Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Workin' fer The Man every night an' day

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, ol' Balbulican over to StageLeft got a little bloggin' tag game goin' on. Here's how it goes:
It’s simple. Just list all the jobs you’ve had in your life, in order. Don’t bust your brain: no durations or details are necessary, and feel free to omit anything that you feel might tend to incriminate you. I’m just curious. And when you’re done, tag another five bloggers you’re curious about.
I posted up my list over to StageLeft but here goes again:

Odd jobs - painting, yard work, snow shovellin’ (startin’ at age 13)
Refundable pop bottle sorter (corner store)
Flier delivery kid
Shipping clerk
Furniture, flowers and corpse pickup/delivery helper (combined furniture store/funeral parlour)
Steel mill labourer
Good Humor man
Machine shop labourer
Flooring installer’s helper
Temp worker - day labourer
Janitor (I got fired the 1st day - only time I was ever canned.)
Carpenter/remodeller/jack-of-all-trades - fixin’ up slummy apartments
Pie factory worker
Carpet and flooring installer
Web developer/host
Bigtime blogger
Shit disturber (age 59)

I fergot a couple when I made that list. I also worked helpin' out on deliveries of stuff like washin' machines an' big screen TV's and upholstered furniture.

Balbu asked me how I coulda got my dumbass fired from a janitor job. Here's how it happened.

The year was 1970. I was a hippie university student. I got hired and started the next day. I showed up at the offices we were contracted to clean. The other guy had been there a week. His partner got fired and I was the replacement. He wasn’t exactly sure what the partner was supposed to do but he told me what he thought were to be my duties. Next day, the boss called me and said I hadn’t emptied the wastebaskets in a coupla offices and they were bitchin’ and I was fired.

The worst part was he made it seem like he figgered I wasn’t smart enough to do the job. He knew I was a 3rd year uni student and I reckon he didn’t have high school. Punk hippie students weren’t prime employment material back then. But… maybe I was jes’ plain stoopid.

Funny how you remember shit like that, ain’t it? One day, 38 years ago.

I learned a valuable life lesson from that situation: Blame someone else. If I ever run fer office, that'll be a dang useful skill.

Anyways, ol' Balbu's little game brought back some good memories. I'm taggin' Steve V., Red Tory, Bene Diction, JJ and Chrystal.


Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm Humbled and Confused

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I was over to Stageleft last night an' I seen that I been honoured as one of the top ten lefty blogs as per Michael Taube. Thankee kindly, Michael.

I ain't been boogin' so much lately. I sometimes blush but I never turn down a compliment an' I'm humbled to be named among the leading lights of the Canajun boogeysphere.

I'm also confused. I could name lotsa boogers who ain't on that list but who're way better at boogin' than ol' JB. Right off, there's Stageleft and POGGE and Impolitical and Mentarch and Red Tory and Saskboy and Buckdog and Steve V.

Anyways, to all my new readers droppin' in from the National Post, welcome to my little boog. I got some audio sing-songy stuff posted up an' there's links up yonder in the upper right. If yer lookin' fer what Mikey Taube figgers is so dang funny, that's probbly yer best bet.

In case I don't get around to any more boogin' on accounta gettin' goin' on the Christmas shoppin' or shovellin' the dang mountains of snow out there,

Merry Christmas to all!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's Still Canada... or maybe North Zimbabwestan

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I'm addin' my voice to the other Canajun boogers who are outraged an' disgusted at what happened up in Ottawa. I ain't talkin' coalition or perogies. I'm talkin' about police misconduct. I'm talkin' about an Ottawa police officer who says you need to be either a lawyer or a property owner to voice an opinion in public.

Knitnut got the photos.

POGGE's on it.
chimed in.
Bene Diction
, too.
And Dawg.
Miss Vicky

and Excited Delerium, as well.

The more this gets out into the boogeysphere, the more pressure gets put on the Ottawa Police to do the right thing. If they can figger out what that is.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Food Crisis Continues Killing Millions While Economic Crisis Takes Centre Stage

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I ain't wrote much lately about the global food crisis that's killin' millions of human beings. Every 5 seconds, or so, some poor bastard starves to death here on good ol' Planet Earth. $700 billion would feed the hungry and put in place sustainable programs that would reduce suffering for generations to come.

When Wall Street is down on its luck and its own mismangement and greed has forced it to beg from the public purse, the powers that hold the pursestrings are ready with a bailout.

When Detroit automakers make dumbass decision after dumbass decision and drive their dumbass businesses into bankruptcy, the public purse is there to make sure they don't hafta give up their corporate jets or bigass wage and benefits packages.

But when a heartless global banking system, natural disasters exacerbated by climate change, stoopidass ethanol policy and greedy fuel and commodities brokers gang up to force nearly a billion people into malnourishment and starvartion, the cupboard's bare. Well, there ain't any $700 billion bailouts available to alleviate the massive real life'n'death suffering that goes beyond job losses and bath-taking on the stockmarket.

Here's a little bit of a good article on the food crisis:
Commentary: FedEx to the bottom billion

(UPI) -- Almost 1 billion people have been hit by this year's global food shortages, says the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The number of undernourished, the FAO said, rose by 40 million, following a 75 million jump the previous year.

Before the global food crisis there were 850 million chronically hungry people in 2003-05. A decade ago, the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals called for halving world hunger between 1995 and 2015. Soaring food prices and the global financial crisis have pushed that goal off the charts as no longer achievable. This would have required investing $30 billion a year to boost agricultural output.

But it isn't happening. In sub-Saharan Africa one in three is suffering from malnutrition.

There's some interesting stuff in there about the UN's World Food Program. I didn't know that UN operatives are dying and MIA in the struggle to feed the hungry in places like Darfur.

The woman in charge of feeding the world's hungry calls the World Food Program a "FedEx to the 'bottom billion.'" Josette Sheeran's WFP can reach any point of the globe within 24 hours with lifesaving food. Its 10,000 employees are known as "the humanitarian Green Berets." The WFP has been feeding 3 million people a day in Darfur, where 41 of its drivers are missing in action. Twelve of its "Green Berets" were killed in action so far this year. And volunteers for hazardous duty keep stepping forward from all over the world. The WFP's global network moves food by plane, helicopter, train, boat, barge, donkey, camel, mule, airdrops -- whatever it takes.

With everybody shriekin' an' moanin' over the bad economy and how much the TSE is down and how their house ain't worth what it was last year, I reckon a little perspective might help.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Anti-Nuke Action for Nanticoke

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, down here in Norfolk and Haldimand Counties, Bruce Power is doin' its dangedest to build a new nuclear power plant. Ginty sez he's shuttin' down Nanticoke's filth-belchin' coal-fired plant by 2014. Bruce is ridin' in on a white horse an' promisin' a thousand jobs an' billions of dollars of investment in the local economy.

Both Bruce Power and the province have stated that they will only build nuclear plants in "willing host" communities. Both Haldimand and Norfolk County Councils have adopted resolutions declaring that we have a willing host community. Diane Finley's been actively working with Bruce Power, too.

There's just one big problem. Nobody has ever asked the local residents if they are in favour of a nuke plant here. Well, almost nobody. Bruce Power commissioned an Ipsos poll a couple years ago that asked if residents were in favour of exploring the possibility. As I recall, only about 1200-1500 people were polled and the poll was not an impartial poll commissioned by any branch of government but a poll commissioned by Bruce specifically to prove there is local support. There's something like 78,000 people on the voters' list in the two counties so a company-commissioned poll of 1500 doesn't cut much shit with me and it shouldn't cut much with our county gummints, neither.

I'm on a mailing list of a group that's been asking questions and publishing information about nuclear energy and the problems associated with it. The group is called Grand Erie Energy Quest. They been putting lotsa stuff on their website: www.energyquest4nanticoke.ca.

Well, things been movin' dang fast lately. Bruce Power's been makin' bigass announcements and putting full-page newspaper ads in every paper that serves the riding. They been sending out slick literature in the mail. They been makin' donations to local outfits like the Norfolk County Fair, Norfolk General Hospital and the Port Dover Medical Centre. They're describing the proposed project as a "clean energy hub." They say it's a combination of nuclear, wind, solar and hydrogen initiatives.

, sez I!

Well, the folks at Grand Erie Energy Quest (I'll call 'em GEEQs) have got themselves a petition and they're lookin' fer signatures. The issue goes beyond the boundaries of Haldimand and Norfolk. Hamilton and Niagara are in the Nanticoke air shed. Any accident at a new nuke plant in Nanticoke would affect millions of people in the Golden Horseshoe. I reckon anybody who wants can sign the GEEQ's petition.

Here's what the petition sez:
To: Norfolk County Council, Haldimand County Council, Legislature of Ontario, the Honourable Diane Finley and the Honourable Toby Barrett.

Without any formal public consultation, County Councils in both Haldimand and Norfolk have unanimously endorsed the first step in building two nuclear reactors.

The nuclear power industry has failed to address public concern over the issues of safety and security in the storage and handling of hazardous radioactive spent fuel.

Nuclear power is not emissions-free with its pollution intensive activities in uranium mining, transportation and refining.

No nuclear project has ever come in on budget or on time with the taxpayer and the utility customer paying for cost overruns that typically range in the billions of dollars.

We, the undersigned citizens, demand a complete moratorium on nuclear development until the issues of contamination, costs, security, and public consultation are adequately addressed.
You can download the petition from the GEEQ website. I've downloaded and printed a few copies and I don't reckon I'll have much trouble findin' signatures. Even though our local councils have told everyone we're a willing host, I been havin' a hard time findin' anybuddy who's in favour of this dumbass idea.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Canada to Renew Nuclear Ties With India

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, most everybody's heard the old phrase, "Once bitten, twice shy." In case you can't figger out what that means, it means if somebody's done you wrong once, there's a good chance they'll do you wrong again and you oughta be careful dealin' with 'em. It holds true whether you're talkin' about Golden Retrievers or double-dealin' belligerent countries.

Back 35 years ago, Canada sold Candu nuclear technology to India. Not long after that, India developed a nuclear weapon (uh huh, an atomic bomb) using the technology they acquired from our Candu. They admitted it and we stopped nuclear technology dealings with India. In the subsequent decades since India became a nuclear power, they have failed to sign on to the Non Proliferation agreement that most other nuclear powers have signed on to.

Now, Canadian crown corporation AECL is ready to start dealing with India once more. Has India become more stable and responsible since it developed a weapon of mass destruction? Have India and Pakistan settled their differences over Kashmir? Has India agreed to sign on to a non proliferation treaty? No, no, and no.

As usual, news items concerning AECL and the nuclear industry are routinely buried in the business section of the media. Here's the story from today's Globe:
Nuclear deal would allow AECL to renew Indian business ties
From Friday's Globe and Mail
November 14, 2008 at 4:25 AM EST

OTTAWA — Federally owned AECL Ltd. is looking to re-enter the Indian market some 35 years after the south Asian giant shocked the world and brought about its own nuclear isolation by using Candu technology to build a bomb.

The federal government is currently negotiating a nuclear co-operation agreement with India that would allow AECL to re-establish business ties, despite concerns that India has not signed the international nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The negotiations come after Canada backed a decision by the international Nuclear Suppliers Group to provide an exemption for India that would allow it to develop civilian nuclear power even as it maintains its right to develop weapons without international scrutiny.

The United States lobbied hard to exempt India from the kinds of sanctions it imposes on Iran and North Korea, and has concluded its own nuclear co-operation agreement with India. France has also completed a nuclear co-operation agreement, and both countries are now openly competing with Russia to sell reactors there.

Critics complain that the West's special treatment of India will spark a new arms race with Pakistan and undermine the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and argue Canada should hold out for stringent conditions in any bilateral accord.

In an interview from India, AECL chief executive Hugh MacDiarmid said the Crown-owned company is hopeful of getting major service work on the country's aging fleet of heavy-water reactors, and potentially even the sale of a new reactor.

The AECL group met with senior officials from India's Department of Atomic Energy, and from the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd., which has said it intends to build or buy up to 20 reactors over the next 12 years.

"We've been greeted very warmly," Mr. MacDiarmid said, concluding a six-day visit to India and China. He said Indian heavy-water reactor technology has not kept pace with Western companies, and AECL - one of the few companies that also deal in heavy-water reactors - could help modernize it.

"They feel there is a mutual benefit to be had. We do believe there is potential for us to be marketing our reactor technology in this country," he said.

AECL's own future remains very much in doubt as the federal government is reviewing its ownership and considering selling off the 60-year-old Crown corporation, either entirely or to a minority partner. Yesterday, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said the government is looking at selling some Crown corporations - without mentioning names - in order to balance the federal books.

Whether it sells AECL or keeps it, Ottawa is keen to put the company on a stronger commercial footing, and that means ensuring it has access to growing emerging markets such as India's.

In addition to AECL's interest, Canada's broader nuclear industry is eager to see the Indian market open up to them, as is Cameco Corp., the Saskatchewan-based uranium producer that has been prevented from selling fuel to India.

Activist Ernie Regehr of Project Ploughshares said the Indian exemptions undermine the international Non-Proliferation Treaty by sending the message that countries can flout the rules and still co-operate on civilian nuclear uses. He worries the decision by the Nuclear Suppliers Group in September may reignite an arms race with Pakistan, which has reacted angrily to the move.

A spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs confirmed the two sides had "informal" discussions last month and expect to schedule formal sessions soon. She said Canada signalled its support for India's re-engagement with the broader nuclear-energy community when it backed the suppliers' group decision.

"India is a responsible democracy that shares with Canada the fundamental values of freedom, democracy, human rights and respect for the rule of law," government spokesman Lisa Monette said. "India has made substantial non-proliferation and disarmament commitments to achieve the trust of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which were reiterated in a political statement on Sept. 5."

Mr. Regehr said India has made political commitments, such as agreeing not to test nuclear weapons, but has refused to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. It has also insisted on the right to stockpile uranium, which Mr. Regehr says would provide it with an assured fuel supply should it again run afoul of the international suppliers group.

Australia, which along with Canada is one of the world's major uranium miners, is refusing to sell the fuel to India unless it signs the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Mr. Regehr said Canada should do likewise.
Well, King Steve says we gotta quit bein' so ideologically rigid and be more pragmatic. What could be more pragmatic than selling nuclear technology and materials to an eager customer? Step right up, folks. Canada's got nukes for sale. Yes, Mr. Terrist, how much do you bid?


Monday, October 27, 2008

Green Candidate Pat Gostlin, R.I.P.

Well friends and foes, I met Pat Gostlin a couple of times at Green Party events. We only chatted briefly but I was impressed with Pat's enthusiasm and knowledge. Sadly, Pat Gostlin was killed in a car crash Sunday morning. I join with Elizabeth May in mourning our loss.


Green Party mourns Pat Gostlin

Greens across the country are shocked and saddened following the tragic and unexpected death of Pat Gostlin. Ms. Gostlin was the Green candidate in Oshawa in the recent federal election. She was killed by a drunk driver while driving home early on Sunday morning in Durham.

"Pat's untimely death is simply devastating," said Green Party leader Elizabeth May. "She was a tireless and dedicated advocate for change. Her warmth, kindness and cheer touched all those she met. Pat will be sorely missed and I extend my deepest sympathies, on behalf of all Greens, to her family and loved ones."

Ms. Gostlin's efforts were instrumental in propelling the Greens into the televised debates in the last election, when she and other Greens organized a protest that hit the national airwaves.

"Many of us were blessed by the opportunity to know and work with Pat. Many more of us felt proud after learning of her tremendous efforts to protect democracy in Canada. Pat will always have a special place in Green history and today we mourn her tragic passing."

The Star has some details about the circumstances of the crash.

Gostlin's car was hit while stopped at a red light on John St. W. at Park Rd. S. in Oshawa, according to Durham police

The driver tried to flee, but was held by a citizen until officers arrived, police said. A Bowmanville man has been charged with impaired driving.

The GPC site is still showing Pat's candidate page. That page will be removed soon but I'm taking the liberty of copying Pat's bio here:

Pat Gostlin is a recently retired teacher who speaks 5 languages, including German, Polish, French, and Spanish. Born in Germany, she came to Canada with her mother in 1953 and grew up on a farm in Brooklin, Ontario (north of Whitby). A teacher with the Durham Catholic School Board for 35 years, she earned a B.A. in Cultural Studies from Trent University in 1997 after attending night and summer courses.

Asked why she is seeking public office under the Green banner, Pat simply answers: “Because I am a mother and a grandmother.” She has always been interested in politics and feels that retirement will allow her to dedicate the time and energy needed to effect positive policy change – not just for the sake of her children and grandchildren, but for her grandchildren’s grandchildren.

Pat’s care for future generations stems in part from a lifetime of work with young children. In addition to teaching in a classroom setting, she worked closely with children with reading difficulties and acquired expertise in reading recovery. Recognized by her peers as a distinguished educator in 2001, she was awarded the prestigious Ontario English Catholic Teacher’s Association President’s Award for Durham Region in 2007.

Pat has been very active within her unit of the teachers’ federation and served on numerous committees, including the negotiating team. She chaired the professional development committee and was a founding member of the Sharing of Excellence committee, an outreach initiative which shared original ideas and provided information to parents, teachers and the community on successful methods for dealing with problems like autism, learning disabilities, and bullying.

Pat is also an active volunteer in her community. In addition to her local involvement, she is a member of Amnesty International and The Council of Canadians.

Truly a great loss...


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Political Compass

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, the folks over to StageLeft are talkin' about the Political Compass and how we oughta be doin' a better job of labelin' various people, parties and positions on more than just the right to left, linear definitions. I've been a proponent of the Political Compass method for a few years and I just re-tested myself. I'm a little more of a Lick than I was a few years back.

I found it interesting that my party of choice is well to the Upper Right of my own position. I ain't the only one to find a similar distance and trajectory from one's own position to that of one's chosen party.

I'd be interested in a round-up of bloggers' positions and a comparison of those positions to the positions of the party they generally support, if any.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Post-Adolescent Apathy

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, I ain't been boogin' much during the election campaign on accounta I been helpin' out with tryin' to harvest up some Green votes here in Haldimand-Norfolk. I been doin' a lotta office work an' helpin' hand out propaganda. I even wrote an' printed up some o' that political panderin' stuff.

I spent some time this weekend handin' out pamphlets at the Norfolk County Fair over in Simcoe. Over the course of a few days, I reckon I spoke to about 4000 folks and handed out about 1800 pieces of Green Party stuff.

Since the Green Party's often listed as a favourite among the young folks, I approached a lotta 18-25's walkin' by the Green Party booth. I know the statistics also say the 18-25's are the least likely to get out an' mark their X one way or another.

My carnival barker pitch to flag down the passersby was to ask 'em if they were gonna be votin'. Some folks said they'd already voted. Some said they was gonna and they'd be glad to look at our GPC dead tree material. Some played deaf. Some said they'd made up their minds an' didn't want any dang literature. Some said they was already votin' Green so we could save our dang literature.

With the young folks, some was keen on Green. A few I asked was only 17. But, dang-it-all, I betcha well over half of the young folks said they wasn't gonna vote. I didn't get all preachy with 'em. Mostly, I just muttered under my breath that they was a buncha ignorant whelps; dumbasses who didn't pay the least attention to polyticks. Quite a few of the non-votin' 20-somethings were pushing strollers and/or had young kids in tow.

I ain't sure who I oughta blame fer the sorryass state of youth voter turnout. I reckon there's plenty of blame to go around. Judging by the stroller pushing non-voters, the parents are partly to blame. Then, there's the schools. Schools is always a good whipping boy since we expect them to turn out perfect specimens every time. Then there's the TV telling us that the only politicians worth mentioning are the crooks and perverts. Internet, video games, sports culture, discrimination by old farts, ballot-spoiling cynics... there's no end to the blameworthy.

I did have a few real bright moments at the fair, though. I had a young feller name o' Frank (17 and too young to vote) spend a lotta time askin' a lotta questions on stuff like Afghanistan and Caledonia. I found out he'd been over to the Lib's and Con's booths askin' them, too. He wasn't doin' a school project. Just keen. Young fellers an' gals like young Frank is who's gonna run the show in 25 years or so. I just hope there's enough of 'em.


Up in Smoke: Ol' JB's 'Puter Caught on Fire.

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, my dang computer got all toasty yesterday. I was over to the Simcoe fair doin' some Green Party proselytizing and my son was puttin' some new memory in my old box. Between ol' Spot an' his girl friend, Ellie, there's a fair bit o' fur flies in ol' JB's happy home. I usually open up the box a coupla times a year an' blow it out. I figger it's been a good six months since I done that.

While the Boy (he's 37, btw) was puttin' in the new 2GB's, the accumulated hair musta got blowed in the wrong place an' when he plugged it back in, the smoke come out. Now, it's ruint an' I'm waitin' fer Dell to show up with a new machine where I can put my old hard drives. They ain't ruint. Leastwise, I don't think so.

I got Ma's laptop pressed into service. I'll be postin' up some election observations and pontifications shortly.


Friday, October 03, 2008

That's Why She's the Gal I Adore. Earth Mother Lizzie May, that is.

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I gotta tell you I was glued to the dang TV set last night from 9 until 11. Well, I was mostly glued except fer one time when I started noddin' off an' Ma laughed an' roused me an' I seen it was Dion on the TV mumblin' some kinda sleep inducin' FranglaMerkan lingo. After that, I needed a little fresh air so I let ol' Spot out in the backyard and breathed in some. I managed to stay a alert an' bushy-tailed fer the rest of the debate.

I met Lizzie in person a coupla times an' I seen her talk in person a few times an' a few more times on the YouTube. I knew dang well she was gonna do good an' she did. I figger Lizzie Gal showed 'em she's right up there in the big leagues an' deservedly so. Knowledgeable and quick, our gal Lizzie. An' I see in the polls lotsa folks changed their opinion fer the better an' the Greens is up a point overall.

I hear-tell some is sayin' Lizzie was buttin' in too much but I didn't hear it that way. There was a few times when there was three or four voices all yammerin' at once and them times I was listenin' hard fer a female voice an' Lizzie weren't talkin' overtop of them baritone bossmen. I did hear our Lizzie gal mutterin' some when she disputed a coupla big whoppers ol' King Steve was blatherin' about. Sheesh! Stevie tried to make out like the whole dang dumbass House o' Comments voted to fire Linda Keen. That was Harper misleadin'. Not a leader.

I reckon Lizzie showed them kindergarten kids a thing or two about civility and stickin' with the issues. I was happy to see ol' Jack givin' Lizzie some credit now an' then. She returned the favour, too. They both come across like competent folks who could work together.

I gotta give young Steve Pakin a pat on the back, too. He was a good referee, mostly. I reckon that's a dang tough job refereein' a five-way jawfest an' keepin' it fair an' square.

Harper come across with what I'd call an air of paternalism. Kinda smug an' smirky like he's toleratin' these monkeys but he ain't got much respect fer 'em. I didn't find him to be credible but I reckon that's cause he was fibbin' an' exaggeratin' all the time. I figger what's doin' the Cons an' Harper the most harm is they ain't released a platform. I heard somebuddy say they was waitin' on the Aussies to get it deliverered.

I reckon if Harpoon don't release a platform an' still trounces the hapless Grits, it'll sure say somethin'. I ain't sure what. "Blind leadin' the blind" comes to mind. Don't worry. Be happy. I wear sweaters. I wonder where Sweater Boy keeps his thermostat set in the wintertime. I wonder if he starts in wearin' the long johns in the winter so's to save on the heatin' bill an' send out less so-called greenhouse gases.

Duceppe done okay, I reckon... fer a rotten separatist BlocHead. I figger he's a good feller doin' what he can fer his people. Only thing is, he figgers his people is Q-beckers an' not all Canajuns. Ma sez he seemed more like a Premier negotiatin' with Harper the PM. He's a dang good parlay l'anglais feller, sez I. Dion's got a lot better in the speakin' English department but he still sed a coupla things I didn't catch last night. Then, maybe it was just on accounta he was puttin' me to sleep.

My ol' Dad was a salesman. He's been dead fer 10 years, this year. He woulda had a good laugh at ol' Dion an' his hapless salesmanship skills. Dion could use some lessons from my ol' Dad. First off, Dion blew the sales job of the tax shift on day one way back in the springtime. He give hisself the entire summer to sell it and he had the perfect opportunity to sell it last night but he was lackin' in the lustre department.

He oughta been closin' the sale or closed it already. Last night, he looked like he ain't quite sure why he decided to sell this here vacuum cleaner he's callin' the Green Shift. He can't close the sale on accounta he opened it all wrong. That mighta worked if there weren't a few other vacuum cleaner guys standin' on John Q. Voter's doorstep. Poor feller dragged his party into a big hole. I figger he's sincere and dedicated. A fine Canajun. Useless in the sales department.

The worst part about it is Dion took a good Green Party policy an' turned it into political cyanide fer the next 10 or 20 years. I ain't sure Lizzie helped out Dion much, like they was tryin' to say she would. I figger she sold Green Party policy and not Liberal policy. I like that she talked about stuff other than the environment and had positions that differ with the Libs. Like on NAFTA and Afghanistan and the danged economy and health care.

Anyways, friends an' foes, I had a few people emailin' an' wondering where ol' JB's hidin' out lately. Don't worry, kids, this ol' codger-blogger's still up an' walkin' an' cheerin' on the gal I adore, Earth Mother Lizzie May.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Cool Green Music Video - Climate Change Blues

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, my ol' buddy Steve Hogg got together with our local Greenies an' he made a YouTube video tellin' everybuddy how to save ol' Mother Earth. Like ol' Steve sez, "Just put an X beside the Green."

Friday, September 26, 2008

I Refuse to Vote Strategically

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I left a bigass comment over at Excited Delirium and I'm recycling most of it here. I've been seeing a lot of interest in strategic voting. All sorts of schemes and ideas are popping up that are aimed at preventing Harper from attaining a majority. I won't be supporting any of those schemes. Here's why.

While I want to stop Harper as much as the next progressive, I think there are a couple problems with these types of tactics. The Greens and Libs are doing something like this with the so-called Red-Green deal in 2 ridings. The Liberals in May's Central Nova Riding are not moving en masse to the Greens, though. The numbers would work if every bit of the support for the parties that bowed out went to the agglomerated vote. It won't. Denied their party of choice, some voters will simply stay home. Polls include fence-sitters. Some of the weak support may go to the Cons.

With the way the NDP has been campaigning so vigorously against the Liberals, how many NDP supporters would vote Lib should their party decide to withdraw its candidate?

As a Green Party supporter and worker, I would have a hard time strategically voting Liberal. The Liberals haven't earned my vote. They've been particularly ineffective in opposition and allowed themselves to be bullied into acquiescing to every threat made by Harper. As a result, they staved off an election for a few months but managed to enter it looking like the hand-sitters and abstainers they became.

If we wanted a two-party system, we'd have one. Canadians want a choice. NDP supporters want to vote for the party that best represents their views. Ditto for the other parties' supporters. Democracy isn't about narrowing down our choices to allow us to vote for the lesser of two evils. We want to vote FOR something. These sorts of schemes require us to vote AGAINST something. I don't have any hard evidence handy, but I suspect voters are more motivated to actually get out and vote when they are doing something positive as opposed to something negative.

The system is broken. Unfortunately, of the 60% of Canadians who actually vote in federal elections, few realize how broken it is. I've been thumping the PR bible for years. I've watched as eyes glaze over when I start to explain how the FPTP system is undemocratic. People think, "one man, one vote" equals democracy. Period.

The large parties have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. They are not only the chief recipients of disproportional representation, they are also they very ones who have the legislative clout to change it. Why would they? There's no groundswell of public support for change.

There's the old saying that in a democracy, you get the government you deserve. Here in Canada in 2006, 64% voted against the Cons. Since then, the Cons have ruled us as though they had 100% support. We did not get the government we voted for. We do not deserve to be lorded over by a party with only 36% popular support. Ergo, we do not live in a democracy.

665,000 Canadians voted for the Green Party in 2006 and elected zero MPs. Those 665,000 have a better understanding of the patent unfairness of the system than the voters who elected MPs with 36% popular vote. This time, it is entirely possible that well over one million will vote Green and still not elect an MP.

Sadly, it may take a strong dose of un-democracy to convince enough Canadians that we have a broken system in need of reform. So be it. When we engage in schemes and vote trading and candidate trading and all sorts of strategies to play the game by the unfair rules, we only perpetuate acceptance.

I voted strategically once when I thought I could help stop an undesirable candidate from being elected. I felt slightly nauseous afterward and the experience still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I refuse to vote for the lesser of two evils. I refuse to vote against the least desirable. I will continue to vote positively. I will vote for the party and candidates that best reflect my values, whether or not they stand a snowball's chance in hell in our unfair, archaic first past the post system.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Green Grandma on YouTube

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I been spendin' a lotta energy the last coupla few years tryin' to kick the stuffin' out of a bigass misconception folks seem to have about the Green Party and more specifically, about Green supporters. I'm talkin' about the dumbass notion that Greenies is a buncha treehuggin' teenagers or idealistic university students or hippie commune dwellers.

Sure, there's a few o' them types in the party but the average Green Party member is a far cry from the hackneyed stereotype. I'm active in my local GPC riding association. Mostly, it's a group of 50+ grandparents, retired professionals, small business owners and just plain everyday folks like live up and down every street in Canada. I been to a few bigger Green Party events in places like Trawna (centre of the universe) and Guelph and Waterloo. Lookin' around them rooms, I seen that the average age was about 45 or 50. Mostly, they dress better than me but that don't take much.

Anyways, I just thought I'd like to share a YouTube ad from the Green Party candidate here in Haldimand-Norfolk. I met ol' Stephana Johnston a few times last year when she was workin' fer Fair Vote Canada agitatin' fer proportional representation in the Ontario referendum. Now, she's our Green Party nominee and I'm happy as Larry. Like I said, I'm a 59 year old grampaw. I figger Stephana's old enough to be my mum. She's smart as a whip an' she's got more energy than the Nanticoke coal station.

Here's her new YouTube ad.

I see she's got a dang good history and record posted up on her website. I reckon the ol' gal's gonna give Diane Finley a run fer her money. Diane's got more money but she sure as hell ain't been spendin' much time here in Norfolk and Haldimand counties. Most folks I talk to say Diane's all washed up. She's been a no-show on everything anybuddy cares about and she only shows her face when she's got some money to dole out buyin' votes.

The Grits got a pretty good guy in Eric Hoskins. Trouble with Eric is he ain't been around much neither. He's what some folks call an Ottawa insider and Dion's hand-picked candidate. From what I hear-tell, he left the area after high school and never came back until Dion wanted him to run fer the House o' Comments. He shouldn't have any trouble gettin' more votes than the absentee MP Diane Finley, though.

I'm votin' Green and I feel dang good about votin' fer ol' Stephana.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Snobby JimBobby Sez "Canadians ARE Stupid"

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, before I start in pissin' everybuddy off, I'm gonna say that as a Green Party member, I wholeheartedly disagree with what John Bennett did yesterday. I've emailed the gal I adore and I'm hoping for a speedy resolution to this dumbass problem.

UPDATE: Re Leftdog issue, I have it on good authority that there will be an apology today. I hope it's quick and I hope it's a well-worded "real" apology.

Now for the part about how that down-home, folksy, treehuggin' grampaw shows his disrespect for the Canadian voter.

I don't lump all Canadians together and I don't think all Canadians are stupid - at least not about everything. I don't think Canadians who disagree with my POV are stupid just because we disagree. I want to respect Canadian voters and, of course, I do respect decisions made democratically in fair votes. But, dang it all, as much as I want to respect all voters, I can't help but wonder about the intelligence of many.

I'll try not to generalize too much but that won't be easy and I'm a lazyass, as everybuddy knows. Here's some of my evidence of Canadian voter stupidity:

  • Many, if not most, voters distrust politicians. We know that politicians often break their campaign promises. Not too much stupid about that.

  • However, knowing that politicians lie, we consistently vote for the one who tells the biggest, fattest, most-unbelieveable lies. The more they tell us just what we want to hear, the more likely we are to support them -- despite repeated evidence and countless examples of the promises being broken.

  • When it comes to issues that relate to taxes, the gullibility level increases exponentially.

  • Despite the fact that we know (or should know) that taxes pay for roads, schools, hospitals, doctors, parks, food safety, national defence, democratic representation, police, firefighters, and about a jillion other things that our society values and needs, we are always ready and willing and eager to reduce taxes. Worse, we believe lying politicians wjhen they promise to cut taxes in a cynical and self-serving attempt to take advantage of our stupidity.
Politicians -- I'm talking about old school, old-line politicians -- need to be very careful about telling the truth. The truth hurts. The truth can cost them votes. If the truth is that Canadians are gullible and ignorant, they value votes more than the truth and will be considered loose cannons or naive neophytes should they dare to say that Canadians are stupid.

I'm not running for office. I don't speak for any party or organization. I absolutely don't speak for the Green Party. I support the Greens and I'm a member. I am not a spokesperson - official or unofficial.

I'm sure I'll be called naive or an elitist or a poor politician.

I'm not naive. I've been around the block a few times in my nearly 60 years. I've been kicked down, put down, voted down and pushed around; hired, fired and conspired against. I've listened to professional, experienced politicians tell me lies and I've even been stupid enough to believe some of those lies.

I 'm not an elitist. You'll have to take my word for it, though. My income is well below the national average. I worked as a self-employed tradesman most of my life. Currently, I try to make ends meet with a home-based online business. I went to university for a few years but I never finished and there ain't any letters after my name.

I would make a poor politician. I've been approached to run for MP and MPP in my riding and I've declined every time. Last night, I was at band practice and my fellow band members were asking why I wasn't the local candidate. I told them it's mostly because we've got more qualified people willing to stand and they'll get more votes than me. What I didn't mention is that I'd make a piss poor politician. I just can't charge into a room with a big grin and an outstretched hand. I'm not that much of a salesman and I have a nasty habit of speaking my mind without regard for whether it's politically correct or expedient.

So, since I'm not running for office and I'm confident in my own knowledge that I'm not an elitist, I'm not afraid to say that some Canadians are stupid. Sometimes, they're only stupid when it comes to certain things. In fact, I don't think their are too many 100% dumbasses walking amongst us or puttin' their X on the ballot.

It might have been Mark Twain who said this old proverb that I'll try paraphrasing.

Some of the people are stupid all of the time. All of the people are stupid some of the time. All of the people are not stupid all of the time.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Bully-in-Chief Harper Even More of a Chickenshit Than I Thought

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, not only is he afraid to debate the gal I adore, Earth Mother Lizzie May, he's afraid to admit that he's afraid.

PM won't say if he threatened debate boycott

OTTAWA - Websites and watercoolers are abuzz Tuesday over the exclusion of Green party Leader Elizabeth May from the election leaders debates.

But Prime Minister Stephen Harper doesn't want to talk about it. The snub of May - and Harper's role in keeping her out - is all the rage on the Internet.

Harper refused to confirm that he threatened to boycott the televised debates if May was included.

He deflected the question after apologizing for another awkward matter - a tasteless Conservative ad depicting a bird defecating on Liberal Leader Stephane Dion.

Harper has said it would be unfair for May to take part in the debates because she has already touted Dion as a better choice for prime minister
The article is here.

There was a photo accompanying the article but it failed to get a good head shot of Harper. I've fixed that little problem.

UPDATE: Layton is attempting to defend the indefensible. (h/t - Scott)


Going Green. Update your Blog Template

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I'm joinin' in with my boogin' buddy Scott from Montreal and usin' an idea from the Gauntlet. I've changed the font in my boog to green. It's meant to protest the exclusion of teh Green Party leader from the televised debates. Whether yer a treehuggin' Greenie like me or if yer just a democracy lovin' Dipper or liberal minded Liberal or even a conscientiously-objectin' Conservative, you can do yer part an' tell the Canajun boogeysphere that you disagree with the cowardly and undemocratic actions of the chickenshit bastards who don't want voters to hear what the Green Party has to say.

It's a simple fix. Look for a style attribute and edit it. You'll see something like "color:#000000" or "color:#bbg". Just change the part after the # to 006600.

If you want to do it and you have trouble, email me and I'll look at your template and give you detailed instructions.

O' course, changin' the font colour on my little boog or a hunnert little boogs ain't gonna change the world or bring democracy to North Zimbabwestan. It's just a symbolic kick in the pants to a buncha pantywaist poltroons.

If you wanna do a little bit more, here's some assholes you can write to:

Stephen Harper:
Conservative Party of Canada
Election Headquarters
#1204 - 130 Albert Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5G4
Toll free: (866) 808-8407
Phone: (613) 755-2000
Fax at: (613) 755-2001
Email: pm@pm.gc.ca
Jack Layton:
Canada's NDP
300 - 279 Laurier West
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5J9
Phone: 613-236-3613
Toll Free: 1-866-525-2555
Fax: 613-230-9950
TTY: 1-866-776-7742
Email: Layton.J@parl.gc.ca
Gilles Duceppe:
Bloc Québécois
3730, boul. Crémazie Est
Montréal (Québec) H2A 1B4
Téléphone : 514 526-3000
Télécopieur : 514 526-2868
Email : Duceppe.G@parl.gc.ca
Constituency Office
1600 - 90th Avenue SW
Suite A-203
Calgary, Alberta, T2V 5A8
Telephone: (403) 253-7990
Fax: (403) 253-8203
Constituency Office
221 Broadview Avenue
Suite 100 (Main Office)
Toronto, Ontario; M4M 2G3
Telephone: (416) 405-8914
Fax: (416) 405-8918
Constituency Office
1200 Papineau, # 350
Montreal, Québec; H2K 4R5
Telephone: (514) 522-1339
Fax: (514) 522-9899
Hill Office
House of Commons

Ottawa, Ontario; K1A 0A6
Telephone: (613) 992-4211
Fax: (613) 941-6900
Hill Office
House of Commons

Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6
Telephone: (613) 995-7224
Fax: (613) 995-4565
Hill Office
House of Commons

Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6
Telephone: (613) 992-6777
Fax: (613) 954-2121

You can visit http://demanddemocraticdebates.ca to sign a petition to pressure the Broadcast consortium to make sure that Green Party leader Elizabeth May is included in the leaders' debates. You can also let the broadcast consortium know of your disagreement by contacting them at:

John Cruikshank, Publisher, CBC news
(416) 205-6300

Robert Hurst, President of CTV News

Troy Reeb, Senior Vice President of News Canwest Global
(416) 967-1174

Pierre Dion, President, Groupe TVA Inc.

Ronald Cohen, National Chair, Canadian Broadcast Standards Council
P.O. Box 3265, Station D Ottawa, ON K1P 6H8

Glenn O'Farrell, President and CEO, Canadian Association of Broadcasters
P.O. Box 627, Stn. B Ottawa, ON K1P 5S2
613-233-4035 ext: 326


Monday, September 08, 2008

Bastards! They're a buncha bastards!

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, ol' JimBobby's chewin' nails an' fartin' tacks. The big, strong men-in-chicken-suits have pushed their chickenshit weight around and managed to make sure the gal I adore, Earth Mother Lizzie May, got excluded from the televised debates.

Nevermind that polls have consistently shown that 77% of Canadians want the Green leader in the debates. Nevermind that 660,000 Canadians voted Green in 2006. Nevermind that the Green Party is one of only 5 parties to receive federal funding. Nevermind that Canadian taxpayers shell out over $1 million a year to the Greens. Nevermind that the Greens run candidates in all provinces.

Nevermind democracy, you wimp chickenshit bastards.

Harper, Layton and Duceppe have conspired to deny Canadians a chance to see the leader of the only growing party in a head to head debate on national television. Harper, Layton and Duceppe do not care what Canadians want. Harper, Layton and Duceppe are enemies of democracy.

Did I mention that they're a buncha chickenshit bastards?

The Greens are running against Liberals in 305 of Canada's 308 ridings. How can they be the same as Liberals when they are running against Liberals in so many ridings?

The Greens have at least 29 major policy planks that are unique to the Green Party. These are policies that, in many cases, are diametrically opposed to Liberal policy. Here's a list of those uniquely Green policies:
  1. “Income-splitting” to reduce the tax burden on middle class couples.
  2. A continuing role in Afghanistan but within a transformed U.N. mission, legalizing and regulating the poppy trade for medicinal use, and bringing in more Islamic nations into the peace-keeping, security efforts in Southern Afghanistan through the U.N.
  3. An end to asbestos mining and export to developing countries. (truly outrageous that for all the talk about asbestos, only the Green Party is prepared to call for banning mining and export.)
  4. The phase out of nuclear power and uranium mining.
  5. The reform of the Divorce Act to make family law less of a battleground.
  6. To launch a national dialogue toward a Guaranteed Livable Income.
  7. The legalization of marijuana, to be controlled, regulated and taxed.
  8. The six month notice to get out of NAFTA with immediate re-negotiation of key provisions.
  9. Support for open source software and net neutrality.
  10. National shift to GE-free, organic agriculture and regional food self-sufficiency.
  11. Creation of a federal Department of Tourism
  12. Protect drinking water at its source (no other party will do this--the BC NDP jailed citizens for trying to protect drinking water).
  13. Amend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to enshrine the right of Canadians to an ecological heritage that includes breathable air and drinkable water.
  14. Pass federal legislation to prohibit bulk water exports.
  15. Establish a National Parks completion budget; protect at least half of Canada's Boreal Forest in a network of large interconnected protected areas as called for in the 2003 Boreal Forest Conservation Framework
  16. Zero waste, including laws requiring lifetime stewardship of products
  17. A cancer prevention strategy that includes a toxic-free Canada -- taxing toxics and pollution; ending the production and use of the most dangerous toxic chemicals by 2012.
  18. Pan-Arctic waste management strategy.
  19. Shift funding from mega-freeway projects like Pacific Gateway that encourage urban sprawl and use the funds instead for public transit.
  20. Implement Genuine Progress Indicator (or Index of Well-being)
  21. Enact "living will" legislation to give person the choice to die with dignity.
  22. Explore establishing a new crown corporation to bulk purchase and dispense generic drugs - to bring down the costs of pharmacare.
  23. Pass pay equity legislation; immediately implement full pay equity for women employed in the federal sector and develop tax incentives for companies to meet gender and pay equity.
  24. Press professional societies to remove unnecessary barriers recognizing the professional credentials of immigrants.
  25. Canada must support and implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  26. Revamp CIDA to focus on developing community-based green economies, poverty alleviation and programmes to combat and adapt to climate change.
  27. Declare Canada a nuclear free zone.
  28. Reform WTO, IMF and the World Bank, placing these under the authority of the UN General Assembly and shift the direction of international trade away from free trade to fair trade.
  29. Scrap the SPP (Security and Prosperity Partnership).
Today is a dark day for Canadian democracy. The blame goes squarely to Harper, Layton and Duceppe. I will not watch the debates between these tweedle-dee and tweedle-dumbasses. Craven cowards who used their collective might to thwart democratic debate. Bastards! Dirty, rotten, chickenshit bastards!


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Blair Wilson MP, Green Party of Canada

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, it's been a big 24 hours for the Green Party. As most followers of the Canadian political scene are now well aware, the Green Party has accepted independent MP Blair Wilson's offer to join the Greens, thereby becoming the first Green Party MP in Canada. I must admit I wasn't entirely overjoyed when I read that Wilson had been "turfed" from the Liberals in fall of 2007 due to financial irregularities under investigation by Elections Canada. Various bloggers, including me, took the assertion by Canadian Press and other MSM outlets at face value.

Yesterday, I spent some time defending the Greens' embrace of what I referred to as a questionable choice for MP. Today, I did what I should have done yesterday. I looked into what really happened in October 2007 when Wilson and the Liberal Party disassociated themselves from one another. It turns out Wilson was not turfed. He was not expelled. He was not fired. He was not ejected.

He resigned. He voluntarily stepped down when he was being investigated by Elections Canada.

At the time, Liberal leader Stephane Dion praised Wilson's action.

Vancouver MP Blair Wilson resigned from the federal Liberal caucus on Sunday, following accusations that he didn't disclose all his expenses during the 2006 federal election.

Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion confirmed the news in a written statement Sunday night.

"I have accepted Mr. Wilson's resignation from his position as national revenue critic, and as a member of our national caucus, effective immediately," he said.

Wilson denied the allegations and said in a written statement that he is confident his name will be cleared.

He has not suggested he is leaving his post as MP for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast, which means he will have to sit as an Independent.

"I will collaborate fully with Elections Canada, and do whatever I can to help expedite its investigation into the allegations," Wilson said.


Dion praised Wilson for asking Elections Canada to investigate the matter. Dion said the allegations against Wilson are serious and that they raise questions that must be addressed immediately.

"I have instructed the Liberal Party of Canada to provide whatever assistance they can to Elections Canada as it reviews the allegations," Dion said in his statement.


Liberal MP Marlene Jennings said that Wilson did the right thing by stepping down "at the first hint" of any questions about his campaign expenses.
(Source: CBC.ca)

As he said he would, Wilson cooperated fully with Elections Canada. Recently, he was cleared of any serious malfeasance. Unfortunately, the damage had been done. The smear job that led to the investigation had sullied Wilson's reputation enough that, even after he was cleared, the Liberals refused to take him back into the fold. So much for doing the right thing.

Now that Wilson has joined the Greens, the Liberal long knives are out. BCer in TO Jeff contends that Wilson was asked to leave the Liberal caucus. Jeff may have some inside info that the CBC, Dion and Jennings didn't know about. Or he may be blowing smoke. Jeff rhymes off a litany of problems he says the Liberals have with Wilson. Among those, is a $1.9 million dollar lawsuit brought forth by Wilson's wife's stepfather. According to published reports yesterday, the amount in dispute was reduced to just $11,000. Let's not let facts get in the way of sour grapes, though.

Jason Cherniak also continues the smear job. Cherniak states that Wilson "(w)as kicked out of the Liberal caucus for allegations of financial and legal improprieties." Jason is Stephane Dion's number one blogging friend. I wonder how Jason squares Dion's October 2007 praise of Wilson stepping down at the first hint of impropriety with his own false statement that Wilson was kicked out. As a lawyer, I expect Jason to know the difference between allegations and convictions. As a lawyer, I expect Jason to grasp the concept of innocent until proven guilty. As a lawyer, Jason should know that those allegations were, for the most part, dismissed by Elections Canada after a lengthy investigation. Don't let the facts get in the way of a smear job, Jason.

Pogge also bought into the story that Wilson was kicked out of the Liberal caucus. So did a few others. I can't blame them. I thought that was the case, too. After all, that's the way it was reported by CP.

Now, however, I'm setting the record straight. As evidenced by Dion's praise and MP Jennings' affirmation, Wilson was not kicked out of the party. I left a comment on Jason's blog a couple of hours ago. I cited Dion's praise and quoted the CBC article. I am still waiting for that comment to be published and responded to, Jason.

I expect it's too much to ask every blogger who bought into the "he was turfed" storyline to recant. I'm going to make the rounds and try to set the record straight and I do expect some bloggers to admit, like I have, that they jumped to a conclusion without investigating whether or not Wilson had really been turfed or fired or expelled or disgraced. We'll see.

I just went back to the original Canadian Press story that said Wilson had been "turfed." The story has been edited. It now states that Wilson resigned.

After that, I'll try to post another boog story on this whole Blair Wilson thing. I ain't quite as obsessed as some bloggers are but I've spouted off in a lot of comments sections and I'm aiming to recycle some of my copious verbosity here on my own little boog.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Attawapiskat Needs School, Afghanistan Takes Priority

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, my boogin' buddy and ofttimes sparring partner, Cam Holmstrom, is agitatin' fer a school fer the kids up in Attawapiskat. We been hearin' a lot about how us Canajuns is buildin' schools over in Hamid Karzai's warlord-ruled opium-financed torture den, The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. How 'bout we spread a little of that edu-love here in our home and native land?

That pasty-faced, eyeliner-wearing, psychic-consultin', Bush-worshippin', war-mongerin', hypocrit we call Pryminister is still dolin' out $1.4 billion per year to his big oil buddy-boys up in the Athabasca tar sands. Yet, we got First Nations folks with no schools and not even clean drinkin' water. Not only that, the permafrost is meltin' out from under 'em and Harpoon ain't got even a whiff of a plan to deal with climate change.

I say good on Cam fer callin' attention in the boogeysphere and bad on the gummint fer neglectin' our kiddies up north.

Update: Fergot to mention there's an online petition you can sign and it's goin' to Chuck Strahl.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cap-and-Trade Promoter on My Doorstep

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I been in a few yammerin' comments section gabfests with boogers like Cam and Steve and Scott and Pogge and StageLeft. One thing we been talkin' about on the boogs is, "Which is faster -- carbon tax or cap'n'trade?" It's been rainin' here again today and I just looked out the front door. Danged if there weren't a buncha cap'n'traders on my doorstep. I took a photo of one of 'em.

I reckon the cap'n'traders'll get to where they're headed... eventually.


How to Win in Afghanistan, Food Crisis Edition

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, there's a bigass discussion raging over at StageLeft. It's all about Afghanistan and there are over 75 comments there. It makes for good readin' and good boogin'. There are thoughtful and considered comments coming in from all sides. There's also a bit of namecallin' and juvenile quips that have been effectively thwarted by the master debaters SL and Balbulican. It's well worth the read.

Like usual, I'm a lazyass and I'm recycling a comment I left over there concerning what we should do. Commenter Brent used the typically American phrase, "cut and run" and he threw out a challenge.

If you can suggest a way to resolve this conflict short of giving up, I’d love to hear it (so would the government).

Since there's no problem too large for know-it-all JimBobby's massive intellect, I decided to reply and I'm copyin' that reply here. BTW, I'm not so sure the government would love to hear my solution. They've wrapped themselves in a cloak of false patriotism and don't want any solution that doesn't involve increasing military spending under the guise of rebuilding the Canadian Forces.

We cannot win the war without winning hearts and minds. Afghans have slipped deeper into poverty, desperation and hunger during the course of the occupation. We are spending billions on war materiel and scant millions on aid. Thanks to our benign acceptance of Karzai’s corruption, much of the aid money we have sent has been siphoned off for governors’ mansions and out-and-out graft.

Every friendly fire death, every poorly targeted NATO airstrike has helped the Taliban recruit new fighters. Pure financial desperation and hunger have driven fighters to the Taliban where they are paid $14 a day compared to the $4 a day paid by the ANA and ANP.

Take a look at who we’re fighting for. Karzai has personally appointed the provincial governors. His talent pool has been the Northern Alliance warlords. Under our occupation, the country became officially established as The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The new constitution enshrines Sharia Law. Oipium harvests fuel both sides of the civil war that was raging prior to 9/11. Karzai admits to holding secret talks with the Taliban for several years and has publicly said that he would welcome Taliban inclusion in his government.

Cut and run (such an American phrase) or continue to support a corrupt regime that cannot even be trusted with its own police payroll? Cut and run or continue to prop up a regime that issues the death penalty for conversion from Islam to Christianity? Cut and run or continue supporting an Afghan senate that upholds the death penalty for “humiliating Islam” by questioning the treatment of women?

Alexander the Great cut and ran. The British cut and ran. The Russians cut and ran.

Afghans are suffering due to the worldwide food crisis. If we want to make lemonade, we can capitalize on that situation. By mounting a massive food distribution campaign, we can win hearts and minds. Desperate Afghans are selling their daughters for food money. They’re taking up arms in order to feed their families. If we divert a fraction of the money we’re spending on offensive seek and destroy missions to food aid, we will win hearts and minds. If we continue to support the corrupt Karzai regime and spend all of our time and money on shooting and killing and trying to achieve a military victory, we ensure failure.

I expect to hear the old refrain, “Without security, there can be no aid.” Hogwash. We can safely drop bags of grain and flour just as easily as we can drop bombs and shells. We can set up secure food distribution centres that would be welcomed and protected by the hungry locals. We can insist on oversight of the Afghan government that we helped install. We can keep track of the prisoners we hand over to ensure they don’t bribe their way back to the Taliban ranks. We can establish a market for legal, medicinal opium production. We can provide seed and fertilizer to help farmers move from opium to food crops.

The Manley Report calculates that Canada spent $6.1 billion on its military effort in the central Asian country between fiscal 2000-01 and 2006-07. The total financial aid between 2001-02 and 2006-07 was $741 million. Up to 90% of that $741 million is known to have been diverted to corrupt government officials.

There are about 2,500 military personnel deployed in Afghanistan. In comparison, there are 47 civilian government employees assigned to the country: at the embassy in Kabul, at Kandahar Airfield and in the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) office in Kandahar City. Of the 335 PRT team members, 315 are military personnel.

We’ve put nearly all of our eggs in the military basket and we cannot hope to win hearts and minds with that sort of lopsided approach. Again, if we don’t win hearts and minds, we will not win.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Neo-Nazis Lure Bigots to Calgary, Canada's Hate Crime Capital

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, there ain't too many things that get me more pissed-off than racism an' bigotry. Now, there's some racist sumbitches tryin' to lure new recruits to Calgary. I'm chewin' nails and fartin' tacks.

Neo-Nazis offer recruits help with rent

CALGARY, Alberta, July 23 (UPI) -- A Canadian neo-Nazi group in Calgary, Alberta, has an online offer to help pay the rent for any recruits who will move to the city.

The Aryan Guard's site said it was "always seeking new brothers and sisters" and said rental assistance would be provided, CTV News reported.

Speaking to reporters, Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier said the ad hinted at desperation.

"It's quite surprising that people would have to resort to using financial support in order to encourage people to join their group," Bronconnier said. "I think that speaks to the support level that's here, which is non-existent."

However, in the most recent Statistics Canada report on crime in the country released last month, Calgary has the highest rate of hate crimes in the country, with 9.2 cases reported per 100,000 people. The national average is 3.1 cases per 100,000 people, CTV said.

Calgary police have said they can't shut down the Aryan Guard if the group isn't breaking any laws, the report said.

More at CTV.ca.

Calgary is King Steve's stompin' grounds, ain't it? It'd be good to hear the Pryminister weigh in on what's happenin' in his home town.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Idiots and Lunatics to be Allowed in British Parliament

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I gotta feeling I might face some politically correct wrath over this one. It looks like Britain will possibly follow Canada's lead and allow idiots and lunatics to become Members of Parliament.

'Lunatics' ban in Parliament may be lifted

LONDON, July 20 (UPI) -- British government officials say they are considering doing away with laws banning people labeled "idiots" and "lunatics" from running for Parliament.

Justice Minister Bridget Prentice plans to hold a meeting to discuss throwing out the laws after they prompted negative feedback from members of Parliament and mental health organizations, The Times of London reported Sunday.

The rules consider idiots as people "incapable of gaining reason" and lunatics as those "capable of periods of lucidity."

The laws prevent lunatics from standing for Parliament in "their non-lucid intervals." People listed under the Mental Health Act are not allowed to seek election, regardless of whether they recover.

Some mental health charity groups say the laws are unfair and should be scrapped.

"People who have suffered mental health problems can function at a very high level," said a spokesman for Mind, a mental health charity.

I reckon we could use a law that prevents numbnutses and nutbars and nincompoops from runnin' fer our own House o' Comments.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Harper to Conjure Up NEP Zombie to Buy $850 Million Worth of Nova Scotia Votes

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, things don't get much stranger than this. Stephen Harper's Conservative government is reviving the NEP (National Energy Program). No, I'm not referring to Harper's attempt to equate Dion's Green Shift with the NEP. Harper is actually reviving the NEP itself.

Read about it in the National Post. A tip of the tuque to Impolitical (Oh, how I wish he allowed comments. He'd have about the best blog in Canada.)

From the indispensible Impolitical:

There's likely to be outrage over this one: "Tories set to hand N.S. $850M windfall."

"The Conservative government is set to buy political peace in Nova Scotia with $850-million in taxpayers' dollars."
These funds are recommended settlement moneys from a panel of experts opining on how much Nova Scotia should get for having lost a potential ownership stake in offshore oil and gas projects.
The Crown share issue dates from the 1980s' National Energy Program and has been dormant for 20 years. Under the NEP, Nova Scotia gained a potential ownership stake in energy projects on Canadian lands off its shores. Successive governments have argued that when the NEP was dismantled in the mid-1980s, the Crown share went with it. But Nova Scotia has argued consistently that it should be compensated for loss of potential profits. (emphasis added)
In the wake of Harper messing with the Atlantic Accord last year, in order to save face with Nova Scotia, they agreed to throw in resolving this outstanding issue from the 1980's. This panel has now recommended that Nova Scotia get $850 million in compensation - for something that really was pie in the sky - and based on the Nova Scotia government's inflated numbers.
I reckon this tells everybody just how desperate the Con's are in Nova Scotia. Peter MacKay is lookin' worser and worser while the gal I adore, Earth Mother Lizzie May, keeps lookin' better an' better. Ol' Pete's on the hot seat about a bigass submarine contract that he awarded to a BC outfit. Then there was the Bill Casey fiasco.

Junior MacMoneybags is buying NS votes. Harper is reviving the NEP to make it happen. I wonder what the Alien Alberts think of their boy bringing the zombie NEP back to life in order to give away $850,000,000 to the 'the region that breeds a culture of defeatism.' Poor little Allbertans had to work hard squeezing those millions out of tar sands and now, YoBoy is handing it over to those layabouts for NOT drilling.


Monday, July 07, 2008

G8 Leaders Enjoy 6 Course Lunch, 8 Course Dinner Before Discussing Food Crisis

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, the more I read about this here G8 Summit, the more disgusted I get. One of the biggest troublems facin' the world is the worldwide food crisis. It was supposed to be high on the agenda at Toyako. For a wee glimpse into how far out of touch with reality the G8 leaders are, just consider how they dine.

Gordon Brown and his fellow world leaders have sparked outrage after it was disclosed they enjoyed a six-course lunch followed by an eight-course dinner at the G8 summit where the global food crisis tops the agenda.

The Prime Minister was served 24 different dishes during his first day at the summit – just hours after urging the world to reduce the "unnecessary demand" for food and calling on British families to cut back on their wasteful use of food.

Mr Brown and his wife Sarah were among 15 guests at the "blessings of the earth and the sea social dinner".

The dinner consisted of 18 dishes in eight courses including caviar, smoked salmon, Kyoto beef and a "G8 fantasy dessert".

The banquet was accompanied by five different wines from around the world including champagne, a French Bourgogne and sake.

African leaders including the heads of Ethiopia, Tanzania and Senegal who had taken part in talks during the day were not invited to the function.

The dinner came just hours after a "working lunch" consisting of six courses including white asparagus and truffle soup, crab and a supreme of chicken.

The lavish dining arrangements – disclosed by the Japanese Government which is hosting the summit in Hokkaido – come amid growing concern over rising food prices triggered by a shortage of many basic necessities.

On the flight to the summit, Mr Brown urged Britons to cut food waste as part of a global drive to help avert the food crisis.

Opposition politicians and charities condemned the extravagant meals.

Dominic Nutt, of Save the Children, said: "It is deeply hypocritical that they should be lavishing course after course on world leaders when there is a food crisis and millions cannot afford a decent meal to eat.

"If the G8 wants to betray the hopes of a generation of children, it is going the right way about it. The food crisis is an emergency and the G8 must treat it as that."

Andrew Mitchell, the shadow International Development Secretary, said: "The G8 have made a bad start to their summit, with excessive cost and lavish consumption.

"Surely it is not unreasonable for each leader to give a guarantee that they will stand by their solemn pledges of three years ago at Gleneagles to help the world's poor. All of us are watching, waiting and listening."

Mr Brown arrived at the G8 summit held on the holiday island of Hokkaido in northern Japan on Monday morning.

He arrived on a plane chartered from Texas, America, which had to fly empty for thousands of miles to pick up the Prime Minister and his entourage.

Unlike other countries, Britain does not have an official plane to transport the Prime Minister.

The lavish dining will embarrass Mr Brown, who has made tackling the global food crisis a key priority.

On the flight to the summit, the Prime Minister urged British people to cut food waste and "reduce unnecessary demand".

He said: "We need a global plan to deal with rising food prices that are affecting millions of families in Britain. That's why I am proposing that we take action to both increase the global supply of food and reduce unnecessary demand.

"If we are to get food prices down, we must also do more to deal with unnecessary demand, such as by all of us doing more to cut our food waste which is costing the average household in Britain around £8 per week."

Talks between world leaders at the summit will focus on dealing with soaring food and oil prices.

There is also hope for a breakthrough on protracted talks to secure a new global trade deal.

However, the leaders are facing criticism amid allegations that pledges for development aid promised for the third world at a previous G8 summit in Scotland have been watered down.

The Prime Minister's spokesman declined to comment on the menus.

I don't know for sure if Steve Harper was at that dinner. Or Baird. Or Mrs. Harper. Or the boy Harper. I do know that 1000 people died from starvation in the past hour and 1000 more are going to die in the next hour. I know that the money wasted on flying these so-called leaders to a lavish hob-nobbin' shoulder-rubbin' schmoozefest ain't solvin' the world's problems. The money spent on travel alone could have actually done something to alleviate suffering. Instead, our leaders gorge their puffy faces on expensive delicacies. What great examples of humanity!


Friday, July 04, 2008

Biofuels to Blame for 75% of Food Price Increase: World Bank

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, I been yammerin' an' frettin' about the world food crisis for a few months, now. When there are 100's of millions of people starving, there are plenty of fingers pointed at the blameholders. Most analysis I've read puts the blame on a combination of factors: high oil prices, increased demand from a rising Asian middle class, severe weather and drought, commodities market speculation, monoculture farming encouraged by World Bank and IMF debt repayment policies and biofuel development. There may be a few other factors, too.

Each of these sectors is getting a black eye over its contribution to high food prices that are killing 1000 human beings each and every hour of each and everyday. And each sector is eager to point the finger at one or more of the other sectors. With that record of finger pointing and claims of innocence in mind, the recent leak of a secret World Bank document must be regarded with some skepticism.

Secret report: biofuel caused food crisis

Internal World Bank study delivers blow to plant energy drive

Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% - far more than previously estimated - according to a confidential World Bank report obtained by the Guardian.

The damning unpublished assessment is based on the most detailed analysis of the crisis so far, carried out by an internationally-respected economist at global financial body.

The figure emphatically contradicts the US government's claims that plant-derived fuels contribute less than 3% to food-price rises. It will add to pressure on governments in Washington and across Europe, which have turned to plant-derived fuels to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and reduce their dependence on imported oil.

Senior development sources believe the report, completed in April, has not been published to avoid embarrassing President George Bush.

"It would put the World Bank in a political hot-spot with the White House," said one yesterday.
(There's plenty more...)

Yeow! Liberal Dalton Ginty sez biofuels ain't a problem. So do the federal Conservatives. So does George W. Bush. Ditto McCain. Ditto Obama. Obama has strong ties to the US ethanol industry.

The biggest proponents of ethanol have been saying it's only responsible for 3% of the food price increase. If that were true, then biofuels would only be responsible for the starvation deaths of 3 million people of the 100 million facing starvation this year. That's 1000 times more than were killed on 9/11. Every year. For biofuel. For fueling gas-guzzling North American living rooms on wheels.

The World Bank's report may be an outright attempt at disinformation. To say that biofuels are responsible for 75% of the increase ( and, thus, culpable for 75,000,000 deaths this year) shifts blame away from the World Bank itself. Previous high estimates regarding the effect of biofuel development on world food prices had placed the estimate at 30%.

While it may be more difficult to quantify, World Bank policies have also had an effect. Third world countries were strongly pushed to develop agriculture for export in an attempt to pay down debt. Countries like Kenya phased out subsistence and sustenance agriculture in favour of growing things like roses for the European export market. In times of low transportation costs, the trade balance allowed Kenya to sell flowers and buy food. Now, Europeans are not eager to pay the exorbitant shipping charges brought on by $140/bbl oil. Kenyans still need to eat but their food production capacity has been converted to flowers.

This latest report is important and while some skepticism is called for, we cannot dismiss the effect of biofuel development on the food crisis that is killing so many of our fellow human beings. At the very least, Canada must stop all crop-based biofuel subsidies and incentives. Even if biofuel development is only responsible for a paltry 3,000,000 deaths per year, we should not be supporting it in any way.