Thursday, May 31, 2007

(video) Stephane Dion booed at labour rally

Progressive-lite leader Stephane Dion was not welcome at yesterdays labour Rally. Here's what happened (thanks to CPAC and YouTube).

OTTAWA — Thousands of union members gathered on Parliament Hill today to demand government action to halt the disappearance of manufacturing jobs and Liberal Leader Stephane Dion was booed when he joined other opposition MPs speaking at the rally.


Dion, NDP Leader Jack Layton and Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe told the rally that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government has taken a laissez-faire approach to the difficulties of the manufacturing sector, dismissing the loss of jobs as a result of global economic changes.


But Dion was heckled and booed by union members chanting "anti-scab, anti-scab" to object to the Liberals' lack of support for legislation that would prevent federally regulated companies from hiring replacement workers.

- Toronto Star: Dion booed at labour rally
- Globe and Mail: Dion speech booed at labour protest rally
- Progressive Lite
- Globe and mail: video
- Devin Johnston: Why Dion Was Booed and Why He Deserved It

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What is Patriotism?

Yesterday was a Vancouver day for me. Taking the Tsawassen/Swarts Bay ferry twice on one day gives me quite some time to catch up on some of my favourite programs that I subsrcibe to through podcast or vodcast. On my way back to Victoria I was enjoying a vodcast on the Democracy Player (recommended), watching Monday's downloaded Democracy Now! show (recommended); double democracy, how much more democratic can it get?

The following dramatized reading of Emma Goldman's "What is Patriotism?" , by Sandra Oh (picture) struck me most; how certain themes of the past can be so current! And well performed, Sandra.

Listen to the whole show here: Democracy Now!. More links can be found at the bottom.

What Is Patriotism?
by Emma Goldman
San Francisco, California
Men and Women:

What is patriotism? Is it love of one's birthplace, the place of childhood's recollections and hopes, dreams and aspirations? Is it the place where, in childlike naivete, we would watch the passing clouds, and wonder why we, too, could not float so swiftly? The place where we would count the milliard glittering stars, terror-stricken lest each one "an eye should be," piercing the very depths of our little souls? Is it the place where we would listen to the music of the birds and long to have wings to fly, even as they, to distant lands? Or is it the place where we would sit on Mother's knee, enraptured by tales of great deeds and conquests? In short, is it love for the spot, every inch representing dear and precious recollections of a happy, joyous and playful childhood?

If that were patriotism, few American men of today would be called upon to be patriotic, since the place of play has been turned into factory, mill, and mine, while deepening sounds of machinery have replaced the music of the birds. No longer can we hear the tales of great deeds, for the stories our mothers tell today are but those of sorrow, tears and grief.

What, then, is patriotism? "Patriotism, sir, is the last resort of scoundrels," said Dr. [Samuel] Johnson. Leo Tolstoy, the greatest anti-patriot of our time, defines patriotism as the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers; a trade that requires better equipment in the exercise of man-killing than the making of such necessities as shoes, clothing, and houses; a trade that guarantees better returns and greater glory than that of the honest workingman...

Indeed, conceit, arrogance and egotism are the essentials of patriotism. Let me illustrate. Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who have had the fortune of being born on some particular spot consider themselves nobler, better, grander, more intelligent than those living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all the others. The inhabitants of the other spots reason in like manner, of course, with the result that from early infancy the mind of the child is provided with blood-curdling stories about the Germans, the French, the Italians, Russians, etc. When the child has reached manhood he is thoroughly saturated with the belief that he is chosen by the Lord himself to defend his country against the attack or invasion of any foreigner. It is for that purpose that we are clamoring for a greater army and navy, more battleships and ammunition...

An army and navy represent the people's toys. To make them more attractive and acceptable, hundreds and thousands of dollars are being spent for the display of toys. That was the purpose of the American government in equipping a fleet and sending it along the Pacific coast, that every American citizen should be made to feel the pride and glory of the United States.

The city of San Francisco spent one hundred thousand dollars for the entertainment of the fleet; Los Angeles, sixty thousand; Seattle and Tacoma, about one hundred thousand... Yes, two hundred and sixty thousand dollars were spent on fireworks, theater parties, and revelries, at a time when men, women, and children through the breadth and length of the country were starving in the streets; when thousands of unemployed were ready to sell their labor at any price.

What could not have been accomplished with such an enormous sum? But instead of bread and shelter, the children of those cities were taken to see the fleet, that it may remain, as one newspaper said, "a lasting memory for the child."

A wonderful thing to remember, is it not? The implements of civilized slaughter. If the mind of the child is poisoned with such memories, what hope is there for a true realization of human brotherhood?

We Americans claim to be a peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence. Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying machines upon helpless citizens. We are ready to hang, electrocute, or lynch anyone, who, from economic necessity, will risk his own life in the attempt upon that of some industrial magnate. Yet our hearts swell with pride at the thought that America is becoming the most powerful nation on earth, and that she will eventually plant her iron foot on the necks of all other nations.

Such is the logic of patriotism.

...Thinking men and women the world over are beginning to realize that patriotism is too narrow and limited a conception to meet the necessities of our time. The centralization of power has brought into being an international feeling of solidarity among the oppressed nations of the world; a solidarity which represents a greater harmony of interests between the workingman of America and his brothers abroad than between the American miner and his exploiting compatriot; a solidarity which fears not foreign invasion, because it is bringing all the workers to the point when they will say to their masters, "Go and do your own killing. We have done it long enough for you."

...The proletariat of Europe has realized the great force of that solidarity and has, as a result, inaugurated a war against patriotism and its bloody specter, militarism. Thousands of men fill the prisons of France, Germany, Russia and the Scandinavian countries because they dared to defy the ancient superstition...

America will have to follow suit. The spirit of militarism has already permeated all walks of life. Indeed, I am convinced that militarism is a greater danger here than anywhere else, because of the many bribes capitalism holds out to those whom it wishes to destroy...

The beginning has already been made in the schools... Children are trained in military tactics, the glory of military achievements extolled in the curriculum, and the youthful mind perverted to suit the government. Further, the youth of the country is appealed to in glaring posters to join the Army and the Navy. "A fine chance to see the world!" cries the governmental huckster. Thus innocent boys are morally shanghaied into patriotism, and the military Moloch strides conquering through the nation...

When we have undermined the patriotic lie, we shall have cleared the path for the great structure where all shall be united into a universal brotherhood -- a truly free society.

- Emma Goldman; What is Patriotism?
- Wikipedia: Emma Goldman
- Democracy Now! audio (mp3)
- Democracy Player
- Wikipedia: Sandra Oh
- Wikipedia: vodcast

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Energizer Baird; My Blahg

My Blahg by Robert McClelland

Minister Tony Clement or: How Canadians should learn to stop worrying about drug addicts

The good old straw man fallacy is working overtime for Conservatives again. This time it's the method of reasoning against safe-injection sites. Here's how it goes:

1. you think up an issue ("What about safe-injection sites?")

2. you poll for the views of Canadians (many believe these sites reduce harm to the community)
3. you check your own beliefs ("illegal drug use? Bad....")

4. in case 3 opposes 2 (regardless of any facts of course), you - by the strongest means possible - shoot down each and every opposing argument by misrepresenting the opponent's position ("for God's sake, call them myths"), and then refuting the misrepresentation.
5. you spread the word (the "Debunking the Myths" document).

And when I say by the strongest means, I mean the strongest means.

Ottawa debunks safe-injection site myths
Federal health minister's top adviser targets Vancouver's Insite facility
Peter O'Neil, CanWest News Service
Published: Monday, May 28, 2007
OTTAWA -- The top policy adviser to Health Minister Tony Clement ordered federal officials to debunk five "myths"about Vancouver's Safe Injection Site, just before Clement announced his refusal last year to extend the site's permit. [...]

The Debunking the Myths document was delivered to Jo Kennelly, Clement's senior policy adviser, only days after other Health Canada internal briefing notes and media analysis described the facility's progress and public support in positive terms.
The [Debunking the Myths] document [...] declared there were five widely held but false public views: that safe injection sites are "commonly used" in other countries; they operate "all across Canada;" they are legal; they present "a complete solution" to drug-use harms; and that the safe-injection site "has the complete support of the community."

It doesn't matter what YOU think, what matters is what the New Government TELLS YOU to think. Are you still with me?

Each of the so-called myths -- there is no indication which individuals or groups were espousing these views -- are then all shot down.

There you have it. Of course it's a lot easier to shoot down non-existing myths (myths you never had in the first place) than deal with the real facts. But who cares about facts on criticism of harm reduction when the fabrication of non-existing myths can lead to such wonderful straw men?

Read the whole story

- Harm reduction and illicit drugs Australia
- Wikipedia: Harm Reduction
- Wikipedia: Criticism of harm reduction
- Wikipedia: Safe Injection Sites
- Wikipedia: Media Manipulation
- Victoria Times Colonist: Ottawa debunks safe-injection site myths
- Wikipedia: Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
- Wikipedia: Straw man Fallacy
- Wiktionary: Myth

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Jesus Camp; watch it

Wanna know who's supporting the religious right in the US?

Watch the 2006 documentary Jesus Camp; then you know.

- Religious Right
- Jesus Camp - the movie
- Guardian - review

Monday, May 21, 2007

Gouged at the Pump; My Blagh

by Robert McClelland

Are you being gouged at the pump? Find out with this handy Gasoline Price Gouge Meter from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Here in London we’re paying $1.11/litre and here’s what the GPG Meter had to say about it.

Your gas prices are 23.2¢ per litre above the normalized cost of 87.8¢ per litre in London

With today’s crude oil price of $65.20 USD per barrel and the US dollar at $1.09 CAD, the price of regular unleaded gasoline in London should be 87.8¢ per litre at normal profit margins.

At a price of $1.11 per litre, you are paying 23.2¢ per litre in pure excess profit. Across Canada, an extra margin of 23.2¢ per litre generates an additional profit of 23.2 million dollars per day.


Now mind you, I’m not upset over paying $1.11/litre for gas. It’s not really an outrageous amount of money to pay. But what does piss me off is that the oil companies are engaged in what can only be described as outrageously greedy capitalism at its worst. What is even more appalling is that these same greedy bastards are the driving force behind the anti-climate change fight. They cry that they’ll suffer undue hardship if Canada tries to meet its Kyoto target while gouging consumers at the pumps and raking in record profits.

It’s time to put an end to this nonsense. The excessive greed in the oil industry needs to be regulated and taxes on gasoline need to be raised so we can afford to repair the damage done to our environment. The oil industry will survive with a few less dollars in their pockets and the consumer, while not paying any less, will at least know their money will be used for a greater good.

- My Blagh
- CCPA: Gas Price Gouge Meter

Sunday, May 20, 2007

"Death, isn't always sad" - Bye Bye, Jerry Falwell

Friday, May 18, 2007

Opinion Poll Caught "Lying"

I normally have little time for "the latest poll" but this one is simply too funny to pass:

OTTAWA — As Parliament broke for a week Friday amid speculation it will soon be shut down until fall, a new poll shows that none of the federal parties has made substantial progress with voters since the election 16 months ago.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s minority Conservatives regained a tenuous lead of 36 per cent, a five-point increase over last week, but just kept pace with their 2006 election result, the Ipsos Reid poll found.

Since when is a poll immune to all the political turmoil at the Hill? If we take this poll seriously then we have to conclude that this week was a good week for the Conservatives, right?

Canada's political parties should finally get over their polling fetishes and start basing their policies on content, not on marketing strategies. The numbers do sometimes lie, fortunately I would like to add.

- whole story: Support for federal parties stalled, poll finds
- opinion poll

Israeli Air Strikes Kill 10 Palestinians in Gaza

Democracy Now!
Friday, May 18th, 2007
Headlines for May 18, 2007

Israeli air strikes in Gaza have killed at least 10 Palestinians over the past 24 hours. In the biggest raid, an Israeli bomb destroyed a two-story building belonging to Hamas. The bomb killed two members of Hamas and wounded 45 people including civilians who here buried in the rubble. Five more Palestinians died when Israeli war planes bombed a Hamas headquarters building east of Gaza City. A third Israeli air strike targeted a pickup truck near the southern town of Rafah. It killed three people, a father and his two teenage sons. Israeli troops and tanks have also moved across the Gaza border. Hamas accused Israel of colluding with Fatah in a battle for dominance over Gaza. A spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the Israeli attacks were justified because Hamas is firing rockets into southern Israel.

  • Miri Eisen: "We won't allow them to use their violence, their terror, against Israel. Israel knows how to respond. We will do all defensive measures to be sure that our citizens are safe. We will not be dragged by the Hamas into the mire of Gaza."
Hamas has vowed to keep carrying out rocket attacks. Paramedics in Israel said at least three Israelis were injured this morning in a rocket attack on the town of Sderot. On Thursday Hamas rockets hit a synagogue and a school.
  • Hamas spokesperson Ayman Taha: "We will not be quiet for long with these continued crimes, and we will not stand with our hands tied. We're ready to launch any type of attack, by any means and equipment necessary, and in all the cities. We will choose the right time and place."
In Washington, the Bush administration has praised Israel for showing what it described as "great restraint." But the Arab League has denounced Israel for exploiting Palestinian infighting.

- Democracy Now Headlines
- The Age

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Liberals, Spending Your Taxes on Luxury Flights

Premier Dalton McGuinty has made the news again. This time it's about his travel behaviour:

Premier Dalton McGuinty has used government aircraft flights worth up to $1 million to reach destinations as close to Toronto as Hamilton and Niagara.

That's what I'm saying, luxury flights, on a government aircraft. One million, can't buy all that much for that anymore these days. So what's all the fuss about?

Many of the flights -- for which other users pay $2,000 an hour -- were for news conferences or photo opportunities in local communities. Neither the premier nor the lieutenant governor have to pay to use the province's two executive turboprops.

Hmmm, this doesn't look all that good. PR blowback time, I guess.

One round trip took McGuinty to a Liberal party campaign event at a Windsor auto plant during the 2006 federal election. He repeated a two-week-old announcement of provincial funding for DaimlerChrysler. [...]

Supporting Big Business with our tax-money, twice: at least he's spending it wisely.

The premier refused a request for an interview for this story.
Questions are always trouble. Parliamentary Press Gallery, FOI requests, Parliamentary Committees, they're just not very helpful.

- whole story: Hamilton Spectator
- Hamilton Spectator - pdf
- Dalton McQuinty
- Cover up

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Liberal Propaganda at ProgBlog - not progressive

Yes, we're back at the very same issue - Liberal bias at ProgBlog. But don't worry I'll take a new angle too.

The PB moderators.
I've recently learned that there's a lot more liberalism at PB than the eye meets. Scott would like to make you believe that, out of seven moderators, only two are Liberals. Well, not so. Saskboy is SK Liberal (check Liblogs - he's still there) and Catnip, she's a very special Liberal, spelled liberal. Then there's Scott himself. Doesn't that make three already?

But there's something else.

During the Polly Jones crisis, one comment lost in all the bickering, intrigued me. Polly asked for a serious discussion on a current topic:

Would it be possible for people to state their positions on the WB? Are people aware of neo-liberalism? Or, do none of you look beyond your own postal code?
No answers, and I have to admit my own silence too. But it did lead me to visit some of my most vocal opponents' websites, trying to figure out what it is they are blogging about. These opponents included Scott Tribe, Steve V. and Jason Cherniak.

Liberal Propaganda
Do the test and decide for yourself (now do it!). Aren't these Libloggers merely Liberal propaganda sites with a "progressive bloggers" logo? By far the majority of their posts is nothing more than partisan BS; not very progressive if you ask me. One wonders, when Liberal party politics is all they seem to care about (along with their obvious party biases), what good it does for the Progressive Bloggers community; couldn't we simply subscribe to Liblogs if we were interested in Liberal junk?

I'm more progressive than you...
I realize all too well that it's hard to describe what progressive means. But it's less difficult to define what it is not;
Blogs continuously spouting petty party propaganda is not progressive.

So can it be done, can we actually blog without overly obvious biases? Yes, we can. And many have. Here's a list of progressive blogs, dealing beyond petty party politics. Yes, some of them are affiliated with political parties, and some aren't. But all have a far wider spectrum than, say, Far and Wide does.
- Buckdog:
- Bill Longstaff:
- James Laxer:
- Political Psychols:
- Marginal notes:

Libs are as progressive as the Cons are green

Some say that the latest spat (or crisis) hasn't much to do with Scott's actions as moderator, but more with his politics. Either way, I take offence in having clearly partisan hacks as our moderators. I hear from many that Scott has done wonderful work for PB, I've no issue with that. He should be praised for his achievements. But when Liberals' only reason for joining PB is infecting us with their obvious biases (also given the scope of their blogs), one has to wonder if the progressive label is nothing more than dress-up. Conservatives have taken on the Green Label, and Scott, your right, their actions are not conform their message. But neither is the "Progressive Bloggers" label very suitable for Liberal partisan hacks. Progressive-Lites would be more appropriate.

Progressive-Lite Logo
I'm sure Joanne can supply you with a new Progressive-Lite button, Scott. Just ask her in a friendly manner, she's quite approachable. I've chosen the other logo below, to let you know where I stand:

Progressive Dissident


Monday, May 14, 2007

Purging is not cool; when will Scott resign?

Scott is out purging, again, well sort off. Polly Jones, one of the (former?) moderators of PB, said:

After I refused to edit or remove my response, as directed by Scott through email, he took the mind-blowing action of deleting all threads in the moderator forum.
But that's not all. Polly:
When Scott re-opened the purged forums to a 'clean slate', I commented that I found his actions odd and promised to "take action" after the weekend. I can assure you that by action, I meant that I wouldn't be silenced on the issue. Scott has, however, used my comment to defend his latest abuse of administrative powers: locking me out of administrative access.
Always nice to know your fellow-moderators support you.
This didn't surprise me either. Polly:
Certainly, when Scott performed his purge of the forums, he notified no one.
Yeah, that's our Scott purging; no-one needs to know.

But (IMHO) Polly Jones was right about this:
Scott [Tribe] defends right-wing ideology. He is uninformed as to his own politial views. [...] I am really bored of people who prop themselves up against the Tories without recognizing they hold the same fundamental ideology.
Isn't it time for progressive change at PB and demand a more progressive Chief -Moderator?

This is how Polly Jones put it (in her comments):
[Scott Tribe] should quit. In fact, I will make the promise that I will quit, if he quits too.
And, if I may suggest, can it be someone that is not affiliated directly to one of the main political parties and/or to Jason Cherniak?


Update: Scott has sent me a personal email to explain his side of the story. Anyone interested in a copy can send me an email

- Marginal Notes: A Dissident Moderator
- Marginal Notes: The Very Dangerous 'Progressive' Mentality
- A Canadian Lefty in Occupied Land: ProgBlogs and Process
- Leonard Jordaan: Scott Tribe at all
- Scott Tribe: Admin Announcement
- Politics’n'Poetry: Dissidence
- Purging is Hot!

Meet Werner Patels, the most immature blogger of the week

I think I ran into the most immature blogger on the internet yesterday. His name is Werner Patels.

I commented on his blog where he claimed that "People are so busy working (because of the tremendous tax burden)". Later he asserted that "Canadians work for Revenue Canada most of the time."

When I called him on these ludicrous statements he started his ad hominem attacks on me. All (!) his assumptions turned out to be wrong, yet I'm still waiting for an apology.

But his immaturity is most prominent in the following. I used this wording to defend myself from being attacked:

And again, Werner Patels delivers: lots of nonsense but no facts.

As far as "the problem" (me being in uni and all that jazz); I can assure you that I have been working full-time over a decade now, in Netherlands, Germany and Canada, and my income has been above median for the last several years.

But that's not why you brought it up, right? It's a cheap trick to shift the attention away from your "problem": there are no facts that support your ludicrous statement that "Canadians work for Revenue Canada most of the time."

*(And I am talking "middle class", not lowest income tax bracket, okay?)
- whatever.
He didn't like that, so HE reduced MY comments to this:
As far as "the problem" (me being in uni and all that jazz); I can assure you that I have been working full-time over a decade now, in Netherlands, Germany and Canada, and my income has been above median for the last several years.
I don't have problems with bloggers having a "mature and professional" comment policy, but I do believe that then all should live by it, including the so-called writer Werner Patels. Making an ad-hominem attack yet censuring my defence is unprofessional and immature.

And that's why I call him the most immature blogger of the week! Yes, unprofessional too.

Update 1: Werner's updated policy for commenting can be found here; "I know most people [...] have a hard time reading and following instructions". So Werner, how about applying your own rules to your own posts?

Werner, you're also in the race for being the "hypocrite of the week", and you're making a good chance!

Update 2: He actually emailed me with an explanation for why it was banned too (that's more dignity than I get from Scott and his Tribe). Here's the whole email:
You used phrases such as "utter nonsense", which was against site rules. You're lucky you have not been banned yet. I did not engage in attacks, but if you don't resort to the language found in letters-to-the-editor, which is exactly what comments to this site must be like from now on, you won't get a single comment published and may even be banned eventually. Grow up.
Really interesting, Werner especially when your own writing is full of BS:

One blogger has begun to question the purpose of blogging and says that message boards are more effective.
To this, I say: complete BS.

So utter nonsense against the site rules, only when I use it? And complete BS isn't?

- Werner Patels Post
- Wikipedia: Ad-Hominem
- Wikipedia: Hypocrisy

Sunday, May 13, 2007

(video) Mothers for Peace

The origins of Mother's Day (Wikipedia):

Julia Ward Howe wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation in 1870, as a call for peace and disarmament. Howe failed in her attempt to get formal recognition of a Mother's Day for Peace. Her idea was influenced by Ann Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, starting in 1858, had attempted to improve sanitation through what she called Mothers' Work Days. She organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides, and in 1868 she began work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors. In parts of the United States it is customary to plant tomatoes outdoors after mother's day (and not before.)

When Jarvis died, her daughter, named Anna Jarvis, started the crusade to found a memorial day for women. The first such Mother's Day was celebrated in Grafton, West Virginia, on May 10, 1908, in the church where the elder Ann Jarvis had taught Sunday School. Grafton is the home to the International Mother's Day Shrine. From there, the custom caught on — spreading eventually to 45 states. The holiday was declared officially by some states beginning in 1912. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared the first national Mother's Day, as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war (with specific reference to The Great War, now known as World War I). Nine years after the first official Mother's Day holiday, commercialization of the U.S. holiday became so rampant that Anna Jarvis herself became a major opponent of what the holiday had become. Mother's Day continues to this day to be one of the most commercially successful U.S. holidays.

- The Nation
- Wikipedia

Friday, May 11, 2007

(video) Canada's New Government considers Canadians too stupid for PR

Yes, the latest "message" from the New Government is that Canadians are a lot more stupid than the citizens of most European countries.

Delivered by Edward Fast:

Proportional Representation is too hard to understand
Now, keep repeating it, OK?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

BC Ferries needs a Green Plan

Everybody is going green these days, except BC Ferries. What's wrong with them? Don't they see the opportunities here?

I'll help them with a few money-making examples for a greener BC Ferries :

1. Lower the walk-on fee. Lower? Yes, lower. Cars don't eat food, they don't buy magazines, and don't play in the Arcade hall. People do. Focus on transporting people, not metal. People are still considered green (when in fact most of them aren't), but cars are not. When people have to spend less on a ticket, they're also more likely to spend a few more bucks during the ride.

2. Lobby for improvement of BC Transit. I find it still hard to believe that in the year 2007 there still isn't a BC Transit Express service from downtown Victoria to downtown Vancouver. What's taking so long? Many people bemoan the high rates for taking your car onto these ferries, still the only comfortable way to get to Vancouver (from Victoria). A return ticket for one car and two passengers is close to $120 dollars. Lobby to come up with a walk-on return pass under $40 per person. This would make walk-on travel convenient and affordable, resulting in more travellers. Lobbying doesn't cost money, only effort. Go!
When the above is implemented, these changes can lead to the next move:
3. Introduce smaller, walk-on-passenger-only ferries. These ferries should be able to operate for a lot less money, and could improve the service. Since they can be a lot smaller, they probably can go a bit faster too.
BC Ferries, Go Green!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Blogging Tory: "O'Connor's gotta go"

Yes, even conservative circles seem to have enough of Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor. Dark Blue Tory's reasoning is of interest.

His posting starts off with an article in the Toronto Sun:

We agree with Harper (and the previous Liberal government) that our mission in Afghanistan is vital to [defend Canada's security]. However, Canadians do need to be shown that it has a demonstrable chance of success, both in its war-fighting and reconstruction components.
Dark Blue Tory comments:
Unfortunately, Gordon O'Conner hasn't been relaying that message to Canadians. [...] He has misunderstood the facts and has been unable to articulate the possible success of the [Afghanistan] mission effectively to Canadians.
So because he wasn't able to relay the message, he's got to go? Not exactly, there's more:
[Defence Minister O'Connor] made stories up on the fly and has completely undermined his position to the point of no return.
Indeed. And these two wrongs don't make a right. Did it occur to anyone that these wrongs are not really at an even footing? It's clear to me that a lying minister creates a problem for the Harper government. But how does the inability to "relay the message" fit in? Which one is worse?

Well, the two wrongs are actually more or less the same thing. Sticking to "the message" Conservative style is nothing more than using "the facts [...] to articulate the possible success [...] effectively to Canadians". But O'Connor, being unable to twist the facts to his advantage, felt forced to lie. Eventually this appeared to be the wrong decision; it started a chain reaction of lies by Conservatives desperate to keep "the message" (Conservatives are on top of things, the mission in Afghanistan is a possible success") straight.

The American's got their War in Iraq, we've got our own Afghanistan to deal with. Both wars are lasting a lot longer as planned and the increasing and enduring "insurgencies" have been undermining any possibility of success.

But it's all good; God bless the Conservatives.

- Dark Blue Tory
- Big Lie
- Gorden O'Connor

(video) Afghanistan through the eyes of children - Aljazeera English

For the children of Afghanistan things haven't really changed all that much over the last thirty years.

Children of Conflict - Afghanistan - Part 1 (video)

Children of Conflict - Afghanistan - Part 2 (video)

- You can subscribe to the Aljazeera Channel by signing up with YouTube. Search for "AljazeeraEnglish" and press subscribe.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

(video) Culture Shock?

Should we be disgusted by this ...

when Canada's "official sport" goes like this?

See any similarities?

- Cop suspensions questioned
- Fighting in Ice Hockey
- Sports in Canada

(H/T to Buckdog)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Is BC Premier Gordon Campbell a monkey?

The BC Liberals are in the news again. This time they want a pay-increase, for themselves that is. And not a little one either:

The proposed pay increases would see an MLA's annual salary rise from $76,100 to $98,000.
Indeed, close to two times the minimum wage, on top of an already pretty decent income. But wait, the premier gets a pay raise too:
The premier would receive a 54-per-cent raise, boosting his annual salary from $121,100 to $186,200.
No wonder this doesn't go over well with a lot of people. And when I say a lot of people, I mean a lot of people. In BC the average full-time wage is $38,500 and so I'm sure there are many who will question why their tax dollars will be spend on already high wages.

You've got to give credit to Gordon Campbell; he played it smart. He didn't want to be seen as someone would be asking for a pay raise, so he hired an "independent panel" ("friends" that would approve his position) to do the work for him; obfuscating and delegating, all with one stone!

Unfortunately people found out about the panel's "slight" problem. NDP Leader Carole James:
The idea echoes the sentiment from a correspondent who suggested the reason the pay package was so rich is because the panelists were so well-off.

Sue Paish is a lawyer, a partner in her firm named one of Canada's "100 Most Powerful Women" a couple of years ago.

Josiah Wood spent a dozen years on the bench before quitting to become a partner in one of the oldest law firms in the country.

And Dr. Sandra Robinson is a professor at the University of British Columbia.

As my correspondent put it: "The panel was not in any sense independent, it was composed entirely of rich people."

Not that the Globe and Mail was bothered by this rich-people bias; they just ask another rich guy, professor Norman Ruff, who had the intelligence to say the following:
If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. I believe that," Prof. Ruff said. "I don't begrudge the MLAs decent pay.
So, finally, thanks to the professor, we all learnt a lesson here. Gordon Campbell is a monkey. The pay for MLAs in BC has been substandard, and THATS why we have these idiots in our government! Thank you, professor Ruff, for pointing that out.

Given the monkey analogy, the pay raise (if pushed through) will of course have to wait for the next governing body: Monkeys don't deserve a pay raise, or do they? They only need peanuts. Peanuts and martinis, that's more than enough.

- Times Colonist
- Paul Willcocks

More than 100,000 protest government in Tel Aviv

The people speak, but Olmert doesn't listen:

Tel Aviv/Jerusalem - More than 100,000 people joined a mass protest rally in Tel Aviv Thursday evening directed against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defence Minister Amir Peretz.

Organizers were calling on the two leaders to quit, saying they 'failed' in handling last summer's conflict with the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement, known in Israel as the Second Lebanon War.

Meir Shalev, a prominent author, along with bereaved parents of soldiers killed in combat and members of Israel's military reserve forces spoke at the event in Yitzhak Rabin Square.

A large sign on the stage read 'Failures, Go Home!' - a slogan repeated by many of the night's speakers. Similar signs were held by protesters in the crowd, along with cards saying 'Elections Now' and other calls against Olmert and Peretz.

The event united members of the Israeli right and left. Signs with slogans from both sides of the political spectrum were held by protesters.

- Mosters and Critics

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Der Fall Elizabeth May

I have been smiling about May's latest sermon. It did get more coverage than she hoped for, but did she realize that making analogies that involve Nazis is asking for trouble? Yes, even in 2007 it is not done. But is it out of line?

This is a description of what May said (Ottawa Citizen):

Green leader Elizabeth May is standing by her comments over the weekend that condemn Prime Minister Stephen Harper's stance on climate change, comparing it to "a grievance worse than Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of the Nazis.
Now this is what the Western Standard would like you to believe she meant:
Elizabeth May would rather have taken appeasement, and along with it a Nazi Empire spanning Eurasia unopposed by the world's major powers, if it meant less pollution and no Conservative government in Canada today.
Well of course, that's not what she said (or meant); it's the latest smear campaign of a neo-con magazine, trying to score cheap political point when their favourite party (bias of a magazine has never been so obvious) desperately needs some.

Let's get some free help from Wikipedia to define appeasement:
Appeasement is a policy of accepting the imposed conditions of an aggressor in lieu of armed resistance, usually at the sacrifice of principles.
Now let's change the wording a bit here:
The latest Conservative Green plan is a policy of accepting the favoured conditions of Big Oil (and other major polluters) in lieu of Kyoto, at the sacrifice of the environment.
Do Conservatives really think Chamberlain would have supported the murderous regime if he had known in 1938 what we know now? I like to think he wouldn't have, and that's exactly the point that May tried to make. "Appeasement" to economic pressures today can lead to horrors beyond our imagination. There is no third way when it comes to saving the world from major environmental disaster, so Prime Minister, get with the program (called Kyoto protocol) or, perhaps one day, you will be one of the Chamberlains of our time.

Call May's analogy unfortunate, even inappropriate; but she won't go down in history as Hitler's "smiling" Pope.

Footnote: Isn't it interesting that whenever a WWII related issue is in the news, there's always at least one Jewish organization that has been writing letters? I wonder how many Russian letters (Jewish casualties of war: 6 million - Soviet casualties of war: 23 million) have been received by the PMO.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

BT has climate report advice for Harper

It's not ChuckerCanuck's own advice, but I believe thinking for yourself has never been high on the BTories qualifications list. And isn't blogging and thinking at the same time something that only other people can do? Here's the advice:

In my introduction I put: "climate change will cause mass extinction and enslave the world's poorest." In my conclusion I put: "governments must act now and an international carbon trading market is the only way to do it or else we are all worse than Nazis." No one will bother with what's in between.
Now don't stop at just writing the plan, please execute it too!

Good advice, but I doubt Steve will take notice. Steve has been spending all day now to get his stories (lies) straight again; it's getting harder every day and his cronies aren't really helpin' lately.

Well Steve, who told you that being PM would be easy?

Read the whole story.

Baird is deceiving the UN too

Environment minister John Baird is not only deceiving Canadians:

Canada has not said whether it will breach the U.N.-sponsored Kyoto Protocol even though the country's new climate change plan is weaker than its goals under the international pact, the U.N. climate chief said on Tuesday.
This is what conservatives mean when they say they are accepting the principles of Kyoto; we like Kyoto, but we're not saying that we're going to comply or not. Trust us, we're good Canadians.
Canada is way over target and its plans to extract oil from sands in northern Alberta, a highly energy intensive process, could deflect it further.
Oil is good; I don't see an issue here.
The Conservative government last week laid out new plans on tackling climate change which appeared to confirm it felt Kyoto was unachievable.

"It's not entirely clear to me how the two (sets of targets) relate to each other," U.N. climate chief Yvo de Boer said in a telephone interview.

"If a country signs an international agreement then I assume they stand by that agreement until they tell me otherwise."

Sure, it would be fair to assume that. But not with the current neo-con administration, Yvo!
"They've not told us they intend to back away from Kyoto."
No, and they won't either. Their deceiving inactions are not limited to the exposure of the Canadian public. Afghan detainees (those terrorists) have suffered from Conservative inaction, and it look like the United Nations (those idiots) are next.

Reuters: U.N. says Canada silent over Kyoto targets

Chavez in action


Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has announced that the central American country will withdraw from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Speaking at an event to mark workers' rights on May Day, the socialist president said that the "wheel has turned full circle".

"I want to formalise our exit from the World Bank and the IMF," Mr Chavez said in Caracas.

Mr Chavez has previously blamed the Washington-based organisations for contributing to poverty in central and South America.
Over the last eight years oil-rich Venezuela has paid off all its debts to the IMF and the World Bank, with the former closing its offices in the country in 2006. "We will no longer have to go to Washington, neither to the IMF nor the World Bank, not to anyone," Mr Chavez continued.

The Venezuelan president has also suggested the creation of South American equivalent of the World Bank, with Nicaragua, Argentina and Ecuador all taking steps to distance themselves from the international organisations.
*the image:

Chavez: "You are a devil, you smell like sulfur, you are a drunk, you are the demon, you are a dictator, you are an assassin Mr. Devil, you are..."

Bush: "Yeah, yeah, yeah, Whatever... just filler up MonkeyBoy!"

Press urges Israeli PM to go

Public support for Ehud Olmert is fading; will he survive this?

BBC News:

Many Middle Eastern papers agree that Israeli Prime Minister Olmert should leave office following the damning conclusions of an investigation into last summer's war in Lebanon.
Most Israeli papers see public support fading or turning to hostility given the severe criticism of the government's conduct. One paper says even Churchill would not have passed such scrutiny.
Other Mideast papers fear that Olmert will try to rehabilitate his reputation through another military action.


The Winograd Committee has slaughtered Olmert, [Defence Minister] Peretz and [former chief of staff] Halutz. In a normal state it is doubtful that they would be able to be rehabilitated politically, but in the land of prophets and miracles anything can happen.


All political speculation is irrelevant. All the consultations being conducted by the wise men who surround Olmert and Peretz are in vain... Olmert cannot remain in office after the interim report of the Winograd Committee.


All the scope for erring and judgment given to a leader at times of war was narrowed to zero in the invasive investigation which followed. Even Churchill would not have passed this test. To Olmert's credit, it can be said at least that he has already learned from his mistakes.


The bottom line is Ehud Olmert should go... He is sentenced to continue to serve in a hostile public atmosphere... In the end the feeling in the public will be translated into a political move.


The Winograd Report contains not even one lenient word to which the prime minister could cling in order to extend his term... If the prime minister does not quit, he will be thrown out in a month or two. All this is virtually self-evident from the severity of the findings.


Having earlier stressed that he took full responsibility for the events last summer, the prime minister is now indicating that he will not resign. This is a mistake, and he must think again... He has said in interviews, including to this newspaper, that he believes he can yet rebuild the public's trust in him. This is unlikely, given the relentless swirl of corruption allegations surrounding him and his government.


Olmert has two options: resign, or die a slow, humiliating political death, torturous, undignified and foretold... Only a serious military crisis, a war in Gaza or on the northern front, led by another defence minister and chief of staff, could lengthen Olmert's time in office.


Probably, Ehud Olmert's promise of "drawing lessons and correcting mistakes" will be carried out through a new military adventure or through new crimes committed against Palestinians. One could read this between the lines when Olmert said that he does not want an escalation with the Palestinians but that he might be forced into it, as if he is justifying in advance the crimes which he intends to commit.


US President George Bush was the first to rush to praise Olmert after the substance of the Winograd Commission report was made public, with the aim of covering up for him... But, the question is: Can Bush, who is sunk in a quagmire, protect the failing Olmert?


Olmert and his government are in dire need of military action in order to improve their image following the fallout from the aggression on Lebanon... Accordingly, launching an attack remains a high possibility.


The main reason for this unprecedented historical failure was the endurance of the Islamic resistance, Hezbollah, on the battle field and its well planned military strategy. Hezbollah has every right to celebrate its victory again.

BBC: Press urges Israeli PM to go