July 2008 Archives

July 31, 2008

Leave him hanging

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Not too long ago, a number of Liberal bloggers urged their party leader to stop speculating about forcing a federal election until he was really ready to go for it. Now would be a great time to take that advice. Don't say a word. Not a single word.

That speech by Harper was really just red meat for the base. But Stephen Harper doesn't like surprises and he doesn't react very well to events that take him by surprise. So don't get into any kind of a sparring match through the media with him. Just ignore this completely and leave him to wonder what kind of a response is coming and when. The more predictable you are, the more you play into his hands.

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July 30, 2008

For the record

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Please be advised that if, at any time in the future, any member of my immediate or extended family or even anyone in my general vicinity is inducted into the Order of Canada I want the award immediately returned in protest against the induction, now or in the future, of anyone who has ever said or done anything I disagree with.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter,

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July 28, 2008

And did it his way.

I know that's not a very good photo, but it does capture some sense of Gomer's ineffable dignity.

Gomer came to us three years ago Labour Day weekend, his previous persons guessing that he was thirteen or fourteen then. They were also guessing that he didn't have long to live, but Gomer didn't think that at all. As he came to realize that he now had free range and a social life, Gomer decided that he had a right to be here, and he made that point quietly and gracefully but with moving conviction every day of his life that followed.

Gomer died about 5.30 this morning, on my bed, after what was, no question, a hard night. It sounds silly to say that he wasn't sick till he died, since he had lived with diabetes for years, but until yesterday he kept truckin' along in his happy and free Gomer routine every day of his three years here, and he died in his favourite place, with a window open to the spicy summer night air.

I think that everyone who met Gomer was moved by what looked to us like bravery, but I doubt that Gomer thought of himself as brave. He just knew who he was. He knew that I saw that and cared about it, and so he staked his claim to my heart with amazing confidence and brio. I can still hear his claws clicking on the floor as he walks slowly but purposefully up behind me for a visit ...

You were, Gomer. You were precisely the beloved cat that you knew you were. And now you always will be in memory.

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My new favorite American

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Meet Alan Grayson.

I'm Alan Grayson, and I'm the Democratic candidate for Congress in Florida's district eight. And I'm the attorney of record in every single case now pending in Federal court involving war profiteers in Iraq.
I'm running because I'm fed up with the government mismanagement, the Bush administration's shameless pandering to war profiteers. I think they set out on a deliberate course to make this war good for the people who were their friends. And I want to try to hold them accountable when I'm in Congress. When I'm in Congress... the Bush administration's worst nightmare is going to be me with subpoena power because I know everything that they've done, and I'm going to hold them accountable for it.
We don't need truth and reconciliation, we need punishment. We need people to be held accountable for all the mistakes that they made that have screwed us up in this war and screwed us up in this economy.

All indications are that Obama and those around him don't share Grayson's attitude. If Grayson wins and Obama and other highly placed Democrats try to get him to back off, I hope he tells them to pound sand and carries on because he's right. The Beltway version of "truth and reconciliation" means that law breakers get away with it and live to break the law another day.

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July 27, 2008


Chevron is pushing the Bush administration to take the extraordinary step of yanking special trade preferences for Ecuador if the country's leftist government doesn't quash the case ...


Chevron argues that it has been victimized by a "corrupt" Ecuadoran court system while the plaintiffs received active support from Ecuador's leftist president, Rafael Correa—an ally of Venezuela's Hugo Chávez. The company says a loss could set a dangerous precedent for other U.S. multinationals. "The ultimate issue here is Ecuador has mistreated a U.S. company," said one Chevron lobbyist who asked not to be identified talking about the firm's arguments to U.S. officials. "We can't let little countries screw around with big companies like this—companies that have made big investments around the world."

As Newsweek tells this story, Obama, along with Patrick Leahy, may be prepared to stand in Chevron's way, sort of, kind of.

American foreign policy: ok, I'll just bite my tongue now.

H/T to Mary in comments at emptywheel

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July 26, 2008

General Hartmann is doing a brief return engagement this week as a sort-of surrogate for Wm J. "We can't have acquittals" Haynes, former general counsel to the U.S. Department of Defense, whom we seem never to have captured on YouTube, to my considerable frustration.

Brig-Gen "sexy, high interest" Hartmann was one of Haynes's subordinates, still is the legal adviser to the Convening Authority for the military trials at Guantanamo, although the judge in the first of the trials has ordered Hartmann off that case because of his heavy-handed politicizing of the prosecution.

What you need to know about Lindsey Graham (R, S Carolina) is that he is a fairly conservative Republican senator who would annoy almost everyone who ever visits this blog on almost every topic imaginable, except ... He was a military lawyer, became a member of the U.S. air force JAG corps, service that seems generally to have had a remarkable effect on stiffening spines, instilling moral intelligence, and reinforcing allegiance to the U.S. Constitution. There is a good book to be written about the JAGs, who have behaved amazingly well through this dark period.

This is a very brief exchange from a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last December, the kind of hearing that most Republican members never attend lately because they know how their side is going to look. But Senator Graham turned up because, to him, this isn't about political sides. He does this fast, but he does it well.

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How not to reassure the public

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Shorter AECL: When it comes to safety in the nuclear industry, we don't do anything more than is absolutely required of us. Is there a problem with that?

H/t to The Jurist who has much more.

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July 25, 2008

The video on these is pretty coarse but the tunes shine through, I think. One of my favorites by Cooder is Tattler.

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This afternoon I see a number of bloggers reacting to the news that the federal government is already flirting with a deficit early in the fiscal year and all those years of Liberal surpluses are gone. This is the plan, folks.

Of course they don't want to run too big a deficit too early in the game because it might endanger the reputation that fiscal conservatives have for being better at managing money. (People who are paying attention know that's a crock of shit but it's one of those zombie lies that lives on.) But threatening to dip into the red is okay. If they manage to bring the books back into balance at the end of the fiscal year it will be due to their awesome ability. If they end up in deficit it will be someone else's fault or entirely unavoidable.

Either way, it will be the signal for another round of cuts to social programs and to departments that do things like inspect food to make sure that what we eat won't kill us. This is the movement conservative school of government at work and the idea is to cripple the government's ability to do anything. (The military budget will be untouchable, of course. Afghanistan. Support the troops. Terrorists.)

It will also be the cue for yet another column from John Ibbitson suggesting that some kind of fiscal union with the United States (assuming the U.S. is still standing) is the only sensible option. And Jeffrey Simpson will be along with yet another column telling us that our health care system is doomed. Doomed, I tell you!

Is there anything about this that isn't predictable?

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I've been tempted to write a post with that title on a number of occasions. Robocalls are telephone spam which is spam that's even more intrusive than the crap that shows up in either my real or virtual mailbox. Now there's a certain amount of irony in that title.

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July 24, 2008

Are they guilty of:

1. war crimes (if of a minor nature, given the horrific proportions of what the major players in the U.S. have done);

2. treason (no qualifications); or

3. both?

Show your work.

How can we not be scandalized to learn that Canadian public servants are capable of reasoning and rationalizing violations of Canadian and international law like this?

"Senior government of Canada officials should be mindful of the potential reaction of our U.S. counterparts to Abdelrazik's return to Canada as he is on the U.S. no-fly list," intelligence officials say in documents in the possession of The Globe and Mail.

"Continued co-operation between Canada and the U.S. in the matters of security is essential. We will need to continue to work closely on issues related to the Security of North America, including the case of Mr. Abdelrazik," the document says.

Although heavily redacted, the documents illuminate a government keen to placate the Bush administration, irrespective of the guilt or innocence of Mr. Abdelrazik, who has lived in the lobby of the Canadian embassy in Khartoum for nearly three months.

As Alison wrote earlier today, these documents are evidence that Abdelrazik is indeed another Arar. In fact he is one of the CSIS Seven -- or is that the DFAIT Seven? Or, as we learned today, the Transport Canada Seven? How many pod-people who claim to be doing "intelligence" in our name do we have seeded through how many Canadian government departments?

The ignorance, bigotry, and dishonesty that have been in play in all seven cases (that we know of so far) of Canadian citizens held overseas, subjected to abusive interrogation by foreign powers, interrogations that Canadian agents and representatives have been slotted into, apparently willingly, with no apparent intent to repatriate the citizen any time soon, with demonstrable cheery willingness to trade intel with any number of foreign powers but especially the U.S., in clear violation of international law -- all those obscenities are on display in the case of Mr Abdelrazik.

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July 22, 2008


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Josh Marshall muses on possible running mates for John McCain and when he considers Fred Thompson comments:

...a combined age of 140 during the first year of office is probably unconstitutional.

And if not, it probably should be.

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Smearing the victim

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Back in November, following the death of Robert Dziekanski at the hands of four RCMP officers in a Vancouver airport, it was reported that the RCMP intended to send officers to Poland to "investigate" Dziekanski. I suggested at the time that it looked like an attempt to dig up some dirt on the victim as if it might somehow retroactively justify his death.

A woman in Poland who was questioned by the officers has reported in:

"What kind of person was he, was he a drinker, drug user? Was he aggressive?" she said through a translator. "Most questions were to expose him as not a nice human being -- not to find out what kind of person he really was."

Kosowska said she was left with a poor opinion of the RCMP after two officers questioned her for more than three hours.

This follows the news that public officials who were assuring us at the time that there would be a thorough investigation were privately supporting and encouraging the officers responsible for Dziekanski's death, as ably reported here by Dr. Dawg.

I'm not one of those who has called for the RCMP to be completely dismantled. I thought it might be enough to strengthen the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP. But watching this unfold I really have to wonder.

H/t to Debra at Bread and Roses.

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July 21, 2008

Wanker of the day

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Prime Minister Nouri Maliki of Iraq has been much in the news of late. There was the breakdown in the negotiation of a Status of Forces Agreement between his government and the Bush administration because Maliki wanted to negotiate the departure of American troops while the Americans wanted to negotiate their almost but not quite permanent presence. There was also the small matter of Maliki wanting American troops and American contractors to be subject to Iraqi law rather than exempt from prosecution for any crimes they might commit.

Then on the weekend there was an interview of Maliki in Der Spiegel in which the Prime Minister appeared to endorse Barack Obama's intentions with regard to a withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Then those comments of Maliki's became inoperative. Only to become operative again.

While the American right has long tried to maintain the fiction that the invasion of Iraq was partially intended to free the Iraqi people and to spread democracy, these recent developments may be a bit too much for some of them to bear. Over at NRO's The Corner, John Derbyshire appears to be allowing the mask to slip just a bit.

We should tell Maliki, loudly and in public, that he owes his job to us, and that further prosecution of our military operations in his country will be conducted with regard only to U.S. interests, as determined in consensus by our established domestic political processes. And if he doesn't like that, he can go to hell.

I think supporters of the Iraq war are going to need a new motto.

H/t to Lawyers, Guns and Money.

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No, Senator Obama. Just plain no:

Obama has promised that, if elected president in November, he will send 10,000 more US troops to Afghanistan to bolster the 36,000 already there and intends to press European countries to become more engaged in the fighting.

A timely reminder that no matter who Americans elect in November, we are not, in the foreseeable future, going to be comfortable with their foreign policy.

Yes, Obama is more socially enlightened than the other guy. He is many other good things domestically more than the other guy. But in international affairs he will be sitting atop an unstoppable tragic juggernaut that is already controlling him more than he will ever control it. Well: they are unstoppable internationally until the rest of the world finds the sense and the courage to stop them.

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July 20, 2008

Wanker of the day

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Yo! Harper!

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Thanks to Just Another Willy Loman (can I call you Willy?) for pointing out that some members of parliament in Britain have decided to recognize reality. The BBC reports that a British parliamentary committee on foreign affairs doesn't trust Dubya and company. I wonder what their first clue was?

In its report, the committee said: "Given the clear differences in definition, the UK can no longer rely on US assurances that it does not use torture, and we recommend that the government does not rely on such assurances in the future."

The specific concern of those MPs was the use of British territory for "rendition flights" but then their government has already repatriated the British citizens who had been detained at Gitmo.

Our own prime minister keeps basing his reluctance to intervene on behalf of Omar Khadr on the premise that he's been assured that Khadr hasn't been, and won't be, mistreated while in American custody. Why would he continue to take the Bush administration at its word when even other staunch allies of the U.S. are acknowledging that on this issue, that word isn't good for anything because Bush's definition of mistreatment differs from everyone else's?

Edited 'cos it's customary to end a question with an actual, you know, question mark.

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July 19, 2008

I think that we just have to keep hammering away at this historic offence to the dignity of all human beings, and at Canadian complicity in a vast system of violations of international law, some of which violations rise to the level of war crimes.

We can (and I promise that I will) write out our careful analyses of each new court judgement (from conservative American judges much of the time, more and more nervous themselves, with good reason) or each fresh outrage from the politicians or their spokesthingies who have yet to grasp that they are auditioning for (admittedly minnow-sized) roles as boy defendants in a war-crimes trial.

But it's Saturday night, and we all just want to go to the picture-shows, yes? I thought that Canadians uncertain about our own square-jawed stonewallers on Omar Khadr's case might like to see what one of the major square-jawed stonewallers looked and sounded like when a U.S. senator did the tough-talking that our own parliamentarians have yet to do.

This exchange took place before the Senate Judiciary Committee last December. As you watch and listen to him, know that Brig-Gen Thomas Hartmann, the legal adviser to the Convening Authority of the trials at Guantanamo, was disqualified in May from taking part in the first case headed for trial. Read the NYT article; then watch, and you'll see why.

General Hartmann remind you of anyone you know? Anyone who might be making amoral or immoral decisions in your name? Anyone else feeling the water lapping about the ankles?

pogge is going to ask me whether I think that I have the material to make this into a long-running series. Oh, yes, pogge. I think I do.

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July 18, 2008

This is the Neville Brothers with special guests, the Dixie Cups. Brother John/Iko Iko.

And if you're thinking that it's a shame you didn't get to hear the tune they were starting into at the end, I can fix that on the flip.

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July 17, 2008

Where is the NDP?

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Updated below

Paul Wells makes a good point when he notes that the NDP is conspicuous by its silence on the case of Omar Khadr. I just did a search at ndp.ca on "Khadr" and got crickets.

This used to be the kind of issue the NDP would be all over. It was the Dippers who helped keep the Maher Arar story alive until Jean Chrétien finally woke up and realized that it was a situation he should pay attention to. This is the kind of issue that earned the NDP the informal title of "the conscience of parliament." And that's not to mention, as Wells also points out, that Layton could use this issue against both Conservatives and Liberals.

So why the silence?


This would be that self-correcting blogosphere you've heard so much about. Mea culpa to an extent.

The first comment to this post points us to, among other things, press releases from two different Dippers relating to the Khadr case. One is over two months old and the other is over a month year old. To repeat the question I asked in my own comment: can I suggest they should cross post those releases to the main NDP site? 'Cos if I'm looking for information on the NDP's position I'm not likely to visit the websites of individual MPs from other ridings.

The Toronto Star piece linked to in that same comment was published yesterday and it does have a quote from NDP MP Wayne Marston. Better than nothing. But this story is all over the media, all over the world, right now. I still think the NDP, and particularly the leader, could be making more noise about it right now. Calling for Khadr's return has the advantage of being both the right thing to do and being a politically sound move because the people who want Khadr to stay in Gitmo (or worse) aren't likely to ever vote for the NDP anyway.

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What could possibly go wrong?

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A tip of the hat to Boris at The Galloping Beaver for pointing out this little gem:

The federal government has warned bidders on a high-profile reconstruction project in Afghanistan that they will largely be responsible for their own security, raising the prospect that private security firms will form the first line of defence against the Taliban.

So the government decides this would make a good "signature project", something that will demonstrate that we really are in Afghanistan to help rebuild the country and not just shoot the place up. But realizing that we don't actually have sufficient resources to provide security they decide it would be cool to encourage the use of private contractors, aka mercenaries.

So how long until the mercs get excited and kill supposed Taliban who turn out to be innocent civilians thereby creating an uproar and negating any good effect this project is supposed to have? This looks to be one of those things that would be better not done at all than done badly. I'd be pretty sure the powers that be haven't missed the fact that the name Blackwater is now notorious the world over. But apparently the need for some kind of PR victory is overriding common sense.

Note this from the end of the article:

The status-of-forces agreement between Canada and Afghanistan signed in December 2005 suggests contractors are governed by Canadian, not Afghan, law. According to the agreement, civilian contractors hired by the Canadian government are considered Canadian personnel, who are “immune from personal arrest or detention” in Afghanistan without the consent of the senior Canadian military commander in Afghanistan.

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July 16, 2008

The damage done

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As Conservatives continue to attempt to bully Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand and to accuse him of bias — an accusation that's about as serious as it gets given the nature of Mayrand's job — Steve V reminds us that Mayrand was appointed by this prime minister in the first place and that Harper had some very flattering words to say at the time.

So far it appears that Mayrand is remaining calm and collected in the face of all this as he did the last time parliamentarians got silly with him. Remember the original voting while veiled controversy? But since part of the wingers' goal is to weaken the federal government, they win here to an extent even if they lose. Even if Mayrand stays on the job there can still be a hidden cost to pay for this, for the way Linda Keen was treated and for the general contempt the governing party is directing towards public servants. Why should capable people who are observing this consider a career in public service if even the people who appoint them to prestigious positions will turn around and drag their names through the mud the moment there's any kind of political advantage to be gained in doing so?

I wonder how long it will take to clean up after these clowns?

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July 15, 2008

We're back!

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Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been very concerned about Canada resuming its rightful place on the world stage. He can rest easy now (and I trust he'll acknowledge that the Liberals helped) since we're a prominent part of the news at both the Washington Post and the BBC. And just so you know the new media aren't overlooking us, here's Canada at Talking Points Memo.

Now the whole world knows that Canada's reaction to having a 15 year old Canadian citizen tossed into a prison without due process was to send representatives of our government to question him, turn the answers over to his captors and then leave him there to rot for 6 years. Heckuva job, eh?

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July 14, 2008

Dear Jack Layton

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You might want to have a quiet chat with one of your new recruits before he presumes to speak for you again.

In many ways, Barack Obama's platform is close to Jack Layton's platform.

Spoken like someone who either hasn't been paying attention to American politics or intends that much more should change about the NDP than just the party name. Obama is, in some ways, fiscally more conservative than Hillary Clinton. He supports the death penalty. He has recently given us cause to believe that he's soft on reproductive rights. He's blurring the line between church and state by promoting funding of faith-based initiatives. And in a recent Senate vote he made a mockery of his own constitution and bought into the whole Global War on Terror™ charade.

Don't get me wrong, I fervently hope that he becomes the next president of the United States. That's because the alternative is John McCain. But if you're really taking the NDP in Barack Obama's direction you give me no alternative to the Liberals except that in some ways you may be less progressive than the Liberals. In that case I may as well vote for the party that has a chance of forming government. And now you've ruined my appetite.


h/t to April Reign.

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July 12, 2008

That's probably the key phrase in the latest report on impending changes at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

When Paul Martin signed us on to the Security and Prosperity Partnership and the talk turned to "harmonizing" regulations with the U.S. and Mexico in the name of increased efficiency, this is exactly what that talk was about. The harmonization means revising our regulations and our government's role to look more like the American versions and the efficiency benefits those at the top of the private sector at everyone else's expense.

I'll tip my hat to Impolitical for the link but I honestly think that if you want to stop this kind of thing it's not enough to label it as "a Conservative plan" and rally the troops to get behind the Liberals in the next election campaign. If you want to stop this, you need to acknowledge that at least much of the Liberal leadership quietly supports changes like this. I haven't seen any sign that the Liberal party is prepared to repudiate the S&PP and policies like this. And I don't see enough indication that Liberal supporters are getting ready to go to war with the elements within their own party who got us part way here so the Conservatives could finish the job.

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July 11, 2008

Friday night blues blogging

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It's come to my attention that I've never presented anything by John Lee Hooker. Let's fix that. This is Hobo Blues.

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The following is posted on behalf of the entire group that Melanie referred to as the "Flu Wiki elders" and is cross-posted at the FW forum and at Effect Measure. - p

Melanie Mattson was one of the founding Editors of the Flu Wiki, its initial "public face," the official publisher, and our colleague. More importantly she was our friend. We are grieved to announce her unexpected death.

On her blog, Just a Bump in the Beltway, Melanie was among the first on the internet to understand and write about the significance of reported human cases of avian influenza as a potential harbinger of a pandemic. She joined forces with us to start the Flu Wiki in June 2005 where she was a dedicated and innovative practitioner of a new medium, collective information generation and dissemination. At the time of her death she was engaged in expanding what she learned from her blog and Flu Wiki to a wide range of natural disasters.

Melanie was a wonderful human being, a lovely person and a Grand Lady in every sense of that term. Melanie sometimes used salty language, could be bluntly honest and had an irreverent and earthy sense of humor, so she would no doubt be amused to be referred to as a Grand Lady. But that's what she was and still survives in the affection of those of us fortunate to have known her. She'll be missed.

- DemFromCT, The Reveres, pogge

Edited to add links to other memorials:

Another Great gives it up at The American Street
Another Dead Blogger at Suburban Guerrilla.
rip blogger melanie mattson at skippy the bush kangaroo
Farewell Melanie Mattson at The Group News Blog

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July 10, 2008


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I wonder if the National Bureau Chief of the Winnipeg Sun is under the impression that she's committed journalism with this lede (emphasis added):

Hundreds of placard-toting protesters, including scores of women who have had abortions, are expected to gather outside Rideau Hall today to oppose the controversial decision to honour Dr. Henry Morgentaler with the Order of Canada.

If you check the top of that page you'll see the word "NEWS" in large letters. But Kathleen Harris didn't report what happened in this story. She took dictation from anti-abortion lobbyists on their expectations — or what they claimed to expect — and reported that as if it's news. The actual source for the claim that the demonstrators would number in the hundreds and would include "scores of women who have had abortions" is never named. Instead the story goes directly to the president of an anti-abortion group who makes a lot of unsubstantiated claims about the evils of abortion.

The Sun is part of a national newspaper chain. I'm sure if they'd wanted to report on what actually happened they could have managed it. I suspect the story was presented this way because the report on the organizers' expectations made for better copy than the actual event. And it's certainly easier to write that way because there's no need to try and actually get the details right.

H/T to fern hill at Bread and Roses.

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July 9, 2008

Here is the text of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Today the U.S. Senate thirded George W. Bush's opinion of the entire U.S. Constitution (quoted in my title above; the House did the seconding last week) when it passed amendments to the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) that include a grant of immunity to the telecoms who have been violating the law, the constitution, and their contracts with their customers/citizens since 2001, which immunity extends even more significantly to the state actors who authorized -- ordered -- all that law-breaking. Worse, that grant of immunity would seem to legitimize unconstitutional claims of executive power going forward. Glenn Greenwald:

With their vote today, the Democratic-led Congress has covered-up years of deliberate surveillance crimes by the Bush administration and the telecom industry, and has dramatically advanced a full-scale attack on the rule of law in this country ...


Today, the Democratic-led Senate ignored those protests, acted to protect the single most flagrant act of Bush lawbreaking of the last seven years, eviscerated the core Fourth Amendment prohibition of surveillance without warrants, gave an extraordinary and extraordinarily corrupt gift to an extremely powerful corporate lobby, and cemented the proposition that the rule of law does not apply to the Washington Establishment.:

Greenwald also embeds Jonathan Turley's summary of what today's vote could mean and urges you to watch, as would I.

I am not an American and Lord knows I am not a constitutional scholar, but I have followed this struggle long enough to know that there was, on the face of it, no good reason at all -- on national security grounds -- to rush this amendment through. Nothing was going to happen to the oft-amended FISA, which was and continues to be a fairly conservative, somewhat xenophobic law, always very conservatively administered, massively tilted in favour of the law enforcers and against suspects of any kind. All kinds of scare-stories and downright lies have been spun about what would happen without amendment, and specifically an amendment including immunity, but those were scare-stories and lies ultimately benefiting no one but the original law-breakers, George W. Bush and his advisers, now immunized (we think) for one of the worst crimes of their long criminal careers.

(Oh -- and I guess some senators get some money from telecoms, not that the telecoms would not always have ensured that they would be safely indemnified anyway.)

On the turn, a couple of links to flesh out the background to this story:

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July 6, 2008

17 March 2003:

This is a shameless crib from Impolitical, but to me this is such an important part of our historical record that it deserves to be passed on as widely as possible as quickly as possible.

I talk almost every day to Americans who are in anguish over what has happened in Iraq and in their own country since that shameful, dishonest war and occupation began, and I don't feel all that innocent about many of the crimes that have been committed by most Western nations in the name of the fantastical war on terror.

But I do feel lucky that once we had an old fox as prime minister who had at least half a memory of what serious foreign relations should look like. I feel lucky that Stephen Harper was not prime minister in the spring of 2003. Had he been, we would be mired in Iraq right now, and Maher Arar would still be in Syria, if indeed he were still alive.

Salute to sparqui at Bread and Roses for the tip.

Cross-posted to Cathie from Canada.

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July 4, 2008

Sonny Boy Williamson's Gettin' Out Of Town. (But not before he plays a couple more tunes on the flip.)

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Variations on a theme

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First it was Chief Justice McLachlin's "impartiality" that was called into question. Now BigCityLib catches Jason Kenney — sorry, that's nuclear physicist and renowned seismologist Jason Kenney — questioning the integrity of everyone on the Order of Canada advisory council who voted to induct Morgentaler.

Everyone who disagrees with them is dishonest and playing politics. Project much?

Meanwhile, the Conservatives may be working so hard to shore up their base that they're letting the mask slip. Since when does a minister of this government go to LifeSite to get his views out?

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In a post on the National Post blog, the paper's Politics Editor Kelly McParland writes:

The opposition to Morgentaler's being named to Canada's highest award is wide and deep and intense.

If you follow the link to see what the basis for that assertion is, all you'll find is this:
It's pretty safe to say there are people who oppose abortion in every corner of Canadian society, whatever their religion, whatever their sex, no matter how fervent their values.

So because "it's pretty safe to say" that there are a lot of people who agree with McParland about abortion itself, then his claim about opposition to Morgentaler's induction into the Order of Canada simply must be true.

There's been a lot written in the American progressive blogosphere about the tendency of their media figures to project their own opinions onto the American population. Even when they're clearly contradicting poll after poll, people like Broder and Brooks continue to write about what the American people think while providing evidence that they have no idea what the American people think.

There must be some new school of journalism that teaches that "they'll believe what we say they'll believe if we just wish hard enough."

I also noted this at the end of McParland's post:

One or two other people in history have deliberately set in motion the mass termination of so many helpless lives, but outside of war they aren't treated with high regard.

Gee, I wonder who he's referring to.

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July 2, 2008

A number of bloggers have posted about the outrage being expressed by Canada's socially conservative set at the induction of Henry Morgentaler into the Order of Canada. I thought Conservative MP Ken Epp's remarks were particularly notable:

Epp also questioned the objectivity of Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin as head of the Order of Canada advisory council. "Is she now totally out of impartiality because of the fact she has weighed into this?"

The Jurist says it quite succinctly.
...the Cons' message is once again centred on inflammatory and patently ridiculous arguments against the fairness and impartiality of independent bodies.

They never miss a chance to undermine the institutions of government that aren't bound to render absolute obedience to their ideology. They're not small 'c' conservatives, they're extremists.

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