Friday, August 31, 2007

Huffin and Puffin

This is too silly by half. However it should be noted that the Liberal Party of Canada hides it's excrement too, but not well enough as the Gomery Commission proved.

And is flapping ones wings very hard, puffins flap their wings a hundred times to get going, a backhanded comment on Dion's Leadership?

Canadian political parties might not have official birds just yet, but deputy Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has a suggestion for his party -- the humble Atlantic puffin.

"They put their excrement in one place. They hide their excrement ... They flap their wings very hard and they work like hell," he told reporters at the annual summer caucus gathering in St. John's, Nfld.

"This seems to me a symbol for what our party should be."

Liberals embrace Family Values....

And like a true politician, Mr. Ignatieff praised puffins for their "good family values." "They stay together for 30 years," he said.

Unlike Emperor Penguins who were embraced by the social conservatives for their family values until someone pointed out that they also have shown homosexual and polygamous tendencies.

When dealing with fowling ones image one should be careful of not appearing bird brained.

"My wife and I were very impressed with the noble bird. Noble in my lexicon means underappreciated as well."
Noble ah yes Mssr. Ignatieff does come from a Russian Aristocratic family after all, so I guess he can appreciate nobility and being in Dion's cabinet I guess he also understands being underappreciated.

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Labour, Opera and Anarchy

This is the labour day long weekend in North America and for that reason the August Carnival of Anarchy will begin and carry on through the week. The theme is:

Anarchism and Work, Anarchism and Life

Why Opera you ask. Because it originates from the Latin word for work; Opus. As in creative, fulfilling, self directed activity. Liberated labour if you like. Self-Valorization.

Whereas the common modern word for labour, work and worker in the Latin based languages like French, Spanish, Italian, etc. is
trabajo and travail (from the Latin tripalium, or “instrument of torture”)

Hence modern work for most of us is not an opera nor our opus but wage slavery.

Towards a History of Workers' Resistance to Work - Michael Seidman

And besides it gives me another chance to make a reference to that great cultural anarchist Bugs Bunny.

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Farmers Vote To Join Wheat Board

In Nebraska. Farmers vote to join the Wheat Board.

That runs counter to the propaganda of the Harpocrites that farmers want an open market. American farmers who suffer from Agribusiness domination of the market like Canadian farmers recognize that a Marketing Board is the better option.
Because as we all know consolidation creates better market access in the capitalist market.

As Marx said; That production rests on the supreme rule of capital. The centralization of capital is essential to the existence of capital as an independent power.

The Nebraska Wheat Growers Association, formed in 1954 and based in Ogallala, plans to move its office to Lincoln, as part of a proposed merger with the Nebraska Wheat Board. "The proposal, under discussion for about a year now, is aimed at improving the efficiency of both groups and making promotion of wheat more effective," says Mike Sullivan, NAWG president and producer from Wallace. "It will also make lobbying efforts on behalf of wheat growers more effective with NAWG being based in Lincoln near the Legislature." The Nebraska Wheat Growers Association is a dues-paying, voluntary membership organization that represents the state's producers, including lobbying for them on state and national policy issues. It sets membership policy on such matters as the farm program, crop insurance, soil and water conservation, transportation, and environmental issues. The Wheat Board, on the other hand, consists of a seven-member board, appointed by the governor, that administers the 1-1/4-cent-per-bushel wheat checkoff fee paid by all Nebraska wheat growers. The checkoff was created under state law and as such the board is prohibited from lobbying on state issues, although it can do so on national issues. The board's responsibilities are allocating checkoff dollars for research, promotion, education and market development, says Royce Schaneman, executive director of the Wheat Board.


Wheat Boom

Death of the Family Farm

Wheat Board

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Wheat Boom

Wheat prices have gone through the roof.

Wheat prices have broken through all-time record levels, fuelling concern consumers could soon be paying even more for bread, baked goods, beef, chicken, eggs, beer and a range of products exposed to grain prices.
As has barely and it had nothing to do with the Harpocrites phony plebiscite to break up the Wheat Board.

Prices for barley — a major livestock feed and a key ingredient in beer — also continue to break records.

Jason Craig, acting senior trading manager with WA grain group CBH, said yesterday forward cash prices for the coming barley harvest had swept to $325 a tonne for feed barley and $336 for malt barley this week.

That is a jump of nearly $20 since Tuesday and $70 in the past three weeks, mainly due to problems in Ukraine, a big supplier to Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest feed barley importer.

“We have never seen prices like this,” Mr Craig said. “This is unknown territory.”

The global harvest of summer wheat has begun while spring wheat planting begins. But production estimates are down. Meaning an increase in prices.

Farmers in western Canada
may harvest their smallest wheat crop since 2002 because of reduced planted acreage and unfavorable weather, a government survey shows.

Production of all varieties of wheat by farmers in the four western provinces may be 18.7 million metric tons, 16.5 percent less than the 22.4 million tons harvested last year, Statistics Canada said today. The report is based on a survey of 17,300 farmers between July 27 and Aug. 5.
Wheat is all set to see a price rise following the International Grains Council’s announcement that the carryover stock of the cereal is bound to witness a fall in 2007-08.

According to a report by the council, global 2007-08 wheat carryover stocks will fall to a 28-year low of 111 million tonnes.

Global wheat output this year is seen at 607 million tonnes, up 16 million tonnes from last year, but down 7 million tonnes from the council’s previous estimate due to lower output in European Union and Canada, the report issued said.

Lower output has pushed up global wheat prices, leading to lower consumption of the cereal as feed. As a result, global wheat demand is also seen lower at 614 million tonnes, down 3 million tonnes from the Council’s last estimate in July.

Although much of the reduction in the world crop estimate is offset by lower consumption, forecast of wheat stocks at the end of 2007-08 are placed 2 million tonnes lower than previously, at 111 million tonnes, the smallest since 1979-80, with those in the five major exporters (Argentina, Australia, Canada, the EU and the US) expected to be especially tight, the report said.

And even the Commodities markets; including wheat and barley, were affected by America's sub-prime meltdown. Far more than by Chuck Strahl's illegal plebiscite on barley.
Also supporting prices was a slowdown in the selling by investors that had been prompted by declines in global equity markets, McDougall said. Investors sold commodity futures last week to cover losses in other markets on concerns that tightening credit might slow economic growth.

Wheat and barley shortfalls have affected prices more than the Harpocrites illegal attempt to strip malt barley sales from the Wheat Board. Which they contended was the case for the increase in the barely price. Which it wasn't.


Death of the Family Farm

Slap Upside The Head

Barley B.S.

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Bad News For Bush

Business as usual in Iraq. Surge or not.

Iraq has failed to meet all but three of 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks for political and military progress, according to a draft of a Government Accountability Office report.

"While the Baghdad security plan was intended to reduce sectarian violence, U.S. agencies differ on whether such violence has been reduced," it states. While there have been fewer attacks against U.S. forces, it notes, the number of attacks against Iraqi civilians remains unchanged. It also finds that "the capabilities of Iraqi security forces have not improved." "Overall," the report concludes, "key legislation has not been passed, violence remains high, and it is unclear whether the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion in reconstruction funds," as promised.

Iraq needs $100-150 bln for reconstruction: Finance minister

AMMAN (Reuters) - Iraq needs at least $100 billion to rebuild its shattered infrastructure after four years of violence and lawlessness following the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, Finance Minister Bayan Jabor said on Monday.

"The country is devastated and we are in need of at least $100 billion to $150 billion to restore infrastructure -- from sewerage to water to electricity to bridges and basic needs of the country," he told Reuters in Amman.

He said about $4 billion had been spent on infrastructure projects so far this year, more than in all of 2006, when internal violence and the limited capacity of the Iraqi private sector meant only about 40 percent of $6 billion allocated in the budget was used.

"What happened last year was ... a failure in the government's ability to execute," Jabor said.

Health and humanitarian crisis in Iraq

The billions of dollars planned for reconstruction are going unspent as the situation on the ground has spelled suspension for reconstruction efforts. While the coalition forces had not predicted the downward spiral that ensued - predicting a peaceful transition from one regime to another - investments have been mainly made in reconstruction efforts and in comparison, next to nothing, has been set aside for humanitarian assistance.

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction

July 30, 2007 Quarterly and Semiannual Report to Congress (Highlights, All Sections and Appendices)

Asset Transfer
SIGIR produced another audit on the asset-transfer process,
looking at how completed projects are transferred to
Iraqi control. During the course of the audit, SIGIR found
that the Government of Iraq (GOI) has failed to accept a
single U.S.-constructed project since July 2006. Although
local Iraqi officials have accepted projects, the national
government has not. Moreover, SIGIR learned that the U.S.
government is unilaterally transferring projects to Iraq. The
failure of the asset-transfer program raises concerns about
the continuing operation and maintenance of U.S.-constructed

First Focused Financial Review
This quarter, SIGIR completed the first in a series of
focused financial reviews of large contracts funded by
the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund (IRRF). These
reviews will meet the “forensic audit” requirement
that the Congress imposed upon SIGIR last December
through the Iraq Reconstruction Accountability Act of

This initial review examined the work performed
by Bechtel under its Phase II IRRF contract. SIGIR’s
findings from the Bechtel audit are emblematic of
the many challenges faced by contractors in the Iraq
reconstruction program, including insufficient oversight,
descoping, project cancellations, cost overruns,
and significant delays in completing projects. SIGIR has
announced the next round of focused financial reviews,
which will audit the largest contracts in the Iraq reconstruction
program over the next year.

Anti corruption
The Embassy made progress on several fronts to address the endemic corruption in Iraq, which SIGIR views as a “second insurgency.” This quarter saw the inception of the Iraqi-created Joint Anti-Corruption Council (JACC), comprising the three main anticorruption organizations in Iraq, as well as other governmental representatives. A SIGIR audit this quarter identified continuing challenges to the implementation of a coherent anticorruption effort, including the absence of a program manager with the authority to coordinate the overall anticorruption effort and the lack of a comprehensive plan that ties anti corruption programs to the U.S. Embassy’s Iraq strategy.

Officer overseeing Iraq reconstruction projects urges patience

Brig. Gen. Michael J. Walsh, commander of the Corps of Engineers' Gulf Region Division in Baghdad since Oct. 14, 2006, is responsible for overseeing the bulk of U.S.-funded reconstruction projects in Iraq. Earlier this summer, Government Executive senior correspondent Katherine McIntire Peters interviewed Walsh when he was in Washington during a brief leave from Iraq. The following is an edited transcript:

Q: You've been in Iraq more than eight months now. How have things gone with reconstruction during that time?

A: The security issue had an impact on about 12 percent of our projects when I got there, and now it's up to about 19 percent. Certainly part of the requirements in building, whether in the United States or Iraq, is to make sure you get the skilled labor, the equipment and the materials you need. In Iraq, you also need to make sure the security piece is taken care of, and then make sure the politics are OK with the local tribes and the provincial leadership. If any one of those four or five things is not in alignment, then you have to slow down or stop a project.

About 60 percent of our contracts are now with Iraqi firms. If an Iraqi principal or an Iraqi senior worker receives a cell phone call threatening him or his wife, he may not come to work. That's what we call an impact to the construction schedule. There also have been some attacks on particular project sites. Some small percentage have been damaged beyond repair. So far, we've completed 3,200 projects. I would say probably less than 1 percent of those have been destroyed. It's a very small percentage.

Troops Confront Waste In Iraq Reconstruction

Maj. Craig Whiteside's anger grew as he walked through the sprawling school where U.S. military commanders had invested money and hope. Portions of the workshop's ceiling were cracked or curved. The cafeteria floor had a gaping hole and concrete chunks. The auditorium was unfinished, with cracked floors and poorly painted walls peppered with holes.

Whiteside blamed the school director for not monitoring the renovation. The director retorted that the military should have had better oversight. The contract shows the Iraqi contractor was paid $679,000.

Americans who report Iraq corruption pay a price

Corruption has long plagued Iraq's reconstruction. Congress approved more than $30 billion to rebuild Iraq, and at least $8.8 billion of it has disappeared, according to a government reconstruction audit.

Yet there are no noble outcomes for those who have blown the whistle, according to a review of such cases by The Associated Press.

William Weaver, a professor of political science at the University of Texas-El Paso and a senior adviser to the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, said, "If you do it, you will be destroyed."

Investigating an Outsourced War

The United States government detained Donald Vance just outside Baghdad for 97 days. They hooded him, interrogated him ruthlessly, and blasted his cell with heavy metal music. He was accused of selling weapons to terrorists. His real crime appears to be telling the FBI about corrupt contracting practices in Iraq. Vance is among a select group of state enemies: whistleblowers.

We know this because of an Associated Press story that uncovered Vance’s ordeal. Vance, suspicious that the contractor he worked for was supplying weapons to insurgents, started supplying information to the FBI back in the States. But he was soon detained by Army Special Forces and brought to Camp Cropper for his 97-day stay.

The story also reported the fate of other whistleblowers who have tried to halt the massive boondoggles still ongoing in Iraq: they have been “vilified, fired, and demoted.”

Bunnatine Greenhouse, a high-ranking civilian in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who testified about the corrupt practices of a Halliburton subsidiary now “sits in a tiny cubicle in a different department with very little to do and no decision-making authority, at the end of an otherwise exemplary 20-year career.” Julie McBride testified about the same Halliburton company’s cost exaggerations and skimming. What happened? “Halliburton placed me under guard and kept me in seclusion. My property was searched, and I was specifically told that I was not allowed to speak to any member of the U.S. military. I remained under guard until I was flown out of the country.”

Pentagon auditors investigating alleged Iraq contract fraud

Mike Rosen-Molina at 7:13 PM ET

Photo source or description
[JURIST] The US Department of Defense will send an investigative team headed by Pentagon Inspector General Claude M. Kicklighter to Iraq to probe allegations of fraud and corruption related to military contracts, a DOD spokesman said Tuesday. The team will concentrate on incongruities concerning weapons and supplies bought by the US and intended for the use of Iraqi forces. As of last week, 73 criminal investigations were underway into contracts valued at more than $5 billion, Army spokesman Col. Dan Baggio said Monday; 20 military and civilian figures, including an officer who worked closely with Gen. David Petraeus , have already been indicted. The New York Times reported Tuesday that multiple federal agencies, including the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, are conducting their own investigations into the matter.


The Rip-off in Iraq: You Will Not Believe How Low the War Profiteers Have Gone

Operation Iraqi Freedom, it turns out, was never a war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. It was an invasion of the federal budget, and no occupying force in history has ever been this efficient. George W. Bush's war in the Mesopotamian desert was an experiment of sorts, a crude first take at his vision of a fully privatized American government. In Iraq the lines between essential government services and for-profit enterprises have been blurred to the point of absurdity -- to the point where wounded soldiers have to pay retail prices for fresh underwear, where modern-day chattel are imported from the Third World at slave wages to peel the potatoes we once assigned to grunts in KP, where private companies are guaranteed huge profits no matter how badly they fuck things up.

Humanitarian disillusions

On August 28th, Al-Jazeera English broadcast a report that the Salvadorian contingent of the MNF-I will be renewed in Iraq, highlighting their “reconstruction and humanitarian assignment”. It’s not the first misuse of the humanitarian concept. Everyone is aware of the existence of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps fewer people know that some Private Security Companies (PSCs), that are often compared to mercenary companies, justify their presence through “humanitarian” reasons.

For example, the British Aegis, well known in Iraq for the video broadcast by its personnel showing them firing at civilian vehicles with Elvis Presley as accompanying background music. As one of the largest PSC worldwide they have created the “Aegis Foundation”, which has been active across Iraq since 2004 and “has completed a wide range of projects assisting communities in urgent need, from providing clean drinking water for schools and inoculations against water-borne diseases to supplying hospitals and medical clinics with generators and essential equipment.” The International Peace Operation Association (IPOA), which, at the exact opposite of what its name suggest is a trade association of some of the most prominent PSC and has rules of engagement in its Code of Conduct, doesn’t hesitate to talk about the “benefits of military in humanitarian role” in its newsletter.


Military Industrial Complex

The Cost of War

U.S. Supplies Iraqi Insurgents With Weapons

Surge Blackout

What He Didn't Say

Iraq; The War For Oil

Look In Your Own Backyard

Iraq Inspector General

Another Privatization Failure

Conservative Nanny State

Another Privatization Myth Busted


Privatization of War


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Who Killed Lynne Harper?

I see a Blogging Tory has picked up on the fact that Steven Truscott was not declared innocent. He was acquitted of a crime, which means he is 'not guilty'. Hello.

You cannot be declared innocent under Canadian law because well you are innocent, until proven guilty. Once proven guilty you can only be 'acquitted'. Is that so hard to understand?

You can however be declared 'innocent' by the court, however that cannot be done in an appeal case. It requires a new court case.

Though the court concluded that Truscott's conviction was a "miscarriage of justice," they fell short of declaring him factually innocent. Lockyer said without DNA evidence available to clear him once and for all, the declaration of complete innocence is impossible.

Of course the Blogging Tories are the same folks who considered Maher Arar a terrorist even after he was found to have been framed up by the RCMP and CSIS.

And like the Arar case they are all upset over the idea that a man wrongfully jailed may be entitled to compensation.

The judge mulling Steven Truscott’s right to compensation says the issue turns on the fact Truscott was not declared innocent.

In this case the bleeding heart Tory is sympathetic to the Harper family who believes in their heart of hearts that Truscott is guilty. Of course Lynne's father believes that, he has too. His world shattered the day his daughter died.

Like a lot of other folks he was stationed at the military base in the town.

At the time of Lynne's killing, the Harpers had only been living at RCAF Clinton, a base in southwestern Ontario, for about two years. Mr. Harper was a flight lieutenant. His wife, Shirley, stayed home to care for their three children, Lynne, 12, Barry, who was in Grade 10, and Jeffrey, who was only four years old when Lynne's body was found in Lawson's Bush.

And he would have known this guy who may have been the real killer.

A convicted pedophile stationed at the RCAF base at Clinton at the time of Lynne Harper's death. The OPP learned about him in 1997 after being contacted by a retired London, Ont., police detective, who felt the man was capable of murdering a child.

The man had pleaded guilty to sexual offences and possession of child pornography in the late 1980s. When police searched his house in connection with those offences, they found an eight-volume transcript of Truscott's hearing before the Supreme Court of Canada in 1966-67.

An airman who had been stationed at Clinton prior to 1959. He was stationed at Aylmer at the time of the murder, but had a home in Seaforth, close to the base, which he visited frequently.

He was identified by CBC's the fifth estate as Sgt. Alexander Kalichuk, who died in 1975.

MACINTYRE: In the 1950's Clinton was a military base … home and workplace for thousands of airmen …among them, at least one troubled individual whose medical files should have flagged him as a suspect.

Two years ago the fifth estate, assisted by the National Archives in Ottawa, retrieved a 900 page dossier on an acquaintance of the Harper family, once stationed at Clinton … a sexual predator with an unhealthy interest in young girls.
His name was Alexander Kalichuk.

Sgt. Kalichuk was a troubled man, a heavy drinker with a history of sexual offenses. He lived in this farmhouse with his wife and three children ... less than a 20 minute drive from the Clinton base. He worked as a supply technician there until 1957... He transferred to another base, in Aylmer, about a one hour drive away ... but made frequent trips back to Clinton ... where Lynn Harper's father was the senior supply officer.

Kalichuk's record of sex offenses went back at least a decade. In 1950 he had two convictions for indecent exposure in Trenton, where he was stationed.

About three weeks before Lynne Harper's murder he stalked three young girls on a country road outside St. Thomas. When two of them had gone home, he tried to lure the third into his car. Nancy Knowles … now Nancy Davidson …was 10 years old.

Today she remembers how the car followed at a distance until she was alone.

DAVIDSON: He asked me if I would come around and get in the car because he wanted me to pick out the prettiest present and I said, No. And then he pulled out - he had this brown paper bag and he pulled out this underwear.

MACINTYRE: Little kid's underwear.

DAVIDSON: Yeah, yeah.

MACINTYRE: And what did he want?

DAVIDSON: He wanted me to pick out the prettiest pair of underwear. He had a bottle between his legs. His eyes were bulgy and he had that glassy look and there were dark circles and I knew he was drinking and I just wanted to get away.

MACINTYRE: Kalichuk was caught and charged and appeared in Elgin County court a week later.

In spite of his prior convictions, the judge released him with a warning.
Three weeks after Lynne Harper's murder, Kalichuk entered a psychiatric hospital. According to records he was suffering from anxiety, depression and guilt.

Kalichuk was released but apparently far from cured. A heavily censored confidential military memo about "Sgt Kalichuk's aberrations" warned cryptically that when he was later posted at a base near Clinton, ongoing incidents were serious enough to get into the local paper.

In fact, police were warning about the activities of an unidentified molester who was preying on young girls from a car ... through all of which, Sgt. Kalichuk managed to avoid particular attention as a suspect those incidents ... and, most significantly of all, in the murder of 12-year old Lynn Harper.

Kalichuk spent the rest of his life in and out of psychiatric hospitals and died in 1975 from alcoholism.

JULIAN SHER: Alexander Kalichuk is really just the worst example of a long list of potential suspects ignored that showed that the military and the police really were not interested in a serious investigation into who killed Lynn Harper.

The producer of the fifth estate documentary on Truscott two years ago continued to investigate the case independently … and has now written a book: Until You are Dead. Julian Sher.

SHER: In any rape case it would be normal for the police to investigate likely suspects in the area, people with a history of, of rape convictions, sexual deviants. In this case police didn't do that. Within 24 hours they focused on Steven. We uncovered names of people the police could have looked at. There was a man doing electrical repair work on the base who knew the Harper's who, according to one member of his family, said after Lynn Harper's murder, She had it coming to her. He had a rape conviction several years prior to the murder. He was never looked at. There was a lifeguard on the base and Lynn Harper was a very active swimmer who, according to members of his family, continued to engage in forms of sexual abuse and assault throughout the '60s and always was very nervous about the Harper case. He was never investigated by police. There were other men around the area who had known convictions and the police clearly didn't do their basic homework.

A new investigation into the case is needed since this was clearly a 'miscarriage of justice'. Now it is a case of actually finding Truscott innocent that would require a new police investigation.

Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian Fantino is not ruling out a renewed search for Lynne Harper's real killer, but he admits his officers would face "major hurdles" in trying to solve the murder for which Steven Truscott was wrongly convicted in 1959.
But the likelihood of that happening is moot.

"The trail has gone cold," Sher said. "A lot of these people are dead. I think that unlike the cold cases on TV, this case is going to stay cold because there was never a serious investigation back in 1959."

The point remains that this was a case of a miscarriage of justice from the start,and the result could have meant the hanging of a 14 year old Steven Truscott.

In 1959, Truscott, then 14 years old, was sentenced to hang for the rape and murder of 12-year-old Lynne Harper. The case was a spectacle from the start, as Truscott became Canada's youngest death row inmate, spending 31/2 months in a "death cell" before his sentence was commuted to life in prison.

And it appears that part of the problem was an over zealous cop who decided not to investigate further since he had his boy. Unfortunately this is a common practice that has led to other innocents being railroaded for crimes they did not commit.

Pathologist's kin supports ruling

The pathologist's original conclusions allowed for a time of death much later than 7:45 p.m. -- perhaps even the next day,when Truscott was in school and therefore couldn't have committed the crime.

In October 2004, Julia Penistan told the Stratford Beacon-Herald she thought Truscott's conviction should be overturned and she believed her father faced pressure to support the police theory that Truscott was the murderer.

MACINTYRE: The lead investigator in the Harper murder case was a senior Ontario Provincial Police officer from Toronto … Inspector Harold Graham.
His quick disposition of the case and the conviction of Steven Truscott made Graham a legend among Ontario policemen and, before he retired, he'd become the OPP commissioner.

Graham died recently … adamantly rejecting our requests to discuss his biggest bust.

But at least one of his colleagues harboured serious misgivings. He was Corporal John Erskine …one of the three lead officers in the Harper murder investigation.

HARRIS: Well, he was a perfectionist in everything he did. Like it had to be done right or it wouldn't be done at all.

MACINTYRE: Dee Harris is Corporal Erskine's widow and she remembers how he became increasingly distressed by the case.

HARRIS: Oh not right at the start. It was later on in the investigation. He said at that time after he had looked at different fact that he said, I'm sure he's not guilty.

MACINTYRE: But the boss … Inspector Graham … had his mind made up, so the corporal kept his opinion to himself … His widow is still troubled by it.

HARRIS: All the police officers would come back to our house. I know Graham definitely felt he was guilty. He was convinced right at the start. The first day pretty well. You can't decide an investigation in the first day whether they're guilty or not guilty. You don't have enough facts to go on.

MACINTYRE: But after the first day of the Harper murder investigation Inspector Graham clearly believed he had his murderer … even though he originally thought the murder probably happened at 9 o'clock … when Truscott was home watching television.

MACINTYRE: That crucial detail quickly changed. As the police and prosecution prepared their case against their prime suspect in the fall of 1959.

Documents recently uncovered suggest that they suppressed crucial evidence supporting Truscott's claim of innocence.

There was a statement by a nine year-old girl, in clear and accurate detail, that Steven and Lynne crossed the bridge on his bike just as he and two other boys said he did. Neither the defense nor the jury ever saw that statement.

Mrs. Harper testified that is was unlikely that Lynn would ever hitch-hike. But according to three police reports, that's exactly what she and her husband first suspected when Lynn went missing. Neither defense nor jury ever saw those reports.

If there was one piece of evidence that sealed Steven Truscott's fate it was the report by the pathologist, Dr. Penistan, that she died shortly before eight o'clock in the evening of June ninth, 1959. But Dr. Penistan changed his mind about that seven years later … after what he called "an agonizing reappraisal".

He told Harold Graham … by then the assistant OPP commissioner … that Lynne Harper's death could have been at any time in a 48 hour period. Significantly, this was in May of 1966 … just as the Supreme Court of Canada was about to review the Truscott case … It might have been a bombshell … if the justices had known about it. But somebody struck Penistan's name from the list of prospective witnesses before the hearing started.

In the end Justice has been served. The Truscott case opened the debate on capital punishment in Canada, and for fifty years stood as the example of the horror of state murder of someone who could be innocent.

We've come a long way from the good old days when hanging anyone - let alone a teenager - was an acceptable form of justice. Each time we hear of a murder conviction overturned we give thanks that Canadian lawmakers rejected the state's role as executioner. Each time a conviction is overturned we become more determined that our prison system is one that protects the public, but also treats its inmates with some dignity.

Ironically it was a Conservative government which commuted Truscott's death sentence.

The Conservative government under then prime minister John Diefenbaker
commutes Truscott's sentence to life in prison.

Our New Conservative government would not be so forgiving given their rhetorical fixation on Law and Order and punishing Young Offenders as Adults. After all Harper ain't no Dief the Chief.


Say No To Capital Punishment

Why I Oppose Capital Punishment

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Closing The Barn Door

Alberta premier promises public input on nuclear plant

Sure but the Nuke Alberta gang has already has announced that it has a site.

Calgary-based Energy Alberta revealed plans for what could become the province's first nuclear power plant yesterday but remained tight-lipped on a consumer who would use the majority of its energy. Energy Alberta announced it has filed an application with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for a license to own and operate a nuclear power plant 30 km west of Peace River.

Public transparency about this company and its links to the Government would go along way to really revealing whose pushing this.And that is not something we will get from this government regardless of 'public hearings'.

An upstart Alberta firm with no experience in nuclear energy has taken its first official step to build the province's first nuclear power plant, saying yesterday that it has the backing of a large but unnamed company working in the province.

The provincial government is open minded on potential future energy sources, said Jason Chance, spokesman for Alberta Energy Minister Mel Knight.

Energy Alberta Corp., run by Calgary entrepreneur Wayne Henuset, has filed an application for a licence to prepare a site for its proposed $6.2-billion nuclear power plant with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Formed in 2005, Energy Alberta is also backed by Hank Swartout, founder and former CEO of Precision Drilling Trust, the company he built into the country's largest driller of oil and natural gas wells.
Besides the Stelmach government loves public hearings.It's a sop to democracy in by the One Party State. The public can have their say and the government will ignore their recommendations.

Also See:

Nuke The Tar Sands

Dion Pro Nuke

Cutting Your Nose



Peak Oil

Tar Sands

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Outing Chandler

Well after a weekend of Progressive Bloggers outing the reactionary Craig Chandler the MSM have picked up on the story. I heard it on the radio this morning. And it is in the newspapers.

Alta. newcomers told to accept conservatism or leave

Canadian Press

CALGARY — A man who wants to run for the Alberta Progressive Conservatives says newcomers to the province must “adapt to our rules and voting patterns” or go back to where they came from.

Craig Chandler, who wants to represent the Calgary riding of Calgary Egmont, says people who have moved to Alberta have told him during his doorknocking campaign that they intend to vote Liberal.

Mr. Chandler says the Conservative culture is what created the boom in Alberta and if people don't like it, they should leave.

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach said Wednesday that Mr. Chandler does not speak for the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta.

“This province has welcomed newcomers and we will continue to welcome newcomers.”

David Taras, a political science professor at the University of Calgary, said in the last provincial election, most Alberta voters did not vote for the Tories.

“So when you tell the majority of Albertans to take a hike, they may be the ones to tell you to take a political hike.”

MLA exodus 'a renewal'

Despite six Tory MLAs not running for re-election, Premier Ed Stelmach dismissed claims Wednesday it reflects poorly on his leadership and instead proves there is renewal within his government.

But the head of a group dedicated to the Conservative party's grassroots says there haven't been any significant gains in applying democratic reforms to the party or its relationship with members, prompting an exodus of incumbent MLAs.

One nomination race is already making headlines, with Craig Chandler's bid to replace Herard in Calgary Egmont.

Chandler - whose fundraising chair has stepped down to dedicate himself to his role as president of the riding's constituency association - said this week that new Albertans who don't buy into the province's "small "c" conservative values" should leave.

"Our culture is conservative. People need to remember we vote conservative, that's what helps us make it work," he said.

Stelmach, asked about Chandler's position, said the would-be candidate doesn't speak for the party.
"I do," the premier said. "And we're an open party."

X does not mark the spot when it comes to wannabe MLA Craig Chandler. The Tories need to squash his vote-Conservative-or-leave drivel


Just what Premier Ed needs, Craig Chandler's motor mouth.

Chandler, the man who has wandered the wilderness only the most fierce of the far right call home, has found a new place to play politician.

Respected Calgary Egmont Tory MLA Denis Herard is retiring from public life and Kooky Craig is hoping to be the Conservative candidate to replace him.

Kooky Craig claims he's sold "a very substantial amount of memberships" in the Tory party and has both volunteers and paid staff busy on the hustings. His Progressive Group of Independent Business can't take over the entire Conservative party but they can attempt to take one seat by winning the Tory nomination in one riding.

This is not fringe follies. It can be done.

And what does Kooky Craig stutter in cyberspace these past few days? What is his message? Vote Conservative or leave. You read it right.

Chandler cites a recent poll showing Tory numbers continuing to crater in this city and throughout Alberta.

The wannabe Tory MLA says it's not Ed's fault. It's them, those awful hordes who have come from elsewhere and not swallowed the Conservative Kool-Aid.

"Alberta is growing in a way that was never expected and many of the people coming here do not truly appreciate Alberta or even understand the history of this province or the relationship with the Alberta Progressive Conservative party," says Chandler, who hails from ... I believe... Ontario.

Of course unlike the right wing bloggers who get credited with their posts in the MSM as usual the real journalists were silent about their sources coming from Progressive Citizen Journalists.

We deserve to pat ourselves on the back since this would not have made the news without us.

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After Katrina

George W. Bush failed to be on site in New York immediately after 9/11. He failed again when Katrina devastated New Orleans.

On September 14, 2001 he cruised over WTC site in a helicopter, shades of flying over New Orleans, and does his famous photo-op with the Firemen at Ground Zero.

==Around mid-afternoon on Friday, Bush finally appears in New York City
with a large Congressional delegation and takes a quick helicopter tour of the devastated area with Mayor Giuliani and Governor Pataki as warplanes fly overhead. Afterwards, Bush visits Ground Zero, where he engages in a rare impromptu exchange with a crowd. As rescue personnel chant “U.S.A! U.S.A.!,” Bush climbs atop a small pile of rubble and uses a bullhorn to thank them for their efforts. When some workers call out that they can’t hear, Bush responds "I can hear you! I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!" The crowd reacts with cheers and more chants of “U.S.A.!” Workers at Ground Zero are clearly encouraged by Bush’s visit, but there is also annoyance over the two hour shutdown of rescue work caused by the extremely tight security measures. [nyt.Sep.14.2001 / cnn.Sep.14.2001 / dmn.Sep.15.2001]

After talking to state officials and emergency teams in New York, the president flew to Camp David for what a senior US official called a "decision-making meeting" later on Saturday with top advisors.

September 14: President Bush declares a national emergency. The Senate adopts a resolution authorizing the use of U.S. armed forces against those responsible for the attacks. President Bush visits the World Trade Center site. Federal officials release names of the 19 hijackers. Bush declares a "national day of prayer and remembrance." Many Americans attend religious services. Congress unanimously approves $40 billion for emergency aid, including $20 billion for New York. President Bush activates 50,000 national guard and reserve members to help with recovery and security.

After Katrina he failed to visit New Orleans until the anniversary of 9/11. Weeks after the hurricane hit. And then it was for another photo op like 9/11.

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) Sunday, September 11, 2005;

-- President Bush arrived in Louisiana Sunday as the official death toll from Hurricane Katrina climbed past 400 and the search for bodies continued nearly two weeks after the storm hit the Gulf Coast.

The visit is Bush's third to the region but his first chance to get a first-hand look at the streets of New Orleans, which were flooded after levees protecting the low-lying city broke.

Two days after the storm hit, Bush surveyed Katrina's destruction from Air Force One on his way back to Washington from Crawford, Texas, where he'd spent a month's vacation. He visited other parts of the region in two subsequent visits.

He was on vacation prior to Katrina as he was prior to 9/11.

“News coverage has pointedly stressed that W.'s month-long stay at his ranch in Crawford is the longest presidential vacation in 32 years. Washington Post supercomputers calculated that if you add up all his weekends at Camp David, layovers at Kennebunkport and assorted to-ing and fro-ing, W. will have spent 42 percent of his presidency ‘at vacation spots or en route.’” Charles Krauthammer, “A Vacation Bush Deserves,” The Washington Post, August 10, 2001.

Yesterday he commemorated his regimes failure to support the people of New Orleans then and now. And as usual there was no mea culpa.

President Bush and other officials observed the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, honoring the dead and touring still ruined neighborhoods.

However the real scandal is not that he arrived late after Hurricane Katrina, but that after two years the City has not been rebuilt, funds have been squandered.

A recent report from the RFK Center for Human Rights and the Institute for Southern Studies estimated that the Bush administration was overstating federal funding for the Gulf Coast rebuilding campaign by as much as 300%, with about $35 billion of an estimated $114 billion actually spent.

With America's largest black city and thousands of blacks stranded in the immediate aftermath of the storm the failure to rescue them smacked of racism.

That the federal government has utterly failed in these lethal days is universally obvious.

Is it because so many of these people are black and poor? Is it because Bush has successfully stolen a second term and just doesn't care? Is it because this gouged and battered organization that was once our government has been so thoroughly exhausted by war and corruption that it cannot or will not manage so basic a task as bringing the necessities of life to its needlessly dying citizens?

But to hear of dead bodies being stacked outside a professional football stadium to avoid further stench where ten thousand Americans can't get water, food or sanitary facilities.To see dazed elders who've just lost their homes or hospital rooms being laid on sidewalks to die. To watch crying children stretched out on the ground, separated from their parents, dehydrated, overheated, starving....this is too much to bear.

How utterly can our nation have failed? How totally bankrupt can we be?

And the guy in charge of all this who should have been fired; Homeland Security boss Chertoff, wasn't.

Congressional investigators lambasted the U.S. government for its response to Hurricane Katrina, saying a lack of a clear chain of command hindered relief efforts and that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff or another top official should have been the point person on relief efforts.

The Government Accountability Office also found that the government still lacks sufficient plans and training programs to prepare for catastrophic disasters like the Aug. 29 storm that devastated much of the Gulf Coast area. But it also singled out Chertoff in several shortcomings.

Until now, Chertoff has largely escaped widespread criticism of the government's sluggish response to Katrina. By contrast, then-FEMA Director Michael Brown, the principal federal official at the disaster site, quit his job after becoming the public face of the failures.

The report said that neither Chertoff nor any of his deputies in the disaster area acted as President George W. Bush's overall storm coordinator, "which serves to underscore the immaturity of and weaknesses relating to the current national response framework."

After all Katrina was not a surprise to the administration since they had anticipated it.

Before 9/11 the Federal Emergency Management Agency listed the three most likely catastrophic disasters facing America: a terrorist attack on New York, a major earthquake in San Francisco and a hurricane strike on New Orleans. "The New Orleans hurricane scenario," The Houston Chronicle wrote in December 2001, "may be the deadliest of all."

Some critics are suggesting President Bush was as least partly responsible for the flooding in New Orleans. In a widely quoted opinion piece, former Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal says that "the damage wrought by the hurricane may not entirely be the result of an act of nature," and cites years of reduced funding for federal flood-control projects around New Orleans.

Our fact-checking confirms that Bush indeed cut funding for projects specifically designed to strengthen levees. Indeed, local officials had been complaining about that for years.

And with a lame duck President and an administration running on the spot nothing has changed. The failures that led to the destruction of New Orleans plague the White House still.

When investigating the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina, a House of Representatives select committee cited a “failure of initiative” at all levels of government. The storm killed 1,836 people, caused an estimated $81 billion in damage, and displaced some two million people. The population of New Orleans is currently about 66 percent of its pre-Katrina level, and the city’s uneven recovery is examined in depth in this New York Times interactive feature. The Department of Homeland Security has since quadrupled its stockpiles of emergency supplies and sought to improve emergency planning at the community level. The 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act signed by President Bush in August promises to provide increased funding for emergency communications and first responders. Yet some experts believe the lessons of the disaster appear to have gone unlearned. In his recent book, The Edge of Disaster, CFR’s Stephen Flynn says the levees that failed to protect New Orleans two years ago are being rebuilt to the same standard as before, capable only of enduring a Category 3 hurricane.

Now compare Bush's slow response to President Johnson's visit to hurricane ravaged New Orleans after Hurricane Betsy. And a visit to the same lower ninth ward that Bush visited yesterday.

Lyndon Johnson received high marks for visiting the Lower Ninth Ward and victims in shelters a day after Hurricane Betsy ravaged New Orleans. ("I put aside all the problems on my desk to come to Louisiana as soon as I could," Johnson said.)

President Lyndon Baines Johnson flew into New Orleans the day after Hurricane Betsy in September 1965 and announced at the airport, "I am here because I want to see with my own eyes what the unhappy alliance of wind and water have done to this land and people."
The day after. Not a week later.

LBJ believed in the 'Great Society'. Bush believes in 'compassionate conservatism'. The latter is an ideological reaction to the former. And it has proven to be more of a failure than the Great Society ever was.


Our Living Earth

Surge Blackout

What He Didn't Say

Soul of a City

Remember Katrina and Rita?

Katrina Mission Accomplished

Katrina: It's a Dog-Gone Crime

This is What Global Warming Looks Like

A Paradox called Katrina

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