Sunday, August 31, 2014

Con Canuck cold warriorerness

Laurie Hawn must be feeling downright nostalgic these days, what with RCAF CF-18s in Europe squaring off against the Ruskies, again. He was there in the 1970s driving CF-104 Starfighters. In the linked Star piece, Hawn talks about being chased out of East German airspace by their MiGs. I thought this was interesting so I googled around and found a more complete account of Hawn's navigation moment that paints a less macho picture of events. Seems Hawn got lost and accidently found himself somewhere over East Germany where MiGs were scrambled to meet him. He turned around and zoomed back to West Germany only to be intercepted by NATO Phantoms. Read between the lines in the second, and you realise that he was likely nearly shot down by both sides.

However, for all the ridiculous swagger coming out of the Cons about the Russians, they're about as bad as it gets when it comes to defence spending. Take heart though because Canada's views and means matter little.

Where we used to have strength was in mediation and negotiation between adversaries.  At one point, we'd a lot of good thinkers and worldly people in our diplomatic corps. Peace was a national policy objective and something to be proud of, but for a few hillbillies in the hinterlands. Now Canada's got nothing but childish jingoistic hillbillies who will mouth off on Twitter (seriously!) about Putin and the Russians knowing they can scurry behind serious NATO members.

Keep this up, and the Germans, Americans, and British will tell Canada to keep its yap shut whilst they get on with the deadly serious business of avoiding a major war with Russia. Come to think of it, Hawn's experience may have been an uncanny foreshadow.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Triage

Putin's Russia and the Islamic State are short-term distractions from the serious problems of climate change and resource depletion. We simply don't have time to fuck around with some new fangled Cold- luke-warm-War or to humour the Islamic State.

The global policy response should be robust, and aimed at walling off these two entities in every way possible so that we in the rest of the world can get on with the serious business of adapting civilisation to the worst crisis it has ever known.





Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gazonto . . .

Imagine if Stevie hammered the GTA like the Israelis have hammered Gaza? Toronto filmmaker John Greyson's efforts to give us a better and more personalized feel for how the bombing of Gaza would look, feel, and play itself out for all us ordinary citizens if it was happening right here in good old T.O. instead.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fantino lashes out at veterans ... once again.

It's hard to believe Julian Fantino's role is to champion Canadian Forces veterans at the Harper cabinet table. You can imagine how he describes those he represents to the national control-freak.

Deveryn Ross finishes him off. Fantino, whose service as a cop has always come with some questions, should be tossed in the gutter.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

America's Police State . . .

THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC has mutated into something ugly and carnivorous, not just in its policies with the rest of the world, but in the way it has turned on its poor. It's become a ghastly distortion according to Charles Stross*, who commented on his blog that American police have abandoned Sir Robert Peel's Principles of Policing. As you may know, the London Metropolitan Police was the first professional police force, created in 1829.

These principles are in stark contrast to what we have seen from Ferguson:
  1. To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.
  2. To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
  3. To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.
  4. To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.
  5. To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour, and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.
  6. To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.
  7. To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
  8. To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.
  9. To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.
If this is not re-introduced to American police, Charles sees danger: "even if you’re not a member of one of the cultures on the receiving end of the jackboot today, the fact that the jackboot exists means that it may be used against you in future. Beware of complacency and apathy; even if you think you are protected by privilege, nobody is immune. See also Martin Niemoller."

Martin Niemoller's famous warning:
  • First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.
  • Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
  • Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.
  • Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
*Charlie is one of my favorite SF writers; I recommend his oeuvre "The Atrocity Archives", the first in his delightful "Laundry" series. Set in a parallel universe, an Earth identical to ours, with one difference: in the early 30's, Alan Turing discovers that certain mathematical processes produce "magic". Problem is, this "magic" is brain-eating dangerous.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Harper's ideology now presented with "acceptable casualties" ...

Shorter Lisa Raitt
The deaths of 47 people, the devastation of an entire Canadian community and the subsequent years of horrendous nightmares are acceptable collateral damage in the Harper Conservative war on reality. No amount of losses or devastated lives can prevent us from moving forward with our dangerous and seriously flawed ideology.
This may be just as "sexy" as Raitt's drooling over people dying of cancer because of a radioisotope shortage perpetrated by the Harper government. 

Since Raitt likes sexy issues involving people being killed, she can wear this one.



Sunday, August 17, 2014

A great artist . . .

MEL BLANC: The Man of a Thousand Voices is a delightful look at the man, the times he worked in — and all those wonderful critters. Enjoy. A great antidote for the depression of Harper Hell . . .

Comin' at ya . . .

WHEN THE JOBS DISAPPEAR it's going to be really tough on capitalism. This video is an accurate forecast without the hype of what kind of changes are coming for your children to deal with. The next thirty years are going to be so interesting . . .

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Adios, Mork . . .

EVERYBODY HAS their favorite(s), Moscow on the Hudson is one of mine. With the stress on our society and democracy, this clip is especially cogent. We are so lucky to have been blessed by Robin's genius.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Stop killing people

The talk of two-state solutions, displacement, borders, violent Zionism, violent resistance, bombed schools, shelters, houses, kibbutzim, the opinions of various persons both thoughtful and blinkered is maybe just a little teeny tiny bit ahead of the game.

The current war on Gaza, for that's what it is, highlights the baseline condition for any peace:

Stop killing people.

Stop killing people.

Stop killing people.

Forget the politics for a while. Simply get the sides to agree to not kill each other.

Once they do that, they've will have achieved the single basic condition of peaceful coexistence.

The details can take the next generation to sort out if need be but the preservation of life must be paramount.



Imagine what Palestine-Israel would look like if all parties forswore violence.