There is an excellent post at democraticSPACE about the new Conservative environmental plan and what it really means for Canada as a country and to individuals.
The plan falls way-short of responsible targets, including the Kyoto targets. Individual consumers are targeted instead of the big pollution-producing industries who produce a far greater share of pollution in Canada.
Don't be fooled.
More from The Globe & Mail
Saturday, 28 April 2007
There is an excellent post at democraticSPACE about the new Conservative environmental plan and what it really means for Canada as a country and to individuals.
Wednesday, 25 April 2007
The latest Decima poll results show the NDP support up to 18%, while the Conservatives have dropped to 30%, virtually tied with the Liberals at 29%. The Greens are at 11% and the Bloc is at 8%.
The NDP had dropped down to about 13% earlier this year, but support for them has been slowly rising since.
Standings at the last election were:
Contrary to what the Liberals and the MSM would have you believe, the NDP were NOT supporting the Conservatives when they voted against the recent motion to withdraw Canadian troops from Afghanistan in 2009. The NDP wants to begin to withdraw the troops now - that is why they voted against the motion. The motion did nothing to change the Afghanistan situation - which was agreed upon by both the Conservatives and the Liberals in the first place.
Today, the NDP has tabled a new motion regarding withdrawing the troops now.
For details, read here.
from James Laxer
Tuesday, 24 April 2007
Some of the items are not true, or not fully true, but they're fun.
5. Giraffes and rats can last longer without water than camels.
16. In ancient Rome, when a man testified in court he would swear on his testicles.
35. 55.1% of all US prisoners are in prison for drug offenses.
60. If you put a drop of liquor on a scorpion, it will instantly go mad and sting itself to death.
103. A snail can sleep for 3 years.
117. Wearing headphones for just an hour will increase the bacteria in your ear by 700 times.
133. On a Canadian two-dollar bill, the American flag is flying over the Parliament Building. [Not true. See Myth here] In actuality, although it looks like the American flag, it’s really an old Canadian flag called the “Red Ensign”. This flag was flown over Canada from 1870 to 1965 when it was replaced by the new “Maple Leaf” flag.
195. Cats’ urine glows under a black light.
For the full list, visit Single Grain.
Sunday, 15 April 2007
If you want to learn about the details of what this would mean for you at election time, go to this page. There is a link on the page to download the Citizen's Assembly report as a PDF file. You'll see from this that the ballot would be divided into 2 parts - you vote for one local representative, and you vote for one regional representative - and you get to pick the regional person, not just the party. It looks like they have come up with a very simple and feasible solution.
The next step towards PR now lies with the Liberals and Conservatives. The current system of FPTP (first past the post) helps them get majority governments when their party is in power. PR would only give a majority government if the party actually gets a majority of the votes (50%+).
IF they support this, then the step after that is the referendum vote next election time. And they have set the bar at 60% of the vote or more. This means that the general public must be fully educated on the issue. A daunting task. Will the MSM (mainstream media) be up to the task? Hopefully, the contents of the PDF report (above) will be fully distributed and explained throughout the coming months.
• Toronto Star, April 15, 2007
Friday, 13 April 2007
- VNV Nation - Judgement - new. See review in other post. Genre: EBM. 7/10
- Angelspit - Krankhaus - new. Genre: Industrial Punk Fetish. This band rocks! They are from Australia. I've been into their tunes since their ep Nurse Grenade. This is their first album. I would LOVE to see them play a double-bill with Hanzel und Gretyl. Anyway, I got the version of the album that included the Surgically Atoned Limited Edition Remix Disc. I like it a bit better than the album. 2 of the songs I really like on it are 100% (110% F*cked Mix) remixed by Combichrist, and Make You Sin remixed by Diverje. And the artwork and costumes on the cover and inside are almost worth the price of the album. 8/10
- And One - Bodypop - somewhat new. Genre: EBM. Another very good album from And One. The 2 songs on here that you will definitely hear (at the right clubs) are Military Fashion Show and Body Company - With these songs, And One continue on with their tradition of stylish and sexy futurepop dance numbers. Overall: 7/10, but, I'll give it an 8/10 just for those 2 songs.
- Skinny Puppy - Mythmaker - new. Genre: Industrial. A bit softer than their previous material. I haven't listened to it enough to really say much about it or rate it yet. Interesting, but nothing has really jumped out at me from it.
- Hawkwind - Live Chronicles - old. Genre: space rock. The original vinyl version of this came out in 1986. In 1985 they released The Chronicle Of The Black Sword - basically songs based on stories of Elric by Michael Moorcock - sword and sorcery stuff (for those not initiated in Moorcock's Eternal Champion cycle of novels). The band toured with Moorcock and some mimes and dancers and put on a very elaborate stage show, with visuals and the performers all inspired by the Moorcock Elric stories. The resulting live album Live Chronicles was, IMHO, one of the best live recordings of the band ever. I have the vinyl, but I've wanted to get the CD version for ages. It has been out of print now for a long time (as the CD came out in 1994), but you can still get it, used, on-line via Amazon for about $100 - $200. Well worth it though if you are rabid Hawkwind fan as I am. It's a 2 CD set with extra songs added that are not on the original vinyl release. 8/10
- Tactical Sekt - Syncope - not new. Genre: EBM/Industrial. This came out earlier last year. It rocks so much I am still listening to it fairly regularly. Very up-beat, very danceable, very cyber-goth! The album is packed with great songs. The songs are also full of interesting samples from movies and (possibly) tv shows and other things. If you can get one, get the limited edition that includes a remix CD as well. With that you get 2x the aural fun. 9/10
- Headscan - Pattern Recognition - not new. Genre: EBM/Electronic... And this album came out over a year ago, and I'm still listening to it regularly. It MOOOOOVES. Electronic throbbing and pulsing goodness. VERY danceable. I saw them perform this music live a few months ago at the Reverb in Toronto, opening for Assemblage 23, and I liked the Headscan performance much better. Assemblage was good, but Headscan smoked. They are playing live again at Darkrave on May 5th in Toronto at the Funhaus. Again, here is another album that is packed from start to finish with great songs. It doesn't stop, and you don't want it to. Headscan is from Montreal. 9/10
- Wumpscut - Goth Census - new. Genre: Industrial. Up to their usual dark sounds, this EP includes 2 remixes (among other tunes) of a humorous song You Are A Goth. My fave is the Yendri Club Remix version ('cause of the added trippy sh*t). The original songs are from their new album (which I haven't heard yet) Body Census. Besides the fave song, I haven't listened to this enough to rate it.
- Steril - Realism - not so new. Genre: Industrial/EBM/electronic. Fun stuff with some good dance numbers. There are probably a couple of tunes on here you might recognize from clubs, especially the first track Realist. 7/10
- Velvet Acid Christ - Lust For Blood - not so new. Genre: Industrial... More dark scary danceable stuff from VAC. Big dance tune here: Wound - very good. Pretty artwork. If you are into this band at all, especially more recent material, you will like this album. 7/10
- Apoptygma Berzerk - You And Me Against The World - not so new. Genre: EBM/Futurepop. Lots of great dance tracks on this. Light, uplifting poppy stuff. 3 of my faves are: In This Together, You Keep Me From Breaking Apart (you might recognize these from the dance floor at clubs), and Tuning Into The Frequency Of Your Soul. 8/10
- Distorted Circuitry w/DJ Morgana - the March 5, 2007 show. Morgana and a few other DJs post 2-hour shows at Distortedcircuitry.com Much of the above-mentioned music I hear on Morgana's shows. You can listen to it streaming, or download it to your computer and listen to it when/where you will.
I used to go to the HMV on Yonge hear Dundas as it had a great Industrial/Goth section. But it shrank and they don't have as much now. But, no big loss as I found (through Distorted Circuitry) a local mail-order on-line store: Storming The Base. Low prices, great selection of industrial, ebm, goth, electronic... check out the site.
Till next time, happy listening/dancing...
Overall, it is a little mellower than Matter + Form. It has more slow songs with vocals. But, it still has some up-beat driving dance songs, particularly Momentum and Nemesis. And it has some really floaty, sparkley stuff.
At first I felt a little disappointed, since what I like the most about VNV is their up-tempo music. But, after a few listens on my Creative Zen Nano, the other material on this album began to grow on me.
Compared to other albums, I still like Empires the best, but I would rate Judgement on par with the 2002 Futureperfect album.
If you are fan of VNV at all, you will like this album. Listen to it in the dark (with candles and/or trip-lights on) with headphones and watch the lights come on in your mind.
I'm going to see them at the Docks in Toronto April 21st and I can't wait to dance to Momentum and Nemesis. And And One is opening! Their latest album Bodypop is very good too.
VNV Nation - Judgement
General Danceability: 6/10
Thursday, 12 April 2007
The government and media spoon feed us lies about what is going on in Afghanistan.
Check out this article from Murray Dobbin ...
This situation reveals how naive we are as a nation. That old adage — the first casualty of war is truth — applies here in spades because this war is based on lies, including:
- This has nothing to do with oil and gas pipelines.
- This is a fight against terrorism. (The truth: It's an occupation being resisted by indigenous militants.)
- The current Afghan government is democratic. (The truth: Many senior figures should be tried for war crimes, and others are drug lords.)
- Girls are now going to school. (Really? How many?)
- Bombing villages will provide them with security.
- We can “win.”
For more background on what NATO is doing in Afghanistan, read this article by the Canadian Peace Alliance from April 2006:
The people of Afghanistan want peace. The occupiers and their puppet and former Unocal employee, Hamid Karzai, want oil.
>by Canadian Peace Alliance
April 10, 2006
Canada has 2250 Canadian soldiers stationed in Kandahar Afghanistan. The soldiers are fighting alongside about 8,000 U.S. soldiers and are under the command of Operation Archer in support of the U.S. led “Operation Enduring Freedom.” It is expected that command of the Canadian units will shift to NATO control by 2007.
Canada is operating along the southern border between Pakistan and Afghanistan in Kandahar province. This is a crucial area for two reasons: it is the location of Taliban strongholds and it is the proposed route for the multibillion dollar Trans-Afghan pipeline.
It is no secret that since the collapse of the Soviet Union, U.S. oil companies have been keen to exploit Caspian Sea oil and gas. They lobbied the Clinton administration to have a pipeline built from Turkmenistan in the north through Afghanistan to ports in Pakistan. They see even more opportunity with George Bush as president.
Afghanistan is important to U.S. oil companies because it is the only route that would provide total control for them. The other possible routes for the pipeline run through Iran, an enemy of the U.S., China, a competitor of the U.S., or Russia, an unreliable and heavily armed ally.
The Department of National Defence says that Canadians, and the other international forces, are there to “reinforce the authority of the Afghan government in and around Kandahar and help local authorities stabilize and rebuild the region.”
Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan is considered a U.S. puppet by most Afghans. His authority outside Kabul is merely symbolic. Local control in the provinces is left to a mix of opium gangsters, former Taliban commanders and tribal elders. Mark Schneider, president of International Crisis Group has said, “It's not merely about drug money financing candidates. Drug lords are candidates.”
The United States and the Karzai Administration are, in most cases, happy to work and make deals with these local rulers. According to of Human Rights Watch the majority (60 per cent) of those elected to the Afghan parliament in the October 18, 2005 elections were these local criminals and power brokers or their associates.
U.S. forces and allied local warlords are responsible for human rights abuses in the country. According to Human Rights Watch: “U.S. forces operating against Taliban insurgents continue to generate numerous claims of human rights abuses against the civilian population, including arbitrary arrests, use of excessive force, and mistreatment of detainees … Local military and police forces, even in Kabul, have been involved in arbitrary arrests, kidnapping, extortion, torture and extrajudicial killings of criminal suspects.
“Outside Kabul, commanders and their troops in many areas have been implicated in widespread rape of women, girls and boys, murder, illegal detention, forced displacement, and other specific abuses against women and children, including human trafficking and forced marriage.”
According to the much-publicized remarks of General Rick Hillier, Canadians are in Afghanistan to “kill detestable murderers and scumbags.” The reality is that we are supporting some of the worst human rights abusers the country has ever seen. This deadly combination of abuses by both U.S. forces and their local allies ensures that Canadians will face growing resistance from the Afghan people.
State of reconstruction
We are told that the Canadian soldiers will be engaging in development work as part of their mission. This type of intervention, generally referred to as the 3-D approach (disarmament, diplomacy and development) has come under heavy criticism from NGOs for confusing the process and endangering aid workers. It is argued that having the development component so intertwined with the defense operation results in corruption and the use of development initiatives as bribes to local authorities and civilians. It also eliminates the possibility of development work being neutral in the conflict.
According to a report in the Guardian, Vickie Hawkins, acting head of the of Médecin Sans Frontières mission in Afghanistan said the international humanitarian group left Afghanistan for these very reasons.
The U.S.-led coalition has made the situation worse by blurring the line between humanitarian work and military operations. During the war in 2001, Hawkins said, U.S. soldiers were driving around in civilian clothes in white cars, taking on the appearance of humanitarian aid workers. Last May, the Pentagon was forced to apologize for dropping leaflets in southern Afghanistan which promised humanitarian assistance if local people gave the coalition information about the Taliban and al-Qaida.
She despaired that military campaigns were employing “hearts and minds” strategies more and more often, making it difficult for aid workers to maintain their aura of all-important impartiality. “If armies are handing out food assistance and medical equipment, it becomes harder for locals to tell the aid workers from the occupiers.”
Revenue from poppy cultivation — between $2-3 billion annually — is now double the amount of international aid. Ironically, the money coming from opium production is now the chief source of “reconstruction funds” in the country. Afghan farmers have little option but to produce poppies and will continue to do so. It is the only crop that will generate enough money to survive on.
The British Government, worried that most of the heroin ending up on UK streets came from Afghanistan, began an eradication program for poppy cultivation. Afghan farmers were promised aid and new seeds in return for ending their production but the aid never arrived and many have returned to poppy cultivation. Attempts at a new eradication program will likely end in conflict unless there is a real commitment to provide viable alternatives to the farmers.
Fraser Nelson, a Scottish journalist, of summarizes the contradiction, “Today, some two million Afghans rely on opium poppies for their livelihood, generating $2.7bn of illegal wealth. They will not give this up readily, nor will the farmers whose desire to feed their families is stronger than their desire to placate NATO.” i
British Prime Minister Tony Blair stated that, “The Taliban regime is funded in large part on the drug trade — 90 per cent of all heroin sold in Britain originates from Afghanistan. Stopping that trade is directly in our interests.”
The Taliban has many faults but by May 2001 it had virtually eradicated opium production. The resurgence in poppy production is a consequence of the US invasion and continuing occupation.
Canadian corporations in the Caspian
According to the of Energy Information Administration there are proven reserves of between 17 and 44 billion barrels of oil and 232 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Caspian region. Production of these reserves is very limited. As of 2004, only about 11 per cent of the region’s gas reserves, which equal those of Saudi Arabia, were under production.
On December 27, 2002 Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan signed an agreement to build a 1500 kilometre long Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline — a $3.2 billion project expected to deliver 30 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year. The only stumbling block to finally realizing this deal is the lack of stability in Afghanistan.
In September, 2004 a joint Omani-Canadian delegation led by Yusuf bin Alavi, foreign minister of Oman, and Jean Chrétien, former Prime Minister of Canada, of met in Turkmenistan to negotiate a deal between Edmonton based Buried Hill Energy and the government of Turkmenistan to develop the Serdar block in the Caspian area.
This is not the first or only time that the former Prime Minister, a man responsible for sending thousands of Canadian soldiers to Afghanistan, has intervened on behalf of Canadian corporations for contracts in the area. On the same trip Chrétien met with Saparmurat Niyazov, the self proclaimed president for life of Turkmenistan, and of discussed potential involvement from Canadian corporations in the Trans-Afghan pipeline.
On October 20, 2004 Thermo Design of received a contract worth $42 million for the production of an LPG and gas condensate plant in Turkmenistan that would produce 50,000 tons of LPG and 200,000 tons of condensate gas (light gasoline) annually.
The hypocrisy of signing multi-million dollar deals with one of the worst human rights abusers in the region while simultaneously of arguing that Canada's soldiers are bringing peace is obvious. It is also standard operating procedure for successive governments of Canada to ignore issues of human rights if there is money to be made in international deals. These facts call into question the real reasons why Canada is in Afghanistan.
The people of Afghanistan want peace. The occupiers and their puppet and former Unocal employee, Hamid Karzai want oil. We have seen the U.S. and its Allies in this scenario before. Whether in Chile in 1973 when the U.S. sponsored a coup to make sure that the copper mines were not nationalized or in Iraq where they have killed more than a million people to control the oil resources, they will brutally enforce a corrupt and divisive political process to keep the people divided so they can pillage the land of its resources. They don't care who is in power or what type of society they are creating.
In this case they are building a society based on corruption, drugs and violence. Canada is now the cop trying to impose these realities on the people of Afghanistan.
For further reading and information, please visit the Canadian Peace Alliance.
Wednesday, 11 April 2007
Biofuels, ethanol, are not the answer to clean fuels as they use up food growing land and they encourage cutting down forests (which absorb CO2, which helps to cut down on Greenhouse gases).
Here is a new article regarding this.
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Saturday, 7 April 2007
Last week, I mentioned that Russian intelligence figured that the US would invade Iran on April 6th. Well, with the peaceful resolution of the "hostage crisis" between Iran and Britain, a possible catalyst has been diffused and the invasion has been put on pause . Here are a couple of interesting posts about:
- How Blair basically told Bush to back off
- How the MSM has reported on the aftermath of the situation vs. reality.
Hopefully there won't be another opportunity arising anytime soon that the US sees as an invitation to invade Iran.
Friday, 6 April 2007
He hits in on the nail, as to why there couldn't be such an alliance, with:
the Liberals only represent the social and environmental policies that represent the backbone of the NDP when it will grab them a few votes, not because they are fundamentally the right policies for the country.
The fundamental policies of the NDP and the Liberal party are quite different, so such an alliance would not work.
And, we all know the trick of the Liberals campaigning on the Left, and then, if elected, governing from the Right.
Here's another good post on the topic:
NDP Exists For Many Reasons
Thursday, 5 April 2007
The full story is here at Court Fool.info
Basically, if you are not familiar with this and you want the short summary:
The World mainly trades oil for US dollars. This artificially boosts the value of the US Dollar, and gives the US a lot of buying power in the world. So, it is in the USA's best interest for everyone to keep trading oil for US Dollars.
If the big oil producing nations switched to trading oil for another currency, then the US dollar would drop drastically and the US would be in big trouble. It would also affect the rest of the world economy, but the US would suffer the worst of it. At very worst it might turn the US into a third world nation as the creditors clamour for their money. The US is in debt over its eyeballs to the rest of the world right now.
So, when I Iraq switched to trading oil for Euros (the US dollar then dropped sharply) , the US invaded them under false pretences (WMD) to take control of their oil. And now Iraq trades in US dollars again and the US dollar has climbed back up a bit.
The US wants to get rid of Chavez in Venezuela because he nationalized oil and instead of selling it for US dollars, he trades it in a barter system for goods and services.
Iran has been trading in Euros instead of the US dollar since 2003. Because of a falling out between the 2 countries and the US embargo against Iran, Iran does not trade any oil to the US now. So, it is no wonder that the US is fabricating the story that Iran is planning on making nuclear weapons. The US wants to solve its problem again by going to war and taking control of the oil in Iran and make it go back to trading in US dollars.
Read the story at Court Fool.info for all the details on this issue.
What should Canada do to avoid problems with this in the near future? Canada should slowly diversify its holdings to currency from other countries, increase trade with other countries and reduce the amount of US dollars we have. So, when the sh*t hits the fan, we are not dragged down with the US.
Monday, 2 April 2007
I think I'll go have a peanut butter, I mean lard sandwich now ...
Currently, the LCBO is one of the single largest purchaser of wine & spirits in the world. Yes, that's IN THE WORLD. And guess what buying in such large quantities does for consumers. Low prices. Yes, due to being able to buy in such large quantities, the LCBO can then pass on the savings to you, and they do. Compared with other areas of Canada, we have about the lowest prices. (Note: in other regions, you may find lower prices, but that is only on items that are large sellers, not on other items. In Ontario in LCBO stores, the prices are generally lower across-the-board.) Another bonus of the current set up is the variety. Compared to other regions of Canada, we have the widest variety of wines and spirits available.
And last, but not least, control of sales to minors. By NOT having booze sold in corner stores, but, by having it only available at LCBO, Beer stores and private wine stores, it is easier to keep control of sales to minors.
If it was available in corner stores, the prices would be higher, the variety would be very slim, and control of sales to minors would be much less enforceable.
If you are a minor and are thinking, great, it will be easier for me to get some alcohol for the party this weekend, think also how your allowance might not be able to cover the increased price. Okay, so maybe you have to pay the 19 year old a bit extra for delivery anyway, so this might not be such a bad thing for you. But, you're not supposed to be drinking anyway.
Anyway, for a bit of added convenience, we would pay more for less of a variety.
Sunday, 1 April 2007
1) What Jack meant was that if the ADQ breakthrough in Quebec in the provincial election means that the people of Quebec were dissatisfied with the usual 2 parties and chose another party, then there may be a chance for the NDP to breakthrough in Quebec federally - the NDP are "another" party in Quebec that has not been given a chance. If the people are dissatisfied with the Bloc and Liberals, they might vote NDP.
2) However, there is another point here. The ADQ are a right-wing party, as are the Conservatives. IF the people of Quebec were ALSO voting for the ADQ agenda, they very well might turn around and vote for the Conservatives in a federal election.
But, Quebec is generally a socialist province with values contrary to conservative agenda. So, I'm more inclined to agree with point 1 than point 2. I do agree with Accidental Deliberations in that even one Quebec seat in a general election would be a major breakthrough for the NDP.
Turney may have been "forced to wear the hijab", as the Daily Mail noted with fury, but so far as we know she has not been forced into an orange jumpsuit. Her comrades have not been shackled, blindfolded, forced into excruciating physical contortions for long periods, or denied liquids and food. As far as we know they have not had the Bible spat on, torn up or urinated on in front of their faces. They have not had electrodes attached to their genitals or been set on by attack dogs.
They have not been hung from a forklift truck and photographed for the amusement of their captors. They have not been pictured naked and smeared in their own excrement. They have not been bundled into a CIA-chartered plane and secretly "rendered" to a basement prison in a country where torturers are experienced and free to do their worst.
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