Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Food Crisis: More on Ethanol, GM Crops, Commodities Speculation

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I'm recyclin' a bigass comment I made over to BigCityLiberal where MJ's pointin' the finger at ol' Lyin' Brian Mulroney. Seems Brine is on the board at ADM, the bigass commodities guys whose lobbyin' efforts have been payin' off nicely in the government-mandated ethanol department.

I pointed fingers at ethanol before and I still got a finger pointed at the dumbass food-for-fuel idiocy. Ethanol is one of many factors in the current food crisis. From what I can gather, ethanol is estimated to be causing somewhere between 5% and 15% of the increased costs.

Dalton Ginty weaseled out of any rethinking on biofuels by declaring that ethanol is not a "dominant" factor in the high cost of food. His brother, MP David Ginty sez the selfsame thing and is still pushin' fer Canada to double it's targets for ethanol-to-gas blends over the next two years.

The problem is that there is a combination of factors and it may be quite likely that no single factor is dominant. The high cost of fossil fuels is probably the biggest factor and it is a factor that exacerbates and compounds other factors.

Biofuel subsidization must cease. Even if it is only responsible for 5% of the cost increase, that means millions more people who are 5% short of having enough to eat.

The role of agri-corporations like ADM and Monsanto is more than just the ethanol angle. Over the past few years, money has flowed into commodities speculation. There's about 20x the traditional capital at play in commodities right now. That's because speculators are making huge profits on commodities. ADM, DeKalb. Monsanto, etc are commodities businesses that are reaping the rewards of that speculation.

Monsanto et al stand to win in their fight to get genetically modified foods accepted worldwide. GM seeds are being sold as a sure way to increase agricultural productivity in the third world. Except that increase is temporary and ensures continued reliance on already high-priced seeds.

All the parties were wrong on biofuels. Even the Greens. We can point fingers and there's plenty of blame to go around.

Eat meat every day? You're part of the problem.
Got a diversified RSP with exposure to commodities? You're part of the problem.
Waste energy and drive up fuel costs by driving when you could walk? You're part of the problem.
Support a party that endorses ethanol subsidies? You're part of the problem.

But, so what if we're all part of the problem? We're just a small part. right? Right. But the problem is hunger and starvation for 1 billion people who live on less than $2 a day. A small part of the problem may represent many, many hungry people.

Again, every party got this wrong. In politics, the toughest thing to do seems to be to admit a mistake. The ethanol mistake is a factor in the starvation and deaths of millions. Politicians and party policy wonks need to step up, admit error and change policy.

We, who are active in our parties, should be agitating within our own ranks for a rethink on biofuels. I am doing so in the GPC. I encourage LPC members to write to the McGuinty Bros. The Dippers are startin' to make some intelligent noises on this issue but, like every other party, official NDP policy is still calling for strong support for biofuels.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Food Crisis Finally Frontpage News

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, if you been payin' much attention to what's been happenin' around the world, the food crisis won't be much of a surprise. But, dangitall, I ain't seein' hardly squat in the Pergressive Boogeysphere about the food crisis. Now, I try to be a paragon of netiquette and I don't go all caps shoutin' very often. In fact, I never went all caps before but I am now.


Maybe your mind's been occupied with other stuff. The in-and-out scheme's been gettin' a lotta pixelplay in the boogs. Diane Finley's trouble with bikers an' tobacco farmers an' the Russian mob and immigrant advocacy groups an' Mohawk warriors is stirrin' up some interest. A lotta Canajun boogers got their eyeballs peeled on the bigass Merkin election and ol' Hillary an' Barack Obama. The TTC and Tyendinaga been gettin' some ink, too.

It ain't just the boogers who ain't been payin' attention. The North American main street media (MSM) been givin' the food crisis issue short shrift. Today, I was a little bit heartened to see that the Globe online edition is playin' a food crisis story as it's top item.

Maybe we ain't seein' much about it on accounta we'd all be feelin' a little guilty when we're crammin' a Tmmy's Venetian Creme into our gapin' gobs. It'd be tough enjoyin' a juicy steak if the dang blogs an' TV an' newspapers an' magazines was all tellin' how every 5 seconds some poor bastard keels over dead on accounta they ain't got enough food in their belly. It'd tough to enjoy the most basic of human need: food. So, we look the other way.

I reckon most of us don't wannna know about starvation because we'd quit enjoyin' our dinner. Too bad. Pretty soon, we ain't gonna have any choice. The food crisis is destabilizing governments. Desperately hungry people are bein' recruited to armed militias, gangs and terrorist cells with the lure of a daily meal.

One of the dumbest things about the food crisis is the fact that it would be so cheap to offset the current catastrophe. The UN World Food Program sez it needs a paltry $755 million bucks to stave off the immediate hunger of about 100 million people. That's about the same amount the Merkins spend each and every day over in EyeRack.

$755 million also about what Canada spends every 8 months, or so, in Afghanistan. Thing is, Afghanistan's one of the places where the food crisis is hittin' hardest. Since the warlords got all the farmland tied up growin' opium poppies, they ain't able to scratch out a meager subsistence like they was before we liberated 'em.

Today, I'm callin' on the fellers an' gals in the Canajun boogeysphere to start payin' attention to the food crisis. There's plenty o' stuff we can do the help the pore dirt-eatin' hordes but this boog story's long enough and I'm plannin' to keep the story alive by frequent boogin'. I gotta save some stuff fer tomorrow. I ain't worried that the issue will fade away by then.

Would you like fries with that?


Friday, April 25, 2008

Fun, Games and Free Rice for the Hungry

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, we got us a bigass disaster loomin'. The food crisis looks like it's gonna be long term and millions of people may die a slow, painful death by starvation. Countless others will be caught up in the civil strife that will shatter much of the developing world. The food crisis can be blamed on the confluence of a number of factors:
Got money in mutual funds? You're probably invested in commodities and your portfolio is doing well thanks to record high profit taking on grains, oilseeds, rice and other food staples. Hedge fund traders are making out quite well these days and financial gurus are advising "investors" to go long on commodities.

Got 15 or 20 minutes? Play a fun vocabulary quiz and send a few grains of rice to some poor starving bastard in some hellhole where they might otherwise be eatin' dirt.

I played fer about 20 minutes an' managed to earn 3000 grains of rice. I ain't sure if that's enough fer more than one helpin'. Sounds like a lot but I figger maybe it's a cereal bowl full. Better than dirt, I reckon.

Itchin' to do more than play games? Wanna invest a few bucks into global security and feel good about feedin' hungry kids? Send some dough to World Vision. The food crisis is hittin' 'em hard. The high cost of food and fuel means the good fellers an' gals at World Vision are cutting back the number of people they can feed by 1,500,000. That's a million an' a half hungry folks who ain't gonna get any supper.

Wanna know my prediction? Over the next few weeks and months, we will see unprecedented violence and suffering all due to high food prices. Governments will fall. All other world issues will pale by comparison. Millions will be affected. Fingers of blame will be accurately pointed at commodities speculators, government-subsidized ethanol programs, meat-eaters, big oil, failure to act on climate change, failure to implement fair trade and failure to eliminate poverty.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

CPoC Spokesman Paid With Taxpayer Dollars

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, the Trawna Star is reportin' that CPoC mouthpiece Ryan Sparrow is featherin' his nest with taxpayer money. Turns out he's gettin' half of his income from the party and half from you an' me.
Front-and-centre Tory partly paid by taxpayers
Apr 23, 2008 04:30 AM

Ottawa Bureau

OTTAWA–The chief spokesperson for the Conservative Party of Canada in the Elections Canada controversy has half his salary paid by the taxpayer, the Toronto Star has learned.

While many know Ryan Sparrow as a highly partisan spokesperson, he acknowledged yesterday he splits his time between speaking on behalf of the party and working in government caucus research.

"I do work for caucus and I do work for (the) party and that's why I am paid by both," he said, adding that it would work out to "approximately" 50-50.

Asked what he specifically does for caucus, he refused to say. "We don't comment on staffing, I'm sorry."

Sparrow has been front and centre in defending the Conservative party regarding allegations by Elections Canada that it deliberately exceeded election spending limits during the 2006 campaign by more than $1 million.

Armed with a search warrant, the RCMP last week raided the party's national headquarters looking for documents related to the allegations.

The 26-year-old Sparrow also played a role in a botched scheme by the party to release the search warrant details to selective members of the media on Sunday. When other reporters got wind of the briefing, they showed up at the Ottawa hotel, sending party officials scrambling to escape the TV cameras and reporters' questions.

Speakin' of taxpayer dollars gettin' wasted, Finance Minister Flaherty broke the rules when he paid one of his buddyboys $122,000 to write a single speech that was delivered a single time. It's bad enough he broke the rules and is shameless about it. What's worse is that a finance minister would throw away $122K so frivolously.


UPDATE: It always does my heart good to see that the House of Comments is payin' attention to the Canajun Boogeysphere.

What can you get for $300 or $400 Million these days?

Whooee! Well friends an’ foes, suppose you had an extra $300 or $400 million bucks burnin’ a hole in yer pants pocket. Whaddya reckon you could get fer that sorta dough?

I’m sure itchin’ to spend $300 mil. I wonder what else I could get fer a big wad o’ cash like that.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Make Lunch, Not War

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, the new UN chief Ban-Ki Moon, is up on his hindlegs warnin' the world what's gonna happen if we don't get busy and feed the hungry folks who's sufferin' on accounta the high price of food. People will die. Governments will fall. Commodities speculators will get rich. That ain't so much a prediction as it is an assessment of what's already happening.

The UN World Food Program has said it needs an additional $500 million right now to avert catastrophe. The US came through with $200 million. Maybe that sounds like a lot of money. It ain't.

Every single day, 365 days a year, the US spends over $380 million on the war in Iraq. $200 million is what the US spends on the Iraq fiasco in about 13 or 14 hours. Every 13 or 14 hours.

If the US Iraq military spending was cut by less than 1% and the money was diverted to food aid, the threat to global security would be reduced considerably. Not only that, thousands and thousands of starving people would be able to eat enough to live. And, not least of all, the US would be hailed as saviours and heroes, instead of being damned as killers, occupiers and exploiters.

Us Canajuns ain't spending ourselves into bankruptcy quite as fast as our Merkin neighbours. We're spending $1 billion a year in Afghanistan. That's about $2.7 million per day. On war. Meanwhile, First Nations folks in Canada are rejoicing over a recent announcement of $330 million to provide clean drinking water on reserves. That's about the same amount of money that Bruce Power is over budget on refurbishing a couple of nuclear reactors; about the same amount we spend in the failed Afghan mission every 4 months.

I saw a bigass report on one of the big Merkin TV network news shows last night where they was all in a flap about the price of pizza goin' up. It's kinda tough to sympathize when we know that the poor bastards in Haiti are eatin' dirt just to get something into their aching bellies.

A couplafew days ago, I posted up a boog story entitled, McGuinty: "Let them eat dirt." In today's Trawna Star, I see my title is bein' reduced, re-used and recycled: Let them eat dirt?

I don't mind 'em usin' my paraphrase from Marie Antoinette's famous quip. Today's title, "Make Lunch, Not War", comes from an old hippie anti-Vietnam War slogan: "Make Love, Not War". The MSM is welcome to adopt it.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Attention MSM. Story of the Century. Where's the Media?

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, looks like we gotta harness the networkin' power of the innernet if we're gonna get the Main Street Media(MSM) payin' any attention to the story of the century. The locations of 28 mass graves of First nations children have been identified. I wrote about it yesterday but I only linked to Stageleft's post. This time, I'm postin' up the press releases from Friends of the Disappeared Children.
Location of Mass Graves of Residential School Children Revealed for the First Time; Independent Tribunal Established

Squamish Nation Territory ("Vancouver, Canada")
Thursday, April 10, 2008 11:00 am PST

At a public ceremony and press conference held today outside the colonial "Indian Affairs" building in downtown Vancouver, the Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared (FRD) released a list of twenty eight mass graves across Canada holding the remains of untold numbers of aboriginal children who died in Indian Residential Schools.

The list was distributed today to the world media and to United Nations agencies, as the first act of the newly-formed International Human Rights Tribunal into Genocide in Canada (IHRTGC), a non-governmental body established by indigenous elders.

In a statement read by FRD spokesperson Eagle Strong Voice, it was declared that the IHRTGC would commence its investigations on April 15, 2008, the fourth Annual Aboriginal Holocaust Memorial Day. This inquiry will involve international human rights observers from Guatemala and Cyprus , and will convene aboriginal courts of justice where those persons and institutions responsible for the death and suffering of residential school children will be tried and sentenced. (The complete Statement and List of Mass Graves is reproduced below).

Eagle Strong Voice and IHRTGC elders will present the Mass Graves List at the United Nations on April 19, and will ask United Nations agencies to protect and monitor the mass graves as part of a genuine inquiry and judicial prosecution of those responsible for this Canadian Genocide.

Eyewitness Sylvester Greene spoke to the media at today's event, and described how he helped bury a young Inuit boy at the United Church's Edmonton residential school in 1953.

"We were told never to tell anyone by Jim Ludford, the Principal, who got me and three other boys to bury him. But a lot more kids got buried all the time in that big grave next to the school."

For more information:, or write to the IHRTGC at:

Issued on Squamish Territory , 10 April, 2008, under the authority of Hereditary Chief Kiapilano.

And the locations:
Press Statement: April 10, 2008

Mass Graves of Residential School Children Identified – Independent Inquiry Launched

We are gathered today to publicly disclose the location of twenty eight mass graves of children who died in Indian Residential Schools across Canada , and to announce the formation of an independent, non-governmental inquiry into the death and disappearance of children in these schools.

We estimate that there are hundreds, and possibly thousands, of children buried in these grave sites alone.

The Catholic, Anglican and United Church , and the government of Canada, operated the schools and hospitals where these mass graves are located. We therefore hold these institutions and their officers legally responsible and liable for the deaths of these children.

We have no confidence that the very institutions of church and state that are responsible for these deaths can conduct any kind of impartial or real inquiry into them. Accordingly, as of April 15, 2008, we are establishing an independent, non-governmental inquiry into the death and disappearance of Indian residential school children across Canada.

This inquiry shall be known as The International Human Rights Tribunal into Genocide in Canada (IHRTGC), and is established under the authority of the following hereditary chiefs, who shall serve as presiding judges of the Tribunal:

Hereditary Chief Kiapilano of the Squamish Nation

Chief Louis Daniels (Whispers Wind), Anishinabe Nation Chief Svnoyi Wohali (Night Eagle), Cherokee Nation

Lillian Shirt, Clan Mother, Cree Nation

Elder Ernie Sandy, Anishinabe (Ojibway) Nation

Hereditary Chief Steve Sampson, Chemainus Nation
Ambassador Chief Red Jacket of Turtle Island

Today, we are releasing to this Tribunal and to the people of the world the enclosed information on the location of mass graves connected to Indian residential schools and hospitals in order to prevent the destruction of this crucial evidence by the Canadian government, the RCMP and the Anglican, Catholic and United Church of Canada.

We call upon indigenous people on the land where these graves are located to monitor and protect these sites vigilantly, and prevent their destruction by occupational forces such as the RCMP and other government agencies.

Our Tribunal will commence on April 15 by gathering all of the evidence, including forensic remains, that is necessary to charge and indict those responsible for the deaths of the children buried therein.

Once these persons have been identified and detained, they will be tried and sentenced in indigenous courts of justice established by our Tribunal and under the authority of hereditary chiefs.

As a first step in this process, the IHRTGC will present this list of mass graves along with a statement to the United Nations in New York City on April 19, 2008. The IHRTGC will be asking the United Nations to declare these mass graves to be protected heritage sites, and will invite international human rights observers to monitor and assist its work.

Issued by the Elders and Judges of the IHRTGC

Interim Spokesperson: Eagle Strong Voice

Email: pager: 1-888-265-1007

IHRTGC Sponsors include The Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared, The Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada, the Defensoria Indigenia of Guatemala, Canadians for the Separation of Church and State, and a confederation of indigenous elders across Canada and Turtle Island.

Mass Graves at former Indian Residential Schools and Hospitals across Canada

A. British Columbia

1. Port Alberni: Presbyterian-United Church school (1895-1973), now occupied by the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council (NTC) office, Kitskuksis Road . Grave site is a series of sinkhole rows in hills 100 metres due west of the NTC building, in thick foliage, past an unused water pipeline. Children also interred at Tseshaht reserve cemetery, and in wooded gully east of Catholic cemetery on River Road .

2. Alert Bay : St. Michael’s Anglican school (1878-1975), situated on Cormorant Island offshore from Port McNeill. Presently building is used by Namgis First Nation. Site is an overgrown field adjacent to the building, and also under the foundations of the present new building, constructed during the 1960’s. Skeletons seen “between the walls”.

3. Kuper Island: Catholic school (1890-1975), offshore from Chemainus. Land occupied by Penelakut Band. Former building is destroyed except for a staircase. Two grave sites: one immediately south of the former building, in a field containing a conventional cemetery; another at the west shoreline in a lagoon near the main dock.

4. Nanaimo Indian Hospital: Indian Affairs and United Church experimental facility (1942-1970) on Department of National Defense land. Buildings now destroyed. Grave sites are immediately east of former buildings on Fifth avenue , adjacent to and south of Malaspina College .

5. Mission: St. Mary’s Catholic school (1861-1984), adjacent to and north of Lougheed Highway and Fraser River Heritage Park . Original school buildings are destroyed, but many foundations are visible on the grounds of the Park.

In this area there are two grave sites: a) immediately adjacent to former girls’ dormitory and present cemetery for priests, and a larger mass grave in an artificial earthen mound, north of the cemetery among overgrown foliage and blackberry bushes, and b) east of the old school grounds, on the hilly slopes next to the field leading to the newer school building which is presently used by the Sto:lo First Nation. Hill site is 150 metres west of building.

6. North Vancouver: Squamish (1898-1959) and Sechelt (1912-1975) Catholic schools, buildings destroyed. Graves of children who died in these schools interred in the Squamish Band Cemetery , North Vancouver .

7. Sardis: Coqualeetza Methodist-United Church school (1889-1940), then experimental hospital run by federal government (1940-1969). Native burial site next to Sto:lo reserve and Little Mountain school, also possibly adjacent to former school-hospital building.

8. Cranbrook: St. Eugene Catholic school (1898-1970), recently converted into a tourist “resort” with federal funding, resulting in the covering-over of a mass burial site by a golf course in front of the building. Numerous grave sites are around and under this golf course.

9. Williams Lake : Catholic school (1890-1981), buildings destroyed but foundations intact, five miles south of city. Grave sites reported north of school grounds and under foundations of tunnel-like structure.

10. Meares Island (Tofino): Kakawis-Christie Catholic school (1898-1974). Buildings incorporated into Kakawis Healing Centre. Body storage room reported in basement, adjacent to burial grounds south of school.

11. Kamloops : Catholic school (1890-1978). Buildings intact. Mass grave south of school, adjacent to and amidst orchard. Numerous burials witnessed there.

12. Lytton: St. George’s Anglican school (1901-1979). Graves of students flogged to death, and others, reported under floorboards and next to playground.

13. Fraser Lake : Lejac Catholic school (1910-1976), buildings destroyed. Graves reported under old foundations and between the walls.


1. Edmonton : United Church school (1919-1960), presently site of the Poundmaker Lodge in St. Albert . Graves of children reported south of former school site, under thick hedge that runs north-south, adjacent to memorial marker.

2. Edmonton : Charles Camsell Hospital (1945-1967), building intact, experimental hospital run by Indian Affairs and United Church . Mass graves of children from hospital reported south of building, near staff garden.

3. Saddle Lake : Bluequills Catholic school (1898-1970), building intact, skeletons and skulls observed in basement furnace. Mass grave reported adjacent to school.

4. Hobbema: Ermineskin Catholic school (1916-1973), five intact skeletons observed in school furnace. Graves under former building foundations.


1. Brandon : Methodist-United Church school (1895-1972). Building intact. Burials reported west of school building.

2. Portage La Prairie: Presbyterian-United Church school (1895-1950). Children buried at nearby Hillside Cemetery .

3. Norway House: Methodist-United Church school (1900-1974). “Very old” grave site next to former school building, demolished by United Church in 2004.


1. Thunder Bay : Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital , still in operation. Experimental centre. Women and children reported buried adjacent to hospital grounds.

2. Sioux Lookout: Pelican Lake Catholic school (1911-1973). Burials of children in mound near to school.

3. Kenora: Cecilia Jeffrey school, Presbyterian-United Church (1900-1966). Large burial mound east of former school.

4. Fort Albany : St. Anne’s Catholic school (1936-1964). Children killed in electric chair buried next to school.

5. Spanish: Catholic school (1883-1965). Numerous graves.

6. Brantford : Mohawk Institute, Anglican church (1850-1969), building intact. Series of graves in orchard behind school building, under rows of trees.

7. Sault Ste. Marie: Shingwauk Anglican school (1873-1969), some intact buildings. Several graves of children reported on grounds of old school.


1. Montreal : Allan Memorial Institute, McGill University , still in operation since opening in 1940. MKULTRA experimental centre. Mass grave of children killed there north of building, on southern slopes of Mount Royal behind stone wall.


- Eyewitness accounts from survivors of these institutions, catalogued in Hidden from History: The Canadian Holocaust (2nd ed., 2005) by Kevin Annett. Other accounts are from local residents. See .

- Documents and other material from the Department of Indian Affairs RG 10 microfilm series on Indian Residential Schools in Koerner Library, University of B.C.

- Survey data and physical evidence obtained from grave sites in Port Alberni , Mission , and other locations.

This is a partial list and does not include all of the grave sites connected to Indian residential Schools and hospitals across Canada. In many cases, children who were dying of diseases were sent home to die by school and church officials, and the remains of other children who died at the school were incinerated in the residential school furnaces.

This information is submitted by The Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared (FRD) to the world media, the United Nations, and to the International Human Rights Tribunal into Genocide in Canada (IHRTGC). The IHRTGC will commence its investigations on April 15, 2008 on Squamish Nation territory.

For more information on the independent inquiry into genocide in Canada being conducted by the IHRTGC, write to:

10 April, 2008

Squamish Nation Territory (“ Vancouver , Canada ”)
Okay, bigass news media. There you go. This has been out there for 9 days and there's been barely a peep from the mainstream news outlets. I'm callin' yer sorryasses on this. If these graves was in Afghanistan or EyeRack, the media'd be all over it.

If yer a Facebookworm, there's a group for this issue. Join up and help tell the MSM we need them doin' some investigative work.

Stageleft has been all over this one and there's some good commentin' there.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Mass Graves Exposed in Canada

Whooee! This is the most important and also the most disturbing news in Canada today. It should be beyond belief but it ain't.

Read about it at Stageleft


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Seal hunt unjustifiable, says Green Party

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I'm posting a Green Party of Canada press release verbatim.
Seal hunt unjustifiable, says Green Party
OTTAWA – The Green Party today renewed its call for an immediate end to the commercial seal hunt, saying the hunt is impossible to justify on any basis and that successive governments have protected the hunt for far too long.

“The federal government has pulled out all the stops this year to keep the seal hunt afloat,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May. “Taxpayers’ dollars have been wasted on a grand show for the European Union, complete with an expensive propaganda campaign and lobbying effort. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has even gone so far as to arrest and detain a foreign vessel. I can’t recall the last time the DFO bothered to arrest a foreign ship for actually overfishing on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks, which speaks to the DFO’s priorities.”

Ms. May said that the annual hunt is inherently inhumane, dangerous for workers, damaging to Canada's international reputation, produces little economic benefit to Atlantic communities and would cease to exist without massive government subsidies.

“Government propaganda and support for the seal hunt cannot be justified by economics,” said Ms. May. “The seal hunt accounts for less than one percent of Newfoundland’s economy, yet it is a huge drain on public coffers. For instance, the landed value of the 2007 seal kill was $12 million, but that year the federal government paid at least $3.4 million to rescue ice-locked sealers and more than twice that to compensate fishers affected by ice conditions, including those sealers. Taxpayers also foot the bill for aircraft used to locate seal nurseries and are led to the seals by Coast Guard icebreakers. Canadian tax dollars support this hunt, even though most Canadians favour ending it.

“This year, pelt prices are down, fuel costs are up and many sealers say it is not worthwhile to go to the ice floes. The European Union will bring down a ban on seal product imports this summer which will cripple the sealing industry. The clock is running out on this hunt, but the government can make the transition smoother by devising a strategy for those affected.

“The government should bite the bullet now, buy out sealing licenses and initiate negotiations with provincial and municipal governments in Atlantic Canada to find sustainable alternative livelihoods for sealers and their communities.”

The Green Party is proposing a generous compensation package for sealers coupled with ecotourism and seal watching tours to develop the economies of affected communities. Ms. May noted that ecotourism is more consistent with the goal of rehabilitating the ecosystem as a whole and that other measures, such as banning drag trawling, are also critical to preserving the regional ecosystem.
In the last election, the Greens lost some support in Newfoundland and Labrador for the anti-hunt stance. One GPC candidate quit to protest our party's line. Too bad. I'm proud that we are standing up for humane treatment of animals. I'm also happy that we're not afraid to take an unpopular stand when our principles are at stake.

Elizabeth did the right thing last week when she resigned her directorship of the Sea Shepherd Society. Paul Watson's callous remarks were not acceptable. The Green Party is built on Six Green Values.

The first one is Ecological Wisdom

"We acknowledge that human beings are part of the natural world and we respect the specific values of all forms of life, including non-human species."


McGuinty: "Let them eat dirt."

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, ol' JimBobby's blood's a-boilin' this mornin'. I just seen a second Mop & Pail article tellin' how Premier Dalton Ginty ain't gonna rethink Ontario's ethanol policy. The dumbass Ginty don't believe that food prices are risin' on accounta gummint support fer corn ethanol.

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

TORONTO — Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty says he will not reconsider his government's program of helping ethanol producers despite concern that it is driving up food prices.

He said yesterday that the three-year-old program to support the production of ethanol - a corn-derived alcohol used as a gasoline additive - is not the dominant factor in increasing the price of corn and other commodities.

Mr. McGuinty said that energy prices have risen and that severe droughts in the world have limited crops. He also noted that an emerging middle class in China and India is seeking a better quality of food.

"A whole bunch of circumstances are driving up food prices," he told reporters after speaking to the fourth annual Agri-Food summit.

Ontario launched a 12-year, $520-million plan in 2005 after implementing a requirement that there be at least 5 per cent ethanol in all gasoline sold in the province. More than $26-million in capital grants to producers have been approved, with operational grants allocated for 485 million litres of ethanol in the next decade.

The incentives are luring investors into the ethanol business, and there are fears that production of the additive could eventually consume virtually all of the province's corn production of about 283 million bushels a year. The concern, which seems borne out by recent food riots in Asia, is that the scarcity of the commodity will push up prices for food processors dependent on corn for cereals and sweeteners and for farmers who use corn to feed their poultry.

Last year, about 2.1 million acres of land in Ontario were planted in corn, compared with 1.6 million acres the year earlier. Officials at the Ministry of Agriculture expect the acreage devoted to corn to increase significantly in the next few years.

The ministry estimates Ontario farms are providing about 350 million litres of the current demand for ethanol of 850 million litres. It anticipates that by 2012, Ontario will be producing 1.8 billion litres and will be an exporter, rather than an importer.

Mr. McGuinty said the government is convinced that Ontario's hunger for corn is not driving up prices.

"The big driver here in Ontario has not been ethanol," he told reporters. "All grain prices have gone up, not just corn."

Agriculture Minister Leona Dombrowsky said the government has invested $7.5-million into research on ethanol production that leaves corn kernels for consumer use and derives ethanol from the husks and stalks left after harvesting.

Godammit, Ginty. Don't you understand anything about economics? Don't you know that when more corn is planted and used for fuel that less land is available for food grain production? Don't you care about anybody outside Ontario? Sure, food prices have risen in Ontario. Sure, corn ethanol, might not be the biggest factor. But, dammit, it is a factor and it's contributing to the global food crisis. People are hungry. People are starving. People are rioting for affordable food.

People are eating dirt, Mr. Premier. How much worse does it need to get?

Poor Haitians Resort to Eating Dirt

Jonathan M. Katz in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Associated Press
January 30, 2008

It was lunchtime in one of Haiti's worst slums, and Charlene Dumas was eating mud.

With food prices rising, Haiti's poorest can't afford even a daily plate of rice, and some must take desperate measures to fill their bellies.

Charlene, 16 with a month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country's central plateau.

The mud has long been prized by pregnant women and children here as an antacid and source of calcium. But in places such as Cité Soleil, the oceanside slum where Charlene shares a two-room house with her baby, five siblings, and two unemployed parents, cookies made of dirt, salt, and vegetable shortening have become a regular meal.

"When my mother does not cook anything, I have to eat them three times a day," Charlene said. Her baby, named Woodson, lay still across her lap, looking even thinner than the slim 6 pounds, 3 ounces (2.7 kilograms, 85 grams) he weighed at birth.

Though she likes their buttery, salty taste, Charlene said the cookies also give her stomach pains. "When I nurse, the baby sometimes seems colicky too," she said.
(Source: National Geographic. Read more...)

And what does Ginty say?
"The big driver here in Ontario has not been ethanol," he told reporters. "All grain prices have gone up, not just corn."
Look, you dumbass, we all know that nobody's starvin' to death in Ontario. Nobody's rioting for food in Ontario. Nobody's eatin' dirt in Ontario. The food crisis threatens to destabilize poorer countries all over the world. Don't you even read the newspapers, Ginty? Are you just as uninformed that other ignoramus non-reader who also supports ethanol?

Canada needs to get off the ethanol bandwagon. Now. Not after food riots come to Canada. Not after tens of thousands perish from malnutrition and civil violence brought about by hunger. Now.

We don't live in a closed economy, Ginty. What we do here has effects in Haiti, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Ivory Coast and hundreds of other hellholes where people normally spend 75% of their income on food.

Here in Ontario, we spend between 10% and 20% of our income on food. If food prices double, like they have already done in many countries, we will spend between 20% and 40% of our income on food. Some Ontarians may have to forgo the Big Macs and a few Timmy's donuts. Some may need to resort to food banks. We'll need to tighten our belts and start gettin' back to basics like buyin' Ontario-grown produce and eatin' less processed crap and less fast food. For some, it'll be an adjustment. They'll live.

In places where they were already spending 75% of their income on basic foods, a doubling of food prices means they need 150% of their income for food. I ain't an economist, either, Ginty, but I know that spendin' 150% of yer income on food don't leave much for shelter or clothing or any of the other necessities of life.

When folks are starvin' to death, they got nothin' to lose. They blame their gummints and the rich assholes in the West. They are easily recruited to violent movements, jihads, revolutions and riots.

Ontario ain't the only guilty party. Ontario's support for ethanol may not be "the dominant factor" but, it's one of the factors and it's one over which the Ontario gummint has control.

Ontario cannot single-handedly eliminate world hunger. We don't need to contribute to it, though. The UN food program estimates a $500 million shortfall this year in its valiant effort to adequately feed 89 million poor bastards who can't afford basic sustenance. Instead of pumpin' our money into a scam that does nothing for the environment and is making wealthy commodities dealers salivate with glee over windfall profits, we could be helpin' the poor and hungry. We could lead the way.

Or, we can let them eat dirt.

pissed off

Monday, April 14, 2008

Canada's Ethanol Policy Contributing to Food Crisis

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, some dang chickens is comin' home to roost. All over the world, poor folks is strugglin' just to put one meal a day into their pitiful bodies. An' we're bitchin' about the price of gas when we hafta fgill up the chugmobile. There's close connection between the two things, too.

The bigass commodities boys sold their ethanol big lie to the top levels of government in the US, Canada, the UK and the EU. Just like the big nuke merchants, the big corn lobby didn't waste any time tryin' to figger out how they could fleece a public concerned about climate change and greenhouse gases. Ethanol and other dumbass biofuels are a big part of the reason people are riotin' an' dyin' in the Philippines, Haiti, Egypt, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal, Cameroon and Vietnam.

Food shortages ain't just a humanitarian issue. It's a security issue. Hungry folks who're starvin' to death got absolutely nuthin' to lose and they've got excellent motivation: life. The bigass G8's all over the problem at their big pow-wow down in Washington, DC.
Ministers representing 185 countries agreed on the weekend that soaring food prices threaten global calamity and pledged to co-operate on a solution to save the world's poorest people from starvation.
(Good Guardian article...)
Ethanol ain't the only reason folks is starvin' but it's one of the reasons. Nobody seems to be disputin' that except maybe the Brazilian cane growers and the big Iowa corn boys. In the 2006 budget, the Harper bunch gave away $2 billion fer ethanol and biofuel development. Most everyone knows by now that ethanol ain't a GHG reducer and ain't doin' a single thing to help ol' Mother Earth. It takes somethin' like 1 an' a third liters of petro to make one litre of ethanol and it gobbles up fresh water like nobody's business.

But it is somebody's business and that business got $2 billion from us while it contributed to the food crisis that's killin' poor folks all over the place.

Here's some numbers from the Guardian:

Food in figures

93,000,000 Acres of corn planted by US farmers last year, up 19 per cent on 2006.

76% Amount of US corn used for animal feed.

8kg Amount of grain it takes to produce 1kg of beef.

20% Portion of US corn used to produce five billion gallons of ethanol in 2006-07.

50kg Quantity of meat consumed annually by the average Chinese person, up from 20kg in 1985.

10% Anticipated share of biofuels used for transport in the EU by 2020.

$500m The UN World Food Programme's shortfall this year, in attempting to feed 89 million needy people.

9.2bn The world's predicted population by 2050. It's 6.6bn now.

130% The rise in the cost of wheat in 12 months.

16 times The overall food consumption of the world's richest 20 per cent compared with that of the poorest 20 per cent.

58% Jump in the price of pork in China in the past year.

$900 The cost of one tonne of Thai premier rice, up 30 per cent in a month.

Here's something that really gets under my skin. Little wee Canada gives away $2 billion to these ethanol guys and it would take only $500 million to top up the UN's food program so they could help 89 million hungry people survive. That's right. With just one-quarter of the money we spent on developing biofuels so we can drive the chugmobiles and tell ourselves we're saving the planet, we could feed the multitudes. And that's just Canada.

We need to get our gummint to quit subsidizin' these ethanol guys. I know it ain't gonna be too popular with the farmers. They ain't starvin' to death, though. Farmers ain't to blame. They do what they gotta do. They gotta buy seeds, fertilizers, tractors, combines, silos, and other stuff to grow that corn. The bigass seed and fertilizer outfits like Monsanto are the ones who engineered the lobbyin' to get all these gummints makin' laws sayin' we gotta have 10%-20% ethanol.

Us Canajuns gotta decide what's really important. Do we keep up with a corporate welfare feel-good program of promotin' ethanol? Or do we put a moratorium on biofuel until we quit starvin' people to death so's we can fill up the chugmobile an' drive three blocks to the Timmy's Drive-Thru window?


Friday, April 11, 2008

Small Town Life, Church Fire Devastates Community

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I ain't a believer and I ain't a churchgoer. I go when there's a funeral or wedding. Once or twice a year, the little band I play in does a stint at the the United Church where we play a few ol' timey gospel songs fer their Sunday mornin' service. If it weren't fer playin' in the band, I sure as hell wouldn't go to any Sunday mornin' services.

Okay, now that I got my atheist credentials in order, I'm gonna start in praising the local churches. Here in small town Ontariariario, the churches are still a big part of community life. Over the past few years, I been active with a bunch who restored our old town hall building fer a community centre. Most of the hardworkin' volunteers who helped out with the old town hall are also active volunteers at their church. A lot of 'em are from the United Church.

As far as churches and preachifyin' goes, I can live with these here Uniteds a lot easier than with some others. They gotta social conscience and they don't get all hellfire an' damnation on a few personal vices or recreational diversions. They're pretty liberal when it comes to stuff like selfsame sexy marryin' an' helpin' the pore bastards over in foreign hellholes.

Last night, the United Church burned down.
Yeah, the walls are still standin' but the insides are all gutted out. They'll probbly hafta knock down what's left. They had 15 trucks and 50 firefighters hosin' it down last night and they saved the attached church hall and kitchen but the main building's a write-off, I reckon. Too bad.

It's a sad day fer my little town. Last night, folks was cryin' in the streets -- even folks who don't go to that church. Even folks who don't go to any church. Lotsa my friends' an' neighbours' lives revolve around church stuff. The whole dang town is hurtin'.

Here's a pitcher of our little band last time we played at the church. That's ol' JB on the big squeezebox.
One o' my band mates remarked last night about how when a house burns down, it affects a family but when a church burns down, it affects dozens of families. I talked to a few church members this mornin'. They was lookin' a bit dazed and bewildered but they was also talkin' about rebuildin'. They will. I know it.


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Oops! CPoC Touts Consumer Protection with Photo of Helmetless Rollerbladers

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I see that the Con's are up on their hindlegs crowin' about how they're Protecting Canadian Families with new consumer protection rules. They say:
When it comes to protecting consumers, the choice is clear. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative Government are taking real action to keep Canadians safer and healthier. The Stéphane Dion Liberals must answer to Canadian families for their record of inaction, weak leadership, and unacceptable risk. (emphasis mine. JB)

Most authorities on health and safety are in agreement. Inline skating is inherently dangerous and is the cause of hundreds of injuries annually. Most of the serious cases are head injuries and most could have been minimized or eliminated if the skaters were wearing helmets, as recommended by experts from Sick Kids Hospital (PDF) and many other consumer and child safety organizations.

Here's a little tip fer the ConMen. If yer talkin' about protecting families, try to find a photo where responsible parents are following universally accepted safety precautions. Promoting the use of rollerblades without adequate protection against head injuries creates an unacceptable risk.

Before the cries of "Nanny State! Nanny State!" start, let me say that I'm not (at least in this boog story) advocating mandatory helmet use for adults. Children, however, are vulnerable and parents must do what they can to ensure their offspring will reach adulthood without suffering preventable, debilitating injury. Kids should wear helmets when a serious, proven risk of head injury exists.


Monday, April 07, 2008

The F-word: Faggot

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I'm reducing my workload by re-using and recycling a bigass comment I just left over at Saskboy's fine boog: Abandoned Stuff. Sasky's boogin' o the unacceptability of the slang term, "faggot." His post's title sez it all: Fag not a cigarette, and not a word acceptable in 1991 either.

It ain't a word that I use but I don't think it's all that uncommon, even in 2008.

On Friday night at 9 PM, Ma an’ me watched a movie on the Express-vu. It was called Reign Over Me. It was just released in 2007 and starred Don Cheadle and Adam Sandler. It was set in the present time and concerned a mental breakdown suffered by the Sandler character after his family was killed in 9/11.

More than once in the script, one or the other of the two main characters taunted the other by calling them a “faggot” or saying their actions were “faggoty.” I don’t recall any uproar last year when this movie was released. I’d be interested to know how many complaints were lodged to TMN (The Movie Network) after they premiered the movie on TV last Friday. I’m guessing there were zero.

As late as the late 80’s, HIV-AIDS was still being referred to as the “gay plague.” In about 1988, I remember a friend of mine saying he quit shopping at the A&P because he saw a queer handling the vegetables and he was genuinely concerned of a health risk.

I ain’t sure about the dirty fingernails part but a lotta Canajuns did believe in 1991, that gays were responsible for the AIDS epidemic. I think a poll would probably reveal that many Canajuns still hold those beliefs.

Even today, a common schoolyard taunt is, “That’s so gay!” I’ve even heard parents of teens use this expression when they’re trying to be as cool as their kids. And when I’ve responded to that expression by asking what the parent has against gays, I’ve got the stunned silent treatment.

I don’t know whether or not Lukiwski’s apology was sincere. I know that people can change. That’s not just an idealistic belief. It’s a fact that I’ve experienced and seen with my own eyes.

Many MP’s spoke against and voted against SSM. Even a number of Liberals. Personally, I think they were wrong. Parliament thought they were wrong, too. Mostly, though, they were only doing what they felt they had to do: representing the majority opinion in their ridings. I don’t want to start punishing MP’s for accurately gaging and honestly representing public opinion. That’s a slippery slope, too.

I think Lukiwski needs to get a slap in the form of losing his Parliamentary Secretary position. He also needs to do something to demonstrate a change in attitude. He claimed he would be trying to reverse his bigotry for the rest of his life. I want to see some outreach to the LGBT community.

I think we’d like to think we’re enlightened in 2008. We’d also like to make that enlightenment retroactive to 1991. We weren’t enlightened then and we aren’t enlightened now. Neither in Saskatchewan nor Hollywood.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Forgive Lukiwski. Forgive Ahenekew.

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I just left me a bigass comment over to Stageleft an' I'm recyclin' most of it here. The StageCoachDriver's askin' howcum the Con's don't forgive an' forget when it comes to former Jew-hater David Ahenekew but they're quick to forgive former Queer-hater Tommy Lukiwski.

I agree with StageLeft on the Ahenekew hypocrisy. As to why the Con’s are forgiving Lukiwski but not Ahenekew, you only need to look at the targets of the bigotry. Hatred of queers is not as bad as hatred of Jews, at least in the view of CPoC MP's.

It's nearly all Lukiwski, all the time in the Pergressive Boogeysphere. I reckon my addition might not be so well-received as them who are callin' fer Lukiwski's head. I say, unless we got reason to believe they still hold them repugnant beliefs, we oughta forgive both these fellers.

Unless we believe that people’s attitudes can and do change, we’re completely wasting our time with any meaningful discussions, dialogs, rants, blogs, essays, op-ed pieces, church sermons, diplomacy, parental lectures or any proselytizing, at all.

If we do not believe that a Hummer-driving, water-wasting, energy-unconscious polluter can see the light and slow down his contribution to the death of the planet, why waste our breath and energy trying to convince environmental miscreants to change their attitudes? If we do not believe that a racist can see the error of her ways, what point is there in trying show her that error?

I know that people can and do change. I know it from personal experience. I’ve changed over the years and I’ve seen huge changes in family members — positive changes. When a seemingly sincere apology is given and a person renounces formerly held beliefs, I want to take them at their word. Call it idealistic optimism but without such a belief, I might as well give up all my do-gooder preachifyin’ an’ become an eco-terrorist.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Water is Life - Canada Works Against Water Rights at UN

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I was just over to Jimmy Harris's Green Party blog where he's talkin' about another shameful black mark against Canada's international reputation. My ol' buddy Jim points to this article in the Trawna Star:

Canada foils UN water plan

Advocates devastated at failure of resolution to recognize water as a basic human right
Apr 02, 2008 04:30 AM

National Affairs Writer

Canada emerged as the pivotal nation behind recent manoeuvres to block the United Nations Human Rights Council from recognizing water as a basic human right, according to international observers.

The Geneva-based body wrapped up an intense three-week session late Friday without passing a German-Spanish resolution intended to enshrine its importance in a world where more than 2 billion people live in water-stressed regions.

It would have also set up an international watchdog to monitor the actions of individual countries.

After its 46 members accepted a consensus resolution – essentially for more study – Canadian representative Sarah Geh told the council: "Canada does not view this resolution as creating a human right to water under international human rights law."

In his final speech, disappointed German representative Reinhard Schweppe stressed action is urgent. Access to clean water and sanitation, is "a part of human dignity," he said, adding a child dies every 20 seconds due to water-borne diseases.

Advocates for water rights were devastated by the outcome.

From Oxford, Ashfaq Khalfan, co-ordinator of the U.K.-headquartered Right to Water Program, said he believes the resolution to make water a right would have passed without the resolute lobby efforts of the Canadian delegation.

"It's rather unfortunate Canada put itself in that position," he said in an interview.
(There's more...)

Yeow! Maude Barlow figgers the Merkins got their hands in this. Canada's on the UN Human Rights Council but the Merkins ain't so she sez we're just doin' their biddin' like the loyal water-carriers we are.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness - them's rights that are promised to Merkins in their constitution. Since human life is impossible without water, I reckon Merkins could argue they gotta right to clean water. It's the rest of the world who Canada wants to deprive of that right.

The Green Party is the only federal Canadian party calling for the right to clean drinking water to be enshrined in law. Water is life. We shouldn't have to make such laws. We sure as hell shouldn't oughta be workin' against the right to life.