Saturday, April 18, 2009

Daily Digest April 18, 2009



Show us the money

Auto showdown: Blinkered CAW driving jobs over cliff

Our failing alt-energy policy: first wind, now biomass

Electioneering: Money for this, money for that

Schreiber's exhausting exercise

It's great to be non-partisan

Keep Nortel Canadian
Ottawa should buy the profitable part of the hi-tech company

Noticed, at last

Green denial isn't an option anymore

Harmonization next big tax grab

Winking at CIA abuse

Clement lays down the law

Let's go to war against graffiti

 Harmonization next big tax grab

Government Practices Called Into Question

A cry for freedom in Afghanistan

Cuba's future Obama's welcome move

Serving the time

Flirting with irrelevance

Paradise tinged with hypocrisy

U. S. public radio a good model for CBC radio funding

Don't play politics with immigration

Pope will hear from church's victims

Green denial won't work anymore

Seeking to reform gun, drug policies PM's best option

If you knew what you paid, you'd party too

Peace, prosperity key to human rights, liberties

Recycling old wisdom is a green virtue

More pressure to act on carbon

More regulation is sometimes good

Real-world tech solution for Africa

Pirates have little call on our sympathy


NDP proposes moderate path

Green backlash hurting the Opposition

New voting system alienates representation

'IDF eyes attack on Iran within hours of green light'


VIDEO -Pakistani city welcomes Islamic law

"After years of alienating Afghans by being slow to acknowledge killing civilians, U.S. troops are trying a new tactic: say sorry fast."

CAW plays tougher against givebacks

$110-billion Canada Pension Plan to focus on China

Disarmament: a brief history

At war on War on Drugs

World grain reserve part of G8 talks

Israel snubs UN Gaza war inquiry

Alberta Tories put heat on MPs

It's about family, not politics: Iggy                      

The nation as dessert

Libs climb polls on minimalist strategy ...

Art mags decry double standard

Not sexy,' but stimulus cash called vital to cities

In defence of pirates

Apologies don't quell anarchy

Canada, the last free trader

The Harperites come to terms with China's reality

The problem with Obamanomics

Canada's Vital Auto Industry: Past, Present and Future

Harper espère que les relations Cuba-É.-U. ne domineront pas le sommet

Schreiber revient sur ses propos

Ignatieff publie un livre sur ses ancêtres maternels

Un nouveau site Internet permet de voir pour qui ont voté les députés

Le début de la sale campagne

Crise forestière Le fédéral reste sur ses positions

Michael Ignatieff, un chef à définir
Voir aussi
Harper recrute à la Maison-Blanche

Le Canada offrira des bourses d'étude à des jeunes Sud-Américains

L'ambassadeur canadien fait sa part pour la réouverture des écoles afghanes

La Fraternité des policiers souhaite le maintien du registre des armes à feu


The role of BELOW(30) is to engender discussion.  Two questions answerable by one word are asked to-day (though a "
". . .because . . ." would be more than welcome).  The third question is more demanding though you will have a reaction I'm certain.

Ottawa should buy the profitable part of the hi-tech company

Once Nortel's real assets, the technology and customer base, move into foreign hands it will be only a matter of time before operation in Canada ceases to exist. After Nortel's semiconductor manufacturing was sold to STMicroelectronics (France), it was subsequently closed down and now only a small design office exists. Optical components manufacturing was sold to Bookham (England) and it was also shut down.

Wouldn't it make economic sense to keep the company's viable high-tech division with growth potential in Canada?

New tactic for U.S., NATO in Afghanistan: say sorry

"Apologies are good things. But the foreign troops should convince the people that there will be no more such incidents," said Maolawi Hezatullah, provincial council head in Kunar, where U.S. troops killed six civilians this week.

"If such incidents continue to occur, there is no point for apologies."
|Your reaction to Mary-Sue's considered opinions.|


From: Mary-Sue Haliburton
Subject: Bill C-6 comments (Fwd: Abdelrazik & Stephen Lewis, terrorists)

Hi again Joe.

The parallel between the four cops jumping on a confused Polish immigrant (alluded to in the email below to Harper about whether he should carry through with sanctions threatened against supporters of Abdelrazik's return), and the four identically-trained and mindlessly-brusque cops confronting the peaceful naturopathic doctor Eldon Dahl in his home, shouldn't be overlooked. Cops are all being trained according to the same system. If they are innocent of gang-murdering Dziekanski by reason of police training, then it's the training itself that must be put on trial, re-examined, and modified.

That Vancouver-airport incident was a gang-murder committed not just by four guys, but by the whole culture as it's become hardened and epitomized in this PM and his government.

Among four heavily armed officers, no one thought or said, "We don't need to be afraid of a nervous guy with a stapler."

And so our federal police officers, programmed to stun with electricity and physically to force the individual into completely-inert prone submission, disregarded whether he was in convulsions, or his ears were turning blue from lack of oxygen (as was admitted under questioning). Even if they noticed or understood symptoms of asphyxia, apparently their training did not confer on them any ability to mitigate or call off a lethal arrest procedure.

This modern police training has left them without a way to back up if they are going too far.

Police forces don't train DOGS that way! They know they can't afford to have that powerful an animal cranked up to a high pitch of hostility and unable to hear or respond to a command. Similarly, we as a society can't afford to have cops cranked up to that kind of heightened hostility either.

A guard dog must instantly obey to the all-important command to stop. The psyche of the dog has to be carefully conditioned, so that as soon as he hears his handler's command, he will open his jaws and let go. The animal is not allowed to be out of control or subject to strong emotions when working. He's not allowed to keep gnawing on any body part he might have in his teeth at the time of the stop order. Police dogs must release immediately, and they do.

The police are, in effect, our culture's guard dogs. Paranoia is turning them from emotionally-stable German shepherds into rampaging pitbulls. That breed was created specifically to have no off-switch once its biting frenzy has been initiated.

Why is it that these men could not let up their assault when they saw warning signs like blue ears? Why were they not given an equivalent -- though internal -- psychological abort-switch analogous to the ones that are carefully cultivated in police dogs, so that they could ease up on the strong-arm tactics before death occurred in the arrestee?

Not so long ago, when someone was holding a stick or some other blunt object and looking confused, wasn't it the norm for an officer of the peace, radiating confidence and reassurance, to be able simply to walk over and remove it from his hand? Surely we all remember instances of this. (Think back a few decades, if you are old enough; this really did happen. It also used to be portrayed frequently in older TV dramas.)

Why wasn't that simple tactic used in Vancouver?

When a person in authority (a teacher, a cop, a responsible adult) projected both safety and reassurance, holding out his or her hand in the universal gesture which means "Give me that, please", the delinquent or disturbed person was able to surrender it. In fact, for such a person, talking about why he was so frustrated or angry was -- and is -- far more rewarding, and easier, than continuing to act wildly. The attention-grabbing gestures express an urgent need to talk, to be taken seriously.

The reason I see that this calm removal of the stapler from the suspect's hand didn't happen at the Vancouver airport was the war-on-terror mind-programming. Their training has so dehumanized these otherwise upright and intelligent law-enforcement officers that they were not free in the situation to exercise any common sense, nor to feel any common humanity with this man.

The result was that they systematically suffocated to death -- in full view of a group of travellers in a Canadian airport -- a man "armed" only with a small, lightweight, non-lethal object. In the secure area of an airport, he obviously didn't have any hidden weapons either. In the public hearing these officers are making themselves -- and our country -- look worse by trying to paper over the facts.

In a way, I sympathize. They obeyed their training. So, are they criminally responsible -- or are we all criminally responsible? There's no way honestly to offer condolences to Dziekanski's bereaved mother (not to mention to the Polish government and people) unless we correct this problem at its source: by toning down our own paranoia that created this mentally-unbalanced training system.

To the extent that Canadians are all this paranoid, then to that degree we all at least condoned this murder. The government and police only represent us, and act for us -- or so we are told.

Enough Canadians have believed the fear-mongering about terror threats, and voted for governments promising "zero-tolerance" and "crackdowns against crime" to produce this policing paradigm. We all acquiesced to having security laws written that prescribe a system of police training based on one assumption: that everyone is a terrorist. Everyone is treated the same: violently, repressively, unjustly -- in the name of keeping us "safe".

Is this how we see Canada? Ourselves? And is this the kind of training we're exporting to Afghanistan? Would the outcome be any better there?

I expect not. But that is another subject requiring a full analysis.

RCMP and civic police training should instill in enforcement officers at all levels a wider set of emotional tools and social options to use in these situations where linguistic confusion compounds the problem. Officers at airports should be prepared to use a simplified language of universal gestures, and to make new rules on the spot. Their objective should be to tone down panic and help a disturbed person move into a stable mental state when everything about the situation is bound to make him panic. That is best achieved if the officers themselves are not in the grip of fear bordering on panic.

The goal-post-moving tactic used against Abdelrazik is only another example of the same attitude of dehumanizing and criminalizing of citizens, while at the same time dehumanizing and turning into murderers the very men who are supposed to stop violent crime.

To cement his power, Hitler neutralized and got rid of the court system in Germany in the early 1930s. When no independent court stands between the people and the government, who isn't a criminal, or a terrorist, if the government says he is? This is why Bill C-6 giving powers to a government ministry to confiscate property, and prosecute outside of due process, and profit from a finding of guilt, is so sinister. It must be stopped if we are to remain a free and democratic society.


Begin forwarded message:

From: Mary-Sue
Date: April 9, 2009 16:17:56 EDT (CA)
To: Stephen Harper <>, "John - M.P. Baird" <>
Cc:, Jack Layton <>, Gilles Duceppe <>,, Dispatches Dispatches <>,
Subject: The Abdelrazik Case's logical conclusion?

Mr. Harper, PM, Mr. Baird, MP,

The position taken by the Prime  Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs brings to mind a famous cartoon of Diefenbaker standing in the corner of a room with a giant red ensign on the floor. He's just about finished painting himself into a corner. The cartoon is wordless; the viewer is left to figure out the  message by noticing that Dief has cut himself off from the exit door on the other side of the room. 

We all know the end of that Flag Debate: the selection of the maple leaf flag now proudly flying from the Peace Tower. 

Despite an official letter from Sudanese justice officials that they could find no evidence against Mr. Abdelrazik, and that they were releasing him completely and forever, this government continues to paint itself into a psychological corner by asserting that this man is still a terror suspect.

And by doing so, you are now confronted with a large group of Canadians who publicly provided the airline ticket that the government refused to allow to be used. Based on their donations, we are told, all of these individuals have now put themselves at risk of becoming terror suspects.

Well, are you seriously classiflying Warren Allmand, former Sollicitor General of Canada, and several law professors, as terrorists? Are you going to carry through to the logical conclusion, and to arrest them because of their complicity with the alleged (but disproven) terror suspect Mr. Abdelrazik?

Will you arrest and put in jail in Canada James Loney, the Christian peacemaker whom the Canadian government helped to bring home when he was held captive by terror groups in the middle east?

Even more, are you seriously proposing to arrest Mr. Stephen Lewis for this terror-complicity act of donating money for the airline ticket??

If this is not mere political grandstanding, Mr. Prime Minister, and if you actually believe the fully-refuted charges against Abdelrazik, your government will now have to carry through and demonstrate the full power of Canada's anti-terror legislation and police system.

You will have to have all these dangerous persons who contributed money to bring Abdelrazik home arrested, and put on the international no-fly list. You'll have to dedicate much police time to developping dossiers on their activities and webs of contacts. You may even have put them in jail without laying charges and apply a news blackout to what happens to them in custody. You will have to tell us that doing all this makes Canadians safer.... But is that how we will really feel?  

I can see the headlines in the National Post now:

Tasered ten times, Stephen Lewis dies during arrest!

As he was attempting to flee from Canada to Africa -- where he is known to be involved with many suspect groups who are distributing so-called humanitarian aid to allegedly-ill Africans some of whom might be terror suspects -- Lewis was stopped by authorities in the airport's secure area which he had already penetrated.  Told that he's now on a no-fly list, Lewis was ordered to surrender.

When he promptly raised both hands above his head in a threatening gesture, police reacted instantly by using their stun guns. Lewis fell full length. Because he continued to thrash about, resisting arrest, the stun guns were used repeatedly. Then six cops jumped upon Mr. Lewis and held him down to ensure total compliance. Though he was observed to turn blue, they were not fooled by this fakery and handcuffed him when they were sure he'd submitted completely and would not dare to twitch a muscle again.

After half an hour, paramedics were permitted to approach, but they did not succeed in restoring respiration or heartbeat. It's certain that Lewis died of fear and panic reaction. Tasering has never caused any deaths during arrest, and all police guidelines were followed to the letter, according to the RCMP spokesmen.

Since that arrest and his exposure as a terror suspect, Conservative Canadians immediately repudiated Lewis's phony AIDS charity which is now revealed to have been a front for Al-Quaeda.
Interviewed in the street, several law-abiding citizens declared that they had stopped sending money to this terrorist-front AIDS charity as soon as they knew about the suspect's link to Abdelrazik.

Because of Steven Lewis's connection to and his now-exposed support for Al-Quaeda, all AIDS activists working for these so-called charities are being added to the Canadian and UN no-fly list. RCMP surveillance continues to see how far the fake-charity terrorist tentacles have spread. Investigation of World Vision has begun.

That's about how it would sound if you play this out according to your own announced rules! Is that the outcome you want?

Though what I have written is satirical in form and intention, it's perilously close to the actual mentality you are projecting to the world. You proclaim Abdelrazik's guilt even in the teeth of proof of innocence, and seem determined to keep asserting the smear of terrorism against this man. You don't seem to notice or care how many good-hearted, even prominent and respected, Canadians get tarred with this broad brush merely for offering assistance to a man in distress -- the same man who was released by his interrogators as innocent.

As for Mr. Abdelrazik, I feel he ought to be taking care of his children. In their father's absence, who is looking after them? Are they wards of the state, and are taxpayers footing the bills? Or are you planning to declare these youngsters, who I believe are Canadian born, dangerous terrorists too?

Please exercise some common sense. No terror or criminal charges could be made to stick against this man even in a country that carried out torture against him. Therefore, it's time for you to leave that painted-in corner and grant him the emergency passport to return.

And if Canadian police still think they should keep tabs on him, the best place to do that is here, where he can be observed while he's taking care of his own children as is his responsibility.

Thank you for your thoughtful attention.

Mary-Sue Haliburton
1 Withrow Avenue,
Nepean, Ontario
K2G 2H5

CC: leaders of opposition parties
CC: print media
CC: broadcast media