Politics Blogs - Blog Top Sites Blog Flux Directory Green Assassin Brigade: 2008

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Study for UN supports legalization of Cannabis

NewScientist is reporting on a new study by the Berkley Foundation for the UN, that asks how we can minimize the damage to the health and welfare of pot users and society from cannabis use?

While many studies seem to be totally biased to one side or the other of the pot argument, this one acknowledges both the harm of the drug's use and the harm to user and society caused by vigilant enforcement. Further, it notes the comparative harm caused by other illicit drugs and the ones we maintain as legal.

The study shows the that the gateway drug issue is a valid concern but admits that the link is a correlation not an absolute cause.
Do people move on to other drugs because they started using pot or do they move on because they have an addictive or experimenting type personality and would have tried them anyway if available?

The problem is most pronounced with youth (9-15) who by today's standards are not even allowed to use the drugs we accept as legal and reasonably safe. Kids who have the desire, means and freedom to start toking at 9 must largely be in a high risk situation anyway.
I could never understand how a non smoking parent could miss the smell of pot, tobacco or booze on their kids.

They also show that the heavy users do suffer health problems and psychosis but that his level of psychosis is greatly dependant on plant variety, strength and the growing regiment common in indoor hydroponic cannabis. THC psychosis is apparently countered by the compound cannabidiol which is missing from most of today's dominate hydroponic pot varieties and a that step back to normal varieties and growing conditions would greatly lower potency and psychosis rates. A manageable response no different than limiting the quantity of wormwood in absinthe. The admitted physical dangers of using pot were deemed less damaging than either booze or smokes.

Because only 9% of pot users will become dependant compared to the rates of 15% for alcohol, 32% for tobacco, and 23% for heroin the relative harm it causes should be taken into perspective. The level of dependancy is also rated as weaker than all the other drugs mentioned above.

Despite the admitted medical dangers of cannabis only 2 overdoses have ever been proven vs. 200,000 per year for other drugs and the millions of deaths attributed to alcohol and tobacco.

In conclusion the study believes legalization combined with age limits, rigid testing and control of potency would be the best way to limit harm to both users and society, including drying up illicit revenues to gangs, lowering psychosis rates, reducing incarceration rates and moving the supply of cannabis from the sellers of heavier drugs who will have a harder time "selling you up" to a different product.

Add to this the government savings on law enforcement and the earnings on sin tax and it looks like a damn good deal, that said expect it to go nowhere at the U.N

To wade through the complete study go to the Beckley Foundation . I especially found table 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3 interesting in that they show alcohol more socially dangerous, toxic, addictive and medically damaging than Cannabis.

.Recommend this Post

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A tale of two Tilley's

Just feel good story about buying good Canadian products (the few you can find these days)

For Christmas I received a brand new Tilley Airflow LTM3 hat, a nice gift no doubt but the model I really wanted to replace my aged and well worn T3 was the cotton T4 which while missing the snaps has a considerably larger brim than the old hat. For the pale spawn of a redhead like me, a large brim is a very important feature and not having the snaps (which I use a lot) is probably a good thing, now I can't use them to lessen my sun protection,

I took my hat back on Sunday and after deciding on a natural coloured T4 I went to the cash to make my exchange, I casually asked if they had spare parts as the foam floatation insert had long since disintegrated from my old hat. One look at the rag on my head and the sales clerk said we'll just give you a new one. I knew about the warranty but had no proof of my purchase, one of the labels inside was long since gone, and I had no idea how Tilley defined worn out. I was still wearing it after all it couldn't be worn out, could it? After only 17 years? Nah!

Now I certainly didn't need two hats nearly the same so the sales associate/clerk/minion allowed me to pay the difference between replacing my old T3 and a Mocha coloured TH4 made from hemp I had chosen. While the two hats appear to be the same style the courser hemp and the mocha colour make them quite distinct from each other so I'm quite pleased.

Funny thing, if it took me 17 years to wear out one hat and now I have two, I shouldn't have to go back to Tilley until ,oh..2042 or so! I don't know how this is supposed to work as a successful business model but just the same I'm well pleased that what I thought was a extravagant purchase nearly 2 decades ago has played out so well. It does pay to buy good quality domestic products folks, think about that next time Wally Mart has t-shirts that cost less than a fancy coffee at Starbucks.

The best part was I even got to keep my old hat! Of course I'll get shit every time I leave the house wearing it. "You've got two nice hats, why are you wearing that thing?"

I went to high school with Karen Tilley in what seems like a century ago, nice girl, tall, pretty; I hope she doing well and that her father's company continues to prosper.

Never did get that damn piece of floatation foam, Oh well

.Recommend this Post

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Solstice

Or what ever else you choose to believe or not believe,


Recommend this Post

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Night of the howling ME MEs

Ok I've had enough of this crap about evil separatists.

Duceppe knows there is a financial shit storm coming and he also knows that a healthy economy, jobs, the environment, human and labour rights are all just as important to Quebecers be they inside or outside confederation. I'm not scared by the prospect of the Blocs participation because I believe Duceppe is pragmatic enough to know that a coalition will collapse if he pushes the self interest button too much and that he also realizes that what ever consensus they can bang together will be better for everyone than anything the Conservatives would ever offer.

I'm for all for this coalition thingy only because if it works out PR will be a lot less scary to a lot of people. Hell I'd I settle for a 6 week coalition just so someone else could tell us the real state of the books before the next election.

Tonight's lies by Harper were blatant, "The opposition wants to overturn the results of the last election"

"Overturn" my ass.

The results of the election still stand, no seats have been given to the opposition and the totals are still the same, Harper simply cannot attract anyone to support his unpopular partisan agenda as is required under our system. He just does not get it. Canadians don't elect a Prime Minister they elect a parliament and that parliament must choose which party(s) have power, it is simply protocol that the guy with the most gets first kick at the can.

The opposition has no "democratic right" to spank my bottom because I'm a very bad boy.

Liar , liar , liar, not only do they have the right to send Harper packing they also have the obligation to try if he cannot command the confidence of the house. Harper had the chance to offer cooperation and even claimed he wanted to reach out to the opposition, but instead took Machiavellian cheap shots at the other parties, labour, the civil service and women.

Harper is not fit to run a Tim Horton's let alone a country, well maybe that Timmies that fires people for giving crying babies a tim bit, or maybe he'd do slightly better(very slightly) than Robert Mugabe. His inability to see or admitt the problems in the economy is shamefull as I showed in Stupid PM Quotes. MR Harper your university called they want their degree back!!!!

I don't know if tonight's show changed anyone's mind but it certainly shows that Harper is still as manipulative, dishonest and unrepentant as always. The only point he made was "I have better production values", Well Stevie when it comes down to it personal values matter more.

Dion's message was ok but dammit all, they can't be so broke that they can't find a real film crew or edit out the flubs. This is too important to get all cute and use a fuckin web, can this putz do anything right?

Duceppe was good as always, he's a natural

Layton kept the smug in check and hammered the message.

I can understand that the coalition is not selling with lots of people because they apparently don't know or don't like our system(too much American news and history and not enough of our own) but don't lie about it being illegal or unethical. As long as people are so poorly informed this is quite likely political suicide.

This is a lose/lose situation

.Recommend this Post

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Canadian Blog Awards

Ok, I know our country is starting to look like a banana republic with talk of plots, spying on phone calls and uninformed gibberish about "coups" but somewhere in the background my little blog about silver, gold, real money and impending financial collapse managed to beat out a bunch of lawyers, teachers and other people who blog about what they do for a living to make the second round of the Canadian Blog Awards in the Best Professional/Career category. I want to thank anybody who voted for the Canadian Silver Bug, and ask that you mosey back over to the contest site and vote in the final round, if you are so inclined.

For those of you who do not follow me,(like most of the free world) I've successfully predicted $140 barrel oil, major bank failures, the U.S. interest rate so far this year. While I've missed a few by being over exuberant on gold and silver prices and over pessimistic on the U.S. dollar, I've still been a hell of a lot more accurate than the CNBC and BNN talking heads and many of the so called financial experts.

Consider the Canadian Silver Bug for your vote, and thanks.Recommend this Post

Monday, November 24, 2008

BCE and Capital Gains

It looks like that crazy big bailout of Citigroup will put the wind back into the sails of the BCE takeover which is set to close mid Dec. For those who have been siting on BCE shares for a long time you can expect to take a big hit on capital gains so I thought I'd forward you to a piece on the complexity of the calculations. Hope it's usefull

.Recommend this Post

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Yes, I Have No Shame. Zero, Zilch, None

I hope people will drop by my alternate blog the Canadian Silver Bug and consider it for best Professional/Career blog in the 2008 Canadian Blog awards.Recommend this Post

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Grand jury charges against Cheney

A Texas Grand Jury has Charged Dick Cheney with organised criminal activity, Bwhahaahahahahahahahahah!

General Alberto Gonzales too! Hahahah, stop it your killing me.........all over prison abuse, and not even at Gitmo, snort, it's in regard to a prisoner who died of a beating by other imates in Texas in 2001.

While the Judge will probably bend to political pressure and not back the charges, and we all know they will get pardoned or move to Costa Rica before facing jail time, still I will enjoy seeing him shamed and pissed off in the mean time.

Bahahahahahahahahahah!Recommend this Post

Monday, November 17, 2008

Time to bring back the Q-ship

During World War I submarines were much less effective than later models, they carried very few of those expensive new fangled torpedoes and more often than not they would seize and capture, or seize and scuttle ships through the threat or use of their deck guns. Since the British never latched onto that whole convoy idea during the Great War, ships were vulnerable and many were captured or simply shelled and sunk despite most German subs having only one smallish naval gun mounted.

The British answer to this was take innocuous looking cargo vessels and outfit them with enough buoyancy to survive being holed by torpedo, often filling the cargo areas with bales of cork or blocks of balsa, the Q-ship.

These ships would then be sent to wander about in areas with a known German presence in a bid to tempt the U-boats to the surface. Once the Germans took the bait and closed in on the Q-Ships, hidden guns would suddenly appear and a fight would ensue. While not all that effective vs. their comparable material investment these ships did destroy 15 subs and acted as a deterrent by increasing German caution when approaching other ships. (it can also be argued that this was an illegal war activity that helped push the move towards total naval war and torpedoing without warning, but that's for some other time, over beer, out of the hearing of any Englishmen who don't like the Admiralty being called war criminals.)

So what this got to do with anything?

Well pirates from Somalia have once again captured a ship off of their coast and this time it's a Saudi oil tanker, this is just one of 15 they are holding for ransom at this time including a recent Ukrainian ship full of tanks and other weapons, and an ore carrier plus some misc cargo ships. These bastards have even ransomed aid ships in the past and are not afraid to shoot crews.

Let’s take a couple of small tankers or cargo ships, add some remote control weaponry run by game geeks with a satellite link (but they can only be armed a by a commanding Naval officer who verifies the target as hostile) and then just drive it back and forth up the coast near Somalia waiting. Every couple of trips change the name, change the look slightly and advertise it’s manifest at regional ports in case they are picking their targets rather than acting randomly. Then when attacked by pirates let the gamers blow the bastards up. Hell with the chance to play with real guns the geeks would pay us for the opportunity. It’s win win, just make sure we lay off the depleated uranium, after all they don't have real military ships.



.Recommend this Post

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bigger than the great depression

Gerald Celente is one of the worlds foremost trend analysts, a common guest on CNN, CNBC and often quoted in print media as well. Among his previous predictions are the 1987 stock market crash, the dot com and housing bubbles and the current financial meltdown, so he's not the average crackpot "sky is falling" kind of guy, when he sees panic stuff does goes bad. His current vision for the U.S. over the next 4years is even worse than mine, James Kunstler’s and nearing those of the average MAD MAX wanna be.

Even more bizarre he was allowed onto FOX to give this interview. You know when real possible crisis’s are more sensational than imaginary right wing fear mongering crisis’s the shit must be getting too high to ignore any longer.

Of course FOX spun this as the evil that will happen because of Obama, yet I've heard Celente state these things would likely happen previously without any mention of Obama. You can't expect too much from FOX can you?

I would venture that if he’s correct the next boom will be in self storage establishments converted in hostels. On our side of the border fences and patrols to keep AWBs(American wet backs) from sneaking in may be our new reality.

.Recommend this Post

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

On Obama

When it comes down to it I’m not all that hopeful about what the Obama and the Democratic victory means. I appreciate the significance of Obama’s personal achievement and I’m pleasantly shocked that lies, innuendo, racism, fundamentalism and general redneckery did not triumph; perhaps the U.S. is a slightly better place than I thought. Obama was the smarter, saner, more capable and non senile choice for president, plus anything that keeps that flaky gun toting fundie bitch away from brief cases, launch codes or buttons is a good thing. But besides the obvious reprieve from Holy wars and a attempt to bring on Armageddon in our life time, I don’t see it really makes that much difference which party won. In my opinion both parties are filled up corporate thralls, both parties have little vision or commitment with regard to global warming, and neither acknowledges that peak oil will soon to become a crisis that a bankrupted, energy glutton America is not ready to handle. Neither choice even approached a progressive view point.

The way the financial crisis evolves will differ little with Obama’s influence than it would have from McCain’s; it’s too big and has a life of its own. Neither Obama nor McCain have the balls to stand up to their corporate overlords and say Fuck You! We are in charge! Likewise I can’t see either telling Americans the truth about the debt, the chance of U.S. default, what happens when the Chinese stop loaning them money, and that hyperinflation and eventual dollar death are a reasonable expectation unless the U.S. cuts its spending to the bone. Bankruptcy from new entitlements is little better than bankruptcy from wars.

Obama’s personality and charisma carried the day but now he has to face 4 years of financial turmoil, more demands for bailouts, snowballing deficits, more homeless, more tent cities and realization by the public that a high energy future is not a birth right; all of this on top of the increased expectations promoted by his platform. If they hadn’t fought so hard and dirty to win, I’d swear McCain threw the race so Obama could be scapegoat for the next 4 years.

I truly hope it was personality rather than his platform that got Obama elected because it’s pretty obvious that the cupboard is bare and his promises will quickly be reneged on; at least he can hold onto his personality. Obama is not some kind of superman who can just ignore reality and it’s my belief that he is just as likely to go down in history as the sitting president when the U.S. Empire collapsed (no fault of his own) as he will for his racial triumph.

I hope he will soon level with his voters about the future rather than feed their delusions.

I hope this will convince people to temper their expectations

I hope he can at least nudge them towards a more sustainable future. (Until they've had to suffer shortages I doubt they will even accept a nudge.)

I hope he can improve American’s international image, and work to lessen tensions rather than fan them like the last fools

I hope he’s able to quell the fears the redneck racist fundies were spreading about him so that race will not be an issue again.

I hope he does reopen NAFTA and we are smart enough to get control of our energy supplies like Mexico did and rewrite chapter 11

Most importantly I hope he survives his term. Should anything happen to Obama while in office, the 911 conspiracies will be minor in comparison and the potential for L.A. riots across the country considerable.

So in the end when you measure my hopes against what we can really expect from a politician (even Obama)you can see why I don't expect much.Recommend this Post

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Chickens, Genetic Diversity Crisis

We hear a fair bit about biodiversity and the loss of species in the wild but what about the damage we have done to the genetic diversity within domestic species because of our industrial breeding practices?

Everyone knows someone who has had a pure bred dog, horse or some other domestic animal and how their finicky natures, hereditary defects or diseases can lead to great costs and great headaches for owners.

We all know that heavy inbreeding can lead to higher occurrences of deformity and genetic diseases but it can also lead to the loss of genes related to disease resistance, the adaptability to deal with stress, drought, and in some species and breeds, a loss in the ability to birth or mate naturally and even the desire to care for ones offspring.

So what happens when we breed chickens for decades, all within the same blood lines in order to fix specific genetic traits such as being a heavy egg layer or reaching an eating weight in record time?

Well a recent study by Bill Muir of Purdue University, as reported in the New Scientist says we create breeds that have lost up to 90% of their genetic diversity. We have created the millions of damaged, inbred, avian Cletus the slack jawed yokel

This loss of diversity destroys the ability of these breeds to adapt to change, be it climatic or a something like a new wave of avian flu. If a disease should hit a flock it is practically guaranteed that if one bird dies they will all die because they are pretty much genetically identical (not to mention the horrible crowed conditions). The loss of parenting skills and the inability to breed naturally makes these species useless for the non industrial farmer, unless he wants to breed via turkey baster. Many of today's factory farm breeds no longer even have enough instinct left to make a nest, sit on their eggs or to avoid drowning in a water dish.

If we really need to revert back to a low energy agricultural system as promoted by activist/writers like Richard Heinberg, there is going to be a need for livestock that can breed, birth and parent without massive intervention. We will very likely return to small, local, non specialized farming practices and there will be great demand for breeds that are more self sufficient and adaptable

Professor Muir who did this study, is pushing for a reintroduction of genetic diversity into modern flocks but there are also many heritage breeds out there that are in decline which need to be better managed not only to maintain their own diversity but also as possible sources of fresh DNA for commercial flocks.

For those of you who are interested or already have the resources to raise endangered breeds consider supporting Rare Breeds Canada
, your national equivalent or more importantly join one of their breeding programs.Recommend this Post

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Foreclosure Alley: what madness is this ?

Watch this to see the insanity taking place in the wake of the U.S. foreclosure crisis.

I can understand the banks not wanting to be in the used furniture business but the waste and the stupidity of sending the perfectly good contents of thousands of houses to the dump is criminal. Equally disturbing are people who've become so depressed or unstable that they leave their things in these houses to be tossed or that they leave it so long that they can't afford a truck or storage to save their stuff.

I know people were stupid and short sighted in taking on this kind of debt or signing weird mortgages. I also have a fair streak of the "you made your bed lie in it" attitude, but the destruction of stuff that most of the world's population could never aspire to own is simply disgusting. Hell, I think most of the contents in the house shown are better than I own.

Surely the banks could hire charitable organizations to empty the houses and glean.

Surely the state could council these people before the foreclosure takes place.

You'd thinks the banks would learn from the great depression. The banks who foreclosed and evicted even when they knew they there were no new tenants or buyers available did not lose 20% or 30% on a property but 80-90%. The problem was without tenants to maintain a property, heat it, paint it , guard if from vandalism or squatters the homes were ruined. People trashing or burning their own homes on eviction is rising nation wide and in Nevada especially, people are being paid off to vacate homes without damaging them. In the northeast gutting empty houses for their metal pipes is rampant.

Smart banks allowed people to stay as renters for what they could afford, the people had a place to stay, their neighbours need not know the change of status so no face was lost and the banks had a viable asset they could sell later when the market improved.

The worse news is prices are still falling, 1/5 of mortgages have negative equity, and less than half of the exotic or high risk mortgates have yet to reset. These are the kind of numbers that cause chaos and revolt.Recommend this Post

Monday, October 27, 2008

Depletion and Abundance: Life on the New Home Front

I just finished reading Depletion and Abundance by Sharon Astyk and I would recommend it to anyone who says we “can’t make a difference” or “cutting back on our carbon foot print would leave us living in caves”.
This book would be equally valuable to those who are just too scared or overwhelmed to make such major changes in their lives and need reassurance it can and should be done.

Sharon is an avid blogger and one of my regular reads, a lady who has inspired many of her readers through a self imposed challenge that she and her family of six would create 90% less carbon emissions than the U.S average. This challenge called the Riot for Austerity has grown to some prominence with hundreds of like minded people joining and demonstrating that deep cuts can be made in our emissions without necessarily diminishing your real quality of life. Considering how many of the solutions she puts forward strengthen both family and community it can very easily be shown to improve many aspects of quality of life.

Depletion and Abundance accepts that peak oil, climate change and financial insecurity are all very real and dangerous threats to the status quo but they need not announce the decline of the human story. Family, community, leisure, self expression, happiness and mental and physical health can all flourish quite well in a low carbon future, (provided we begin a transition now in an orderly manner.)

Her arguments that a technological silver bullet will not be found and that we cannot expect to consume our way out of the problem by buying better cars, tearing down and rebuilding all our houses, replacing all our appliances etc.. are very close to my own sentiments on the issue. Simply that the energy and resources to make everything work better, or sustain our gluttonous consumer society will not be available in the future and the best and most ethical solution is simply adapt to use less now!

Sharon has many arguments and examples showing that less stuff, less energy, less travel even less work need not impoverish us or deny us and our a children a productive and happy life. In fact with the hard times I see coming, adapting now to use less will probably be the best solution to keep you from becoming impoverished in the future.

Buy it, read it, live it!

.Recommend this Post

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A taste of Sarah Palin’s Presidency

This is just a little Green Assassin policy prediction incase McCain should actually win and Palin accidentally pushes the geezer down the stairs of Air Force One.

Economic policy and stimulus

20 billion dollar package to turn area 51 into an alien theme park. She thinks it will create jobs and attract Mexican’s for deportation.

$100 bounty per carcass for wolves, $200 for bears, $300 for illegal’s, $500 for democrats, $1000 for black bears dressed up as democrats

A new intelligent design museum for each state.

Subsidizes to rifle manufacturers so every homeless, broke and hungry American can own one in time to fight Armageddon.

Manufacture 300 million
Jesus is coming, Look Busy T-shirts

After hyperinflation kicks in, put Pat Robertson, Tammy Faye Baker, Jim Jones and the Diebold voting machine on the new $10,000, $100,000, $1 million , $5 million dollar notes

Domestic policy

Legalize marrying your own cousin

Restructuring the GI bill so you have to serve a 4 year military term to receive free High School.

Banning interracial, interreligious, interstate, intersex and internet marriages, (just to be safe)

Insist on being called Lord Protector

Sponsoring the American Inquisition

Take a true prolife stand of banning all abortions and birth control while enforcing executions.

Empty out the Library of Congress and replace them with material from Chick Publications, this or this or even this

Foreign policy

Declaring war on somebody. There is no point saying who it will be at this point as she doesn’t know more than 4 countries and one of those is Wal-Mart.

.Recommend this Post

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Potential good news in the solar industry

The development of Black Silicon could increase PV efficiency by between 100 and 500%, perhaps even reaching the theoretical maximum efficiency of 30-40% conversion of light to energy.

Developed in secret at Harvard the technology creates a cone like texture on the surface of the silicon by zapping the surface with an intense short spectrum laser in the presence of sulfur hexafluoride gas. This textured structure allows absorption of light from all angles, as well as the infrared spectrum which greatly increases efficiency for a minimal cost increase to manufacturing. The rights to the technology belong to a new start up company SiOnyx.

Hopefully this can be commercialized in a timely and cost effective manner, something many other breakthroughs have failed at.Recommend this Post

The Progressive Adopt a non-voter Challenge

In all honesty I don’t know if blogging (especially the political kind) is anything more than just personal therapy. I cannot measure my impact, I can’t see if I’ve made my point or verify I’ve changed someone’s vote. A great deal of the political blogging is either preaching to the choir or simply taunting the enemy to score a point or get a good argument going. This is all find and dandy but it does not engage the non political people who are the very people we need to reach out to. Last years blogging awards slammed it home when I realized the political and finances categories got so few votes compared to hobby blogs, sports blogs, celeb blogs, knitting blogs etc. We are in fact a pimple on the ass of blogdom!

In my real life however I know for a fact that I have made a measurable difference. I know that through constant dialogue I have converted several permanent swing voters and non-voters into voting greens, and one towards the NDP, I even had to talk a few Liberals off the ledge in recent weeks. The process is not really all that difficult but it takes time and commitment to the people you target to nurture. We know that 40% of the populous did not vote and you can be pretty damn sure these people are not going to suddenly trip across your blogs, see the light and start voting your way without a good deal of help along the way

My belief is that these 40% of Canadians who don’t care enough or are not engaged enough to bother voting are a much softer target than the 20% or so who have been indoctrinated by Stevie (drink the Kool Aid) Harper. These are also people who if nurtured, engaged and drawn into the process will not split the progressive vote but expand it for everyone. If we each gain 2%-3% and Harper does not we can all gain voting support and financial support without the nasty progressive vs. progressive pile ons. It's win/win

I’m challenging you all to join the Adopt a Non-voter Challenge

This is not about keeping somebody awake for 4 days on a minimal calorie diet in order to brain wash them (but if you get such an opportunity please don’t waste it). This is about identifying those people around you who don’t vote and slowing educating them that there are parties out there that speak to their concerns and that they can make a difference. It’s not about convincing them that YOUR choice is necessarily the one right choice. Rather this is about engaging people in day to day conversations about the world around them, identifying what makes them tick, what concerns them, even what angers them and then pointing out the progressive option that best suits their beliefs or temperaments.

Now you are not necessarily going to find dozens of new members for your party but you are going to find people who don’t understand where their personal beliefs fall. If these people can be shown ANY progressive choice that fits their concerns, don’t be a knob; point them in the direction of least resistance and continue to promote how this ideology, even if not your own fits their beliefs. Once people can identify with an ideology and label themselves as such getting them to vote is a cinch!

Short of the brain washing option you are highly unlikely to browbeat someone to believe something totally opposite to their core beliefs but it’s quite easy to cherry pick topics and say Greens believe in that, or the NDP has the same opinion as you. Open conversations of the topic of the day and keep them informed about what is important and over time you will find yourself becoming a resource, an integral part of their information chain, a personal political wiki who can educate, mould, and spin any third party information your adoptee picks up. It’s even better when you can speak both positively and negatively on all parties and most issues, it lends credibility.

During the Ontario MMP campaign I practically held class in my workplace cubicle for those confused by the process; unfortunately I could only get to 33% of the province. My Cassandra like prophecies of the last 3 years now bring many people to my desk asking about gold, silver, what Libor is, derivatives etc. Become invaluable to the though processes of your adoptee.

Of course you will probably discover some people who you hope will never decide to vote, these people can be ditched, no adoption is final!
In most cases however you will already have a feel about who is on which side of the fence, so you can easily avoid encouraging conservative slackers to vote
That said I’d rather steer a rabid pro-lifer towards the CHP than allow them to fall CPC who might actually get the chance to change the laws sometime soon, it’s your call.

So Join the Progressive, Adopt a non-voter challenge

Pledge that you will adopt several non-voters and promote the best progressive choice for them, not you!
Let's up the voter turnout to 70% and split the spoils.Recommend this Post

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Election 2008 RIP- Newmarket Aurora

Ok I may as well get this over with and move on to some other distraction until the sourness in my stomach abates. Origami perhaps!

First off I will admit that I did not expect my party to win this seat, I’ve never voted for a single person who has ever represented me and don’t expect that to change any time soon. If there was ever a poster child for orphan votes and electoral reform I’m it.
While I did expect a Conservative win, I did not expect it to be this big locally or nationally, sucks to be us!

Last nights Newmarket Aurora results were no big shock, we live in commuting towns where large houses and multiple cars are the norm, just the kind of people who without any rational investigation would fall hook line and sinker for the “everything tax” fear mongering. The conversations I hear on the Go Train are those with the insight of the Metro and 24 newspapers; No concept is to complex that it can't be simplified into a 100 word side bar, so No, I did not have very high expectations for the riding.

That said 46.7% conservative support for Lois Brown is sickeningly high and makes me want to slap every other person I see on the street. WTF were you thinking?
I can’t even blame the result on vacationing Liberal voters boycotting a leader they could not support since our voter turnout at 62.1% is higher than the national average.

Of course it did not help that the Liberal Tim Jones while well know in the area is not as universally loved as the Liberals tried to make us believe. Jones was mayor over a massively dysfunctional Auroran council and despite his claims otherwise, I’m quite sure it was not just the council members who were dysfunctional; a good leader brings consensus rather than more dysfunction. (The dysfunction of local civic politics may well become a new theme for me as our towns and cities refuse to plan or adapt to the coming low carbon future.)

Jones also brought sprawl and the big box economy to Aurora which in my mind was not progress. Planning under Jones was more large homes with nested streets reinforcing the anti community driving culture of the suburbs.

I have to say I’m disappointed that the Greens did not make our goal of 10%+ in the riding (8.2%), or our goal of displacing the NDP in 3rd place as we did in the most recent Provincial elections. We did however have real gains in both total votes and popular vote from our previous 4.78% to 8.2% while the NDP dropped from 9.6% to 8.5%. I really think the NDP strategy of it all being about Jack while local candidates don’t have signs until the 3rd week is souring some voters, with a growing population Mike Seaward should have at least held his own this time around.

The local Greens still have much work to do in tapping both the financial and volunteer potential of their supporters. Many of us got into this because we did not like what was offered by the other parties but we had little campaign experience and were not accustomed the money grubbing ask, ask, ask, campaigns that are a must in politics. We have however reached a point where we can afford full signage and mailers so our next outing should have more impact and confidence,

The Green campaign party last night ended up sharing the Fox and Fiddle with PC Dorian Baxter who grew his support to just under 2% with 1004 votes this time around. The guy campaigns hard and except for his harping on our marijuana policy is a good sport about it all. I still want to know how he gets more coverage in the local papers than we do!

The foetus fetish crowd of the CHP had 211 votes, which will continue to grow as long as Harper does not have a majority to do what he believes. It give me no comfort that our new MP is stated a pro lifer and while she claims they will not reopen the issue, MP Dean Del Mastro says otherwise.

That's about as much as I can stand for an election roundup at this point. I have to get home, go out and get loot bags for my kids (age 2 and 4) who could not undestand why I kept going to do "Green Party" activities 3-4 nights a week yet never brought home a loot bag. They are not impressed! What kind of party has no loot bags?

I implore all "Progressives" to join Fair Vote Canada now!
wait no longer! and work towards a system that will marginalize the minority who once again holds us captive.Recommend this Post

Friday, October 10, 2008


Finance Minister Jim Flaherty proves both he and his glorious leader are liars.

In an announcement today Little Jimmy Can’t Count, stated the CMHC will buy up to $25 Billion in Mortgages in free up the Credit market.

As I see It, this is another example of the broken business model that privatizes profit but nationalized risk, this proves that every claim that Canadian banks were solvent and not in danger was a lie, and the fact he could not hold this off until Wed A.M proves the crisis is moving to fast to stall any longer

Recent claims by the IMF that Canada had the soundest banking system are relative, it’s like saying you’re healthier than your neighbour in the intensive care ward because you only have flesh eating disease on 3 limbs opposed to his 4. Either way you are going to die or end with stumps.

Come on Jim, we are big boys and girls out here so stop lying and tell us how bad it really is, it won’t be a surprise to me I’ve been an economic Cassandra for a number of years.Recommend this Post

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Newmarket Aurora - The Last Debate

Last night was the final debate for the riding of Newmarket Aurora. The debate was held by the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce before a full but not terribly energetic crowd at the Newmarket Theatre. Part of the lethargy was brought on by the draconian rules of the Chamber itself in not allowing clapping or signs of appreciation/or lack there off in response to the Candidates responses/or lack there of. The moderator was terse and bitchy and certainly seemed as if she was tolerating (under duress) the presence of candidates not blue or red. While one candidate in particular was a bit of a handful, he should not have had his time docked when arguing politely on debate procedure. The moderator did not even make the effort to know who the candidates were, getting 2 out of 6 very simple names wrong.


With the exception of a large group from a private boys school (obviously non voting age) the crowd was old, depressingly old. I was disturbed by the lack of participation by voters younger than my ancient feeling 45 years. I know this is the internet generation but all the blogs and youtube clips in the world does not equal meeting a candidate, asking them a question and watching them answer it or weasel out of an answer. Brochures don’t cut it entirely either, you need to look them in the eye and see if they are sincere, genuine or robotic like Yul Brenner in West World. Meeting the candidates can also can be used to decide if the party you support is attracting quality candidates or just more faceless cardboard cut outs, yes people or wing nuts!


Questions from the public and Chamber members were asked but almost every time they were directed to only 2 or 3 of the Candidates at one time, leaving the audience only half informed on what each parties believe. In many cases it was the Libs and Cons answering along with one of the other 4 parties and repeatedly the PC, CHP and the Green were segregated to lesser questions. Answers were limited to 1 minute which was adequate for some questions but certainly many other answers could have used much more time. The questions demanding a yes or no answer for complicated issues were foolish and should not have been allowed.

Towards the end when the audience questions were asked the party lackeys were in full force with some clinging to questions on paper they could barely read let alone have written. The audience questions did not bring much new to the table and I would have preferred some real one on one debate on a few specific issues.

I like to note that both Liberals and Conservatives broke the rules of the event by plastering the theatre grounds with signs, despite being told not to in the event invitation.

Candidates and performances

Ray Luff, Christian Heritage.

Ray was neither comfortable nor prepared for this debate with a thin platform of fiscal and social conservatism. His ability to bring a pro life argument to so many of the questions was baffling but at least we know exactly what he stands for.

Fighting in Afghanistan so we don’t have to fight them here.

A fixed and robust timeline to pay off the debt (I actually don’t mind this)

Pro life - anti abortion and anti euthanasia

Paying mothers to stay at home (where they belong), having babies (they don’t want) to increase our population in order to lower unemployment and lower the average age, solving Canada’s aging population imbalance and I believe it was implied , so we don’t need immigrants.

Global warming is sunspot related, Polar Bears survived the mini warming trend that allowed farming in Greenland so will survive this time. We should welcome Global warming as it will allow us to grow more grapes. Absolute dufus!

Elections Canada’s 2% rule for funding is unfair, because he can’t buy any signs, (funny Dorian Baxter has lots of signs and no Federal funding, and perhaps Ray just has no followers)

Ray’s best and only role will be to suck the real radical pro lifers out of the other parties, especially the Cons
Go Ray Go!

Dorian Baxter – Progressive Canadian

Dorian is a fixture in the riding and for no apparent reason the darling of the Local paper who probably gives him more press than any other local figure. I don’t get it.

Baxter believes this tiny remnant of the former Progressive Conservative party is the true heir to the tradition to John A MacDonald and who an I to argue with him over this since the CRAP is some neocon nightmare too ashamed to admit they were once called PROGRESSIVE

While sometimes a little pompous and over blown in his presentation, Baxter is a certainly a performer and he managed to play to the audience as well as being a pain in the side of Lois Brown and the moderators for the entire evening. I particularly liked when he called Lois Brown on trust and deficits towards the end of the night.

I found his policy reasonable that unless the coalition forces in Afghanistan stand up to the plate we should pull out immediately. The Germans and others who are refusing to take combat roles while letting Canada soak up a disproportionate loses are a disgrace, especially after our decades in Europe on their behalf.

It’s not even that the Progressive Canadians are radical or something; in fact they are a more run of the mill, moderate party than today’s Conservatives and might even be a decent choice for discouraged Conservatives who just can’t make the leap to Green or Liberal. Unfortunately having only 11 candidates makes them look like a withering franchise rather than vibrant alternative, hell even the CHP had 60+ candidates, shudder!

Lois Brown- Conservative

Lois was exactly what I expected, tightly scripted, somewhat evasive and spinning like a Dervish.

While I know Tory Bloggers will claim otherwise I felt she defended quite adequately but she did not land any major blows to anyone. She simple spent the evening chanting party Mantras and in some cases outright lies.
Income Trusts (paraphrased) “all the companies were rushing to form Trusts we had no choice”
Actually they could have cancelled new trusts and grandfathered the old, fair to everyone, but who needs fair.

“Mr Harper saw this economic problem and has had a plan all along” to quote Mr Harper
I don't think now that the atmosphere should turn to one of complete doom and gloom. My own belief is if we were going to have some kind of big crash or recession, we probably would have had it by now.,
See my previous comments on this

It was certainly during the discussions on youth crime and environmental plans that things got a little scrappy but the 1 minute limit was no where near enough time to have any substantive discussion on these issues.

By no means did I accept Lois's ability to play an instrument as proof she supports the arts anymore than I accept her family being in the community more generations than the others candidates as important to her running here today.

The best "see Lois sneer" moment was when she made a comment about how much Harper cares and received snorts, guffaws and a couple out right laughs (opps I could not help myself)

Tim Jones – Liberal

There is no doubt in my mind the smoothest candidate of the night was Tim Jones, not that makes him the best choice but he has been doing this at various levels for a long time and it shows. I would have like to have seen a full exchange between Tim and Lois on youth crime rather two one minute statements, not only the implications with regards existing court rulings and U.N. standards for youth punishment but also the fact Quebec kids will not be treated as adults until 16 while rest of the countries kids get screwed (probably literally) at 14.

The one big slap at Tim was a comment on his tenure as Aurora mayor and the notoriously dysfunctional council he ruled over. This drew many claps and hoots. Tim over reacted and stated it was not a dysfunctional council that was the problem but dysfunctional councillors, generating considerable grumbles, he tried to cover with a list of accomplishments from his Mayor days but the damage was done. (For what it’s worth I’ve been told that Aurora council is not a hell of a lot better without Jones than it was before, I plan to attend once in a while and find out)

Like Lois, I don’t think Tim had any winning blows but I do think handled the night well with that one exception.

Mike Seaward – NDP

Mike is a gruff but decent guy who is very earnest in his beliefs and while not a natural performer he certainly had his moments with jabs against both Tim and Lois. Mike put forward strong positions on EI and poverty, as well as giving mention to proportional representation despite this topic being MIA in Jack’s vocabulary. He does seem to have a bit of a comic streak in him which he used defuse Lois’s claims of having a family connections to York region back shortly before the dawn of man, (6000 years plus or minus, at least that is what Stevie told her). In response to Browns boastful lineage he responded, (paraphrase), My family has not been here along as Brown’s But we go here as fast as we could!
Much applause.

Mike is the kind of NDP candidate who acknowledges there is a place for Greens at the table and his courtesy and interaction with Glenn Hubbers was most welcome. Rather than fall into the leaders trap and waste all their personal questions on people who had already had too much talking time, Mike and Glenn asked each other questions that allowed them to touch on topics they felt had been ignored by the debate. Green/Orange Detente is a good thing.

Glenn Hubbers – Green

Now I’m not going to make any bold claims that Glenn won this debate, but he certainly did not lose. Every partisan believes their candidate was the best, unless they really screw up or get brutalized by better debaters; this did not really happen to anyone this night. This night held no losers with the exception of the quite amateurish performance of Ray Luff, and perhaps to a lesser degree with Baxter’s over the top grandstanding but as he had fun doing it, I’m sure he did not count it a loss at all.

Glenn managed to clearly articulate the Green position on a number of issues to an audience that was highly stacked with decidedly non Green voters. Expectedly strong on environmental issues Glenn also got to differentiate our position on the Afghanistan mission, discuss family law and poverty, showing not only his grasp of a wide variety of issues but also showcasing that the Greens have a complete platform.
Glenn appeared knowledgeable, competent and genuine, beyond that our policy has to speak for us.
After the debate responses from non partisans was positive, all in all a damn good night.

There was one uncomfortable moment for Lois when Glenn asked Tim Jones if he would take part in a private members bill extending truth in advertising legislation to political campaigns. The gist of the response was “considering what I’m seeing in my oppositions literature, Yes! “

The chemistry on the stage was different than I expected, Green/NDP camaraderie, other candidates acknowledging a Green point before differentiating their stand and no one attacking Glenn. Of course since most of the Liberal/Conservative arguments are based on what the other party did last time and how many times each has lied to and/or stolen from us they really have a hard time framing their sterotypical argument against the Green Party.


I was surprised and disappointed about the number of issues that did not come up.

The suppression of scientific research and government funded studies proving Harper is lying about the effect of Carbon Taxes.

The disrespect and hostility towards the scientific community and budget cuts in environmental sciences.

Nuclear regulatory mess


Jerry Ritz- continued candidacy

In fact there were dozens of issues left untouched, lets hope the audience does some independant research.

.Recommend this Post

Monday, October 6, 2008

Lois Brown drives a Diesel

I really hate when politicians make inane statements in response to serious questions, case in point Conservative candidate Lois Brown.

Last Friday I had the opportunity to attend a debate at Cardinal Carter Catholic School in Aurora. A student asked all five candidates a question about sustainability and the stupidest answer was most assuredly from Lois Brown who stated, “Every time I write the word conservative I underline Conserve”

What kind of stupid fucking answer is this? Does anybody actually think she does this and even if she does is it relevant to her political beliefs on the environment, sustainability, peak oil etc?

Rather than talk about NAFTA and our obligation to sell oil to the U.S. rather than horde it for Canadians, rather than defend her parties position to cancel rebates for fuel efficient cars, rather than talk about a nation energy strategy, rather than talk about subsidies for big oil while doing nothing substantive for alternatives, she offered up.

“I have a VW Diesel that gets 50 MPG”

At this point I did not know if she was simply running scared on Tory policy or disrespecting the intelligence of these students. Had I not been in a Catholic school surrounded by a couple hundred impressionable teens I would have started jeering or swearing just about then. (Mind you there was one stunning teacher wandering about the auditorium that I would been more than pleased to spend a detention or two with.)

Back to you Lois; owning a Diesel is not proof of ones environmentalism or belief in sustainability, in fact it might just as easily be seen as proof that:

You know the dealer and got a discount
You drive a lot and are just frugal
You like the styling
Your husband bought it and you just drive it
That only VW had the colour you liked.

It could also simply mean that Lois like most Conservative voters make impulsive choices without doing any real research. After all a VW diesel is not a terribly good car diesel or not, they are rated quite poorly in both Lemonade and Consumer’s Guide ratings, and while they use less fuel they still spew out a great deal of particulate matter and are damn expensive to repair. Not only that but when rationing comes diesel will be hit hardest because it’s needed to grow and deliver food as well as heat our homes.

Apparently Lois thinks driving a frugal Diesel is enough good Karma to offset her support of a leader who does not accept Climate Change is real, who believes Kyoto is a socialist scheme to funnel money from rich countries to poor ones, who tries to bullshit a nation that intensity targets will allow us to lower our carbon emission, and whose government overruled a judge’s objection to water permits issued to a Tar Sands project.

I think it’s time Lois Brown gave those students some real answers on her environmental beliefs and commitments and how she can justify those against Conservative policy

(You know maybe an old VW Diesel is a good analogy to the Conservative Party, a poor choice that’s expensive to maintain and generally stinks.)

.Recommend this Post

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rae scores a point, Harper looks stupid!

I don't know how long Rae has been sitting on this bomb but this is certainly the time to drop it. Apparently our Great leader steals speaches from Australia's Howard when he can't come up with stupid arguments on his own.

Does a leader plagerize? me thinks not!Recommend this Post

Friday, September 26, 2008

NDP campaign a sham in Newmarket Aurora

Newmarket Aurora riding has a full roster of candidates
Green- Glenn Hubbers

Liberal- Tim Jones

Conservative -Lois Brown,

who are all active in this campaign as well as candidates from the Progressive Canadians - Dorian Baxter who has a great deal of presence (and signs that still say Progressive Conservative, ???), and Christian Heritage - Ray Luff


Mike Seaward who also ran for the NDP and came 4th in the last Ontario election was nominated about a week into the campaign, has no web site, no signage, and no apparent presence to date in this election. While they might have a campaign office I can find no address for it and no one I know claims to have seen it in their travels. The only proactive thing I could find for Seaward is a Facebook page.

So my questions are:

Is the NDP running a dummy campaign in Newmarket Aurora on purpose?

Is this a subbtle but unofficial way of throwing leftish support to the Liberals to stop Lois Brown?

Or are they simply in disarray after the 4th place showing in the provincials and their failure to break the 10% mark last Federal election in Newmarket Aurora, leaving the local coffers more depleted than usual?

Have they simply surrendered in a no win riding?

And finally, why should loyal NDP supporters (in this riding specifically) use their votes to support a candidate or organization not making an effort?

I agree with voting your ideals and achieve nothing(I've done it many times), but I balk at giving my vote to someone who is not even trying to earn it.

This is not an attempt at slagging the NDP in general, but simply questioning an unusual anomaly I’ve not seen in nearly 20 years in this riding. The NDP has always campaigned reasonably hard despite the no win secenerio, but this time round the NDP are running what can only be considered a sham campaign.Recommend this Post

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Talking Liberals off the ledge!

This election is pissing me off big time. At a time when I should be putting all my efforts into talking up the Green cause I find myself spending just as much time taking to my friends and contacts defending Dion and trying in earnest to keep them from voting Harper.

Some of these people have been staunch Liberals for as long as I’ve know them and yet now due to Dion’s lack of presence and his inability to adequately explain the Carbon Tax, they are honestly considering joining the sweater vest express to oblivion.

It’s all becoming quit tiring; first I have to beat them down with the well documented lies, broken promises and illegalities of the Conservative, followed by a flurry of C61 to the head and a kick of C51/52 to the groin. As they struggle to rise up and defend themselves I finish them off with peak oil, global warming, secret agendas and an impending deficit head butt across the bridge of the nose. At this point I have to reassure them that image is not substance, that leadership is making the right decision not making a rash and pig headed decision.

Of course I do mention that there are better choices like the GPC, but I’m honestly willing to settle for Anything But Conservative at this point.

I’m also tired of dealing with the contagion caused by Dion adopting the idea of a Carbon Tax. The Liberals have done such a piss poor job of selling this idea, and the Cons such a good job of demonizing it (despite their own studies that prove otherwise) that I also have to reassure soft Greens it won’t cause the end of the world.

Things are not going as I expected. The debate win was a pleasant surprise but May continues to get less press than Duceppe, even outside Quebec. The press is not holding Harpers feet to the fire as they should, and I’m spending far too much time talking Liberals off the ledge! Who’d have thought?Recommend this Post

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Another one bites the dust!

Julian West has dropped out of race for For The Saanich-Gulf Islands, leaving the NDP short one Candidate in B.C.
West use to be one of ours, so it's kinda funny/sad that this story was not important until he became a NDP candidate. Considering the ill considered, hateful rantings of some conservatives it's a pity a little nudity is enough to ruin this mans career.

I hope the NDP can and will direct their energy in Saanich-Gulf Islands to the next best hope of keeping the seat from Harper. I honestly don't know who that would be,(please be Green, please be Green, please be Green)

Ok, I decided not to be totally lazy, the other choices are
Andrew Lewis - GPC
Gary Lunn - CP
Dan Noreau - CHP
Briony Penn -LPC
but who's in best position to kick Lunn in the nuts, I do not know?

P.S. you guys really need to flesh out that Vetting thing, especially in BC.

.Recommend this Post

Monday, September 15, 2008

Stupid PM Quotes!

I don't think now that the atmosphere should turn to one of complete doom and gloom. My own belief is if we were going to have some kind of big crash or recession, we probably would have had it by now.,

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Is he out of his fucking mind?, his point exact point is “I don’t THINK

For the few of you who have dropped in on my Financial Blog, you know I’ve been suggesting these very failures for several years.

Bear Sterns, Lehman Bros, Merrill Lynch were all destined to die in the first wave of destruction not only because of the bad bets they made on housing but because of the virtual death of all the major Merger/Acquisition activity and IPOs which were the cash cows for these organizations. The damage from this wave of failures has not even been calculated yet as it spreads out through heavily leveraged funds and finally into personal pensions. To claim we are ok or insulated from the past problems let alone the future ones is idiocy at best.

In the big scheme of things Lehman’s failure will not bother average people with limited investments, at least not directly. AIG however, a major reinsurer, is also on the ropes and without a Government loan/handout they will take a credit rating reduction that could spark the forced liquidation of several $100 billion in bonds from funds and pensions who by law cannot hold junk paper. This could start a run on bonds as everyone is force to sell on the same trigger and prices will plummet to cents on the dollar. This will wipe out pension funds, municipal savings and the ability to raise capital for years.

AIG and other reinsurers, and bond insurers like MBIA, Ambac make up the second wave that will destroy debt markets. Without insurance all but the most secure companies, towns, cities, will be able to raise money. AIG reinsures many small insurance companies which will be hammered by this years huricanes, loses from mortages, bond loses and reinsurance will kill them surely.

The 3rd wave or maybe wave 2.1 is going to be the collapse of scores if not hundreds of retail banks. Last week's failure was the Silver State Bank of Nevada the 11th retail bank failure this year. This week it was only Lehman Brothers, we must be hitting botton, NOT!!! This will escalate and we will begin to see multiple failures weekly
Mega rich Willbur Ross sees 1000 bank failures

(Funny aside McCain’s son sat on the board of Silver State Bank)

The FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp) does not have the capital (or staff) to handle the sudden wave of small banks let alone the imminent failure of some huge ones like Washington Mutual
The FDIC had only $57 billion +- before banks started failing and just the impact from these 10 small banks failures plus Indy Mac is quickly burning through this fund. The FDIC cannot increase premiums to the banks because they are broke and unless they want an armed insurrection the U.S. government will have no choice but to backstop the FDIC and monetize more debt, ie hyper inflation.

Anyone who thinks that with Globalization, Canadian ownership in some U.S. banks, the size of Canadian, and the worlds U.S. currency reserves, plus our dependency on the U.S. consumer that this is not going to cause a crisis here too, must be a DOLT!

Stephen, I'm talking to YOU!

Meanwhile Harper’s words of wisdom paraphrased, it can’t happen now because it didn’t happen yet. WTF?

Yup, hide your head in the sand and pretend bad things cannot happen, that's leadership in the 21 century.

We're screwed!Recommend this Post

Friday, September 12, 2008

Harper's own government study supports carbon tax

It's funny what you find when you use the freedom of information act to get a study the Harper government wants hidden. A study that states a Carbon tax would cause a negligible GDP drop in the first years and actually grow GDP after 2012,

But of course today's headlines simply Parrot Harper's lies, maybe parrots not Puffins should be the official bird for this election

Main Stream Media at its BestRecommend this Post

Global Warming for Dummies(Conservatives)

Just thought some of you would like to know that the release date for Elizabeth May's and Zoe Caron's new book Globalwarming For Dummies has been set for Oct 2, (debate day) which seems rather auspicious.

Amazon.ca is taking pre-orders for delivery at 50% off, just $12.

I'm really hoping May will give Harper one at the debate, that would be far too funny.

You too could make a splash and hand one them to your local Conservative candidate at some major event. If you don't want to enrich May hand out Heat or some other worthy tome.Recommend this Post

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

They Blinked!

Jebus, I did not exptect it to be this easy, We got Debate!

Not really, Now we still need the networks to invite us, tick,tick, tick, I'm waiting folks, tick, tick

Seems Layton was taking too much grief in this own party and changed his mind, and as I said in yesterdays post no way would Harper take the heat alone, or give the stage up to the others to debate without him. Calling his bluff was all it took!

That's a pretty solid flip flop, I guess Harper is not a leader!Recommend this Post

Electric car conspiracy in the making?

An interesting article from the star says the Ontario Gov is in talks with a silicon valley company with the intent of turning

Toronto and surrounding areas into an electric transportation hub, complete with electric charging infrastructure and local manufacturing of battery-powered vehicles

This sounds like a great progressive idea BUT I can't help but wonder if they are so gung ho about this initiative why the hell won't they allow the ZENN car to be driven in Ontario?

My paranoid side says maybe they've made some deal to exclude ZENN and fair competition from the Ontario market as a way of rewarding the Better Place company for setting up shop here. I'm truly suspicious of this announcement, Better Place gets free reign to set up battery swap stations, build and sell cars here all while a Canadian company is shut out.

Does something smell fishy to you?

I hope Tyler Hamilton the writer of this Star article will give me some input to the comments/questions on his Clean Break.ca Blog Recommend this Post

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Stephen Harper to pull out of Debate?

Ok, correct me if I'm wrong but who in their right mind believes any guy when he claims he'll pull out? The last person to fall for that old line was Palin's knocked up daughter, before that Mrs Harper.

This was nothing but a bluff and the three stooges either fell for it or more probably decided to use it for self interest hoping their complicity would be ignored.

Dion you knew better! There was no way Harper would allow a debate where you got to speak and he did not. You know how competitive and controlling Harpo is there was no real risk he would pull out, he just wanted to spread the blame.
I also don't believe you protested too much when you heard Harper's lame threat. I suspected you frowned your stern little frown and then ran off to the can to dance a jig knowing you were off the hook.

Jack, come on, tell me you did not discuss cutting May out of the debate during your little chat with Harpo before the election call was made? Yeah, I thought so!

Duceppe, ante up. State now you will have a one on one debate in Quebec with the Greens if you were so willing.

I don't buy this threat to pull out, it was simply a contrivance to let you all do what you wanted to do anyway, silence Elizabeth May!

Still think you made the best choice?Recommend this Post

Monday, September 8, 2008

Welcome to North Zimbabwestan!

I no longer live in Canada, by some twist of fate it been transmogrified into something I can only label North Zimbabwestan. This shining bastion of oppression that has not 1 but 2 tin hat dictators vying to be the Grand PhooBah of Rat Bastard Cowards.

Stephen Mugabe the front runner flaunts election spending limits, ignores his own election laws, lies like a cheap rug, refuses unstaged interviews and apparently is afraid of a women who represents a party that believes in Non Aggression.(Oh, too scary mommy) Partner in crime Kim Il-Layton is a baffoon who dashes his parties belief in ideals, democracy and fair representation also out of fear and crass personal gain.

That leaves the waffling traitor("honest it wasn't me"), and a wimp who backed down on his support of fair play, lest he be on the outs with the other big tough boys.

I've been mad at my country before, I've been dismayed at my country before, but never before have I been so completely disgusted and enraged while thinking "Is this is the best we can do for potential leaders"

While I'm pleased that many fellow bloggers of varied persuasions have also shown outrange, and I thank them all, this is not enough. The system is broken, crowded with assholes and we need a Revolution. Most people are not this bad, why is it that shit floats to the top?Recommend this Post

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The McCains' Like father like Son?

For years the U.S. Government run by Republicans like John McCain have spent far more than is sustainable, which is neither wise nor particularly conservative(much like our crowd of Rat Bastards)

This Friday the FDIC ninjas closed down the Nevada Silver State Bank a small regional operation of 13 branches spread between Nevada and Arizona which will cost the FDIC about $.5 Billion to cover the insured accounts. Depositors in uninsured accounts will lose about $20 million with no compensation.

Funny thing is John McCain's son Andrew K. McCain, sits on the board of this bank and its auditing committee. Personally this family penchant for fiscal mismanagement would concern me more than Palin's apparent success in making sure her daughter new nothing about birth control. (the poor girl probably fell for the old "You can't get pregnant the first time", or the equally popular "You can't get pregnant doing it standing up")Recommend this Post

Friday, September 5, 2008

A little taste of election Altruism

NEW GLASGOW – Green Party leader Elizabeth May announced that her party considers Independent Member of Parliament Bill Casey "an honourary Green". The Green Party of Canada and its Electoral District Association in Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley will not be opposing the re-election of Mr Casey. The nominated candidate for the Green Party in Casey's riding, Darryl Whetter, has decided to step aside and is now the Green candidate in Halifax.

Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, and candidate in the adjoining Nova Scotia riding of Central Nova, praised Bill Casey’s political track record.

"Bill Casey is a hero. He stood up for Nova Scotia and he stood up for Canadians,” said Ms. May at a campaign rally in her riding on Thursday night with Blair Wilson, Canada’s first Green MP.
Mr. Casey was expelled form the Conservative Caucus for voting against the 2007 budget after Prime Minister Harper broke his promise to honour the Atlantic Accord. The expulsion of Mr. Casey resulted in strained relationships between the Conservative Party and Mr. Casey’s constituents, who rallied to support Mr. Casey after his removal. The local Conservative Party association re-nominated Mr. Casey in October 2007 as their candidate for the next election but the party's head office refused to accept Mr. Casey's nomination and suspended the association's executive.

"Bill Casey stood up for all Nova Scotians when he voted against Prime Minister Harper breaking the legal contract called the Atlantic Accord. Bill Casey is a man of integrity. He has shown enormous courage. He deserves to be re-elected and I look forward to working with him in the House of Commons to protect the interests of all Nova Scotians," said Ms. May.

"With the anti-democratic decision of the Conservatives to appoint a candidate to run against Bill Casey, and with the funds Bill Casey had raised for his re-election campaign now going to a Harper Conservative working to defeat him, the Green Party felt the least we could do was to not take a single vote away from Bill Casey. He is, as of now, an honourary Green Party candidate, running as an Independent."

"The Conservatives fired Bill Casey for doing the job he was elected to do – serving his constituents,” said Mr. Whetter. “This firing again shows us that our out-dated electoral system simply does not work. The current system elects a Prime Minister who then demands the votes of our elected MPs. The Green Party wants to democratize the way Canadians elect governments."

This is a tough issue for me as I think we should fight hard in all ridings to show our sincerity and our commitment to giving Canada a new better path to follow. On the other hand it’s a bold signal that we are willing to pass up our $1.75 per vote to do the right thing both for Bill Casey and for the country, in that Harper will not likely displace Casey.

So how does this play? May is accused of being a Liberal for not running against Dion, so is she now a Green, a Liberal, an Independent or an ex Tory/Con? I’m getting so confused!

I assume this is a sincere move on May’s part but is it also one last ditch attempt to open a dialogue on an anti Harper alliance rather than let the Bastard get a majority?

If it is, people had better move on this quickly, time and opportunities are quickly running out. Surely each party could make simlar sacrifices to bring this bastard down, NO?Recommend this Post

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Saving the world one bread at a time!

The way I see things the western world is about to get bitch slapped by reality as an economic and possible fiscal crisis could destroy our banks, money and financial infrastructure. On top of this issue we have global warming, peak oil, and the specter of expanding famine zones spreading around the world all ready to bend us over the bottom bunk like in some sick prison movie.

Now there are things we can do to meet these issues and I do what I can for the environment by trying to curb my consumption of energy, stick to the 100 mile diet when we can, trying and failing in my pitiful attempt to grow a reasonable amount of food from my tiny yard, as well as my activism, blogging and GPC involvement. I am unconvinced however that we will reach a solution that will allow most or any of us to maintain the lifestyle or level of civilization we have grown accustom to in the long term and I’m trapped somewhere in-between going Amish or survivalist. I like basic black clothes and the idea of a simple agrarian life but wool jackets, full beards and a lack of beer just don’t do it for me. On the other side gun toting fundamentalist Christians with no necks and brush cuts scare the fucking shit out of me, mmmm choices?

In the mean time I am trying to learn basic skills that might prove useful in a post carbon future. Gardening has been a bust this year do to a combination of bad weather, very limited space and a herd of slugs and snails that decimated the beans, potatoes and cabbage. Over the years we’ve done some preserves and canning but we are certainly not experts. We expect to be drying whacks of tomatoes, some herbs and if we are lucky we might even get some homemade raisins. I don’t see a lot of reason to learn the proper techniques to freeze things when our power grid could collapse in a couple years when oil/gas prices drives people to space heaters.

As a frugal college student who could not always find what he wanted to wear at the vintage stores like Courage My Love in Kensington Market, or the occasional find at such stores as the South Pacific on Maitland I even taught myself to make shirts. Of course I would need a treadle machine in a post carbon future but did you know you can still buy one?

Apparently a manufacturer did a couple of short runs of an existing electric machine modified to mount to vintage treadles, finding a working treadle does not seem to be much of challenge you can find them on ebay or Kijiji daily.

One place where I have made progress in self sufficiency is in the kitchen where I’ve made great progress in the last year progressing from the occasional misshapen loaves of homemade bread to nice ones like this that the family actually wants me to make. Now rationalizing making my own bread had to include time, taste, cost and assumptions that I can do it using less carbon than a commercial bakery. The time is simple, I do it early weekend mornings while listening to financial web casts. Hell I’m up anyway because the kids don’t sleep and it’s too early to cut grass or go to the farmers market.
It is nice tasting bread and as long as we avoid the real discount breads it’s not only cheaper but I know the ingredients. The only real issue I can’t verify is how much energy my bread, cooked 2 loafs at a time consumes compared to a commercial bakery, per loaf it’s probably more at least until transportation is added. I also cannot know for sure that in a post carbon situation I will have access to the natural gas I will need to cook. So what to do?

Well after a surge in hits and advertising revenue on my financial blog I finally got windfall in the form of my first cheque from Google Adsense and after getting through the spring without going on strike I decided to blow my meager new earnings (plus some extra $) on a SUN OVEN

Now I was somewhat skeptical it would work as well as stated but I was willing to give it a shot as an emergency or camping oven. My first experiment fared poorly because I did not realize the full extent of my yards afternoon shading, the oven works great if I want to cook from 6:00 to 8:00 rather when the family wants to eat. My second attempt, tried and documented at the cottage and was a success, the only exception was I did not know how big a loaf I could put in the pot and it ended up a little on the small side.

The lump of dough in a new but old fashioned granite pot (speckled black enamel on steel) This was a simple white bread recipe I could do off the top of my head without a recipe book.

The Sun Oven in all it’s reflective glory, you point the oven at the sun and adjust occasionally in an attempt to keep the sun focused inward. The simple method is try to keep the shadows even on all sides, I found myself adjusting it every 15 minutes or so. You need sun glasses or you’ll go blind near this thing.

A close-up of the thermostat proving you can get the oven up to a useful working temperature. Eventually about mid cook I did touch 400 degrees.

Dough in the oven and starting to steam up

1 hour or so in, turning golden and surface cracking

The finished product waiting to be served with BBQ and fresh corn.

Now I fully understand that weather conditions, shade, heat up time etc do not make this practical for every person but for the dedicated homesteader or environmentalist, the cottager in area where the power is suspect, the Amish or the survivalist, this is a low tech, zero emissions way to cook bread, stews, soups, casseroles etc. Frequent users claim that burning is not much of an issue and if you walk away from it pointed at where the sun will be later you can come back to a fully cooked mean hours later, and even if you are late the less direct unfocused sun and insulated box will keep your dish warm for quite some time. After trying this I went looking for and found a do it yourself plan that puts the oven on a solar powered turntable that tracks the sun, neat!

While I would recommend the Sun Oven as a quite a useful contraption, for non portable use or a large family I might suggest people attempt to build a larger one that has bigger reflectors, a more stable tilting mechanism (the worst flaw of the Sun Oven) and perhaps the turntable I mentioned. I would also consider any charity project delivering Sun Ovens or some other variant of a solar oven to be a good, long term solution to fuel costs, carbon emissions and deforestation in the 3rd world.

I now know I can make cheaper, better bread with a lower carbon footprint than a commercial bakery. Now I must find a source of locally grown, organic hard wheat and a quality hand mill.Recommend this Post

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Be the Change - movie trailer

I just came across the trailer for David Chernushenko's new film Be the Change which is opening june 20 in Ottawa, for information on the premier go here

"Be the Change explores the motivations for, and the challenges and rewards of, trying to live more lightly. It is a celebration of the human spirit. It is a “100-kilometre” film made entirely in the Ottawa region, so you may well know some of the people in this film."

Also check out the Living Lightly project
.Recommend this Post

Door to Door Atheists, giving Mormons some of their own

Not my usual fare but too funny not to post!

Recommend this Post

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Spam, some people like it!

There has been much talk about hunger and famine in recent weeks but on the lighter, but far more sinister side of the food inflation story we find SPAM, that canned chuck of mechanically deboned and salted pig which is making a big resurgence as people try to reconcile their incomes to increasing food and energy costs. Sales are up y/y by 17% and some stores are having trouble keeping it in stock.

At under $3 for a 12 oz can, SPAM is joining the such barely food staples as RAMON noodles in a horrify attempt to not only to raise blood pressure world wide but to bring scurvy into vogue.

For those so inclined to eat SPAM either out of necessity or a dare, see their Website for the history of SPAM and links to several hundred recipes, SPAM store and fan club,?

Really have a look at the site.

otherwise enjoy this.

.Recommend this Post

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Water could be our next crisis

Water shortages are becoming a world wide issue as global warming and drought team up with rising populations, rising consumption and waste in a way that could make water one of the most contentious topics in next decades. Add to this a growing move to privatize and commoditize water and we have a new and compounding crisis to add to problems of peak oil and predicted famine.

An interesting article titled Coming soon, War for Water from India's Commodity online

After global warming, what is the biggest problem the globe is facing now? It is water. If you want to know the seriousness of the situation just take the case of India’s Cherrapunjee.

Cherrapunjee once boasted of being the ‘wettest place on earth’. Now also it gets around 40 feet of rain a year. However, Indian government is now seeking Israeli water management experts’ help to manage and retain water that today sluices off the area’s deforested landscape so that the area can get water when there is no rain.

Take another example of Rajasthan where lakhs of people (almost always women) spend hours per day carrying water up to several miles for their family’s needs because no source is close at hand.

On the other side of the globe, in Barcelona, Spain, people are paying a fine of $13,000 if they were caught watering their gardens.

According to media reports, a tanker ship is docked in Barcelona this month carrying 5 million gallons of precious fresh water and officials are scrambling to line up more such shipments to slake public thirst.

Again, Cyprus is ferrying water from Greece. Australian cities are buying water from farmers and building desalination plants.

Thirsty China plans to divert Himalayan water. In southern California, citizens are bracing to face water-rationing.

So, the world may go to war for water in the coming years. Experts say that water is the oil of this century.

Blue Gold
According to researchers, developed nations have taken cheap, abundant fresh water largely for granted. Now global population growth, pollution and climate change are shaping a new view of water as “blue gold”.

Global water markets, including drinking water distribution, management, waste treatment, and agriculture are a nearly $500 billion market and growing fast.

But governments pushing to privatize public water systems are colliding with a global “water is a human right” movement. Because water is essential for human life, its distribution is best left to more publicly accountable government authorities to distribute at prices the poorest can afford.

According to experts, the world is at a transition point where fundamental decisions need to be made by societies about how this basic human need is going to be provided. The profit motive and basic human need for water are just inherently in conflict.

What’s different now is that it’s increasingly obvious that the world is running up against limits to new fresh water supplies, says a water expert. It’s no longer cheap and easy to drill another well or dam another river.

The idea of “peak water” is an imperfect analogy. Unlike oil, water is not used up but only changes forms. The world still has the same 326 quintillion gallons.

But some 97 per cent of it is salty. The world’s remaining accessible fresh-water supplies are divided among industry (20 per cent), agriculture (70 per cent), and domestic use (10 per cent).

Meanwhile, fresh-water consumption worldwide has more than doubled since World War II to nearly 4,000 cubic kilometers annually and set to rise another 25 per cent by 2030.

Up to triple that is available for human use, so there should be plenty, the report says. But waste, climate change, and pollution have left clean water supplies running short.

The world has ignored demand for decades, just assuming supplies of water would be there. Now people have to learn to manage water demand and – on top of that – deal with climate change, too.

Population and economic growth across Asia and the rest of the developing world is a major factor driving fresh-water scarcity. The earth’s human population is predicted to rise from 6 billion to about 9 billion by 2050. Feeding them will mean more irrigation for crops.

Increasing attention is also being paid to the global “virtual water” trade. It appears in food or other products that require water to produce, products that are then exported to another nation. The US may consume even more water – virtual water – by importing goods that require lots of water to make. At the same time, the US exports virtual water through goods it sells abroad.

As scarcity drives up the cost of fresh water, more efficient use of water will play a huge role, experts say.

In the US today, about 33.5 million Americans get their drinking water from privately owned utilities that make up about 16 per cent of the nation’s community water systems.

But private companies’ promises of efficient, cost-effective water delivery have not always come true. Bolivia ejected giant engineering firm Bechtel in 2000, unhappy over the spiking cost of water for the city of Cochabamba.

Last year Bolivia’s president publicly celebrated the departure of French water company Suez, which had held a 30-year contract to supply La Paz.

.Private water industry officials say those pushing to make water a “human right” are ideologues struggling to preserve inefficient public water authorities that sell water below the cost to produce it and so cheaply it is wasted — doing little to extend service to the poor.

Global warming isn’t going to change the amount of water, but some places used to getting it won’t, and others that don’t, will get more. Water scarcity may be one of the most underappreciated global political and environmental challenges now. Water woes could have an impact on global peace and stability.

China & India
In the developing world – particularly in China, India, and other parts of Asia – rising economic success means a rising demand for clean water and an increased potential for conflict.

China is one of the world’s fastest-growing nations, but its lakes, rivers, and groundwater are badly polluted because of the widespread dumping of industrial wastes. Tibet has huge fresh water reserves.

While news reports have generally cited Tibetans’ concerns over exploitation of their natural resources by China, little has been reported about China’s keen interest in Tibet’s Himalayan water supplies, locked up in rapidly melting glaciers.

Himalayan water is particularly sensitive because it supplies the rivers that bring water to more than half a dozen Asian countries. Plans to divert water could cause intense debate.

Tibet is not the only water-rich country wary of a water-poor neighbour. Canada, which has immense fresh water resources, is wary of its water-thirsty superpower neighbour to the south.

But don’t look for a water pipeline from Canada’s northern reaches to the US southwest anytime soon. Water raises national fervor in Canada, and Canadians are reluctant to share their birthright with a United States that has mismanaged – in Canada’s eyes – its own supplies.

The lack of clean, safe drinking water is estimated to kill almost 4,500 children per day. In fact, out of the 2.2 million unsafe drinking water deaths in 2004, 90% were children under the age of five. Water is essential to the treatment of diseases, something especially critical for children.

The world water crisis is created by a confluence of factors including climate and geography, lack of water systems and infrastructure, and inadequate sanitation, something that 2.6 billion people (40% of the world’s population) lack access to.

The future will offer less fresh water as global warming melts glacial ice that supplies parts India, China, Tibet, Andean countries and even a portion of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Current discussions for or against bio fuels will also need to take into account water usage as the argument spreads from food or fuel to include water or fuel. Added to that, decisions will have to be made balancing the importance of water for agriculture vs. drinking , water for agriculture vs. industry and with water being commercialized the danger will be that without water for industry there may be no jobs so people can afford clean drinking water.

I know that water issues are becoming very touchy in the Andes as mining companies fight indigenous peoples to tap glacial waters for ore processing and in one case they wish to blast and move a glacier to get at gold below the ice.

Canadians will find themselves under more pressure to export water to the States, we will need more water for irrigation as temperatures rise, evaporation rates will increase which may shrink lakes, and our declining infrastructure will continue to waste more water each year through leaks.

We need to work to make access to water a human right, we need moves to curb personal/industrial use as well as waste like leaks. The scale of rotting infrastructure is immense in North America, as an example, last year Atlanta suffered a drought that was close to draining their lake, yet leaks accounted for 11 million Gallons a day, 18% of the total consumption.

People and industry must start paying realistic prices for water, without creating a barrier for basic uses like drinking and cooking. We need to support the third world with water management expertise as well as weening them of water intensive crop varieties like those Monsanto's and others flog and let farmers go back to crops that are actually adapted to their conditions. The same marketing ploys have convinced farmers to buy animals that require far more water than indigenous breeds would.

It starting to get pretty crazy out there as a series of overlapping crisises are poised to jump on civilization with both feet.Recommend this Post