Monday, April 30, 2007

Stockwell Day : Resign

Stockwell Day, from Hansard April 26, 2007:
" I can tell the House that for a considerable period of time now, our own Correctional Service Canada has had corrections officers working in Kandahar. As a matter of fact, I talked with one of them two days ago. Fifteen times already she has had access to the prison facility in Kandahar. She has full access. She also made a visit yesterday to the detention facility."
Stockwell Day again, April 27, 2007 :
"They are there to support the Afghan officers by training them in the work that they do in the prisons and also to ensure, to see if there are cases of torture."

Afghan Ambassador Omar Samad, in the Nat Post April 28, 2007:
"Afghanistan's ambassador to Canada says no Canadians, including corrections officers, have monitored treatment of prisoners turned over by Canadian military forces.
Samad contradicted assertions by Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day that Corrections Canada officers have been monitoring prisoner treatment - an assertion Day repeated in the Commons Friday, saying they are there "to see if there are cases of torture."
Samad said Corrections Canada officers have for many months, under their mandate to help build Afghan police capacity, had access to some prisons in Afghanistan and may have come across prisoners.
"It doesn't mean those were detention centres of people who were arrested by Canadian forces," Samad said.
"From the Afghan point of view, it's clear there was no followup or monitoring of detainees caught by Canadian forces turned over to Afghans, especially to the NDS (National Directorate of Security) that took place prior to this current time."

So. Strike three, assclown.
Not the Red Cross. Not the Afghan International Human Rights Commission. And now not the Corrections Canada people either.

The Afghan ambassador has called for "an end to this political circus".
Time to send this bunch of lying assclowns home.

Dave already explained all this last Friday but it's still good to hear it from the Afghan ambassador in NaPo.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Steve and Sandra's blackouts


As Stockwell Day put it in the House this week, who are you gonna believe about the torture of detainees - the official government of Canada or allegations made by prisoners?
And Loiuse Arbor of the UN. And the US State Dept. And the Afghan International Human Rights Commission.
And Amnesty International. Oh, and a 2006 report from the Canadian Foreign Affairs Department.

Friday, April 27, 2007

All your water are belong to us #2

Go read the post below this one first. Go on - I'll wait.
OK - Update :

Northumberland Local News April 27 2007 :
Canada has "no intentions" of entering into bulk water export negotiations, the Hon. Peter MacKay said Thursday in Ottawa Thursday. Canada's government is not participating at today's North American Future 2025 Project roundtable in Calgary, nor is Canada providing any funding for the meeting, a statement by Northumberland-Quinte West MP Rick Norlock says.

"On the issue of bulk water export, the government has no intention of entering into any negotiations behind closed doors, or otherwise, regarding the matter of bulk water exports," Mr. MacKay is quoted as saying.
"Suggesting we would even discuss bulk water exports is totally false," Mr. Norlock said. "Canada's government is committed to protecting water in its natural state and to preserving the integrity of ecosystems, and will continue to do so."

Ok, good. That's pretty unequivocable, wouldn't you say?
So then why does Page 2 of the North American Future 2025 Project read :

"Each of the roundtables will convene a combination of practitioners (from each respective administration and legislature); stakeholders (from the private sector and conceivably even labor unions); and highly specialized academics and analysts from Canada, the United States, and Mexico."
and
"The North American Future 2025 project will also examine relevant future-looking work dealing with each of the six topics on which the three governments have agreed -- namely labor mobility, energy, the environment, security, competitiveness, and border infrastructure and logistics.
The final deliverable will be a report on options and policy recommendations on the future of North American integration that will be presented in September 2007 to the executive and legislative branches of the three governments of North America."
and
"The CSIS North American Project will convene pertinent government officials from Canada, the United States, and Mexico, along with selected nongovernmental experts....."

And so on for another 20 pages.
Here's Page 16 :

"Project Timeline - July 1, 2006 - Sept 30, 2007
Planning Phase - July 2006 - January 2007
~ Meet with U.S., Canadian, and Mexican government officials to identify government participants for each of the roundtable meetings."

There are seven such roundtables listed, with #6 and #7 being yesterday and today.

So what did Mr MacKay mean when he said that no Canadian government officials were at today's meetings?
What about all the other days?
Are any Canadian government officials going to be at this one in July?

Page 17 : "Review Phase - June 12, 2007 - July 17, 2007
~ July 2 - July 8 : Review of edited report by U.S., Mexican, and Canadian governments."

Because even if Mr MacKay is adamant about not selling off and/or diverting Canadian water to the States, if Canadian government officials are participants in this, there's enough else damning information in the North American Future 2050 Program, that I'd still be worried.
Go read the damn thing for yourself.
Take special note of the C.V.s of the U.S. participants, and the Canadian too, at the end.

I'm going for a nap now but I'll be back.
And if anyone hears anything in the meantime, let me know.

UPDATE : And I got nothin' - yet.
Although it is interesting, as noted in comments, that although the Conference Board of Canada have criticized the idea of bulk water exports in the past and have stated that their participation and logo on the North American Future 2025 Project does not signify compliance with all NAF2025Project's opinions, the Conference Board was an architect and booster of that other great SPP initiative : TILMA

All your water are belong to us


"It's no secret that the U.S. is going to need water. ...
It's no secret that Canada is going to have an overabundance of water.
At the end of the day, there may have to be arrangements."

So says Armand Peschard-Sverdrup, director of the North American Future 2025 Project, which is wrapping up its closed-door two-day conference in Calgary today.

NAF2025 Project is the trilateral spawn of the US thinktank Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Conference Board of Canada, and CIDE, a Mexican policy institute.

Its mandate is implementing the Security and Prosperity Partnership, the deep integration deal signed by Bush, Fox, and Martin in 2005 and further expanded by Bush, Fox, and Harper in 2006.

From an outline of the conference :
"the overriding future goal of North America is to achieve joint optimum utilization of the available water."

Not bad.
'All your water are belong to us' would have been catchier.
Still, the message is unmistakable, isn't it?


"North American Future 2025 Project - an effort to draft a blueprint for economic integration of the continent."
"On a world scale, Canadians enjoy an overabundance of freshwater that is out of proportion to the national population, when compared with other countries.

With the impacts of climate change a present reality as well as a future certainty, Canada will be increasingly pressured to bolster North America's freshwater supplies. The policy, business, and social responses to this issue will be vital to ensuring the prosperity and environmental integrity of the entire continent.

There are many legal and international trade issues involved, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization's General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) could possibly be used as the basis for a challenge to Canada's right to control water exports. That challenge rests largely on the definition of water as either a ‘vital resource' or a 'commodity."

Amazingly, Canada has no enforceable water policy.

"Maude Barlow, National chair of the Council of Canadians, points out in a statement that provincial accords to prevent exports are voluntary, and that the only existing prohibition on bulk water exports contained in the 1909 International Boundary Waters Treaty Act (IBWTA) only applies to waters that are shared with the U.S., and not on water from Canada's North."

What Canada does have however is the Conference Board of Canada working away at deep integration.

Maude Barlow : “The big business community and corporate lobby groups have been granted executive level access to the integration process. No equivalent role has been granted to labour groups, civil society or even Parliament in Canada.”

NDP MP Peter Julian intends to change all that when he brings the SPP issue to committee for its very first parliamentary debate :

Julian : "Canada stands to lose millions of litres of fresh water as a result of bulk water exports if the Conservatives enact proposals being discussed later this week in a closed-door meeting in Calgary.
Today NDP MPs stood on the steps of Parliament Hill and called for a full parliamentary debate on the issue of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) - before the government implements this deep integration with the U.S. any further." continued ...

Unlike the notorious secret Banff meeting, and the one that followed it, this time at least there is some media coverage.

Thank you, Peter Julian, for bringing this to open public debate.
It's a start.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

"When the Germans bombed Pearl Harbour..."

Hard to pick my favourite quote so far from the televized HoC debate on the NDP motion to quit counter-insurgency efforts in Afghanistan.

Richard Harris (Con. Cariboo-Prince George) called the NDP "a band of Taliban cheerleaders" and asked "Wouldn't the Taliban just love the NDP motion?"

So that was pretty good but it really only rates a third.

Second place so far goes to Myron Thompson (Con. Wild Rose AB), you know - the guy who once stated "Let's lower it to ten" when discussing the age at which juveniles should be tried in adult court.

Rising to his feet and doing his usual excellent impersonation of George Bush, he intoned "Don't ever forget November 11"...uh, tiny uncertain pause there... but then he ploughed ahead confidently just like he was John Belushi in Animal House..." when the Taliban....AlQaeda attacked us. They are evil!"

Oops, sorry, all out of time and he got his mike cut.

First place is a tie. Stockwell Day and Harper have given up on the story about the Red Cross looking out for Afghan detainees and they have even given up on the one about the Afghan International Human Rights Commission looking after detainees. Know who is the newest group who has always been looking out for detainees now? Canadian Corrections. That's right.
Stockboy stated how proud he was the day he sent both of them off to Afghanistan "some time ago" and how he had talked to one of them just today and she had confirmed that she had been into the detention centers 15 times already!
Duceppe, Goodale, Dion, Ignatieff and Layton all called bullshit and demanded to see paper on it, so Secretary of State Helena Guergis promised to try to get some kind of formal agreement thingy from Foreign Affairs.

TOGA! TOGA! TOGA!

Libs : You're soaking in it now

Now that we've dispensed with the Liberal motion for business as usual in Afghanistan till 2009 with options for extending our US-proxy role into other parts of Afghanistan :

See : The Galloping Beaver : The Afghanistan Motion - Putting the NDP between a rock and a hard place

today we'll see something in the way of actual opposition to staying the course:

The wrong mission in 2009 is the wrong mission in 2007: NDP
NDP tables opposition motion for safe and immediate withdrawal from Afghan combat role
OTTAWA – The NDP tabled a motion today to put an end to the counter-insurgency Afghanistan mission that the Liberals, Conservatives and Bloc Québécois want to last until 2009.
“The NDP motion, to be debated Thursday and voted on Monday, calls for an immediate safe and secure withdrawal of our troops from the counter-insurgency mission and to focus our assistance, not through counter-insurgency but through development and aid,” said NDP leader Jack Layton.
“Both Liberals and Conservatives admit that the conflict in Afghanistan won’t be won militarily. We believe that two more years of participating in the wrong mission for Canada is two years too long.”

Something along the lines of a debate would be nice if all of you can fit it in in between shouting slogans at each other.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Email from Jack Layton

to Rambling Socialist

Thank for your previous email about Canada's involvement in Afghanistan.

First, I want to say that I share the deep sadness of all Canadians on theloss of our Canadian soldiers who bravely answered the call of duty. It is agrim reminder of the courage of our nation's fine soldiers and the dangers they face on a daily basis.

This week the Liberal Party proposed a motion that would effectively keep Canadian troops in combat until February 2009.
The NDP opposes this motion.Why? Because it prolongs a George Bush style combat mission in Afghanistan.
Under Stephane Dion`s leadership, the Liberals continue to flip-flop and fail to understand fully the critical issues facing the war-torn country of Afghanistan. A year ago the Liberals were divided on a vote to extend the mission. Liberal deputy leader Michael Ignatieff voted for the Harper government's decision to extend the mission to 2009 while their Defence critic Denis Coderre voted against it.
Now, with their own motion, the Liberals are - endorsing the two year extension - of the mission and the Conservative's game plan for Afghanistan.

In contrast, the NDP position on the combat mission in Afghanistan is crystal clear. We have consistently called for the withdrawal of troops from the combat mission. It is a Bush style counter-insurgency mission not leading to lasting peace and better living conditions. It is unbalanced and overwhelmingly focused on aggressive counter-insurgency. The humanitarian situation is simply not improving and the effort cannot be won militarily.

In an effort to try to find common ground, I proposed an amendment to the Liberal motion. The amendment called on the government to immediately begin to withdraw Canadian Forces in a safe and secure manner from the counter-insurgency mission in Afghanistan and call upon the government to notify NATO of this decision. Sadly, the Liberals rejected my amendment and instead choose to continue to support the Harper Conservative strategy to stay in southern Afghanistan for two more years.
New Democrats feel that Canada must demonstrate leadership and try to find practical solutions. For more information on how Canada can provide leadership, please read the full text of a recent speech I gave on this very issue at: http://www.ndp.ca/page/5023.
Once again, I thank you for the opportunity to present the New Democratic Party's position on the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.

Sincerely,
Jack Layton, MP (Toronto-Danforth)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Stockwell Day : Contracting out counterterrorism

NaPo : Private sector could help boost security at home, abroad : Day
"Canada is considering greater use of public-private partnerships to help bolster security both in Afghanistan and here at home, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day told a counterterrorism conference Tuesday.
Already Canadian troops in Afghanistan are housed at the Kandahar Airfield base run by Kellogg, Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, the company U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney used to run.
Halliburton has been awarded close to US$10-billion in contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq."
Jesus Christ, NaPo.

First - Kellogg, Brown, and Root is no longer a subsidiary of Halliburton.
Houston Chronicle April 5, 2007 : KBR is officially out on its own
"Oil-field-services giant Halliburton Co. said Thursday it had finally broken ties with KBR, its contracting, engineering and construction unit, which had been a part of the company for 44 years."

But what matters is why :
"The company announced its plans in January 2005 to cut ties with KBR, the largest U.S. contractor in Iraq. The unit had been a drag on Halliburton's earnings and image."

Repeat - The largest US contractor in Iraq, a drag on Halliburton's earnings.
Yeah, let's give them a contract with our government then.

Second - Halliburton's contracts in Iraq are now way over US$10-billion.
Possibly you are thinking of the $8.8 billion that went missing altogether for the reconstruction of Iraq, $1.5 billion of which went to Halliburton.
Or maybe the $110 million that KBR were awarded to build that huge US embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Or the up to $500 million they were awarded as part of their contract with the US Navy to clean up after Hurricane Katrina.
Or however much they saved for serving tainted food and contaminated water to US troops in Iraq.

Third - How dare you blithely toss a little boost for these incompetant war profiteers into an article in which not even Day has the gall to mention them.
Unless of course you just neglected to mention that part.
.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Resign now : Hillier and O'Connor

G&M : From Canadian custody into cruel hands
"Afghans detained by Canadian soldiers and sent to Kandahar's notorious jails say they were beaten, whipped, starved, frozen, choked and subjected to electric shocks during interrogation.
In 30 face-to-face interviews with men recently captured in Kandahar province, a Globe and Mail investigation has uncovered a litany of gruesome stories and a clear pattern of abuse by the Afghan authorities who work closely with Canadian troops, despite Canada's assurances that the rights of detainees are protected."

G&M : Calls for Defence Minister ouster over Afghani detainees
"Canada's opposition parties were demanding changes to the Afghanistan detainee transfer agreement and calling for the Defence Minister's resignation following accounts of gruesome torture of prisoners in Kandahar.
NDP Leader Jack Layton said the transfer of prisoners to Afghan authorities should stop immediately, a public inquiry be launched and Mr. O'Connor be sacked. He was backed up by all opposition parties."

UBC Int. Law Prof. Michael Byers : “If this report is accurate, Canadians have engaged in war crimes, not only individually but also as a matter of policy.”

OK, we've been playing at being the "good Germans" for well over a year now, in the face of all and any evidence from groups like the Afghan International Human Rights Commission, to whom we have entrusted the safety of detainees captured by our troops, and the Revolutionary Afghan Womens Association.
Is there any meaningful difference between U.S. and Canadian foreign policy as regards the rights of brown peoples?
Anybody feel up to doing a little "standing on guard for thee" today?

Make your voice heard - CBC, the Globe and Mail, your MP, your favourite Afghan war apologist.
Just do it right now. Because this absolutely will not stop until we make it stop.

Then go read Dana.
.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Clean up your Act

Clean Internet Act?
So gun control is bad but internet control is good?

Dear Joy: One word - Proxies
Now I realize you don't use one, because the Ministry of Trade's IP address is right there on my stats page yesterday, but I'm pretty sure the bad guys do.
For a clue about what a completely dumbass bill this is, please see all your own gnugov's reasons for not supporting gun control.
Here, I'll start you off :
~It won't prevent the crimes nor catch the perps it is aimed at.
~Unnecessary government meddling in citizens' lives with option for government abuse.
~Legally dubious, difficult to enforce and too expensive to implement.
~The criminal code already covers this.
~Casts so large a net it will penalize/annoy the innocent.

Really looking forward to your Clean Movies Act though, Joy.
And may I also suggest a Clean Libraries Act?

H/T Michael Geist

Bloggerpalooza! - YAWP!

Damn but that was a fine time.
Great to put a face to all those bloggers.
And I know what you're wondering. Nope, no pix.
But are Dave, Dana, Declan, Laura, David, Bob, Ross, and Ian really even smarter and funnier in real life than they are on their blogs? You bet they are. I just loved us all to bits.
Many thanks to WEB for suggesting we do this and to all who came.
Till next time...

Bloggerpalooza!

(Leaving this up at the top for a week - newer current posts below).

When : Noon on Sunday April 22
Where : Olympia Pizza at Denman and Nelson in Vancouver's West End.
Who : Ross from The Gazetteer,
Dave and Dana from The Galloping Beaver,
Bob from Moving To Vancouver.
Declan from Crawl Across the Ocean
Dirk from Engaged Spectator and Gimp Chronicles
Aunty Bertha and me. So far....

So if you're a lotusland blogger and would like to come, leave me a message here or e me at alisonmatdowcodotcom and I'll update as needed.

Bob and David started all this by leaving a comment in my snarky post about Olympic branding, suggesting we meet at Olympia Pizza for lunch, Ross said he'd come, and none of us have met before so here we go.

Please pass this on and we'll see you all there!
Note : Do you think they'll have karaoke?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Mirror, mirror, on the wall...


Globe&Mail : PM's stylist also works as a psychic
Responding to questions as to whether Harper's face fluffer also gives him and Laureen psychic advice, Sandra Buckler replied :

"She doesn't. I don't care what she is. She is very helpful. She carries the bags. She opens the door. She is very nice."

Ok, so according to Buckler, Michelle Muntean is actually more like a psychic porter then.
And she certainly has that trademark lego haircut down, doesn't she, Q?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Being Green means never having to say you're Tory

Elizabeth May : "There’s something wrong with Jack Layton if he’d rather open up discussions with the Taliban than the Green Party."

Well, we haven't heard the Taliban Jack thing for a while.
If there's anything the Greens and Libs have in common as much as a shared concern for the environment, it's the need to suck voters off the NDP.

Say, how did the vote go last time in Central Nova anyway?

Cons : 40.7%
NDP : 32.9%
Libs : 24.6%
Greens : 1.6%

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Burp!


This is Beep! Beep! It's Me!'s Darwin Fish entry in the "Your chance to be an intelligent designer!" competition. Great, isn't it?
Meanwhile....
"He stopped short of endorsing intelligent design, but said scientific and philosophical reason must work together in a way that does not exclude faith.
"But it is also true that the theory of evolution is not a complete, scientifically proven theory."
Benedict added that the immense time span that evolution covers made it impossible to conduct experiments in a controlled environment to finally verify or disprove the theory.
"We cannot haul 10,000 generations into the laboratory," he said."
Dr Dan Johnson, Professor of Environmental Science at the University of Lethbridge, wrote the first resolution by a Canadian scientific society against the teaching of intelligent design in schools,
Recently he made the following comment on DeSmogBlog in response to a climate change denier, but his lesson on what constitutes a theory applies equally well to the pope's statement.
Take it away, Dr Dan! :
"Theory means a body of knowledge surrounding the science. It doesn't mean a guess or something to be proven.
The idea that 'first you have an observation, then a hypothesis, then a theory, then it graduates to proven" is nonsense, and not what you would call any kind of good science. That is the definition of "theory" that might be in a newspaper or grade school years ago, but it is not what theory means.
"Number theory" doesn't mean we are not sure there are numbers, like maybe 42 has not been proven. "Evolutionary theory" doesn't mean we are not sure that species gave rise to other species over long earth history (why do I just know that you don't agree there?).
"Gravitational theory" doesn't mean that I might float."
Here endeth the lesson.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Maxim and Cosmo



"Swearwords, homophobia, what it would be like if men had to put up with the things women do, and ultimately what men and women really want." *
This Saturday and Sunday on Bowen, the wonderfully funny TJ Dawe kicks off the world premiere of Maxim and Cosmo, his new 90-minute piece of sitdown stand-up comedy theatre about the battle of the sexes.

Loved him in The Slip-Knot last time he was here - a lone guy standing on stage in front of three mikes telling us three stories about his horrible day jobs as a stockboy, a postal clerk, a driver for a dumpster company. Tying it all together were three interspersed subplots about long distance romance, selling a truck, and finding an apartment.
Brilliant bit of virtuoso verbal juggling it was.

With thanks to Maragold Theatre* for luring him back.
Looking forward to finding out what men and women really want. Let you know next Sunday.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Clusterfuck O'Connor

You missed your court date?

And you'd like a three month extension to find those missing detainees and your case?

Globe&Mail :

"After missing a court deadline, Canada's Department of National Defence has decided it now wants to defend itself against accusations that its Afghan detainee policy violates international law and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Under a controversial policy, Canada hands battlefield detainees to Afghan police and army forces without any follow-up.
"Retrieving and reviewing all relevant documents, including those generated in Afghanistan, is an enormous task,” the letter says."

Yeah, about "retrieving" those "relevant documents" :

"Two assistant deputy ministers told MPs in December that Canada had been notifying the Afghan International Human Rights Commission of the names of transferred detainees for months. But in a March 15 letter revising their statement, they wrote that Canadian Forces didn't pass along any of the names of transferred detainees.
"No notifications, in fact, took place," until last month, the two assistant deputy ministers wrote."
That'd be our old friend Vincent Rigby, dropping O'Connor in it again.

So does anyone have any kind of list?
After all the AIHRC has only eight guys monitoring the whole of southern Afghanistan. And they're doing it without any help from us :

"Mr. O'Connor said last week that the Defence Department would not provide any
money to AIHRC.
"I think it would be improper to give them any money because it would appear that this is not an unbiased organization."





So we're the only country not providing any lists of detainees nor any funding to keep track of them.

"However Gen. Hillier has insisted that the highest priority is placed on safeguarding captives."

Clusterfuck, with bullshit.

G&M Dog ate my homework link via Cracked Crystal Ball

.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Steve and Sandra sponsor a scandal


Hands up anyone who gives a rat's ass about AdScam.
Who thinks a secret deal to buy Quebec gone bad is on a par with the militarization of Canada, crappy leadership on the environment, the gutting of social programs, the increase in corporate sponsorship of government, the refusal to defend medicare, the attack on the wheatboard, the softwood lumber giveaway, the pandering to religious nutters, the faking up of law and order hysteria, the removal of the goal of 'equality' from the mandate of the Status of Women, the covering up of RCMP mencacity, the aligning of our presence at the UN to US interests, the cozying up to the worst government in US history, and, of course, the election deal to buy Quebec.

Thanks. Just checking. Me neither.

UPDATE : The Vanity Press not only doesn't give a rat's ass - Aaaaarrrrggghhh - but back in January linked to this Allen Gregg piece which puts it in perspective :
"Being discussed concerned commissions paid to advertising agencies in relation to the Federal Government’s (since abandoned) sponsorship program.
The amount in question was $100 million over a four year period or approximately $25 million per year. Based on an annual operating budget of $180 billion, the amount for which “little or no value” could be found represented .015% of the tax dollar entrusted to government for that year.
If I had deposited $100,000 in the shoe box, this would be the equivalent of being told that $15 had gone missing."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut

the great humanist who called himself a hack writer.

Here he is on The Daily Show at the age of 82, giving us his List of Liberal Crap I Never Want To Hear Again and a lesson in democracy for the people of Iraq, because, as he says, "we have some experience with it".

"After the first hundred years you have to let your slaves go, then after a hundred and fifty you have to let the women vote, but first there's a lot of genocide and ethnic cleansing."

And so it goes.

Link via Norm Jenson, another great humanist, at onegoodmove

Baird : Pull my finger again!


John Baird : "At some point, it's sort of like the planet's on fire, we've got to throw water on it. We don't need to research it, we need to act."

Environment Minister Angry McPointy™ continues to treat his portfolio as if it's a burning paperbag full of dogshit that's been left on his porch.
While John is cleaning off his shoes, he might consider some alternative "actions".

He could, for instance, meet with Gordon McBean, chair of the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, who, along with other climate research scientists, have seen their repeated requests to meet with McPointy declined, along with their climate research funding.
McBean described McPointy's avoidance of addressing long term solutions as "sadly misinformed".

Angry McPointy™ - My Blahg

Monday, April 09, 2007

All in the family

So you've heard by now that BC Rail have leased/sold Vancouver Wharves and its terminal infrastructure to Kinder(Enron) Morgan(Enron).
Kevin Mahoney, BCRail President, burbled on about the rigour of the selection process and how a crown corporation selling off yet another one of our assets is a really good deal for us, like we were buying that, before he went right off the, uh, rails:

"Kinder Morgan's broad experience in environmental management of port facilities and commitment to environmental stewardship were key factors in this agreement."

Ross at Gazetteer has recent details of Kinder Morgan's "commitment to environmental stewardship", including some from just this last week, here : Kinder Geyser Surprise. And in his post below, B.C.'s New and Improved Kinder and Gentler Enron, Ross also provides a little refresher course in the management practices of Mr Kinder and Mr Morgan's former company.

Kinder Morgan previously bought BC Gas (renamed Terasen) in 2005 so now they control both the product and the distribution process. Nifty bit of privatization there.
Then on Aug 28, 2006, The Carlyle Group, yes that Carlyle Group, announced on their website that they, along with investment partners AIG and Riverstone Holdings, would be acquiring Kinder Morgan pending anti-trust clearance from the FTC. That clearance was granted on Jan 25, 2007.

But no worries. In a piece in The Republic of East Vancouver from June 2006, Kevin Potvin points out that Canada has been really well-represented at Carlyle :
Former ambassadors to the US Allan Gottlieb and Frank McKenna, PowerCorp's Paul Desmarais, Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed, Bombadier CEO Laurent Beaudoin, Bank of Nova Scotia CEO Andre Bisson, Encana CEO David O'Brien, JRI CEO Hartley Richardson, and Bell Canada CEO Lynton Wilson.

Plus The Carlyle Group was started by a former Enron executive so it's really still all in the family.

The excuse for this mishmash of what is basically other people's pillaged posts is wanting to see them all in the same place. One I'm missing is Arundhati Roy's piece on how Enron pulled all the same crap in India years prior to launching their corporate assault on US citizens. Couldn't happen here though, right? I'll dig that one out tomorrow anyway. Just in case anyone's thinking three time's a charm.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Consumer Christ


From Banksy, of course. Photo by Jonny Baker
BlueGirl has a callout for submissions to Blog Against Theocracy this weekend if you have something you'd like to contribute. And before you go getting all samharris on their ass, note their list of issues :
~No religious discrimination.
~PRO End-of-Life Care (no more Terri Schiavo travesties)
~Reproductive health decisions made by individuals, not religious "majorities"
~Democracy not Theocracy Academic Integrity (like, a rock is as old as it is, not as old as the Bible says)
~Sound Science (good bye so-called "intelligent" design)
~Respect for ALL families (based on love, not sexual orientation. Hellooooo.)
~And finally, The right to worship, OR NOT.
So for all of us atheists asking where the real Christians speaking out against the Christian right got to, here ya go : Christians willing to go to the mat for the right of atheists to be atheists because they believe this to be what their religion demands of them.
Damn if I'm not getting all weepy.
.
Typo : Meant to say Blue Gal
UPDATE : From BlueGal in comments : Memo to non-believers
.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Really really alternative fuels

There's a surprisingly entertaining article on alternative fuels by award winning author Judi McLeod in Canada Free Press this week. The argument is a little complicated so let me walk you through it carefully step by step.

1) John Travolta believes in space aliens and that alien technology may save us.
2) Travolta was in a movie called "Murder at the Presidio". (Ed.note: No, he wasn't.)
3) Nancy Pelosi once invested in the real estate company known as Presidio Partners.

4) Fort Presidio was a San Francisco military base that was sold off to private ownership,
5) at which point someone said there were no power or electrical boxes at Presidio.
Ergo :
6) "Friends of Pelosi claim that Nancy has “the source”. "

What?
No, I don't know what Nancy Pelosi's "the source" is and the article doesn't say.
Well, yes, it could be an alien ship, I suppose.
After all, alien alternative fuels is a very new science and no one knows much about them yet.
Hmm?
No, I didn't check to see if it was from The Onion this time.
Uh - "entertaining". I distinctly said, "entertaining".

Oh, go and read it for yourself then.

H/T to Anon commenter under "Who says the Right isn't funny?"

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Chocolate Theology


"What on Earth!" Are We Thinking?



There's something quite obscene about feeding corn to cars, isn't there?
Ditto wheat, barley, sugar cane or palm trees.
Forty years ago the NFB aired a little cartoon "What on Earth!" in which Martians come to Earth and determine that cars are running the whole show.
Things have got much cornier since.
Today we have agri-biz enthusiastically promoting ethanol and biofuels though the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, with their oddly familiar-sounding slogan : "A Climate Change Solution Made In Canada".
CRFA head Kory Teneycke is a former Reform activist and was a Con strategist during the last election.
Ken Boessenkool, one of Harper's closest advisers, is registered to lobby for them. (Thank you, Holly Stick)
Unsurprisingly, last week's budget from the Cons contained $2 billion in incentives for ethanol.
CRFA members include Agricore, Archer Daniels Midland, BASF, Cargill, General Motors, Monsanto, Pioneer Dupont, Suncor Energy Products, Shell Canada, and Sylvite (fertilizer).
Well, you say, what could possibly go wrong?
Just this - Ethanol is a product of food and fossil fuels.
Despite arguably burning 12% cleaner, it consumes more energy in its production than it contains, making it a negative energy source.
George Monbiot : “It used to be a matter of good intentions gone awry. Now it is plain fraud. The governments using biofuel to tackle global warming know that it causes more harm than good. But they plough on regardless.”
Celsias : "Big industry, desperate to retain consumer dollars, is influencing government - who are in turn pandering to very destructive whims."
Celsias , a great source of resource material on biofuels, has a shocking video of horizon-to-horizon forest clearing in Sumatra to grow bio-fuels.
Link to Celsius found at DeSmogBlog, following an article on how running out of oil could worsen climate change.
I know this all sounds terribly depressing. The good news is how much more we know about how all this works now, compared to the people who first watched "What on Earth!" forty years ago.
UPDATE : Front page of YahooNews : Scientists weigh downside of palm oil.
Draining swamps and burning forests in Malaysia and Indonesia to plant palm oil crops now accounts for 8% of the world's fossil fuel emissions.

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