Friday, December 31, 2010

Bring On 2011- Can Only Get Better

From all of us at NMPCanada we would like to wish all our readers a happy and healthy new year.




Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The GOP/Teaparty Legislative Agenda

Can't wait for 2011? Looking forward to Obama confronting the real enemy and standing up for progressive causes? Think again -- the Republicans have new and dirtier tricks up their sleeves than mere obstruction and demagoguery. But if pulling some obscure law out of their arses was their main weapon in their coming assault on on the middle-class and decency you could probably sleep easy. Sadly it's not.

Over at Alternet, Isaiah J. Poole lists ten ways the Republic Party intends to screw the American people for their bankster friends and corporate masters. This includes repealing health care reform, dismantling medicare, undoing the minimalist financial reform bill, bring about the end of Social Security, defunding Public Education, ramping up their support for big oil, killing green jobs, prevent the government from supporting job creation programs and slash infrastructure spending.

 As a reader of this blog you're probably aware of most of these items on the GOP/Teaparty legislative agenda but seeing them all together is bracing. Democrats and anyone else who doesn't want to see the best parts of the 20th century repealed better be ready to fight these measures themselves and not rely on those who live and work inside the beltway.

Things sure have gotten crazy south of the border. The trick now is to keep it there. Harper's agenda is no different, only his tactics are.

Will The Next Tommy Douglas Please Stand Up - The Old Tommy Douglas Can't Stop Rolling Over

The Conservatives and NDP are working on a plan to pass the next budget. They say there is nothing to be gained from an election. I guess that means there is nothing for them to be gained, Liberals taking away votes from the NDP and Fearless leader figures he can't get a majority. The NDP will play hard to get until they get bought with some tax break or such thing for somebody that in the end will never actually happen.(still waiting on that torture statement from that  government group of MP's, so I guess we tortured a whole bunch and they are chicken to say)

Speaking of mistreatment of prisoners I saw a whole bunch of top fellas from the RCMP got a pay bonus.

This is how Conservatives operate these days, spreading disinformation and lies as truths. This is the party that the NDP is haggling with, how can they? There is no Liberal proposed IPOD TAX yet you get this.



And then American news thinks its real, to be honest it's a Fox news station in Baltimore, and to think they won a Grey Cup.  Dig this little tidbit.



Speaking of Baltimore, got me thinking....

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Extreme Weather Desk

I'm not sure when it started or when I first noticed it but CNN now has an Extreme Weather Desk as a regular feature in the course of their daily 24/7 news broadcasts. In my day... and I'm not kidding even though I'm only 54,  in my day we didn't need an extreme weather desk! Of course occasionally the weather got crazy somewhere around the globe but that was exceptional and it was reported on then as it is today, breathlessly and with a sense of awe but you know, just not every damned day of the week!

 Over at Joe Romm's blog -- an absolute essential if you want links to the peer reviewed science that unequivocally makes the case for a human footprint on global warming -- he catalogues the long year in extreme and unprecedented weather events that occurred worldwide this year. From the 1 in a 1,000 year flood in Tennessee and the "weatherbomb" that hit the mid-west in October, to extreme drought in Russia and devastating floods in Pakistan, it was a year that mimicked the climate models that the deniers love to disparage.

One of the more obvious and least discussed signs of global warming are the success of the pine beetle across North America where warmer climates have sparked an outbreak of a voracious mountain pine beetle that is having devastating consequences for whitebarks and the wildlife that depend on them both in the US as discussed in this report over at NPR, and this one from Canada's CBC, where it's reported that the beetles are expected to wipe out 80% of British Columbia's pine forests by 2013.

Now of course with snow falling in the northeast and all over Europe the deniers are pretending that these are proofs that AGW is not happening. In fact it is the opposite, this is exactly what global warming looks like during the winter months: Analysis of the ice-free regions of the Arctic Ocean has found that the higher temperatures there caused by global warming, which have melted the sea ice in the summer months, have paradoxically increased the chances of colder winters in Britain and the rest of northern Europe. More storms and more extreme weather like the recent flooding in California and Canada's maritimes.

It's not the fact that these types of storms happen that's proof of anything, it's the frequency with which they are happening. It's the same for the changes being seen around the globe. They've happened before during the history of the planet but not in such a compressed period of time -- it is that which points to the human footprint in all of this. Those greenhouse gasses that are being spewed out by humankind at historically unprecedented rates and causing rapid climate changes all over the planet. There have been rapid sea level rises before and the causes are still argued about, but the amounts of CO2 that were in the atmosphere when those changes occurred are considerably less than what we are on course for.

Must Read Glennzilla

While the MSM does what it can to ignore the myriad of issues raised by what was contained in the WikiLeaks releases this year, or pretend that the leakers themselves are the criminals. Glenn Greenwald does what he can to shine a light on a bunch of them. Go take a look at the extent of the corruption, deceit, brutality and criminality on the part of the world's most powerful players.Then, ask yourself why any of the stories uncovered by WikiLeaks aren't amongst the most important stories of the year and you begin to understand that these same players have an inordinate control over the media and the messaging:

 The video that featured U.S. soldiers cruelly gunning down of 12 civilians including 2 Reuters journalists. The U.S. ignoring the torture and abuse of helpless Iraqi prisoners -- this includes beatings, burning, electrocution and rape. The complete pointlessness and hopelessness of the continuing Afghanistan occupation. Obama working hand in glove with Republicans to kill a probe of the Bush torture regime then later pressuring Germany not to prosecute CIA officers for torture and rendition. There are many more crimes catalogued and yet no outrage for the perpetrators.

As Greenwald notes what is revealing is the vast bulk of the outrage ...has been devoted not to the crimes that have been exposed but rather to those who exposed them: WikiLeaks and (allegedly) Bradley Manning. Are we ever going to wake from this dream and prosecute those responsible for the litany of crimes exposed by WikiLeaks or are we just going to continue on our merry way as if this is the way things are supposed to be, because it's not!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Antarctic Ice Melting

A story that should be raising alarm bells, but is instead being ignored by the MSM, is about how the western Antarctic peninsula is seeing "the highest increase in temperatures of anywhere on Earth." Yeah, you read that right. The Antarctic is a place that nine years ago the IPCC was predicting would see very little significant ice loss until 2100 but instead is now experiencing shrinking ice shelves and new analyses of the heat content of the waters off Western Antarctic Peninsula show a clear and exponential increase in warming waters that is undermining the sea ice, raising air temperatures, melting glaciers and has already wiped out entire penguin colonies.
Global warming is sneaky. For more than a century it has been hiding large amounts of excess heat in the world’s deep seas. Now that heat is coming to the surface again in one of the worst possible places: Antarctica.

So while global warming has continued its fitful warming of the temperature on Earth’s surface, the planet is warming from human-cause greenhouse gases just where climate science said it would — the oceans, which is where more than 90% of the warming was projected to end up.
 For obvious reasons this should be regarded as alarming enough a story for the MSM to report on -- maybe even on their front pages. Antarctica is disintegrating much faster than almost anybody imagined. Not only is this happening more than 90 years ahead of schedule, one of the reasons for this underestimation is that many the climate models is being referenced for discussion about climate change didn't include the vast amounts of methane the cryosphere and oceans will release as the warming gathers momentum.



Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Video Blogging

I'm back after the better part of a week off from blogging. I've brought with me some Christmas songs that in my opinion have no equal. I'd like to challenge the Canadian Progressive blogosphere to a contest posting videos related to Xmas that are actually fun AND for adults. It's not a fair contest 'cause I get to kick it off with Clarence Carter's "Backdoor Santa" and James Brown's "Soulful Christmas," but it is just for laughs and as that dreaded holiday is only a week away, give it a shot why don't you? It's a lot more fun than writing about the Canadian political process!

 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

News Roundup

Here In Canada

The Tories break another promise and will spend only half of what they promised to encourage Canadians to fill out the 2011 short census and a new voluntary survey. It's galling but predictable and no doubt no will really take notice during the busy holiday season. The government is not interested in providing reliable information as that gets in their way of marginalizing the poor and aboriginals. Statistics Canada, once considered the most reliable and comprehensive source of information, relied on as a tool to respond to the needs and priorities of every Canadian has been eliminated, against the advice of experts across the country and abroad in the name of conservative ideology.


“Canadians unfortunately are going to be even less informed about this voluntary household survey, and in the end it's going to show in terms of the quality,” Liberal industry critic Marc Garneau said.
A former Conservative staffer Russell Ullyatt, who was fired for leaking a key pre-budget committee report told MPs Tuesday he had applied to work for all five of the lobbying firms who received his email leak. Just another Conservative trying to pull himself up by his unscrupulous bootstraps.

Here's a little something for the conspiracy theorists out there. One of Canada’s most secretive military units is headed to Roswell New Mexico, to be trained by Matrix International. They will refine their standard special-operations skills such as how to storm hijacked airplanes, how to parachute from aircraft, and how to fire and react to live ammunition. You'd think they already knew how to do some of those things. Wonder what they're really up to.

A Great Man Died On Monday

So Richard Holbrooke passed on Monday night and the accolades for his long and distinguished career poured in from all corners of the world so they must be true, right? Maybe not. Over at truthout.org Stephen Zane takes a look at his career and finds lots of warts and boils. This includes a sordid history of supporting dictators, war criminals and military solutions to complex political problems.
Holbrooke is perhaps best known for his leadership in putting together the 1995 Dayton Accords, which formally ended the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Though widely praised in some circles for his efforts, Holbrooke remains quite controversial for his role. For instance, the agreement allowed Bosnian Serbs to hold on to virtually all of the land they had seized and ethnically cleansed in the course of that bloody conflict.
WikiLeaks

While the U.S. continues to look for ways to prosecute Julian Assange, the Columbia School of Journalism staff have taken it upon themselves to write President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder an open letter that states:
“While we hold varying opinions of Wikileaks’ methods and decisions, we all believe that in publishing diplomatic cables Wikileaks is engaging in journalistic activity protected by the First Amendment” and that “as a historical matter, government overreaction to publication of leaked material in the press has always been more damaging to American democracy than the leaks themselves.”
Seems about right.

In direct contrast may I point your attention to the whores over at CNN, specifically Don Lemon who in an interview with CIA analyst Ray McGovern says:
You really think we --- and I'll say we, I'm a journalist --- you really think we have it wrong and that he is actually not a pariah and we should be praising him and following his lead rather than calling him a pariah?
There's more than a couple of things wrong here. First, in no way shape or form has the obsequious Don Lemon ever resembled a journalist. He's never asked a difficult question nor done anything but toss softballs in his interviews with establishment figures. He conducts no investigations himself and merely reads directly from the script his corporate bosses feed him. Secondly, while many in the U.S. government have been assailing Mr. Assange, there are people around the world who have praised him and others have openly demonstrated on his behalf. So casual observation should have given Lemon some sort of clue that in fact Assange is no pariah in spite of what his bosses at CNN say. Lastly, while the interview Lemon conducts is taking place, underneath CNN was running the chyron, Assange: Journalist or Terrorist?

How in the world do they conflate someone who publishes documents in the hope of providing transparency to the political process to murderers? Because that is what terrorists are after all.

No Penny- First Step To Cashless Society

Lots of talk of the news about getting rid of the beloved penny. Apparently it's the slacker friend that lives on your couch of coins. Oh my god it cost more to produce than its worth, than make a cheaper coin. Maybe thinner or plastic, if their so worthless than no worry about counterfeit. Until they prove themselves worthy of trust, if it's proposed by the government it's bad idea.

First they came for the pennies,
and I used nickels.
then they came for the nickels,
and I used dimes....
now all we use is a plastic card

A thought just went up four cents. And their saying no penny won't harm inflation, ya right. I have three or four thoughts a day, that's twelve to sixteen cents right there just adding to inflation, rising the cost of bread as I think. Madness!

Looks like Julian Assange will not get bailed out after all. (I don't know why he hid from the Swedes in Britain, the corner of a room would have sufficed. A joke only Don Cherry could love)

President Obama is preparing a strategy for Afghanistan. I think that means how they want the choppers flying away from the US embassy as Kabul falls to the Taliban filmed.



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bolivia Rocks

Just noticed the part about Bolivia in Karl's post,way cool. They should be in charge of the world. And they just lowered the retirement age to 58 from 65. Of course when ever I hear Bolivia I think of murderous CIA bastards, and all the evils the US has done in Central America, tomorrow is BAN BANANA REPUBLIC DAY.(Please Mr. Harper honour the day and step down) And all that stuff in the 80's, imperialist bastards. Kinda like the 80's all over again, except no Dead tour (w/Jerry) to regain sanity.





Maybe a little predictable, but hey it's just so 80's, one aspect anyways.



Living in Quebec this is a story I can relate too. There is a big telecom scandal in India, the government or parts there of seem to be quite hip to the idea of lining their pockets. Although they got caught so I guess they still got a few bugs to work out. The bad thing though is the government is taking the blame and there are enough unstable governments in the region at the moment. Lets hope they can bribe enough people so the whole thing goes away.

After seeing all that President Bush did for the hurricane Katrina victims President Hugo Chavez must have felt inspired, it seems he's giving up his home so flood victims have a place to stay. (take the cue Mr. Harper and move out to give the unemployed a place to live)

Office Bubbles Christmas greetings....



Sanity Time- Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile

Mayhem Part II

Polls

Starting here in Quebec where the Bloc continue to lead in the polls but surprisingly Jack Layton’s NDP are now tied with the Liberals in second place at 21 percent, maintaining their record level of support for a second consecutive month.

Proof that the EKOS pollsters favour the Conservatives, EKOS pollster Frank Graves, declares Stephen Harper’s performance at the Conservative caucus Christmas party this week may just provide a needed bounce for the Tories as they go into the new year. Really? Have a look for yourself -- the preening pretentiousness should make a normal person gag but then I actually like music.



Oh, those polls? Right where they've been for two years and counting: Conservatives at 33.7 per cent, 29.2 per cent for Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals. Jack Layton and his New Democrats at 14.4 per cent support; the Green Party at 10.4 per cent and the Bloc Québécois is at 9.8 per cent. Plus ca change...


WikiLeaks

Australia is at odds with its major security ally the United States over Iran, saying it is not a "rogue state" and its nuclear weapons program is for deterrence, not attack, according to U.S. cables released by WikiLeaks. The Americans are still having conniptions over this and looking at the World War I-era Espionage Act as a way of prosecuting Mr. Assange. For the most complete coverage of what's in the WikiLeaks cables, go here to the Guardian's page for all things Wiki.

The President's Compromise

I am not an economist, nor do I play one at this blog or on my radio show. Economics has been called one of the black arts, an inexact science and voodoo and all descriptions seem appropriate. So with that in mind I will say I do not like the deal Obama has struck with the republicans mostly because I do not trust republicans as they have proven themselves time and again to be the agents of the wealthy and corporate classes whose sole purpose these past two years has been to see Obama fail even at the expense of the American economy.

Still, there are divergent views on the deal he has struck, beginning with Robert Reich's, the former secretary of Labour in the Clinton administration who believes this is not a good deal nor does it do anything to restore upward mobility for Americans. Howard Dean calls it a short term fix filled with easy promises. Charles Krauthammer and Joe Romm (an unlikely duo if ever there was one) think that Obama snookered the GOP and got himself a second round of stimulus spending that he otherwise could never have gotten given the current dynamics in Washington as well as renewable energy incentives. Judge for yourself but remember that there is talk of more draconian budget cuts to follow and they will likely kill any stimulative effect this bill will have. And not to pile on here but former Reagan budget director David Stockman believes this bill wiill bankrupt America and that the focus should be on creating more of what he calls "breadwinning" jobs.

Fox News Getting Its Hate On Every Day

One of fox news' regular scumbags Neil Cavuto does what he can to denigrate Bernie Sanders eight and one half hour speech against the tax cut deal by saying that if Bernie really wants to filibuster this bill then he's going to need diapers. Nice. As always the fox news people get it wrong. Is it possible that they don't know how the modern Senate works? You betcha'!

The German mainstream magazine Der Spiegel calls Glenn Beck an "agitator" and says that people like Glenn Beck are "nationalist, racist and proto-fascist. They take advantage of the economic situation, almost the way the right wing intelligentsia did back in the Weimar Republic." The article's subject is not Glenn Beck but rather a superpower in decline and asks the question, "Is the American dream over?" Go read the whole thing for yourself.

As for Glenn, he gets paid $33 million dollars a year to spew his hatred to 11 million listeners and promote the new corporate idea of what the American dream is all about -- it's one where 59 million people have no access to medical coverage, 132 million don't have dental coverage, 60 million have no paid sick leave and 40 million are on food stamps.


Here's Fareed Zakaria destroying Beck's hate-filled assertion that one out of every ten Muslims is a terrorist:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mayhem Part I

Pro-War Propaganda From The Globe and Mail

Barack Obama’s high-risk war wager that sent tens of thousands of U.S. troops surging into Afghanistan is showing signs of success, U.S. officials say. The raging Taliban insurgency is being defeated, but foreign troops are still years away from heading for the exit. “Our joint efforts are paying off,” said Robert Gates, U.S. Secretary of Defence.

Canadians "Divided" About Afghan Mission

A strange story about how an Angus Reid survey finds that 48 per cent of respondents to a poll support the government’s decision to keep soldiers in a non-combat role in Afghanistan while 44 per cent disagree. The strange part is that the same poll finds that 56 per cent of overall respondents oppose Canada’s current military mission in Afghanistan, while 36 per cent are supportive.

Makes you wonder how they phrase their questions.

Violence Rises Ahead of US Review of Afghan War

Six U.S. troops were killed Sunday when a man rammed a minivan packed with explosives into a newly built military installation in Kandahar Province, U.S. and Afghan officials said. A NATO airstrike killed at least 25 in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, while violence elsewhere left 22 civilians dead in a wave of attacks days before the White House issues a review of U.S. war strategy, officials said.

Cancún

The modest deal wrangled out by the 200 countries meeting at the Mexican resort of Cancún may have done more to save a dysfunctional UN negotiating process from collapse than protect the planet against climate change, analysts said today.

To give you an idea of where things are headed vis-à-vis taking action on Global Warming, both the Liberals and the NDP called the Cancun climate talks a success even though the meeting concluded with no binding agreement for reducing greenhouse gases.

The Bolivians hold a unique point of view on the direction the talks should have taken: The Bolivian government and its grassroots allies wanted a binding agreement that would force significant reductions in greenhouse gases. They wanted an agreement that respected indigenous rights. They wanted an agreement grounded in a new concept -- the rights of nature -- that acknowledges that she who gives us life and abundance has as much right to exist as humans.

And from over at Climate Progress, a story about climatologists are speaking out because they are convinced now more than ever that Global Warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization. Maybe it;s because the evidence has been piling up for quite some time. And speaking of piling up, the snow has been doing just that locally and in Europe and in parts of the U.S. so that means the always predictable climate science deniers are busy claiming this falling white stuff is proof of no climate change, so here's a reminder that even while Global Warming is happening there will still be winter and snow -- here's why.

A story from CTV about how scientists say polar bear moms and their cubs near Churchill in northern Manitoba are suffering the worst effects of a late freeze-up of sea ice on Hudson Bay. This is just one more grim reminder of the effects of Global Warming. The bears are currently making their way out on weak ice. Only 17% of Hudson's Bay was frozen at the end of November as opposed to the usual 50% for this time of year.

Alternet.org hands out awards for the 5 most heinous climate villains. Go check and see if your favourite idiot is on the list.

Friday, December 10, 2010

When We Did It, It Was OK- But Don't You Think About It- New North American Motto For The 21'st Century

If this story doesn't make you proud to be a Quebecer or a capitalist I don't know what will. It's good to see the Jean Charest Liberal government isn't going to let a few lives several thousand miles away get in the way of profit and votes. Even though asbestos is outlawed for use in North America, and the European Union, one minor  drawback, it's cancer causing. Anyway they got no problem selling the crap to the third world and are contemplating a huge loan to start up second mine. Quebec's only place that still mines asbestos.

Some protestors were in Montreal to point this out and I thank them for it. They wanted to meet Mr.Charest but he declined. The way I feel reminded of this clip.



A Swedish micropayment company, Flattr is accepting donations for Wikileaks.  Speaking of Wikileaks looks like Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin feels the west is being undemocratic in it's dealing with the situation. Do you see a theme building with these government leader types. Free speech is great as long is its done elsewhere, unless you agree with them of course, then your free to say anything you want and they'll fight to the death for your right to agree with them.

Get your passport,



Crank it up,



The last vid is dedicated to Wikileakers around, you know them by their wink.



The new motto works for everything, Immigration When we came here in wooden boats, killed and took over. it was OK - Mexicans and other foreigners not welcome, you might deplete our resources.

Oil- North American's buy gas guzzlers and SUV's-
       People in China and others countries want their turn - no sorry, it's bad for the environment, you have to be with us and save the world from the shit we caused.

etc etc etc

feel free to add your own in the comment section.

like I said, never felt more proud to be a Canadian.

Coral Reefs Are The Oceans Canaries...

I save most of the week's science news for Thursdays on the big radio show and this week with the meet-up in Cancun going on there is as much alarming news being ignored by your MSM as in any other week. Joe Romm over at ClimateProgress.org reprints a Yale e360 piece written by J.E.N. Veron the former chief scientist of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, that is dramatic and sobering. Veron says, "the science is clear: Unless we change the way we live, the Earth’s coral reefs will be utterly destroyed within our children’s lifetimes.”

 Why is he making such dire predictions? He explains ...the most important mobile heat sinks on the planet are the oceans. As the greenhouse effect from elevated CO2 has increased, the oceans have absorbed more heat. Elevated sea temperatures are the chief cause of severe coral reef bleaching events around the globe but that is not the worst of it. 
Ecosystems can recover from all sorts of abuse, and coral reefs are no exception. Good recoveries from bleaching have been observed, provided that further events do not occur while the ecosystem is re-establishing. Unfortunately, there are no signs that greenhouse gas increases are moderating, and so we can assume that the frequency and severity of bleaching events will continue to increase — on our present course, the worst bleaching year we have had to date will be an average year by 2030, and a good year by 2050. Ocean and atmospheric rises in temperature are also predicted to increase the severity of cyclones, which will add an extra burden on the recovery process.
 The picture gets worse still,
...there is a much more serious crisis on the horizon — that of ocean acidification. This will not only affect coral reefs (although reefs will be hit particularly hard), but will impact all marine ecosystems. The ultimate culprit is still CO2 but the mechanism is very different.
So while they are fiddling in Cancun over detail and process and essentially avoiding doing anything concrete -- this is supposed to lay the foundation for action next year.. maybe! -- there is the very real danger of the all coral reefs disappearing from the Earth in our children's lifetime. An entire marine ecosystem that supports 25% of all life in the oceans are on the verge of collapse and no actions are being undertaken. And following the collapse of coral reefs ...other great ecosystems of the ocean stand behind reefs like a row of dominoes. If coral reefs fail, the rest will follow in rapid succession, and the Sixth Mass Extinction will be upon us — and will be of our making.

Go read the whole article for yourself and decide how long you can put off working to elect people who will take action. It's obvious at this point that Canada will not lead on the issue of Global Warming so long as the Tories are in power.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Continuing Superawesome War In Afghanistan

There's a seemingly important revelation in the WikiLeaks cables that is not getting a lot of attention. One of the cables is a leaked diplomatic memo that has European Union President Herman Van Rompuy telling America's ambassador stating that the EU no longer believes in success in Afghanistan. That European troops are still there only “out of deference to the United States.” This what it has come to, nations send their kids into battle and perhaps die for the sake of deference to the U.S.. This of course includes Canada.

 There is still no credible strategy for winning this war nor any description of what victory would look like. Still, Canadians complacently go about their business scrupulously avoiding thinking about the fact that Canada is in a shooting war on the other side of the planet. At a time when our health care system desperately needs fixing we are spending blood and treasure to fight George Bush's Obama's war. A war no one believes in.

 General David Petraeus has stated the current withdrawal date of 2014 is unlikely. By then, it'll be 13 years and counting with little hope of success.
Oh wait! Maybe I spoke too soon as this report from Reuter's has the US General Richard Mills declaring, "The battle for Marjah is essentially over." Well then, that makes all the difference knowing this bit of scrub in the south has essentially been won.

And Canadian troops are fighting for an arid patch of farmland that has been fought over for years; taken, retaken several times and abandoned.
The Zangabad area was fought over in 2006 as NATO forces chased newly routed insurgent fighters through the district following the landmark battle Operation Medusa. But insurgents trickled back into the hardscrabble villages and fields where camels graze, which set the stage for future battles.

A previous rotation of Van Doos fought to take the ground in 2007, but by the spring of 2008 the Taliban had sewn so many roadside bombs and booby traps into the tangled landscape that it was impossible for Canadian troops to drive into the area without facing massive explosives. The soldiers took to walking – albeit gingerly – into the area.

That changed in the spring of 2009 when Canadians pulled back and concentrated on defending Kandahar city and other towns.
Having completely given up on any hope of winning hearts and minds, the American forces have stepped up their air war in Afghanistan tallying 2,600 attack sorties between June and October, a 50 percent increase over the same period in 2009.

Karzai has backtracked on his plan to ban modern day mercenaries private security contractors from Afghanistan.

And lastly, David Cameron says things are so fabulous in Afghanistan he's considering pulling out British troops as early as next year.


Recent reports have indicated that one year after the last Obama Administration escalation of the war things are still going poorly.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Beat Goes On

Trying to do right by my radio show and this blog at the same time is consuming which is okay by me or I wouldn't do it. My problem is I'm afraid of being redundant when I finally get to story that's a couple of days old so far as the Canadian Progressive blogosphere goes because there's very little that doesn't get covered and linked to there. One such story was probably pointed out to me by someone in the community and I can't let it pass without mention. It's a story that should inspire headlines about G-20 police brutality coast to coast but it didn't even merit mention in my local Montreal fishwrap today:

 TVO's Steve Paikin told the public safety committee probing the tactics surrounding the G-8, G-20 he was watching a “peaceful protest” on The Esplanade in downtown Toronto on the evening of June 26 when he witnessed the man reporting for England’s Guardian newspaper being pummeled by police.

“One officer held one arm, The other officer held the other arm and a third officer came up to him and basically told him to shut up three times, punched him in the stomach. He doubled over. The same officer brought his elbow down on the small of his back and flattened him. It seemed to me that that was a massive overreaction to try and check to see whether somebody was who he said he was.”
From Alberta a story about the tar sands and how Environment Canada has not acted on its own internal recommendation to increase its monitoring of oilsands pollutants in Wood Buffalo National Park, the federal environment commissioner Scott Vaughan, who tabled a report Tuesday in the House of Commons, said today. And in an audit he tabled Tuesday in the House of Commons, he accused the government of failing to take action at home to combat climate change as well as failing to develop a federal strategy for adapting to the impacts of climate change.

 Jean Charest took the opportunity at Cancun to try and shore up his poll numbers by pointing out that he disagrees with Stephen Harper's position on Global warming and his opposition to Ottawa's negotiating position, calling for a clear commitment to extend the Kyoto Protocol.

While we're talking about Cancun, Japan, Russia and Canada have dealt a blow to the conference by opposing a renewal of the Kyoto Protocol unless the United States and China sign onto a new accord. On Monday China offered for the first time to submit its voluntary carbon emissions target to a binding U.N. resolution, buoying climate talks where Bolivia accused rich world policies of causing "genocide."

Hopefully it's not too late to start taking action. Over at Joe Romm's blog, he's reprinted a Yale e360 report written by J.E.N. Veron the former chief scientist of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, on the state of the world's coral reefs and how they may disappear in our children's lifetime!

Need yet more proof that Global Warming is taking place? Navy’s oceanographer tells Congress, “the volume of ice as of last September has never been lower…in the last several thousand years”

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tom Flanagan: Punk At Large

I spend a great deal of time editing myself in this blog and on my radio show. My fear is about sinking to the level of people like Tom Flanagan, the former advisor to Stephen Harper and yet I wonder if I am being too damned prissy. He is quite bluntly a scumbag and when the revolution comes I believe he and his ilk will be the first to be put up against the wall -- and deservedly so.

 The fact that he feels he can with impunity make threats against Julian Assange says everything one needs to know about where our country is heading under continued Tory rule. The elite and the police can do as they please and the rest of can expect to be harassed for trying to stand up for our rights and things we believe in.

Witness Flanagan's response to Janet Reymond who says, according to Bill Graveland of the Globe and Mail,  ...she felt “justifiably outraged” after Tom Flanagan mused on a CBC political talk show last week that the founder of WikiLeaks should be killed. So she e-mailed Mr. Flanagan after his televised comment and he sent back a one-sentence reply that said simply, “Better be careful, we know where you live.”

As he did in the case of his comment about Julian Assange he will no doubt claim that he was just kidding because this is what cowards do. And Tom Flanagan is the worst kind of coward. He will likely hide behind the skirts of the powerful for whom he worked and who are his allies. There will be no consequences for his intemperate speech and veiled threats. Like any street punk with no courage of his own but the weight of numbers to back him up he spits out obscenities safe in the knowledge he'll never be called out to defend his words... unless of course one day he stumbles into the wrong neck of the woods and there's no there to stick their neck out to defend him.



Speaking of pompous blowhards,

Net Neutrality

The idea of maintaining net neutrality as it already exists is so as to prevent phone and cable companies blocking, slowing down, or discriminating against internet traffic over their broadband networks. Maintaining net neutrality was one of the Obama administrations top campaign pledges to the technology industry and the issue is headed for a showdown over rules to ensure an open internet. The Federal Communications Commission confirmed last week that it will vote on a net neutrality proposal at its December 21 meeting.



The plan outlined by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski includes five basic points: meaningful transparency; a ban on blocking lawful apps and services; a ban on unreasonable network management; an allowance for a certain amount of ISP network management; and rules governing wireless that calls for transparency and a basic no-blocking rule.
Two Republican commissioners Robert McDowell and Meredith Attwell Baker have already said they oppose the chairman's "reckless" proposal which they will be asked to vote on, so the plan must have some merit. PCMag.com has the rundown.
The plan includes a ban on unreasonable network management and an allowance for some network policing. Blocking BitTorrent or Netflix or another program that eats up bandwidth? Unreasonable. Monitoring and adjusting your network to manage peak usage times or block harmful things like viruses and child porn? Go for it. "Reasonable network management is an important part of the proposal, recognizing that what is reasonable will take account of the network technology and architecture involved," Genachowski said.
From Techeblog.com 15 facts about net neutrality:

                                                               




Good News Canada Fourth Best At Bringing About Climate Change

I've never been so proud to have been conceived on the land mass commonly known as Canada. According to the CBC Canadians are the fourth in the race to bring about climate change. Only Saudia Arabia, Kazakhstan and Australia are doing more. But I'm sure with Fearless Leader showing us the way and if we all pull together as a team I won't have to shovel in no time and we'll finally be able to discover that allusive northwest passage. So don't forget to warm up your car a good long time before you get in, it's the little things that count and add up to fun in the sun. It's all a big illusion to think we can fix it now so if we are all going to hell in a thermal heatwave we might as well enjoy the ride.

The Calgary police are investigating the comments of Tom Flanagan, who said that Julian Assange  should be assassinated.

Suicide bombers killed fifty people in Pakistan attending a meeting to create a militia to fight the Taliban.

Enough news its all bad, off hand this is the only song a could think of that mentions snow that doesn't include elves,rain dear and such.



Can't have Little Feat with out Lowell and it's the perfect hot coco after shovelling song.



Some kind of Metaphor I think.








The lyrics or an abridged section I was going to put the whole song but I forgot how many lines there are so throw a stone to find a link.

"Throwing Stones"
Words by John Perry Barlow; music by Bob Weir

Picture a bright blue ball, just spinning, spinnin free,
Dizzy with eternity.
Paint it with a skin of sky,
Brush in some clouds and sea,
Call it home for you and me.
A peaceful place or so it looks from space,
A closer look reveals the human race.
Full of hope, full of grace
Is the human face,
But afraid we may lay our home to waste....


Commissars and pin-stripe bosses
Roll the dice.
Any way they fall,
Guess who gets to pay the price.
Money green or proletarian gray,
Selling guns 'stead of food today.

So the kids they dance
And shake their bones,
And the politicians throwin' stones,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Heartless powers try to tell us
What to think.
If the spirit's sleeping,
Then the flesh is ink

History's page will thus be carved in stone.
And we are here, and we are on our own....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Julian Assange Threatens To Strike Back

The redoubtable Julian Assange has fired back against the unrelenting attacks against him by threatening that if he were to be brought to trial on the rape accusations he faces in Sweden, or for treason charges that have been suggested by some U.S. politicians, he will release the encryption key to the 1.3-gigabyte file protected with an unbreakable 256-bit encryption key that contains the full versions of all the U.S. documents received by WikiLeaks to date. This includes those that have been withheld from publication or have had names and details removed in order to protect the lives of spies, sources and soldiers.

 Mr. Assange's lawyer, Mark Stephens said, “WikiLeaks has been subject to cyberattacks and censorship around the world and they need to protect themselves ... This is what they believe to be a thermonuclear device in the information age.”


While the regular cadre of American wankers (Gingrich, Palin) have been calling for Mr. Assange's arrest or even his death, U.S. charges against Mr. Assange are unlikely as ...he is not a U.S. citizen and, because he did not steal the documents himself, but only participated in their publication, he would likely be protected under the U.S. Constitution’s free-speech provisions.

Continuing WikiLeaks Fallout

Some of the WikiLeaks information that has come to public attention has been amusing, as for example the apparent obsession with Canadian prime time shows shown by American diplomats who warn of our creating insidious American stereotypes. Where would we get the idea that they were war-mongers, torturers, violators of  international treaties and bullies? We must be crazy!

 As far as Canada is concerned, real embarrassment should come from the revelation that while France pressed the US on the matter of Omar Khadr, Stephen Harper and the Tories did nothing to repatriate a Canadian citizen swept off a battlefield at the age of 15.

 Some of the information has been both embarrassing and troubling for the US as in the case of Hillary ordering officials to spy on Ban Ki-moon as well as steal his credit card and gather other personal data in direct contravention of US and international law. As a result the Americans are busy overreacting by trying to clamp down on access to the WikiLeaks cables engaging in censorship claiming, as always and without proof, "...damage to our national security."

Some of the more interesting stories contained in the cables get scrupulously ignored by the media as in the case of the New York Times (the paper of record) and the Washington Post deliberately not mentioning how ...Russian specialists on the Iranian ballistic missile program refuted the U.S. suggestion that Iran has missiles that could target European capitals or intends to develop such a capability. That would be interfering with a war-mongering narrative. Can't have that.
The New York Times and Washington Post reported only that the United States believed Iran had acquired such missiles – supposedly called the BM-25 – from North Korea. Neither newspaper reported the detailed Russian refutation of the U.S. view on the issue or the lack of hard evidence for the BM-25 from the U.S. side.
So instead of this WikiLeaks document resulting in stories that call into question the direction of the Obama administration’s ballistic missile defense policy in Europe based on the alleged Iranian missile threat, it produces stories in the media supporting the existing Iranian threat narrative. Since we have always been at war with Eastasia, this perfectly okay with the various media. Well, most of them.

The BBC does its' best to bring a modicum of reportage to the story and talk about their real meaning and importance. The truth of course is we wouldn't need Julian if the media just did its damned job! Since they don't or won't or are all in thrall to the military industrial complex we should all give thanks and do what we can to support him and his cause. Make no mistake about it, what he is doing is not all that remarkable but his courage in the face of the attacks on his character and threats to his life and personal freedom are. He was even threatened by a Canadian wanker, the former advisor to PM Harper, the coward Tom Flanagan. Right wingers always talk so tough until they actually have to fight for themselves.

So now the entire world seems perfectly happy to fall into line with the Americans and do what they can to thwart WikiLeaks who are only guilty of doing what reporters won't. Amazon dropped their contract as service providers, and governments and hackers continue to hound the organization. PayPal cut off the WikiLeaks account used to collect donations and so as of now we are engaged in a boycott of PayPal and Amazon.

For all these peripheral issues, which are important as they are about freedom of speech, it's key that everyone remember that the fundamental issues here are the massive amounts of misinformation and outright lies that have surrounded the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Watch On The Blog- No Fun In The Sun For Environment

Watching an old movie Watch On The Rhine, about some folks trying to get the word out about the evil Nazi's. The more things change...

Looks like our fearless leader Mr. Harper gave the personal ok to $7,400 worth of drinks for civil servants and some fancy shindig. All the un savoury details can be found at this link. Not sure how this is going to help get rid of the deficit, but I doubt Fearless Leader really cares past that it sounds good when he's trying to get votes.

Canadian troops are going on the offensive in Kandahar, Operation Baawar, thats assurance in Pashto. I can see the adds now, "Your in good hands with Canada, till we turn you over to the Afghan army anyways.'' This is reportedly the last one for Canadian army before they focus on training the Afghan army. Last week several, seven I believe were killed by a disgruntled pro-Taliban Afghan trainee. The mission might not be as pleasant as Fearless Leader makes it out.

According to Wikileaked files it appears European Union President Herman Van Rompuy told U.S. ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman that the EU no longer believes in the success of the Afghan mission.

Fearless leader doesn't like polar bears or humanity it seems because he seems to be doing his best to screw up the Kyoto accord at the meetings this weekend in Jamaica. I can't seem to find a link,but I heard on the radio so it must be true.

My pizza is getting cold but one last video, sent out to Wikileakers everywhere.

Video Blogging

My favourite kind of blogging is when people I admire put it all in a speech and make all the points I wanted to make in a nice tight 13 minutes. In this case it's the remarkable Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, who talks about the war being waged against the middle class by the the legion of Republicans who happily do the bidding of the wealthy and corporate classes. This is the kind of speech that the MSM goes well out of  their way to ignore and failing that, marginalize. It's damning in every sense of the word and it's a wonder that Americans spend so much time fighting each other when the real enemy is right in front of their noses 24/7 on the box every day of the week!

And I'm Back!

Every couple of weeks or so I get a little burned out and have to take a couple of days off. Sorry.

 There was a terrific interview of Noam Chomsky from the Democracynow.org people about the WikiLeaks document dump, the subsequent assault on Julian Assange and the lack of respect for democracy from all the self-serving politicians crying foul over the revelations that I thought you all should get a chance to listen to:



Part 2: