Wednesday, December 31, 2008

getting into the new years eve mood (dutch only)



LINKS
- Vara's HumorTV: Pi-pa-pijpen

Sunday, December 28, 2008

N-America's sanatizing of "raw" war footage shows its Pro-Jewish bias

The complete footage you were protected from seeing:

video

LINKS
- NOS Journaal: "raw" war footage
- Guardian: video footage attack Gaza
- CTV's "version" of the truth

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I know the place...Harold Pinter (1930 - 2008)

I know the place

I know the place.
It is true.
Everything we do
Corrects the space
Between death and me
And you.

LINKS
- BBC: Harold Pinter Dies
- Wikipedia: Harold Pinter
- Soliloguy...Pinter

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hey Iggy, is Sesame Street on your playlist too?

I'm sure it is:

Nearly 20 years ago the US armed forces in Panama used the music of Guns N' Roses and Elvis Presley, played at maximum volume over loudspeakers, to try and drive the country's leader, Manuel Noriega, to surrender. A tactic was born. Since then, music played at unbearable volumes has been frequently deployed in Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere by the CIA, as part of a sophisticated portfolio of torture against detainees. [...]

"What we're talking about here is people in a darkened room, physically inhibited by handcuffs, bags over their heads and music blaring at them," said musician David Gray. "That is nothing but torture. It doesn't matter what the music is. It could be Tchaikovsky's finest or it could be Barney the Dinosaur. It really doesn't matter, it's going to drive you completely nuts."[...]

One of the reasons for using loud music in this way is that it leaves no marks on the body. [...]

Prison playlist

US military interrogators have often blasted music at detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay.

The styles of music used range from heavy metal to pop. According to the British legal charity Reprieve, these are among the songs they have used most frequently: Enter Sandman Metallica, Bodies Drowning Pool, Shoot to Thrill and Hells Bells AC/DC, I Love You from the Barney & Friends children's television show. Born in the USA Bruce Springsteen, Babylon David Gray, White America Eminem. Sesame Street, theme tune from the children's television show.

Iggy is so sweet.

LINKS
- Guardian: Musicians condemn use of their songs as instruments of war
- Ignatieff on torture: We should not take the rule of law "too firmly". Let's prevent war with "indefinite detention of suspects, coercive interrogations, targeted assassinations, even pre-emptive war"

Monday, December 08, 2008

Harper is liar; national outrage confirms he needs to be removed

Given that Ed Broadbent hasn't been sued by Stephen Harper yet (and we all know Harper loves to sue over "nothing"), we can now be confident to assume that Harper is, yes, a liar.

In Ed Broadbent's own words, "They lie. I repeat. They pay people to lie about other people, and destroy things."

Don't believe it? Here's Ed Broadbent on the CBC:


h/t BCer in Toronto

LINKS:
- Wikipedia: Ed Broadbent
- BCer in Toronto: Harper is a liar
- Why Harper should be in jail

Canada's Democracy-light: it would have been funny if it wasn't so backwards



h/t Paulitics

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Stephen Harper Leadership (image)



h/t impolitical

Friday, December 05, 2008

WSWS: Canada’s “constitutional coup” and the corporate media

By Keith Jones
6 December 2008


original here.

Canada's corporate media is either vocally supporting Thursday's "constitutional coup"—the minority Conservative government and the unelected governor-general shut down parliament so as to prevent the opposition parties from ousting the government in a non-confidence vote—or keeping a guilty silence.

Never before in Canada or any other country that follows the British parliamentary pattern has a government prorogued parliament to avoid defeat in an impending non-confidence vote.

That Stephen Harper's Conservative government had lost parliament's support and was facing defeat is incontrovertible. The three opposition parties, who together have a parliamentary majority and polled substantially more than half of the votes in an election less than eight weeks ago, had officially informed Governor-General Michaëlle Jean that they would defeat the government at the earliest opportunity. They had also formally notified her of their intention to form an alternate government, a Liberal-NDP coalition supported by the Bloc Québécois.

Since Prime Minister Harper manifestly did not have parliament's support, the governor-general, according to all constitutional precedent, had no choice but to rebuff his request that parliament be shut down till the end of January.

The anti-democratic nature of the Conservatives' attempt to cling to power in defiance of parliament was further underscored by the visceral, anti-democratic campaign they mounted in the run-up to Thursday's shutting down of parliament. The Conservatives and their supporters in the corporate media openly incited anti-Quebec chauvinism and labeled the opposition's attempt to form an alternate government "illegal," even treasonous.

But rather than telling Harper that the no-confidence vote scheduled for this coming Monday had to proceed, Governor-General Jean, bowing to the wishes of Canada's ruling class, ordered parliament shut down, thereby ensuring the survival of a government without parliament's support.

Given the import and unprecedented character of Jean's actions, one would have expected all of the country's major newspapers to have published editorials Friday analyzing and critiquing them. In fact there was scant editorial comment.

Predictably, the neo-conservative National Post and several other right-wing mouthpieces hailed the governor-general for doing the "right thing."

But most of the press was silent. Neither the Globe and Mail nor La presse, respectively the most influential English- and French-language dailies, commented editorially on the governor-general's action.

The Toronto Star, a newspaper closely allied with the Liberal Party, stated in passing, in an editorial devoted to urging Harper to pursue a less "adversarial" course, that Jean "probably had no choice but to grant" the prime minister his request for parliament to be prorogued "lest her office be accused of partisanship."

The opposition parties, it needs by emphasized, have acted in a like fashion. They have failed to vigorously condemn the shutting down of parliament as a major attack on democratic rights, let alone called on the public to oppose it. As of Friday evening, the web site of the New Democratic Party, Canada's social-democratic party, carried no statement of any kind on the shutting down of parliament. But it did feature party leader Jack Layton's tribute to three Canadian Armed Forces soldiers killed Friday in Afghanistan fighting to uphold the US-installed government of Hamid Karzai.

The media silence has a double-purpose.

First, to stifle public debate of what has taken place and why.

Second, to protect the office of the governor-general and the fictions and fabrications that surround it. The representative of the monarch, the governor-general is a supposedly non-partisan and almost exclusively ceremonial institution. In fact, as the events of the past week have demonstrated, the governor-general has vast "reserve" powers, powers that are subject to no legal check. Jean has not, nor will she provide any explanation for her actions.

The bourgeoisie has maintained this feudal relic precisely so as to arm itself with a means of short-circuiting parliamentary democracy in a time of crisis. And all sections of the bourgeoisie, especially now under conditions of mounting economic crisis and social conflict, are determined to preserve this institution, armed with unlimited constitutional power and utterly insulated from the will of the people.

Given the general lack of editorial comment on Thursday's suspension of parliament, the position adopted by editorial board of the Ottawa Citizen is especially revealing. In an editorial titled "The wounded body politic," the Citizen, conceded that "Canadian democracy" had "sustained long-term damage" as a result of this week's event, but ultimately argued this damage was the necessary price of preventing the coming to power of a Liberal-NDP government.

"A fundamental principle of our democracy," propounded the Citizen, "is that the executive branch cannot govern without the consent and participation of the legislative branch. For the next month and a half, Mr. Harper proposes to govern without a parliament." The Citizen went on to warn that future governments "can now try to escape" parliament's judgment by appealing to the governor-general.

These concerns were raised, however, only to be smartly dismissed: "Practically speaking proroguing parliament will probably make for a better few months for the country, and for the economy, than the alternative that the Liberals and NDP had planned."

In truth, the Liberals and NDP were planning to form a right-wing government committed to Canada continuing to play a leading role in the Afghan war till the end of 2011 and to implementing the Conservatives' plan to slash corporate taxes by more than $50 billion over five years.

But the most powerful sections of the bourgeoisie preferred a government of unabashed reaction and toward that end were quite ready to run roughshod over parliamentary norms and democratic rights.

Whilst the editorial pages largely avoided commenting on the shutting down of parliament, the dailies did publish many copy-inches of reportage. The common refrain of this reportage was that the governor-general had called a "time out."

The "time out" metaphor has a very definite political significance. It is meant to lull the population to sleep, to foster the notion that little, if anything, of significance has taken place and everything will, in any event, soon go back to normal because parliament has merely been "suspended."

The truth is otherwise. The suspension of parliament and of MPs' right to defeat and replace the sitting government strikes at the most fundamental democratic principle—the right of the people to choose their own government.

If not overturned by a movement from below, Canada's constitution, through the power of precedent, will have been rewritten and the powers of the executive, of both the sitting government and of the governor-general, to ignore parliament and rule by decree will have been significantly increased.

As for the question of "suspension," this is precisely how democratic rights are taken away. Governments moving in an authoritarian direction don't generally outright abolish democratic rights; they "suspend" them, claiming that they need to be temporarily withdrawn so as to confront a purported crisis or emergency.

Working people must take heed: The corporate media's support for the constitutional coup engineered by the Conservatives and the governor-general attests to the fact there is no significant constituency within the ruling class committed to the defence of constitutional principles and democratic rights.

A little humour never hurts. Heil Harper!


h/t Canuck Attitude

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Time for some counter-spin: Stephen Harper is a separatist

Time has come to put some counter-spin on Harper's main buzz-word "separatists".

The reality is that Harper has done nothing to embrace Quebec into a unified Canada, on the contrary. Harper has been burning bridges, so much that you wonder who it really is that wants to separate.

Who's the separatist now?
Wouldn't it be a great idea if, from now on, WE call HARPER a separatist?
That message would certainly not get lost on the public (the Harper machine has done the hard work for us) and is far closer to the truth.

The poll results of Harper's attacks on the Bloc show that Harper's battle to keep the country together resulted in completely the opposite effect in Quebec: the Bloc gained more support while all other parties remained or lost ground.

I'm arguing that Harper has not only united the left, but has also brought us closer to the breakup of Canada (I believe one of his ultimate goals).

Turning your perceived weakness into your strength.
Harper's "separatist VETO" message worked very well outside of Quebec. By blaming the coalition for their willingness to break up the country by working with the separatists, he was able to portray the coalition as an un-Canadian coalition (at least in the eyes of English Canadians).

It's time to turn our perceived weakness into our strength.

Harper has isolated himself with his separatists remarks, yet to make parliament work parties need to work together. Only the coalition is willing to work together, and only the coalition is working to keep this country together.

Anti-Separatist motto....
Which leads me to the coalition's motto: Let's work together.

UPDATE 1
I'm not alone in saying that Harper is a separatist

UPDATE 2
I've added a picture from an anti-coalition rally - h/t daveberta

Please be part of this online poll

Canoe has an online poll, straight and simple. Be part of it and show your support for the coalition.

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Survey/2008/12/03/7618901.php

Thousands at pro-coalition rally in Ottawa

From xtra.ca

The country was mostly watching the door of Government House. The heavy, wooden doors opened, then closed, then opened again and Stephen Harper immerged.

On his advice, Governor General Michaëlle Jean prorogued Parliament until Jan 26, 2009. That means Harper and the Conservatives will not face a confidence vote next week which would have surely toppled Parliament and replaced it with a Liberal-NDP coalition.

Minutes after Harper stepped away from the microphone, Parliament Hill erupted with the shouts of thousands of pro-coalition supporters.

PROTEST PROTOCOL. An upbeat crowd shouted traditional chants. Hey hey, ho ho, Stephen Harper's got to go.
(Marcus McCann)
The demonstration was planned earlier in the week — the first of two dozen pro-Liberal-NDP coalition rallies being held in the next three days.

The timing of the Ottawa rally gave opposition leaders a chance to address throngs of supporters about the latest development, news that had just started circulating among supporters, many of them on their lunch breaks from downtown office jobs.

Stephane Dion spoke first.

"For the first time in Canadian History," he says, "the Prime Minister of Canada is running away from the Parliament of Canada."

NDP leader Jack Layton echoed the sentiment.

"Stephen Harper just put the locks on the House of Commons so that we can't vote him out of office," says Layton. "I call on all of you not to give up for one second."

TEMP JOB. Stephane Dion addresses the crowd on Parliament Hill Dec 4. He insisted that Harper's grip on the Prime Ministership was failing.
(Marcus McCann)
The event was hosted by former Rabble editor Judy Rebick. Rebick says that the Conservative government has to be held accountable for its economic update, a document many have criticized for being overly partisan.

"What we've seen in the lasy few days is the return of the reform party, their anti-feminist policies, the anti-worker policies, the vicious anti-Quebec policies," she says.

Jean's decision ends days of speculation about the immediate future of the government.

Turnout at Ottawa protests are often tepid compared to the outpourings at sister rallies in Toronto, Vancouver, and smaller Canadian cities like Hamilton and Halifax. But with more than 2,000 supporters turning out for the daytime rally, every indication is that subsequent demonstrations will be even bigger.

For a list of demonstrations over the next three days, go to makeparliamentwork.ca.

SUPPORT. Representatives from the public sector unions, dressed in orange vests, handed out chocolates and signs declaring their support for a coalition government.
(Marcus McCann)
FIGHTING FORM. Layton gave a fiery speech where he told the crowd Harper had put a padlock on Parliament.
(Marcus McCann)


Disappointed, but NOT DEFEATED!

Disappointed
Of course I'm truly disappointed. Technically, I think the Governor-General made the wrong decision and set the wrong precedent. But I accept her decision, and find further discussion on her decision unproductive.

Harper is still in the looser's seat
Harper is playing political games, and he's good at it (I'll give him that). But the fact is that the numbers needed to govern this country haven't changed: the majority of MPs want this government OUT.

It's up to our elected MP
Our MPs have the key to the demise of the current government. A majority of MPs wants this government, led by Stephen Harper, out. Let's make sure they stick to it.

Keep the left united
Get in touch with your MP (especially those MPs that support the coalition of course) and tell them how much you are looking forward to see the coalition parties in power, ALL OF THEM. I'm sure our MPs are just as disappointed in GG's decision as us, and in need of our support.

Action required
Write a letter, send a postcard, leave a positive phone message on the answering machine. Be nice, hopeful, even demanding. We can do this, yes, we can :)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Harper's last 5 days in office - I'm feeling fine!

Harper will be removed from office in 5 days!





What the "raging left" should do now: cool down to show how absurd the Raging Right really is

Stay calm
The main thing that Harper and his bigoted bullies is out to do now is to create an outrage, which seems to be taking place all over the country.

It's in the interest of the coalition to do EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE, and either calmly rebuke Conservative talking point, or ignore them all together.

Be careful to not come off as a "raging left" as that is only helping their cause of creating outrage.

It's the economy, ....
There is no outrage, no political crisis, only a change of power which will take place 5 days from now. The only real crisis is economic.

We need a stable, majority backed government to deal with the economic crisis.
It's the economy, (but leave out the "stupid").

Jack said it right, and the right way:

Prime Minister, your government has lost the confidence of the House. And it is going to be defeated at the earliest opportunity in the House of Commons. I urge you to accept this gracefully.
Remain confident and democracy will take its course.

Canada's political turmoil made it onto The Real News (video)

Well done, The Real News!



Consider donating to the Real News - Getting It Right does.

NUPGE's Larry Brown on the Bullying Bigots and their Bogus Democracy.

National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) on the bullying bigots and their bogus democracy. Read the full version here
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Stephen Harper's bogus democracy

By Larry Brown
National Secretary-Treasurer
National Union of Public and General Employees


Ottawa (3 Dec. 2008) - Life doesn’t often get more interesting than this. The Harper government introduced a so-called economic update that amounts to a vindictive attack on unions, on the opposition parties, on democracy itself; an economic statement that had no valid economics in it.

The deficit forecasts were farcical, and there was no economic stimulus, which experts of every stripe are calling for unanimously. The update was a monumental, colossal mistake.

And now, in the face of a coalition of the Liberals and the NDP, we are being treated to completely bogus arguments as to why the Harper government should not be defeated and replaced by the coalition. Here are some of the arguments, none of which are valid.

(1) In this time of financial crisis we need a stable government.

It’s amazing the Conservatives would trot this out as an argument.
The coalition is promising to govern for a minimum of 18 months. The Harper government can be defeated any time it makes the kind of mistake it made last week.

So if we need a stable government, the choice is obvious – we should go with the coalition. They promise much more stability than Harper can. [...]

(2) It would be undemocratic to defeat Harper after winning re-election.

[...] Harper didn’t win his majority of seats, the only real reason he had called the election. A majority of voters (63%) voted for political parties that disagreed with Harper on almost every issue.

Our democratic traditions say that to defeat a minority government, and replace it with another party or parties that have the support of the House, is perfectly valid - in the period following a election. That is democracy. To argue that the voters of Canada gave Harper a strong mandate is nonsense.

(3) The Harper government has backed down on his contentious economic statement so the problem has been resolved.

[...] Harper did not back down on all of his attacks on democracy. He has pulled back on party financing, at least for now. He has grudgingly admitted that his attack on the democratic right of workers won’t proceed, at least for now.

[...] What Harper has not backed down on is his attempt to use the law to overturn freely negotiated collective agreements.

[...] What Harper also has not backed down on is the attack on pay equity that would deny women workers their democratic right to non-discrimination in the workplace. [...]

It's about time

The union, without the right to set salaries, would be jointly liable if the employer refused to agree to fair wages. These would be the same unions that Harper thinks should not have the right to freely bargain their wages in the first place!

What remains in his plan is attacks on the fundamental democratic right of federal public sector workers. What is remotely democratic about an attack on democratic rights?

What we are seeing in Parliament is democracy in action. It’s about time.

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring that our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE


Web posted by NUPGE: 3 December 2008



Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Globe and Mail's pro Harper bias: it's everywhere

If one thing has become evident in the last few days it is the following: Canada's capitalist media has a clear pro-Conservative bias. And I'm not just talking about the National Post.

Take the Globe and Mail.
Example #1: Andrew Steele's “Harper's Options”. Anyone who has read it will have to conclude that Andrew did not include all options available, on the contrary.

How about the option of letting democracy prevail by doing “non of the above”? Did Andrew really forget the most decent option of all or has his (anticipated?) bias in favour of the Conservatives tainted his ability to proper reasoning?

Why it is bias: it is pro-Harper bias because Andrew seems to have intentionally left out the most obvious and descent thing to do: after the government falls (on Monday), let the majority backed coalition rule.

Example #2: Jeffrey Simpson's “Harper bulldozes his way to the brink”. His opening puts right away on the wrong foot:

What an unpalatable choice now beckons Canadians: a government led by a Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, whose approach has disappointed so many; or a government led by Stéphane Dion, the Liberal Leader Canadians resoundingly rejected six weeks ago.
Does anyone see a problem with this kind of reasoning? Well, I do! First off, Jeffrey implies that Canadians need to make a choice. Wrong! Canadians have already resoundingly spoken in the last election, only six weeks ago. Suffering from temporary Alzheimers, Jeffrey?

Why it is bias: Jeffrey Simpsons suggests that Canadians need to go to the polls (something favoured by the Conservatives, if you haven't noticed). But our democracy is designed in such a way that a majority of MPs make the choice of who gets to govern; no other intervention is needed to let the majority-backed coalition govern.

The rest of the article is more of the same bias, combined with some more of the same (blah blah blah - national paper lost in provincialism); I will leave that for what it is.

Example #3 Adam Radwanski's “From the kitchen table to the cabinet table”. Lets not dwell on the title for now, but jump right to the end of the article:
Oh, and if Pat Martin is poised to take a cabinet seat, Stephen Harper is entirely justified in proroguing Parliament, barring the doors to the House of Commons, and doing whatever else it takes to prevent this thing from ever happening.
Why this is bias: It is a majority-backed coalition's full right to elect a government of their choosing. Where's the logic that a failed Prime Minister of Canada (a.k.a. Steve) is “entirely justified” to prorogue Parliament on the basis of a disliked MP? Where does Adam Radwanski's disdain for democracy stem from? Are all writers at the Globe and Mail that biased?

Keep reading

Example #4: Front page presents four links, three of them link to overly (or should I say overtly?) biased articles justifying the Conservative's "we-are-sooo-outraged" propaganda crap forward by the Conservatives:
Let me explain.

1. Audio: New Conservative Radio ad (!)
2. Can the PM sack the Governor-General (discussed above, #1)
3. Who would the NDP put in cabinet (discussed above, #2)
(4. Globe Politics)

Here's what a progressive would have enjoyed to see in a national paper:

1. Audio: Listen to the latest Conservative and Coalition backing ads.
2. Can Harper regain the confidence of the house?
3. Is Harper going to spend his Christmas in Ottawa?
(4. Globe Politics)

Why it bias:

(1) Publishing exact copies of Conservative ads but not once mention the latest ad in support of the coalition goes against one of the general rules of journalism: bring balance by finding and reporting on every side of a story. Why not at least present both ads?


I've already discussed Radwanski's (3) lack of logic and disdain for parliamentary democracy. Suggesting that the GG (2) is subordinate to the PM (when the opposite is closer to the truth) is favouring the all-over-the-capitalist-media-bias that what has been done to the PM is outrageous when in fact there's only one person to blame for his own misery: Stephen Harper himself. Had Harper presented a more agreeable budget and not provoked the majority opposition with his mean-spirited cuts to political financing then I would not have been writing this post.

Our Prime Minister has lost all confidence from the newly elected MPs (the house), yet he continues his campaign of misinformation and slander (and even lies that seem to have been "missed" by this wonderful paper) in order to organize as much "outrage" possible in order to influence an upcoming decision by Michaele Jean.

His disrespect for the house and the majority of people who did NOT elect this Bush backing Conservative is far more outragious to people than anything else. I would like to see a goverment that works.

Lastly, I do realize that this posting is far from conclusive. Nevertheless I hope I have been able to show my readers how highly biased (in this case in favour of the Conservative Party) Canadian corporate media is.

Harper's last 6 days in office - and I'm feeling good :)

Who hasn't seen one of the pro-Harper counters? Most Blogging Tories carry one. To show some compassion I've added one myself (see below).

1030 days in office, not bad. But the countdown has begun.

Harper will be removed from office in 6 days





Canadian Labour supports a majoity backed coalition, and so should you (video)



The Grumpy Voter is NOT progressive

Here's a message I left at "the Grumpy Voter", Canada's most right-wing progressive :)

Perhaps you take plesure in calling fellow Progressive Bloggers "idiots" , but let's remind everyone who the real idiot is here.

national unity trumps everything else

I agree! Does the word coalition mean anything to you? Conservatives are the most divicive people still in the house.

This majority-backed coalition is willing to cooperate with ALL oposition parties, but none of them will help the Bloc in their effort to separate. What's so hard to get about this?

The only explanation why it is so hard to get is, because you are a Rightwing Conservative backer in disguise.

Where did you get that Progressive Blogger Banner anyways? I'm sure Scott regrets having given you one because you are obviously as progressive as Stephen Harper himself. There's noting progressive about keeping a minority government in power when a majority-backed coalition is about to take over control.

Suck it up, Mr. Conservative, Harper is on his way out. Good riddance!

I do want to take this opportunity to thank Stephen Harper for one thing , because he's been able to do what many others couldn't.

Thank you for uniting the so-called left in Canada; well done!


Banner and Poster to support the "Coalition Government Now!"

It's time to organize!

Banner for Vancouver Rally:



Poster "Let's make Parliament Work!" (pdf)



LINKS
- Let's make parliament work - Coalition Government Now!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Change we can believe in, Canada style (video): An all new Progressive Coalition!

Remember my last post? Well, it seems like change is around the corner wherever I look, and this Getting It Right xenophile is liking it!

Much progress has been made in South America (kudos to Morales), so NOW it is time for the North to wake up. Canadians, it's time to dump the criminal and start working on PROGRESS with an all new Canadian Progressive Coalition.

Don't forget to watch the movie:



LINKS
- Change we can believe in, South American style: Neoliberalism Is No Solution for Humankind
- Wikipedia: Movement toward socialism
- Canadians for a Progressive Coalition

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Why Milton Friedman (and free-market orthodoxy) is OUT and Paul Krugman (and counter-counter reformation) is IN

Let's remember why big business hates unions, government regulations and restrictions:Yes, it's because big fish like to eat small fish, and is rather scared of any counter movement.

Well, the time has come: Milton Friedman is OUT and Paul Krugman is IN.

In Paul Krugman's own words, from before the credit crunch (2007):

Friedman's laissez-faire absolutism contributed to an intellectual climate in which faith in markets and disdain for government often trumps the evidence.

Developing countries rushed to open up their capital markets, despite warnings that this might expose them to financial crises; then, when the crises duly arrived, many observers blamed the countries' governments, not the instability of international capital flows.

Electricity deregulation proceeded despite clear warnings that monopoly power might be a problem; in fact, even as the California electricity crisis was happening, most commentators dismissed concerns about price-rigging as wild conspiracy theories. Conservatives continue to insist that the free market is the answer to the health care crisis, in the teeth of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

What's odd about Friedman's absolutism on the virtues of markets and the vices of government is that in his work as an economist's economist he was actually a model of restraint. [...] Why didn't he exhibit the same restraint in his role as a public intellectual?

The answer, I suspect, is that he got caught up in an essentially political role. Milton Friedman the great economist could and did acknowledge ambiguity. But Milton Friedman the great champion of free markets was expected to preach the true faith, not give voice to doubts. And he ended up playing the role his followers expected. As a result, over time the refreshing iconoclasm of his early career hardened into a rigid defense of what had become the new orthodoxy.

[There's] a good case for arguing that Friedmanism, in the end, went too far, both as a doctrine and in its practical applications. When Friedman was beginning his career as a public intellectual, the times were ripe for a counterreformation against Keynesianism and all that went with it. But what the world needs now, I'd argue, is a counter-counterreformation.

LINKS
- Sound economics, but bigoted opinions: "Free to choose", as long as you stay away from choosing for government regualtions and unions (and other outdated biogotry - video)
- Democracy Now! An interview with Paul Krugman (october 2007 - video) - On Bailout talks (september 2008 - video)
- Wikipedia: Paul Krugman
- Wikipedia: bigotry

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dutch town to condone cannabis farm

Radio Netherlands

The Dutch town of Eindhoven is going to allow a farm to grow cannabis. Though the farm will be under municipal supervision, the growing of marijuana will remain illegal. The pilot experiment was agreed at a meeting of more than 30 Dutch municipalities aimed at discussing the sale of soft-drugs such as marijuana and hashish.

A number of mayors is unhappy about the ongoing drugs tourism attracted by coffee shops and the nuisance they cause. Two towns near the Belgian border recently closed all coffee shops. Just before the summit, Amsterdam announced it was shutting 43 coffee shops which under new government norms are too close to schools. The summit discussed the possibility of legalising the growing of weed, which is currently illegal, and ways of discouraging drugs tourism.

LINKS
- Radio Netherlands: Dutch town to condone cannabis farm
- Wikipedia: Drug Policy of the Netherlands


Evo Morales visits Washington (video)



LINKS
- The Real News: Evo Morales in his own words

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cheney charged over jail 'abuses' (video)

from BBC News

A Texas grand jury has charged US Vice-President Dick Cheney for "organised criminal activity" related to alleged abuse of private prison inmates.

The indictment says Mr Cheney - who has invested $85m (£56m) in a company that holds shares in for-profit prisons - conspired to block an investigation.

The indictment has not been seen by a judge, who could dismiss it.

Mr Cheney's spokeswoman declined to comment, saying his office had not yet received a copy of the charges.

One Texas lawyer said the charges were politically motivated.

'Conflict of interest'

The indictment was overseen by county District Attorney Juan Guerra, an outgoing prosecutor at the end of his term of office.

He cites the case of Gregorio De La Rosa, who died on 26 April, 2001 inside a private prison in Willacy County, Texas.

The grand jury in Willacy County, near the US-Mexico border, accuses Mr Cheney of committing "at least misdemeanour assaults" of inmates by allowing other inmates to assault them.

It said there was a "direct conflict of interest" because Mr Cheney had influence over federal contracts awarded to prison companies.

US grand juries weigh evidence to decide whether a case is worthy of being sent for a full trial, before issuing formal charges known as indictments.

The three-page indictment also alleges that former US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales "used his position...to stop the investigations as to the wrong doings."

The grand jury wrote that it made its decision "with great sadness," but said they had no other choice but to indict Mr Cheney and Mr Gonzales "because we love our country."

Several other related indictments were brought against a host of public officials in what one lawyer called a circus act by the outgoing prosecutor, Mr Guerra, who he said was seeking revenge in his final weeks in office.
Video from The Real News:

LINKS
- BBC News: A Texas grand jury has charged US Vice-President Dick Cheney for "organised criminal activity"
- The Real News: Dick Cheney Indicted

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

23 Canadians dead; we need a moratorium on the use of tasers, NOW!

The Canadian Press has a list of Canadian cases since 2003 in which people died after police use of Tasers:

Nov. 3, 2008: Gordon Walker Bowe, 30, from Castlegar, B.C., died in hospital after he was located in the basement of a Calgary home by police responding to calls about a possible break-and-enter.

Oct. 29, 2008: Trevor Grimolfson died after he was confronted by police armed with Tasers who found him running amok in an Edmonton pawn shop.

Sept. 30, 2008: Frank Frachette, 49, died after he was jolted with a Taser by police who were trying to arrest him in connection with a bank robbery in Langley, B.C.

Sept. 16, 2008: Sean Reilly, 42, died less than 12 hours after he was Tasered during a struggle in a cell at a police station in Peel Region, outside Toronto.

July 22, 2008: Michael Langan, 17, died in hospital after being shot with a Taser. Winnipeg police say the youth refused to comply with repeated requests by officers to put a knife down. The victim was believed to be involved in the theft of property from a vehicle.

June 23, 2008: Jeffrey Marreel, 36, died in custody after Ontario Provincial Police, responding to a disturbance in the town of Norfolk, near Simcoe, shocked him with a Taser. Marreel's father said the man had a history of drug use and lost his job at a flower nursery two weeks prior.

Nov. 22, 2007: Howard Hyde, 45, died about 30 hours after he was Tasered by Halifax police at a Dartmouth jail. An inquest later ruled his death accidental and the result of "excited delirium," not the Taser.

Oct. 17, 2007: Quilem Registre, 39, died in a Montreal hospital after police used a Taser on him at a police station. Police say Registre became aggressive during questioning after he was stopped for a traffic violation.

Oct. 14, 2007: Robert Dziekanski, 40, died after police used a Taser and forcibly subdued him after he became agitated at Vancouver Airport, where he had arrived from Poland.

Aug. 30, 2006: Jason Doan, 28, died in Red Deer, Alta., after police used a Taser in responding to a complaint about a man seen damaging vehicles.

Dec. 24, 2005: Alessandro Fiacco, 33; witnesses said police used a Taser to subdue an agitated Fiacco who had been running into traffic in Edmonton.

July 15, 2005: Paul Saulnier, 42, died in Digby, N.S., after police tried to keep him from leaving the detachment by using pepper spray, batons and a Taser.

July 1, 2005: James Foldi, 39, died after police used a Taser while trying to arrest him following reports of numerous break-ins in the Beamsville, Ont., area.

June 30, 2005: Gurmeet Sandhu, 41, died in Surrey, B.C., after police used a Taser while responding to complaints about a domestic dispute.

May 5, 2005: Kevin Geldart, 34, died after police tried to subdue him with a Taser outside a Moncton, N.B., bar.

Aug. 8, 2004: Samuel Truscott, 43, died in Kingston, Ont., hours after being shot with a Taser. The Ontario coroner said Truscott was killed by a drug overdose.

July 17, 2004: Jerry Knight, 29, died in hospital in Brampton, Ont., after he was shot with a Taser during a violent struggle with police. A pathologist found no proof the stun gun was to blame for his death, saying Knight died from restraint asphyxia and cocaine-related 'excited delirium'.

June 23, 2004: Robert Bagnell, 44, died at a Vancouver hotel after being shot with a Taser by police, who said Bagnell was in the throes of a potentially lethal cocaine-induced psychosis at the time.

May 13, 2004: Peter Lamonday, 33, died in London, Ont., after being pepper-sprayed, punched and shot several times with a Taser during a struggle with police. Ontario's Special Investigation Unit concluded Lamonday died from cocaine-induced 'excited delirium" and not from police action.

May 1, 2004: Roman Andreichikov, 25, died in Vancouver after he was forcibly subdued and hit with a Taser by police while reportedly high on crack cocaine.

Sept. 28, 2003: Clark Whitehouse, 34, died in Whitehorse, Yukon. RCMP reported Whitehouse fled on foot while attempting to swallow drugs. Officers used a Taser to subdue him. A short time later, he appeared to be having trouble breathing and was pronounced dead at hospital.

July 22, 2003: Clay Willey, 33, died in hospital in Prince George, B.C., 16 hours after police used a Taser on him at an RCMP detachment. Willey was arrested in the parking lot of a local mall after police received complaints about a man acting aggressively. An autopsy found he had potentially lethal amounts of cocaine in his system.

April 19, 2003: Terrance Hanna, 51, died at the North Burnaby Inn in Burnaby, B.C., after pulling a knife and hammer on police. High on cocaine, he went into cardiac arrest after police shot him with a Taser.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Westminster Police Const. Tomi Hamner charged with impaired driving after she crashed police vehicle

Names seem to be popping up out of nowhere these days.

Getting It Right has learned that it was New Westminster Police Const. Tomi Hamner who crashed a police car (paid for with your tax dollars) while enjoying driving-under-influence, somewhere in North Vancouver(!).

A popular British Columbia school liaison officer is the latest police officer in the province to face drunk driving charges after she crashed an unmarked police car into a highway sign and flunked two breathalyzer tests.

RCMP Cpl. Peter Thiessen confirmed Thursday that the 47-year-old off-duty New Wesminister police officer was arrested on Oct. 16 and was released on a promise to appear in North Vancouver court Dec. 17.

New Westminster police Const. Tomi Hamner, who was a well-liked school liaison officer with the New Westminster Secondary School, is on "administrative duties" and police had no plans to embarrass the officer by making the incident public until an anonymous tipster called media, said Thiessen.

I suppose it is embarrassing, but why the favouritism? Why give off-duty police officers who drink-and-drive and crash a police car (paid for by the public, to serve and protect us) preferential treatment?

Yes, that's what it is. This accident didn't happen yesterday, but on October 16. That's two weeks ago! There are a plethora of examples where the RCMP/Police could not wait to get the names of the suspects out to the public before any hearing. Here are just a few:

Example 1
Chilliwack drug war heats up
Curtis Wayne Vidal, 22, Chad Hansen, 21, and Martin Snowden, 22, face assault and weapons charges.

Example 2
RCMP have shut down a known drug house and arrested six people.

Police raided the 9th Avenue home and found a large quantity of cocaine and marijuana. Shannon Hernandez-Zuniga, 29, Sundown Bill Steiger, 32, Travis Starblanket, 20, Wesley Teal, 25, Chan Van Troung, 45, and Michael Bruce, 18, face a string of drug charges.

Example 3
Richmond - Off-Duty Officer Assaulted, Charges Laid
On December 9th, 2007, at approximately 2:20 am, an off-duty RCMP officer observed three intoxicated males harassing a female in the drive-thru line up at a Richmond Restaurant. The off-duty officer approached the males and told them to leave the female alone. [...] The three males immediately became verbally abusive towards the officer. [...] Richmond RCMP officers responded and all three males were arrested. [...] The off duty officer suffered minor injuries.

Charges have now been approved for the three males, they are scheduled to appear in Richmond Court on January 22nd and 24th, 2008. They are charged with Assault of a Police Officer and are identified as: Darcy BARBER, 21 yrs old, from Burnaby, Jeffrey FLUNEY, 26 yrs old, from Richmond, Christopher RUSSELL, 25 yrs old, from Surrey

Example 4
Nickelback front man faces impaired driving charge
Nickelback lead singer Chad Kroeger has been charged with impaired driving, after being stopped by the RCMP in Surrey last month. [...]Kroeger, who has a home in Abbotsford, is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 25, facing charges of impaired driving and driving with a blood alcohol level over .08. His lawyer says the singer should be treated as innocent until proven guilty.


There are others, backed by years of experience, who know that the RCMP is lying through their teeth when they say that favouritism among police officers doesn't exist:
Defence lawyer Rishi Gill, a former Crown prosecutor, scoffs at the claim neither officer got preferential treatment.

"My experience is that rarely do police officers release people on a (promise to appear) for a serious crime, such as impaired driving causing death, and I have had clients accused of very minor crimes where police wouldn't consider releasing them on a (promise to appear)," said Gill.

As I said before, I'm personally not fond of the idea of releasing full names of suspects, or even of convicts; prison-time (after a fair trial) is good enough for me. But if the full name does need to be exposed on ideological grounds (and the law-and-order types in N-America are convinced it does) than at least be consistent about it.

Tomi Hamner and Benjamin Robinson DID get preferential treatment because their names were NOT released by the RCMP, while others were not so lucky.

LINKS
- Canada.com: I enjoy drinking and driving a lot better than going to jail; waisting public moneys is in my genes alright
- Getting It Right: I enjoyed not having being charged for drunk driving for as long as it lasted
- Getting it Right: I like drinking and driving too!

And another RCMP Officer caught drunk behind the wheel...but no worries; no charges have been laid

Who knew that drinking and driving was this popular among RCMP officers?

Only five days after an RCMP officer failed a breathalyzer test after being involved in a fatal collision in Tsawwassen, B.C., CTV has learned of another incident involving a Lower Mainland law enforcer and allegations of drinking and driving.

RCMP confirm a female New Westminster Police officer was involved in a crash involving alcohol.

The 47-year-old officer was driving an unmarked police van when she collided with two or more signs driving eastbound near the Westview exit in North Vancouver's Upper Levels Highway Oct. 17.

I bet the officer wasn't formally charged:

No charges have been laid, but the off-duty officer has promised to appear in court Dec. 17. She is facing impaired driving charges. Her name has not been released.

I told you so, and neither was her name released (yet). No favouritism of course; how can the common RCMP practice of refusing to charge one of their own (think Dziekanski) be favouritism?

UPDATE
Lots of confusion (moi inclu) on what is considered "being charged". Can anyone explain the phenomenon to me? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to understand now that the process of a successful conviction works like this:

step 1. arrest
step 2. charges (informal) laid by police/RCMP
step 3. formally charged by judge

But where in the process do the police/RCMP release names? From Wally Oppal I get the impression that this happens at step 3, after being formally charged by a judge:
B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal denies the RCMP officer involved in a fatal collision in Tsawwassen this past weekend is receiving favourable treatment.

Oppal points out no member of the public is ever named prior to the laying of a charge.
Informal charges (step 2) have been laid, that's why we know about the pending court case on January 15th, 2009. But then how do we explain the following four examples?
Step 2: example 1
Chilliwack drug war heats up
Curtis Wayne Vidal, 22, Chad Hansen, 21, and Martin Snowden, 22, face assault and weapons charges.

Step 2: example 2
RCMP have shut down a known drug house and arrested six people.

Police raided the 9th Avenue home and found a large quantity of cocaine and marijuana. Shannon Hernandez-Zuniga, 29, Sundown Bill Steiger, 32, Travis Starblanket, 20, Wesley Teal, 25, Chan Van Troung, 45, and Michael Bruce, 18, face a string of drug charges.

Step 2: example 3
Richmond - Off-Duty Officer Assaulted, Charges Laid
On December 9th, 2007, at approximately 2:20 am, an off-duty RCMP officer observed three intoxicated males harassing a female in the drive-thru line up at a Richmond Restaurant. The off-duty officer approached the males and told them to leave the female alone. [...] The three males immediately became verbally abusive towards the officer. [...] Richmond RCMP officers responded and all three males were arrested. [...] The off duty officer suffered minor injuries.

Charges have now been approved for the three males, they are scheduled to appear in Richmond Court on January 22nd and 24th, 2008. They are charged with Assault of a Police Officer and are identified as: Darcy BARBER, 21 yrs old, from Burnaby, Jeffrey FLUNEY, 26 yrs old, from Richmond, Christopher RUSSELL, 25 yrs old, from Surrey

Step 2:example 4
Nickelback front man faces impaired driving charge
Nickelback lead singer Chad Kroeger has been charged with impaired driving, after being stopped by the RCMP in Surrey last month. [...]Kroeger, who has a home in Abbotsford, is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 25, facing charges of impaired driving and driving with a blood alcohol level over .08. His lawyer says the singer should be treated as innocent until proven guilty.

In all four the examples a court case was scheduled but had not taken place yet (as far as I can tell), but the names had already been released. Is Wally Oppal lying or am I missing something?

LINKS
- Getting it Right: RCMP officers enjoy drinking and driving 1
- CTV: RCMP officers enjoy drinking and driving 2
- Buckdog: RCMP officers don't get preferential treatment; we solely refuse to charge them
- Edmonton Sun:Wally Oppal's non-denial on RCMP's favouritism: but why does he have to be such a jerk about it?


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

RCMP officer Benjamin Monty Robinson involved in Robert Dziekanski killing AND main suspect in drunk-driving-causing-death incident last Saturday

RCMP officer Benjamin Monty Robinson
RCMP officer Benjamin Monty Robinson, one of the four officers involved in the killing of Robert Dziekanski, has been caught drunk-driving and killing 21 year old Orion Hutchinson last Saturday.

One of the four RCMP officers involved in the Tasering of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski is facing charges of impaired driving causing death after a collision in Tsawwassen Saturday.

However, Delta police -- who are investigating the crash -- have refused to identify the officer until he makes his first court appearance on Jan. 15 and is formally charged.
Yes, the police is always eager to come up with names, except when it involves one of their colleges; Getting it Right did find the answer to who it was here:

An RCMP officer facing charges of impaired driving causing death in Delta is refusing to comment on the charges against him.

Reached by The Vancouver Sun on his cellphone Wednesday, Cpl. Benjamin Monty Robinson hung up as soon as a reporter identified himself.

Follow-up calls to Robinson went to voice mail and messages left for Robinson were not returned.

Robinson is due to appear in Surrey Provincial Court on Jan. 15 after he was allegedly involved in a collision Saturday night that left 21-year-old Orion Hutchinson dead.
To be honest with you, I think the idea of releasing the names of suspects is a bad practice to begin with. In the Netherlands all media is used to address suspects (but also convicted criminals) only by the first letter of their last name (that would be Benjamin R. in this case); and I am in favour of such a policy. But if the full name does need to be exposed on ideological grounds (and the Law and Order types in N-America are convinced it does) than at least be consistent about it.

Footnote: Investigations into the death of Robert Dziekanski have been delayed AGAIN. We still don't know who the other three suspected killers were. How's that justice and consistency working for you?

UPDATE:
-Read also the Macleans "blog"-post by Chris Selley:
"Suspended with pay"

UPDATE 2
-Facebook Group:
R.I.P Orion Hutchinson... STOP IMPAIRED DRIVING!!

UPDATE 3
- Benjamin Robinson was supervisor during taser killing of the Robert Dziekanski
This doesn't look good, folks. Why is this suspect of multiple killings still out on the streets? Why are out citizens not protected from these reckless killers? Does an RCMP batch give one a licence to taser someone to death? Does an RCMP barch give one a license to a hit-and-run while drunk? What's wrong with our RCMP?

LINKS
- Mounties in trouble, again
- Taser Mountie faces drunk-driving-causing-death charge
- Buckdog: Robert Dziekanski's Mother Threatens Legal Action Against RCMP

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Greenspan admits he made a "mistake"

The "architect of the 2008 credit crunch" has admitted he made a "mistake":

Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman, said on Thursday the credit crisis had exceeded anything he had imagined and admitted he was wrong to think that banks would protect themselves from financial market chaos.

“I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interest of organisations, specifically banks and others, was such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders,” he said.

In the second of two days of tense hearings on Capitol Hill, Henry Waxman, chairman of the House of Representatives, clashed with current and former regulators and with Republicans on his own committee over blame for the financial crisis. [more]
Of course there was never any malicious intend; of course not. Who could know there would be an and to the supply of NINJA loans?

LINKS
- Financial Times: "I made a mistake"
- Wikipedia: Architect of the 2008 Credit Crunch: Alan Greenspan
- Wikipedia: Why the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.
- Wikipedia: Ninja loans for all of us

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Corporate media refuses to report on failure of FPTP; it's now up to the majority of the House of Commons to introduce a new electoral system

A "letter to the editor" nobody should miss.

Lawrence Hearn from North Vancouver, writer of the letter, starts of with the problem of our FPTP system:

Dear Editor:

The federal election once again has shown that Canada's electoral system of first by the post results in an unrepresentative government.

The parties' percentage of popular vote was: Conservatives 37.6 per cent; Liberals 26.2 per cent; NDP 18.2 per cent; Bloc 10 per cent; Greens 6.8 per cent.

In other words, Canadian voters soundly rejected the Conservative agenda yet they still get to form the government, fortunately with a continuing minority preventing them from doing the nasty on all and sundry without hindrance.

The corporate media's refusal to report on this failure of the electoral system amounts to nothing less than collusion with the anti-democratic forces of the extreme right in the Conservative party.
The solution follows:
The simplest way to introduce a fair and representative electoral system would be to use the ranked choice voting system in use in San Francisco and some other U.S. jurisdictions.
How it works:
Candidates must receive more than 50 per cent of votes to be elected. Voters, instead of simply marking an X, would rank (one, two) their choices.

Candidates failing to get 50 per cent would move to an instant runoff where the lowest candidate is dropped and the second choices of that candidate's voters distributed to the remaining candidates.

If no one gets the required 50 per cent plus one then the next lowest candidate would be dropped and the second choice votes distributed and so on until a candidate achieved the required threshold.
Why this system is preferable above other options:
The ranked choice voting system would require the least change to the present system with the maximum result.
Who can introduce changes to our electoral system?
Hopefully, the House of Commons majority can move to introduce such a system (or any better system) before the next election, thereby establishing a more representative system of government in Canada.

Lawrence Hearn

North Vancouver
LINKS

- Canada.com: Reform our electoral system
- Wikipedia: FPTP
- Wikipedia: Why FPTP sucks

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Head of "Taser France" arrested for spying on leftist presidential candidate

The French are fed up with the tactics of Taser & Co. and have now arrested the head of SMP Technologies (also nicknamed "Taser France"), Antoine Di Zazzo.

No reason to doubt Arizona's TASER INTERNATIONAL has something to do with this, although they love to pretend they don't: TASER INTERNATIONAL is a company that how showed again and again (and again) that it cannot be trusted.

Read on to see how real scum operates:

The Connextion
Police have arrested the head of a French company that supplies Taser stun guns [nicknamed Taser France] to security forces on suspicion of spying on a Trotskyist leader who has campaigned for a ban on the controversial weapons.

Six police officers, a customs official and two private detectives were detained along with Antoine Di Zazzo, head of SMP Technologies ["Taser France", the sole importer and distributor of taser] guns in France, officials said.

Paris prosecutors launched a probe in May after a magazine reported that a private detective firm was tailing ex-presidential candidate Olivier Besancenot, the postman leader of the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire(LCR) [and a fierce critic of taser use in France].
Indeed; "Taser France", in a concerted effort with some police officers, customs, and private investigators tried to frame one of France's main taser critics, Olivier Besancenot.

Why? Read on:
Besancenot said he was due to appear next Monday in a Paris court because Di Zazzo was suing him for libel, "seeking 50,000 euros from me simply because I drew attention to an Amnesty International report" on Taser guns.
And for this libel suit, any more information on perhaps less-than-legal practises on the side of Besancenot would be excellent "discoveries" for the DiZ Zazzo and his rightwing capitalist and statist friends.

It's interesting to read that Di Zazzo is suing merely for mentioning the Amnesty International report on Tasers; how can that be libel? I'm sure the famous report is much hated by TASER INTERNATIONAL, and I don't think it will end up in its own junk science section of their site:
Rights group Amnesty says that nearly 300 people have died around the world after being zapped with a Taser and has demanded a moratorium on the weapon's use while a full investigation is conducted.

A United Nations committee said last year that use of the gun constitutes "a form of torture" that can result in death.
Tasering IS torture, I couldn't agree more.
Di Zazzo, whose company has supplied Tasers to the French army, police and gendarmerie since 2004, has adamantly denied that the guns can be lethal.
Of course tasers are lethal, nobody is denying THAT anymore in North America (unless they are really, really stupid), even TASER INTERNATIONAL doesn't make any of those bigoted claims on their site anymore.
Besancenot is currently winding up his LCR party to found a Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste in January, which will seek to attract members of the Parti Communiste, environmentalists, disaffected Socialists and anti-globalisation activists.

In last year's presidential election [Besancenot] won 4% of the vote.
Four percent of the vote for a communist party? That's not bad.

LINK
- Taser France
- Wikipedia: Olivier Besancenot
- The Connexion: Taser head under arrest for spying
- TASER INTERNATIONAL: the amount of junk science we produce is only second to the amount of killings
- Truth not Taser: See for yourself how well the taser saves lives

More on the domain taser.fr and SMP TECHNOLOGIES
Domain name : taser.fr
Status: Active (see also Web Site)

Registrar : AMEN / Agence des Médias Numériques

Creation date: 03/05/2004
Anniversary date: 26 May

Domain Name Servers (DNS):

* Server # 1 : ns1.amen.fr [62.193.206.141]
* Server # 2 : ns2.amen.fr [212.43.229.70]

More info Holder : SMP TECHNOLOGIES
55, avenue Marceau
75116 Paris
France
Phone: +33 1 45 00 40 83
Email: info@taser.fr

More info Administrative contact: Antoine Di Zazzo
SMP TECHNOLOGIES
55, avenue Marceau
75116 Paris
France
Phone: +33 1 45 00 40 83
Email: info@taser.fr

More info Technical contact : AMEN France
Departement Noms de domaine
12, Rond-Point des Champs-Elysees
75008 Paris
France
Phone: +33 8 92 55 66 77
Email: afnic@amen.fr


Monday, October 06, 2008

TSX major drop

Watch it here:

9,874.01
-929.34 (-8.60%)

LINK
- Google Finance: Major drop TSX
- Globe and Mail: Stock markets in freefall as TSX dives more than 1,000 points

Naomi Klein: Wall St. Crisis Should Be for Neo-Liberalism What Fall of Berlin Wall Was for Communism (video)

Watch it here: Naomi Klein: Wall St. Crisis Should Be for Neo-Liberalism What Fall of Berlin Wall Was for Communism

Introduction
As the world reels from the financial crisis on Wall Street and the taxpayer-funded $700 billion bailout, we spend the hour with Naomi Klein on the economy, politics and “disaster capitalism.” The “Shock Doctrine” author recently spoke at the University of Chicago to oppose the creation of an economic research center named after the University’s most famous economist–Milton Friedman. Klein says Friedman’s economic philosophy championed the kind of deregulation that led to the current crisis.

The credit crunch is spreading to financial markets around the world. Nearly 160,000 jobs were lost here in the United States in September, and that"s not including losses directly resulting from the financial meltdown. Wall Street might be breathing a little easier since Congress passed the $700 billion dollar bailout plan on Friday, but there are no signs of an easy or quick recovery.

Today we take a look back at the economic philosophy that championed the kind of deregulation that led to this crisis. We spend the hour with investigative journalist and author Naomi Klein. She is the bestselling author of “The Shock Doctrine.”

Naomi Klein spoke at the University of Chicago last week. She was invited by a faculty group opposed to the creation of an economic research center called the Milton Friedman Institute. It has a $200 million dollar endowment and is named after the University"s most famous economist, the leader of the neoliberal Chicago school of economics.

Naomi Klein, journalist and author of the books “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” and “No Logo.”

LINKS
- Democracy Now! : The end of Milton Freedman's Neo-Liberalism
- Wikipedia: Milton Freedman

What the Americans Could Buy with $700 Billion

From The Progressive:

Covering health care costs plus out-of-pocket medical expenses for all of America's uninsured: $100 billion

Universal preschool: $35 billion

Rebuilding New Orleans: $100 billion

Free college education for everyone: $50 billion

Total energy independence for the United States, with a shift to renewables within the next ten years: $500 billion

LINKS
- The Progressive: What $700 Billion Could Buy

Friday, October 03, 2008

Major Dutch Bank FORTIS Nationalised by Dutch Government due to international credit crisis

Radio Netherlands Worldwide:
The Dutch government is taking over the Dutch activities of Fortis bank, at a cost of 16.8 billion euros. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende announced the takeover at a press conference on Friday afternoon, alongside Finance Minister Wouter Bos and Central Bank President Nout Wellink.

The move is meant to reassure investors in the troubled banking group. It comes just one week after the Dutch government said it would buy 49 percent of the Fortis activities in the Netherlands, part of a deal agreed with the governments of Belgium and Luxembourg. The new arrangement supersedes last week's deal.

Fortis has been victim to the international credit crisis. It could no longer raise the money needed to pay for its purchase of the ABN AMRO bank, a deal reached eighteen months ago and also involving Royal Bank of Scotland and Banco Santander. The Fortis share in that deal has now been brought into question.

In addition, the bank started losing customers in the Netherlands and in Belgium. The value of its shares fell to a record low.

Turbulence
Prime Minister Balkenende says that, with the purchase of Fortis, he wants to bring calm and stability to the financial sector during a turbulent time. Finance Minister Bos said the Dutch government is protecting the interest of the bank's customers, and making sure the finance climate in the Netherlands is safe.

Asked what the criteria for such a move was, Mr Bos said, "The Netherlands will take action if and when financial institutions crucial to the stability and integrity of the financial system get into significant trouble." He was quick to add that no other Dutch institution is currently facing such trouble.

Explanation
The finance minister will have some explaining to do in parliament this coming week. He has been reassuring Dutch lawmakers about the soundness of the deal agreed last week to buy 49 percent of Fortis activities in the Netherlands, while behind-the-scenes negotiations were underway for a complete takeover of the Dutch divisions of the bank.

The move, effectively nationalising one of the largest banks in the Netherlands, goes against the trend of the last few decades of selling off government interests. Mr Bos says he cannot say yet how long the government will keep the bank.

LINKS
- Radio Netherlands:Dutch government nationalises Fortis