Monday, January 29, 2007

Why are you still a Con?


Various polls recently show the Con public approval unaccountably holding at 35%.
Here at Creekside, our crack team of colour analysts got right to work to find out why.

*No people were interrupted during dinner in the compilation of this poll.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Mowing the astroturf

"You cannot wake a man who is pretending to be asleep."

Great line, huh?
It's from ProgEcon , introducing "Who's still cool on global warming?" , a Toronto Star profile on the climate change denial industry, featuring our old friend Tom Harris of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project :

"Harris argues that there's nothing wrong with industry funding. For the most part, it doesn't support research," he adds, paying only for communications instead.
"All the companies want is to see information coming out about research that supports their side."

"Doesn't support research"? Well, at least they're upfront about it.

Meanwhile, DeSmogBlog links to "Trust us, we're the media" from the Georgia Straight, with a quote from this American Petroleum Institute internal memo calling for a :

“campaign to recruit a cadre of scientists who share the industry’s views of climate science and to train them in public relations so they can help convince journalists, politicians and the public that the risk of global warming is too uncertain to justify”.

Hey Astroturfers - Try harder.

From CTV : Strategic Council Poll - Most willing to sacrifice for environment

93% of those surveyed said they were willing to make some kind of sacrifice to solve global warming
76 % are willing to pay to have their houses retro-fitted to become more energy efficient
73 % would reduce the amount they fly to times when it is only absolutely necessary
72 % would pay more for a fuel-efficient car
62 % are willing to have the economy grow at a significantly slower rate
61 % would reduce the amount they drive in half.

The poll also found that 64 % of survey respondents said they were not ready to pay significantly higher prices for gasoline or home heating fuel.

Meaning that 36% of people who'd just had their dinner interrupted said they would be willing to support a significant oil and gas price increase out of their own pockets.
That's huge.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Blogging for, um, choice

"Banning abortion is not enough : unborns must be citizens!"

Well exactly.
Who among us has not been embarrassed at the shoddy treatment afforded fetuses when they attempt to vote or make a purchase on the Home Shopping Channel?
Is a fetus allowed to join the Canadian Armed Forces - Be All That You Can Be!- or buy a nice condo in the West End? Experience the rare thrill of emptying a nine millimeter into the target of their choice?
Sadly, no.

Instead they are condemned to float in an insulated bubble affording them minimal contact with reality - very much, one must assume, like that of their anti-choice champions.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Herzliya Iran-mongering


Peter MacKay, addressing the Herzliya Conference in Israel on Monday on the subject of Israel's national security :
A short intro : "It's a great privilege for me yada, yada, yada..."
and then he gets right to it :
"I will explain a little about Canada’s new government. We are sure that Israel’s vision we will clear. We are giving Canada’s police and military the resources they need to get the job done. We are improving the effectiveness of our international assistance and are bringing new force to our diplomatic effort abroad..."

Good lord. And here I thought they only talked that way to us.
Pete continues :

"Sharing prosperity is an important value for Canada. This is not a uniquely Canadian value, nor is it a uniquely western value. They belong to anyone who wants access to them. Freedom and democracy give people hope."

Nope, guess not.

However, that said, at a conference that saw :

Newt Gingrich say "The Israeli people are facing the threat of a nuclear Holocaust...Our enemies are fully as determined as Nazi Germany, and more determined that the Soviets...the United States could lose two or three cities to nuclear weapons, or more than a million to biological weapons."

American Enterprise Institute neo-con Richard Perle state "President George Bush will order an attack on Iran if it becomes clear to him that Iran is set to acquire nuclear weapons capabilities"

[Ed note : nuclear weapons capabilities? That one again already?]

Israeli opposition head Netanyahu call for "international support to bring Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to trial for genocide." [ Ed. Genocide???]

four Republican presidential hopefuls and an ex-Cia director beat the nuclear option drum,
and bonus participant Charles "Bell Curve" Murray explain why Jews are genetically superior,

Pete definitely deserves some kudos for this :
"There are simple, practical measures Israel can make: take away the arbitrariness at border crossings, treat average Palestinians with respect and dignity, issue work permits.
Israel’s security depends on the Palestinians’ ability to prosper in dignity. The increasing growth of settlements and settlement building in the West Bank is also a hindrance to this process."

Yeah, I know he started out like the Pete of Green Gables but he got there. Good on ya, Pete.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Fish 'n Flush farming


This all seems rather fishy.

CBC : Environmentalist defamed B.C. fish farm company: judge
"A judge has ordered a former B.C. environmental campaigner to pay $15,000 plus costs to a Vancouver Island aquaculture company for maliciously defaming it in 2005.
The B.C. Supreme Court judge said the language Don Staniford used in two press releases he prepared for the group Friends of Clayoquot Sound was inflammatory and his claims were untrue — and he knew it.
Staniford had falsely claimed that the Tofino-based Creative Salmon Company used antibiotics and another chemical, malachite green, on its farmed Chinook salmon."

Not too much background there, CBC. Let's go back to 2005.

Canadian Press, June 2005 : Organic fish farm halts salmon sales after tests find cancer-causing chemical
"The cancer-causing chemical malachite green has been found in a second Vancouver Island salmon farm, an industry spokesman said on Friday.
Creative Salmon, located near the west coast tourism village of Tofino, voluntarily suspended sales of its organically raised Chinook salmon after federal scientists found malachite green in tests it conducted last month, company manager Spencer Evans said.
Health Canada has a zero tolerance level when it comes to malachite green, a cancer-causing chemical once used to kill fungus in fish eggs. It was banned in Canada in 1992.
Evans said he's dumbfounded how malachite green appeared in his company's fish."

At which point, Staniford, working for "Friends of Clayoquot Sound", called Creative Salmon "a liar" and their claims to being organic "a scam".

Back to CP : "Staniford said he doesn't hold much sympathy for Evans when he says his company doesn't use malachite green and doesn't know how the chemical turned up in the fish.
"From a consumer safety point of view, the fact is that B.C. farmed salmon is once again contaminated with a carcinogenic chemical," he said."

And Creative Salmon took him to court for it.

In her decision, the BC Supreme Court judge explained that Staniford knew that the malachite green could have accidentally gotten into the fish farm naturally via polution in the water from smelters, and not necessarily due to being intentionally administered by Creative Salmon.

Lady, we don't really care how the carcinogens got into the goddamn fish.
Staniford shouldn't have called an "organic fish farm" selling carcinogenic fish "a liar".
But "a scam"? What the hell else would you call it?

And yes, a Fish 'n Flush is a real toilet you can buy with an aquarium for a tank.
Pretty "creative", huh?

UPDATE : From Westcoaster:
"Unfortunately, the Staniford court case isn't about the pouring of antibiotics into the pens and oceans of Clayoquot Sound by Creative Salmon, although it should be. The issue is how you talk about that fact.
No matter how you talk about it, however, the fact isn't going away: Creative Salmon is using more than 500 pounds of antibiotics on their farms in the pristine ocean of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve."

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Getting things wrong for all of us

March 2006 : "Not a red cent to Hamas", MacKay says
"Canada has ended all relations with the new Palestinian government, Ottawa announced Wednesday."

After we didn't like how their election turned out, we were the first country in the world after Israel to suspend diplomatic relations and aid to Palestine. Abbas was elected the year before.

December 2006 : MacKay wants Mideast peace role
"Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said he will go to the Middle East in the New Year to try to revive peace talks in the region.
"I would love to, in some fashion, be able to facilitate a coming together and a discussion." "

Jan 2007 : MacKay meets Abbas, but there's no welcome mat
"Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay emerged yesterday from a tête-à-tête with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas with little to say after a meeting in which the Palestinian side appeared to have scant interest.

Mr. Abbas's top aide suggested that Canada's decision to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority after Hamas won control of it in elections last year, and its refusal to allow diplomats to meet with PA officials, has diminished whatever influence Canada once had in the region.
"Canada has become less friendly to the Palestinians under Prime Minister Stephen Harper.... Canada's policies in the region are now almost indistinguishable from those of the United States." "

So much for : Getting Things Done on the World Stage

Friday, January 19, 2007

Steve and Sandra go green!


Why "Operation Green Nukes"?
Well we've all already read about this :

U.S. urges "fivefold expansion" in Alberta oilsands production
"The U.S. wants Canada to dramatically expand its oil exports from the Alberta oilsands, a move that could have major implications on the environment.

U.S.and Canadian oil executives and government officials met for a two-day oil summit in Houston in January 2006 and made plans for a "fivefold expansion" in oilsands production in a relatively "short time span.

Canada is already the top exporter of oil to the American market, exporting the equivalent of one million barrels a day — the exact amount that the oilsands industry in Alberta currently produces."

Which reminded us of this :
"But the current extraction of oil from the tarsands results in the spewing of millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere: it's already the biggest source of new greenhouse gas emissions in Canada."

But it's cool because Steve is on it :
" "Canada's natural resources will be developed but that will not be done at the expense of the environment," Dmitri Soudas [PM's office] told the Canadian Press.
Canada's main oil lobby group said there is no pledge to increase production five-fold for the Americans.
"There is no promise," said Greg Stringham of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers."

OK. So why then did Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn stand beside federal Environment Minister John Baird yesterday and say this? :
"As we see the potential increase in (oilsands) production, moving from a million barrels a day up to four or five (million), we need to do better. I think there's great promise in the oilsands for nuclear energy," Lunn said.
"There's a great opportunity to pursue nuclear energy -- something that I'm very keen on."

Why so very keen, Gary? Well, perhaps because of this :

"Paul Michael Weaby, a Washington insider and an expert on the geo-strategic aspect of the oil industry, said Bush is counting on Canada to help wean the United States off Middle Eastern oil — a goal now defined as a national security objective.
"He wanted to have a reduction of 1.5 million barrels a day by 2015 from the Middle East. Although he did not mention Canada, that is in fact where the replacement supply will come from."

The Alberta oilsands as a U.S. national security objective.
Surprised? No. Me neither.
Think if Canada doesn't grow some nukes and produce those 5 million barrels a day, that we will be treated any better than Venezuela, that other old western U.S. oil supplier?
No. Me neither.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Holocaust cartoon winner


Winner of the International Holocaust Cartoon Competition, sponsored by the Iranian newspaper Hamshahri in response to the publication of 12 cartoons mocking/denigrating Mohammed in a Danish newspaper in Sept 2005.

Statement of the artist, Abdellah Derkaoui :

"I want to express my total heartfelt sympathy with the millions of Jewish victims of the Holocaust who suffered the greatest crime against humanity under the Nazis. Nobody can deny that more than six million people were massacred during the second world war by the devil Hitler and his Nazi henchmen. But the question for me and for so many others is why the Palestinian people have suffered from so much pain, and massacres, and why they continue to suffer in the current situation.

As a citizen of Morocco it is my deepest conviction that Jews are my brothers; Jews have lived with us in peace and tolerance as fellow citizens in Morocco for 2000 years. I remember that in World War II, Morocco did not cooperate with the Vichy government of France when the King of Morocco stood up to the German demands and refused to send thousands of Moroccan Jews to the German concentration camps. I am proud of Morocco for taking this noble stand. I am proud of Morocco which has been and will be tomorrow, a place of tolerance between Jews and Muslims, who will live here together like brothers."

Link : BAGnewsNotes

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

WTF is it NAU?

The Royal Bank has been refusing to open American dollar accounts for Canadian citizens with dual citizenship in Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Sudan, North Korea or Myanmar since April 2006.

The Royal Bank has confirmed it is conforming with U.S. Treasury Department laws.

According to CBC :
"A spokesperson for the federal Finance Department said it was unaware of the practice, and that the bank could be liable for heavy fines."

Now, as it happens, the Royal Bank has a blog [Ed. note - and rivetting stuff it is too] and on this blog they are running a contest : The Next Great Innovator Challenge.
Drop by and let them know that your idea of a great innovation is abiding by Canadian law.

Bonus Reading : The Case For the Amero - The Economics and Politics of a North American Monetary Union,
a Fraser Institute report by Conservative/Reform Party member Herb Grubel.

I especially liked this line with its quotation marks :
"#39 Resistance to the amero will be lessened by continuing to call it officially a "dollar".

Monday, January 15, 2007

Martin Luther King Day

When the first Gulf War broke out, it was 24/7 on the tube.
The grainy greenblack skyline with lightbursts of "precision bombing", cameramen leaning out of balcony windows in Iraq - Whoa that was a close one!, the endless speculation as to the likelihood of Saddam using chemical weapons on Israel.

UBC's CITR radio station declined to cover it at all.
I remember the announcer saying that in place of war coverage, they would be broadcasting instead the speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. And so they did. The news slot would roll around and we would get another speech, recorded twenty-five or more years earlier during the Viet Nam war.

"And so we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. And so we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor."
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

They kept this up all day.
It was heart-breaking and uplifting.
It was a lot harder than watching the war on TV.
It still is.

Quotes lifted from Intrepid Liberal.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Spinning hearts and minds

From the Globe&Mail :

"After nine months commanding NATO forces in battled-scarred southern Afghanistan, Brigadier-General David Fraser is back home selling the Canadian mission -- with gusto.
When the veteran infantry officer wasn't directing the fierce fight against Taliban insurgents, he was engaging the hearts and minds of Afghans.
In his media and lecture circuit, the main message, carefully scripted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government, is that Canadian troops are turning back the Taliban and helping to rebuild a shattered and destitute country.
Gen. Fraser reeled off the kilometres of roads rebuilt, canals constructed and ... "

Meanwhile, over at the NYTimes :

"The road that cuts through the heart of Panjwai district here tells all that is going wrong with NATO's war in Afghanistan.
To fight their way into this area and clear it of Taliban insurgents, NATO troops bulldozed through orchards, smashed down walls and even houses, and churned vineyards and melon fields to dust.
Reconstruction projects were planned, but never materialized. Now NATO countries are championing the thoroughfare as a $5 million gift to local people.

Displaced and buffeted by fighting since May, the Afghans are homeless, fearful and far from being won over. They say the road was built for the troops’ benefit and forced on them, at the cost of their land and livelihoods.
“We are compelled to be happy about the road,” said Hajji Baran.
“They bombed our orchards and fields and we have nothing now,” said Hajji Abdul Wahab Kutaisi, 65, a farmer from Pashmul. “They made a road through my land.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

They call it science. We call it bullshit.


"CO2 They call it pollution. We call it life."

Remember that TV ad from the Competitive Enterprise Institute , the one arguing that global warming is not really a problem? They also did the one about how the polar icecaps are actually increasing in size.
A policy research think tank [Ed. note : Read 'oil industry front'], CEI received $2 million from ExxonMobil over the last 8 years.

No more. Exxon has pulled the plug.

From Reuters and CNN :
"Exxon, the world's largest oil company and a longtime skeptic that humans are responsible for global warming, is joining other industries at a series of meetings in Washington and elsewhere to discuss how laws on U.S. carbon control should be written, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Exxon's thinking on global warming has recently become more in-line with those in the scientific community who believe global warming is a human-made reality.
Exxon has also said it has stopped funding the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think tank that questioned the premise that humans are largely responsible for causing global warming by burning fossil fuels with ad campaigns like "Carbon dioxide: they call it pollution; we call it life."

From the ExxonMobil website :

"ExxonMobil takes climate change extremely seriously. We recognise that the risk of climate change and its potential impacts on society and ecosystems may prove to be significant and that actions are needed to address this issue.
We are taking actions to reduce emissions now and are also investing in research and technology in the area of advanced vehicles and fuels, energy technology and climate science that can help find long-term solutions to global warming.
ExxonMobil is taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions now."

Still, not everyone seems to have got the memo.
The Natural Resources Stewardship Project, a Canadian environmental policy research think tank which evidently feels the need to put quotation marks around words like "green energy" and "environmentalists", lays out a strategy which quite likely involves a child blowing on a dandelion :

"NRSP’s first campaign is focused on dispelling the notion that Canada needs CO2 reduction plans. CO2 is very unlikely to be a substantial driver of climate change and is not a pollutant."

NRSP, a Canadian environmental think tank more regressive than Exxon.

For more on the parentage of Not Really Science People [Ed. note: Tim Ball!] : BigCityLib

UPDATE : From Rabett Run :
"Richard Littlemore [DeSmogBlog] has the Calgary Herald's statement of defense against Tim Ball suing them because they called him Tim Ball."
Heh. Go Dan Johnson.

Related post : Tim Ballyhoo

Monday, January 08, 2007

Steve and Sandra and the Clean Baird Act


All Baird quotes courtesy of today's CBC Almamac.
Trouble with Rona was - she just didn't use her boots enough.

Friday, January 05, 2007

25 cents vs 25 percent


In the midst of the recent debate over whether the NDP proposal to increase the Ontario minimum wage by $2 to $10/hr would cause the economic sky to fall, Accidental Deliberations produced this great chart to show just how far behind corporate profits the minimum wage has actually fallen. The "Adjusted Minimum Wage" column shows where the min wage should be. Alas, while profits have almost doubled in the last decade, the minimum wage has increased a whole 60 cents.

So how much of an increase did Ontario's lowest paid workers get?
Ontario Labour Minister Steve Peters announced a 25 cent increase, bringing the minimum wage to $8/hr.

"It is to Ontario's economic advantage to see that our workers are paid a fair wage," said Peters, who also voted on Dec 12 to increase Ontario's MPPs salaries by a whopping 25%.

25 cents vs 25 percent.

Rambling Socialist covers NDP House leader Peter Kormos' ejection from the Ontario legislature for pointing out this hypocracy on the part of the Libs and Cons, who put aside party differences just long enough to pass it 78 to 4.

UPDATE : The Toronto Star gets it.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Where's Waldo?


asks the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Ten points if you can find the average Canadian annual salary on this chart.
100 points for finding the minimum wage worker.

The third bar represents the average annual earnings of Canada's top 100 CEOs, ranging from $2.8 million at #100 to $74.8 million at #1.
By the time you read this, the average top CEO in Canada will have made twice what the average Canadian will make in the whole year - at $4500 per hour.

The most frequently made objection to raising wages is that it prohibits industry competitiveness.
Really?
Are these guys really worth the entire yearly salaries of a whole town?
After all, it's not like that money is going into Research and Development, is it?
Meanwhile one in six children in Canada live in poverty.
Electoral democracy is very nice but it doesn't mean squat without some improvements in our economic democracy.

Monday, January 01, 2007

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