Saturday, March 31, 2007 

Historic First Nations Pictograph Returning To Saskatchewan

In February, I posted a story about an important historic pictograph that a Saskatchewan First Nations Band was trying to recover and repatriate.

Chief Pasqua of the Pasqua First Nation produced the drawing, which translates and represents his understanding of the 1874 Treaty Four negotiations between the Plains Cree and the Crown. The pictograph is considered to be unique in that it provides a solely First Nations perspective of the time.

A number of groups are working together to help bring the pictograph back to Saskatchewan, including the Pasqua First Nation, the File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, the United Church of Canada and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. Some individuals have also contributed money for the cause. Now, the Government of Saskatchewan has committed $60,000 to the repatriation of the document.

Regina Leader Post


Tories Sink To New Depths On Barley Vote

An article by Bruce Johnstone, Business Editor of the the Leader-Post, published on Saturday, March 31, 2007 has a scathing reprimand for Stephen Harper, Chuck Strahl and the tactics they are employing with Canadian farmers:

"Whatever one thinks about the Canadian Wheat Board, the tactics employed by the Conservative government during its year-long battle with the CWB are reprehensible, undemocratic and possibly illegal.

All Canadians should be concerned about the depths to which the Conservatives will sink in order to sink the Canadian Wheat Board."

Bruce Johnstone
Financial Editor
Regina Leader Post

Regina Leader Post

Friday, March 30, 2007 

Conservatives Prepare To Launch New Attack Ads

(From the CBC)
New Tory attack ads against Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion are on the horizon, according to a news report.

The new TV spots have already been filmed and will be run during the two-week break for Parliament beginning next week, the Globe and Mail reported Friday.

Think we're not going to have an election? Think again.


What The Hell Is Iran Doing?

"Hey Iran what are you doing? Do you know how hard we are working over here to control 'president bombs alot' from throwin' down on you guys?"
Jon Stewart
(This video clip is hilarious!)
The Daily Show - March 28, 2007

The leadership of Iran appears to be looking for a fight. Progressive thinkers in the west who have been concerned about an escalation of conflict in the Middle East can only throw up their hands and wonder, 'What the hell is Iran doing?'

-The gurardian


Thursday, March 29, 2007 

Feds Appoint Special Investigator To Probe Allegations Against Top RCMP

Immediately on the heels of allegations against the senior echelon of the RCMP, the federal government has appointed a special investigator.

No name has been made public yet, but the investigator is to report back to Federal Minister Stockwell Day within the next 12 weeks.

Interim RCMP commissioner Beverly Busson told reporters that she supports the government's decision to have an independent investigator look into the force's pension scandal.

Meanwhile, former RCMP Commissioner, Giuliano Zaccardelli, is aggressively denying any wrong doing.

This is going to be a story worth watching.



What the Hell Has Been Going On With The RCMP?

OTTAWA -- The Commons public accounts committee is holding an emergency meeting today after RCMP officers alleged fraud and abuse in the management of their pension and insurance plans, CBC and CTV reported.

And the committee is looking at summoning senior RCMP executives to testify, including former commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli.

The allegations came in testimony before the committee yesterday, as serving and retired officers broke ranks and delivered a scathing indictment of their leadership, alleging that they tried to block attempts to probe management of the RCMP's pension and insurance plans.

-National Post


Wednesday, March 28, 2007 

NDP MP Calls For Ottawa To Probe U.S. Deserter's Arrest

Being absent without leave from a foreign military is not an extraditable offence in Canada. That is why NDP Member of Parliament, Alex Atamanenko, is asking the Harper government to look into the arrest of an American military deserter in Nelson, B.C.

Atamanenko suspects the police were responding to a request from the U.S. army when they put Kyle Snyder in jail.

Wearing only his boxer shorts, Snyder was held in a cell for several hours before he was released after agreeing to a future meeting with immigration officials.

Snyder was not charged and police won't say what prompted his arrest.




Green Leader Elizabeth May Criticized For Praising Dion

Rumblings are coming from the ranks of the Green Party of Canada concerning their leader, Elizabeth May's frequent praise for Liberal Leader, Stephan Dion.
-National Post



Hell 'Exists And Is Eternal,' Pope Warns

ROME - As the the season of Lent draws to a close, Pope Benedict XVI has been reminding the faithful of some key beliefs of their faith, including the fact hell is a place where sinners burn in an everlasting fire.

Primitive, very very primitive.

I imagine that many many thousands of years ago, unsophisticated and uneducated people wondered at volcanic activity and lava that came from below the ground. 'Down there' must have been very mysterious and quite scary for our ancestors.

Somehow, this wonder and fear grew into the concept of a place called 'HELL' where all of the 'bad people' go.

In the year 2007, I continue to be amazed that such ancient and primitive beliefs hold sway with anyone. Yet here we have one of the largest religious denominations in the world, who continue to hold and advocate the belief that a place exists, filled with fire, 'where all the bad people go and burn forever'.


-National Post


24 Sussex Drive Is An Energy Guzzler - Turn Out A Few Lights, Maybe

The tenents at 24 Sussex Drive may want to walk through the place and turn out a few lights. The cost of heat and electricity for the Prime Minister's official residence at 24 Sussex Drive racked up $57,000 for the year ending in January, records obtained by the Ottawa Citizen show.

Now that Stephen (Greenie) Harper has learned the importance of environmental issues, he should lead us by example!

Regina Leader Post

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 

Death Threats Against Bloggers Are NOT "Protected Speech"

Blogger Kathy Sierra has called on the blogosphere to combat the culture of abuse online.

It follows a series of death threats which have forced her to cancel a public appearance and suspend her blog.

Ms Sierra described on her blog how she had been subject to a campaign of threats, including a post that featured a picture of her next to a noose.

The police are investigating while the blogosphere has launched its own enquiry.

-BBC World
-Creating Passionate Users blogsite


Monday, March 26, 2007 

Conservative Party Of Canada Appeals Anders Ruling

The Conservative Party of Canada has filed an appeal of the ruling which overturned the acclamation of Calgary Tory MP Rob Anders. The case will be heard in the Alberta Court of Appeal in Calgary April 17th.

Rob Anders has been a Reform Member of Parliament, then an Alliance MP and finally a Conservative MP. Anders graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. Before being elected he had worked in the United States for the Republican Party for the 1994 senate campaign of Jim Inhofe in Oklahoma as a professional heckler. In this video link, Anders is the one at the microphone who puts on the 'pinocchio' nose. This earned him the label of "a foreign political saboteur" from CNN.

Buckdog has been following the Rob Anders case for sometime. Stay tuned for further developments!



Catholic and Protestent Parties In Northern Ireland Agree To Share Power - May 8th

BELFAST, Northern Ireland, March 26 --­ The leaders of Northern Ireland's dominant political and religious parties, Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams and the Protestant leader Rev. Ian Paisley, held face-to-face negotiations today and agreed to work towards a resumption of the province's power-sharing authority by May 8.

-BBC World
-Sun Times



Quebec Votes

The politicians have had their say and it's time for 5.6 million eligible voters to have theirs as Quebecers go to the polls today in one of the tightest election races the province has ever seen.

-Quebec Electoral Divisions
-Quebec Votes: Montreal Gazette
-What to watch for: Montreal Gazette
-I did the best I could: Boisclair: Montreal Gazette


Sunday, March 25, 2007 

Hunting With Dick Cheney

When Dick Cheney goes Hunting


Dick Cheney Borrows From Stephen Harper's Playbook

Anyone who thinks that the right wing leaders of both Canada and the United States are not playing form the same playbook should make note of two separate news stories from this week.

In the Canadian House of Commons, Prime Minister Stephen Harper received the following news coverage: Harper Calls Liberals Taliban Lovers

"OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper accused the Liberals Wednesday of showing "passion" for the Taliban and not supporting Canadian troops in Afghanistan during a bitter exchange in Parliament."

Then this morning, while combing through the online news, I find American Vice President Cheney in the news with: Cheney: House Is Undermining the Troops.

"MANALAPAN, Fla. (AP) -- Vice President Dick Cheney on Saturday accused the Democrat-led House of not supporting troops in Iraq and of sending a message to terrorists that America will retreat in the face danger."

These two administrations are mastering the art of doublespeak or 'truthspeak' to a level that George Orwell only wrote about in fiction. The Canadian and American governments are now doing it in reality.

Progressive Bloggers


Saturday, March 24, 2007 

Canada Supports UN Resolution Imposing Additional Sanctions on Iran

Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement regarding the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747 imposing additional sanctions on Iran.


Taliban Gaining Support Amongst Afghan Civilians: POLL

The Senlis Council, a security and development policy group located in London - Paris - Brussels - and Kabul have published a report entitled: Countering the Insurgency in Afghanistan: Losing Friends And Making Enemies.

"With a rapid rise in violent insurgency, southern Afghanistan is at tipping point, and the international community�s counter-insurgency strategy is in urgent need of reassessment.

The general Afghan population is feeling increasingly alienated from and hostile to the international community. The practice of counter-insurgency in Afghanistan has so far predominantly focused on military instruments to fight against the insurgency. By doing this, it has wrongfully left out all the non-military elements that form part of counter-insurgency strategy � for example, humanitarian aid, economic development, establishing health care and developing the education system. What Afghans in the south see instead in their daily lives are the military bombing campaigns, where bombs do not distinguish between innocent civilians and insurgents.

What is required is a frank reassessment of the realities of the current insurgency dynamic, the declining credibility of the international community and an acknowledgement of the legitimate grievances of the Afghan people. If properly applied, the non-military elements of classic counter-insurgency practice would immediately improve security and create more support for the Karzai government."

-Senlis Council
-CTV News


Friday, March 23, 2007 

Thinking Blogger Award

My friend Tomcat at Politics Plus has awarded me the Thinking Blogger Award.

Thank you very much TC! But because the award is meme based, I am required to name 5 other bloggers who because of their work in the Blogosphere have forced me to think.

I am going to cross political spectrums today in naming my 5 winners. Here are 5 great blogs that force me to think, whether I agree or not is irrelevent:

-Cracked Crystal Ball II by Grog.

-Saskatchewan Citizens Federation by Chad Moats - Mike Stefaniuk - the Jurist.

-Fundie Watch by the Watcher.

-Pissed on Politics by PoliShifter

-Catprint in the Mash by lance.


Thursday, March 22, 2007 

The Truth About The Saskatchewan Party

The truth about the Saskatchewan Party


Saskatchewan Party LIES About Province's Budget

The official oppositon, Saskatchewan Party is once again playing fast and loose with facts.

Saskatchewan's Finance Minister Andrew Thomson brought down a budget which implements a new Seniors Drug Program - implements a NO TAX plan for recent post secondary grads who make Saskatchewan their home and continues a freeze on university tuition.

Here is what the Bank of Montreal says about the 2007 Budget in their article, '13 Going On 14'.
"The Province of Saskatchewan is projecting its 14th consecutive balanced budget for 2007-08. The $75 million surplus in the General Revenue Fund follows an estimated $70 million balance in 2006-07."
Bank of Montreal
BMO Capital Markets
March 22, 2007

But hold the phone ... what does the opposition Saskatchewan Party have to say? "Sask. Party Says NDP Has Saddled Citizens With $700 Million Deficit."

Hmmm - who do I believe - economists from the Bank of Montreal -OR- the Saskatchewan Party???


Sask Conservative MPs Feeling Heat Over Equalization

Canadian Press

OTTAWA – A Tory MP called Saskatchewan Premier Lorne Calvert a liar today as the Harper government defended its budget against howls of outrage in some provinces.

"The premier's lying through his teeth," outspoken Saskatoon MP Maurice Vellacott said in an interview.

Moreover, Vellacott said the NDP premier is a "socialist" who can't handle economic prosperity and would be more comfortable keeping Saskatchewan "on the federal dole."

Calvert retorted that Vellacott's broadside is indicative of a government that has betrayed the provinces and has no other defence but name-calling.

"They're caught and they know it," the premier said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Saskatoon - Rosetown - Biggar MP Carol Skelton says the promise was made three years ago and a lot has changed since then. She says if we were still a have province, then we would be entitled to the full amount.

-The Star
-CJME News

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 

Majority of Americans Want Troops Out Of Iraq

A clear majority of adults in the United States believe their country’s participation in the coalition effort should come to an end in 2008, according to a poll by Princeton Survey Research Associates released by Newsweek. 59 per cent of respondents favour Congressional legislation that would require the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by the fall of next year.

Polling Data
Do you favour or oppose Congressional legislation that would require the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by the fall of 2008?

Favour 59%
Oppose 34%
Don’t know 7%



International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (21 March 2007)

On 21 March 1960, in the township of Sharpeville, South Africa, police opened fire and killed 69 people who were peacefully demonstrating against apartheid's "pass laws." The United Nations General Assembly subsequently declared that day, 21 March, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and called on the international community not only to commemorate that tragedy, but also to work together to combat racism and discrimination wherever they exist.

Racism is a learned behaviour. Children, (without adult interference), do not naturally make distictions based on racial difference. Stamp out 'race-ism'!

U N Observer


Tuesday, March 20, 2007 

Harper Plays 'Word Dinkery' With Saskatchewan

I live on the Canadian prairies. People have their own way of talking out here. Lots of colourful phrases. When someone is playing word games, they might be accused of 'word dinkery' .... dinking around with your words. Want an example?

After yesterdays budget, Stephen Harper can be accused of word dinkery for the way he dealt with the Province of Saskatchewan on the matter of fiscal fairness.

Excerpt from Stephen Harper’s Letter to Premier Calvert, June 10, 2004

“The Conservative Party of Canada will alter the equalization program to remove all non-renewable resources from the formula, as well as move the program to a ten-province standard.”

Conservative Party Platform 2004 ('Demanding Better')

“A Conservative government will also revisit the equalization formula. We will move towards a ten-province standard that excludes non-renewable resource revenues from the equalization formula, and do so in a manner that ensures no provinces receiving equalization will receive less money during the transition to the new formula than the current formula provides.”

Conservative Party Platform 2006 ('Standing Up For Canada')

“Work to achieve with the provinces permanent changes to the equalization formula which would ensure that non-renewable natural resource revenue is removed from the equalization formula to encourage economic growth. We will ensure that no province is adversely affected from changes to the equalization formula.”

Question by Stephen Harper to Prime Minister Paul Martin in the House of Commons, November 16, 2005

“The prime minister is also failing Saskatchewan on equalization. The government promised to reform the equalization program in 2004 for Saskatchewan. The government now says it will not get to that until at least 2006, costing Saskatchewan over 750-million dollars in lost revenue. When will the prime minister overrule his finance minister and make the changes necessary, so that Saskatchewan does not lose this money?”

In yesterday's Federal Budget, Harper 'said' that he was removing non-renewable resources from the equalization formula. He then set a cap on the amount Saskatchewan could qualify for!! At no point, in ANY of Stephen Harper's statements, did the concept of a 'cap' get mentioned.

Where I come from, we call this, 'word dinkery'.

Government of Saskatchewan News Release


'Conrad Black Should Not Have Gone Public With His Company': TRUMP

Gordon Pitts has a great article in the March 20th Globe & Mail on the Conrad Black trial. In an interview with potential witness, Donald Trump, insights into the whole affair are offered:

"Donald Trump says not everyone has the right mindset to run a public company and Conrad Black is one who should have kept his company off the stock exchange.

"In retrospect, he probably shouldn't have gone public," Mr. Trump said yesterday, commenting on Lord Black's Chicago trial, in which Mr. Trump is on the list of possible witnesses.

The property tycoon said he couldn't think of any circumstances in which he might want to take his own company public.

"A public company is a different mindset. It's never easy for an individual entrepreneur who owns things because it is a whole different set of ideas," Mr. Trump said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles.

With the emergence of Sarbanes-Oxley legislation -- a 2002 U.S. law that tightened standards for all public company boards, management and public accounting firms in the aftermath of major corporate scandals -- "they make you sign documents that basically say every transaction made by everybody in your company is 100 per cent honest. If it isn't, you go to jail for the rest of your life," he said.

Mr. Trump said he could not comment on the Black case, but he was extremely curious about Canadians' opinions of Lord Black and the case, and asked a number of questions.

Mr. Trump said he might be called as a witness because he attended a "famous party" for Lord Black's wife, Barbara Amiel. But he said his closest contact with Lord Black came in 2004, when he bought out Hollinger International Inc.'s half-interest in the site of the Sun-Times newspaper in downtown Chicago.

"I know Conrad Black and I bought the Sun-Times site from them. The Sun-Times had always been known for owning the best piece of real estate in the city of Chicago."

He said he is building a 92-storey tower on the former newspaper site."



Shoveling $Billions$ Into Quebec

"Ottawa is increasing transfers to Quebec by a total of $9-billion over the next three years, as the cash increases from the current level of $13-billion a year to more than $16-billion in three years."
Globe & Mail

March 20th, 2007

Stephen Harper fans have spent a lot of time this last year telling us what an ethical, principled man he is. They insist that Canada's 'new' government is about fairness and equity and balance.

Yeah, right!

During yesterday's budget, Harper and his band pulled the national treasury up to the border of the province of Quebec and started shoveling tons of tax dollars into that jurisdiction.

Quebec is rich in potential seats that Harper needs to woo if he is to have any chance of winning a majority government. What he has done with Canadians dollars is so blatantly obvious, he isn't even attempting to deny what he is doing.

Stephen Harper stands for one thing ... the re-election of his crappy new government with a majority mandate.

He stands for nothing else.

On the heels of the recent 'green awakening' of the Conservatives, Canadians should appropriately feel that Harper will say anything to win his majority.

Power corrupts. Case in point; Stephen Harper and his crappy new government's 2007 Budget.

Globe & Mail


Monday, March 19, 2007 

Lady Black Calls Journalist - 'SLUT' !

Barbara Amiel Black is beginning to stress out and her husband's trial has only just started.

At today's proceedings, Lord Conrad Black's better half lost her cool and is reported to have verbally attacked journalists in the courthouse, reported yelling at a female television producer, calling her a 'Slut'. She called other reporters, 'Vermin'!

People who live in glass houses, should NOT throw stones.




O'Connor Apologizes For Misleading The House Of Commons

Canada's Tory Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor has apologized for telling the House of Commons that the Red Cross would share information with Ottawa about alleged abuses of detainees after Canadian troops handed them over to Afghan authorities.

O'Connor told MPs on Monday that his earlier comment was not accurate, adding that he regretted any confusion that may have resulted.

"I fully and without reservation apologize to the House for providing inaccurate information for members. I take full responsibility and do so without hesitations. [...] The answers I gave were provided in good faith. I take full responsibility and do so without hesitation."
Defence Minister, Hon. Gordon O'Connor

O'Connor had earlier said that the International Committee of the Red Cross was monitoring the welfare of detainees the Canadians have turned over the Afghan authorities, who are known to use torture during interrogations. He also said Red Cross officials would report any human-rights violations to Canadians.

The Red Cross, however, has said that is not true. While it does conduct spot inspections of detention facilities, it says it reports its findings only to the country that is holding the detainees.

O'Connor, who recently met with the head of the international Red Cross, acknowledged he made a mistake.

Mr. O’Connor also tabled letters correcting information the minister and DND officials have provided to the House of Commons.

Globe & Mail


Greenpeace Activists Chain Themselves To Gate At 24 Sussex Drive - Arrested

At least four Greenpeace activists were arrested Monday in Ottawa after chaining themselves to the front gates of the prime minister's official residence.

I guess Federal Budget Day is a good to get national attention.

-National Post
-The Star


The METHOD In Elizabeth May's MADNESS

Many people are wondering what the Leader of the Green Party is thinking by running against Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter MacKay in Central Nova.

Under the surface, there may be a political brilliance that most pundits are not fully appreciating.

This will be a very closely watched race. Win or lose (and let's face it, winning is going to be a tall order for May) everyone will be keeping their eye on this race. I can think of no other ploy the Greens could have done that will bring the volume of media coverage and public curiousity that this election will generate.

Let's face it, this contest will bring more publicity then money can buy, and in this case, it will be FREE media coverage for the Greens and their leader.

Insane? Hardly .... it may prove to be brilliant.

CTV News


Sunday, March 18, 2007 

Nude Tree Huggers Try To Save Berkeley Oaks

Tree bark is rough, and climbing it can hurt if you're in the buff.

But that's what nearly 80 protesters and performance artists did in Berkeley this weekend to try to save a grove of oaks slated to be chopped down as part of University of California's expansion plans.

-CBC News
-NBC News



Conrad Black Will Argue That He Was 'Entitled' To The $85 Million

When the trial of His Lordship, Conrad Black commences again tomorrow in the federal district court in Chicago Illinois, his lawyers will argue that he was entitled to the $85 million dollars he is charged with taking.

Black faces more than 100 years in jail and tens of millions of dollars in fines if he is convicted of all charges.


Saturday, March 17, 2007 

testing ... tesing ... 123 ... NDP Election Ad .... testing ... can't kick me off Blogging Libbers

Note: The preceding ad was intended to get under the skin of right wing Liberals and is not an official ad of the NDP ....



St Patrick's Day greeting to the Irish in Ireland and the many millions of Irish abroad. There are many deep Irish traditions in Canada and the United States. Today, those millions will acknowldge their heritage and celebrate it.

To those with Irish ancestry, Happy St Patrick's Day to you!

-St Patrick's Day coverage from the Irish Times
-When Irish bloggers and their dogs have a wee bit too much to drink
-St Patrick's Day Drinking Tips

Photo courtesy of Robin & Libby via Flickr


Friday, March 16, 2007 

Court Overturns Tory MP - Rob Anders Nomination

An Alberta judge has overturned the controversial acclamation of Calgary Conservative Member of Parliament, Rob Anders. A new nomination meeting has been ordered in the matter.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Jed Hawco issued a court order instructing the Conservative Party of Canada to restart the nomination process in Calgary West.

Buckdog has been following this case for months. Here are some older Buckdog posts concerning Stephen Harper's interference in the nomination process.

-Calgary Sun
-Winnipeg Free Press

Thursday, March 15, 2007 

Canada's Crappy New Government Screws Up Passport Office

We have endured about 13 months of our crappy new government. Much has gone wrong, but nothing worse than the way the Canadian passport process was caught completely unprepared for a surge in demand. The passport office has completely bogged down with numerous breaches of security.

The demand surged when our Federal Conservatives were unable to stop their mentor and hero, George Bush, from unilaterally changing the rules for cross border traffic between Canada and the USA.

CTV has some excellent coverage on the mess.

"Passport Canada told CTV News its system was designed to handle up to 14,000 applications per day Since the U.S. rule change, the offices are receiving approximately 22,000 per day.

Auditor General Sheila Fraser saw the potential for problems several months ago. Fraser told CTV News recent audits of Passport Canada found regional offices were not prepared for an onslaught of new applicants.

"None of them or very few of them had any formal contingency plans to deal with peaks in volume," Fraser said. "Many of the offices were not ready for an increase in demand."

In the last two years, Fraser has also flagged gaps in security at passport offices, although she has noted improvements.

CTV News asked Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay to explain why his department wasn't more prepared, for the U.S. change he knew was coming. He told us they're in the process of catching up now."
-Get You Passport For Flights To The USA After January 23rd

Photo courtesy CTV


U.S. Appeals Court Upholds Ban On Medical Marijuana

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found there is no fundamental right to marijuana for medical purposes.

As a result, a California woman with an inoperable brain tumor may not smoke prescribed marijuana to ease her pain even though California voters have approved its medicinal use.

Under federal law (The Controlled Substances Act, 1970) marijuana use for any purpose is illegal. The federal law has not stopped a number of states from enacting medical marijuana legislation. California was one of the first. In 1996 California voters passed Proposition 215, The Compassionate Use Act, legalizing marijuana for medical use. Proposition 215 permits seriously ill Californians to use marijuana, provided they first obtain a doctor's recommendation. Proposition 215 also gives doctors a legal defense against professional or legal sanctions for recommending marijuana use.

Proposition 215 put California law in direct conflict with federal law.

-Medical marijuana in California

Wednesday, March 14, 2007 

Conservative MP's Throwing Money Around In Saskatchewan

Three Federal Conservative Members of Parliament, David Anderson, Maurice Vellacott and Lynne Yelich were running around Saskatchewan today, throwing money at a variety of programs.

I think we are going to be into a Federal campaign in a matter of weeks. My gut feeling is that Harper is going to bring in a budget next week that will make mouths water .... then he'll pull the plug on his own administration, and tell Canadians that they have had a year to get to know him, and he'll ask for a majority mandate.

CBC Saskatchewan


Senior Military Need To Know When It Is Inappropriate To Speak Out

During the last few weeks, we have seen two separate cases where senior military personnel are giving their personal opinions to the press.

Canadian military head, General Rick Hillier, felt bold enough to attack the former federal government and attack what he perceives to be underfunding of the military.

US Marine General, Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, got himself into hot water this week giving his personal opinion on the morality of gay persons.

I find it very disturbing that these senior military staffers do not understand that it is totally inappropriate for them to speak out as they have.

They are NOT elected. Period.

While they are entitled to hold personal opinions, the fact that they wear the uniforms of their nation, puts them into national service where their personal beliefs are best kept to themselves.

In our collective democracies, Canada and the United States, we cannot tolerate our military leaders using their high profile positions to advance their own agendas. It is correct to speak out against their behaviour.

-Washington Post
-Buckdog politics

Tuesday, March 13, 2007 

Conrad Black Loses Bid to Stall U.S. Request

The following excerpt is by Joe Schneider and appeared in the March 13 edition of Bloomberg:

"Conrad Black, the former newspaper publisher whose fraud trial is scheduled to start tomorrow, lost a bid to delay a hearing on U.S. prosecutors' request for evidence he took from his former holding company in Canada.

The Ontario Court of Appeal refused to grant Black a hearing on whether a judge's order to assemble the evidence should be put on hold during an appeal. Black's arguments were ``very weak'' and ``peripheral to the main issue,'' appeals court Judge James MacPherson wrote in a seven-page ruling released today in Toronto."

-BBC: The Fall of Conrad Black
-BUCKDOG on Black - A compendium



Alberta To Make It Easier To Opt Out Of Medicare

Canadians are quietly going about their affairs, unaware of subtle moves by the right wing to bring an end to publicly funded, universal health care.

Alberta's government is working on a plan to make it possible to opt out of medicare with legislation that allows people to opt out of the public health-care system for up to three years at a time.

Monday, March 12, 2007 

Evangelicals Condemn Torture

President Bush might want to sit up in his chair and pay attention to Evangelicals on this one (he already listens to them on every other major issue):

"The National Association of Evangelicals has endorsed an anti-torture statement saying the United States has crossed 'boundaries of what is legally and morally permissible' in its treatment of detainees and war prisoners in the fight against terror."

Evangelicals find torture unacceptable

The reason that George W. better sit up and listen is because his name has been directly tied to executive orders to use torture to extract information as required in the 'War Against Terror':

"Dec. 21, 2004 – Repeated references in an internal FBI email suggest that the president issued a special order to permit some of the more objectionable torture techniques used at Abu Ghraib and other US-run prison facilities around Iraq. The email was among a new batch of FBI documents revealed by civil rights advocates on Monday. Other documents describe the initiation of investigations into alleged incidents of torture and rape at detention facilities in Iraq."

Bush Implicated in Torture Orders*

* h/t to Politics Plus



Harper Uses 'Smoke And Mirrors' For Agriculture Announcment

Stephen Harper was in Saskatchewan for a major agriculture announcment on Friday. The Provinicial Goverment was NOT advised of the announcment. Bruce Johnstone, Financial Editor of the Regina Leader Post, takes Harper to task for his tactics:

Smoke And Mirrors Or Agricultural Policy
Bruce Johnstone
march 10, 2007
Regina Leader Post

So is it an “investment in agriculture” or a “pre-election ploy’’ containing “recycled money”? When Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced $1 billion for Canadian producers at a news conference at a farm outside of Saskatoon, it was literally a bolt out of the blue.

Even one of Harper’s MPs, Saskatoonarea MP Brad Trost, had no clue about what Harper was going to announce the day before he announced it.

Certainly, Premier Lorne Calvert didn’t see the announcement coming.

Unlike Ontario’s Dalton McGuinty and Alberta’s Ed Stelmach, Calvert wasn’t invited to Harper’s announcement of federal government largesse in his home province.

Evidently, Calvert isn’t on Harper’s needto-know list, and he’s definitely not on the PM’s Christmas card list.

Indeed, Harper went out of his way to take potshots at Calvert and the NDP government, saying the $1-billion program is “not a Canada-Saskatchewan announcement. This is a national program.’’

He also suggested Saskatchewan voters would like the federal budget coming March 19. “Whether it is enough for the NDP is another question.”

The last time I looked Harper isn’t running against Calvert and the NDP, and the Conservative Party of Canada doesn’t have a (living, breathing) provincial wing in Saskatchewan.

For his part, Calvert replied that Harper’s “campaign-style” announcement “smacks of preelection.” (And Calvert would know, having just announced $5 billion in spending on highways and roads over the next 10 years.)

Calvert also reminded Harper of his promise to exempt resource revenues from the equalization formula. “This is not a congeniality contest we are involved in here — it is doing right for the people of Saskatchewan.’’

So what are we to make of Harper’s announcement. Is this an “investment in agriculture,’’ as Canadian Federation of Agriculture’s Bob Friesen called it?

Or is the $1 billion “insufficient’’ and “recycled’’ money from previous Liberal farm safety net programs, as former finance minister and agriculture minister Ralph Goodale charged?

The plain fact of the matter is, we don’t know. The program — $400 million to address the rising cost of inputs, like fuel and fertilizer, and $600 million for a new “government-producer savings account’’ — is too vague to be called a program. It’s more a promise of a program, with all sorts of strings attached.

First and foremost is passage of the March 19 budget.

Secondly, it presumes the continued survival of this government, whose future can be measured in days, weeks, even months, but probably not years.

It goes without saying that, constitutionally speaking, agriculture is a shared responsibility. The Harper government should be consulting with its provincial counterparts about the design and level of funding of farm safety net programs. That the Conservative government chooses to thumb its nose at the provincial government, while announcing a program in the province with nearly half of the arable land in Canada, suggests that Harper’s announcement has more to do with federal politics than farm policy.

Whether we ever see any detail in this so-called program is highly doubtful. Instead, it will go into the pot of pre-election goodies, along with the billions for transit, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions announced earlier this week.

With the March 19 budget thrown in for good measure, the Tories are brewing up a pre-election stew they hope will take them to a majority government in the not-too-distant future.

So, Mr. Farmer, if you’re waiting for a cheque in your mailbox, don’t hold your breath.

As published in the Regina Leader Post - March 10, 2007


Israel Recalls 'Naked Ambassador'

The following story comes from the Jerusalem Post and BBC International:

"Israel is replacing its ambassador in El Salvador after the current envoy was found in a street, drunk, wearing only bondage gear, officials said."

"According to the report in Ma'ariv, police in El Salvador found the ambassador wearing accessories indicating sado-masochistic acts. Although drunk, the paper reported, the diplomat identified himself as the Israeli ambassador."
Jerusalem Post

-Jerusalem Post
-BBC International


Sunday, March 11, 2007 

Fundamentalists Create 'Conservapedia' Because Wikipedia Is Too Lefty - Liberal

My good friend 'The Watcher' at Fundie Watch blogsite has an excellent post on the new 'Conservapedia'.

"Apparently Wikipedia is far too liberal for the fundies, so they created an alternative. It's called Conservapedia, and on the front page, it explains why it was created. The site boasts that Wikipedia is liberally biased, so presumably, the editors created this site, which is in no way, shape or form biased, even though it's called "Conservapedia."


Progressive Bloggers



CHOMSKY: A Predator Becomes More Dangerous When Wounded

"Washington's escalation of threats against Iran is driven by a determination to secure control of the region's energy resources."

"In the energy-rich Middle East, only two countries have failed to subordinate themselves to Washington's basic demands: Iran and Syria"

Noam Chomsky
Friday March 9, 2007



Saturday, March 10, 2007 

Conrad Black's Trial Will Be Like A Circus

Conrad Black and his co-accused face an imposing array of charges in the criminal fraud case that begins next week in Chicago. Black personally faces 14 charges, including mail and wire fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice and racketeering. Over 300 journalists are expected in Chicago for the trial.

It is shaping up to be as much a spectacle as it is an exercise in justice. Here is a sample from today's news headlines:

-Circus comes to town for Conrad Black's trial
-The charges against Black
-"I am not afraid"
-Black missed his calling

tag tag


American Military Attempts To Cover Up Civilian Massacre In Afghanistan

On March 4th at Barikaw, in eastern Afghanistan, a civilian minivan crashed into a convoy of Marines. As the American convoy made a frenzied escape, US troops opended fire on civilian cars and pedestrians as they sped away. As many as 10 innocent bystanders were killed and 34 wounded by American fire.

A U.S. soldier deleted the AP journalists’ footage that showed a civilian four-wheel drive vehicle in which three Afghans were shot to death about 100 yards from the suicide bombing. The order which required the reporters to erase their film was immediately defended by US military authorities: "Investigative integrity is one circumstance when civil and military authorities will reluctantly exercise the right to control what a journalist is permitted to document," Col. Victor Petrenko, chief of staff to the top U.S. commander in eastern Afghanistan. He added that photographs or video taken by "untrained people" might "capture visual details that are not as they originally were."

The AP disputed the assertions.

"That is not a reasonable justification for erasing images from our cameras," said AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll in New York. "AP's journalists in Afghanistan are trained, accredited professionals working at an appropriate distance from the bombing scene. In democratic societies, legitimate journalists are allowed to work without having their equipment seized and their images deleted."

Afghan witnesses and gunshot victims said U.S. forces fired on civilians in cars and on foot along at least a seven-kilometre stretch of road from Barikaw following the suicide attack against the Marine convoy.

U.S. officials acknowldeg that their gunfire may have killed or injured civilians. As well, Afghanistan's Interior Ministry said most of the bullets we American.



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