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

Monday, March 31, 2008

What the hell is up with Belinda's seat?

I was just wondering how Belinda Stronach who has been listed as the Executive Vice-Chairman of Mangna since April 2007 has not been held accountable and forced to formally resign her seat and have it declared vacant.

Belinda's web site has no updates since last spring and she has apparently only shown up to vote 4 times since April. Which is probably on average for most Liberals these days, disgusting!

What I want to know is how the hell can someone be the Executive Vice-Chairman of anything as large as Magna and claim they are representing their constituents? When she is on the hill is she there as MP or lobbyist?

Honestly I'm tired of the Belinda's hobbyist attitude towards her responsibilities and her apparent disdain for the voters of Newmarket-Aurora. Belinda's gone and we all know it but don't think this stupid lingering and not doing her job is not going to taint the Liberals come the next election.Recommend this Post

Pat Martin wants to kill the Penny

Is it time for the Penny to leave circulation? Pat Martin thinks so and will propose a private members bill to do just that.

Personally I think it's sad that we have to discard the penny because of mismanagement and gross monetary inflation that has devalued our smallest coin(s) so that they have no real value. Was the move to Loonies and Toonies so much about durability or was it more about moving them from folding money to loose change catagory preparing us for the day they would need to kill the penny and probably the nickel some short time later?

That said I'd love a 5 or 10 dollar coin as long as they put some silver in it so it would not devalue as readily as mere paper money or base metal coins have.

MP says penny makes no sense
By: Mia Rabson

Updated: March 31, 2008 at 06:19 AM CDT

OTTAWA -- NDP MP Pat Martin doesn't want a penny for your thoughts.

In fact, he doesn't want a penny at all.

The Winnipeg Centre MP will introduce a private members' bill when Parliament returns from its Easter break today that would eliminate the penny from circulation in Canada.

"It's a completely vacuous thing to hold on to," Martin said.

The Royal Canadian Mint contends it costs less than a cent to make a penny, but Martin said Library of Parliament research suggests it is as much as four cents per penny.

He said take that, together with the fact that on its own an individual penny is useless, means the penny has outlived any reason for being in Canada.

Most pennies end up in jars or under couch cushions because people don't want to use them and carrying them around is a nuisance, Martin added.

"I don't know who (the Mint is) trying to please by hanging on to it," Martin said.

The Mint has engaged repeated public opinion studies on the subject of getting rid of the penny. The most recent, released last fall, suggests 63 per cent of small retailers and 42 per cent of consumers are in favour of getting rid of the penny.

Nineteen per cent of small retailers and 33 per cent of consumers are against it, while the remainder are indifferent.

Charities are in favour of removing the penny because it would help avoid the costs associated with collecting donations of pennies, but large retailers are against the idea over fears it would limit how they could price their products.

One third of consumers who were against the idea feared it would result in prices going up as retailers would round up prices to the closest five cent mark.

Martin's legislation would require retailers on cash transactions to round final totals up or down to the nearest five or 10-cent mark. One and two cents would be rounded down to the closest 10 cent, while three and four cents would go up to the next five cents. Six or seven cents would go down to the five-cent mark and eight or nine cents would go up to the 10.

Debit and credit card transactions would not be rounded. And the legislation doesn't prevent any store from setting whatever price it wants for a product, Martin added.

"You can still price something at $9.97 if you want," he said.

The rounding would be applied only on a customer's total bill, not on individual items.

Martin said a study of the experiences in other countries that eliminated pennies found that kind of regimen was revenue neutral for retailers and cost neutral for consumers.

New Zealand and Australia have both eliminated the penny.

"Life as they knew it didn't end," Martin said.

New Zealand also eliminated its five-cent piece.

"Our currency has evolved," he said. "We have to mature with it."

Martin said the best evidence of the low value of pennies is the fact that many retailers keep a small dish of them at the till in case a customer needs one to make exact change.

"You don't see a dish of free loonies," Martin joked.

Recommend this Post

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Peak Beer the horror of it all

So people are tired of peak oil, ignore stories of peak food, but this will hit much closer to home folks, how about Peak Beer!!!!!

That's right folks due to drought and flooding Hop supplies are at multi decade lows causing the price of hops to rise 300% and often cutting the supply right off for those smaller yummy craft brewers.

If nothing else will wake up the beer swilling climate change denying rednecks and get them off their loathsome spotty asses, maybe rising beer prices or shortages will do it. (no offense to climate change accepting beer swillers, swilling beer is a time honoured tradition.)

For humanity sake people, SAVE THE BEER!

This should be be a great ad campaign to turn the redneck vote Green.Recommend this Post

Friday, March 28, 2008

Rice: shortages, inflation and famine

I've posted a number of times on peak food and the coming crunch of real modern day famine with few if any hits or comments. I don't know if this is a lack of concern because we are a rich country or if constantly whining about Harper and Dion is really that much more fulfilling than looking at a real issue that will impoverish or kill millions.

In just the last week major rice exporters such as India and Vietnam and also Egypt have either cut or banned the export of rice outside their countries in order to maintain supply and keep their internal food inflation in check.

Vietnam will cut exports 22%, India will raise the minimum price for exports by 50% virtually killing all non Basmati exports, and Egypt will outright ban the export of rice to keep prices under control and maintain sufficient domestic supplies. Cambodia a much smaller exported also announced similar measures which when totaled with the other exporters will take a full 1/3 of the rice off of the international market.

These most recent moves have raised spot prices by 30% this week and doubling rice prices since January.

So who will get hurt the most a world rice shortages?

The poor naturally, rice is a staple for a good portion of the worlds poorest peoples. At the low end of the spectrum the poorest people already end up paying a large portion of their yearly income on food alone and for their main staple to double will mean starvation for some, and malnourishment for many more.

The Philippines and Africa both are major net importers of rice,as is the Middle East. Africa as the poorest of these regions is destined to be hurt the most aggravating a region already suffering from wars, droughts, and the disaster that is Zimbabwe.

Another major hit will be taken by aid agencies like the U.N. who will find this year their donor dollars will feed 50% less people.

Yet somehow, western nations can still justify burning grain ethanol. We should be rioting in the streets in sympathy with these people not burning their food.Recommend this Post

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Carbon Tariffs can save N.A. Jobs and the environment

Another voice has joined the choir supporting the taxation of carbon. For the most part these calls have been from economists supporting the GPC concept of a domestic carbon tax as the most effective way of lowing green house gases but now Jeff Rubin chief strategist and economist at CIBC World Markets claims a Carbon Tariff will not only lower green house gases but allow the west to repatriate lost manufacturing jobs! How much better than that could it get?

CALGARY — Manufacturers that have relocated to China may soon be coming home if the Western world imposes a “carbon tariff” on countries that spew greenhouse gas emissions, according to Jeff Rubin, chief strategist and economist at CIBC World Markets.

Mr. Rubin, in a report issued on Thursday morning, said it is clear Western countries are moving quickly to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions and he highlighted that China's estimated emissions in 2007 supplanted the United States after rising rapidly through this decade.

Given the increasing emissions imbalance between the developed world and countries such as China, Mr. Rubin said the “only leverage is through trade access,” specifically a “carbon tariff.” Mr. Rubin predicted such a tariff, based on $45 per tonne of carbon dioxide or equivalent, would be $55-billion annually, a 17-per cent levy on all Chinese imports to the U.S. — almost six times greater than the effective current import tariffs.

The main impact of such a scenario would be on companies that have moved their factories to China — and consumers in North America. In a world where carbon emissions cost nothing, moving to China, with its cheap labour, made perfect sense, Mr. Rubin said. That situation is unlikely to last, he added.

“For many industries that joined the exodus to the cheap labour markets of East Asia, imposing a carbon tariff means coming home,” Mr. Rubin said in his report entitled “Coming Home,” co-authored with economist Benjamin Tal.

“Without such a tariff, the earnest efforts of [developed] countries to decarbonize their own economies would become absurdly quixotic in the face of the avalanche of emissions that will come from the rest of the world.”

Companies — because of their high carbon output — that are mostly likely to re-relocate are makers of chemical products, as well as makers of non-metallic mineral products such as cement, glass and lime, according to Mr. Rubin. Printing, primary metals makers and machinery manufacturing are also exposed.

For North American consumers, such a tariff of course would mean imported products would become more expensive. At a carbon cost of $45 a tonne, Mr. Rubin projected the U.S. inflation rate would be increased by about 0.6 percentage points, roughly a 25-per-cent increase from the current core U.S. inflation rate of 2.5 per cent.

If such a carbon tariff will mitigate the differences in labour costs it should also help offset reductions in manufacturing from a high Canadian dollar. So what the hell is the problem folks? let's move on this it's a WIN/WIN proposition.Recommend this Post

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The ethics of web based shaming

At first glace I thought this was hilarious but after mentioning to other people who were appalled at the idea I thought it would be a decent point of debate that would not be politically charged.

As a member of the betting pool involved and knowing all the actors I will not take a stand either way, but as the site specifies the poster won said pool honestly and is correct that he is owed money. The person shamed knew it was for money and has since moved away from the region all other players live.

Since there has been no bounces from the email provider we have to assume it is not a logistics problem but an active decision not to pay his debt. So, is announcing it to the world in such public manner a reasonable or ethical thing to do? (Certainly cheaper than small claims court which would frown on our pool.)

p.s. In the big scheme of things no information other than the miscreants name was used, if you support the shaming, how much information could you justify releasing?

CommentsRecommend this Post

Fear and loathing from Garth land.

It seems Garth Turner has taken on a job akin to John Baird's ,aka attack dog.

Garth has apparently taken offence about something and is coming after Elizabeth May and the Greens.

(c) The gloves are off between Stephane Dion and Elizabeth May. Seemed like a good idea at the time…

“There will never be a Green government, a Green official opposition or likely even Green Party status in the House. That means those of us desperate for a climate change strategy - now - have but one option for prime minister - Stephane Dion. If Elizabeth May cared more about that cause than her own cause, she’d work towards this end. It gives me no pleasure to say this, but the times demand it. — Garth”

Do you think the big shift in Vancouver Quadra from Lib to Green is scaring them?

Does he really want to shit one the one person outside the Liberal party who says Dion is a decent guy?

Does he really want to bring the full scrutiny of E May and her credentials down on Liberal environmental policy?

I hope so!

How long now before the Libs show their real colours and change their minds about supporting Green participation in the debates?
Cancel their non compete deal?Recommend this Post

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bear Stearns going going Gone!

Time line

Tuesday Bear Stearns claimed they had good liquidity.

Thursday the cracks were showing as clients pulled billions out of the company.

Friday a huge bailout deal was thrown together so the Fed could loan money from the discount window through JP Morgan to Bear. By market closing the stock price had been severely beaten up and was siting at $30 , the powers that be decided the bailout had failed to stop a collapse of the stock and that the run on the bank would continue.

Tonight a $240 million dollar buy out of Bear Stearns has been reported giving stockholders who closed the week at $30 a share a meagre $2.

5 days people, that's all it took for many Billions to become $240 million, anybody not paying attention to their portfolio last week lost around 95ish percent. Take this seriously and protect yourself from the same happening to you, be it the loss or freezing of you bank account or the destruction of your portfolio.

This will not be the last bank collapse this year.Recommend this Post

Dion finally admits Green Party of Canada policy is better than Liberal one

The G&M reports that Dion has finally embraced GPC ideas on Carbon taxes,

"We Liberals are open to consider different solutions. We will consider, with a lot of attention, what the province of [British Columbia] is doing, but I just want to tell you we need to have a price on carbon."

"Tax neutral is the way to go if you proceed with this solution," he said, although he also suggested that funds might be directed into green incentives".

"I have a huge regard for both Gordon Campbell and Carole Taylor. They're doing something that's remarkable on climate change, not just with respect to a carbon tax, but they're actually doing things, not just talking,"

We should have know this was in the offing when Rae offered up support for Carbon taxes during a Toronto Centre debate. Now has this been actually accepted as party policy or are they just testing the waters to see how it flies?

If Rae had not come out with it first I would have suspected Dion was sucking up for a new job with us once they kick his sorry ass out of the Liberal leadership.

Well at lest it's nice that they are giving lip service and validation to our GREEN platform but hearing them and trusting them to implement anything are two distinctly different matters.

The choice is Green or green poser.Recommend this Post

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bear Stearns and your preperation for the big crash

In the last few weeks things seem to be moving faster towards some kind of big financial crash. Yesterday it was Bear Stearns an old and established investor bank that required a huge bailout to head off what was expected to be a bank run.

In case you don't know a bank run is the scene in It's a wonderful life where everyone rushes to the bank to demand their cash back only to find because of lending the back actually has only a very minor fraction of it's assets liquid for withdrawal.

Banks are required to keep a certain level of reserves based on only certain types of accounts. So while they may have 7% of your savings account in reserve they are not required to have any portion of a chequing account, CDs, T bill accounts, RRSPs etc. It's been estimated that U.S. banks have only 1/4 of a cent for each dollar on deposit in all forms. When the fecals hit the fan only those first few in line get anything before the doors close.

In fact, recent statistics show that US banks industry wide have show Non Borrowed Reserves that are negative, meaning the only liquid money they have is borrowed making banks on average insolvent. It's not as if they can sell of CDOs, mortgages or other assets off to other banks because they are all in the same situation.

Now you say this is a U.S. problem but in reality it's a world problem, HSBC, CIBC, UBS, banks all over the world have taken loses based on the packaging and selling of bad mortgages, aggressive futures and derivative trading and high leveraged hedging. This could well happen here too.

The U.S. and the UK have both had one real Bank run with Country Wide and Northern Rock and a run on Bear Stearns was just barley averted, at least for this month.

So what should you do just in case?

Make sure you know what is and is not covered with deposit insurance in Canada, I'm not going to tell you it's like doing stock due diligence you must check for yourself so you are secure with the information.

Change banks if you think yours has taken too many loses, or at least split your business between two banks. This will actually increase your chance of getting hit but lessens your chance of being wiped out.

While there is Deposit insurance, how fast do you realy figure they will pay out? That's right not fast enough!!

I would suggest take out 2 or 3 months of cash from the bank and hide it. Utilities, property taxes etc can go months without being paid before you get those nasty letters but if your bank card and accounts are frozen how do you buy food, gas, medicine, the things of daily life.

This is a real threat, that picture at the top shows the run at Northern Rock, never say never!!Recommend this Post

Friday, March 14, 2008

Jim Flaherty and my Mother

Since the death of my father I've been managing my mothers investment portfolio which is geared to income generation. 2 years ago I invested a fair chunk into an Oil income trust, fulling expecting bank revenues and dividends to fall and knowing what peak oil would do the the price. (While not keen on oil companies I felt obligated not to impose my ideals on her portfolio.)

Needless to say I was mighty pissed off when the promise not to tax income trusts was broken and we took a good 25% loss.

The point of this post is, yesterday after a gain of some $35 dollars a barrel since I first bought the shares, Mom finally broke even.

Thanks a lot Flaherty, you smug little sack of shit!

P.s. I did avoid oil sands operatorsRecommend this Post

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cherniak on Marching up and down the square

Jason Cherniak has suggested today that all good Liberals should shut their festering gobs and March up and Down the Square like good little soldiers should.

See Video, marching up and down the square.

What's next the Liberal/Spanish Inquisition

Recommend this Post

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Earthquake Alert!

I've thought a few times about the potential for earthquakes as major ice sheets begin to melt away. It seemed pretty straight forward that 200 meters of ice must have some impact and when it melts the resulting rebound of the crust should create generate fresh seismic activity

Well it appears as reported in the New Scientist that Andrea Hampel at Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany decided to model the question and has found that ice throught it's additional weight suppresses normal plate movement allowing extra stress to build up in the system. As the ice sheets melt freer movement of the crust will result in more and stronger seismic activity taking place as several millennia of pent up pressure is released

Oh Joy! something else to mess with us, sigh!!!

If the land rebounds the plate including parts of the ocean floor must move up as well, has this displacement of water been calucated in ocean level projections?

Also in earthquake news scientists have identified the fault that caused a mediteranian tsunami in 365 AD. The fault near Crete has been anaylised and it appears it shifted up 10 metres in one quake. The resulting wave which would have been the equivalent of the 2004 tsunami caused great damage in Alexandria and the Nile Delta.

The chance of the same section of plate going off again is rated as only 1 in 5000 years, however other sections could go as often as 1 in 800 years. Let's see, 2008-365=1643, does this mean they are wrong or we are 843 years over due for a big one?Recommend this Post

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Calling all Mediums, your country needs you!

The Green Assassin Brigade is so tired listening about the he said, she said, date changing, libel threatening rhetoric about Chuck Cadman that we are calling all Mediums, Shaman(Shamem?) and spiritualists in Canada to come together for a mass séance in order to finally get the truth, because in the end I’d trust a dead mans word or a con mans parlour tricks long before I’d trust the word of that Rat Bastard Harper and his back room full of Theocons and the Boys from Brazil.

A side bonus would be if Chuck gave his wife a spiritual bitch slapping for accepting the Conservative nomination.Recommend this Post