Monday, December 16, 2013


I've built up a backlog of things to write about - my number two favorite p'leece force, again;  the Iranian stuff, the Syrians, Harper Inc, Afghanistan, books, movies, etc, but I'm no writer,  or not a disciplined one at any rate, so the notion of writing every day is something I've never considered. The muse comes on me in fits and starts. I'll have a fit to-day. We'll see what's  up tomorrow.


 Rosie DiManno somebody I admire as a writer, but have detested as a 'girl writer' - she's well past the Bunty stage - has written an excellent piece about  Lord Bilgewater - his eminance Conrad  ' Daddy Warbucks' Black, on the occasion of a fluff job he did recently on Moses Znaimer's edumedia channel with Toronto's 'fat f*ck' the Mare. As she relates in her story, about meeting 'the man' for the first time, she remarked to him, "You sued me." I'm pretty sure he's in council with his counsellors again to-day. Rosie didn't have much  nice to say about his  grace.

                                                               'His Nibs' the Archbishop

                                                            His wereship the Mare

The incident that gave rise to all this was Conrad's 'cutting edge' visitation program on which he entertains newsworthy characters. The character on this occasion being  'his nubs', the defrocked mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford. Robbie went through his tale of  'whoa!' and his lordship mollycoddled his revealed peckerdilloes and the consequent apologies and promises to improve. Then they broached a topic dear to both their little hearts,  about how the media, left to its own devices, could be positively vindictive and unfair. That led his mareship to be somewhat vindictive and unfair  as he related a sad tale of being 'harrassed' across, as he claimed, his very own backyard fence. His nibs didn't bite with any advice about having the back fence 1/2 mile away from the house as he has been forced to do but he did commiserate and, with furrowed brow, took to heart the  Mayor's charge that photos taken of innocent toddlers (his) were involved.

 This tale has been well-told in the media as it was claimed threats were uttered, a cell phone was dropped and the police investigated a Star Reporter taking pictures of vacant public property of which the mayor was an interested prospective buyer. There were, at that time, no charges laid against  either the "trespassing" reporter or the incensed  'daddy bear'.  No  photographs that might have supported the Mayor's charges were recovered. Perhaps he was foolish, or mad enough, to have deleted them. Perhaps he was 'blasted' and not seeing straight. That incident now, is purely figmental in nature. The comment about  taking kiddie pictures and 'causing folk to wonder about the reporter', however, is the stuff of slander.

Unsurprisingly, two days after airing, in the absence of any apology, the Mayor was handed a lawsuit.

Since then Lord Connie's skills as an interviewer have been called into question . He is pleading ignorance of the Mayor's backyard brou-haha and how was he to know that there was no kiddi-diddling involved? He claimed he took the mayor, who has a  sterling reputation for apologizing when  caught in a lie, on his bona-fides if not his gallantry of the first water. People are wondering if the 'scholarly' Lord Connie had been read anything at all on his subject, before the show. Although no stranger to the slander case, he certainly doesn't seem know it when he hears it. Maybe he hears such 'nonsense' at home, every day.

Rosie laid all this out -  chapter and verse, she acknowledged her sources and detailed her instances. She's obviously done her research. And, barring a lawsuit from lady Black in re her possible surgical enhancements or choice of literary footwear, she was  kind to the Belle Dame. Other than a konterblast,  Lord Connie probably doesn't have a legal leg to stand upon and the Star's pockets are no doubt as deep as Mr Znaimer's.

Watch for Blackie's  show to be cut from the Vision TV  lineup. Everything the mayor touches turns to Sh1T.

"Rob Ford's TV Show Canceled After One Episode, Because Duh"  (HuffPo -11/20/2013)

Monday, November 04, 2013

Wir fahren gegen nach Damaskus (nichts!)

Well now we all know that the last blog was in vain.

Somebody was wise enough to know that waving the big stick around would bring the malefactor to heel. So when John Kerry slipped and said he wouldn't bomb Syrian, for the sake of the kids, if Bashir would divest himself of his phosgene and sarin collection, he must have been surprised when Assad took him up on it.  Diplomacy sure took a left turn! That was indicated by the bully chorus of, "Seems them threats  of mass scalpin' worked!" - when threats hadn't worked, with all  that consequential warfighting, up until then.

Since that, the UN got busy and dismantled the equipment needed for loading ammunition with such stuff - a process  slightly more complicated than ladling  it into a shell and screwing down a bursting charge. That singular  action left Assad with no real means of producing ammunition or attacking other than dropping drums full of precursor chemicals, and what preloaded ammo he has, on the enemy. In short, his chemical weapons are pretty well as safe as they're going to get. Which is only slightly less safe than all the chemical weapons awaiting destruction in the USA.

A funny  little eventuation occurred when somebody blabbed that the Norwegians had 'volunteered' to take all Assad's  chemical  junk for destruction. The Norwegians replied with a heartfelt, "Fu*k off."

And that matter was quietly dropped by the greatest force for good on earth.

In a  late move the 'Bomb Syria Club' are calling for a 'robust response' to Syria's wanting to keep a couple of chemical factories. All of a sudden the  WMD  folk decided they can't be trusted to make their own cleaning fluids and should be buying them from the more 'responsible' people who can. Like  Iran and radioactivity, there are some on earth who shouldn't be trusted. Not to mention any untrustworthy types who already have WMDs and radioactivity, or both. The 'eevul' has to be stopped somewhere, sometime.

And the funeral waltz continues, unabated, in Syria.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

High Drama American-style II - the Canuck Connection

One would think the recent dog and pony show would be over, if for no other reason due to the opposition to such a grand idea. But when you're defending freedom and saving the world from unparalleled horrors, you'd have to be a milquetoast, or at least undecided, to let ordinary people affect your decision to do some humanitarian bombing. So despite a notable lack of support, the dog and pony show continues. And it grows!

Today the media is a-babble with new 'intel' taken from the sources at Wikileaks - I'd imagine that's supposed to impress everybody, for, apparently, we'd all missed it - that the good guys have known that Assad was building bunkers full of nerve gas and had been doing their darnedest to stop him. And how other things, like flotillas and natural disasters and Kim Dong Il's WMDs got in the way. You see, sheeple, this is not new news - it's  only the nature of the beast. Assad intends to gas everybody!

I'd bet Julian Assange is probably poring over the Manning files to figure out how Madame Bourguiba's predilection for leopard print thongs made it out to the public while an incipient chemical 'gotterdammerung' being executed in Damascus didn't. And where were our Mossad pals, who know where every sparrow falls, while this theoretically real "existential threat" was being pigeon-holed? I find it more than convenient that the leaked faxes and emails show up now - as 'evidence'.

What's 'nice', too, is a critical thread running through the narrative, a 'fessing up to failing', for weren't  exporters in the 'democracies' busily shipping out precursor compounds to enable Assad's doomsday device?  Him being able to take advantage of 'loopholes' in the processes in place to 'sanction' him for other 'crimes'? According to the leaks, he's the proud owner of some 20 years worth of production.

All that gas, and the possibility it could be captured by some of the evil forces fighting Assad - yeppers they don't like him either - could wind up floating ashore in some of those invasion rowboats, come the Jihad. In the meanwhile, there's the threat that Assad, now realizing he won't get bombed for badness, will be encouraged to do it again. After all, both times he's done it already resulted in big gains and really slowed up that rebellion....NOT!

Thus far the narrative has failed to get more than luke-warm acquiescence from the usual suspects. France is now back-pedaling. Britain has voted itself out of the warrior mode. The Chinese and Russians are still making the UN "ineffective" for a bombing permit. And now the Pope is sticking is nose into it.

But for those who have the courage of their convictions, and 'Harperguvermint' has convictions if it has nothing else, the ineffective UN should not be permitted to stop 'good guys' from doing an act of  'goodness'. Big mouth John Baird, - Canada's gift to foreign affairs - just wants to remind us how we will feel when Assad has the pictures taken of 25 000 foam-flecked nerve cases, after he dabs the tears from his little piggly eyes that is. Yes, folks, Canada may not be 'up' for any bombing this week, but we stand firmly behind our pals if they want to.  Oh the humanity, and the little girls who aren't in school - somebody has to DO something!

And let's not lose to Putin and a commie 'resurgency', eh?

Imagine that nerve gas causing spasms as it "melts lungs" according to Canada's ambling sack of mother love. That must have been quite the "briefing" John got. Hope he was wearing some briefs at the time. He sure doesn't know his poison gases.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

High Drama American Style

It's the last of summer long-weekend in America - maybe even in other parts of the world people are enjoying the end of summer too. But that time for residents of the Northern Hemisphere has traditionally been a good time to lay a beating on the neighbor. The harvests are ripening and are available for the taking. Failing the taking, they can be ruined, leaving the neighbor to starve. In the bad old days, September could be a good time for ultimatums or invasions, or both.

Time hasn't changed us all that much and so we 'mall trotters' are watching a story unfold that could, if obtained, empty the stale ordinance of the ammo lockers of freedom.

This past fortnight saw a development in the Syrian CivilWar/Revolution that had been some time in coming. Assad the barbarian had finally acquiesced to a long overdue investigation of an incident last spring, in which, it was claimed, chemical weapons had been used on a 'rebel' enclave. UN investigators had appeared in Damascus to take up a long cold trail of evidence. Imagine the dismay (delight?) of most people when the nightly news was filled with the same kind of  foam-flecked images seen last spring. Apparently, we were told , to celebrate the arrival of UN investigators, the Syrian Government had gassed its own people, again.

There were delays (to hide the evidence?) before the investigation team could get to the affected areas. But despite being sniped on their first foray, the team was able to get into rebel-held areas to gather information. They concluded their work and left Syria yesterday. They had 24 hours to do that.

That was how close Pres. Obama was to his deadline - the one he warned the Syrian government about when he drew his Netanyahu-inspired 'red line' back in the Spring. The C in C was all ready to let slip the pups of war to punish those who used chemical weapons without a permit. He had a coalition of the willing and, forgoing the OK of the UN or any other say-so, he was/is prepared to 'go it alone' if needs be. Gassing people, as opposed to blowing them to bits with a chain gun, rocket projectile or guided bomb is not morally, politically or even physically acceptable, especially if the people gassed are 'innocent'. So he was getting all wired-up on the sure knowledge that Bashir did it, knew he'd done it, didn't say he was sorry and needed to be chastised.

The past two weeks have seen that message about guilt and responsibility repeated over and over until Obama stated it as gospel - chapter and verse.  While it seems he has the verbal support on most world leaders who count, very few, except for the gallant French, who led the last charge into Libya, are 'on board' for the expense of blasting Damascus. In fact, aside from the world leaders, Obama doesn't seem to have much support at all. Most people think it's Iraq and WMDs all over again.  And most people don't like the idea.

So in order to cheer up the weekend barbecues, Obama is defining what he means about 'going downtown' on Assad. He just wants to do a little bit of bombardment, nothing serious really, just as little boom-boom to let Assad know things could get worse if he doesn't get smart. A really surgical strike that most Syrians won't notice, or particularly care about, except the bad Syrians. Of course his Syrian 'allies' and the helpful Israelis will be helping him select targets - maybe at the 'end o'summer war-room popcorn and movie night'. He wants it to be just like the bombing Ron Reagan did on  whacko Khaddafi.  Gloriously cheap and effective and not committing America to any 'boots-on-the-ground' kind of thing. They did mess-up his favorite tent, and kill one of his kids - by accident of course. And it didn't bother Khaddafi at all - just ask the Lockerbie survivors.

But only the good stuff this time, OK?

My second favorite p'leece force has got itself in the news again. This time for gunning-down some teen-aged run-amok. And then tasering the corpse to make sure the threat had been eliminated. Mind you, he had been warned.

On a good day this would be another tooth-sucker. However this particular incident - videoed by onlookers - made the front page. It might have been because most of the shift manpower congregated on the streetcar taken over by the 'violent youth'. Or it might have been the nine shots in two separate volleys that downed the perp. Or it may have been the fact that he was all alone, armed with a small knife and inside the streetcar yards from the nearest cop. Or it might have been the subsequent events. But the story has some legs.

Video of the incident

Naturally his righteousness the Chief of P'leece, the estimable Bill Blair, was in front of the microphones almost right away, as were the head of the police 'union' Mark 'Puggli' Pugwash and former and currently-serving coppers, like the accused, tried and reinstated son of a former Chief of P'leece Bill McCormick. The initial 'doing his dooty' meme was displaced with 'suspended with pay pending investigation' meme and segued into a charge of second degree murder for the poor cop who did the shooting.

Billy had it all well in hand however, looking at the possible charges under the P'leece Act and all and  getting the internal examination underway. He selected a retired judge to take the lead. But that man had to step down when the dead man's family objected to the Judge's ties to the Police Department's legal firm. Another retired Judge has since taken up the investigation. Chief Bill is waiting to see what happens.

Meanwhile the Provincial ombudsman announced that he was getting into the act with an investigation of his own. A couple of days after that he was in the media claiming to have been threatened by a policeman from a region abutting Toronto. Turns out the policeman he named didn't do it. But some other policeman from the Durham force had. Apparently he'd set up a social media account in his fellow cop's name and gone ahead and threatened the ombudsman. Needless to say the chief of that department couldn't release the name because he had an investigation going on about that. But he has that all well in hand, too.

And just the other day the Special Investigations Unit, which laid the murder charge, was in the papers claiming that there was a culture of non-cooperation at Metro Police encouraged, they believed, by the disinterest of his Nibs the Chief. Seems that Police don't like incriminating themselves or each other any more than the average crook. Even if they are well-paid and  get to sport fire arms in public. I'm wondering if the SIU was considering why 19 other officers stood by to witness the shooting without apparently, doing anything. That schoolyard fight witnessing is a hard thing to shake.

The public also got a thumbnail sketch of the legal lion who sticks up for the poor coppers before the bench of justis. Peter Brauti is the kind of lawyer most people could only wish they'd get. But he has access, through the police, to information  other lawyers only wish they could get. He's very good at his job, very few Toronto police have been convicted of anything. 'Going for the gold' , as opposed to negligence, or manslaughter, or a number of lesser charges on this one, just means it's more likely the cop won't be convicted.

 In one of the more stupid developments, some Tory pol came up with the notion that if every front line cop had a taser, they wouldn't need to shoot anybody. Although the logic of that escapes me, given the current story, somebody is willing to throw about $2 billion in new spending into a negative trade deficit to keep the elves at the Tommy Swift Electric Cannon Corporation of America in Dunkin' and Donuts. Needless to say the Chief thought the idea was brilliant.

The finest little P'leece Service money can buy maintains, and continues.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hegh Drama, Don't ye Know, Ulster Style

The Fall is a recent dramatic series set in scenic little Belfast and using a host of actors, both adult and children, with a variety of forms of that particular accent. It is quite picaresque to hear a mere babe come out with "Mammy, ers a nekkid liddy in mah upstares" or "I seen muh Daddy ticklin' na bibbysitter's ocksters."

The story is the convoluted tale of the NIPS trying to track down a serial killer who targets the kind on modern urban professional Ulster 'gels' who can knock off a faceful of cocktails at an upscale bar and still look photogenic enough to be posed nude for the post-murder record.

The murderer is a very well-controlled marriage or psychological counsellor who uses his obvious interpersonal skills to be a good daddy, a good husband, and a good worker (although the 24/7 aspects of his other callings must make his lady wife wonder 'what's up'). The Mrs. says she seen him in something else, I haven't.

The supporting cast is taken from a cross-section of 'interesting' Belfast protagonist - coppers and perps - from the bad old days of crime and terror fighting.

Overseeing it all is the calm, cool and well-collected Gillian Anderson, flown into 'the province' from Scotland Yard to reprise the ├ęclat of a previous investigatory career that saw her boff most of the professional level of the 'wee town'. Neither her investigatory skills, nor her boffing prowess, are diminished in 'the Fall'.

Within minutes of her first appearance we find that she's a swimmer with a predilection for wandering the hotel with her wet hair in a towel, a black pencil skirt and rather towering spiked high heels. She also wears the same outfit, minus the wet hair, for 'trysting' and, of course, her 'profession'. She must have a closet-full of such similar outfits, or a darn good cleaner, as 'spots' might be problematic. It's incongruous that the consummate 'pro', who speaks a polished 'Britois' in mumbles and is so on-top of it all, leaves an unflushed toilet-full of those little rubber packages that lesser girls might throw behind the couch. Not only is she prodigiously sexual, she'd like the hotel maid, if not the constable she sent to 'get her stuff', to know it. We're supposed to think she's 'smart' because she doesn't leave the used condoms in bed?

The storyline has something for everybody - from neo-natal care and family tragedy, to the humour of out-of-town sex tourists punching-out a hooker 'by accident' while their police-related pimp worries about tidying-up the mess in the room. The school connections - repeated over and over to show the 'ordinariness' of killer-daddy, I imagine, are good.

"We think little Marigold has the willies, you see". Just look at how her art class products resemble the naughty pictures in daddy's little secret 'scribbler'."Wherever does she get such idears?"

Maybe his muddy footprints on the little girl's bed might be a give-away that something's lurking in the ceiling space above.

The program is essentially about murder most foul and no doubt the killer should predictably spiral out of control enough to let somebody notice and inform authorities. Or perhaps the star will, somehow, have qualifications - albeit well used - that the antagonist seeks and the denouement of the piece will be reached more consensually between the pair - he was healthy hung and horny, she was ready willing and able - they screwed. Sounds like a Tony nominee to me.

If you want an entertaining look around scenic Belfast, though, it's a winner.

And Now, in Braille for the Blind

Somebody's idiot nephew has let the side down again! 

Just when we should be celebrating a breeze of refreshment in the ranks of the Tory carcass, on outing of the old guard and an inning of the new, it comes to light that there is another incident of 'ovum on the puss' by way of, well, maybe just trying too  darn hard. You try to get the word out to people about all the good things being done unto them and golly-gee whillickers if it's not some ungrateful spending watchdog, or yer friends over at the Maine Railroad, it's somebody getting the word out to the blind by using a picture of braille script to do it. Not that the blind give a shit about make-work programs anyway.

In Tory circles it's what's called an "honest mistake", eh? Especially if the handouts are distributed by 'busy fellas' like the 'Big Mouth' Johnny Baird, or his fat friend Dean 'the wiener' Del Mastro, or by one of the newly-deputized cabinet like Shelly Glover. You can bet yer bippy there are a few million more bailed-up, ready for free postal delivery, by the lesser lights of Torydom, now presently sucking-up beverages at their cottages. Let's see how effective the machine is at stopping the distribution.

 Some summer vacation. That tool,(in retrospect), that Harpo the Great appointed to keep an eye on government spending (after he canned the old, outdated Liberal edition) has the moxie to go to court and the press and tell them he has to apply for government spending information they same way all the other idiots do, through freedom of information requests. There's some transparency for ya.

Meanwhile over at Megantic, the little 'sheener' who showed up to suck his teeth and wring his hands and 'promise' to 'be there' for the mess his railroad cars made when they exploded, has now taken his pension to suck-up some beverages at his cottage. This leaves the town of Megantic the object of a round of lawsuits between the railroad and its insurers who are both refusing to cover the costs of clean-up. That's starting to look like something the 'people of Canada', will be doing to 'bail-out' a couple of 'vital' services - and clean up an unsightly mess of course.

That's the least the Tories could do for their 'investing' pals,  having already agreed with them that running a one-man train full of volatiles was a reasonable, cost-saving idea.

Not to be outdone at covering a fat fanny, immigration minister Jay Kenney took some pains to remove his speaking notes for a talk he delivered  recently to a  Muslim group. Nobody told him what 'Allahu Akbar' meant - he thought he was saying, 'hello'. Maybe it wasn't that dumb, or up there with Bushco's 'Mission Accomplished' but, if he said it, why not leave it up for non-muslims to read. Where there's redacting, there's covering-up.

Summer's half over which means there are only another three months of the legislators' summer break left. The ship of state sails on, however, and the captain still mans the helm - even if he is sucking up some beverages at the government cottage, too.

We can all rest assured that somebody's idiot nephew/summer intern, won't be getting a hold of the tiller.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Nice Day for a Pink Wedding

The 'Satanic division' of national association of  GLBITWIS and multi-colored' people of the United Sates of America has put the 'whammy' on the homophobic Westboro Baptist "church of what's happening tomorrow, to-day", by rewarding the founder's mother with an eternity of lesbian pleasure in whatever heaven, or hell, she finds herself. In the former the partners will all be tender-hearted twisters who look like  Ellen or Portia. In the latter 'dykes on bykes' with 500 HP pleasurin' machines could only be the upside.

And how did they pull this off? You might ask. Well with a 'pink mass' of course out at the old bint's grave. Using her tombstone as an altar the horny 'master of ceremonies' led a few humble imprecations and supervised the coupling of a couple of pairs of doughty sapphics and nimble mattachinists. Then finished up with a ritual wiping-of-the-dick upon the grave marker.

As a "temple spokesperson" put it - "We believe that Fred Phelps is obligated to believe that his mother is now gay in the afterlife. Further, if beliefs are inviolable rights, nobody has the right to challenge our right to believe that Fred Phelps believes that his mother is now gay."

The group enjoined the gay of all lands to attend upon the gravesite an impart their own warm fuzzies on the new celestial 'den mama'.

Yeppers, Gord is blessing America.

Friday, July 19, 2013

What's Up in the Rez?

Canada's failed residential schools system for aboriginal peoples is back in the news with a bullet. Just in time to kick start lagging truck sales, it has just been announced that, along with abusing native kids and committing cultural genocide, dooming hundreds of thousands of them and their 'rellies' to lives blighted by abuse and failures to thrive, the University of Guelph has just discovered the government of Canada was using some of them to perform diet experiments.

Right there along with the story was a photo of Elsa the Beast of Belsen, newly immigrated to Canada no doubt, drawing blood from some poor native lad.

Needless to say, there are the beginnings of the sallying forth of the abused, " I never did get enough of that gruel, Ollie."

Being starved is something that you might think was a topic for the 'truth and reconciliation' panel, eh? Like how can you have truth and reconciliation if the government is hiding the results of medical experiments using Indians as guinea pigs. Frank Fontaine and other native leaders weren't long off the mark with cries of genocide. One ex-inmate claimed, "They never did treat me like a human being."

I thought the cash settlement, official government apology and more money splashed into 'programs' to help people come to terms with this stuff, was supposed to have put the matter to rest. Obviously not.

Not if there's a chance to reopen the hearings and work out another deal. Those trucks from last time will be ancient by now. And the dealers have to have been thirsty after that long-ago banquet of gratuitous sales. "Drive 'er away to-day and we'll settle-up when the cheque gets cut. Better still why wait, I'll give ya three quarters of the value if you sign your cheque over to me to-day."

Why would Canada's Indians ever want the government to "give the place" back to them? The government keeps on buying and re-buying it. It's a gift that keeps on giving, a bottomless bank account that's done nobody much good.

Watch this issue being fought out between the 'new wave' and the 'old guard'  of  the aboriginal people. With a bit of luck, Harpo the Magnificent can split the difference and stay the course.

Monday, July 08, 2013

The 24/7 Noos

The day after Canada day which should have been restricted to the mundane back to work stuff - reports of weekend drownings, accidents, miracles and drunk-driving charges etc, was thoroughly upset when the BC division of the RCMP clomped into a press conference to announce they nabbed two 'self-radicalized' Al Qaeda-inspired terrorists who had planned to 'Boston Marathonize'  the Canada Day party in front of the BC legislature. Yeppers, Dudley and the Doowrights had nabbed the pair after they had planted three explosive pressure cookers lined with rusted nails and some inert explosive. Canada's proud domain was safe for all the fun and festivus.

Who were the dastards and how did the good guys know?  Well, it seems the male half of the terroristic duo had self-actualized himself into a rabid bout of muslimania. Somebody - probably somebody who was being paid to point out the bad guys- fingered him to CSIS who set the investigatory wheels in motion. That was back in  February.

 Using a "variety of surveillance techniques" the RCMP was able to infiltrate the operation. They found out about the discussion of explosive devices and all the research being done. It only took 6 short months for the plan to come together with a holiday whammy and bloodbath for the People of Victoria. The surveillance techniques included an interesting one that ensured the bomb was as much a dummy as the guy who was planting it. I wouldn't be surprised to find out a surveillance expert went with them to make sure they didn't get lost.

Commenting on it all was the paid informant who helped put the Toronto 16 behind bars. Apparently he feels safe enough from Toronto's peaceful Muslim community to be wandering around the city looking like he'd just come out of the mosque. I guess they don't have fatwas in Toronto. Any way he said it was highly unlikely that a no hope, devil-worshiping white supremacist would be affiliated with Al Qaeda, So that's all good.

And who was the perp? Well he was known to police. According to authorities, he was a lowlife, methadone user who lived in a welfare rental pigsty. Somebody who figured the world owed him a living or at least a career in anarchy rock. In other words, a hopeless loser ex-con with a mad-on about civilization, who liked to spout-off his crazed isms in public. He was aided and abetted by a girlfriend who, it can be hoped, will turn crown witness and tell all.

All that excitement lasted a couple of days to be blasted off the front pages by chapter 12 of the Senate trough scandal.

In counterpoint comes the tragedy of Megantic, a 'natural disaster' the good guys couldn't stop. Seems somebody parked a train with 100 cars loaded with 'volatile' crude oil (volatile?) at the top of a hill for the night. Seems the brakes let go, or were tampered with (terror!!!!). The train, unmanned, rolled downhill into the town of Megantic (in Quebec's eastern townships), derailed, exploded and burned-out the centre of the town.

Apparently railroads full of crude oil wending their way to 'the home of the brave land o' the free etc' are commonplace these days, what with us not building pipelines to safely move the 'prawduct' to its rightful market. This stuff is shipped on the same old railways a former Tory government was all set to scrap. I'm wondering why the guys who need our oil don't ship it across country themselves? That has to cost less than refining it, which they  seem to prefer to do. In actuality I'm wondering why they just don't get oil from where they've always gotten it, their 'real' friends. But then it wouldn't be cheap.

It will be interesting to see what comes out of this.

It is reported that one of the 4 locomotives driving the train had a fire extinguished earlier in the evening before the accident. Whether that was the one the engineer left running to power the brakes when he 'turned in' for the night is still undetermined. That he did 'turn-in', leaving the train unattended until the replacement engineer came on duty the next morning, seems to be standard operating procedure. Apparently one-man trains are a new 'norm' - saves money.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Little Girls at School

College Blues

What a lousy way to have to start your 'college life experience'. As if post-secondary education wasn't hard enough, with dorms and dorm-mates and classes and study and all  that stuff. And choosing a career path and getting good grades and things. But now, having to be faced on campus, for the first time, by lying liars who lie. Not only lying liars who lie, but lying liars who lie and are aided and abetted by liberal Deans and Boards of Governors and college administrations. And even if you do 'name them' and 'call them' on their lies, it won't matter, they'll just go on lying  because they're haters, too. And haters just hate and that's why they  lie.

Got it?  A career in liberal arts is going to do this gal an awful lot of good. One day she might run a library, or teach a class of kids, or shoulder a weapon and fight for her country. But it's highly unlikely she'll ever stop to ask why?

Why do haters hate - is that genetic? Why do liars lie?  Is that the result of nature, or nurture? Why don't people see the same incident from the same perspective and what makes the difference?

Is truth absolute? Or is our 'truth' coloured by experience and emotion? Is our truth more valid than someone else's? If this gal graduates college thinking about this stuff she'll be on her way to an open mind.

As it is, she's had the benefit of a 'planned' holiday in Israel. It's obvious the 'plan' worked. She's learned that Israel's new Eden is threatened by evildoers who don't want it to exist. And they're here in America telling their side of her story - and she doesn't want to hear it - more than that, she doesn't want them to say it.

Sadly,  there is a significant part of the population of North America to-day, perhaps even the world, who reason like the gal above. For them 'truth' is relative ... to them and to how they feel. They are the ultimate arbiters of their own existence. And it follows that they filter all their relationships through that sieve. As St. Matthew so simplistically quoted the Son of God, "You are with me, or you are against me."

With a subtle difference that they 'can't be with' the Son of God and adhere to this philosophy of a subjective truth. They, in setting themselves up as 'God', omit a good number of admonitions and caveats about 'doing unto others' and judging and forgiveness. But this isn't about religion, and being told what to do by somebody else is so passe.

Moral relativism is the norm in societal behaviour these days. Looking out for number one is considered 'smart'. And looking out for somebody else usually means an opportunity for some forward-thinking entrepreneur to take some advantage. In fact there's a whole economy predicated on it.

Disasters are such opportunities. And there are such an increasing number of these in the news that a pattern is developing in how they're handled.

The first stage is awareness. The news media goes out of its way to 'cover' the story 24/7 for a week or so (unless something else more newsworthy appears) pity the disaster that happened during the OJ trial for instance - aside from the Oklahoma City Bombing it was more than likely a blip. After that comes the mobilization of resources. Usually local resources are the first involved - neighbors with needed equipment or facilities pitch-in to help. In many places this is where it stops - the locals are on their own. In more civilized places regional assistance is available and various governmental levels have assistance to provide. In some places NGOs are available to assist - some 'in country' and often some international services. Foreign governments often assist by sending aid, manpower or equipment. But eventually 'private enterprise' shows up, looking for opportunities to make money.

In some sad cases that 'money making opportunity' starts well up the timeline of assistance. Helpful neighbors are often willing to help whoever can pay them the most.  And 'security' forces are often the first assistance to arrive on scene, to protect private property. Looting is a real problem at times of emergency, but rather than use security to try to ensure equitable distribution of something that will be lost anyway - and pre-planning for that - people get killed by security protecting the property of absent owners. That's probably the worst thing about disasters. Because we often can't see them coming before it's too late, we generally haven't given much thought to avoiding them or coping better with them. We - all of us - certainly don't practice enough.

Disaster has engendered an insurance industry. Whether the disaster is personal or domestic, self-caused or the result of an interaction with another person or thing, insurance sells. Predicated on the notion that not everybody is going to have bad things (claimable events) happen to them, and that, provided you can get and use their money to develop resources and assets,  a company can take 'risk' in order to generate a profit. This might have started as betting on whether or not a 17th century trading vessel was going to make it back to port but it was soon realized that spreading the risk of loss among a number of  ' investors', for a price was good business. Shares could be repaid if the venture was successful, and those shares meant that failure wasn't a total loss. That notion spread to property and eventually to life and longevity, to health, to body parts - some famous - to, in our age, insuring banks against bad loans.

Insurance helps, if you have it. But it doesn't eliminate disaster. You can't buy insurance that will cover you if you're fortunate enough to go to college, or that will pay your way into a good university. There are some kinds of investments that you can buy that will assist - sort of an EIF. But they don't guarantee a tranquil education. And that's the truth.

Terror's A-bustin' Out All Over

The world was shocked when two bombs exploded at the finish line of this year's Boston Marathon. Then we were awed by the immediate and massive 'response' to the terror that saw two individuals identified as suspects - their images plastered across international media - and a brigade or two of Boston Police, National Guard, Federal Marshals, FBI, Transit Cops, University Police and a number of other urban 'warfighters' gun down one 'perp' and drag another, critically wounded, from somebody's fishing boat.  The wounded perp. now in hospital, was revived yesterday long enough to be read his rights and charged, and apparently long enough to pen a message to the friendly guards that his big brother made him do it.

The saga continues to-day with on-going proof that the right guys got 'got'. The Russians identified one of them as a potential threat two years ago, but the human rights artists in the democratic west could find no fault in him, at the time - although they did investigate. I'm wondering why the Russians let him stay in Ingushetia for 6 months, transiting Demedovo airport in Moscow both times. Maybe the spelling mistake on the passenger manifest 'bollicks-ed' their watchfulness too. Although I'm pretty sure they did a passport check and that should have flagged him as an expat Chechen.

After the tragedy, however, we should all heave a collective sigh of relief that the trillions spent on stopping such stuff, while it may have only partly parried the intended blows - worked to serve as an example to any future perps that they might run but they cannot hide - and even running is unhealthy.  To-day, security is looking at the dead perp's wife - maybe she noticed the disappearance of the family pressure cookers (3 were reportedly used) or a surfeit of discarded packaging and parts.

emptied fireworks taken from the suspect's dorm room

Already, however, the 'conspiracy nuts' are pointing out anomalies in the 'docudrama'.

 A simultaneously, although less-noted threat was the mailing of a number of letters to high government officials, including the President. Said mail was reputedly laced with ricin, a deadly poison extracted from the castor bean. There was another immediate security 'eclat' when a Texan  Elvis-impersonator was named as the culprit and taken into the appropriate terror-fighting custody. He was released to-day after it turned out he was framed by a 'rival'. A bodybuilder charged with possessing a noxious substance for nefarious purpose was also later released when a third suspect was named to police. The jury's been reconvened to figure out who really dunnit. That later turned out to be the second guy's wife. Go figger.


                                                            The second guy's Wife - Jezebel

Not to be outdone Canada's defenders of freedom announced they'd caught and arrested two 'sleeper agents' who were plotting to derail the Montreal to NYC Amtrak train. Immediately it was declared that the two men - Canadian citizens, from Tunisia and Palestine, were affiliated with Al Qaeda Iran and attending to the master plan of the mad mullahs to bring down the little bro' of the Great Satan. The perps have pled not guilty. But under the terms of the revised anti-terrorism legislation, expected to pass in the Canadian legislature by the end of the week, their convictions - rather confessions - are virtually assured.

What gets me, aside from the massive public expenditure to ward-off those who would blow us to bits while window-shopping, or taking the kids out to a public event, is the on-going notion that killing civvies in an explosion is going to make the 'terror' look more heroic and actually hurt the enemy. That just isn't the case. The result is, generally, a shrine of remembrance somewhere, a large dose of world sympathy and increased expenditure for protection and payback. If 'terrorist' were bent on destroying anything, it's themselves. And that what scares us so much.

A real terrorist wouldn't be laying bombs in places populated by thousands and surveilled by watchers 24/7. They be hitting the enemy in the 'soft' spots. Yes, it would upset the 'sheeple', but you can't mourn an extinguished electrical grid, or a tainted water supply, like you can the dismemberment of an 8 year-old kid. The former two might actually 'hurt' a lot more than the latter. And would cost infinitely more to 'secure'. Hitting infrastructure or essential resources in remote places is not only safer, it's far more effective. But terrorists won't do that, because it isn't terrible enough?

Our Security forces would have us think all terrorists are stupid.

I think the ones working for the security forces, the only ones they have, aren't stupid either. They know a good thing when the cops come looking for one. Giving one to them and getting a  reward for being a 'good citizen' is a game that's as old as the hills. Somebody, to-day, has a new gas station to run, a government pension and a new personality in a witness protection program.

The Security forces have another feather in their collective cap.

And were just as 'safe' as we were yesterday.


Hey there! Them's some Snoops Ya Got! or We're not Stealin' their Stuff

In the relatively brief history of public 'whistle-blowing' and I think I've been around for most of this century's 'big' events - even though I might not have realized any significance until well afterward, if at all - I don't recall the institutional outrage raised to quite the pitch as that over Ed Snowden's little lowdown on the NSA's internet mining operation.

I don't think anybody has had the international hue and cry raised to such a height to 'track him' down - up to and including the late Obama Bin Laden. While I'm pretty sure airports everywhere were being watched for some hairy fella on a burnoose and turban, especially one with a 'police model kalashnikov' in his luggage, I don't recall the US issuing threats to sever relations, or even registering severe disappointment about not having him turned over to them, let's face it, they were going to 'do' Afghanistan and Iraq anyway. They didn't demand his arrest from Sudan, or even bother any of his siblings who were literally living in the USA when 'he attacked' the WTC.

Now, mind you, most of the other whistleblowers remained resident in America - but then, too, many of them were fairly prominent. Snowden was, we are told, a nonentity, a nonentity given access to the deepest darkest secrets of state by some contracted software corporation. A nonentity who could be disappeared without too much ado. He was wise to go overseas. If the Guardian hadn't broken his story, it wouldn't have been broken in the US press and Snowden might now be an ignored footnote to history. As is stands now, he needs to be made a 'good example' to everybody else who signs and ironclad 'security statement' to get a job. If Adolf and the SS could have had 'security statements' signed and used as a legal excuse for not knowing nothing', there might be European train stations  and airports named after them to-day.

But Snowden is the 'boyo' on the point and everything he's done so far to "cause great harm to America" is deemed a character flaw. 'Running away' to Hong Kong from his operating base in Hawaii is an act of pusillanimous cowardice - or, looking at a map, one of the few 'safe' places he could go without a visa. Virtually anywhere else on the pacific rim is friendly territory for the US government, or a place somebody's going to know you're going. Hong Kong was a no-brainer unless he wanted to wind-up permanently tranquilized. His first releases about the scope of government eavesdropping caused a ho-hum reaction at  home. It was only when he divulged that the US government was busy 'spying' on just about everybody - friends and enemies alike - that somebody noticed the potential damage and tried to shut him up, or at least 'bring him to justis'. Just like the Wikileaks thing,  graphic evidence of a war crime was ho-hummed until the leak of some ambassador's speculation about the state of a national leader's wife's knickers gave some credibility that such statesmen have little to do and less ability to do it well. Assange became a pariah - a diddler of sleeping girls and a fugitive from 'justis'. He's still holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

I'd imagine if the embassy staff aren't thoroughly fed-up with Assange, they will be getting that way soon. For, don't you know, it was released to the press that Assange has been engineering the whole thing. Through the ambassador in London, Julian offered sanctuary to Snowden on behalf of the Ecuadorean people, don'tcha no! That, reportedly, led to some debate in Ecuador which now, we are told, is 'backing off' on it's offer of protection. They were probably contemplating what they were going to do with all the cut flowers America wouldn't be buying from their off-shore Ecuadoran florist industry. So If Snowden does show up in Ecuador, Venezuela or anywhere else for that matter,  it's just an indication of the sort of tyranny we can expect if Julian Assange ever takes over the world.

Glenn Greenwald, the lawyer, who writes for the Guardian, is also taking a 'reputation-bashing' from the 'feebs' who are tasked with finding the muck to sling. Just as the 'feebs' told us that Snowden who'd never made it out of high school, let alone college, was hired by the Sniff-Pantays, or Booz Allen Corporation as a 'data analyst' and rapidly advanced to the "six figure" salary range. He didn't like small children, kitty-cats or have a particular affinity for the Lord Jesus as His personal Lord and Saviour. The reporter who printed his tales was no less a miscreant. Greenwald had "appeared in court" and "been involved in lawsuits" in the past. Duh! Lawyer right? The latest punditry is that Greenwald "put Snowden up to it to get the story". Got him a job and promotion and access to state secrets and everything. Somehow he must have gotten his competition at WaPo to sit on the story so he could go first, too. That's totally credible!  They printed much less of it than he did, but that just goes to show the power he wields, eh? I'm surprised he's not being described as an Israel-hating Hebrew. Crikey! Maybe he is!

But never mind the malefactors. Look at the good guys. All hurt feelings and not quite understanding why this bad stuff keeps happening to them. Trying hard, awful hard, to get things done right and being screwed by people who won't listen or don't care about peace and freedom and little girls anywhere. The good guys won't be calling out the army or the navy, or even the cops. They won't be 'wheeling and dealing on a lot of other issues to get one guy extradited'. Hell they won't even stop buying their flowers from FTD Ecuador division.

But Snowden will be brought to 'justis', someday. Like Brad Manning, there's a special traitor's tribunal with his name on it. In the meantime there are others to find, and name and blame.

 What about Manning? will any of this stick to him?

If not, there's always Assange - and he's a foreigner.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Zut alors! Ils ont mange ma dromedaire!!!

AFP is reporting to-day, that the family left to care for a camel presented to French President Francois Hollande by Malian villagers in gratitude for evicting AQ rebels, has probably eaten their ward. Somebody recently revisited the area and decided to check on the Presidential cadeau. It had gone 'Pouf!'

The French Minister of Defense  broke the bad news at a recent cabinet meeting. The President's reaction was  not noted.

So either the family were AQ sympathizers or the situation in Mali is so bad that camels are a liability worth eating rather than a source of transport or work income. Maybe next time une poule, un canard,  a foie or even a simple boeuf might be more appropriate. Pas des cochons!! Les musseliman don't eat pig. At least these others  might make better eating.

Also in the news to-day, Maggie Thatcher stepped into the mystery. She was the right (no pun intended) person at the appropriate time for Britain. She may not have accomplished as much as she wanted, but she set the stage for the British take-off of the 1990's and early 2000's. Most Brits never had it so good. She was a notable player on the world stage at  time before things really got too complicated and when big changes were made. Reputedly she started doing a Ronnie  ( ie dementia) shortly after leaving office and that's why she was so little heard from, while her successors sailed Britain into some very dangerous shoal water.

The coverage of her demise naturally runs the gamut from eulogistic paeans to the almost scatological - one of the best I've noted (and possibly most apropos) was calling for the 'privatization' of her public funeral. It will be a while, though, before we see another one of her kind - lots of women in politics to-day, but none like her.

Another poignant passing of note - a junior staffer in the US foreign Service who was killed in an IED attack on a convoy taking books to a school opening in Zabul province. Somebody's bright-eyed 25 year-old daughter became the latest waste in a war that has gone on far too long. That it takes a convoy of armored vehicles to bring schoolbooks to children is almost as sad as her loss. The explosion took the lives of 6 other Americans, the military there to do 'kinetic' on Afghans who don't appreciate their schoolbooks, or them. If you're going to invade somewhere to make it better, the army should be the first thing removed. America squandered a slim opportunity to do that with malevolence toward Afghans in general after they could find no more enemies. Anne Smedinghoff paid the price for that.

Also in Afghanistan, a NATO bombing raid took the lives of 10 Afghan children. I'm pretty well sure that their parents would mourn their passing too. But their mothers were killed in raid, as well. Whether their fathers were killed,  is questionable - for the Afghan/ISAF troops involved claimed to have killed only 7 insurgents, including a high level commander. So, in 'ourspeak', that means it was their fault for bringing their families to a firefight. That's what the infamous chopper jockey said when he was told he'd chain-gunned two infants. We go around the far side of the world to bomb people and their deaths are their own fault? Incredible. Say the same thing about the 9/11 victims (some of whom could actually have been considered combatants) and even Moslems wouldn't buy it.  Even if they were enemies using human shields, we shouldn't kill kids. Most likely they were only some poor Afghan farmers visited by not necessarily friendly strangers on a mission in the middle of he night, who tried to scare them off with gunfire and received a roof-ful of precision munitions for their trouble.

Such was to-day, the 9th of April.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Creative Thinking 101

How do you stop the notorious 'run' on a bank, when depositors decide they need their money back all-at-once,  that leads to its collapse? That poser has puzzled great minds since the first time it happened. Conventional wisdom has dictated that the bank (or stock market) stays closed in hopes that the crowd waiting at the door gives up and goes home for lunch.

The latest 'euro-crisis' in Cyprus has opened a new and highly creative door, revealing an old, but little-used solution - simply steal the deposits. Not all mind you, just the ones that belong to the fabulously wealthy. Naturally everybody who doesn't have deposits thinks this is a 'mah-vellous' idea. The bank simply 'confiscates' the deposits over a certain amount, in a quantity sufficient to guarantee the liquidity of the joint. This can't bode well for banks, or at least banks as they exist now.

The notion of a bank in the first place was primarily as a 'safe place' to store the family boodle, away from access by the ravening hordes who would have attacked the family castle or kidnapped family members for torture, to lay hand on it. It seemed a sensible idea to entrust it to a friendly hebrew - exempt from usury laws - who had cooked-up the notion of holding somebody else's money to facilitate business dealings. It wasn't long before the notion of using money to make money in 'legalized, virtually risk-free gambling' took root. Whatever it was, it surely beat the idea of burying it in a can in the backyard.

It didn't take long before governments developed the view that it was a public 'good' that citizens 'save' money in banks. It freed-up a large domestic source of cheap (relatively) currency for  annual bond sales. The notion of lending to governments wasn't wasted on banks who soon realized, with some accommodating legislation, that loaning to citizens was even more lucrative. And so the situation to-day, where banks can apparently loan, or 'invest',  their deposits to develop 'holdings'.  So much so that they can actually run out of ready cash should too many depositors make withdrawals.

In times past other cash-rich 'investors' might come to the rescue of a beleaguered bank - preventing a collapse of it's 'holdings' and getting themselves a piece of its 'action'. In other times, there was no rescue the bank collapsed and the wolves 'devoured' the holdings at less than cost. In the latter case, depositors generally lost most or all of their money.

To-day governments guarantee deposits to some extent and banks are required to have some deposits 'reserved' to cover a partial run. In actuality this 'reserve risk'  can be farmed-out to other banks, or economic entities by way of  'insurance' . It sort of goes sour when the insurers themselves become 'cash-strapped', too - as happened in the latest mass meltdown. Then only governments can help by 'guaranteeing' a print of more money. That 'cash infusion' to banks and commercial houses may have prevented a catastrophe in 2009, but the same thing caused world-wide inflation in the nineteen twenties - and a worldwide depression in the thirties. Timescale-wise the panic of 2009 has another 6 years to run.

Any deposits in excess than the insured maximum are at the mercy of the stability and security, or lack thereof, of the banking establishment. Most banks nowadays discourage large accounts by paying less interest on them and/or by levying service fees. They encourage 'speculative saving' on investments - their mutual funds- where risks of loss devolve back onto the investor, or in this case the depositing customer. (I think they use these depositor funds to 'hedge' against their own corporate 'holdings' which are designed to make a profit for the entity and its investors - which might explain in part why bank profits seem immune to the vagaries of the investment market.)  Banks are the best of 'blue chip' stocks.

Banks have always been able to 'borrow' deposits, at interest, to lend at greater interest. This, with the concomitant fees charged at both ends, is how they 'make their money' (investment 'holdings' aside). The new wrinkle is that, in addition to the old 'pyramid' thing about using new deposits to pay-off old deposits, banks will now be able, not only to use, but to 'disappear' significant amounts of deposit obligation. This couldn't be good for  'high-roller' business.

'Wise' people with lots of money have been, historically, loath about advertising their wealth, or wanting 'the public' to know how much they have, or where it's located. To this end many people take it off-shore - testing the good name of some foreign entity to keep their funds secure from outside viz government or lawsuit, interference. Switzerland, until fairly recently, made a national industry of bank secrecy. The Caribbean and private European banks seem to have grabbed a bigger market share. The Arabs and orientals have done their own (largely closed, in-house) thing for a long time.

The Cypriot 'template' is now being bruited as the 'saving grace' of banking but, so far, there is no indication it can, or will, work, even for the immediate purpose. It does, however, virtually guarantee that Cypriot banks won't have the same problem with large depositors in future.

 'Smart' people, like  Russian oligarchs, don't  stick around to get burned when somebody starts playing with matches.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The Jihadis of Middlesex County

Almost immediately after the attack on an Algerian oil drilling operation back in February, it was noised about that Canadians, or somebody carrying  Canadian passports, had been involved with the AQ force blamed for the attack.

This is the second such incident, another being the attack on a bus-ful Israelis holidaying in Bulgaria just before Christmas. Recent follow-ups to that incident  claim that the dead bomber was assisted by two others - one carrying Australian papers and the other, a Canadian. Thus far neither of the suspects has been identified.

The Algerian connection remained fairly speculative until yesterday, when  the names of two Canadians were announced and it came to light that both CSIS and the RCMP had been investigating them well before 'the balloon went up' in the Sahara. The name of a third Canadian - all residents of London, Ontario who had, we're being told,  hied-off to seek jihad, had been schoolmates. One was of  middle-eastern extraction and the other two were 'converts' to Islam. They had been reported to authorities as ' hanging around with bad characters'. Who reported them remains unknown, but security forces indicate the three were being asked-about.

Somehow, despite the official curiosity, all three obtained Canadian passports and then 'disappeared' overseas only to turn up as members of an AQ unit whch captured an oil installation, taking a number of foreign workers hostage, and, we're told, executing a number of the 53 of them who died. The two major players were killed in the ensuing counter attack by Algerian security forces, and the third is reputedly in jail somewhere in the middle east - arrested before he could 'do any harm'.

To-day the 'Harpergovermint' is on 'the hotseat' about who knew what, when and how much? Needless to say the 'Harpergovermint' is doing its standard fancy-dancing for, once again, it's fairly obvious that nobody had a clue what was going on. Still don't.

So far they haven't been able to either find out or come up with a plausible story. So we have the Minister of Foreign Affairs handing-off to the Minister of Justice who then hands-off to the RCMP who in turn have no comment. Teeedle dee Baird,  tweedle-dum Vic Toews and Duddly Doowright  we've seen this 'force' before - standing on guard for thee and mee.

On the news last night the moslem population of London, Ontario were taking to the airways to deny any knowledge and express their  shared concern with all Canadians. Question is, where were these young guys getting all their jihad info and is there somebody still educating the disaffected to head off for parts east and the GWOT? Are the mosques of London, or any where else in Canada, being used to foment jihad?

Harpergovermint  needs to de-thumb the bum and let the people of Canada know what our security services are about. Either we have a problem, or we don't -  keeping it a secret doesn't help Canadians ... of any flavour..

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hear Brad Manning

Brad Manning - the poster boy to blame for everything that's gone 'wrong' in America's little effort to recreate Iraq and the rest of the world, is getting his day in court after almost two years in military prisons. And things are taking a decidedly nasty turn for the powers that be, or at least the powers that were. For despite the 'image' of Manning as so far presented - a homosexual, loser, runt with mental issues and a hatred for everything America stands for, he's turning out to be surprisingly lucid, intelligent and more than reasonable.

One wondered when almost immediately he pled 'guilty' to the greater number of charges against him, illegally sharing classified information he was not authorized to divulge. He remains on trial on the charges to which he pled not guilty, ie the charges of treason, and aiding the enemy in time of war.

Along with that guilty plea, Manning has been able to offer the court an account of what he says he did, and why he did it. In that story is the proof of his pudding. And now someone has leaked the audio of his statement to the court. Unless the government can rebut this, or prove otherwise, Brad Manning might go free at last.

The audio record is available here.

What strikes one immediately is Manning's native intelligence and, apparently, his moral fortitude, he just doesn't sound like somebody who thinks, after two years of 'special handling' by the Marines, that he's done something wrong.

First of all, relating to how and why he came to have access to America's most secret information, it seems that his aptitudes and testing on intake to the military were of such a high order that his other obvious 'deficiencies' were  downplayed. He is not constitutionally fitted to America's standard 'vision' of  the 'warrior class'. Basic training - at least the physical part- was a challenging and notably protracted experience. He passed basic in twice the length of time prescribed - ie he should have 'washed out'. For some reason his superiors saw military value in him that allowed them to make a pass of a short, weak, deficient soldier. He pleads guilty to being a somewhat 'weak sister' sort of guy.

Having passed basic he was assigned to military intelligence where he soon learned his 'craft' - gleaning intelligence reports and synopsizing the same for upward transmission, sifting and combining pertinent reports to make note of trends or patterns that could be used for military purposes. He seems to have been good at his job and technically proficient in managing large data systems. His 'problems' started when he insisted on thinking about what he was reading. He claims to have become affected by a "helping" operation was  becoming a self-defeating one. That Iraqis were unappreciative of American sacrifice, but that America's counterinsurgency tactics were geared to do anything but 'win them over'. What he was reading in situation reports was glaringly at odds with the 'official narrative' put out for the information of American forces, and the American people.

He claims that he did what he could to undo what he considered to be incompetent work by military intelligence and was stopped by military bureaucracy and  hierarchy. He claims that personal problems at a time of furlough led to reflection turning into a perceived need to act. He had 'backed-up' his data in a way that would be accessible to him and he had that in his possession, not for nefarious reasons but only to preserve the continuity and integrity of his work. He sought advice from friends and what he thought to be  trustworthy others - including the man who would later turn him in, who was, then, claiming to be an "journalist" and "pastor".

The notion of sharing what he knew with the US media took form in his mind. He approached some media and was rebuffed. No media sources proved to be as interested in what he knew as he hoped they would be.  Eventually, however, he got somebody, who could appreciate its news value, to look at what he had  ... that was the Wikileaks organization. After that the media started to take notice.

Manning was careful to note that the information he transmitted was, according to its official coding, material that was widely-distributable within military and government circles.  He did not transmit any information that was classified or highly restricted.  He explained those 'official' codes to the court.

In short Bradley Manning is proving to be the Daniel Ellsberg of his time, leaking official documents that are at odds with what is being released as truth, or being done in reverse to what is being said. This is, simply, the 'Pentagon Papers' all over again, only this time from the State Department.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Round Numbah 6

The newspapers are to-day full of stories about a 'break-through' in negotations with Iran over its nuclear program. At the same time, there are stories of America 'kow-towing' 'selling-out' and 'giving-in' to terror. At the same time, US media is reporting that the Senate took time  from its deliberations about another imminent fiscal catastrophe, to introduce 'non-binding' legislation that the US would support Israel if, for reason of 'self-defence', it is "forced" to attack Iran. A 'straw vote' of how the Senate feels about aiding gallant l'il Israel if need-be.

Sounds interesting. Let's start at the top.

 The 'break through' news is reported to originate in the Iranian committee, who note, for the first time, a fairly reasonable tone in regard to Iran's atomic enterprise. The 5+1 negotiators have introduced the notion that economic sanctions might be eased if Iran was to commit itself to enriching no more of its uranium than it has already done. This is a sea change from the previous stance of, 'We KNOW you're working on a bomb let us in to see.' And the concomitant: 'Stop everything you're doing, turn it over to us, let us in to see and we'll give you some fuel rods.' The Iranians for some reason think this new stance in an improvement.

What it is, is the Euro perspective being applied  as a precursor to the hoped-for Iranian recalcitrance that will 'force' Israel to attack.America remains firmly unconvinced by anything the Iranians are offering, shy of restoring Shah Jahan II of New York City  and the CIA.

 The Israeli press is full of the same old - last wind-sprint toward an Iranian nuclear bunker-buster, or mother of all bombs and the story of how the Americans have been duped into rolling-over so the Ayetolleh can get at their 'jools.' Avigdor Lieberman - who, until this time could barely tell what was for lunch, has donned the cape of the 'head screamer' in the newly-revised 'Stepford Wives vs Nukuler Peril'. Little Bennie Netanyahoo is saving the 'big guns' for later, or else he's speechless at the Turks calling his regime 'fascist'.

 Apparently it's one of those 'look at things differently and be surprised at how much they change' things. Going into this, much has been made of how former deadly menaces (like China, Russia and Vietnam) were morphed into something far less frightening when they stopped being viewed as monsters. But considering that a recent poll indicated that 99 percent of American (99!) feel that Iran is a threat to America, I don't give the change of perspective a hope in hell. The only thing that will change that demographic is a remake of 'Argo'. This last having far more impact on the great American 'sheeple' than a couple of years worth of  honest diplomacy. AIPAC has done its job well.

 So what is to be expected?

Obviously the Iranians could lob the ball back into America's court by making the 5+1 a compromise that would be hard to reject.  Open up the nuclear industry but demand that IAEA open its membership to more reliable - ie less-biased - observation.  A couple of Russians or other friendlier Europeans or Asians might help. The Iranians have said that they have converted what enriched material they had into 'fuel plates' for their reactor operation. That should be easily verifiable.  They might even give up their domestic nuclear industry in return for non-aggression treaty. The Iranians really have little to lose and much more to gain.

If the US and Israel are bent on aggressive regime change that will happen no matter what Iran does. It's just that, in the court of world opinion, there will be nothing to use as an excuse. America wouldn't have invaded Afghanistan without the Taliban and couldn't have invaded Iraq without Saddam Hussein. Plum dog dirt loco as George Bush was, after 9/11 he had some 'creds' with the UN and his NATO allies. That situation does not apply to Iran, without the threat of another nuclear maverick at large.

There is something being made of the up-coming Iranian election seating a new Prime Minister who could possibly be worse than Achmedinejad or a lot easier to live with. That day is some way off and may prove something. In the interim I think it should be clear to America that the President is on the same page as the current PM, if not even a little more extreme. President Khameini may be religious but he's a Persian first. There isn't much dissent in Iran, especially over the nuclear issue.

POSTSCRIPT: The sixth round was a bust. The Iranians offered the unacceptable and the Euro position was undercut by restatement the standard US/Israel  surrender or die position.
Couldn't have smelled that coming.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Gender Issues

To-night on the news, a commentator noted that there were far more people of the "female persuasion" involved in politics these days. While the latter point doesn't surprise me much, that being female is now a 'persuasion', does. It used to be that you were 'persuaded' to take to a religious bent or not. Or  that you had been persuaded to adhere to a political doctrine. But until now I was pretty sure that gender was more or less something for which persuasion wasn't required. But perhaps I err or, in newspeak, 'error'.

There are a number of genders available to us these days - the LGBT rainbow of flavors. There are in addition to your basic male or femaleness a number of nuances related to how you use the equipment. These are currently referred to as 'gender' issues rather than sexual issues for, you see, they lie at the heart of who you are as a human being. There are lesbians - they are females who opt to restrict the use of their gender parts to other females. There are your gays - they're males who do the same with other males. There are  Bisexuals - who are available to use their naughty bits with others of either gender and finally, and officially, there are your Transgendered folk - males who start off with male attributes and trade them in for the female model; and females who do the same in reverse.

But that's only scratching the surface for, if sexual behavior ie what you do with the works,  is the defining fundamental, there are an almost infinite variety of sexual beings walking around.

There are your pedophiles of course - of any of the 4 gender types - but whose focus is on youngsters. They are still classed as criminal. There are those who favor animals - bestialists. There are those who prefer singularity - they don't like anybody but themselves. Those who prefer relations with a corpse are necrophiles, with inanimate objects trees or garden vegetables. There are those who are attracted to machines. There are a large number in America who have relations with firearms. There are those who specialize in body parts or areas and those who like their partners to be made of vinyl latex, or plastic in varying degrees of reality. There are those who like to keep it 'in the family.' There are those who like the underwear or other clothing of the same or opposite gender. There are those who record their work for posterity and  only 'wanna watch' - mostly Casio or Timex. And there are those of any gender who simply can't get enough. In all of these there are subgroups who enjoy their pursuits with a little pain to heighten the pleasure. There are even some who do 'offing' themselves or a partner, while 'effing'.

I was reading about a residence for mentally disabled adults in England which had managed to bring in 'sex workers' to attend to the 'needs' of their clients. I knew of the same such which 'facilitated' clients in meeting those 'needs' with other clients. I'm just waiting for someone to raise the notion that a staff member, helping to meet those needs, might not be a potential criminal.

There is a currently-nominated movie about a sex surrogate and her 'relationship' with a  mentally less-than-able client. Apparently the client is able enough to want to 'get off', and hire her to surrogate for the women he can't otherwise 'get' to service him free.

Society is poised for a great sexual awakening when the borders of our old anal retentive ways will be moved and true sexual freedom for all will ensue. If the porn guys were to get on that, they could move the agenda ahead with light speed.

If  society which likes to keep up with such 'memes' - if only to increase marketing accuracy - is to do that, a new lexicon or symbology is required. Gone will be the simplistic M/F.. At present that could be expanded to M/F LGBT or further refined to M/F L G Mm/f Fm/f M->F F->M.

This could be even further refined to a series of icons describing personal biases, preferences or as they used to be called 'fetishes'. What fun that could be - make applying for benefits a real giggle.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

They're Stealin' Are Stuff!

Since America became the greatest country on earth, all the other countries on earth have been trying to imitate her by stealing the a stuff that makes America great - her inventions. The latest reports of the Chinese devoting  army units to the 'theft of intellectual property' from the compromised computers of  sensitive individuals around the world, and in America, is another in the great 'blowing wind up' exercises of the people tasked with 'keeping America safe'.

While everybody knows that internet access allows a great number of institutions to legally let us download a blizzard of trackers and cookies that call home with information to help those institutions better serve our 'needs', people are terrified that some institutes might be doing things like that illegally, or without letting us make that download decision. And so, from the first days of the internet a new industry was spawned - Internet Security. This multi-billion dollar software industry that is designed to react to such 'threats' (usually well after the fact) has long ago discovered that while the detritus of internet merchandising is a minor (but lucrative) problem, accessing a computer's files either through sloppy security or with 'cracking' software can provide an opportunity for gaining knowledge or for wreaking havoc. Business is super-sensitive to this and Hollywood has used the computer-hacking scenario as a plot line in many 'ennertainments'. And thus another multi-billion dollar aspect was born the I.T. 'pro' and the related department.

Very few corporations can afford the cost of a department of time-wasting system watchers for braced for hacking - unless the site is governmental or military it is a fairly rare event. Even the massive data thefts of which we hear with some regularity don't seem to have those trickle-down effects - like world-wide identity theft we are so terrified about. Unless of course the People's Army is using your passwords to hack your facebook account, or, even worse, your mastercard to buy new tanks. And thus the rise of small anti-hacking companies that do nothing else. They're for hire and constantly looking for business. Ex-hackers have done quite well in this aspect of I.T.

The Mandiant Corp of Alexandria VA is how famous for having 'sleuthed' its way though the internet pecker-tracks of international hackerdom to an identification of an individual Chinese spy and the geo-location of a 'spy-site' in Shanghai. Every computer records every access every day - every key stroke is documented and recorded - often in 'erasable' .temp files. But then, to a computer geek, nothing is totally unrecoverable unless it's been melted-down for recycling. The folk at Mandiant would have us think they've been tracing this Chinese 'activity' for years and now the break-through has come. That the hacked computers have not noticed odd access, or unapproved transmissions, is more telling than the fact that nations spy. But what can Mandiant do about that? Apparently not very much except expect the Chinese to stop.

It can be embarrassing to someone to have his 'porn site history' accessed - that happens all the time when police seize a computer. The first thing 'geeks' search for, and find, is the downloaded smut  collection - just look at Bin Laden - 10 years of being electronically untraceable but the whiz kids found his porn before they got his computers back to base - amazing. But the same top-level hackers had no way of knowing exactly where he was, so a disease eradication program was virtually destroyed on a hunch to get some 'eyes on' him. Even that failed but a better guess was made about all those non-Pakistani  women and immunizable kids. I'd bet even the Peoples' Army couldn't have found Bin Laden.

But corporations and governments and militaries aren't trying to hide their secrets.They're trying to market their secrets. Since time immemorial when you sell somebody something better than what they've got, the first thought that occurs is, "How do they do that'? The second is, "Can I?"

In to-day's  'globalized' marketplace they're taking their secrets into places where internet security is a joke, or where 'computer crime' has been a cultural phenomenon since the first internet computer arrived. Just how long now have the world's smartest people been shilled out of billions to help get somebody's millions out a third world shit-hole? And they still wonder why and how somebody's stealing their stuff?

Taking advantage of third world resources and labour markets isn't like 'stealing' overpriced 'designer goods' and peddling them on-line, is it? After all, paying a Mexican worker 40 bucks a week is legal, although they'll work for a lot less in Bangla Desh.

But this isn't about 'bidness', it's about the 'fabric of democracy' and the 'safety of the nation'. Why, if the 'wily Chinee' had access to our technology they'd be building A-weapons and the fleets of ships, planes and rockets to get them over here. The "Yellow Peril" would be looking ta 'take over the world'. They'd be having their own "Chinese Century.' They've been at this too long and they must be stopped!

When you get an enemy weapon the first thing that happens after a few test shots - is that it gets disassembled. If it's good enough, it will be copied. From Hittite iron weapons to stealth technology - if you build it, it will eventually be 'stolen'. That's a no-brainer. To-day's technology - eg 3D printers - just make stealing, and reproducing,  ever so much easier. Ask a Hollywood film mogul.

But if the message of Mandiant is heard, some new multi-billions can be borrowed to set-up a state-of-the-art defense against computer sleuths. This will allow America to close the 'cybercrime gap' and increase it's ability to cyberfight its enemas.

Lets face it though, the only nation actually demonstrated to have used cybertechnology as a weapon is ... the United States of America, and it's best ally ... Israel. They invented a virus to cripple Iran's Seimens-built centrifuges. But even that, they couldn't get in with the internet. They needed, as such espionage usually always does, a human 'vector' to actually go in and  screw-up the system.

And having a human 'vector', either putting something in, or taking something out, will be the downfall of any electronic defense.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Make Whey for the Big Baird

Canada's foreign affairs fairy is taking his sweet ass and bad dentures off to bait the commies in their nests. John (the bigmouth) Baird - Canada's Foreign Minister has been tasked with a visit to Cuba and Venezuela.

 Yeppers he's going down to talk trade and more human rights for the poor 'jinoteros y jinoteras' who 'befriend' Canadian holidaymakers. Maybe he should be taking along the Minister of Immigration - his 'bud' from the old days -  Jay Kenney, who has a bone to pick with the Cubans for tempting so many Canucks into sponsoring their immigration and then leaving a trail of unrequited love, broken hearts and angry taxpayers who have to support them for 3 years. It would be far better if they had more rights and could stay in Cuba, rather than bringing those rights they don't have up to Canada.

No doubt he'll want to take credit for all the Conservative government has never done for the Cubans - except take holidays there. A friend of mine who sold tobacco products for a living had the opportunity to meet Allan Rock, a late Justice Minister, on the last 'official' Conservative visit to the island more than a decade ago. Rock and his missus got a couple of 'free days' at a tourist resort. Rock, who was 'down' on smoking back home, was with a spouse who a) used the weed and b) didn't have any with her. My buddy provided her with a couple of large Rothman's.

 It's sad that Baird can't speak for Obama, but they share even less in common than with the commies. So I'm wondering why he's going at all?  For he can't do anybody any good. He is supposed to bring a message of hope to the Jewish people of Havana - one I guess the jewish holiday makers of Montreal can't, don't, or won't deliver.. Maybe he thinks that by springing the Jewish American Cuba jailed for hi-tech 'gifting' a couple of years back, he'll do an 'Argo' and get into Obama's good books.

He's on his way to Venezuela too. And there is more common ground there. Both Canada and Venezuela supply oil to the USA. And neither get much thanks for it. Venezuela because the guys who 'owned' the oil on behalf of their 'amigos norte-americanos' don't own the oil any more. And Canada because we can't give our shit away without a new pipeline. Not that I think it will make any difference to Chavez who gives heating oil away free in a reverse foreign-aid thing, while the Canadians (Americans too) who 'own' oil wouldn't give anybody the sweat off their balls. The big mouth might be challenged by Chavez, whom the Americans claim, has the biggest mouth.