Thursday, January 18, 2007

Doomsday, Gary Lunn and the first Dutch Traffic Warning; Are Conservatives Connecting the Dots?

I'm in the Netherlands for two weeks and right now I'm in the middle of a severe storm:

The traffic authorities issued a warning to motorists not to use the roads if at all possible, in the first such use of the "traffic alarm" since it was instituted in November 2005.

The weather bureau said the storm, with southwesterly winds gusting up to 130 kilometers an hour, was the worst since October 2002. The storm, which follows a southwesterly storm a week ago, was expected to peak in the late afternoon. (source)

And I have to say; weather is seriously bad; winds of up to 130 km/hour are blowing through the country. Dutch train stations are closed, many flights at Schiphol airport are canceled; it looks like it's going to be the worst storm since 1990.

In international news, scientist are warning us (for the first time) for the world's two biggest threats. And guess what, terrorism is not one of them:

"As scientists, we understand the dangers of nuclear weapons and their devastating effects, and we are learning how human activities and technologies are affecting climate systems in ways that may forever change life on earth," said Professor Hawking (source).
Well, and then there's Gary Lunn. He uses the argument of global warming as a reason to expand nuclear activity on Canadian soil.

Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn yesterday said a $238 million green science fund, to be distributed over four years, will help pay for the research and development of technologies such as [...] nuclear energy.
First of all, nuclear energy is not a clean energy source. Secondly, I don't think Canada is in a "catch 22" like the US (Iraq, "should I stay or should I go now"); there are good other options that are clean and less dangerous.

We're in the 21st century, the century of sustainability. Let's walk the talk and do the math; nuclear technology is at the base of generating nuclear waste and nuclear arsenal, both contributing to the world's most important threats as outlined by Professor Hawkin.

There are many green solutions out there; this century is the (only?) time to do things right. With or without the Conservatives?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

PMS is going green, Chrysler isn't, Exxon never will be

The CBC "doesn't get it";
(see picture)

PMS Harper going green

Harper is trying really hard to look green.
(see picture)

PMS Steve Harper

But Chrysler is still in full denial.

Chrysler's chief economist Van Jolissaint has launched a fierce attack on "quasi-hysterical Europeans" and their "Chicken Little" attitudes to global warming.

I also ran into this site about Exxon Secrets and how the oil industry continuously buys supports for the "global warming does not cause climate change", similar to the "tobacco does not cause cancer" message.

More on
Chrysler: BBC News
Exxon: Exxon Secrets

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Blair finds manner of Saddam hanging 'completely wrong': office

Blair finally condemns the execution of Saddam Hussein:

British Prime Minister Tony Blair believes the manner of Saddam Hussein's execution was "completely wrong", his Downing Street office said Sunday.

Blair has been under fire for refusing to speak on the subject, and criticism of his silence mounted after both his deputy and his finance minister condemned the hanging of the deposed Iraqi dictator as "deplorable" and "completely unacceptable".

In his first engagement since returning from a New Year holiday in Miami, Blair said Friday he would speak about the execution next week.

"In terms of what he will say next week, we don't think there are going to be any surprises on where he stands," a spokeswoman said, while declining to say when and how Blair would make his comments on Saddam's hanging.

"He supports the inquiry by the Iraqi authorities. He does believe that the manner of execution was completely wrong, but this shouldn't lead us to forget the crimes that Saddam committed, including the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis."

The execution was carried out at the start of a key holiday while leaked mobile phone video footage showed Saddam being taunted as he stood on the gallows, prompting Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to order a probe.

Britain's finance minister Gordon Brown condemned the execution of the toppled president in an interview broadcast Sunday, becoming the highest-ranking government member to speak out so far.

Whole story: France24

Friday, January 05, 2007

U.S. To Give Abbas Forces $86 Mln Amid Power Struggle

Bush administration's love for regime change?

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The Bush administration will provide $86 million to help security forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, expanding U.S. involvement in his struggle with Hamas, according to documents seen on Friday.


Hamas lawmaker Mushir al-Masri accused Washington of helping to mount a "coup'' against the Hamas-led government. ``We demand that President Abbas reject this American policy, which feeds the culture of divisions among the Palestinian people,'' he said.

Abbas's office had no immediate comment.

Whole Story: New York Times

Saddam execution turned him into a martyr: Mubarak

Timing is everything:

"People are executed all over the world, but what happened in Baghdad on the first day of Eid al-Adha was unthinkable. I didn't believe it was happening," [Mubarak] said.

"In the end, no one will ever forget the circumstances and the way in which Saddam was executed. They turned him into a martyr, and the problems in Iraq remained."

Saddam's hanging has sparked outrage among Sunni Muslims, for taking place on the first day of one of the most important Muslim holidays, and for the grainy video released afterward that showed he was taunted and mocked as he stood on the gallows.

- Wikipedia: Eid ul-Adha

Unemployment down to 6.1% in December

It looks like NOW is the time to raise minimum wage:

The Canadian economy added more jobs than expected in December, helping push the national unemployment rate back down to a 30-year low of 6.1 per cent.

WHOLE STORY: CBC: Unemployment down to 6.1% in December

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Jason Cherniak doesn't know what progressive means

Last Tuesday was an interesting day in the blogosphere, and I learned a couple of things too:

- the left in Canada is alive and kicking
- self proclaimed progressive blogger Jason Cherniak doesn't know what progressive means

Ever since I landed in Canada (in 2002 I moved from the Netherlands to Canada) I have tried to get used to the complete different political landscape here. What struck me most (and still does) is the consent to corporate bias by the MSM and the public at large.

In the Netherlands I considered myself a moderate; I’ve voted for the Dutch Liberal Party (currently more right than ever), but also for D66 and PVDA (labour) en GroenLinks (green left), depending on their platforms and the reputation of their leader (lijsttrekker). But nothing extreme, at least not for Dutch standards. Trying to translate this to Canadian politics, I’m often way of the political radar…(on the left that is)

Tuesday made something very clear to me; it’s not the Canadian people that are different, but it’s those in government who represent us (or, in the case of Mr. Cherniak, those who have aspirations to do so in the future).

The Toronto Star’s article, suggesting targeted solutions for a failed promise by parliament to root out poverty, is indeed a sincere action plan. Implementing it, even partially, will benefit the poor and, perhaps, root out poverty in Canada all together.

But JC had non of it. Nothing else than a “Say No to $10 minimum wage”. According to his blog, proposing $10 minimum wage is “crazy” because a raise of 25% would, well read it yourself:

“To me, the likely result seems obvious - one in four minimum wage workers will be fired.”
Of course Mr. Cherniak does not give references for his ridiculous statement. Apart from some conservative thinktank propaganda talking points (similar to those of the Fraser Institute), no serious data is given. The important reason being; there isn’t any.

Mr. Cherniak assumes, in short, that currently everything is fine; the economy is booming, and the low minimum wage is not a real problem.

Well Mr. Cherniak, everything is not fine. Indeed, the economy is booming. Top incomes of the business elite (and those of the political elite) have been rising exponentially, but, sadly enough, the very poor are still, very poor.

It should be clear by now that a booming economy does NOT automatically result in less poverty, on the contrary. And the reason is simple; it’s because the ideology, as presented by Cherniak and the Fraser Institute is seriously flawed. The wealth of a booming economy does not automatically trickle down to the bottom of the chain. Other powers (did you ever hear of corporate greed, Mr. Cherniak?) keep workers exploited and in poverty.

We know our government has to power to change this. Now is the time we demand from parliament to keep their so far failed promise.

Raising minimum wage substantially is not the complete answer. But it’s start, and it’s long overdue.

But it’s also time we tell Mr. Cherniak that consenting to the current status quo by using flawed Fraser Institute rhetoric is called conservative. I don’t have problems with Conservatives; everybody their own voice, vote, religion, or blog – that what makes democracy great! But I do find it problematic when someone claims to be progressive, when in reality he’s a conservative in disguise. Such a person has passed the level of hypocrisy palatable to me, and given the fierce reaction to his blog (and a dozen other blog entries), many other progressive bloggers feel the same way.

If Mr. Cherniak thinks he’s progressive, then he doesn’t understand what progressive means.