Sunday, February 28, 2010

There'd be Days...

Good old fashioned stoner rock:

Bounty

Spotted at Thwap's Schoolyard, George Monbiot suggests the only recourse we have left against elite war criminals is citizen's arrest:

This site offers a reward to people attempting a peaceful citizen’s arrest of the former British prime minister, Tony Blair, for crimes against peace. Anyone attempting an arrest which meets the rules laid down here will be entitled to one quarter of the money collected at the time of his or her application.

Money donated to this site will be used for no other purpose than to pay bounties for attempts to arrest Tony Blair. All the costs of administering this site will be paid by the site’s founder.*

The intention is to encourage repeated attempts to arrest the former prime minister. We have four purposes:

- To remind people that justice has not yet been done.

- To show Mr Blair that, despite his requests for people to “move on” from Iraq, the mass murder he committed will not be forgotten.

- To put pressure on the authorities of the United Kingdom and the countries he travels through to prosecute him for a crime against peace, or to deliver him for prosecution to the International Criminal Court.

- To discourage other people from repeating his crime.

Sunday Linkblast - Feb 28

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Yeah, why wasn't she tasered?

"She acted like a petulant child. I think she should be forced to resign because she showed such contempt for ordinary Canadians and the people of that province (Prince Edward Island) that I think she has lost the moral authority to be a minister of the Crown," said NDP MP Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre).

Martin said if anyone else displayed that kind of behaviour they would at least have been taken aside and probably not allowed to board the airplane, and, at worst, arrested and possibly Tasered.

"(Harper) needs to ask her to step down. Ms. Guergis's behaviour is completely unacceptable of any citizen, let alone a minister of the Crown," said Anita Neville, the Liberal critic for the status of women.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ridiculous double standard!

Women's hockey team members compelled to apologize for celebrating their Olympic win with beer and cigars.

The Canadian women’s hockey team apologized Friday for their post-victory party, which featured beer and cigars, moving back onto the ice at Canada Hockey Place.

Photos of several players celebrating about an hour after their 2-0 gold-medal victory over the Americans made their way onto the internet late Thursday. That angered Gilbert Felli, the IOC’s executive director of the Olympic Games, who was quoted as saying that, “I don’t think it’s a good promotion of sport values.” He also promised an investigation.

“We realize we should have kept our celebrations in the dressing room,” national team veteran winger Jayna Hefford said Friday. “It was well after people had left the building. We had done it before and some of our favourite memories are going and sitting on the ice and getting a picture by a logo or taking in the atmosphere of the arena once everybody leaves.

How Mr Felli could manage that pompous little speech with that enormous stick rammed up his ass I'll never know.

Can we expect a huge public scandal if the men's team tip a few beers after their last game? I suspect that might be a the mild end of celebrations that may be more Fellini's Satyricon than beer and cigars on home ice.

After the absurdly lame justifications for refusing to allow women to ski jump (and reveal the embarrassing fact that there are female jumpers with better distance than the top men.) it seems more and more that the men at the top echelons of the Olympics have serious issues with women and particularly women athletes.

UPDATE: What CathiefromCanada said!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Andrew Koenig RIP

His family's worst fears were realized when he was found dead today in Stanley Park. He had been suffering from clinical depression and is believed to have taken his own life.

Koenig was a talented actor and the son of a talented actor. I'm running here the youtube of the semi-pro short film Batman: Dead End. Koenig played the Joker and knocks the performance out of the park. His is a more classic version than Heath Ledger's and in my opinion is superior.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Microsoft Crushes Cryptome

Accomplishing what many governments and their most secretive agencies have long failed to do, Microsoft used a DMCA notice to close Cryptome today.

Microsoft dropped a DMCA notice alleging copyright infringement on Cryptome’s proprietor John Young on Tuesday after he posted a Microsoft surveillance compliance document that the company gives to law enforcement agents seeking information on Microsoft users. Young filed a counterclaim on Wednesday — arguing he had a fair use to publishing the document, a full day before the Thursday deadline set by his hosting provider, Network Solutions.

Regardless, Cryptome was shut down by Network Solutions and its domain name locked on Wednesday — shuttering a site that thumbed its nose at the government since 1996 — posting thousands of documents that the feds would prefer never saw the light of day.

Update: Cryptome is back up on an emergency back up server.

UPDATE 2 Feb 27: Able to recognize a force 10 PR shitstorm when it's blowing their shingles off, Microsoft relents and withdraws their DMCA shutdown request:

Subject: DN: www.cryptome.org; Registrar: Network Solutions; Host: Network Solutions - Demand for Immediate Take Down - Notice of Infringing Activity - MS Ref. 304277
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 2010 12:22:59 -0500
From: "DMCA"
To: "John Young"

We would like to notify you that Microsoft has contacted us regarding www.cryptome.org. Microsoft has withdrawn their DMCA complaint. As a result www.cryptome.org has been reactivated and this matter has been closed. Please allow time for the reactivation to propagate throughout the various servers around the world.

Linda L. Larsen, Designated Agent
Network Solutions, LLC
Telephone: 703.668.5615
Facsimile: 703.668.5959
Email: dmca[at]networksolutions.com

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Promoting Genocide at Harvard

Spotted at Sketchy Thoughts.

Visiting scholar at Harvard's Weatherhead Center Martin Kramer defends himself against accusations of genocide...by promoting the exact same genocidal policies:
I didn't propose that Israel take a single additional measure beyond the sanctions it now imposes with the political aim of undermining Hamas. And I didn't call on the West to "deliberately curb the births of Palestinians." I called on it to desist from deliberately encouraging births through pro-natal subsidies for Palestinian "refugees," which guarantee that Gazans will remain both radicalized and dependent. The Electronic Intifada claims that "neither the UN, nor any other agencies, provide Palestinians with specifically 'pro-natal subsidies.'" This is a lie: UNWRA assures that every child with "refugee" status will be fed and schooled regardless of the parents' own resources, and mandates that this "refugee" status be passed from generation to generation in perpetuity. Anywhere in the world, that would be called a deliberate pro-natal policy. Electronic Intifada: "Kramer appeared to be equating any humanitarian assistance at all with inducement for Palestinians to reproduce." Appears to whom? A pro-natal subsidy is a national or international promise to support the yet-unborn, not humanitarian assistance to the living. The pro-natal subsidy in Gaza is the unlimited promise of hereditary "refugee" status to future generations.
Translation: I wasn't calling for the genocide of the Palestinians. I was just calling for the withholding of medical care from Palestinian children in the hopes of reducing the Palestinian population.

As Electronic Intifada pointed out:
The 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, created in the wake of the Nazi holocaust, defines genocide to include measures "intended to prevent births within" a specific "national, ethnic, racial or religious group."
And as Kramer himself points out:
Israel's present sanctions on Gaza have a political aim—undermine the Hamas regime—but if they also break Gaza's runaway population growth—and there is some evidence that they have—that might begin to crack the culture of martyrdom which demands a constant supply of superfluous young men. That is rising to the real challenge of radical indoctrination, and treating it at its root.
Since the question of shifting demographics and Palestinian population growth is a subject of obsessive debate and fixation among Israeli elites, how can the subject ever be so neatly divorced? 'Oh of course all these harsh measures are just to undermine Hamas, if they also reduce the Palestinian population at the same time, well that's just a happy accident.'

Bad Moon Rising

...was the number one song the day I was born. Nice.

I was a little worried when I looked it up, it could have been something dire by Sonny and Cher.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Linkblast - Feb 21

  • Not a lot of M├ętis in his riding apparently
    Edmonton East Tory MP Peter Goldring calls Louis Riel a “villain” with blood on his hands who stood in the way of Confederation.' “To unhang Louis Riel and to mount a statue to him on Parliament Hill would elevate anarchy and civil disobedience to that of democratic statesmanship.”

  • Market failure famine
    Free trade, deregulation and privatization catastrophic to food stability in Africa.

  • Obama finally takes on healthcare for real?
    Krugman is cautiously optimistic.

  • The Good Coup?
    The Junta in Niger seized power practically bloodlessly, released almost all prisoners within hours, were opposing an unpopular president trying to dissolve parliament, promise a return to democracy as quickly as possible and have apparent support from the public. The international community condemns the coup but arguably it was America and Europe's threat to cut all non-humanitarian aid two months ago that spurred the coup plotters.

  • Wanting to believe
    The patient communicating from a persistent vegetative state? He really wasn't

  • Roger Ebert Revealed
    As most of the internet has already discovered, this is one of the best interview profiles you'll ever read. I've always enjoyed his scrupulous fairness as a reviewer, by which I mean he would review a movie on its merits - if its a cheesy horror movie, is it an entertainingly cheesy horror movie. If its a sex comedy, is it sexy and funny?

  • Oh that's just fracking cool
    RFID tattoo that creates an augmented reality on webcams.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Breaking the Apartheid barrier

Bottom Line: When a former Israeli Prime Minister and current Defense Minister says flatly that the choices ahead are either a Palestinian state or Israeli Apartheid, there can be no doubt that the word is a valid one in the debate and any accusations of anti-semitism purely for using it have forever lost their validity.
If, and as long as between the Jordan and the sea, there is only one political entity, named Israel, it will end up being either non-Jewish or non-democratic... If the Palestinians vote in elections, it is a binational state, and if they don't, it is an apartheid state.
Mr Levy writes that Mr Barak's views reflect the basic realist center-left diagnosis of Israel's situation, but that there is a terrible "disconnect" between this diagnosis—a Palestinian state, or apartheid—and the weak, hopeless half-measures most on the Israeli (and American Jewish) left advocate in response. Continuing negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, which the Israeli right can continue to sabotage at every launch of a Hamas missile, will go nowhere; they have gone nowhere for nine years. This road leads to apartheid. Mr Levy says the real contest for Israel's future is between the "hard retractionists", those who support drastic measures to end Israel's occupation of the West Bank, and the "hard retentionists", who want to keep the West Bank.
Will Stephen Harper and Jason Kenny now be accusing Barak of anti-semitism and cutting government funding to Israel as a result?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Captain America VS the Teabaggers

The comic book character Captain America may look like a cheesy, jingoistic propaganda image wrapped in the flag, but as my friend Matt, a huge fan of Cap' would fiercely argue he's actually been far more complex over the years than his appearance would suggest.

In one storyline he uncovered a dark government conspiracy of shadowy elites that he ultimately discovered was being led by then President Nixon (!) who killed himself when Cap confronted him in the Oval Office. In a later story Cap quit the job and gave up his star spangled shield rather than become an order taking agent of the government. Most recently he led a revolt of superheros against the government over plans to force them all to unmask.

Steve Rogers, the face behind the mask was a skinny New York depression era kid who agreed to a dangerous medical experiment he wanted to fight the Nazis so bad. Becoming a super soldier he fought Hitler, The Red Skull and endless Nazi troops until he got frozen in arctic ice for decades getting defrosted in the modern world.

Now Marvel comics are in trouble over a caustic portrayal of the Tea-baggers:

Cap's temporary replacement Bucky and his old partner the Falcon want to infiltrate a right wing extremist group and come to the reasonable conclusion that the Tea-baggers would be a good place to start looking. Falcon makes the equally reasonable point that a black guy from Harlem would have a hard time fitting in with a bunch of angry mid-western white right wingers.

So naturally the real Tea-baggers are deeply offended by this portrayal. I guess the truth hurts.

The Falcon mentions that the gathering appears to be "some kind of anti-tax protest" and notes that "this whole 'hate the government' vibe isn't limited to the Watchdogs." He then tells Captain America that he doesn't think their plan will work because "I don't exactly see a black man from Harlem fitting in with a bunch of angry white folks." Captain America then explains that his plan entails sending The Falcon in among the group posing as an IRS agent under the thinking that a black government official will most certainly spark their anger.

The clear implicit attack on the Tea Party Movement was first noticed by Publius' Forum's Warner Todd Huston. When a minor uproar ensued, Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada spoke to Comic Book Resources and defended the issue while apologizing for the panel that seemed to tie real-life Tea Party protesters to the fictional group depicted in the book.

Marvel Comics is a business, a Disney owned, hugely profitable test lab for future multi-million dollar movie projects including Cap himself, so its no surprise that the Editor in Chielf immediately apologized to try to defuse the story. Doesn't mean the story itself is at all unfair or inaccurate.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Too Crazy for Glenn Beck

Consider how crazy that would have to be and be awed.

Debra Medina, the Tea Party activist who has been polling strong in the Texas Republican gubernatorial primary, appears to have just gotten herself in some serious political trouble -- indicating during an appearance on Glenn Beck's radio show that she could potentially be a 9/11 Truther, or is at least open to the idea that 9/11 was an inside job by the government.

"I don't have all of the evidence there Glenn so I'm not in a place, I have not been out publicly questioning that," Medina said. "I think some very good questions have been raised in that regard, there are some very good arguments and I think the American people have not seen all the evidence there, so I have not taken a position on that."

After the interview, Beck then ruled out any idea of supporting Medina. "I think I can write her off the list," said Beck, also adding: "Let me take another look at Kay Bailey Hutchison if I have to. Rick [Perry], I think you and I could French kiss right now."

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Good Point

Jeffrey Simpson makes the surprisingly cogent point in the Mop and Pail today, that in the Rights and Democracy mess and the Harperites overall approach to Middle East issues, it isn't that this government has a uniquely pro-Israel viewpoint but that it is specifically a pro-Likud view point.
The crisis at Rights & Democracy, the Montreal-based human-rights group funded by Ottawa, reflects two wider problems associated with the Harper government.
The first is the unconditional support the government gives not just Israel – support that all Canadian parties correctly offer – but with a certain view of Israel held by right-wing parties in that country that form the current Israeli government.
So not only is the government trying to delegitimize any criticism of Israel, it is trying to delegitimize any viewpoint on Israel, the Palestinians and the settlements outside of the partisan policies of one right wing party within Israel.

Quote of the Day

“We all look up to the soldiers. This really is scary. It would be like finding out the mayor was killing girls,” said Chantal Jouan, 17.
Having lived next to a CFB, I can't imagine what it's like in Trenton right now. This is a family that has had a bomb go off at its center.

The thought that a serial killer could have made it up and through the omni-present screening of the officer ranks to the rarefied atmosphere of CFB Commander is going to be devastating for morale both among the troops and among the civilian communities that live alongside the troops.

They're going to need our support.

UPDATE:
I think how slowly the Canadian blogosphere is taking up this story may simply be that most Canadians without any Forces affiliations may not realize how big a deal it is.

There are only about 86 Airforce colonels in Canada at any given time. To personnel, family and support communities, CFB commander is a position roughly analogous to a provincial Premier. Trenton, the biggest Airforce base in Ontario and the arrival/departure location for Canada's current operations in Afghanistan has a uniquely important role in the lives of the troops and their families.

To them this is like picking up the paper and finding out the PM is suspected of being a serial killer. It will rock the foundations of the military and their extended families and communities across the country for years to come.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Obama was saving gay rights for later, and not because he thought it was a loser...

...but because he liked the idea of the Republicans publicly putting on their Klan hoods just before midterm elections.
In another, milder cross-examination — on “Meet the Press” last weekend — John Boehner, the House G.O.P. leader, fended off a question about “don’t ask” with a rhetorical question of his own: “In the middle of two wars and in the middle of this giant security threat, why would we want to get into this debate?” Besides Mullen’s answer — that it is the right thing to do — there’s another, less idealistic reason why President Obama might want to get into it. The debate could blow up in the Republicans’ faces. A protracted battle or filibuster in which they oppose civil rights will end up exposing the deep prejudice at the root of their arguments. That’s not where a party trying to expand beyond its white Dixie base and woo independents wants to be in 2010.

Polls consistently show that independents, however fiscally conservative, are closer to Democrats than Republicans on social issues. (In May’s Gallup survey, 67 percent of independents favored repealing “don’t ask.”) This is why Scott Brown, enjoying what may be a short-lived honeymoon in his own party, calls himself a “Scott Brown Republican.” A Scott Brown Republican isn’t a Boehner or Hatch Republican. In his interview with Barbara Walters last weekend, he distanced himself from Sarah Palin, said he was undecided on “don’t ask” and declared same-sex marriage a “settled” issue in his state, Massachusetts, where it is legal.

It’s in this political context that we can see that there may have been some method to Obama’s troublesome tardiness on gay issues after all.

Smile Robot, Smile.


Seriously, what the hell were they thinking?

Quote of the Day

People say I complain a lot about things,
but good news! Oral Roberts is still dead.
-Warren Ellis

Have the courage of your convictions

What an incoherent jumble of views!

Danielle Smith believes Albertans need to 'stop apologizing'.

“We’re tired of being a victim, we’re tired of cowering, we’re tired of apologizing,” she said. “We have an immense amount of pride in our entrepreneurship, we have an immense amount of pride in the fact that we’re a society that take care of each other.”

Smith believes that 'the science on climate change remains 'unsettled' the standard big polluter paid for disinformation trying to pretend there's a controversy on a subject with overwhelming agreement among climate scientists, but she still wants some kind of vague 'real' action on climate change just to protect Alberta's reputation.
“The approach a lot of politicians have been taking is to acknowledge this is a target we want to reach, then do precisely nothing,” Smith said. “If we don’t do something material and important on the issue of CO2 emissions reductions, we will never be able to gain the credibility of our neighbours and the international community.”
So she thinks we have nothing to apologize for, she claims to believe that the overwhelming consensus on man made global warming is actually 'unsettled' but she still believes we need to do something 'material' and 'important' about it to protect our provincial reputation.

What this could actually be beyond the same bullshit con of carbon capture that the Tories are promoting is of course completely undefined.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Get Well Soon

I'll join the rest of the Canadian blogosphere in wishing speedy recovery to Jack Layton in his battle with cancer.

Puncturing Deficit Hysteria

Krugman in the US and Salutin here in Canada both offer welcome debunkings of the sky is falling deficit hysteria. Krugman's observation that deficit shriekers present their deficit panic stories as ironclad fact rather than ideological opinion that is highly debatable among economists is particualrly helpful.
The deficit threatens economic recovery, we’re told; it puts American economic stability at risk; it will undermine our influence in the world. These claims generally aren’t stated as opinions, as views held by some analysts but disputed by others. Instead, they’re reported as if they were facts, plain and simple.
Yet they aren’t facts. Many economists take a much calmer view of budget deficits than anything you’ll see on TV. Nor do investors seem unduly concerned: U.S. government bonds continue to find ready buyers, even at historically low interest rates.

About Friggin' Time

The RCMP will cease the policy of investigating their own officers for allegations of wrong doing. Going forward they will refer such cases to outside police forces wherever possible.

The old self investigation model was used in the Ian Bush case and ruled that it was possible to shoot a prisoner in the back of the head in 'self defense'.

The Mounties will cease investigating their own in cases of police-involved death or serious injury, RCMP Commissioner William Elliott has announced.

Civilian oversight bodies, where they exist, will be called in to look at what went wrong and whether to press charges. In provinces where such bodies don't exist, other police forces will be drawn upon. In the Far North, Mounties will have to continue to investigate their colleagues because so few other police forces exist there.

Quote of the Day

"One day I was driving along the coastal 101 route from LA to San Fransisco with three tasty chicks in a Shelby Cobra. The radio announcer said: "We've stopped the music to tell you that Blind Faith drummer Ginger Baker has just been found dead from an overdose of heroin in his hotel room." I looked around at the chicks and thought: "Fucking hell! I must be in heaven!""
-Ginger Baker, from Hellraiser: The Autobiography Of The World's Greatest Drummer

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Noblesse oblige

From Sun columnist Alan Parker, the real scandal of Danny Williams' cross border queue jumping is that ultimately he's the one in charge of the queue.
Well, Danny Boy, you’re the freakin’ King of Newfoundland. You’ve stared down Ottawa and done all sorts of wondrous things.

Newfoundland is now — or soon will be — a “have” province, despite the fishery collapse.

And medicine/health care is a provincial responsibility in Canada. So you, as premier, are the ultimate health authority on the Rock, responsible for the medical well-being of half a million people.

And there is some medical procedure that your fiefdom is not prepared to deal with until it affects you?

I’m not saying the procedure has to be performed in St. John’s. I’m just saying that — unless you have a one-in-a-million condition — there has to be a protocol in place for dealing with whatever medical problem you have (and are not revealing).

Why is the protocol that’s good enough for every other citizen of Newfoundland and Labrador not good enough for you?

That’s what really bugs me about you, Danny Williams.

If you just want to be part of the elite — floating above the hoi polloi — that’s fine. But it’s really bad timing to choose to do so when you, as premier, are saying (figuratively speaking): “I crapped out. I did a really bad job of providing you, the people I swore to look out for, with the kind of medical care I wanted for myself. Sorry. Adios.”

Here’s the bottom line — Danny Williams, as premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, is responsible for health care in his province.

If that care is not possible within province, he is responsible for providing that care to the citizens of his province elsewhere. But with accountability.

I see no accountability from Danny Williams in his own situation. He’s just saying, in effect: “I’m looking after myself as a private citizen. Good luck to any other Newfoundlander with the same condition I’ve got — you’re on your own.”

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

I'm sure they're shivering in their loafers

CALGARY — Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice served notice Monday that energy companies and the Alberta government must improve their environmental vigilance — along with Canada’s reputation — on oilsands development and better communicate those efforts to the global community.
We won't actually do anything if you don't and we love the big con of phony 'carbon capture' technology so really, just throw us some cosmetic bones and we'll be good.

“We have a lot of work to do. It is no secret, and should be no surprise, that the general perception of the oil sands is profoundly negative. That is true both within Canada and internationally,” Mr. Prentice said.

That's even true within Alberta, which is why you haven't seen many provincial polls on the subject lately.

“We need to continue the positive work of industry, with investments in environmental technologies that will show the world how environmental responsibility and excellence can be taken to new levels. Absent this kind of Canadian leadership, we will be cast as a global poster child for environmentally unsound resource development. Canadians expect and deserve more than that.

We do, but too late Jim, the ruined international reputation ship has long since set sail.

“For those of you who doubt that the government of Canada lacks either the willingness or the authority to protect our national interests as a ‘clean energy superpower,’ think again. We do and we will. And in our efforts we will expect and we will secure the co-operation of those private interests which are developing the oil sands. Consider it a responsibility that accompanies the right to develop these valuable Canadian resources.

“How we manage environmental issues post-Copenhagen will define Canada’s future and our reputation on the international stage.”

If you think any of this vague rhetoric will translate into anything other than empty posturing, think again.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Problem of Context

The biggest stumbling block for the political right in Canada is that we have a ready example right next door of the consequences of all their policy prescriptions.

So: Literally endless efforts to degrade and diminish universal public health care in Canada run aground on what we can all plainly see in the utterly dysfunctional and predatory private sector medical experience in the USA. We can see where any such moves lead and even in the most right wing parts of Canada the public remains firmly supportive of our public universal system and firmly and overwhelmingly opposed to dismantling it.

So: Demands that our competitiveness requires relaxing government regulation, in banking for example, are revealed as the demented folly they are by the sight of the American banking sector almost sinking under the weight of their own size and debt ratios as a direct result of the gutting of bank regulation under Republicans and so called 'pro-business' Democrats. Now we have the nauseating sight of the Harper-cons smugly taking credit for a regulatory regime they thundered against only a few years ago.

So: A pandering and disturbingly successful 'law and order' campaign from the Conservatives has managed to whip up enough fear and loathing to make the public, temporarily at least, more receptive to a more punitive and unsympathetic approach to law and order issues. Meanwhile our crime rates are at record lows both in Canadian history and very definitely in comparison to the US. The war on drugs in the US has led to militarized inner cities, falsely convicted death row inmates and one of the biggest and most expensive prison populations on the planet. And crime rates much higher than ours. But its always a good source of easily manipulated fear voters.

The political Right's policy prescriptions suffer from familiarity, and familiarity breeds contempt.

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