Saturday, 29 August 2015

"HARPERMAN" & OTHER ELECTION GOODIES

In June 2015, Tony Turner, an Ottawa folksinger and Environment Canada scientist, got together with some friends and wrote and produced this rather unique ditty which is destined, I hope and think, to become part of Canada's future folklore. It sat on YouTube, largely unnoticed, until yesterday, August 28th.

At that point, the Prime Minister's Office appears to have noticed it and with their customary professionalism (amply demonstrated during the PMO Duffy Scandal) contacted someone at Environment Canada to punish Mr. Turner. Unfortunately, for Harper's minions, they couldn't fire him because he's a month a away from retirement, so they suspended him with pay. Since he didn't produce this recording at the office or during working hours, this suspension will have further repercussions for Environment Canada once Mt. Turner's professional association gets involved. 

In the meantime, thanks to the publicity garnered by their actions, "Harperman" is now going viral and we have a new nickname for our temporary "All-Deficits-All-The-Time" right-wing prime minister.



Doesn't this song just very neatly sum up everything the Conservatives have done to us since 2006? Don't you just want to play it over and over again? It's the same reaction I had a long time ago when I listened to "Puff, the Magic Dragon" or "Where have all the Flowers gone?" or even "Lili Marleen".

More to come...

Here are another couple of high quality productions for every progressive person to enjoy:

STEPHEN HARPER HATES ME by Cathy Cook


and a follow-up second version:

STEPHEN HARPER HATES ME TOO


And finally (for now):

The Harper Song (Steve It's Time to Leave) by John Roby


One of the things I really like about these music videos is the artistic quality. So maybe Harperman has at least that to his credit (sort of). Oh, and this isn't all, if you need more just got to YouTube...

Friday, 28 August 2015

Harper’s Police State Law – by Elizabeth May

March 3, 2015
Monday, February 9th, 2015
by Elizabeth May, MP, Leader of the Green Party

I remember the events of October 22. While I was in lock-down on Parliament Hill, I remember who hid in a closet and who ran toward gun fire. The guy in the closet is now planning to concentrate the powers of the state in his own hands while converting the Canadian spy agency into a secret police with virtually unlimited powers. And, at the same time, he has decided to demote the security team that performed its role heroically, the House of Commons Security, led by former Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers, and put the RCMP in charge of Parliament Hill. Of the two moves, clearly creating a secret police is the most dangerous, but upending the Constitutional principle that the government reports to Parliament is no small matter (and, as a Member of Parliament, I would prefer security to be in the hands of the people who paid attention that day and not the RCMP who somehow missed an armed man running past their multiple idling vehicles.)

Here is what Stephen Harper wants Canadians to think:
We are at war. We face a massive terrorist threat. We must be very, very afraid and we must not question any law brought in allegedly to fight terrorism. Anyone who raises finicky, lily-livered concerns about civil liberties is a fellow-traveller of ISIS.

Here’s the truth:
We are not at war. We are at peace. (Would Harper’s most trusted lieutenant and Minister of Foreign Affairs quit if we were really at war?)

Acts of terrorism are a threat. They are criminal acts of horrific cruelty and sadism. Luring of disenfranchised, disenchanted, alienated Canadians into their barbaric crusade must be addressed, but the new law, C-51, is not primarily an anti-terrorism law. And legal experts are already pointing out it “undermines more promising avenues of addressing terrorism.” (Bill C-51 backgrounder, Professors Kent Roach and Craig Forcese)

In terms of Canada’s future, the climate crisis is a much larger threat.

We must not be afraid. We must be smart. It’s really hard to think when paralyzed by fear. Any thinking person will stand up and oppose C-51 with every ounce of their strength.

Harper claims to believe Canada is a freedom-loving country. If he’s right, he miscalculated in hoping we could be scared out of our wits.

We already have anti-terror laws. Terrorism, treason, sedition, espionage, proliferating of nuclear and biological weapons and other offences repeated in C-51 are already illegal. The police already have expanded powers in relation to terrorism. RCMP have powers to disrupt terrorist plots. That’s how they broke the Toronto 18, the VIA rail plot and ISIS sympathizers in Ottawa before they could move their plots into action. Full marks to the RCMP for these proactive successes. Those suspected of terrorism already have a second set of Kafa-esque laws to allow their detention through security certificates. Oversight of the operations of CSIS was reduced in the 2012 omnibus bill C-38. Put simply, Canada has already significantly intruded on Charter rights to give the RCMP, CSIS and Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) broader powers and less over-sight. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we now know that CSEC has been gathering millions of internet communications every day from Canadians – even though CSEC’s mandate was supposed to apply only to foreign activities. Under project “Levitation,” CSEC collects as many as 15 million records of uploads and downloads every day.

No one from the security establishment has made a case for requiring expanded powers.

C-51, the so-called Anti-Terrorism Act, creates new powers for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CSIS. CSIS was created to keep the RCMP policing functions separate from intelligence work after the fiasco of burning down the barn in an FLQ sting operation. This bill gives CSIS the power to do anything. (Okay, not anything. It specifically says CSIS cannot directly kill or harm people or “violate the sexual integrity of an individual,” but otherwise, CSIS will have a vague set of sweeping powers).

CSIS will be able to conduct any operation it thinks is in the interests of protecting the security of Canada. The definition of “undermining the security of Canada” is more a list of suggestions than a definition, using the word “including” before listing nine types of threats. Using “including” as the heading for its list leaves open the possibility that CSIS may think something else should have been on that list.

Most listed activities are already illegal, such as treason, espionage, causing serious harm, etc. To this is added “interference with critical infrastructure,” raising legitimate concerns that the bill is targeted at First Nations and environmental groups opposing pipelines. There is a caveat in the Act: “For greater certainty, it does not include lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression.”

I have now twice asked the public safety and justice ministers in Question Period to clarify if the act will apply to non-lawful, non-violent civil disobedience, such as blockading along a pipeline route. Neither Stephen Blaney nor Peter MacKay would provide that assurance.

This act could apply to Rosa Parks sitting in the “Whites Only” section of the bus. It could apply to anyone who talked with her about it ahead of time. It could apply to journalists who wrote she should be commended for breaking the law.
The vaguest of those things that undermine the security of Canada reads as follows: “Interference with the capability of the Government of Canada in relation to intelligence, defence, border operations, public safety, the administration of justice, diplomatic or consular relations or the economic or financial stability of Canada.”

That list of vague activities has the same status as terrorism in launching CSIS operatives into a murky world with powers to “take measures, within or outside Canada, to reduce the threat.”

So, Saudi Arabia pumping out enough oil to cause the dropping price? Global currency speculators? Judges’ decisions the PM doesn’t like? Calling this section vague is an understatement. And CSIS only needs to go before a judge for a warrant in cases where it decided for itself that its actions will violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Then it goes to a judge for a secret warrant process. The warrant can allow break and enter to take anything and to install anything.

Here’s what I could do with this section as Prime Minister. Climate change is surely a threat to public safety and the economic stability of Canada. So let’s launch CSIS at messing with the heads of all those in the fossil fuel business. Install malware. Implicate them in bogus child porno charges. Break and enter and see if they have been hiding the patents for photovoltaic, electric vehicles, better batteries. A secret police at the PM’s beck and call. Of course, if I ever were Prime Minister, one of the first things I would do is to repeal this act.

It’s not enough to call for better citizen oversight as one opposition party urges. And it is certainly an act of egregious cowardice for the other opposition party to support this bill.

It is trite to say that when we surrender our freedoms, the terrorists win. Even to level that charge at this bill is to fall into the Harper trap of making this bill about terrorism. It’s not. It’s about creating a secret police. It’s the death of freedom.

Originally published in The Tyee.

Bill C-51: Anti-Terrorism or Anti-Democracy?

February 26, 2015

The Harper government’s proposed anti-terrorism legislation, like most of its policies and pronouncements on almost anything, has almost nothing to do with the subject seemingly addressed here.

As with everything else, like the unqualified support for the current Israeli government or the Ukrainian situation for example, this bill has to do with solidifying the potential pro-Conservative votes for the next federal election. Everything this government has proposed or implemented (the two things are quite different) has to do with fooling unsophisticated voters into casting their votes for the Harper party. One only has to examine the reaction of professionals in every field the Conservatives have touched, to see that they always look for political gain rather than sound policies.

Everything in Bill C-51, whether potentially positive or negative, depends on proper oversight of the intelligence, security and police agencies of our country. Not review (even if it were effective, which it isn’t), but pro-active oversight. Canada’s intelligence, security, and police agencies are currently not subject to effective oversight, and they never have been since I can remember (and my professional memory goes back to before the 1970 October crisis). For some reason, Harper does not want oversight, or even effective review.

Is he a potential dictator? Or does he just have a massive inferiority complex which makes him need absolute control over everything? In any case, this new proposed legislation, which will probably be passed without proper examination, is anti-democratic because it allows the agencies involved to interfere with our individual rights as Canadian citizens.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Google's Blogger gets right-wing religion and abandons freedom of expression

Yesterday I received the following email from Blogger:

Dear Blogger User,

We're writing to tell you about an upcoming change to the Blogger Content Policy that may affect your account.

In the coming weeks, we'll no longer allow blogs that contain sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video. We'll still allow nudity presented in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts, or where there are other substantial benefits to the public from not taking action on the content.

The new policy will go into effect on the 23rd of March 2015. After this policy goes into effect, Google will restrict access to any blog identified as being in violation of our revised policy. No content will be deleted, but only blog authors and those with whom they have expressly shared the blog will be able to see the content we've made private.

Our records indicate that your account may be affected by this policy change. Please refrain from creating new content that would violate this policy. Also, we ask that you make any necessary changes to your existing blog to comply as soon as possible, so that you won't experience any interruptions in service. You may also choose to create an archive of your content via Google Takeout (https://www.google.com/settings/takeout/custom/blogger).

For more information, please read here (https://support.google.com/blogger?p=policy_update).

Sincerely,
The Blogger Team

(c) 2015 Google Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043

____________________________________________________________________________

My Comment

It seems that Google who own Blogger have succumbed to right-wing Republican, Tea Party and extreme right-wing religious pressure and are going to ban sex from anyone using Blogger. Of course we all know that these weird people who try to control our lives don't usually think about sex except when they breed or molest children and they don't want real human beings to have sexual thoughts either. Not that that's going to work!

What I'm really insulted about is that I (and other Blogger users) received this email accusing me of publishing pornography. The only image on my blog that could possibly fall under this heading is the following reproduced painting:
























And the only reason this painting could be considered pornographic is because of the person who is displayed here whose name I won't mention. On the other hand, because it is a painting, it's excluded from Blogger's non-publication policy.

So, because Google and its Blogger subsidiary are trying to violate my right to freedom of speech and expression, I will delete this blog when the anti-free speech policy comes into effect and will also monitor and limit my exposure to Google products (although that will be difficult, just as it is difficult or impossible to escape scrutiny by the CIA and NSA, and its, thank god much less effective, counterparts in Canada). It seems the warnings of George Orwell's "1984" are coming ever closer to reality 30 years later!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

It's that time of year ...

I can't decide whether to be traditional or ....?

But be happy, whatever holiday you're celebrating around this time of the year!