Monday, June 30, 2008

TN! of the Week: RCMP Constable Gary O'Brien, Nanaimo

It's one thing to apply the taser WITHOUT killing the "suspect", it's another thing to use it as an "excellent example" that a deadly device is able to "save lives".

At issue is the deployment of the taser on a suicidal man who was hiding on the balcony of a Nanaimo motel, after he had slit his wrist.

RCMP Constable Gary O'Brien - NanaimoRCMP Constable Gary O'Brien:

The suspect was losing large quantities of blood and the officers came to the conclusion he could cause either death or grievous harm to himself [...]
So what did the officer in question do? He shot him with his torturous taser. Zapper-Di-Zap-Zap!! And why not? The "suspect" was apparently in for dieing anyways, so why not help him a bit along the way? He wouldn't be the first one that week to die after being tasered to shit:
Police used a Taser while arresting Marreel in the hamlet of Fisher's Glen, south of Simcoe, at Front Street and Fisher's Glen Road, about 10:30 a.m. Monday. Marreel died two hours later and was pronounced dead at hospital.
Anyways, back to our Taser friend O'Brien. The following quote got him nominated:

RCMP spokesman Gary O'Brien:
[The electro-shocking of the suicidal man] was an excellent deployment [of the taser] and an excellent example of how these things can save lives.
It's a beautiful success story for Taser of course, if it were the truth. Unfortunately it is far from it, and here's why:
  • In order to save lives one would have to assume that without the use of the taser this suicidal person would have died. This doesn't necessarily follow (since there are plenty of other ways to resolve issues like these), it's hard to believe and it is even harder to proof. All that was needed to have helped this man was some good policing: there are plenty of other techniques to help and/or handcuff a suicidal man, without the use of a taser.
  • Contrary to popular believe, there isn't ANY serious proof/evidence that the taser has saved a single live, EVER. Therefore declaring this incident as an "excellent example of how tasers can save lives" is like saying that Christmas is an excellent example that Santa Claus can fly through the sky...
I love to believe in fairy tales and miracles, Constable Gary O'Brien, but the reality is that tasers kill, again and again. And as long as the police remains numb on their own police taser killings, yet dare to have the guts to take each and every opportunity to spread corporate supplied misinformation about the taser, I will keep honouring publicly paid spin-masters with "excellent" awards.

Readers, I'm honoured to present to you a perfect example of a Taser-Nazi: RCMP spokesman Gary O'Brien.


- Globe and Mail: "We, Canada's Corporate Press, have never been sure that Taser International's wonderful tasers can kill, but we're positive tasers they save lives - just check out our headline"
- MSN: "We're MSN Money, and we love Taser too"
- Taser International: "We at TASER love doing research (when we're not busy suing coroners that don't agree with junk science)"
- Taser's old site: "Our mantra is that "we save lives everyday" - The reality is quite different, but who cares?
- Truth not Tasers: "Do tasers kill? You do the math"

PS1: Here's another take on Taser death.
PS2: Find spin-master O'Brien's press release below. And why don't you give him a call to congratulate him? His phone number as at the bottom of the press release:

Nanaimo - Taser ends stand off with suicidal male armed with knife
File #2008-18130 2008-06-26 12:06 PDT

Nanaimo RCMP deployed a Taser June 21 successfully ending a standoff with a suicidal male armed with a knife.

The incident began shortly after 7:00 am on Saturday June 21, near the 7-11 on Terminal Avenue. An RCMP member sitting in his police vehicle, saw a male carrying a knife and dripping blood from an apparent wound to his wrist. The officer called for back up and was told by the unidentified male he wanted to die. The male, bleeding profusely from his wrist, continued to slash at and worsen his injury. Additional officers arrived and they attempted to establish dialogue with the male.

The incident carried across the street to a second level landing at the Port of Call Motel. The male then without warning escalated his actions and placed the knife to his throat and began to turn away from the officers. Fearing he was about to slash at his throat, one of the officers deployed the Taser from approximately 8 feet, instantly incapacitating him, allowing the officers to safely move in and take the knife from him. He did not sustain any injuries from the deployment of the Taser or when he fell to the ground. He was then treated by waiting paramedics for his life threatening self inflicted injury and transported to hospital.

The 44 year old male and resident of Nanaimo for the past year was arrested under the Mental Health Act and remains in hospital. No additional charges were laid. Constable O’Brien, Media Relations Officer for the Nanaimo RCMP spoke with him today he admitted the Taser and actions of the police officers probably saved his life.

Released by:

Constable Gary O'Brien
Media Relations Officer
Community Policing Services, Nanaimo
303 Prideaux St, Nanaimo V9R 2N3
Office No.: 250-755-3257
Cell No.: 250-713-0701
Fax No.: 250-755-3238

Taser Death?

Perhaps not exactly, but this is starting to look like it.


- Google Finance: Taser Stocks are now under $5 a pop.

Why cyclists don't belong on highways

The first time I came to Canada I was amazed about so many things. Here are just a few:

  • the many chain fast food restaurant per square km
  • Banff postmen wearing shorts in the middle of winter
  • the sincere friendliness of (most) Canadians
  • the incredible wildlife
But also this thing about cyclists on highways: isn't that dangerous?

I've been living in Victoria for a while now and I somewhat got used to some of the Canadian oddities, but whenever we pick-up European visitors from the airport, the first thing they will mention is the cyclist on the highway: "Are these people nuts?"

Yes, it's illegal in the Netherlands and Germany (countries in Europe I've travelled most) to ride your bicycle on a highway, but let's face it, it's also common sense. Cars and trucks kill, especially at high speeds.

Unfortunately it's too late for these cyclists:
A Quebec cyclist killed while riding next to his two teenage children as part of a cross-Canada charity trip is being remembered for his energy and efforts to raise awareness about diabetes.

Daniel Hurtubise, 50, was killed and his children were injured Sunday when they were hit by a car on the Trans-Canada Highway west of Winnipeg.

A 45-year-old man from Kelowna, B.C., was also killed in the collision, but officials have not released his name, saying it's unclear if his family has been notified.

The group was travelling from Vancouver to St. John's, N.L., with Ride of a Lifetime, a fundraiser for the Toronto-based Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Andrew McKee, the head of the foundation, says Hurtubise had an "energy and a spark," and his cycling journey helped raise awareness about the disease.

McKee says Hurtubise was 15 when he was diagnosed with Type-1 juvenile diabetes.

Very unfortunate.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Do the Nader challenge (video)

Have you done the Nader Challenge?

Which Presidential candidate would eliminate the billions of dollars in corporate welfare we pay every year to the ethanol industry?

Wrong. (According to today's New York Times, Obama actually has very close ties to corn ethanol industry - an industry that Ralph Nader has called "a multifaceted monstrosity radiating damage in all directions of the compass.")

Many people still consider Obama the progressive candidate in the race.

He's not.

He's just another corporate candidate.

Who's the progressive in the race?

Ralph Nader.

To drive home the point, today we launch The Nader Challenge.

Check out the video here.

Who favors single payer national health insurance?




Who favors cutting the bloated, wasteful military budget?




Friday, June 20, 2008

What's wrong with US politics and the media? Arianna Huffington explains (video)

Arianna figured it out, so why can't you?

Personally I've always been reluctant to label myself as a "lefty" (exept for my left-handedness). The label puts one on a two dimensional political line that does not sufficiently describe the variety of personal wisdom that is out there; it definitely doesn't describe my personal beliefs very well.

The real reason that North America has fallen into the two-dimensional politics trap is of course the FPTP-system; when there really only can be two valid candidate parties that nominate for governing the country (US: Democrats or Republican - Canada: Liberals or Conservatives) one will start to see everything through this two dimensional lense.

Here's What Arianna Huffington has to say about this:

In fact, what I'm saying is that when we look at everything in politics through that prism of right versus left, we really fall into the trap of assuming that the truth, the correct thing to do is by splitting the difference. And that is a major problem, because as I say in the book again and again, the truth is very often on one side or the other. [...]

[What] I'm saying is that first of all we should stop using that shorthand of right versus left, especially since on the major issues of our time, positions that used to be considered left-wing, like bringing the troops home from Iraq, some form of universal health care, and doing something about global warming, all those things are now solidly mainstream. You know, we have 60, 70 percent of Americans who believe in those positions. It's not that the left has suddenly expanded itself; it's that the center has shifted. But the American media haven't really noticed it.

The mainstream media didn't notice, or doesn't want to notice?
PALEVSKY: And what has been the fault of the US media? I mean, we saw it clearly after 9/11 in the media and the run-up to the war. And, you know, The New York Times and many of the big media outlets have come out and said, "We didn't fully do our job." But now they seem to be trying to make up for it. What is it now? What is the media missing when you watch the news?

HUFFINGTON: Well, we really have the same problem. We have the meme that the surge is working. It's still being mindlessly repeated by the media. And even as violence was escalating, we would have the media keep the same meme, the surge is working, even though it wasn't even just about violence. Remember, the surge supposedly was there to give the Iraqis a breathing space to reach some kind of political reconciliation. That has been completely forgotten as a benchmark. So the media are following the conventional wisdom. This is probably the worst thing you can say about the media. And that's why I have special sections on Dean Russert, whom I call the conventional wisdom zombie, and Bob Woodward, who's an icon of American journalism, who has had unparalleled access to the White House, but [in] his first two books during the Bush administration years completely missed the story of how we're misled to war.
See the whole interview below:

- The Real News: Huffington breaks down the media
- Wikipedia: FPTP or Single Winner Voting System

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Taser International loses court case: Taser stock fall

Taser stocks are down! Yep, it's all because of the latest liability suit that they've lost.

It's not the first time Taser didn't win a court case. Taser ended settling many court cases in the past to preempt embarrassment.

Here's why they lost this liability suit:

Taser failed to warn police in Salinas, Calif., that prolonged exposure to electric shock from the device could increase the risk of cardiac arrest, a San Jose, Calif., jury said on June 6. The jury awarded $1-million in compensatory damages, and $5.2-million in punitive damages to the estate of Robert Heston, 40, and his parents. The police officers weren't held liable.
"Police weren't held liable", that's interesting, isn't it? And on many levels. But the result is most important: the police can turn against Taser if they have to.

So it's for real. Taser loses the case in court. The beginning of the end of the taser-era.

- G&M: Taser loses first liability suit - Shares fall 11% after jury orders manufacturer to pay $6.2-million (U.S.) in man's death
- Wikipedia: Taser
- Google Finance: Taser

Sunday, June 08, 2008

River Man (music)

River Man

Betty came by on her way
Said she had a word to say
About things today
And fallen leaves

Said she hadn’t heard the news
Hadn’t had the time to choose
A way to lose
But she believes

Gonna see the river man
Gonna tell him all I can
About the plan
For lilac time

If he tells me all he knows
About the way his river flows
And all night shows
In summertime

Betty said she prayed today
For the sky to blow away
Or maybe stay
She wasn’t sure

For when she thought of summer rain
Calling for her mind again
She lost the pain
And stayed for more

Gonna to see the river man
Gonna to tell him all I can
About the ban
On feeling free

If he tells me all he knows
About the way his river flows
I don’t suppose
It’s meant for me

Oh, how they come and go

Fame is but a fruit tree (music)

Fruit tree

Fame is but a fruit tree
So very unsound.
It can never flourish
‘til its stock is in the ground
So men of fame
Can never find a way
‘til time has flown
Far from their dying day

Forgotten while you’re here
Remembered for a while
A much updated ruin
From a much outdated style

Life is but a memory
Happened long ago
Theatre full of sadness
For a long forgotten show
Seems so easy
Just to let it go on by
‘til you stop and wonder
Why you never wondered why

Safe in the womb
Of an everlasting night
You find the darkness can
Give the brightest light
Safe in your place deep in the earth
That’s when they’ll know what you were truly worth
Forgotten while you’re here
Remembered for a while
A much updated ruin
From a much outdated style

Fame is but a fruit tree
So very unsound
It can never flourish
‘til it’s stock is in the ground
So men of fame
Can never find a way
‘til time has flown
Far from their dying day

Fruit tree, fruit tree
No-one knows you but the rain and the air
Don’t you worry
They’ll stand and stare when you’re gone

Fruit tree, fruit tree
Open your eyes to another year
They’ll all know
That you were here when you’re gone


- Wikipedia: Nick Drake

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control (video)

Obama will tell you that once he's leading the United States of America, all US troops in Iraq will return within 16 months (except for some to protect the embassy and diplomats), and there will be no US bases in Iraq. You wish...

From "The Independent"

Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control

Bush wants 50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors

By Patrick Cockburn
Thursday, 5 June 2008

A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.

The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.

But the accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the US. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated. But by perpetuating the US presence in Iraq, the long-term settlement would undercut pledges by the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to withdraw US troops if he is elected president in November.

The timing of the agreement would also boost the Republican candidate, John McCain, who has claimed the United States is on the verge of victory in Iraq – a victory that he says Mr Obama would throw away by a premature military withdrawal.

America currently has 151,000 troops in Iraq and, even after projected withdrawals next month, troop levels will stand at more than 142,000 – 10 000 more than when the military "surge" began in January 2007. Under the terms of the new treaty, the Americans would retain the long-term use of more than 50 bases in Iraq. American negotiators are also demanding immunity from Iraqi law for US troops and contractors, and a free hand to carry out arrests and conduct military activities in Iraq without consulting the Baghdad government.

The precise nature of the American demands has been kept secret until now. The leaks are certain to generate an angry backlash in Iraq. "It is a terrible breach of our sovereignty," said one Iraqi politician, adding that if the security deal was signed it would delegitimise the government in Baghdad which will be seen as an American pawn.

The US has repeatedly denied it wants permanent bases in Iraq but one Iraqi source said: "This is just a tactical subterfuge." Washington also wants control of Iraqi airspace below 29,000ft and the right to pursue its "war on terror" in Iraq, giving it the authority to arrest anybody it wants and to launch military campaigns without consultation.

Mr Bush is determined to force the Iraqi government to sign the so-called "strategic alliance" without modifications, by the end of next month. But it is already being condemned by the Iranians and many Arabs as a continuing American attempt to dominate the region. Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the powerful and usually moderate Iranian leader, said yesterday that such a deal would create "a permanent occupation". He added: "The essence of this agreement is to turn the Iraqis into slaves of the Americans."

Iraq's Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is believed to be personally opposed to the terms of the new pact but feels his coalition government cannot stay in power without US backing.

The deal also risks exacerbating the proxy war being fought between Iran and the United States over who should be more influential in Iraq.

Although Iraqi ministers have said they will reject any agreement limiting Iraqi sovereignty, political observers in Baghdad suspect they will sign in the end and simply want to establish their credentials as defenders of Iraqi independence by a show of defiance now. The one Iraqi with the authority to stop deal is the majority Shia spiritual leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. In 2003, he forced the US to agree to a referendum on the new Iraqi constitution and the election of a parliament. But he is said to believe that loss of US support would drastically weaken the Iraqi Shia, who won a majority in parliament in elections in 2005.

The US is adamantly against the new security agreement being put to a referendum in Iraq, suspecting that it would be voted down. The influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called on his followers to demonstrate every Friday against the impending agreement on the grounds that it compromises Iraqi independence.

The Iraqi government wants to delay the actual signing of the agreement but the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney has been trying to force it through. The US ambassador in Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, has spent weeks trying to secure the accord.

The signature of a security agreement, and a parallel deal providing a legal basis for keeping US troops in Iraq, is unlikely to be accepted by most Iraqis. But the Kurds, who make up a fifth of the population, will probably favour a continuing American presence, as will Sunni Arab political leaders who want US forces to dilute the power of the Shia. The Sunni Arab community, which has broadly supported a guerrilla war against US occupation, is likely to be split.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Stephen Harper the briber...(reloaded)

...when will he be removed from office?

That post on the Cadman bribery was written March 6th, almost 3 months ago.

It's about time the opposition starts beating the drum for removal of this corrupt government. The Bernier scandal is one thing, but the Cadman bribery really shows how corrupt this current government is. And it's coming all the way from the PMO.