Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Steve and Sandra do the laundry

CathiefromCanada has the links. Some more thoughts from POGGE.
And Accidental Deliberations has been on this since the beginning.

Update : Today's Toronto Star manages a muted reference to the slush fund. And that's it from the print media.

Meanwhile here's David Emerson, pretending to miss the point entirely :
"International Trade Minister David Emerson said Thursday that threats to vote against softwood lumber legislation show the Opposition parties are anti-American.
"I know that both the NDP and the Liberals are staunchly anti-American in their inner core," Emerson told The Canadian Press in an interview Thursday."

What a dick.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Home is where the heart isn't

Two stories from the Globe&Mail :

1)Welfare income levels are the lowest they've been in 19 years.
In Alberta, the welfare income of a single person adjusted for inflation has dropped by 50 per cent since 1986 to $4,824 a year.

2) Homelessness is on the rise.
In BC, the provincial shelter allowance for people on social assistance is $325 per month and has not increased since 1991.

I am racking my brains here to find some possible correlation between these two stories...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

REAL Chicks For Colonel Sanders

"REAL Women of Canada", in yet another of their forays into "Chicks For Colonel Sanders" realpolitik, is campaigning for the elimination of "Status of Women Canada".
Heather Mallick wrote a great column about this back in June.

Anti-choice, anti-same sex marriage, hell -- anti-anything-since-June-Cleaver, REAL Women of Canada don't much care for feminism.
Evidently an "objective of promoting equality" and a "Judeo-Christian understanding of marriage and family life" is all you REALLY need if you're a working Canadian woman making 75% of what a man with the same qualifications makes in the same job.

Dear REAL Women : How much clout do you think your little club would have in a world without feminism, given that even if you're a REAL good little chicken, Colonel Sanders can't marry each and every one of you?

Oh and thanks for your help back in April in selling Harper's daycare plan-that-isn't-a-plan to Canadians.
Here's a much better one.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

This week in terrorism

What on earth did we used to talk about before?
Cerberus has the links.

But after all the finger-pointing, and blaming, and spineless acceptance of resignations, and before the outing of Jason Kenney and Stockwell Day's own tangential connections to terrorist groups disappears down the memory hole forever, I did want to make just this one observation.

Harper and his press secretary Jason Kenney compared Hezbollah to Nazis.
Mr. Kenney : ''The world was wrong to negotiate with that party then and it would be wrong to negotiate with Hezbollah today .."

Really? Presumably this is part of that annoying "appeasement" meme so popular with Tories lately.

Pay attention, Jason.
You could have read the following in any high school history text, but evidently you didn't.

In 1941, prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, the future Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir, approached the Nazis to negotiate the establishment of a Jewish state in return for taking an active part in the war against the British on Germany's side. They turned him down. Shamir wanted the British out of Palestine, and as a leader of Lehi, a group which openly declared itself to be terrorist, Shamir was responsible for the 1944 assassination of Britain's minister of state for the Middle East, the 1948 assassination of the UN representative in the Middle East, and an assassination attempt against the British High Commissioner of Palestine.

Forty years later Shamir was Prime Minister of Israel, with a second term as PM from 1986 to 1992.
Presumably he spent at least some of that time making up his own list of who was a terrorist and who it would be wrong to negotiate with.

You see, Jason, some terrorists go on to lead really successful lives as the prime ministers of countries we are currently siding with against whoever the hell are deemed to be the terrorists now.

Steve and Sandra and the Five Noble Truths

Monday, August 21, 2006

Free to sleep under bridges in BMWs

I am really pissed about this.

Last week the manager of the Empress Hotel in Victoria reported they had just lost a conference contract worth $200,000 from a Washington DC company on their second follow-up visit to Victoria because of "the quality of the shops and aggressive panhandlers".

Hey DC tourists, not enough high end shopping up here for ya?
And, coming from Washington DC, you are of course completely unfamiliar with the concept of panhandlers.
Don't let the door hit your fat tourist ass on the way out.

This week, CBC refocused the story with this headline :
"Conference organizers scared off by aggressive panhandlers".

Whoa! What happened to the crappy shopping angle?
It wouldn't be easier to just put the whole blame on homeless people, would it?

Here's the odious Lib MLA(Van/Burrard) Lorne Mayencourt on Friday's CBC Almanac.
After citing and agreeing with complaints from the Downtown Vancouver Business Association that panhandlers are hurting tourism and should be charged under his "Safe Streets Act", he goes on to say :

"Many panhandlers are faking it" and they "go home to Coquitlam to shine up their BMWs".

Damn those panhandlers and their car payment problems.
You know, Lorne, I don't think the 200,000 homeless in Canada, one third of whom are kids, are panhandling to pay off their $60K BMWs. No, I'm guessing they're doing it because when they were little kids, they lay in bed at night dreaming of growing up to scrape crud off windshields for a loonie a pop.
And with its cutbacks in services, the Campbell government is helping them to achieve that goal.

Cost of current band-aid approach to homelessness - $1 billion Cdn per year in health care, criminal justice, social services.
Cost of eradicating homelessness - $3.5 billion in affordable housing and social services.
Cost of 2010 Games so far - $3 - 4 billion, not including infrastructure improvements.

Coz that's what this is about, isn't it? Cleaning up the streets for the Big 5 Ring Circus.
But thanks again, Lorne, for bringing up the panhandlers in BMWs meme.
And for pointing out that poverty is primarily a tourism problem.

Props to the Almanac host and callers for chewing out his sorry ass.

Friday, August 18, 2006

In-flight movies

So you know that point in the movie when the criminal mastermind is just about to kill our hero, Vin Van Diesel Damme, but first he has to give us his tedious self-congratulatory world domination speech, featuring some impossibly complicated laser/diamond/computer hack logistics with so many variables we already know it's doomed to failure?
The current international airlines B-movie fire drill reads very much the same way, doesn't it?
I mean, who writes this shit?
If I was a terrorist intent on bringing down a plane and I was following all these absurdly elaborate doomsday plots in the papers, I'd be thinking to myself - What's wrong with a nice simple Surface-to-Air missile?

For those of you not yet suffering from terminal terror burn-out, Rational Reasons has a great round-up of terror busting links, including that great essay by Craig Murray in which he points out that some of the suspects lacked both passports and airline tickets and had never made a bomb.
And POGGE links to a piece at The Register outlining the logistical difficulties of carefully mixing smelly volatile temperature-sensitive chemicals in an aircraft loo over the 24 hour time frame required to concoct anything even remotely effective.

Yeah, I know, everyone's a critic.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Only in Canada, you say?

The signs in Beirut and Tyre all say "Made In USA" but where are the signs saying "Made in Canada"?

From The Coalition To Oppose Arms Trade :
"Few Canadians realize that their country is one of the world's leading producers and exporters of advanced, war technology.
[M]any of Israel's most-deadly, US-made weapons systems--now being used in air strikes against Lebanon--would not be able to function without hundreds of crucial, high-tech, electronic components supplied by Canadian war industries, and subsidized unwittingly by Canadian taxpayers."

C.O.A.T. provides a list of "Made in Canada" parts for US attack helicopters and fighter bombers here.

And "subsidized by Canadian taxpayers?"
Scroll down the same page to see this list of Canada Pension Plan investments in companies in the arms business, dated March 2006.

As I already blogged back here, on April 27, 2006, the CPP Investment Board signed a global set of "Principles for Responsible Investing" published by the UN Environment Programme Financial Initiative (UNEPFI).

You can contact the CPP Investment Board here and tell them what you think about their policy of investing our pension money in warmongers.
Go on, take you two minutes.
Let them know "Made in Canada" is supposed to be something we're proud of.

Pictures from a great photo essay at CathiefromCanada.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Blowing smoke gate

Today Reuters released this photo of what at first glance appears to be a fairly straightforward case of an aircraft wedged between a lamp post and a power pole.

Wasting no time on the accompanying story about how it got stuck up there, I immediately set to work looking for signs of photo manipulation. This is where the Little Green Pajama Bottoms Media Kit really pays for itself.

See that street sign on the lower right? If you zoom in on it, make a copy and overlay it on the original using the burn tool, you can immediately see that that street sign is nothing more than a bunch of blurry dots.

Charles will be all over this tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

And V is for Verisimilitude

Israel and Hezbollah are both claiming victory in Lebanon.
I guess that officially makes it a win-win situation.


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Carp diem

From the Globe&Mail : "New rules at airports could be here to stay.
Recent crackdown on carry-on luggage could get even tougher, officials say"

"In Halifax, passengers are even being told that fresh fish must be placed in their checked luggage."

Must ? That's asking a lot, isn't it?
What if you don't happen to have a fish on you at the time?

You can see their logic here though, can't you?
One passenger might have a fish in her purse; another might have chips...

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Keeping Canadians Safe - Part I

New government of Canada link
Concept from the newsdesk at Canadian Cynic.

Biblical forests and infidel fish

From Canadian Press:

"Alan Baker, Israel's ambassador to Canada, says it is unfair to say Israel is deliberately targeting civilians. Hezbollah rockets, Baker said, are being aimed at Israeli civilians and causing vast ecological damage to biblical forests in the north of Israel.

Baker said Israel only targeted a Beirut power plant when its armed forces learned that Hezbollah was using it to launch missiles into Israel. That strike caused a major oil spill, which has killed countless fish and birds in the area."

Stupid infidel birds and fish. I guess they didn't read the leaflets very carefully.

The Lebanon oil spill spread 30,000 tonnes of oil over 130 kilometers of the Mediterranean coast. By comparison, the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 consisted of 38,000 tonnes of spilled oil.

More unhelpful religious claptrap :

"Charles McVety, president of the Canada Christian College, said it's time for Christian leaders to drop their neutral stances and stand by Israel, the birthplace of their religion.
"It's time for us to throw off this garment of false neutrality and stand shoulder to shoulder with our Jewish friends."

Sure thing, Charles. Right after you turn in your anti-gay Chistian Zionist rapture raptor costume.

Israeli strikes on Lebanon

If, in the near future, some coalition-of-the-willing-to-do-whatever-it-takes-to-secure-oil sets up shop as a 'peacekeeping force' in the parking lot formerly known as Lebanon in order to mount a military assault on Iran, then this map, which currently makes no sense whatsoever, will suddenly seem positively prescient.
As will Condi's words "birth pangs of a new Middle East".

Large map here via link at Zaphod's Heads.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The "Made-in-Canada alternative"

to anything resembling actual scientific data.

The Government of Canada Climate Change site is currently unavailable.
Please visit the following alternative sites for valuable tips on the summer maintenance of your car and when the snow goose hunt begins.

Right. Let's try Environment Canada's Green Lane link to Canadian Environment Awards 2006 :
"Today is a good day to be a Canadian. Each spring, as we put the final touches on the Canadian Environment Awards (CEA) publication, our staff feels suitably proud of our country..."

Ok, stop. Shut up. We'll take it from here.
An Environment Award to Scouts Canada, in part from Shell Canada which owns 60 % of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project, to "foster climate-change awareness among Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Venturers and Rovers across the country" and "timed to coincide with the federal government's One-Tonne Challenge".


All together now : The-cub-gives-in-to-the-old-wolf-the-cub-does-not-give-in-to-himself-dib-dib-dib.
Now about those valuable tips on the summer maintenance of your car...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Emerson : NAFTA is crap

No, he didn't actually use the word "crap".
He did one better : he explained why it *is* crap for Canada.

"I want people to remember that NAFTA is built on domestic laws," Emerson said. "You can win a legal victory today, and think you have established a legal precedent, only to have Congress change the laws affecting the industry and the way disputes are litigated in the future."

In other words - if no US law is broken, the US wins the dispute.
If a US law is broken causing the US to lose the dispute, Congress simply changes that law and mounts an appeal.

We would like to thank David Emerson for being the first member of Harper's cabinet to publicly admit that NAFTA is a crappy deal for Canada.

Of course, Emerson is only knocking NAFTA to sell his and Steve's 'Firesale! softwood diplomacy' as a better alternative. And we already know that Steve intends to blackmail the opposition into accepting it rather than risk having the government go down in a non-confidence vote this fall.

As Toronto Star's David Crane puts it :
"Because U.S. courts were finding for Canada, the Bush administration wanted an immediate settlement.
The Harper government caved. Now we will have to see whether the opposition parties will do the same."

Bonus : Dave's Snarky (Northern) Canadian Blog explains Emerson's affinity for Firesale! diplomacy.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Tread water and carry a big stick

Shorter David Emerson : If the lumber companies don't voluntarily sign off on giving $1 billion in illegal softwood bribe money to the US in order to keep the Cons in power here, then, as the government of Canada, we will let the US keep the whole damn $5 billion.

Emerson states that negotiations have ended and the White House has no more appetite left for further negotiations.
Hah! By "negotiations" he is presumably referring to the unamended version of the deal which Canadian lumber companies received only days before he signed off on it. CathiefromCanada was right on the money when she pointed out that an agreement requires, you know, agreement.

He also has the unmitigated gall to slag the previous liberal government's strategy of winning all softwood disputes in both international and US courts - at a "cost of millions". Which last time I looked was still less than "billions".

Hey, asshole, weren't you a big part of that strategy when you were with the Libs? I mean, wasn't the big rationale for you defecting to the Cons that it would enable you to continue your valuable work despite a change in government? So who exactly is it you are actually working for?

De-Select Emerson. De-Select NAFTA.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

BC government helps old people and First Nations

Two new exciting environmental projects for old people and First Nations:

First up, 12 provincial parks including Wells Gray and Golden Ears will be opened up to the private development of "major resorts" with up to 100 rooms, tennis courts, golf courses and swimming pools because ... well, let's just let BC Environment, I repeat BC Environment, Minister Barry Penner explain :
"The population is getting older and not everyone who stays in a park wants to sleep on the ground in a tent anymore."
Oh yeah, he also mentioned something about the 2010 Olympics too.

Next - Clayoquot Sound and logging.
No, of course not all of it, silly. Only a quarterrter of it - 90,000 hectares out of 350,000.
Jim Lornie, provincial co-chair of the Clayoquot Sound Central Region Board, said a total logging ban was never contemplated by his group and besides - First Nations along with Interfor are partners in the logging.
"You really have to factor in the interests of first nations here," he said.

Say, you aren't against First Nations and old people, are ya?

More on Clayoquot shenanigans from timethief

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

How can you tell when MacKay is speaking?

Because Condi's lips are moving.

At first it was funny, followed by embarrassing, then alarming, and now it's just plain creepy :

July 21 (Bloomberg) -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she wants a "robust international military force" to try to oust Hezbollah forces from southern Lebanon.

Aug 1 Globe&Mail --Mr. MacKay said Canada wants the United Nations to approve a "robust international military force" to police a ceasefire if one can be established.

MacKay went on to tell Opposition MPs that "Canada cannot be neutral on fundamental issues" and that is why the Conservative government condemns Hezbollah as a terrorist group that attacked a democracy.

As opposed to, say, condemning Israel as a terrorist group that attacked a democracy.

Funny he should mention that neutral business though.
A poll on the front page of the same paper states:
  • 77 % of Canadians surveyed say Canada should be neutral in the current conflict and
  • 53 % say they believe Mr. Harper has backed Israel because the position is in line with that of Mr. Bush.

Say, how's that 37% public approval rating working out for ya?

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