Thursday, December 17, 2015

Friday, December 11, 2015

Line up, you lying, cheating Harperistas ... here comes the bus

Remember this?

How about this or this?

So, from the mouth of a Harper conservative we get this:
“Basically what happened was that they used robocalls to misdirect NDP voters, to split the vote and allow Gary Lunn to win,” Duffy said.
“He knew nothing about it, except that they phoned him afterward and said ‘You’re welcome Gary.’ He said ‘What?’ (They said) ‘We got you in’.”
Lunn told The Canadian Press on Thursday that he has no recollection of the June 2009 lunch, never knew who made the misleading phone calls and never told Duffy that it was Conservative headquarters.
Somebody is lying. 

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Accounting hangovers from the last government

Well, last week we discovered the last government's projections on the budget were off by over $5 billion, moving from surplus to deficit.

Today we discover the shipbuilding programme for the Navy was using cost estimates from nearly a decade ago(?!) and the cost of sorting out the senior service is likely to be much much higher. (Good-bye F-35 & Eurofighter; hello cheapest(?) we can get.)

There's more to come, I'm sure.

I figured a while back that the last government probably had some shifty ledgers...



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Problem kids on NATO's flanks

I'm not talking about Syrians or Russians. Hungary and Turkey are both NATO member states. Unlike most other NATO members, which are liberal democracies of some form or another,  these two entities are now ruled by hardline nationalists. Perhaps in international realism, this would be OK for the alliance as there's not real requirement that your country's politics look like the UK, France, or the USA.

The problem is with IS and Syrian refugees and how Turkish and Hungarian domestic policy is making European security more difficult.

Hungary has taken a hard stance against masses of refugees escaping Syria (and a few other places). This as seen closed borders, which have directed masses of refugees to overwhelm other state borders and in the short-term, the civil infrastructure necessary to effectively process and resettle refugees. This isn't a military security problem so much as a civil one, as ineffectively controlled borders apparently means that it possible for one of the Paris terrorists to transit from Syria to Paris without notice. Note, this is not to say the European born terrorist was refugee, but he may have have been able to use an over-stressed system compounded by things like Hungarian policy to hide his movements.

Which brings us to Turkey, and its leaky border with Syria, campaign against various Kurdish groups, support for the ethnic Turks in Syria, and disruptive influence on the campaign against IS and other Islamist militant groups in Syria, and so on. This is not a country acting in line with the general policy of most NATO countries against IS. It is a country that may put NATO in direct conflict with Russia, given the recent downing of a Russian aircraft by Turkish F-16s and the likely Russian response.

Something to think about.

What is it about Conservative politicians and airplanes?

Remember when Harper ordered (and the commander of the RCAF submitted to) the repainting of one of the RCAF CC-150 to better represent the "Harper Government"?
Here ... this will remind you.

Well, British prime minister, David Cameron, (often referred to as a spoiled brat from a better home), while announcing billions of pounds sterling in spending and program cuts, did this.
The PM has ordered a £10m refit of an ex-RAF plane just a week before the Tories announce billion-pound cuts in the Autumn Statement
Pampered David Cameron's new jet will only start saving money after 13 years, Downing Street has revealed.
And ... this.
Tory Cabinet ministers are to get a fleet of new executive jets - on top of the special plane for David Cameron
Oh yes, the Royal Navy gets this. 
The Government is to axe the Navy’s flagship to save costs despite spending £65million on upgrading the vessel a year ago.
Just sayin'.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Turkey, NATO, and Russian Fencers

Quickly, in light of the Turkish downing of the Russian Su-24, consider:

Turkey has been a lukewarm NATO "ally" against the Islamic State. It has spent more of its efforts attacking and checking the Kurds and its border remains porous. Turkey is still the entry route for foreigners intent on joining IS and the exit route for many refugees and defectors from IS.

Turkey's internal politics have recently seen Erdogan consolidate power.

The US, Iran, Russia, Assad's Syria, and others have just taken great strides toward a unified front against IS.

The question is whether Turkey sees this arrangement as being in its interest.

If it doesn't, would it attempt a plausibly deniable attempt to scuttle it?

Because I think that's what we have just seen.



Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pissing on the fear monkeys' BS

No one is so confident in their opinion as an ignorant person.

The screams coming out of the right-wing about the horrors of resettling 25,000 refugees from the bloody Syrian-Iraqi corridor controlled by Daesh, (you may know the group as ISIS or ISIL), is an illuminating example.

They even have their own petition to stop the rescue of refugees. (No, I'm not linking to it).

Their greatest fear, (and they are certainly demonstrating huge amounts of that), is that in a single intake of 25, 000 refugees, terrorists will come in with them. And then they demonstrate their profound ignorance by pointing at the Paris attacks while they wet their pants.

1. To date, none of the Paris attackers, so far identified, were refugees. They were native-born French or Belgian. Whatever their ethnicity, religious beliefs (if they actually had any), or training, they were home-grown radicalized thugs, many of whom had criminal records in Europe.

2. The refugees being brought to Canada are currently already identified. Most are living hand-to-mouth existences in refugee camps where conditions are the closest thing to a living hell anyone can imagine. Your typical terrorist isn't drawn to that type of lifestyle. Some of the Paris attackers were described by their own families and acquaintances as hard drinkers, smokers and party animals. The refugees being brought to Canada are unique in that on this occasion we actually get to pick them. These are not people showing up on a sinking boat or putting their lives in the hands of human smugglers.

3. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Tell me WHY any idiot inclined to come to Canada to blow up the doorstep of some semi-informed redneck westerner would be so stupid as to come in via the refugee system?!
Go on ... tell me.
There are too many security, criminal and health checks and WAY too much control and supervision. It is considerably easier to show up in Canada as a TOURIST. Much less hassle and nowhere near the detailed examination of one's past to which every refugee must submit.

So, the right-wing fear monkeys cannot present the refugee-terrorist-infiltrator as an argument. They'll have to come up with something else. And with every uninformed position that gets cut away from their argument, we come closer to the real reason. And it's ugly.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Gift for your Conservative friends and family

The holiday season is fast approaching.

It's a time for sharing, for rebuilding bridges between friends and family that ruptured by a decade of Conservative misrule.

Show your angry/depressed/embittered Conservative loved one that you care, by giving them the magic of Justin Trudeauimmortalised on your choice of T-shirt, tanks, and jumpers.

If you're a non-Conservative living in a riding with a Tory MP, why not extend the hand of friendship and magnanimity espoused by the new PM and send one to your elected Member.

[Seriously though, look at that shirt! The country is really in a rebound relationship.]

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Good(ale) karma

Mound of Sound picks up on something
Recall Guiliano Zaccardelli? Canada's newly minted Minister of Public Safety sure does.  Zaccardelli was the infamous RCMP commissioner who made up spurious allegations about Goodale that were divulged to the NDP who used it to sabotage the Liberals in the 2006 election, helping Harper come to power and plunging Canada into the decade of darkness...Zac was replaced by the first civilian commissioner, Tory backroom operative Bill Elliott and then the current office holder, Bob Paulson, who stands to go down in history for inventing the 'immaculate bribe' charge whereby senator Mike Duffy was charged with receiving a bribe from a guy that Paulson cleared of giving a bribe, Nigel Wright.
Now Paulson is going to have to answer to Ralphie. Wonder how that's going to work out?
Awkward.

I wonder if we'll see some sudden retirements and other departures throughout government and the civil service?


A book of photo-ops?

Ok, so Defence Watch is reporting that DND staff at public expense has put together a book of photos of ex-DefMin Jason Kenney doing troop-y things as gift to him. It's just a bit weird and oddly fitting that his going away gift is a book of staged pictures.

There's a larger point.  CF/DND and all the other public services haven't had the experience of a different government in a decade. Turnover and the like means that there will be very little to zero continuity between the staff of 2006 and now, and probably quite a few politically partisan hires scattered about. Any rapid Tory partisans in there may soon find themselves sweating a bit.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Well, actually, it's about the Duffy Trial

You may have been as confused as I was.

Why, given Harper's known inability to take orders or suffer any form of supervision, would he opt to remain a sitting Member of Parliament, now relegated to the opposition benches.

This is a guy, who during his concession speech, (which was a hastily re-written victory speech), didn't have the conventional decency to state his intentions to his audience before he scampered off the stage. His intention to resign as leader of the Conservative Party came via a statement released by the party president, John Walsh and even it was a rather muddled sounding bit of poli-speak with all the clarity of a cold latte. Conservative MPs have no idea if Harper is their leader.

What did come out was that Harper would continue to sit as an MP. And one doesn't have to dig too deeply to understand why.

The Duffy Trial.

Parliamentary Privilege.

As long as Harper is a Member of Parliament he cannot be compelled to testify as a witness in any civil, criminal or military proceeding. You can bet he'll be hanging onto that seat until the Duffy trial is concluded.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Power in a state visit

The Chinese president goes on a state visit to the UK, and quite literally brings the Chinese state with him.

...the Chinese embassy filled the Mall with thousands of supporters kitted out with T-shirts and flags, drowning out human rights protesters in a sea of red. 
Awkward. Really, really awkward.
In his 11-minute speech, Xi acknowledged that he was addressing the “mother of parliaments”, dating back to the 13th century, but added: “In China, the concept of putting people first and following the rule of law emerged in ancient times.” He noted that one Chinese legal charter went back 2,000 years. 
I imagine Cameron and the rest of his gang of public school boys running the government now are wincing and fuming at the humiliation. Perhaps not as much as the Chinese were humiliated by British (and other) imperial interferences in earlier times, likewise driven by Cameron and Osborne's ancestral class interests.

Xi knows this, and I imagine the show of Chinese power is a symbolic demonstration of the reversal of circumstances. The Chinese state can colonise the UK economy and put thousands of its citizens on UK streets, while the most the UK can do is provide the Chinese leader with a fancy dinner and a guided tour.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

More thoughts. Voter turnout vs. voter suppression

Well, the ex-Harper-cons succeeded in pissing off enough Canadians to actually find a polling station and vote them out in record numbers. More than 68% voter turn-out. Well over 70% in some ridings and regions.  Even with the Fair Elections Act, the cheating and the lying, all their fascist jackboot bullshit, bought newsmedia editorials, the rest of it, they still failed in catastrophic form. Wow. 

It's interesting to think that an entire generation of the civil service (including no doubt a number of now ex-PMO staffers) have entered adulthood and parliamentarians, the Commons knowing only Harper and his brand of governing. Even Rosemary Barton has mentioned she's only covered federal politics under a hostile Harper government. How government finds its way from here will be interesting to watch. 

Will they keep the Harper changes, fall-back on institutional memory, or evolve into something else? 

Election results: first thoughts

1. Ding dong the witch is gone.

2. The immediate legacy of Harper, sworn enemy of all things Liberal (esp. Trudeaus), is to facilitate a majority Liberal government led by the Son of the Father. Ouch. That's Shakespearian political drama Canadian-style if there ever was.

3. The same problem that allowed Harper his 2011 majority also allowed Trudeau's win. FPTP permitted both parties to win majorities with a minority of the popular vote. Not-Harpercons still does not make the Grit-victory fair. We need to get on that.

4. Let's see how they do. I'm afraid the confused and disillusioned shortpantsers will have trashed vacated Tory offices and that incoming Liberal ministers will discover other more sophisticated messes that require clean-up before they get started. I hope I'm wrong.

5. When they do get started, it'll be interesting to find out just what were truth, lies, and unmentionables in campaign, and how these translate into policy and legislation.

6. Future elections could be even more interesting. The NDP is now a major federal player and has demonstrated it can appeal to enough Canadians to come within winning distance. The Tories, although Oppositon, have been relegated to, well, mostly Alberta and no-doubt have some post-Harper reinvention to do. What foul beast emerges from that vile and demonic process, we can't yet say.

7. Ding dong the witch is gone. [with apologies to witches]




Thursday, October 15, 2015

After the Election

I have no idea to what Canada will awake on Tuesday morning. The polls are too close to call and if recent events are any indication, maybe useless in predicting outcomes (someone needs to revise their sampling models!).

Right now my only concern is dislodging Harper. I don't much care what the other parties are promising because election campaigns are silly things built of spin, lies, and blue blue sky. The only thing that counts is what they do after vote day. I mean, I'd be quite happy if they were lying about refusing to form a coalition in order to offset shrieks of "coup d'etat" from the fascists and perhaps an attempt to bully our spongy GG into somehow halting the electoral process or discounting anything other than a Tory victory.

Still, should Harper form the next government, especially a majority, so be it. There is no cosmic law that says his foetid government will have moral legitimacy, even in the freak event that it is awarded a fraud-less victory. The social contract will be broken, absolving the public of any moral obligation to conform to the wishes of the Conservatives.

It would open up a vast space for provincial, local, and grassroots social and political innovation and transformation.  The federal government is a lot less necessary in practical terms than it believes.

Provinces have enough constitutional power to run themselves, and there are millions of Canadians with great ideas and skills who can put their energy into building the kind of country we want.  But we might have to work for it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Islamic State casualties and scenarios

Defence Watch is reporting that coalition air strikes have killed 20 000 ISIS members, which means an unknown but likely high number of wounded. I don't think IS battlefield medicine is of a NATO standard, meaning that many of the killed would likely have survived in other circumstances. Still, 20 000 is a lot. To put in perspective, it's nearly half of the more than 50 000 US troops killed in the Vietnam/American War.

Yet IS remains, far less resourced than the Russians, US, and their allies. Still it is able to hold ground and sustain itself while the bombs fall, and the Russians and Americans squabble over strategy and air space and menace each other.

I suppose it's possible that the mix of efforts targeting IS (and related groups), however organisationally dysfunctional, will break its back in terms of its logistics and personnel, but I'm not sure that leaves anyone particularly better off. Afghanistan and Bushed Iraq both show that motivated armed groups are able to dissolve and wage a very persistent guerrilla war against any occupying force and any returning residents. The region will be very unsafe for the foreseeable future, perhaps indefinitely, regardless of whether IS remains intact and able to hold territory. The Assad regime or whatever replaces it will be busy for years to come, at least until climate driven drought destroys the water supply and food security of the region and the regime collapses into more violence. Displaced militants, especially those with foreign passports will flee and head to Saudi Arabia, Europe and elsewhere, creating more headaches for the security services in those places. Gulf states especially may be prone severe upset due to the large numbers of IS sympathisers in those places.

Any force that can sustain 20K dead and still hold ground isn't going to fold easily under more bombs. Maybe a solution rests less in dropping bombs, than in drying up the supply of food, fuel, arms and money that sustain IS and its mimics - basically ring-fencing Syria and Iraq, and making possible - where possible - the safe exit and relocation of refugees.  Nope, instead the US, Russia, Iran, et al will continue to shovel arms into the place and Europe will continue to shit itself over consequent refugee flows. If it continues long enough, Israel will get seriously involved and things will get even weirder.

In the post-9/11 era, none try to end wars. The powers that be used to do that, often through ham-fisted, bungling attempts, but the shooting stopped in the Balkans, Cyprus, Vietnam, and a host of other places.  Now instead they institutionalise multi-year bombing campaigns and low-intensity land-wars, which are just continuations of existing wars. War can now be waged below the public casuality tolerance threshold, making it easier to use military force as a normative policy tool against enemies that pose minimal material threat to Western forces.

I can tell you that if Russia or the US and its allies lost 20 000 troops to IS, they'd be using mach numbers to measure the pace of withdrawal. It continues because it's easy.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

The G&M Will Again Endorse the Harperian Nightmare.

I can hardly bear the suspense.

It should be any day now that Phillip the Crawley yet again instructs his pet editorial board at The Grope and Flail to endorse the Harperian junta.

The torturous language required in order to do that is what has me in suspense. I'm sure the tame scribes will do a bang up job of it or face the consequences.

It should make for an enraging read.


Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Canadian surrender monkeys, neoliberalization, hobby wars

CBC is reporting the Canadian Forces planning staff under the recently retired and "biologically wired" General Tom Lawson discussed integration with the US military, up to and including "full" integration. The article states that it wasn't about defence agreements like NORAD, but targeting "expeditionary" aka offensive overseas operations: war-making.
Over the past few years, Norad has also assumed increasing command and control over naval forces that protect the maritime approaches to North America. But those efforts are focused on defence; the integrated forces planning was for expeditionary forces to be deployed on operations overseas.
The Conservatives are denying any knowledge of this. I'm tempted to believe them.

There are just so many things wrong with this picture that I hardly know where to start.

If the Tories actually aren't lying(!), then senior staff officers attempted to negotiate the complete surrender of Canadian sovereign control over our defence to a foreign power without the knowledge, let alone the sanction of the government and especially parliament. How else do you put it?

I believe there are very serious laws against this sort of thing.

An earlier piece this week hints at why.
Military planners advised the chief of the defence staff the proposed integrated force would help Canada "demonstrate a continuing commitment to the U.S." 
and,
military planners were searching for operations and exercises on which to deploy Canadian troops in order to contribute to "international peace and security," but also to support objectives such as retaining "readiness" and to assert the military's "relevance and credibility" to Canadians.
So it's a sort of corporate merger? Perhaps hatched in the mind of a general (or several) seconded to a career-development MBA program, who came back gushing about new "markets" for CF capabilities so the organisation stays competitive. Betcha it's in a dissertation somewhere.  That, or coming out of Afghanistan (and Iraq) the international senior officers who worked so closely together came away thinking "oh, it was really great working together, we should do this more often," while their troops are left to carry the mental and physical baggage from all that wonderfully slick "interoperability" and the rest of us get to trot out with our poppies on 11 November and listen to sombre speeches about sacrifice and valour.

Never mind whether the war was won or lost. Not really the point anymore, is it? Deploying, interoperability, relevancy, etc are the discursive terms of traction. Everything is about amping up all that stuff. Where does it lead? One giant US-led superNATO+ where the only one actually able to set a defence (war?) policy is President Trump?

None mention words like "victory" anymore. The modern Western army is an army of adventure for adventure's sake. Maybe the risks of war are too low (for our side), especially so for the air marshals, generals or admirals pretty much guaranteed executive spots in the transnational defence industry jobs on retirement. I'm digressing.

The point is that treaty-making, defence policy, and national sovereignty are and can only be the purview of elected parliament and the government of Canada. The winner on the 19th might want to issue a stark reminder...to the officer corps.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Election Fraud

Hey, don't forget to also SUPPORT this documentary. It needs it. We need it.

SUPPORT POST PRODUCTION FUNDS from The Script & Film Co. on Vimeo.

Even Elections Canada, hamstrung as it is by the Tories gets that we don't want a repeat or worse.

Canadians

Watch this. Share and support. Most importantly, VOTE.



I live in Europe and work in a multi-national environment. People I meet tend to come in two stripes.

1. Passively ignorant, in that they know absolutely nothing about Canadian politics and still think we're peaceful, nice, democratic, green folks in a big beautiful land, and/or they had an amazing visit there once.

2. Or they are aware of us, and deeply concerned, asking, "WTF happened to you guys?!" as the elected Harper government bombs and carbons-up the world.

h/t Bob :-)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dianne Watts' most amazing adventure


This load of crap was a mail-out received by some residents of Surrey, BC. Dianne Watts, former mayor of Surrey claims it was sent out from Ottawa without her knowledge. I'm calling "Bovine Scatology" on two counts: She's running for the Harper Conservatives and clearly knows what a feces-covered operation she's in, and, her friggin' name is on it and she hasn't disavowed it in any way.

Let's attack this astounding piece of crap.

1. The newspaper on the upper left is bogus. Dianne Watts or a person representing her wrote that headline. Everything in it was manufactured by some amateur Harper Conservative operative with the mind of a 9-year old.

2. Dianne Watts was the mayor of Surrey from 2005 to 2014. During her tenure, Surrey became known as The Murder Capital of Canada as an unrestrained gang-war erupted. On 19 October, 2007 the now-famous Surrey-Six murders occurred in which two innocent bystanders were slaughtered. In 2013 the danger on the streets of Surrey reached unprecedented proportions as the gang-war exploded into daily shooting incidents resulting in 25 murders. Dianne Watts sat powerless in her mayor's chair.

Dianne Watts, with no international experience, isn't going to fight anything. You only have to look at her record to prove it. She can't even keep her own home turf safe and people did not feel secure in their bedrooms in Surrey when she was mayor.

Now, on the 18th anniversary of the Surrey-Six murders, which happened on her watch, she wants you to elect her so she can protect you.

There are better choices.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Windows 10 Question

Windows 10.

I've got the installation file sitting idle waiting for me to make a decision.

Should I install it?

Chess match over Syria

So the Russian government, electing to support the Assad government in this theatre of the current regional war, is deploying fighter and strike aircraft, as well as surface-air-missile systems to Syria.

ISIS has no air force so the Russian air defence toys aren't meant for them. Israel, Turkey, maybe Iran, and the US-led coalition allies (including Canada) all do and all three fly or flown missions over Syria. Not to mention the Syrian's loyal to Assad themselves

Russia might well see Syria as an opportunity to both support its client state, and more importantly, hard leverage against the US and allies presently behind Ukraine inspired sanctions, to cut a deal over  cooperation against ISIS, say for sanction relief or something to do with Ukraine. Or risk an incident.

Mmmm.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Macleans Magazine Wakes Up

Thanks for finally noticing, Macleans. Better late than never I suppose but really, it's just too late to matter.

The destruction has been  completed.

http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/vanishing-canada-why-were-all-losers-in-ottawas-war-on-data/

Dear - certain - serving and retired veterans and police

Know that by posting anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and often pro-Harper bullshit on social media, you're actually harming Canadians' sympathies for you.

The Tories really haven't done much for you, and any future government might find it very easy to ignore all of you, if some of you keep posting far-right news and commentary and the Canadian public starts to lose its sympathies.

The partisan bigots among you are blading the rest of you.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Change abounds . . .

MANY CHANGES — some good, some bad — are headed our way. Hopefully an end to our political CONstipation will be one of 'em, especially if folks who think nationally will act locally.

Even the Canadian Mint is getting into the act. "VOTE FOR OUR 2017 POCKET CHANGE" is a new promotion, inviting us to "Celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary with pocket change designed by Canadians and chosen by you".


Until October 9, vote as often as you like for your favourite coin design in each of our five categories. The more you vote and share your choices with your family and friends on Facebook and Twitter, the more you increase the chances of seeing your favourite designs on our 2017 coins.  

Some of them are quite nice, like the design you see above, others are awkward. As I reflect upon what Stevie's economic policies have done to our Loonie, I have a suggestion . . .


What, me worry? Compared to the election, this is chump change.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Blinders about the Tories

Harper has been in power for long time now. One of his main tricks for maintaining power is maintaining the illusion of invulnerability. Every question, every answer follows a script. Access to him is tightly controlled. His MPs and staff are tightly controlled. This creates the illusion of a man and party built like an impregnable fortress. So scripted and rehearsed, he's built the myth of the weird light around him that makes him untouchable.

But the past year, more so than anything period in his tenure, has shown his lack of regal attire.

So I'm annoyed and concerned when I see progressive fellow bloggers and friends talk about RCMP conspiracies to swing the election or some such other thing. Yes, sure, it's possible and likely the Tories will cheat to one degree or another. It's possible they've got enough control over any number of federal departments and agencies to help facilitate cheating (e.g. Elections Canada). But to speak as if all is lost already, as I keep reading and hearing, is to feed the myth that Harper is some kind of god.

Good grief. Stop it right now.

These incompetent numpties don't warrant anywhere near that kind of credit.

But none of that should distract from acknowledging their present disposition, which does not at all point to an election victory. Quite the opposite, in fact. Nor should it distract from a careful consideration of what it would take to cheat on a large enough scale to pull them out of their current mess. I mean, five years of majority and they've made such a big bloody mess of things that their main legacy could actually be an NDP majority and, despite their best efforts at disenfranchisement, a record voter turnout. That's not a party of capability and competence.

In reference to cheating, the more elaborate the scheme, the more people have to be let in. The more civil servants will notice odd requests and memos from their Tory appointed bosses. People leak things. Five or nine years of Tory rule in Ottawa is guaranteed to leave a legion of frustrated and disgruntled staff and bureaucrats in its wake.  Whatever it looked like to ardent ReformaTory supporters in Ottawa and elsewhere in 2006 - 2011 who might have been happy to abuse their positions to enable a win, it is not that way now.

Of course, the could still pull off a win. But I think there's a much more plausible case for a loss now. We should recognise that.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Just in case you didn't grasp the obvious ...

Stephen Harper thinks his own supporters are too stupid to see past his monotonously unaltered talking points regarding his intransigent and shameful approach to a global refugee and displacement crisis. (You can find the oft repeated talking points right here).

First, he tells us that a majority of these refugees come from a "Terrorist War Zone", as though that is somehow unique.

The truth of the point he won't acknowledge, (and none of the media have jumped on him for it), is that over the centuries virtually all refugees are attempting to escape terrorism and war. There is nothing unique in the nature of this crisis. But Harper keeps pounding that one point in an effort to keep his real reason for not acting, (whatever that is), from surfacing.

Then, he hits his second scripted talking point. He tells us he has a great concern about security and that all refugees must be thoroughly screened and vetted, (so, there will be no acceleration of a very slow process). Because ... they come from a terrorist war zone.

Really. A conservative screening process is the last thing any of us should trust. These guys cannot properly vet candidates that get caught peeing in cups on public TV programs or have public You Tube channels where they engage in lewd and arguably illegal behaviour.

All of this could tell us many things, but without Harper coming out and telling us what's going on in his head, we can safely assume two things: Harper has no idea what a refugee is, and; Harper cold-bloodedness comes from not having the intelligence to grasp the magnitude of the problem. 






Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Reality touching a nerve among Harper supporters?

First it was angry old guy calling reporters lying sacks of shit or something for asking about Duffy.

Now Harper supporters are spitting bile when reporters ask about Syrian refugees.

Things really aren't going well for them.

How Will Paulson and the RCMP Intervene in This Election ?

We'd be fools not to expect them to.

So what is it likely to be? And when?

I suspect it will be late enough in the campaign so that the few journalists remaining who care about such things won't have time to look into anything too deeply. After all Harper won't care if it's discovered after the vote - he'll be able to pass another retroactive law exonerating his state police of any wrong doing.

They could barge into some all candidates meetings and march out the LPC and/or NDP candidates in handcuffs while muttering empty phrases about 'terrorism' and 'suspicions'. Again best done right before the event so that no curious journos, if there still are any, could look into it.

They will do something. They are Harper's police force and will do as they are instructed.


Monday, September 07, 2015

Political corruption

corrupt |kəˈrʌptadjectivehaving or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain
Most politicians, even in democratic societies, are corrupt. It is part of the job description to misrepresent intentions and hide actions in order to maintain power and/or implement an agenda. Voters do not respond to honesty if the honesty does not fit their preferred narrative. Speaking truth and facts also exposes them to weaknesses that will be exploited by rivals. So they hide, lie, and spin with differences measured only in degree.

The system, the social contract, demands corruption because we accept nothing else.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Aylan Kurdi, Chris Alexander, refugee futures

Normally, I think I'd have a certain amount of satisfaction in watching a journalist like Rosemary Barton disassemble a Harper-weasel like Chris Alexander.  But I can't today. Aylan Kurdi, 3, was found dead on a beach, drowned along with his brother Galip, and mother Rehan. Their father and husband, Abdullah, returning to Syria with their bodies after he was desperately unable to save them.

Chris Alexander was apparently personally handed this family's refugee claim file, later rejected. A normal person would spend the next week haunted and sleepless, vomiting at his own reflection and drafting his resignation from politics, but I doubt this is the case.

This will have happened before, as just about every rejected claim from a Syrian, or an Afghan, or an Iraqi might well condemn them to die in the Med, under an ISIS sword, or an RCAF bomb.

But now there are faces and names assigned to four desperate people fleeing ISIS, three whom could've been alive and safe if it weren't for some fucking misanthropic Conservative "policy". The fourth will return to Syria and, like his country, probably never recover.

Here's the thing. This is the just the beginning of another great migration. In the coming decades, war, poverty, and environmental change are going to drive millions of people toward anywhere that looks like a refuge. The rich, liberal, tolerant, countries are the obvious and only real choices. Most other countries are ethnocentric and will shoot them at the border. Hell, the Hungarian government eventually just might.

We in the rich countries have a choice: open our doors and let our fellow humans live, or shut them and be prepared to watch as hundreds of millions if not billions die.

Things are different now.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Rearguard election

Harper wanted a long campaign to spend his warchest. Great. All other things being equal, that would have helped him in his offensive attack-attack-attack approach to elections.

Now, barely a few weeks in, events at the Duffy trial have turned that strategy on its head. It's a defensive action they are fighting now. The opposition parties scarcely matter because Duffy has nothing to do with them.

It's all Harper.

Exquisitely so, as a few words from former PMO lawyer Benjamin Perrin surgically dismantled Party lies claims (and possibly even the Crown, although it is too soon tell) case in his testimony at the Duffy trial, stating that PM ignored his legal advice on Senate appointments.

With this, and after the angry-old-man meltdown at the media the other day, the press is pouring fire into the clear gap in the Tory armour.

What's so fascinating to me is watching the control freak in Harper lose control of events. It's happened before the coalition prorogue, but was in response to an Opposition plan and skulduggerously but legally used parliamentary procedure to evade defeat. He cannot control a courtroom like that.

Skeletons are tumbling out of closets now.  It's even hard to find a supportive comment in the newsmedia comment threads, which are usually stocked with rightwing idiots and stooges.

There are many days yet in this election, and the winds may shift again. But...



Thursday, August 20, 2015

Duffy Days: Perrin, Harper

Well, if I were a lawyer and my client ignored my advice and did his/her own thing...well, don't come crying to me when it goes pear shaped, pal.
"I was immediately taken aback by the prime minister's decision that if you simply owned $4,000 of real property, that made you a resident," said Benjamin Perrin, testifying at the Mike Duffy trial in Ottawa.
Ouch. No PM's holiday card for Perrin, I'm guessing.




Duffy days: Novak, Harper

"I've always loved you."


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Getting a bit touchy 'bout Duffym, eh?

Witness an angry and confused Harper supporter call a reporter outside a Harper campaign event a "lying piece of shit".

Because swearing at and insulting reporters in the campaign press pool will lead to nothing but an election victory for Dear Leader.

Still, shows that Harper folks are feeling rather touchy about what is emerging from L'affair Duffy. 

Monday Rant

Have we had a PM or government in the past 60 years or so that respected the Constitutional role of the Senate?

No.

Does that mean the Constitutional role of the Senate is meaningless and the place should be done away with?

No.

What it does mean is that we haven't had a PM and government in over 60 years that respected the Constitution. Not even Pierre.

Harper has treated the Senate as a resort for retired bagmen and thugs and look where it's gotten him. Chretien and Mulroney did the same.

Mulcair, and presumably his squadrons of trained seals as well, would rather eliminate it, I suspect, because they'd prefer to avoid the possible legislative oversight and leave *all* oversight to the various Courts. Which judges would, naturally enough, be appointed by them.

But wouldn't it be marvelous if the Senate was treated with respect and actually *was* a house of sober second thought, a truly non-partisan chamber with no present ties to any political party, populated by Canadians of distinction and probity from all walks of life whose task was to examine proposed legislation to ensure that it would be to the benefit of all.

Because that is in fact it's Constitutional role.

We elect assholes, conmen and shysters, time after time after time, and expect them to behave like honest, upstanding citizens.

We are unworthy inheritors of democratic tradition and soon enough we'll have lost it.

Not because of some small man or woman in a big office somewhere but because we ourselves became distracted and sated and smug.

As well as more and more profoundly stupid and ham fisted even as we became more and more highly educated and specialized.

Blood soaked monkeys, that's us.

Rant over.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Ok, so pick a fight with Wynne and Notley, why dontcha?

Good grief.
A political spat that erupted this week between Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and the Alberta and Ontario premiers is being seen by some as a calculated move on Harper's part to shore up his traditional party base.
So the theory is that Harper is openly appealling to angry, ignorant, and confused misogynistic men by attacking the two of most powerful premiers, leading two of the wealthiest provinces? Including his home turf, where Notley hoovered the votes all over the place against a former federal Harperite? Quite the gamble, that.



It'll be fun to see how this plays out.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Donate: Eday Voter Suppression documentary

Eday in Canada: Voter Suppression documentary needs your support for release in time for this election. Please donate now.

Remember Michael Sona, Robocalls, Elections Canada, and the Fair Elections Act? Make those chickens come home to roost for those who might try to rig Election 2015.


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...






Disenfranchisement

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.

Idiots. 




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.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

So Long, Dave. Thanks For The Laughter. Watch Your Step.

I confess that I will miss David Letterman even though I have not been anything close to a faithful watcher for many years.

However, there was a stretch of time in the 80's when I was away from home quite a bit. On tour or working in another city and after the show was over and a late night meal was found getting back to the hotel to watch Letterman and wind down the night was what was done.

Laughter before sleep. Better than drugs.

Last night, his penultimate night, I had to watch. I needed to see what Bill Murray would conjure of course but really it was to see Dylan. Bob Dylan. Not that other one.

I wondered what he might do. Would he do "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" perhaps, with a wink and a nod  to the desk? 

Maybe an updated version of License to Kill, which he sang the first time he appeared on the show back in '84.

Nope. He sang a song not even his own, The Night We Called It a Day, off his new album of American jazz and pop standards. He's always been Bob Dylan, of course, and last night he seemed even more so what with the flock of ducks that seemed to inhabit his body when he didn't have a good grip on the mike stand.

Surreal.

I think I'll choose to remember him for other things.

Like this.

I'll watch Letterman's last show tonight too. It will be bittersweet as so much of life so often is. We're the same age now, he and I.

I will miss knowing that I can always tune in to a Letterman show for a laugh. The new guys are just so reverential amid the giggling and fawning.



Monday, May 18, 2015

Canada's National Newspaper

Elizabeth Renzetti of The Globe and Mail asks "Why are we trading liberty for security?"

In return I ask her:


Why are you still working for the corporate shill Phillip Crawley? 


As far as I'm concerned, Ms. Renzetti, you don't have the right to ask the question let alone attempt any of the facile answers that would be acceptable to the man who signs your paycheque.  


No one who works for the Globe and Mail, in my opinion, has the moral right to ask a question such as that. All of you have sold that right. Your integrity and credibility have a dollar sign attached to them.  None of you own a high ground upon which to ask that question. You are all compromised. 


You're an active participant in Canada's ongoing trading of liberty for security by virtue of being in the pay of one of Harper's most ardent cheer leaders. You are helping to enable the incremental and accelerating deconstruction of what once was one of the most admired and respected nations on earth. You are assisting in the creation of a new proto-fascist state where elections are suspect, citizens rights are not respected and science and learning are devalued in order to accommodate unmoderated corporate avarice. 


One must assume you all enjoy life on your knees .