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." 
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 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.


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.


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.

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?


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


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.