Metastasising

(Reuters) – Canada’s minority Conservative government is locked in a power struggle with opposition members of Parliament over allegations that Canadian soldiers left Afghan detainees open to abuse, and the confrontation might just trigger an early election. Last December, the House of Commons, where the Conservatives have a minority of members, ordered the government to turn over uncensored files on people detained by the military in Afghanistan. The government refused, citing national security.

What happens next depends on House of Commons speaker Peter Milliken, who is due to rule shortly on who has the right to control the documents. If he backs Parliament and the government refuses to obey, the House could vote nonconfidence in the government, and that would trigger an election. The government could also refer the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada, asking it to judge who has priority, or it could set up a special commission. Opposition legislators insist Parliament is supreme and say the government’s behavior shows too much power is concentrated in the office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who they portray as being obsessed with secrecy.

“It is one of the fundamental roles of the House of Commons to hold the government to account … it is a basic tenet of our democracy,” said Jack Harris, a member of the left-leaning New Democrats.

Government officials say Canada’s relations with major allies could be seriously harmed if sensitive details leaked out from the documents.

Harper & his neocon cabal have already prorogued parliament which ably demonstrates the neoconservative contempt for…well anything they do not like, democracy, the law, not killing over a million people. This will be remarkable, either torture causes the fall of Harper or it pushes Canada further into an authoritarian ally of the Empire. Going from the UK experience I would not lay bets on the former, none of the Big 3 deviate significantly from war-on-terror dogma & national security fetishism and the continuing cover up of our torture regime has not been a major issue in the General Election. Unless the next Cameron poster calls for water-boarding people on benefits. And you know right there, that such a slight joke can be made shows the reality of 2010, torture is a part of life, people generally expect people our governments claim are very evil indeed will be tortured, protesters & Muslim looking males will on occasion be killed by police and the murder of Afghans is somehow the best method of keeping the streets safe in the homeland.

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Naomi Klein On The World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth

It was 11 am and Evo Morales had turned a football stadium into a giant classroom, marshaling an array of props: paper plates, plastic cups, disposable raincoats, handcrafted gourds, wooden plates and multicolored ponchos. All came into play to make his main point: to fight climate change, “we need to recover the values of the indigenous people.”

Yet wealthy countries have little interest in learning these lessons and are instead pushing through a plan that at its best would raise average global temperatures 2 degrees Celsius. “That would mean the melting of the Andean and Himalayan glaciers,” Morales told the thousands gathered in the stadium, part of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. What he didn’t have to say is that the Bolivian people, no matter how sustainably they choose to live, have no power to save their glaciers.

Bolivia’s climate summit has had moments of joy, levity and absurdity. Yet underneath it all, you can feel the emotion that provoked this gathering: rage against helplessness.

Read the rest of this entry »

Friday! Futurama- A Head in the Polls

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Leela: Don’t let their identical DNA fool you. They differ on some key issues.
Johnson: I say your three cent titanium tax goes too far.
Jackson: And I say your three cent titanium tax doesn’t go too far enough!

Essential General Election viewing.

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Racism Will Turn Arizona Into A Police State

Update: Brewer signed the bill into law.

The slow creeping fascism of a declining empire will have its most explicit success if Arizona’s Republican governor Jan Brewer signs into law SB 1070. In the video below by Nezua he makes the very good point, where are the libertarians when the government is making it a crime not to have your papers with you at all times and present upon request (principled libertarians who are not racist must surely oppose this, hmmm  crickets…). A law whose real intention is to criminalise migrants, both legal and ‘illegal’, it is to make all brown people a suspect.

And below Zack de la Rocha on the law that-

orders immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and requires police to question people if there’s reason to suspect they’re in the United States illegally. It also targets those who hire illegal immigrant laborers or knowingly transport them.

Look at all the wriggle room, it’s a bigot with a badge’s charter.

Amnesty International on the law-

The Arizona House and Senate have passed a bill (SB1070) that would empower police officers to stop and interrogate every individual in the state regarding citizenship status and make it a crime to be an undocumented person in Arizona. If a person does not immediately present documents proving that she is legally in the US, she may be criminally prosecuted, jailed and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation. The bill contains no safeguards against racial profiling and increases the likelihood of arbitrary arrest and detention. These are all human rights violations. Because SB1070 has already passed in the Arizona house, it’s next stop is the governor’s office. Tell Governor Jan Brewer to veto the bill. Join activists across the US as they visit the Governor on April 20th to express opposition to this bill.

National Not Voting Conservative Day

From the mighty pen/graphics pad/stone tablet of Beau Bo D’Or

I sort of love the story of Rebekah and James running around the Mail & Indy offices enforcing omertà. In a contest of lesser evils we can all agree the one outcome to be worked against is the ruling class cocktail club known as the Conservative Party getting in. I mean this is what they think is a positive ad, and Pol Pot removed life from those who refused to live. Neoliberalism is all we are being offered so at least let’s get the brand that doesn’t delight -quite- so much in destroying lives… and then blaming the victims.

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Why Argentina Is Better Than The US & UK

They tried and sentenced former leader Reynaldo Bignone for crimes against humanity,

Reynaldo Bignone, 82, was convicted along with five other former military officers for 56 cases involving torture, illegal detentions and other crimes in one of Argentina’s largest torture centres, the Campo de Mayo military base.

He was appointed president by the military junta in the waning years of the dictatorship and it fell to him to protect the military as Argentina returned to democracy. He granted amnesty to human rights violators and ordered the destruction of documents related to torture and disappearances of political opponents before agreeing to transfer power to the democratically elected Raul Alfonsin.

Argentina’s courts and congress eventually overturned the amnesty, and President Cristina Fernandez has made a priority of prosecuting leaders of the dictatorship.

At present there is ample evidence to justify a criminal investigation of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld & associates; Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Alastair Campbell & associates. Even without such an investigation there is a great deal of evidence of a torture program and an international conspiracy  in order to enable them to perpetrate the supreme crime of a war of aggression that all of them were party to. Subsequent behaviour by the Obama government strongly suggests he and associates are also engaged in criminal activities -torture, summary execution, destruction of evidence/covering up of previous administrations’ crimes.

Now admittedly it took Argentina 27 years to nail their former leader so I’m willing to be a little patient… a little. Also see Otto @ IKN, Uruguay also shows some impressive moves-

Uruguay has just slapped down one of its dictator-era scum today. Ex Chancellor in the dictator era Juan Carlos Blanco was this morning sentenced to 20 years behind bars. The guilty verdict was for his involvement in the disappearance of schoolteacher Elena Quinteros in 1976 and was determined to be a “very specially aggravated murder”.

There is still a way to go, about 30,000 people were ‘disappeared’ in Argentina’s dirty war there are many culprits, political and military figures who used the state apparatus to perpetrate the worst crimes imaginable.

murder, rape, torture, extortion, looting and other serious crimes went unpunished, as long as they were carried out within the framework of the political and ideological persecution

That ideological and political framework was in large part Neoliberal Shock Treatment, a political movement that now retains its h0ld on all the major parties of the US & UK making elections a mockery of actual democracy. Predictably the USA supported and cooperated with the regimes, a slight cooling off during Carter’s term was overturned by St. Ronnie who loved some Latin American blood on his hands, an aspect completely censored from the mainstream hagiographic necrophilia the Empire has for the late senile bad actor & bigot I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”

The Anglosphere & North really thinks it is the bees knees, I think the rest of the world is disabusing us of that delusion, and not a moment too soon. Lead, follow or get out of the way; well our leadership is clearly a load of shit, so take note-

Prensa Latina April 20, 2010 — Cochabamba, Bolivia — Bolivia’s President Evo Morales Ayma condemned the capitalist system in the opening session of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth today.

Morales, speaking at the April 20 conference inauguration, started his speech with a slogan, “Planet or death, we shall overcome”. He said that harmony with nature could not exist while 1 per cent of the world’s population concentrates more than 50 per cent of the world’s riches. Capitalism is the main enemy of the Earth, only looking for profits, to the detriment of nature, and capitalism is a bridge for social  inequality.

More than 15,000 representatives from five continents were present at the Esteban Ramirez Ecological Stadium in Tuquipaya when Morales read a letter to future generations to alert of the danger the planet faces.

The letter, written by Morales, said the Earth is giving signals by means of earthquakes, seaquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, droughts and typhoons, so there is a great need to protect the planet.

In his letter, Morales called the attention to climate migrants, 50 million people going from one place to another, a number that could increase to up to 200 million in 2050, because of negative environmental impacts.

Bolivia’s president called on the peoples of the world to join together to face those who kill people and purchase weapons. If capitalism is not changed or eliminated, measures adopted to defend Mother Earth will be precarious and temporary.

Morales criticised the 15th UN climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, as a place where the voices of entire peoples and social organisations were not heard. “It is necessary that the UN member countries listen and respect the will of the peoples of the world”, he said.

He confirmed the creation of an alternative organisation of the peoples of the world in defence of nature.

The World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth will conclude on April 22 with the celebration of International Day for the Mother Earth at the Felix Capriles Stadium in Cochabamba, Bolivia. This is a Bolivian proposal approved by the UN General Assembly in 2009.

According to the Bolivarian Information Agency, taking part in the summit are the presidents of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez; Ecuador, Rafael Correa; Paraguay, Fernando Lugo; Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega; and Bolivia, Evo Morales. Also present are two Nobel laureates: Argentinean Adolfo Perez Esquivel and Guatemalan Rigoberta Menchu, among other personalities.

More than 50 scientists, social movement leaders, researchers, academics and artists have agreed to speak on 14 panels, including NASA scientist Jim Hansen; Bill McKibben, environmental journalist and leader of 350.org; Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva; best-selling author Naomi Klein; Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano; Miguel D’Escoto, former president of the UN General Assembly; Lumumba Di-Aping, former lead negotiator for the G77; along with leaders from leading environmental organisations and communities at the frontline of climate change.

Of Badgers & Men (& Censorship)

The reason for my blog being censored by WordPress was because of a post about ‘Sir’ Howard Newby, I have not been told this in an email or any such civilised notification but I found the post had been altered by WP admin and was the source of me being barred from my own blog. If you want some background on ‘Sir’ Howard check out Derek Wall, Ecologics & Bristle’s Blog from the BunKRS. It appears he is very sensitive about his time as vice-chancellor of the University of the West of England and the firm Carter & Carter of which he was a non-executive director, all of which is in the public sphere in various publications, for example this is from the Guardian

The use of management consultancy firms linked to both Sir Howard and his wife, assistant vice-chancellor Lady Sheila Newby, also caused concern.

“They were private companies with no idea about university or academe telling us how to do things and what to do. People got upset because he was running the university life a little fiefdom and giving very big contracts to his mates,” said one academic, who preferred not to be named.

Such big publications with deep pockets were apparently not troubled but he had the University of Liverpool’s (where he is now Vice-Chancellor) legal department in the guise of one Mr. Kevan Ryan, Director of Legal Services go after the low lying blog fruit, which also caught the attention of Index on Censorship. This pushed my anti-censorship button and I made a humorous post that largely concerned itself with how trustworthy ‘Sir’ Howard was in regards to his moral conduct with badgers. But apparently WordPress err on the side of extreme caution when a lawyer and the UK’s libel laws hove into view (or maybe it was something to do with badgers, you never can tell). Consequently I realised I had to find other hosting arrangements for my blog if I am to be independent of people that do not value free speech or my own brand of what we shall loosely call ‘wit’. This has taken some time which is all down to my own procrastination but as we speak, thanks to the generous help of a friend of the blog, a new site is being prepared that is hosted in a far off land, details to come soon. If this post causes another act of censorship please refer to my Twitter feed for updates.