Saturday, December 31, 2011

Peace on Earth, maybe later

"The U.S. closed the first $30 billion half of a major arms deal Thursday to send 84 F-15 fighter jets to a country that only this month beheaded a woman convicted of witchcraft.

"The U.S. will also help upgrade 70 existing Saudi jets as part of the package, which is the first installment of a major arms agreement that will also send helicopters and munitions to the kingdom..."
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Friday, December 30, 2011

Export baby export !

In earlier articles, including Majority supports Keystone XL, or do they?, I wrote about oil companies aiming to move Canadian oil to tidewater so that exports can create shortages and drive domestic prices higher.

A Calgary reader left a comment that included this:
"Keystone XL is a great project it will help Canada and the United States by integrating our energy Markets. It will transport Alberta and Bakken oil to hungry refineries on the Gulf Coast of Texas."
I doubt that ordinary Canadians agree that integrating energy markets with the USA is a good idea but the reader is correct that Texas Gulf refineries are hungry for direct access to our crude. However, there will be little benefit for North American consumers.  McClatchy Newspapers reports that U.S. gasoline prices are at record levels because of record level exports:

US exports record amount of refined fuels
"U.S. refineries exported a record amount of refined fuels in 2011 to markets in South America, Central America and Europe. It was one reason why Americans spent a record amount on gasoline this year: Supplies that might have helped lower prices here had been shipped abroad..."
No wonder that our crazy world of crony capitalism aims to privatize every public resource. Imagine if industry were able to create shortages in Canada by massive exports of fresh water or, as blogger RossK points out, electricity. Then, Canadians could be told that water and electricity are precious resources and their price must reflect the scarce supply. For our own good, of course.

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Vancouver Sun practices conscious deceit

Elmer Derrick and Enbridge VP pose in her longhouse
Commentary by Merv Ritchie, Terrace Daily, Dec. 11, 2011
This is the claim recently made in a commentary Elmer Derrick submitted and had published in the Vancouver Sun, “Elmer Derrick is the hereditary chief of the Gitxsan Nation.” This is quite a claim to make. The question is, after accepting upwards of 20 million dollars from the BC Government to run the Gitxsan Treaty Society, does Derrick truly believe this to be a fact, that he is “The” Hereditary Chief?

The Vancouver Sun, and most of the mainstream media, has done a great disservice to all British Columbians. When the 61 First Nations issued a declaration of opposition to the Enbridge project the announcement did not get a bold and prominently featured front page headline. But when one man, Elmer Derrick makes a declaration he supported the Enbridge project, it became exactly that; a front page 'full page spread' declaration of First Nations support for Enbridge.

The same thing happened in late November when most of the mainstream media reported the executive director of Coastal First Nations, Art Sterritt, declared they might consider supporting Enbridge. This was a twist of the truth and caused Sterritt and the Coastal First Nations to issue their own News release reaffirming their opposition.

This is the great tragedy of allowing the Media to remain unchallenged in their mis-representation, and unfair presentation of the truth and the facts. Canadians become mis-informed and then confused on the truth. When did it become okay in Canada to have lies allowed to be printed as truth in our Nations newspapers and broadcast on the airwaves?

Elmer Derrick is not “The” Hereditary Chief. The truth is he has been involved in a court case for years where a number of Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs have been suing Derrick and the Treaty Society demanding he stop making the claim that he even speaks on behalf of the Hereditary Chiefs.

The Vancouver Sun should know this. All media present at the news conference when Enbridge and Derrick announced their new agreement to the world were listening as reporter after reporter asked Derrick where he got his authority and what Gitxsan members supported him in this position. They all heard how Derrick could not answer. They all heard him say, “[I know the Gitxsan support this] just by talking to people.”

Read the entire article at Terrace Daily.

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Harper's boondoggles

F-35 production a troubling example of Pentagon spending, Walter Pincus, Washington Post, Dec. 26, 2011:
"Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took the Senate floor on Dec. 15 and described the F-35 fighter program as “a mess.”

"What upset the senator was not just that the cost of each plane had risen nearly 100 percent from its original estimate of $69 million to $133 million today, or the fact that testing was only 20 percent complete while more than 90 planes had already been bought, or the fact that software — key to 80 percent of the stealth plane’s warfighting capability — wouldn’t be ready for another four years.

"It was, he said, that the Pentagon had “sold this program as a fifth-generation strike fighter that would — more so than any other major defense procurement program — be cost-effectively developed, procured, operated and supported.

"...At the beginning of the program, there were to be 3,000 F-35s built, since it would replace the fighter-bombers in each of the three services and also be sold to foreign allies.

"...In his new book, “The Wounded Giant,” Brookings Institution senior fellow Michael O’Hanlon calls for cutting the overall purchase to 1,250, canceling the more costly Navy version, reducing the Marine Corps F-35Bs by 10 percent or more, and limiting the Air Force to 800 F-35As. The difference would be made up by buying more F-16s and recognizing the role of unmanned aircraft."
F-35s will be on time, on budget, MacKay told, Daniel Leblanc, Globe and Mail, December 8, 2011
"Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Industry Minister Tony Clement shot down reports in the United States that the Joint Strike Fighter program has been hit by technological and financial problems. In addition, Canada’s Auditor-General has said there is potential for delays and overruns in such a developmental project, which will cost Canada about $16-billion over 20 years.

"But Mr. MacKay said he is convinced that the program is on budget after holding discussions with U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates and senior Lockheed-Martin officials...

"He said orders are pouring in, which will keep costs down for the Canadian government, which is already in the queue..."
Fighter jet purchase risky, Auditor-General says, Steven Chase, Globe and Mail, Oct. 26, 2010
"Spending watchdog Sheila Fraser warns that the Harper government’s estimated $16-billion plan to buy new fighter jets carries significant risk of delays or cost increases – problems her latest audit finds also plagued Defence Department helicopter purchases.

“The F-35s ... I would hope that no one is assessing that as low risk,” the Auditor-General said of Canada’s controversial fighter jet project as she answered questions on a fall report that sharply criticized Defence’s procurement behaviour."
MacKay not grounded on F-35, Scott Taylor, Esprit de Corps, December 2011
"On Dec. 8, Defence Minister Peter MacKay took a brief junket to Texas where he put on a hard hat and did a little factory tour of the Lockheed Martin aircraft assembly plant.

"Following that dog-and-pony show and some brief discussions with American industry officials, MacKay held a teleconference with Canadian journalists. Along with his counterpart, Industry Minister Tony Clement, MacKay told his selected reporters that the Conservative government is convinced the planned acquisition of 65 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters will be both on time and on budget.

"Such a ridiculous claim would be laughable were it not for the fact that, with an initial price tag of $9 billion and another estimated $7 billion in lifetime maintenance costs, the JSF project will be the most expensive military purchase in our nation’s history.

"...Ironically, it was only the previous day that the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts had met to examine the disturbing findings of the fall 2010 report from the auditor general pertaining to the military’s ongoing acquisition of Cyclone and Chinook helicopters. In addition to noting that the Department of National Defence did not follow its “own rules governing the management and oversight of acquisition projects,” the key finding in Sheila Fraser’s report was that DND “underestimated and understated the complexity and developmental nature” of the helicopters it intended to buy.

“Consequently, project risks were incorrectly assessed. Significant modifications were made to the basic models, which contributed to considerable project delays and cost increases,” said the Office of the Auditor General’s press release summarizing the report.

"...Yet these revelations did not really seem to concern those responsible for the collective boondoggle who were called upon to answer to the parliamentary committee last week.

"... MacKay can assure us that the JSF, a developmental aircraft that is experiencing all sorts of technical teething troubles—one which we will not officially contract to purchase until 2013 at the earliest, which we will not take delivery of until 2016, and which we plan to fly until 2050, will absolutely be on time and on budget.

"That’s unbelievable!"
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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Canada trails USA in risk awareness

Canadian media doesn't provide much detail but ProPublica, the American non-profit doing fine investigative reporting, is examining dangers of gas and oil production through hydraulic fracturing. In an earlier article here, we linked to ProPublica's report on unregulated fracking in BC and Alberta.

Today, Abrahm Lustgarten, the reporter with an admirable portfolio on energy subjects, updates one of ProPublica's major investigations:
"This was the year that "fracking" became a household word.

"It wasn't just that environmental concerns about the underground drilling process finally struck a mainstream chord -- after three years of reporting and more than 125 stories. For the first time, independent scientific investigations linked the drilling technique with water pollution, and a variety of federal and state agencies responded to the growing apprehension about water contamination with more studies and more regulation.

"The most important development -- and perhaps a crucial turning point -- was in December. In a landmark finding, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that hydraulic fracturing was the likely culprit in a spate of groundwater contamination that had forced residents to stop using their water in dozens of homes in central Wyoming. The agency had been investigating since 2008.

"Earlier in the year, a study published through the National Academy of Sciences determined that in Pennsylvania, private water wells in close proximity to fracked gas wells were 17 times more likely to be contaminated with methane gas.

"Those studies are separate from a national research project the EPA has undertaken to assess the risks fracking poses to water resources..."

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Majority supports Keystone XL, or do they?

Wetland oil spill - Evi, Alberta
Vancouver Sun headlines: U.S. majority supports controversial Keystone XL pipeline project: poll
"A majority of U.S. voters still support TransCanada Corp's controversial Keystone XL pipeline as the Obama administration again weighs whether to approve or scrap the project, according to a new poll.

"Rasmussen Reports, a public opinion research company, found 53 per cent of likely U.S. voters at least somewhat favoured moving ahead with the pipeline, down from 60 per cent approval in mid-November, ac-cording to the survey..."
Since Postmedia didn't have room to tell the rest of the story, I'll do them a favour. Not that I would expect the Sun or any sister paper to explain that Keystone XL would take Canadian oil to tidewater for shipment overseas, thereby driving domestic prices higher by eliminating what has become a chronic North American oil surplus. That was covered in New pipelines hurt Canadian consumers.

However, Scott Rasmussen, the pollster who claims majority support for Keystone XL is regularly contracted by crony capitalists and touted by right wing media. He is a partisan pollster who tilts Republican and is a Fox News favourite. Rasmussen's polls routinely scored George Bush's approval more highly than others and he repeatedly announces lower approval ratings for Barack Obama than other pollsters.

The Washington Post refuses to cite Rasmussen's polls. In Pollster Scott Rasmussen's numbers are firing up Republicans and Democrats, journalist Jason Horowitz wrote:
"As cash-strapped newspapers and television networks struggle to meet the growing demand for polls, Rasmussen, 54, is supplying reams of cheap, automated surveys that will measure -- and maybe move -- opinion, especially as primary season gives way to the November midterm elections...

"The firm manages to violate nearly everything I was taught what a good survey should do," said Mark Blumenthal, a pollster at the National Journal and a founder of He put Rasmussen in the category of pollsters whose aim, first and foremost, is "to get their results talked about on cable news."

"Nate Silver, who runs the polling analysis site FiveThirtyEight, ... faults Rasmussen for polling only likely voters, which reduces the pool to "political junkies."

"It paints a picture of an electorate that is potentially madder than it really is," agreed Scott Keeter, director of survey research at Pew Research Center and vice president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). "And potentially more conservative than it really is."
Rasmussen Reports serves its New York institutional investors and its corporate and political clients. Polling pioneers like George Gallup designed science-based tools for unbiased reporting of public opinion. Instead, Rasmussen uses polling to manufacture news and influence opinion on behalf of his sponsors. It is one of the politician's black arts.

The oil industry wants Keystone XL so they can ship Canadian oil to world markets. What better way to create shortages here and force North American petroleum prices upward. The Vancouver Sun won't report that fact but they will provide you with any twaddle that promotes the interests of energy companies.
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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Heritage and Environment: Forgedaboudit !

The Athabasca River Basin
1,538 km in length, the Athabasca River is Alberta’s longest undammed river and its second largest by volume. The river drains the 159,000 km² Athabasca River Basin before eventually flowing into the Arctic Ocean via the Mackenzie River. It is a Canadian Heritage River because of its outstanding natural beauty, historical significance and recreational importance.

The Athabasca River Basin contains 94 rivers, 150 named creeks and 153 lakes. Four of Alberta’s six natural regions are represented in the basin: Rocky Mountain, Foothills, Boreal and Canadian Shield. Over 600 significant natural areas have been identified throughout the basin. This diverse region of unparalleled beauty contains a rich diversity of plants, animals and other organisms and offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation and tourism.

The Peace-Athabasca Delta, a wetland of international significance, is one of the largest freshwater deltas in the world. Its marshes and mudflats provide important staging and breeding habitat for water birds, including the endangered whooping crane. The sedge and grass meadows provide key habitat for wood bison and other mammals. Wood Buffalo National Park, Canada’s largest national park, which covers part of the Peace-Athabasca Delta, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983.

The Athabasca River Basin is archaeologically and historically significant, having a strong connection to First Nations Peoples, early explorers, the fur trade and the European settlement of Canada’s northwest. About 150,000 residents (2001 Census) now engage in a variety of occupations throughout the basin. Many Aboriginal groups live in and use the river basin. This includes the Cree, Dene/Chipewyan, and Nakota Sioux First Nations, and Métis People.

The Athabasca river Basin now also has a strong connection to the energy industry and is being greatly transformed by industrial development and climate change.

Oil Sands Pollute with Fish-Killing Toxins, New Study Shows, Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, August 30, 2010
"Despite repeated government claims that the world's largest energy project doesn't contaminate the Athabasca River, a new scientific study released today shows that air pollution from the oil sands industry combined with extensive watershed destruction has released a highly toxic brew of heavy metals into northern waterways.

"The study, published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), also found that the levels of heavy metals detected from snow runoff or downstream of industrial development exceeded Canadian and Alberta guidelines for protecting fish and aquatic life for seven out of 13 pollutants studied. In some cases metal contamination exceeded guidelines by 30-fold.

"The heavy metals, rated as priority pollutants by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, include mercury, arsenic, beryllium, copper, cadmium, thallium, lead, nickel, zinc and silver. All are toxic..."
Suncor Energy and the Athabasca River

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BC Government: Frack the barriers to pollution

"Five thousand gallons per well of toxic chemicals.
 If there is eight wells per pad site,
 that is 40,000 gallons of toxic chemicals."
 - James Northrup, former energy investor

British Columbia taxpayers reward energy companies that pollute. The province enacted a series of incentives, including self-regulation, right to pollute without punishment, access to fresh water, reduced royalties and credits for building roads and pipelines.

Oh, Canada’s Become a Home for Record Fracking, Nicholas Kusnetz, ProPublica
Early last year, deep in the forests of northern British Columbia, workers for Apache Corp. performed what the company proclaimed was the biggest hydraulic fracturing operation ever.

The project used 259 million gallons of water and 50,000 tons of sand to frack 16 gas wells side by side. It was "nearly four times larger than any project of its nature in North America," Apache boasted.

The record didn't stand for long. By the end of the year, Apache and its partner, Encana, topped it by half at a neighboring site.

As furious debate over fracking continues in the United States, it is instructive to look at how a similar gas boom is unfolding for our neighbor to the north.

To a large extent, the same themes have emerged as Canada struggles to balance the economic benefits drilling has brought with the reports of water contamination and air pollution that have accompanied them.

"The Canadian boom has differed in one regard: The western provinces' exuberant embrace of large-scale fracking offers a vision of what could happen elsewhere if governments clear away at least some of the regulatory hurdles to growth.

"Even as some officials have questioned the wisdom of doing so, Alberta and British Columbia have dueled to draw investment by offering financial incentives and loosening rules. The result has been some of the most intensive drilling anywhere..."

"The cost-benefit of B.S., of P.R., of ads and payoffs to politicians
 is extraordinary. The return on investment of paying off a
politician, running an ad, discrediting critics is...
it's one of the best investments that the industry can make."

- James Northrup, former energy investor

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Men Who Pray At Goats?

Government Spends $1.4 Billion On Such Questions As Whether Remote Prayer Can Heal AIDS, Jonathan Turley,
"The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the federal government has spent almost a billion and a half dollars to explore politically popular but scientifically dubious claims such as $666,000 to determine if distant prayer could heal AIDS. It didn’t. I would be interested in how this was tested. I cannot get the image of Lyn Cassady praying at a goat in a secret military lab.

"We have followed tragic cases where prayer was advocated as a better avenue than medication for AIDS and other ailments. However, that did not stop the funding of research into the question by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), part of the National Institutes of Health. NCCAM also spent $374,000 to determine whether inhaling lemon and lavender scents can heal wounds. It couldn’t..."

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Another fine read from Robert Reich

Why the Republican Crackup is Bad For America
"Two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, the Republican crackup threatens the future of the Grand Old Party more profoundly than at any time since the GOP’s eclipse in 1932. That’s bad for America.

"...The underlying conflict lies deep into the nature and structure of the Republican Party. And its roots are very old.

"...The watershed event was Newt Gingrich’s takeover of the House, in 1995. Suddenly, it seemed, the GOP had a personality transplant. The gentlemanly conservatism of House Minority Leader Bob Michel was replaced by the bomb-throwing antics of Gingrich, Dick Armey, and Tom DeLay.

"Almost overnight Washington was transformed from a place where legislators tried to find common ground to a war zone. Compromise was replaced by brinkmanship, bargaining by obstructionism, normal legislative maneuvering by threats to close down government – which occurred at the end of 1995.

"...America has had a long history of white Southern radicals who will stop at nothing to get their way – seceding from the Union in 1861, refusing to obey Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s, shutting the government in 1995, and risking the full faith and credit of the United States in 2010.

'Newt Gingrich’s recent assertion that public officials aren’t bound to follow the decisions of federal courts derives from the same tradition.

"...We need two political parties solidly grounded in the realities of governing. Our democracy can’t work any other way."

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Never in Canada, right?

Abramoff Regrets Paying Writers For "Placed" Columns, by Joe Strupp, Media Matters, Dec. 8, 2011
"...During a recent interview with Media Matters while promoting his new book, Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption From America's Most Notorious Lobbyist (WND Books 2011), Abramoff said in the past he would find columnists who agreed with his positions and pay them to "place" articles in newspapers.

"Normally what that means in a lobbying context is that you have a friendly writer who is somebody that the major papers are willing to publish and you get them to focus on your issue and write a piece about it," Abramoff said in a phone interview, later adding, "It just happened when it had to happen. When it did, we would find somebody who agreed with us, a writer, and we'd usually pay them to do it, but they would be in charge of getting it placed. And that probably still goes on. I can't imagine it doesn't go on."

"Abramoff said he paid for columns on maybe a half-dozen occasions in several major newspapers. He also said the newspapers themselves were likely unaware of the financial arrangement..."
Of course, this would never happen in Canada. Except, perhaps, for commentary on 'ethical oil', pipelines, ruin-of-the-river power generation, open-net fish farming, HST, global warming, private-public partnerships, deregulation, taxation, user fees, executive compensation and a few other subjects.
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Culture Shock

Culture Shock by John Korn   
He's sitting in his armchair
with his solar powered light
He's sitting in the desert
so the bulb keeps burning bright
He's sitting in his armchair
and his standard lamp is on
The vultures are approaching
for the genius has gone

The cactuses just stand there
And the sand just lies about
He wears his favourite slippers
And he'll never wear them out.

- John Hegley

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Monday, December 26, 2011

More Enbridge mischief exposed

From: guujaaw []
Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 2:46 PM
Subject: Enbridge

December 20, 2011

Enbridge Northern Gateway Project
Joint Review Panel
444 7th Avenue S.W.

Calgary, Alberta T2P 0X8

Attention: Secretary to the Joint Review Panel

Re: statement contained in Volume 5A: Aboriginal Engagement, Appendix D: National and Regional Aboriginal Organizations.

To whom it may concern:

Enbridge has provided deliberately misleading and false information contained in their Section 52 Application claiming that the applicant has built relationships with the Haida Fisheries Program, Haida Development Corporation (sic, presumably Haida Enterprise Corporation) and Haida Child and Family Services. Haida Gwaii Community Futures is not an ‘Aboriginal Organization’ and has no idea how they got on the list.

Representatives of the above organizations are in no way engaged with nor have they given any reason to believe they are “relationship building” with Enbridge. We would like to have all of these names stricken from Enbridge’s filed documents as it is libellous bringing these organizations into disrepute, not only with their own constituents, but also the many First Nations, organizations and people who are committed to the health of this planet.


President of the Haida Nation

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Lowe's ethical standards too low for B.C.

Lowe's pulls TV ads – and gives a Christmas gift to Target et al, Wajahat Ali, The Guardian:
"The decision by Lowe's, behemoth chain of retail home improvement and appliance stores, to pull its advertising from TLC's reality TV show "All-American Muslim," ceded to the bigotry, fear-mongering and paranoia of a deluded minority whose divisive ideology poisons America's cherished history of inclusiveness and pluralism.

"But in doing so, Lowe's unwittingly inspired a sudden grassroots coalition of diverse Americans dedicated to defending American values and fighting back against hate.

"...Lowe's seems simply to have given in to an email campaign initiated by the Florida Family Association (FFA), a conservative non-profit organisation based in Tampa Bay, who wrote,
"[All-American Muslim] profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks, while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish."
"...David Horowitz's Front Page Magazine compared Muslims to Nazis, and theorised that the show's sole purpose is to initiate stealth propaganda to promote a "submission to Islam through the hijab."

"Apparently, the show's most unforgivable crime is portraying the lives of five Muslim Arab-American families in Dearborn, Michigan as average and normal citizens. They would rather promote the usual assortment of caricatures stereotyping Muslims as an enraged horde of bearded, anti-western Orcs ideologically triggered to destroy American values by blowing up Dunkin' Donuts, slaughtering Porky Pig, and drafting Kim Kardashian to concubinage.

"...Without a hint of self-awareness, Lowe's fails to recognise that it has actually galvanized this non-issue overnight into a "lightning rod" of international controversy. Lowe's decision to succumb to the Florida Family Association is like throwing in the towel to a third-rate comic-book villain.

"In fact, FFA's website – before it was taken down – looked like it was a created by a 14-year-old in a spare hour in between Bible studies and downloading porn."
Lowe's, a North Carolina based company with $50 billion in annual revenues, has been in Canada since 2007 and has finally arrived in New Westminster, British Columbia. This is good news for people in this area. After all, there is very little satisfaction gained from boycotting a store you can't get to.

Here, Lowe's has located in the midst of a region populated by many whose very existence offends the Florida Family Association. I guess the home improvement chain will be cautious about selecting Canadian sites for advertising. They wouldn't want any that portray as ordinary folks non-Christian Sikhs who believe in truthful living, equality of mankind, social justice and denounce superstitions and blind rituals. The FFA would prefer them shown as dangerous warriors.
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America's turmoil taking it toward disaster UPDATED

At Truthdig, Joe Conason peels recent layers of respectability that hide a reprehensible man who happens to be frontrunner in Iowa presidential caucuses. The Bigots and Billionaires in Ron Paul’s Orbit.
"For many years, Paul was merely an outlying crank in the ranks of the Republican Party—a “libertarian” who courted the paranoid bigots in the John Birch Society...

"...his rhetorical flirtations with the White Citizens Councils hardly mattered. Almost nobody bothered to listen seriously to his urgings that America return to the gold standard, repeal the income tax and the direct election of U.S. senators and erase all of the advances of the past century in protecting the public from cyclical depressions, poisonous food, water, air and drugs, and the insecurities of poverty, old age and ill health.

"On the far right, including wealthy figures such as the Koch family that once supported the Birch Society and now backs the tea party, there are many who share Paul’s brand of political nostalgia. Kindly and gentle as he appears, Paul has always known how to sound the dog whistle that excites them...

"...the rise of the tea party and the vacuum of leadership in the Republican Party have created a space for Paul’s lethal fantasies, which if enacted would return us to the bad old days of mass poverty, rampant pollution, racial supremacy and all the other ills that characterized the America of the robber barons."
Talking Points Memo for The Guardian, Ron Paul: racist newsletter scandal won't go away:
"...Paul has claimed that the newsletter, which compared African Americans to zoo animals, warned of a coming race war, and generally promoted racist, anti-semitic, and fringe militia views, was written by other authors and that he was unaware of its content — even passages written from his perspective. He has not offered up any of the names of the six to eight writers he said were responsible for writing the incendiary material, however, and reporters are pressing him for more details.

"...As USA Today's Jackie Kucinich noted on Thursday, when Paul responded to a similar controversy over the newsletters in a 1996 interview with the Dallas Morning News, he said that he was indeed aware of some of the offending passages, and even offered explanations as to the thinking behind them. For example, he said a passage suggesting that "given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal," was based on outside research."
In ad for newsletter, Ron Paul forecast "race war", Reuters, Dec. 23, 2011
"A direct-mail solicitation for Ron Paul's political and investment newsletters two decades ago warned of a "coming race war in our big cities" and of a "federal-homosexual cover-up" to play down the impact of AIDS.

"The eight-page letter, which appears to carry Paul's signature at the end, also warns that the U.S. government's redesign of currency to include different colors - a move aimed at thwarting counterfeiters - actually was part of a plot to allow the government to track Americans using the "new money." ...
(For a PDF of the solicitation letter see

Paul Disowns Extremists’ Views but Doesn’t Disavow the Support, By Jim Rutenberg and Serge F. Kovaleski, New York Times, Dec. 25, 2011:
"...In May, Mr. Paul reiterated in an interview with Chris Matthews of MSNBC that he would not have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawing segregation....

"In the mid-1990s, between his two stints as a Texas congressman, Mr. Paul produced a newsletter called The Ron Paul Survival Report, which only months before the Oklahoma City bombings encouraged militias to seek out and expel federal agents in their midst. That edition was titled “Why Militias Scare the Striped Pants Off Big Government.”

"An earlier edition of another newsletter he produced, The Ron Paul Political Report, concluded that the need for citizens to arm themselves was only natural, given carjackings by “urban youth who play whites like pianos.” The report, with no byline but written in the first person, said: “I’ve urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self-defense. For the animals are coming.”

UPDATE, from Talking Points Memo, December 26, 2011
"Ron Paul swears he didn’t write those racist newsletters that bore his name back in the day — but it keeps becoming harder and harder for him to distance himself from the incendiary rhetoric contained within them.

"Two clips from 1995, unearthed by one-man candidate headache Andrew Kaczynski, show Paul talking up the investment newsletter he published and profited from but now says he knew little about content-wise.

"The clips prove that the newsletter was an important part of Paul’s past, but as with all negative stories about the man currently on top of the polls in Iowa, they’re not likely to make a dent among his hardcore base of support. They do prove how potentially disastrous a Paul nomination could be for the GOP in a general election against President Obama, which is one of the reasons why the conservative establishment has freaked out as Paul’s numbers have risen.

"Here’s the first clip, first published last week. It shows Paul describing the newsletter as one of the projects that kept him engaged in public discourse after leaving Congress for the first time (he left the House in 1984 to run an unsuccessful campaign for Senate in Texas before running as the Libertarian candidate for president in 1988 and returning to Congress as a Republican in 1997.)

"The newsletter talk starts about 1:40 in."
"On Monday, Kaczynski posted another 1995 clip that ties Paul to his newsletters even more closely than the above video does. In an interview with a with an MBA student, Paul touts his newsletter as being “gold-oriented” but also “expressing concern about surviving in this age of big government.”
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Would-be skippers on the Ship of Fools

The day before making her official presidential campaign announcement, in Waterloo, Iowa, Michele Bachmann, who was born and grew up in Waterloo before moving to Minnesota, told Fox News, "John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That's the kind of spirit that I have, too." However, the John Wayne with roots in Waterloo is John Wayne Gacy, a serial killer convicted of 33 murders. John Wayne the movie star was born in Winterset, Iowa.

In an interview with ABC, Bachmann said that the founding fathers “worked tirelessly to end slavery,” although slavery was written into the Constitution and was not abolished until decades later. She also referred to John Quincy Adams as one of the founding fathers, although he was only nine years old at the time of the Declaration of Independence’s signing.

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain struggled hard to answer a question about U.S. foreign policy towards Libya in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's editorial board on Nov. 14. Cain's response:
"Okay, Libya ... President Obama supported the uprising, correct? President Obama called for the removal of [Muammar] Gaddafi. Just wanted to make sure we're talking about the same thing before I say, 'Yes, I agreed.' No, I didn't agree. I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reason--Nope, that's a different one."
Cain said that the Chinese “have indicated that they are trying to develop nuclear capability.” China has had nuclear weapons since 1964.

In early June, when Sarah Palin was a potential 2012 presidential candidate, she spoke at a tour bus stop in Boston about Paul Revere's historic ride,
"He who warned, uh, the ... the British that they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms, uh, by ringin' those bells and, um, by makin' sure that as he's ridin' his horse through town to send those warnin' shots and bells that, uh, we were gonna be secure and we were gonna be free ... and we were gonna be armed."
Palin appeared on Fox News to talk about the the "National Day of Prayer." She boldly claimed that the US should base its laws on The Bible, just as the Founding Fathers intended:
“I think we should keep this clean, keep it simple, go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant. They’re quite clear that we would create law based on the God of the Bible and the 10 commandments, it’s pretty simple.”
What founder Thomas Jefferson did say is,
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."
At an appearance at the Iowa State Fair, Mitt Romney argued with fairgoers over whether the wealthy should pay higher taxes. Romney opposes raising taxes.
“Corporations!” a protester shouted, an apparent suggestion of where to raise taxes.  “Corporations are people, my friend!” Romney replied.
At a June meeting with unemployed voters in Tampa, Fla., Romney listened as one by one, the voters told him their tales of woe. Romney, worth a few hundred million dollars, sought to lighten the mood with a little joke: “I should tell my story. I’m also unemployed.”

During an interview with the Today Show last November, Governor Rick Perry told host Meredith Viera that,
"[George] Bush did an incredible job, in the presidency, defending us from freedom."
In one of the most unforgettable GOP debate moments, Perry tried to list the three agencies he would cut if he were elected president. But he went nearly silent for an entire 40 seconds before mustering an answer — and still failed to name the third agency. He did, however, offer a contrite “Oops.”

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

A wonderful life - Replay from Dec. 2009

Arianna Huffington:
"At a recent dinner, a group of us began talking about the huge chasm between the record profits of Wall Street banks and America's struggling Main Street banks and started discussing what concrete steps individuals could take to help create a better financial system.

"Eventually, an idea took hold: why don't we take our money out of these big banks and put them into community banks? And what, we asked ourselves, would happen if lots of people around America decided to do the same thing?

"To help this idea go viral, filmmaker Eugene Jarecki has created a powerful, and inspiring video playing off the classic film It's a Wonderful Life in which community banker George Bailey is nearly destroyed by the rapacious and predatory banker Mr. Potter.

"Check it out, and see why we think you should make it your New Year's resolution to move your money. . . .
Click here to read more.

Canadians, substitute "Credit Unions" for the term "Main Street Banks."

A bank is a place where they lend you
an umbrella in fair weather and
ask for it back when it begins to rain.
(Robert Frost)

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Jeremy Hardy's take on Christmas

From The News Quiz on BBC Radio 4, Dec. 23, 2011

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Better served by bird brains?

Our friends at the Blog Borg Collective noticed The Province displaying either low-class ignorant journalism or sophisticated and subtle humour. Apparently the newspaper was uncertain if the current session of the Legislature began with a "thrown speech" or a "throne speech."

Blogger North Van's Grumps also tweaks governments for policy failures related to marijuana prohibition. This followed Canada's anti-science Prime Minister saying his government will never agree to decriminalization of marijuana, no matter what experts or common citizens seek.

Moralists feel compelled to regulate the behaviour of others and grow moist with thoughts of censorship and prohibition. Unfortunately for them, most people choose their own lifestyles, mostly oblivious to guidance from bluenoses. Yankees baseball star Yogi Berra understood this when he said,
"If people don't want to come out to the ball park, nobody's gonna stop 'em."
Schooled in fundamentalist screeds, Harper's knowledge of Canadian history is inadequate. CBC offers A timeline of prohibition and liquor legislation in Canada:

"Prohibition is widespread in Canada. Details vary between provinces, but most drinking establishments are closed and the sale of alcohol is forbidden with some private exceptions. Aboriginal wines are also exempt. Alcohol can still be sold through the government for industrial, scientific, mechanical, artistic and medical uses. Distillers can sell their products outside their own province with proper documentation.

"The sale of alcohol flourishes nationwide under several different guises. Illegal drinking establishments, known as speakeasies, spring up everywhere. In some provinces, people who claim to be ill can buy alcohol with a doctor's prescription. The prescription system is widely abused, a point noticed most during the Christmas holiday season with long lineups at neighbourhood drugstores.

"In 1920, British Columbia votes to make alcohol available through the government. Manitoba and Saskatchewan follow a year later. The remaining provinces vote against prohibition by 1930, with the exception of P.E.I., which stays dry until 1948...
If Conservative politicians cannot learn from history, they may be functioning on an order of intelligence lower than those with bird brains."

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Bad Santa

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Wish I could write like that department

Roger Ebert, reviewing The Artist, a film by Michel Hazanavicius:
"At a sneak preview screening here, a few audience members actually walked out, saying they didn't like silent films. I was reminded of the time a reader called me to ask about an Ingmar Bergman film. "I think it's the best film of the year," I said. "Oh," she said, "that doesn't sound like anything we'd like to see."
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Few shadows cast in North America

A Moral Giant among Pygmies, By Erich Follath, Spiegel Online International

"Since last Sunday, the world has been mourning the death of Vaclav Havel. The Czech leader led a rollercoaster life that saw him go from prison cells to palaces, from poetry to politics. In this personal remembrance from a SPIEGEL editor, Havel is remembered as a man who unflaggingly labored to "live within the truth.

"... Havel was a creature of light who dazzled many, especially those who didn't even cast a shadow themselves."

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Murphy's laws always apply

  [hahr-bin-jer]  Show IPA
anything that foreshadows a future event; omen; sign: Frost is a harbinger of winter.

Control system failed ahead of BC Ferry crash, Andrew MacLeod, The Tyee, Dec. 21, 2011
"A problem with the Coastal Inspiration's control system may have led to yesterday's crash at Duke Point, a British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. spokesperson said.

"Initial indication is an electronic failure of a control system was [the] root cause, however we are still doing a full investigation which will take some time," spokesperson Deborah Marshall said in an email.

The vessel had a "hard landing" at the terminal near Nanaimo, injuring at least two people, neither of them seriously, according to initial reports. Duke Point has been closed indefinitely while the damage is assessed, with traffic routed to the Departure Bay terminal instead..."
Murphy's Law, the fundamental:
"If anything can go wrong, it will."
Murphy's Law, the extreme:
"If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the FIRST to go wrong."
The Coastal Inspiration is a state-of-the-art vessel, sailed with highly trained crews in sheltered waters by a publicly owned company that faces no financial constraints. The ship operates mostly in daylight hours and never in extreme weather. It is subject to regular examinations by qualified marine inspectors supervised by Transport Canada.

Despite assiduous precautions against mishap, BC Ferry's Coastal Inspiration is out of service after crashing because the ship's highly sophisticated 'state-of-the-art' control systems failed.

If Enbridge's Northern Gateway project is allowed, hundreds of tankers will ply the waters of British Columbia's mid-coast. Canada will exercise almost no control over operations of minimally crewed ships that are registered in Panama, Liberia, Singapore, China, Russia. the Marshall Islands or the Bahamas. Vast areas of pristine wilderness will be put at risk.

Disaster is not merely a possibility; it is a certainty.

Douglas Channel, near Kitimat 
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Help for the CBC on conflicts of interest

Read the original item: CBC reporter's conflict of interest

Regular readers will be aware that I filed a complaint with CBC Ombudsman Kirk Lapointe over the conflict involving Legislative Bureau Chief Stephen Smart, husband of Rebecca Scott who holds the position of Communications Officer and Deputy Press Secretary for Premier Clark, a relatively senior OIC political appointment. Lapointe referred this to Jennifer McGuire, General Manager and Editor in Chief of CBC News and says "Programmers are asked to try to respond within twenty working days."

Scott was appointed as a Level 4 excluded employee and staff at that level (reported in the most recent Public Accounts) average $175,361 in annual salary. Scott's is not a junior position. The marital connection between the main CBC reporter covering the Government of British Columbia and a senior member of the Premier's staff is such that Smart should be reassigned. I don't believe that disclosure is an adequate remedy.

This government funnels almost all its public communication through Premier Photo-Op's office, whether its an announcement about federal ship building contracts, a defence of unconstitutional driving laws, opening of a vocational training centre, changes to aboriginal child care, investment council appointments, an immigration task force, a North American Perimeter security announcement or a comment on tomorrow's weather, Clark's presence is stamped on each media effort. The items noted above, by the way, are announcements from the Premier's office in recent days. Well, all but one of them.

Some might suggest the influence of the Smart family is a factor — Justice William B. Smart of the BC Supreme Court is Stephen Smart's father — but that seems a stretch. I did a little reading on spousal conflicts of journalists in other jurisdictions. It is not common when major media is involved because self-policing is generally effective. In British Columbia, the CBC seems to have taken an improper position and, perhaps through stubbornness and unwillingness to admit error, the broadcaster leaves Stephen Smart in place.

Since the New York Times is America's pre-eminent newspaper, its analysis of conflicts in journalism is worth examining. Award-winning journalist Linda Greenhouse covered the U.S, Supreme Court for the New York Times. In 2006, she wrote about a case involving a prisoner held in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. One of the court filings she reported on was prepared by lawyer Eugene Fidell, Greenhouse's husband.

Clark Hoyt, NYT Public Editor reviewed the situation after Greenhouse was criticized for reporting on a subject involving her spouse. Hoyt and others at the newspaper thought the conflict was "abstract" and Fidell's relationship with the case minor. Hoyt though was troubled by the issue and published Public and Private Lives, Intersecting in 2008. Excerpt:
"All journalists have competing loyalties," said Robert M. Steele, an ethics scholar at the Poynter Institute, a journalism research center in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"But when do those competing loyalties create real conflicts that threaten the integrity of a news organization? What do you do, for example, when a journalist's spouse or lover is also a newsmaker?

"...Lee Wilkins, a professor of journalism at the University of Missouri and editor of The Journal of Mass Media Ethics, said, "Conflict of interest is practically the only place in ethics where perceptions matter almost as much as what is the case.” Like it or not, the perception is that Greenhouse is writing about something in which her husband is a player — and The Times isn't telling the public. Newspapers routinely question public officials in similar circumstances..."
Hoyt absolves Greenhouse of unfairness and bias in her work as a NYT reporter and focuses too much on questioning motives of the high profile complainant in this case. However, he did admit the newspaper's policies on conflicts involving spouses needed improvement. He recommended,
"The Times should systematically disclose more about what Steele termed the intersections between the personal and professional lives of its journalists."
Los Angeles Times columnist James Rainey looked at the issue in 2007:
"Some of America's most prominent political journalists are, quite literally, wedded to the 2008 presidential race: Their spouses work for one of the candidates.

Relationships that cross the media-political divide raise ethical questions for the journalists and their employers. Should the potential conflict of interest merely be disclosed to readers or viewers? Or should the journalists be shifted to new assignments to lessen the appearance their motives might be divided?"
Rainey offered outcomes of ethical reviews, including these:
  • "Los Angeles Times political reporter Ronald Brownstein recently began a new assignment as a columnist for the newspaper's opinion and editorial pages after his bosses banned him from writing news stories about the presidential race. The Times was seeking to avoid the appearance of a conflict: Brownstein is married to Eileen McMenamin, chief spokeswoman for Sen. John McCain, a candidate for the Republican nomination."
  • "Nina Easton, Fortune magazine Washington bureau chief and Fox News analyst, said she would not write stories centering on McCain's campaign, because her husband, Russ Schriefer, is plotting media strategy for McCain. When appearing on Fox, she said, she plans at least occasional disclaimers to tell TV viewers she is married to a McCain advisor."
Rainey also quotes Tom Rosenstiel, a former Washington correspondent for Newsweek magazine and The Times. He said that in many cases, disclosure was not enough:
"You have the right to marry anyone you want, but you don't have the right to cover any beat you want," said Rosenstiel, now director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
I paraphrase Professor Lee Wilkins, editor of The Journal of Mass Media Ethics:
"Like it or not, the perception is that Stephen Smart is reporting about something in which his wife is a player — and CBC isn't telling the public."
After New York Times writer Linda Greenhouse added the comment published here, the newspaper apparently pulled access to the linked article. I find that action strange. I accessed it very early Thursday but by afternoon, it was gone although still showing in Google preview.

By late evening, the link is operative again. Thanks, NYT.

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Rewarding incompetence

William Elliott was the first civilian Commissioner of the RCMP. An immutable failure while heading Canada's once esteemed police agency, Elliott departed recently. Like disgraced predecessor Giuliano Zaccardelli, this man with little police experience is headed for an Interpol sinecure. The RCMP is further punished by having to pay his salary for at least three years while he develops U.N. partnerships in New York to identify international criminals. (Using mirrors, perhaps?)

After senior colleagues denounced Elliott's leadership, The Globe and Mail's Daniel Leblanc wrote this in November 2010:
"According to the complainants, Mr. Elliott threw temper tantrums, failed to listen to his officers, acted disrespectfully and suppressed dissent. There were also concerns that he didn’t understand police operations, and that he failed to build, or even maintain, links with other police forces inside and outside of Canada.

"Mr. Elliott, however, faced the mutineers head-on and got the support of the Harper government..."
After the RCMP paid $44,000 for Elliott to take three days of "executive coaching" in Scottsdale, Arizona, he completed a purge of the force's senior executive, with Deputy Commissioner Raf Souccar and others pushed out the door. A contributor to — an online community of insiders and pro-police traditionalists — faulted Elliott's ways :
"His disdain for the “little guy” in his cross country trips shows, and therefore other than sycophantic types fawning support, his style does not engender trust, optimism and desire to follow through with meaningful change."
Not surprisingly, Elliott was paving his own road out a few months later. Despite support from loyal associates in the Harper Government, the RCMP's mounting list of public failures and scandals testified the police service was spiralling into greater turmoil under its civilian Commissioner. The three year management experiment had to end.

Unfortunately, the Conservative Government provided lucrative rewards to Elliott despite his incompetence. Canada has reached an incongruous place where low-profile workers who perform inadequately earn discharge with little or no severance but high officials gain generous rewards, even after ruinous performances during brief periods of appointment. To ordinary citizens, the disparity is reprehensible, an unacceptable element of aristocratic entitlement authored by officials who hope for similar treatment for themselves in comparable circumstances.

Elliott put the best public face on his removal but it came days before Parliament's public safety committee was to hear testimony from former senior RCMP officers about management disorder. That Elliott's tenure was a costly failure is made clear by comments to the Globe and Mail by his replacement, new Commissioner Bob Paulson:
"Admitting to a culture of bullying and a legacy of botched investigations, the Mounties’ new commander says his police force faces obsolescence if it doesn’t get its act together – and quickly.

"RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson says his mandate is to “clear-cut” problems that have taken root so deeply in the police culture that some Mounties are now embarrassed to tell neighbours where they work. Speaking to The Globe and Mail editorial board after a month on the job, he gave an assessment of internal dysfunction so candid that similar remarks would be almost unthinkable coming from the head of any other corporate or government entity..."
Commissioner Paulson's frankness is both unusual and refreshing. Certainly Canadians are not surprised by anything Paulson said but they might be surprised at his directness and honesty. He is making clear to his members, and the public, that real change is necessary, that platitudes are inadequate. It is a good start down what will be a difficult road.
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New pipelines hurt Canadian consumers

Cushing Oklahoma is a price settlement point for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light crude oil and the town proclaims itself to be the "Pipeline Crossroads of the World," However, petroleum stored there is landlocked, disconnected from global markets. Declining U.S. demand and rising domestic production have created a North American oil glut.

Producers have adapted methods used in extraction of shale gas, including ground destabilization by hydraulic fracturing, which allows profuse capture of trapped hydrocarbons. In the Bakken formation, underlying Saskatchewan, Manitoba, North Dakota and Montana, production is rising so rapidly there is no pipeline capacity to move oil to refineries. Instead, it is transported by rail and truck. (source)

The significant oversupply makes sustaining high prices increasingly difficult for the oil industry in Canada and the USA. Oil trading on world markets is not in similar surplus so the gap between WTI and Brent Crude, the European sourced price that benchmarks most internationally traded petroleum, has widened in recent months.

Planned increases in North American crude supply, coupled with soft consumer demand, dictate the gap between WTI and Brent, already substantial, will grow. In OPEC countries, oversupply can be dealt with by reducing production but in North America, reserves are quasi-private assets. Essential corporate thirst demands ever greater revenues and that requires new markets for new levels of production. Therefore, the industry aims to build pipelines to tidewater for delivery of oil to overseas markets: Keystone XL to the Gulf Coast and Northern Gateway to Kitimat on the Pacific Coast. Jeffrey Rubin, former Chief Economist at CIBC World Markets, says that Churchill MB offers another possibility for export of Canadian crude.

By not becoming part of North America's landlocked surplus oil, Canada's crude will rise in price to Brent levels. That offers a substantial profit opportunity to producers and substantial pain to Canadian consumers. Of course, no government in this country stands accused of caring about the interests of consumers. We experience that fact every time we open our wallets to make a purchase.

Beyond increasing our own current energy prices, new pipelines to export bitumen or crude oil will also export the potential for thousands of refining and upgrading jobs and billions of dollars in wealth. Expanded shipments will accelerate liquidation of Canada’s fossil fuel reserves, stealing from a legacy that could pass to future generations. At projected production rates, Alberta tar sands will be largely exhausted within 40 years. However, what will remain is ruination: exhaustion of Alberta's natural gas, destruction of the world's third largest watershed, creation of the globe's largest concentration of toxic waste and the eradication of wildlife and boreal forests. In Andrew Nikiforuk's words, unrestrained oil production will enrich a few powerful companies, hollow out the economy and industrialize one-quarter of Alberta's landscape.

The Northern Gateway pipeline puts vast areas of British Columbia's hinterlands and mid-coast at risk, and, most particularly, harm First Nations people with traditional lifestyles. Again, for the benefit of a few mostly foreign owned corporations, we will elevate consumer prices, threaten the existence of aboriginal people, degrade the environment and enable speedy depletion of fossil fuel resources. It's a lose-lose-lose situation, guaranteed.

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On getting the news

Bill Bailey is an English comedian, musician, actor and TV presenter who often appears on Stephen Fry's long running panel game show QI, an award winning celebration of the obscure. Bailey's comedy is always intelligent and topical, and sometimes strange. He claims to have attended Bovington Gurney School of Performing Arts and Owl Sanctuary, then worked various jobs, including lounge pianist, crematorium organist, door-to-door door-salesman and accompanist for a mind-reading dog.

Here is a sample, in which he reveals the importance of celebrities in delivering news to Americans.

And now for something completely different, a tribute to Kraftwerk:

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Breaking news from the DFO

Statement from the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Keith Ashfield, on Negative Infectious Salmon Anaemia Test Results in British Columbia Salmon
“After Canada’s reputation has needlessly been put at risk over the past several weeks because of speculation and unfounded science, additional in-depth, conclusive tests, using proper and internationally recognized procedures, are now underway to confirm our previous decision that there has never been a confirmed case of ISA in BC salmon, wild or farmed.

"Because DFO and independent Canadian and European scientists have only produced unacceptable findings while testing for the infectious salmon anemia virus, Fisheries and Oceans Canada commissioned an Asian team of experts to provide the needed results. Unfortunately, due to a serious medical setback, the new scientific team has delayed submission of its final report. Their dear leader died from physical and mental overwork as he was travelling to offer field guidance to his workers.

"Nevertheless, despite being incomparably anguished, scientists working on our project swiftly hailed their new leader as a respectable comrade, a great successor and an eminent authority able to ensure the important work will be completed as desired by this Ministry."
Careful scientific observations detect no ISA virus among farmed salmon

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