet that was a conversation.)

Why was he tepid?

My guesses? The report points out the chain of command with its heirarchy of power is precisely what is preventing junior members from speaking up when they are harrassed or assaulted. In fact, as again the report mentions, it can be the case that the harasser or rapist is senior in the chain of command. The chain of command is sacrosanct how the military effectively conducts its business. The Pavlovian response from the chain to anyone violating the chain of command either by skipping a step or going outside is to threaten or punish. Which is likely why Lawson appears keen to ignore study Deschamps recommendations. Except that Deschamps is pointing out that the chain is unable to deal with culturally endemic sexual harassment because well, it's the tool used by the creeps to be creeps. From my read of reports, Lawson does not appear to have a response to that particular catch-22. I mean, if sexual impropriety is really endemic, it means god-knows-what for people in the chain who enable it by omission or commission.

Speaking of sins of commission
, the disgustingly vulgar, childish, and embarrassing response (identical to the response to the SHARP video 20 fucking years ago) of the future "leadership" of the Navy, Army and Airforce at Royal Military College to a civilian expert shows precisely why (1) sexual problems are endemic; and (2) the leadership in the CF might actually be incapable of addressing it in any meaningful sense. Perhaps, as part of the corrective measures, the smarmy little shits can have their sexual assault prevention lectures prefaced by accounts and photos of the rape-murder scenes many former-Yugoslavia vets encountered. And then have the link between their attitude and its ultimate expression in war and peace steamhammered into their infantile minds.

What then for the victims? Well, I suppose "tolerate" it, embrace it, exit the military and try to recover in civilian life, kill yourself, whatever. The green machine is really doing its best to show that it really does not give a fuck. As I've said before,  I haven't met a women who has left or is leaving the military who hasn't cited this kind of thing as a major factor in her decision to leave, and I've witnessed some pretty awful stuff myself. I mean, there's nothing you can do if, even as an officer , your superiors won't support you in disciplining harrassers (or could be themselves, thank you kindly RMC). God help those women without the rank or position to effectively insulate or defend themselves, especially if this Con "promise" is just for show.