Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

I have been on the internet as a web activist with various web pages since 1997. I began this blog a year ago as a result of writing articles for local weeklies on the last Federal and Provincial elections.

And one of my first articles I published here was my expose on the gun registry scandal and its link to government policies of contracting out and privatization.

I now have over 500 articles here, so I guess I will have to break down and do an topical search archive for the new year, there that's my resolution.

2005 was a good one.
Happy New Year! Auld Lang Syne! to ya' all and hope you have the best in the new year which is mere hours and a leap second away.

Gordon Stamp in the News

Well besides being national news the Gordon Stamp resignation made it into both the Edmonton Sun and the Edmonton Journal as major news stories. So I guess that will be more evidence to Candace at Waking Up On Planet X of the media and bloggers flogging a dead horse. Though we don't know if the horse is dead he was unavailable for comment at press time.


Albertas Birthday Whimpers to a Close

As the year comes to a close so does the Alberta Saskatchewan Centennials. In Alberta the occasion was one of bungling, banality and basically a non celebration. Cause Colleen Klein was in charge. Communities were not funded for centennial celebrations, instead a Tory bueracracy hunkered down with money and doled it out to its friends. Gary Mah was put in charge of the celebration and he didn't know what was going on.

If you can believe it King Ralph is claiming that we spent oddles on celebrations. Celebrations we have yet to see.

The province spent $500 million on so-called legacy projects and $16 million on the festivities. A final accounting of the costs and projects will be available in the spring.

$16 million on festivities. What the hell was it spent on? Heck we could have given everyone the day off on Sept. 1 for that kind of cash.

Now in Saskatchewan they had a year of celebrations worthy of speaking of. And I did all year I blogged about the embarassment that poor old Saskatchewan was able to out do its rich neighbour in creating a spirit of the provinces Birthday. Here was the spirit of the Centennial celebrated in Saskatchewan. While in true Scrooge fashion King Ralph penny pinched on our celebration. Even the Queens visit was more spectacular in Saskatchewan, rain and all. In Edmonton her visit was rained out.

Go figure.

The best thing King Ralph could have given Albertans this year was his resignation. Sigh, didn't happen. We will have to wait till 2008, a year before the annual five year provincial election in Alberta.


After Iraq is Syria next?

While some are speculating over U.S. Iran relations and the potential for conflict over Irans nuclear power options, the reality is that the U.S. is eyeing Syria for its next expansionist occupation.

The set up is clear, the U.N. has condemned Syria for involvement in Lebanon, the U.S. is talking about porous borders allowing foreign terrorists to move into Iraq from Syria, and has already had border town skirmishes in the last month. The U.S. has moved active forces out of Baghdad onto the Syrian border.

As Le Monde Diplomatique poiunts out in a feature article this is a dangerous situation being percipitated in the Middle East not only by the U.S. but by the U.N. investigation into the death of leading Lebonanese politicians and journalists and the involvement of the Syrian Secret Service and factions of the military.

Syria: a concerted offensive

All eyes are on Syria as it stands accused of being behind the murder of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Even before the UN commission of inquiry was completed, the US was planning - with France - a concerted offensive against the Syrian regime. But destabilising President Bashar al-Assad could lead to regional chaos, given the fragility of Lebanon and near civil war in Iraq.

By Alain Gresh

“IN ORDER to facilitate the action of the liberation forces, to reduce the capabilities of the Syrian regime to organise and direct its military actions, to keep losses and destruction to a minimum, and to bring about the desired results in the shortest possible time, a special effort should be made to eliminate certain key individuals. Their removal should be accomplished early in the course of the uprising and intervention.” For that, Damascus must be “made to appear as the sponsor of plots, sabotage and violence directed against neighbouring governments”.

The CIA and its British counterpart would “use their capabilities in both the psychological and the action fields to increase tension”. The overthrow of the regime would also mean the financing of a committee for a free Syria and the arming of different political factions to give them paramilitary capabilities.

All this comes from a document dating from autumn 1957 that was recently discovered by a researcher. The document was approved by the United States president, Dwight Eisenhower, and the British prime minister, Harold Macmillan.

At that time the Middle East was already regarded, simplistically, as a place for East-West confrontation. The US and British governments saw the Syrian regime - which was then genuinely liberal and democratic, if nationalist - as no more than a Soviet pawn. That meant it needed to be got rid of and its leaders killed. However, a few months later, in January 1958, the Syrians went to Gamal Abdel Nasser to ask for Syria’s unification with Egypt. From the moment the new United Arab Republic was established, its relations with Moscow grew strained, and so the West’s subversive plans were dropped.

The world has since changed. The war against terrorism has replaced the war against communism. But the US vision remains as simplistic as it was then: whoever is not with us is against us, says George Bush. At the time of a “third world war”, of US efforts to crush the Iraqi resistance and beat the Arab world into submission, the reluctance of the Syrian regime to bend to Washington’s will can no longer be tolerated.

Are we none the less heading for a racheting up of tension? A sanctions regime against Syria would penalise its population first, as it did in Iraq. Closing Syria’s borders would create problems with its neighbours, starting with Lebanon. And the fall of the Syrian regime would only extend the regional chaos created by the US military intervention in Iraq and the ensuing occupation.

The Washington Post had this to say: “The planning process, according to the internal documents, includes courses of action for cross-border operations to seal the Syria-Iraq border and destroy safe havens supporting the Iraqi insurgency, attacks on Syrian weapons of mass destruction infrastructure supporting the development of biological and chemical weapons, and attacks on the regime of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad”. The paper’s military commentator, who revealed these American plans, did not say whether, as in 1957, the assassination of Syrian leaders was part of the plans.


Real Junk Science

"Call me Ishmael."

I will continue to be critical of the Junk Science Inc.(c) (tm) cult of the Rightwhing.

They specialize in attempting to debunk critics of capitalism usually by rolling out one scientific apologist for capitalism against hundreds if not thousands of nobel prize winning scientists.

Of course this makes sense since they are
ideologues of the American Individualist school of thought. The lone Rorak against the System just like Ayn Rands hero of the Fountainhead.

However here is a real case of authentic Junk Science.

The Japanese whaling industry
that is hunting these sentient relatives of ours for food hiding behind the Orwellian phrase; whaling for scientific research.

Dead Whales Tell No Tales as any sailor will tell ya.

JAPANESE whalers operating in the Antarctic are fog-bound and unable to hunt whales for the fourth day running, Greenpeace activists tailing the fleet said today. The Japanese Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR), which carries out Japan's research whaling in the Antarctic, today sought to debunk criticism of the project by New Zealand's Conservation Minister Chris Carter.

Japan's JARPA II whaling program contained numerous flaws and was based on speculative and unsound science. It found that most of the data proposed to be collected in Japan's program was not required for the conservation of whale stocks, and that many of the identified objectives could be addressed through analysis of data from Japan's previous 18-year scientific program.


The Sanctity of Marriage

But it was a straight marriage at least. Even if the male dolphin is named Cindy.

That should keep Conservatives and Conservative Jews happy.

Now had it been a gay dolphin marriage well that would have violated the sanctity of this fine institution.

Brit Jew marries dolphin

Unusual wedding: British woman marries her beloved dolphin in Eilat ceremony
Joe Kot

Till death do us part? An unusual wedding ceremony was held in the southern resort town of Eilat on Wednesday, as Sharon Tendler, a 41-years-old Jewish millionaire from London married her beloved Cindy, a 35-years-old dolphin, Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. Tendler said she and her newly wed husband will probably spend their wedding night bowling. reported ThursdayAfter the ceremony was sealed with some mackerels, Tendler was tossed into the water by her friends so that she could swim with her new husband. "I'm the happiest girl on earth," the bride said as she chocked back tears of emotion. "I made a dream come true, and I am not a pervert," she stressed.

I Am Canada

With these two hands I Built Canada....Me....No One Else...It's In My Genes


Racist Canadian Mounted Police could be the other term for these guys. Gone are the days of the NWMP and honouring their word with Sitting Bull. Today these white wacist cops are like cops everywhere. They ignored this womans pleas for help because she was a First Nations person. Now they are going to correct their behaviour. Right. Like its only taken them 135 years to recognize they have a problem?

No response to 911 call 'an error': RCMP
Dec 30 2005
CBC News
The RCMP are admitting they made a mistake when they failed to respond to a 911 call from a woman who was later found dead in her home.

And this is not the only case of them being chumps or racist.

What about the former RCMP Officer, Western Seperatist,and Reform Party MP Jack Ramsay who was charged with raping native girls while an RCMP officer. And while the rapes occured in the sixties the case finally reached court six years ago. Justice is not only blind she can be as slow as mollasses in January.

Then there was the systematic massacre by the RCMP of hunting dogs used by the Inuit in the NWT during the fifites and sixties. It was an attempt to force them to move by destroying their source of livelihood, hunting. Its also called genocide.

There is still the outstanding case of the Air India disaster and accusations that the investigation was tainted by racism.

This summer the RCMP decided that they would engage in a campaign of terror against street people in Kelowna, home of rightwhingnutbar politicians, by taking their 'illegal' shopping carts from them.

The death of the four Mounties in Mayerthorpe Alberta could have been avoided, had they been informed the guy they were going to visit was known to hate cops. Nope their dispatching officer didn't warn them just sent them out to impound a car. As I blogged here before the impounding of the car was basically contracting out the RCMP to do a private policing activity.

The history of the RCMP is the history of a paramilitary colonial army, whose motto sums up their poltics; Maintain the Right!

Local police departments are supervised by community police commissions. It is time for Canada to have an Citizen Community Commission to oversee the RCMP. The current Civilian committee is simply a Complaints Commission:
a small agency, has had to operate within the constraints of its existing staff and budget until such time as further funds were approved and made available.


Liberals Alberta Agenda

So I was checking out a local Liberal Candidates website and low and behold I found a link to the Liberals Alberta Agenda. Ok call me naive, but I actually thought they had something to say to Albertans. Nah the link just leads to the home page. And that's bound to turn off most Albertans even Liberal ones. Why? Cause here was their opportunity to clear up where they stand on Kyoto, Day Care, Oil Company Tax breaks, BSE, Elected Senate, Gun Registry,Privatized Health Care,etc.etc. blah blah. And nope nada, nothing, zip, just smiling Paul Martin, or is that a grimace hard to say, like I said that's enough to turn off most Albertans.


Another Libertarian Blog & Politblogo

A tip o the blog to the Politblogo collective who turned me on to this site of Arthur Sibler who is now a defunct blogger. Since he appears to be a Left Libertarian, I would link to what I thought was one of his excellent essays. Like me he tends to use extended quotes and write longer feature articles.This one is well worth the trouble of spending some time reading and digesting: Patriarchy, Sexism, Homophobia, and the Warrior Culture

Now I like Politblogo, these guys appear to be from Montreal, and I stand to be corrected on this. I like 'em for a couple of reasons they are a collective of bloggers, they read Steamshovel Sci Fi.

And they do analysis of the Quebec views of Election 2006. Which is rare to find in English Canada.

Check out these articles:

Québec federalists prefer an non-Quebec anglophone

Duceppe and the EU example

Realizing the dichotomy in Quebec

Why intermediate Quebec/ROC solutions won't work


Friday, December 30, 2005

Alberta Seperatism Not Quite Stamped Out

Well that didn't take long. Starting with Bouquets of Grey documenting Edmonton East Conservative Campaign Manager Gordon Stamp, a perennial right wing figure here in Redmonton, being an Alberta Seperatiste and saying stupid things in online forums and now he is gone.

And Bouquets got some help from the rest of us in the blogosphere passing on our two bits worth, including
yours truly, it got picked up by Paul Wells at Macleans and he forwarded it to Conservative Candidate Peter Goldring and voila Resignation tendered and accepted. Wow faster than you can say Liberal Blog, gotta hand it to Goldring he didn't give Gord his stamp of approval for his off the wall comments. Not like the Liberal spokesman did for Klander.

But true to form some folks think this is censorship and unfair to the Alberta Seperatiste faction of the Blogging Tory's. Such as
Candace another Redmontonian whose blog WakingUpOnPlanetX supports Alberta Seperatism is very very upset about this. She equates Alberta Sepratism with the PQ and BQ in Quebec.

So here is a history lesson for Candace, of course its a left wing history lesson, so no apologies for that.

Alberta Seperatism is at its core an anti-semitic, racist, white power movement.
It is not the equivalent of the PQ or Quebec. It is not founded in the radical tradition of prairie populism of the Reil Rebellion contrary to the disingenous statements of Link Byfield. It is based in the right wing of the old Social Credit party and its links to the fascist movement in Canada.

It originates in Alberta not in the dirty thirties but the early 1980's in the last days of the Lougheed government, with the Western Canada Concept (WCC) of rightwhingnut lawyer and defender of fascists Doug Christie. The WCC won a seat in a red neck rural riding, and had an MLA in the Alberta Legislature giving them some political credibility, some, enough for Lougheed to use them as a whipping boy against Ottawa. Which Ralph Klein continues to do today. Any time things got a little outta hand between the Liberals in Ottawa and the Alberta Government the bugaboo of Alberta Seperatism would be raised. Clever ploy that.

The reality is that during the 1980's two major right wing populist parties began in Alberta, both anti-semitic, white power, anti-biligualism, pro religious fundamentalist, pro Celtic Saxon peoples (code for White Power) anti immigrant anti multiculturalism, today add anti-gay. These were the WCC and Elmer Knutsens Confederation of Regions Party. The CRP did not win seats in Alberta but in New Brunswick, as a right wing backlash to that provinces French majority.
Ironic eh.

Members, followers and fellow travelers of these parties, also belonged to farther right groups as well as the Reform Party of Canada when it was formed. By then their rump right wing parties disappeared. Some went on in Alberta to form splinter right wing parties like the revived Social Credit, the Alberta Alliance, the Alberta Seperatist party. But most saw Preston Mannings Reform Party as a big tent right wing party, and joined or promoted it.

The infamous voice of the right in Alberta, and Canada, the Alberta Report promoted Alberta Seperatism and the Reform party in its pages. It also supported right wing religious fundamentalism (either protestant or Catholic or Orthordox), anti abortion, anti-gay rights, anti-feminism, anti-daycare. The Byfield clan who ran the magazine as their personal empire, were also directly politically involved in these campaigns.

Today Alberta Report is no more, run into the ground by the Byfields, not once, not twice but thrice. The final death agony of the magazine is a story to behold, but suffice it to say the monies squirreled away that survived the bankruptcy went to creating a new Alberta Seperatist Foundation, run by Link Byfield and with Stalinist aplomb is called;Citizens Centre for Freedom and Democracy.

It is of course nothing of the sort. It is a front group for right wing lobbying and Alberta Seperatism. Lets us hoist Link by his own petard, by letting him speak for himself as the CCFD. Oh by the way when someone says that they are neither left wing nor right wing, or somehow they want to be politically neutral, they ain't. They are right wing. Thats another clever ruse they use to appear non partisan.


Our mission is to promote responsible government in Canada by advocating honest government, a clear division of power between the federal and provincial governments, and a democratic counterbalance to the increasing power of the courts.

GOALS of the Citizens Centre

To persuade provincial governments to exert their full constitutional leverage in such areas as the Canada Pension Plan, medicare, provincial police, tax collection, gun registration, carbon emissions, urban affairs, environment and grain marketing.

To create demand in Canada for privately-paid medical treatments and regulated private alternatives to the national pension plan, as is found increasingly in all developed countries.

To create pressure for a meaningful reduction in federal fiscal transfers (both direct and indirect), and a permanent reduction in government share of GDP.
* *Ottawa forced its way into the provincial sphere of social and economic development, mainly by abusing its unlimited power to tax and spend, even in areas that are beyond its jurisdiction. Some provinces, notably Alberta and Quebec, resisted. However, Quebec was bought off and Alberta was looted. Alberta's net contribution to federal programs since 1961 is now over $200 billion.

The consequences of allowing Ottawa to negate the original scheme of Confederation have been bad for the whole country, not just Alberta.

It has created costly jurisdictional overlap, political confusion, high taxes, needless eastern dependency and western alienation, and a political culture that no longer understands the principle, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

Instead we are constantly told that social entitlements like "free" medicare and unemployment insurance represent the core values of Canadians.

And what is the main political issue that they believe will enhance democracy in Canada? Proportional Representation? Electoral Reform? Parlimentary Reform? Nah......They want Refederation!

To understand what refederation entails, one has to appreciate the fact that Canada is now not only badly governed but also over-governed. Governments at all levels are too big, and they get in each other's way.

For more than a century now, various reform movements have arisen in Canada, particularly in the West, aimed at fixing the problem. They called for more accountability, less interference by Ottawa in local affairs and more equitable economic policies. In short, better government.

But from the time of Louis Riel, through the great Prairie farmers' movements, and up to the Reform and Canadian Alliance parties, the demand for fundamental change has gone largely unanswered. Canada is still dominated by institutions that are out of date, out of step and out of touch.

Marriage Referendum

A fundamental change to the legal meaning of marriage amounts to a constitutional change of great magnitude and importance. Nobody can honestly deny this.

As the Supreme Court acknowledged in December 2003, it affects both levels of government, private and public organizations across Canada, and individual Canadians.

So who should decide the answer?

There are three possible authorities: the courts, Parliament, or the people.

The Citizens Centre believes that the constitution belongs to the people and therefore the people should have the ultimate authority on this issue.

So they want a national referendum on Marriage. And they want to privatize medicare, EI, pension plans, etc. They want a seperate pension fund for Alberta, and its own police. They are following through on Harpers original Firewall Alberta idea. Which once again in their Orwellian speak Link declares is NOT a Firewall nor are they promoting Alberta Seperatism. Talk about convoluted logic.

And the reason? Cause Canada is too liberal for them . No not Liberal, small 'l' liberal, as in libertarian, freedom of choice, freedom of the individual , freedom for gays, immigrants etc.

Now they will talk freedom and freedom of choice but in their Orwellian logic it is exactly the opposite. They want the freedom to be the Christian majority, with their country (seperate Alberta) being a fundamentalist Christian Theocracy at worst, or scratch the surface of Alberta Seperatism, and you find something worse, White Power bigots.

Yep so Candace there you have it. Why Alberta Seperatism is nothing like the Quebec Nationalist movement. It is a modern fascist movement. And if you want to participate in it fine, but lets call a spade a shovel, and you are shoveling B.S. when you promote Alberta Seperatism.


A Simple Apology Will Do

The Liberals are incapable of saying three little words that mean so much to so many; "We Are Sorry". As the government they seem to want to deny the obvious, as if it was them personally that was being asked to apologize to Canadians for how they have been treated by the State.Take yesterdays ruling on Veterans pensions. Court awards vets $4.6 billion in unpaid interest

Langen is happy with the legal victory, but said a simple apology is still lacking.
"I remain distressed that the government has throughout this time issued not a single word of regret for their fault in this manner, so my dad is still in struggle with his own government," Langen said.

Unfortunately true to form the Government is not going to apologize instead they are threatening to challenge the court ruling! Blaikie Slams Liberal Treatment Of Disabled Vets

Choosing not to appeal $4.6-billion payment would 'honour' ex-soldiers, NDP MP says

The federal government should cough up the $4.6-billion awarded to severely disabled veterans and give them the honours they deserve by not letting the class-action ruling drag out in appeals, advocates and opposition parties say.

"They should just accept the decision right now," said Peter Stoffer, MP for Sackville-Eastern Shore and the NDP veterans' affairs critic.

"If they truly want to honour the Year of the Veteran, they will settle this instead of dragging it out while more of the veterans die."

If it is not overturned, the deal would be the largest class-action settlement in Canadian history. The biggest payout to date was $1.5-billion in 1999 to Canadians who contracted hepatitis C from tainted blood.

And while we are discussing apologies the Liberal government has still not apologized to the victims of the tainted blood scandal in Canada. Nor has any politician been fired or gone to jail for it. Unlike France or other countries where the scandals over tainted blood led to firings and jailings of government ministers.

It's a scene not ordinarily observed at government news conferences: the federal minister of health leaving the room to chants of "Shame! Shame! Shame!" He's being heckled by victims of hepatitis C who have been left out of a joint compensation offer between the federal and provincial governments. Health Minister Allan Rock says the terms of the offer were determined by the most rational means possible, but for the victims in this CBC News report, that's not good enough.

Broadcast Feb. 27, 1998 Hepatitis C victims angered by compensation limit

Govt of Canada to discuss compensation for hepatitis C victims

Article Date: 23 Nov 2004

Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh announced today the Government of Canada's intention to enter into discussions on options for financial compensation to people who were infected with hepatitis C through the blood system before January 1, 1986, and after July 1, 1990. "Since becoming Minister, I have heard from Canadians who have contracted Hepatitis C through the blood supply," he said. "Representatives of those infected with hepatitis C through the blood system before 1986 and after 1990 have asked us to reconsider the government's position on compensation. In reviewing this matter and in discussion with cabinet colleagues and caucus, we have reflected on a number of circumstances that have changed since the original compensation decision was taken in 1998. "We have therefore decided that it is right and responsible to revisit the decision and begin discussions on options for financial compensation to those who were infected through the blood supply before 1986 and after 1990.

Yep making good on a bad plan just like the case of the Veterans, a plan introduced by the Liberal government. But if you read Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh's speaking notes for the house on this, he does not apologize once. Nope typcial Liberals cannot accept they goofed or made a mistake.

But he rejected suggestions that Ottawa made a mistake in its original decision on who would qualify."We've come to a conclusion that the circumstances have changed,'' Dosanjh said.

See they just can't accept they screwed up and screwed Canadians and all they have to do is say them three little words; "We Are Sorry". They just can't get them out of their mouths no how. And it would make people they screwed feel just that much better. It wouldn't do much to soften the blows and disasters of their failure to own up to their committments, but it would help.

Scott Hemming qualified for the first round of hep C funding. But he says that the legal wrangling between Ottawa and the provinces delayed his compensation for ages. He eventually lost his home and his career waiting. "How was it for me? Absolutely horrible," he says. "I think probably the compensation issue has been worse for my health than the hepatitis C ever will be." | Ottawa to talk with 'forgotten' hep C victims

Three little words so hard for Liberals to say; "We Are Sorry". And they can't even bring themselves to say it to Chinese Canadians who were discriminated against with the infamous Chinese Head Tax.

Last month, the federal government signed a $2.5-million agreement in principle with the National Congress of Chinese Canadians and other organizations to set up educational and commemorative projects related to the head tax. But Prime Minister Paul Martin has refused to apologize for the controversial tax.

The very fact that the Liberals cannot utter those three little words says more about their arrogance and belief that they are the natural ruling party in Ottawa, than any attack ad ever could. They believe they are entitled to their positions by heredity not election. Millions squandered, thousands of Canadians harmed by their policies, and they just can't seem to say Mea Culpa. They want their entitlement to power just not their culpability for their decisions or decisions made by governments in the past.


Harper in Transit

Stephen Harper, who acknowledges he rarely uses public transit, said he would bring in a 16-per-cent federal tax credit for transit users who buy monthly or annual passes. The average savings per person would be $153 annually, he said.

He definitely doesn't take the bus in Edmonton where monthly bus passes are $60. Annually that is $720 forked out for transit. And he is going to give me a measly 16% tax break.

That's a big $115.20 tax rebate, nothing, zip, heck thats two months transit out of twelve and I still have to pay GST on top of the bus pass cost. Heck I would get more than that in tax breaks if I was an Alberta Oil Company.

And while he is making tax break announcements how about a tax break on mortgage interest payments? Still waiting to hear about that one. Or if I can get a tax break on my PDA or lap top cause they are workplace tools.


Americans Hunt Canadians

Got your attention didn't it. No its not Calvuto or Mr. Tackie Bow Tie Tucker Carlson loading up their guns in the back of the SUV and heading North looking for Canadian 'stalkers' to blast. Nope its Canadian Grey Wolves.

The U.S. introduced Canadian wolves into their national parks since they had destroyed their own indigenous population, along with Buffalo and Indians. And the population has grown over the last decade so in their divine wisdom the Environmentalists in the Bush Administration are now allowing States to regulate Wolf hunting.

Which means that the corruptible State legislatures will kowtow to the rancher lobby and of course allow for varmit hunting of wolves, even if the empirical evidence and science
(drat there's them damn intecelshuals interfering in the nature of things again) says that the wolves have not harmed farm animals.

But of course the U.S. is only catching up with Canada, which allows the provinces to determine the fate of the animals in their geographic domain. Alberta for instance still has an annual wolf hunt. So we would be hypocritical to complain that the Wolves we shipped them ten years ago are now going to be open season for Yankee hunters. Unless we suggested it was wrong for them to hunt them when they could come up here and pay us for the thrill. Yep there's a sick logic to that.

New threat as wolves make comeback

· Protections eased after big increase in numbers
· Environment groups fear backlash by ranchers

Julian Borger in Washington
Thursday December 29, 2005
The Guardian

Licences to kill wolves are to be granted by state authorities rather than Washington. Photograph: Staffan Widstrand/Corbis
Licences to kill wolves are to be granted by state authorities rather than Washington. Photograph: Staffan Widstrand/Corbis

America's wolves have climbed back from the edge of extinction in the past 10 years to the point where the federal government is about to relinquish responsibility for their protection. But environmentalists say the wolf is not quite out of the woods and warn that the human backlash against the predator has only just begun.

About 5,000 wolves - mainly Canadian greys - now roam the woods of Minnesota and the American west, compared with a population of barely 200 in the mid-90s, before the animals were reintroduced to Yellowstone national park.


Secular Democracy

Since its founding in 1776 America has defined in practice the meaning of Democracy, it equates with Secularism. Anti-Theist (though a Quaker and Deist himself) Thomas Paine espoused the belief that the revolutionary nature of Democracy was two fold a recognition of the Rights of Man, and the seperation of Church and State. Paine was there urging on the American Revolution, then a hop skip jump to France to promote his Rights of Man during the French Revolution, and then back home to Britain to promote his ideals of democracy.

Now after much ballyhoo and cheering from the Bush Administration, election results in Iraq show that while the machinery of democracy, or at least representative democracy was successful the result was not a democracy. As the saying goes the operation was a success unfortunately the patient died. Such is the case in Iraq. The election has created a government, as did the earlier negotiations around a constitution etc, but not a democracy. For to be a democracy the government and its constitution must be secular. And the secularists, those whom the US ironically supported were defeated.

But there was a disappointingly poor showing for the secular, nationalist Shia list of the former interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi, seen by the US and Britain (with a dash of the wishful thinking that has long characterised their policies) as a possible compromise contender for the prime ministership - despite his unpopularity with fundamentalist Iranian-backed groups such as Sciri and Dawa. Mr Allawi, who supported the US assault on Falluja, has complained of serious irregularities at the hustings and has demanded a rerun. Two Sunni parties, stunned by defeats in the Baghdad area, have also cried foul, with one of their leaders, Saleh al-Mutlak, warning openly of "civil war." The Electoral Commission will examine complaints but does not think irregularities had a major impact. Experts believe a rerun is unlikely but suggest - wishful thinking again? - the demand may be intended to pressurise the Shia and Kurdish winners to take a more altruistic and inclusive approach to government.
Divided they stand
Thursday December 22, 2005
The Guardian

While conservatives have used the prejorative Godless in relation to Communism, to denote the old Soviet Union, one should more properly use it as a
prelude to the term Democracy. For if democracy has a religion, it is Deism, the belief that there may be many names of God. If not then democracy must be atheist, that is secular, for the State which arises from it must be free from religion or it is a Theocracy.

In Iraq today the people have used electoral democracy to elect not a democratic government nor even a democracy, but rather a government which is Theocratic and will take them further down the road of Theocracy and further away from democracy.

Sunnis shun government talks in protest at election results

Although final results are still to be declared, Sunni Arab and secular parties have been disappointed by their electoral performance, demanding a re-run of the polls held on December 15 and threatening to boycott the new parliament. Tens of thousands of their supporters have taken to the streets in protest.

Partial results show that the Shia alliance has done better than expected, particularly in Baghdad, where it took 59% of the vote compared with just 19% for its nearest Sunni rivals and 14% for former prime minister Ayad Allawi's broad secular coalition.

"There will be no negotiations about forming the new government," Hussein al-Falluji, a Sunni candidate on the Accordance list, said. "We will not have any dialogue about it, not with the Kurds and not with the Shia. Results should be reviewed and announced first."

For all King George II's admonishions that his Empire has freed the Iraqi people from tyranny, and given the Middle East a model of democracy, such is not the truth nor the fact of the matter. The people have spoken in Iraq but due to the nature of the fragmentation of that nation by the occupying powers, real democracy did not occur, merely the mechanics of electoral representation; voting, occurred.

Monitors to study Iraq elections

A serious crisis involving the elections could set back hopes for a broad-based government that would include minority Sunni Arabs as well as secular Shia. Such a government could have the legitimacy necessary to diminish the insurgency - a key part of any US military exit strategy from Iraq.

The UN's election observer, Craig Jenness, said on Wednesday that his team, which helped the Iraqi election commission organise and oversee the poll, found the elections to be credible and transparent.

But Sunni Arabs and secular Shia rejected his findings, saying their concerns - some of which were centred on political assassinations before the elections - were not addressed.

There have been about 1,500 complaints lodged against the elections, including around 50 about events serious enough to alter the results in some districts. The overall result, however, was not expected to change.

In order to achieve the civil peace required the U.S. has accepted the participation in the elections of religious blocs, not civil parties perse but religious parties. Thus this election was not fair or balanced, it was between the forces of those who yearn for a Theocratic state and those who wish for a secular state, and the latter lost the election.

And this is the irony and contradiction of the Shock and Awe attack on Iraq. First it was declared that it was to end WMD, which would have meant that the U.S. was acting on behalf of the UN which meant it would have had to put Iraq under UN control after its invasion and war. But that was never the plan. So after the WMD feint failed, the U.S. went in on its own, declaring it was removing a Dictator, fighting for human rights, extending democracy in the region, but it was NOT repeat NOT abour nation building. No siree in and out, just like the macho men in the Administration. In and Out, it was to be the twenty minute war. But three years later they are still there and are nation building. This administration was never prepared to build a nation in Iraqw anymore than they were in Afghanistan, still there too, just appoint a local chieftan and leave. But Iraq was and is a quagmire, not like Viet Nam where like Korea the United States and the UN had divided the nations into North and South, but a quagmire around nation building. Something the this Empire is much poorer at then any of it's Imperial predecesors.

Nope this was to be an example to the world of the Shock and Awe of Amerika's military might. Screw with us and we will pound you into the ground was the administrations thinking. But who cleans up the mess after, that was the fatal after thought, which of course was not thought of. And the result will not be democracy in Iraq but the road towards a Theocracy. But the United States was not there to promote Democracy in the first place, or nation building, or ending the rule of a Tyrant, or sigh WMD. Nope the U.S. was there to prove a point, that they were the biggest baddest kid on the block, or as Georgie boy said; "They wanted to kill my daddy". Vengeance and power.

Shock, awe and Hobbes have backfired on America's neocons

Iraq has shown the hubris of a geostrategy that welds the philosophy of the Leviathan to military and technological power

Richard Drayton
Wednesday December 28, 2005
The Guardian

Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance - a key strategic document published in 1996 - aimed to understand how to destroy the "will to resist before, during and after battle". For Harlan Ullman of the National Defence University, its main author, the perfect example was the atom bomb at Hiroshima. But with or without such a weapon, one could create an illusion of unending strength and ruthlessness. Or one could deprive an enemy of the ability to communicate, observe and interact - a macro version of the sensory deprivation used on individuals - so as to create a "feeling of impotence". And one must always inflict brutal reprisals against those who resist. An alternative was the "decay and default" model, whereby a nation's will to resist collapsed through the "imposition of social breakdown".

All of this came to be applied in Iraq in 2003, and not merely in the March bombardment called "shock and awe". It has been usual to explain the chaos and looting in Baghdad, the destruction of infrastructure, ministries, museums and the national library and archives, as caused by a failure of Rumsfeld's planning. But the evidence is this was at least in part a mask for the destruction of the collective memory and modern state of a key Arab nation, and the manufacture of disorder to create a hunger for the occupier's supervision. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported in May 2003, US troops broke the locks of museums, ministries and universities and told looters: "Go in Ali Baba, it's all yours!"

For the American imperial strategists invested deeply in the belief that through spreading terror they could take power. Neoconservatives such as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and the recently indicted Lewis "Scooter" Libby, learned from Leo Strauss that a strong and wise minority of humans had to rule over the weak majority through deception and fear, rather than persuasion or compromise. They read Le Bon and Freud on the relationship of crowds to authority. But most of all they loved Hobbes's Leviathan. While Hobbes saw authority as free men's chosen solution to the imperfections of anarchy, his 21st century heirs seek to create the fear that led to submission. And technology would make it possible and beautiful.

So the elections have come and gone, or sorta of they are up in the air. When will the United States leave Iraq, mission accomplished. Expect them to go by the end of 2006. That was their strategic aim anyways, their timeline for their mission. They had planned to leave earlier but nation building is such a slow business not at all like Shock and Awe military invasions. Or invasions that have no popular support from the residents, "They will welcome us as Liberators", or the international community. So expect that by the end of this coming year serious troop reductions from the so called Coalition of the Willing, especially the U.K. and U.S. troops as well. Regardless of the impending civil war that has been made inevitable by the Theocratic government they leave in their wake.

Blair: troops could begin Iraq pullout within six months

Tania Branigan in Basra and Ewen MacAskill
Friday December 23, 2005
The Guardian

Tony Blair shakes hands with Royal Airforce personnel as he arrives in Basra
Tony Blair shakes hands with Royal Airforce personnel as he arrives in Basra.

Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty


Anders Redux

While the Liberals have their Klander, the Conservatives have Rob Anders their rogue rightwhingnutbar extrodinare. My Blahg has commented on this as well, with more stupid quotes from Anders.

So has The Sir Robert Bond Papers:
Now compare Klander to say a Rob Anders, or even a Stephen Harper, and you can see the fundamental difference between Liberals and the Conservatives - the Reform-a-Tories - the Connies.

Klander resigns, likely before he was fired.

Anders? Well, the guy who still thinks that Nelson Mandela is a terrorist, the guy who was too chickenshit to take Mandela's phone, the guy who is spreading anti-gay propaganda in other ridings besides his own?

Anders is a star Conservative candidate.

And Stephen Taylor's blog is remarkably silent on the entire affair of Mr. Anders and his current campaign activities.

Compare that to the number of Liberal blogs that have denounced Klander.

James Bowie and Jason Cherniak continue the expose and documentation on why Calgary West deserves better than Anders.

Now these lads are blogging Liberals however, pardon the pun, most right thinking, level headed Conservatives are outraged by Anders comments and antics as well as his failure to represent his riding.


Warning! Warning! Danger!

Here we go again folks the ultimate Beta Corporation, whose software is constantly being 'tested' on consumers in the marketplace is at it again. Windows Security Flaw Is 'Severe' Which is why I use Firefox and if I was really smart I would use Linux as my operating system. And of course Linux and Macs are not affected by Microsofts stupidity.

A previously unknown flaw in Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system is leaving computer users vulnerable to spyware, viruses and other programs that could overtake their machines and has sent the company scrambling to come up with a fix.

Microsoft said in a statement yesterday that it is investigating the vulnerability and plans to issue a software patch to fix the problem. The company could not say how soon that patch would be available

Security researchers revealed the flaw on Tuesday and posted instructions online that showed how would-be attackers could exploit the flaw. Within hours, computer virus and spyware authors were using the flaw to distribute malicious programs that could allow them to take over and remotely control afflicted computers.

Unlike with previously revealed vulnerabilities, computers can be infected simply by visiting one of the Web sites or viewing an infected image in an e-mail through the preview pane in older versions of Microsoft Outlook, even if users did not click on anything or open any files. Operating system versions ranging from the current Windows XP to Windows 98 are affected.

How To Beat Back The New Zero-Day Windows Bug

Workarounds include disabling the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer, the application that Internet Explorer automatically launches to display WMF image files.